Friday, August 31, 2007

What says, "Welcome" to you?

After the quote I posted yesterday, there were some great comments. I thought we should continue this discussion today if you are all up for it!

Katie shared that she loves Psalm 127 for encouragement on this topic, so this morning I read it and was encouraged by this:

"Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain." ~ Psalm 127:1a
I agree with another commenter, Andrea, that it is not simply how clean the home is if it feels welcoming. So, what is it that gives us that take off your shoes, relax and be yourself kind of feeling when we go into someone's home?

I love the above painting because it says, "welcome" to me. Why? I love the cozy look of the rain with the glowing windows. There are lights on in every house shown. Someone is home and cares enough to turn the lights on to welcome those who are coming.

I always picture that I am in the house in the front right corner. I am at the stove preparing a warm and comforting soup and homemade bread. There are children playing happily (!) and soft music is drifting through the house. The table is set with a touch of beauty and above all, love is served.

Yes, this is an idyllic scene I'm creating here in my mind. But - really what is it that makes us feel truly welcomed and at home in another place? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Monica -- as you know, I love that painting, too! :)

I think there are tangible things about a house that "say" welcome when people come in (to guests as well as the residents of the home!) -- remember all the houses we toured during the different Parades of Homes we've done over the years? Some we walked into and said "we could live here" -- while others felt cold and impersonal. Furnishings that are comfortable and "cozy" definitely add to that feeling of welcome. Part of that for me is orderliness -- although not perfection. Clutter and messes are not welcoming to me! But being able to kick off your shoes, put your feet up on the coffee table, or sit on the kitchen counter to talk while someone is cooking -- being able to be yourself -- create a comfortable environment that I find welcoming. If people are afraid to touch anything -- that is not welcoming.

Even more important, I think, is the spirit of the home. If the family that lives there lives in love and harmony, I think that can be instinctively felt when anyone enters. (And, of course, the reverse is also true -- if there is discord in the home, that can also be sensed.)

I look forward to reading other comments about what other people find welcoming or hospitable.

Love you lots -- Mom

Leanne said...

I think a person feels most welcome when they can feel like part of the family and not a guest. I love when people come over and help themselves to a cup of coffee and offer to help get dinner ready... Part of being made to feel welcome is having a guest be embraced and not set apart... I also try to remember at least one preference that a particular guest might have... certain drinks, a particular kind of creamer, a well-loved dessert. All of those things say to me "you are welcome in this home!"

Jenny said...

I agree with your mom's comment that "If the family that lives there lives in love and harmony" Everyone will feel it that comes in, they wither or not the home has a lived in feel people won't notice it. They will be laughing and relaxing with your family. I felt a wonderful glimpse of this feeling last night as I came home last night from a childs soccer. My husband was hitting golf balls into a net in our garage. He is a competive golfer. Along with our son here came a bunch of nieghborhood boy's. They hung out with my husband. Then as we went in for the evening to eat, do homework and baths. The TV was left off as we gathered in the kitchen talking about each others day. I fixed dinner, every one did home work around the table or at our Counter. Our oldest brought in an English assignment for us to help with where we had to write what type of girl we would like to see him marry. It was fun to see his list, and the feeling our home had at that moment out weighed the day's dirty dishes in sink. childrens back packs and shoes not put away. The few toy's that made their way up stairs. Thank you for making me see this. I do love the picture you posted. I have one similar with a large porch that I love. I also try to see or imagian how I want my home to feel, not only for others. Also for our family.

carrie said...

Monica,

I like the thoughts that have already been shared. In addition, I really appreciate the definition of homemaking from the 5 Aspects of Woman study:

"habitually creating an atmosphere at home that is conducive to rest, fellowship, love, learning and security"

love you!

Julian said...

