A Home is a Home is a Home


I was going to a home visit with a colleague the other day and the house we went to was absolutely gorgeous! Probably a $500,000 house, perfectly laid out and decorated. A comfy family room with a large screen tv and new, modern furniture. It had a large, expertly maintained backyard with a perfect multi-level playground system for their happy, young children. As we left the visit, my co-worker told me that she would LOVE to have a house like that, as would her children. Since her divorce, she has had to explain to them that they can only afford a small house, using the excuse that she only has limited money so she can’t afford anything better. It was an honest comment, and one that many people probably share.

I have four wonderful, loving sisters-in-laws. They all have beautiful, large, and well maintained houses. Granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, (which I’ve learned from House Hunters is a “must”.) We gather at their houses regularly for birthday parties and holidays, and I always enjoy admiring their latest piece of new furniture, wall decoration, or new carpeting. After that conversation with my co-worker, I realized that I admire their houses, but I am not jealous, nor do I covet their homes. Good for them that they have the money to have such a nice home for their families! I am happy for them! If I had the money, sure, I’d be happy to have a home like that, but I don’t, and I’m still happy.

The thought never crossed my mind to to feel badly about my own, old, ramshakle house. After spending much of my childhood living out of a VW van, I think ours is a perfect house for our family. It is old because it was once a summer cottage and my dad, in his schizophrenic frenzy, added on here and there. It has some quirks; the hot and cold water faucets are backwards, the doors of the kitchen cabinets are made out of wall paneling, the parquet wood floors have been stained from years of foot traffic in and out from the snow, and the windows are old and some don’t open anymore. But we managed to set up three suitable bedrooms on the main floor, (sometimes four while fostering infants, when we turned the laundry room into a nursery,) and three suitable bedrooms in the basement. (Only our biological son and adopted children could sleep in the rooms in the basement because the Department of Children and Families does not allow foster children to sleep there.) We also have a large dining area to fit 16 at a long table with benches for seats, and a family room where the tv, toys and computer are kept. And we commenced to raise our family. This house, while not elegant or even attractive, suits us. We’ve had many years of children’s laughter and tears. Many years of care and patient acceptance. Many years of tragedies and triumphs. Even though we don’t have the money to have more luxurious surroundings, our home contains the most important thing of all; indescribable, life affirming, heart warming LOVE!


Comments on: "A Home is a Home is a Home" (34)

  1. A house is just a shell. It’s the love within that makes it home.

  2. I’m learning how to be content in the story – and the elements of the story – I’m in as well. Life really is quite short…in light of eternity. The older I get, the more philosophical I get.

    Truth is, I’m still a little ticked off that I can’t have things nice and pretty. When they were little, my kids were clean and orderly. As teens, they’re messy piggies (I was too at that age). In my rebellion, I don’t clean quite as often now. Why should I? Then I’d start to be a yeller…and I love peacefulness too much…

    Ach! If I have a nice cup of steaming coffee to cuddle up to, everything else is secondary.

  3. Love it and so very true! I have relatives with nearly a million dollar home and all I think is, you can’t really live in a house like that. Worrying about scratched up walls etc. Some of mine have crayon on them but to me it means that we use and live in our home. At least my children use it for art lol!

  4. Love is all you need as long as have that you will be ok.

    • Isn’t that the definition of a home–where indescribable, life affirming, heart warming LOVE abounds? My kids were raised in a ramshackle home that was never really finished without a lot of amenities, off the power grid before it was popular to have solar. They are grown men–loving, kind, intelligent and humorous. It’s not the house, it’s the love inside the house that make it HOME.

  5. Love is a furnishing that can be purchased, no matter how much money you have to spend! Your home is beautifully furnished!

  6. I never take for granted indoor plumbing, having gone a number of years with not even an outhouse to go in, we dug holes. Heat, getting up in the early am for school having to take turns starting fires, and in Montana the winters can be cruel. Even food having been hungry many times. I may be poor, but I have all three of the above now.

    By the way I have a new blog, just going to be art and photography (-:


    • Those of us who live in houses often forget that many families don’t have one. Glad you have one now!
      I checked out your photography blog; love the kitten, not so sure of the team, though. As a New Englander, I have to support the Patriots!

