What do you want your home to be?

There are a dozen items that still need to be completed — touch-up paint, a step from the mudroom down into the garage, a gas line to the outdoor fire pit.

But we’ve moved into our refurbished home and all boxes have officially been unpacked (although we may or may not have stuffed things into the closets and pantry so it appears we’re settled in).


My grandmother’s treadle sewing machine and Dan’s rocker, a gift from a brother-in-law

Dan and I want to fill this space with family, and friends, and maybe even strangers. We want them to put their feet up—cradling a mug of steaming coffee or tea—and talk about what’s on their hearts.

We want to listen well. And only offer advice when asked. Mostly listen.


Dan’s grandmother’s trunk, my relic of a typewriter

Author and speaker Shauna Niequist writes about attending a later-in-life wedding and how the evening didn’t feel like a beginning, the way most weddings do:

It felt like a celebration for something that began a long time ago, and like what we were doing that night was stopping to notice and celebrate this glorious thing that had been inching its way into existence day by day … until one day you realize it’s become a strong tall tree, providing shade and protection to everyone under its branches.

Dan and I want our marriage and our home to provide that kind of shade, that kind of refreshment and hope and courage to everyone God sends beneath our branches.

Which reminds me of an ancient proverb:

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Proverbs 24:3-4

Even though we’ve been back in the house for only a few weeks, Dan and I have a well-established home. Because home is more than lumber and concrete and glass.

Our home is filled with rare and beautiful treasures: Joy. Fun. Peace and deep contentment. Gratitude. Kindness and love.


My youngest grandson presented me with roses left over from an event, which I dried and incorporated into this wreath. Thanks, William!

Maybe it was because our homes were void for a while of the presence of a spouse. Maybe that’s what makes us so much more appreciative of the simple pleasures that make our house a home—chatting over mid-morning Chai latte, opening the mail, coming home after a day that headed in two different directions, cooking good food together, mapping out a road trip for this fall, settling into the cozy furniture with a good book and plenty of light streaming through the windows, impatient for the cold weather to get here so we can light the fireplace.

We’ve already had our share of guests, overnight and otherwise. And even though everything wasn’t in its place, and we’re still waiting for the plumber to install a hot water handle, and we had to throw kids on the couch and one of our guests slept in our fifth wheel trailer—despite all that, I hope they all felt welcome.

We want generations to come together in our home. We want stories to be told and remembrances to be remembered, and laughter to resound, and games to be played, and food to be cooked and eaten together. And we want all family members—blood-related and non-blood-related—to feel connected to each other.

Warm and welcoming is what we were going for back when we brainstormed over a design with our architect and chose colors and flooring and cabinets.

And I think warm and welcoming came together. Magically.


The guest room is ready: Dan’s log furniture, my vintage mid-century suitcases

Which begs the question: What do you want your home to be?


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  1. Lonnie Johnson

    A major and humanly impossible dream come to fruition. I love it, God is so good!

  2. Your home is lovely. Such special touches that make it personable and welcoming. Well done.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Marilyn. When my husband passed away, I pared down considerably to fit all my furnishings and personal belongings mostly into a 10′ cargo trailer. Which means I didn’t have furnishings for a full house. And amazingly, Dan’s Mission-style furniture and my old-junk-turned-into-cool-stuff decor work so well together. God is good!

  3. Rita Weick

    Dear Marlys, Your photos emit such thought and welcoming love. We all want to be your virtual guests!

    • I love how you said that, Rita. Which reminds me of a song from Beauty and the Beast: “Be my guest, be my guest, be my guest!”

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