Serving Life Within Your Walls

“All people need a place where their roots can grow deep and they always feel like they belong and have a loving refuge."

Sally Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

At this point, we are looking at the month of October in our study of The Life Giving Home. However, this chapter applies to so many months in the Clarkson life. Having 3 of my four children home last week, I celebrated dinners, breakfasts and times on the porch and deck every day to open hearts, to make memories and to have deep friendship with my adult children, who are indeed my "besties."

Let this chapter inspire you to plan and make special memories with your friends, neighbors, children, spouses this month. In many parts of the nation—and certainly in our little corner of Colorado—autumn is the time when the temperatures drop and a chill is felt in the air. And yet October is invariably a warm month for me, filled with delightful good times. For this chapter, I’d like to invite you into my home for a little visit. Let’s step over the threshold and through my double front doors.

I recently had them painted red—a deep crimson suffused with hints of vermilion to catch the light flickering off the few remaining shimmery leaves of the aspen grove outside. Red is the color of the heart, and I want our home to be a place where the heart is captured by the beauty of belonging. Red is also the color of warmth and vibrancy, capturing the celebration and feasting that happen regularly within the walls of our home.

As you pass through the parlor, I invite you to enter my living room. Take a seat in one of my enormous paisley hostess chairs, (I have covered them for the third time and they are about 125j years old--just passed down from Clay's grandma), and as you sink in and get comfortable, I’ll go put the teakettle on.

While I’m away, I hope the flickering candles spread throughout the room will light a fire of joy in your heart as you catch strains of the tranquil classical music, (or Celtic, indie instrumental, Christian artists, film scores, whatever fits the mood of the day)  gracefully filling the expanse of the vaulted ceiling above. (Though our living room is not huge, elevated ceilings made it seem bigger--and the man who built it many years ago probably knew this secret to make rooms look larger.) Perhaps as you look around, the candlelight will reflect off of one of the many bird figurines decorating my living room.

Many years ago, when I was struggling as a young mother and missionary in Austria, far away from home, I cried out to the Lord in a moment of need. And at that moment a beautiful sparrow hopped up on my windowsill, chirped a lovely song, and then flittered away to some other appointment.

Ever since then, I have been visited by beautiful birds when I am tempted to despair. So I keep reproductions of my feathered friends around to remind me that the light of Christ is incarnated into the world all around me, and all I must do to see it is be attentive.

Now that we have our cups of tea in hand, please accompany me to our family great room. It’s only just past the staircase and the piano. I love that piano. My father, a jazz aficionado and dedicated amateur trumpet player, traded his beloved trumpet for our upright piano. Whenever I pass it, I can faintly hear the echoes of his singing and playing, a ghost of a memory revisiting itself gently upon me.

I also think of my kids when I see that piano; they all took lessons on it, and when they’re home they love to gather around it to sing and play. It delights my mama heart to see them enjoying filling the rafters with harmony and melody. Music seeps up through the soil of our family, past and present. Without fail, if you wait long enough in our home, music will begin to stream in from somewhere or other.

Giving Rhythms
Giving Rhythms

I hope you’ll make yourself comfortable on our old-fashioned leather sofa here in the great room. It’s got cushions you could disappear into, doesn’t it? As I light a fire in the fireplace, perhaps you’ll notice the sea of deep twilight blue on all the surrounding walls enveloping you.

To me it’s like an engulfing ocean. I like to think that when we read out loud together, as we often do in this room, we are embarking onto a sea of imagination and curiosity. Everyone needs a good space to become lost in a story.

The aroma of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies is wafting from the kitchen. Excuse me while I check on them; I’ll only be a minute. Or better yet, why don’t you come with me? Everybody else does.

Whenever I cook dinner or bake a treat, I know that all I have to do is wait. Before I know it, the scent of hot-out-of-the- oven bread or eggs and bacon on the griddle will draw my offspring from the four corners of our home.

Isn’t that amazing?

What draws your children to home?