      • Congratulations on your Patriots winning! That was a hard loss, it came down to the one play when they didn’t give Marshawn the ball. We’ll be back next year (;

        I miss Jaz, she almost made it to 19 years old. Our current cats are not football fans lol. They can’t take the yelling, and cheering.

  7. We live in a very well-to-do neighborhood, only through the generosity of my in-laws. We don’t live in one of the $500,000 homes on our street. We live in a duplex. Our home is unique in that we knocked down the common wall for more space when we adopted my daughters. I always like to say “our house is unique, just like our family!” Thank you for posting this. 🙂

  8. Who is rich? He who is satisfied with his lot, as it is said: ‘When you eat the toil of your hands you are fortunate and it is good for you’ (Psalms 128:2)

    There’s a lovely explanation of the whole scripture at this link. I think you’ll enjoy it. http://www.torah.org/learning/pirkei-avos/chapter4-1a.html

  9. Great post, and I agree……..as the song goes “All you need is love.”

  10. Love is the main thing. Give me love in a tiny apartment over cold distance in a mansion any day!

    • I know some families in mansions, as well as some families in less extravagant homes, may be cold and distant. The beautiful homes that I’ve seen, belonging to my sisters in law and some of the clients I’ve visited, have also been filled with love. You are right, love is the main thing, no matter what kind of home you live in!

  11. Same here. Our carpeting is pathetic and we have no draperies. But…our house is filled with LOVE from the ceiling to the floor. Woof!

  12. Your house sounds lovely! I’d rather have all those cozy rooms and that great big table where you can all eat together!

  13. We have been Foster parents for four years and will continue to do so into the distant future. We live in a very small home. A 3 bedroom 1 bathroom ranch that we have completely outgrown. In a couple weeks we are moving to a bigger home and I can’t wait. It’s nothing fancy but will have 5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms!! I absolutely get the quirky house- we have a leaky faucet, temperamental shower and old appliances but nothing can replace all the love we have under our roof!

  14. That is so true. Love is the foundation for any home. Without it, it’s just a house. 🙂

  15. A beautiful post! It’s the people we share our lives with who are important, not the abode in which we choose to live for a short time on earth 🙂

  16. So beautifully expressed. Having love is all the wealth one needs and some.

  17. You have the important things, so you can be proud.

  18. I never lived in a fancy house and we never had any fancy furniture because my parents preferred to spend their money traveling, and if I could see better I’d be doing the same thing.

  19. My parents bought an ancient farm house and have renovated it themselves, little by little over the years. Growing up, it was a constant work in progress. Sometimes there were pipes and wires hanging out of the walls. Sometimes, there were no walls at all! Sometimes we had a shop-vac in the middle of the living room and drywall dust all over the place…it always felt like home. Now, as a grown woman I go home to visit and it feels like I never left. That’s the kind of home I’m shooting for while raising my kids. ❤

  20. LOVE is the most important component of childhood. With my two sisters we lived in a modest (read very modest) home with little money, no extravagances but loads of love. Your children will look back on all the things that Love did for them not the fact they didn’t have the latest toys etc.

  21. manyofus1980 said:

    love is all any of us needs. if your loved you know it and feel it throughtout your whole being and the home you live in doesn’t matter. its the way you are looked after that matters! XX

  22. manyofus1980 said:

    do you take guest writers? was wondering if I could do a post on being did? for your blog? my blog is here

    I’m blind, have did and ptsd. X

  23. Love your post. A house is not a home… the people inside the house make a home and that is what you are doing with your family.

  24. I agree…some people in my life just assume that I am so jealous of my siblings wealth because I am so poor and have to live in my parents attic…but the truth is…I am not…I am so happy for them…thank goodness they are doing well…one less thing to worry over as far as I am concerned…they are doing well…thank goodness I say to myself…it is harder however to convince my son to be grateful for what we do have….we have love in our little family and wherever we are is home I tell him..thank you for your story..j

    • Thank you for joining me in being happy for those more advantaged relatives, and being happy for your own circumstances. It IS a little tougher to get the kiddos to agree…

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