A combination

Members of Jeff's family joined mine in Atlanta to encourage us  on the night before Matt's second open heart surgery in July 1994.

Four members of Jeff’s family joined mine in Atlanta to encourage us
on the night before Matt’s second open heart surgery, July 1994.

“Home is a combination of human will and divine grace.”Alexandra Stoddard

Whether we live alone or with family, whether we open our doors to traveling friends and adopted animals, or prefer a more solitary life, it takes substantial effort to create and maintain a home.  Despite what we sometimes refer to as modern conveniences, the challenge has never been greater than it is in today’s world.

Because so many aspects of life converge there, a residence serves as the hub for diverse and often conflicting demands.  It is roughly equal parts functional work station, entertainment center and quiet retreat.  Cell phones and computers have only increased the demands on the home in all three roles, and often the lines blur confusingly.  It takes planning, organization and vigilant management to keep a balance that will enhance rather than burden our lives.

But our best efforts often fall short of perfection — and thank goodness it is not needed.  Because homes also are places of divine grace, where our busy, sometimes frantic activities are augmented by something intangible that pulls everything together into harmony surprisingly often.  Not always, but more often than our harried hurry might suggest.

The beauty of freshly cut flowers in a simple glass vase; the unique ambience of soothing music or lively conversation; the cozy hour spent with a cup of tea and a good book, or a quiet period of shared reflection with someone we love — all these things and countless others adorn our living spaces with a grace that does not come from human hands or laborious endeavors.

Perhaps we would do well to recognize and amplify these unexpected gifts — what one reader recently described as “pockets of joy” — and focus our efforts on those activities which seem most likely to create time and space for them.  Today, I hope you will find a renewed awareness of all the many ways you are happy and blessed in your home.  What actions seem to create synergy between our achievements and our blessings?  How can we provide an environment where we are tuned in and ready to welcome these gifts of grace whenever they come?

Happy Birthday today to my mother, Sybil,
who created a home for us filled with human will and divine grace!


  1. Mike Bertoglio

    Visiting my son’s home this in Atlanta area. In his neighborhood people do wave to each other-something I am not used to, though I did witness some of the Aloha spirit in Kailua. The Crepe myrtles are awesome and yesterday we visited the Confederate cemetery in Marietta where I visited the grave of “ten cent bill.” the only African American veteran buried in the Confederate cemetery- though there is an unmarked slave section. I bought a book about him an he has quite an amazing story. Maybe you have heard of him?

    • No, I haven’t heard of him, but it does sound like a fascinating story! I will have to read up on him. Maybe my son or my brother, both of whom know a lot more about history in general (and Atlanta history in particular) have heard of him. Thanks for telling me about it!

  2. Wish you were here 😉

    • So do I! Well, maybe…

  3. Jenelle

    We’re moving next summer and this post gave me hope that, we too, will have our “dream home” someday. I can’t wait! Thank you for the hopeful post today!

    • Jenelle, congratulations – there is so much excitement surrounding a move to a new home. I am so glad you enjoyed the post today! As much as I love to travel, I’m also quite a home body – I can happily spend hours, days and weeks there with no desire to go anywhere else. Please do keep us posted on your upcoming plans! Thanks for being here today.

  4. I feel so spoilt to have the pace of life I do. We seldom feel pressure or rushed in our home partly because there’s only two of us (well 4 if you count the kitties). Both our families are very small but we are lucky to include many great, life long friends in our Journey. I know parents who for years have juggled work, kids, family, house, cottage and so much more with what seems like grace and ease and I just marvel. Is it possible that old saying is true, “life only hands you what you can manage”? If so, maybe I’m a wimp because I’ve kept things pretty simple. I will admit that I had a pressure cooker job for many years that made me crazy at times, but I’d arrive home and the day would quickly melt away. That’s my goal for my home, a place that helps you feel safe, relaxed and loved.

    • That’s a great description for an ideal home. Perhaps you have been blessed with a sane, graceful lifestyle because you knew what to prioritize. I think many people willfully take on MORE than they can manage (especially financially). I’ve sometimes been guilty of doing the same thing when it comes to wanting to read every book, newspaper and magazine, visit every place, know every person I meet, and take photos of it all :-). Eventually I realized that one can be greedy for experiences as well as money or material goods, and greed is not a virtue. That (plus getting older and more easily tired) helped me to reign in my restlessness quite a bit. I’m a born traveler but I can be quite happy traveling via books (or blogs) which comes in handy since I’m haven’t been able to travel much lately. I think we are all so lucky to have our homes, with so many free and inexpensive ways to make them uniquely ours.

  5. Very happy to go through this.
    Mother really the Life-force who has given the body.
    Love mother the most Beautiful person on this Earth.

    • The older I grow, the more thankful I am for my mother, especially that she is still with us at the age of 83. A beautiful blessing for sure.


  1. Outdoors in | Defeat Despair

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