I have always loved houses.
When I was 15, my parents were thinking about a move and I would spend hours poring over houses with them and asking about all the details of buying a house.
In High School, I took an Interior Design class and then traveled to another school to take an Advanced Interior Design class. A number of assignments required us to go out into the community to make observations with a partner and, since I was from a different school and there was an odd number in the class, I would just go home and my mom would work with me as my partner. I loved spending that time with her, involved in one of my favorite past times.
My best friend and I would visit model homes sometimes, just to enjoy them while we were in High School.
I was even planning to major in Interior Design in college, but BYU got rid of their program before I started.
I have since learned that I don't really have the best eye for design,
but I still enjoy looking at houses, dreaming about houses, and striving to make our home a place that creates a feeling of well-being.
I love this quote from Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien:
"That house was a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness."
Sometimes my desire for a beautiful home interferes with my desire for the feeling of peace and happiness that I want to exist in our home, but I also feel they work together. None of us feel very peaceful in the midst of a big mess.
At Christmas time, I put out my beautiful, hand-carved olive wood nativity my parents got for me in Jerusalem, and as I watched Maxwell's enchantment with the figures I realized it was a microcosm of what I desire for our home. It is beautiful and meaningful, but also made of a kid-friendly material that allows those little fingers to grasp each piece and be a part of their surroundings.
The way he insisted that Mary always be right next to Baby Jesus made my heart melt.
I realized that I want our house to serve OUR needs--I don't want us to constantly have to serve the needs of our house.
It's an ongoing process, but I am constantly striving to create a place like the home J.R.R. Tolkien described.