I like this post alot. I think making guests feel at home and making their favorite dishes is great. What about our children feeling at home? A haven away from the madness. First, it starts with God, and the spirit of the house will follow. Sure, all kids and sometimes parents argue. In our house, we have many kids, so it will be loud. But what can you hear in the loudness? Can you hear laughter in it, or harsh words? I think in order to hear the laughter in the noise, a mom and dad must make sure the kids are right with God, and lead them and guide them into prayer, and relationship every day, and also a right relationship with eachother.
A home should be accepting of everyone, both parent and child. Flaws and quirks, and all. A home should say I love you unconditionally.
Each child should have his or her space, as well as respect, and room for individuality, and growth.
Another thing is, is having flexibility and availability. Are we available to make our home the teenage, or in some cases preschool hangout? This seems rather hard to accommodate for some, but I ask you, if they are not hanging out at your house, where will they be hanging out, and with whom?
Your mom is right. THINGS can say alot about a home, but the spirit of the ones can say more.
Thanks for this reflection today.
Christina

N

Anonymous said...

Julian,
Thanks for bringing up the subject about making our own family members feel at home.

I don't have children currently, but I grew up in a home that made my sibling and I feel very unsettled. We were not abused or anything horrifying like that. Just very edgey and unsettling.

In reality, if your family feels "at home" at home, then they are more likely to make other friends and family feel at home too. If we have people over who've never been in our home before, I think we can give them a nice experience in such an atmosphere. This has been a good post, I'm curious to see more.

Thanks Monica!
Andrea L.

Jthemilker said...

Simple and sweet... I think that a home where the residents are REAL creates a welcoming environment. None of that fake, walking on egg shells kind of stuff. Love and expressing it in various ways says "welcome" to me.

MyHeartIsAlwaysHome said...

I believe it is the people living in a home that make it inviting. If you love your life, home, family and most importantly God then it shows.

Usually when I walk into a place I can tell if it is just a house or a home.

I love places that feel warm and cozy. During the fall and winter I like nothing better then to have a candle burning, a stew simmering on the stove and the smell of freshed baked bread lingering in the air. To me that seems very homey and welcoming.

Michelle said...

Hi Monica,
I have been reading your blog for the longest time, as a lurker, until now. I have really enjoyed reading your blog and seeing all of your wonderful craft ideas.
I just wanted to let you know that I have put a link on my blog to yours. I have been making those cute little ornaments that you posted a while back, and I have gotten emails and messages through hsb asking how to make them. I hope you don't mind that I am sending them your way =P I am sure that they will walk away with more great ideas as well.
Hugs,
Michelle

Angela said...

I just started reading the book "A Life That Says Welcome" by Karen Ehman and it perfectly addresses this topic. One line from the book that I thought was perfect was: "Offer hospitality puts the emphasis on others and strives to meet their needs...so they feel refreshed, not impressed.."

miranda said...

Monica,
Something that says "welcome" to me is a house that looks like "life" exists there. My dear aunt has a house where the carpet, walls, counters, etc. are white. Everything has it's exact place and if feels very cool and sterile...not someplace I would stop by with my four kids for a visit. I'm all for tidy and organized, but a home has to feel alive with love.

Anonymous said...

I love it when I am treated like a guest but told to make myself at home... help with the meal preparation, take my shoes off , and behave as if I were at home. I do not like going to some homes where you feel like you can only sit on the sofa and not move. If families have pets, I've noticed they are the more relaxed families.

Everyone tells us they feel cozy and at home at our house. That is the biggest compliment. My brothers, especially, when they visit with their families, just help themselves to whatever they want. That is when I know my company is truely "at home in our house."

Ruth, PA

wyndesnow said...

I think that a house feels like home when it smells of home. If you were to walk into my home on almost any given day, something is in the oven, be it bread, cookies or dinner. I also burn candles in fresh and relaxing scents. I also feel comfortable in someone elses home if it feels lived in and not on display. The homes that I have felt uncomfortable in are the ones that I don't feel my children can play in without breaking or fingerprinting something. And a home filled with love and laughter is a very welcoming home.

Thanks for the great topic today. I definitely feel better about my home. Especially in regards to the way that it is kept. I've been slowly removing clutter from my house because it does not make me happy and from some of the posts, it does not make others feel welcome. With 3 small boys it is often hard to "keep" up, but I always feel that my home is company ready and it will always be a work in progress.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wendy

Lynn Marie said...

What is the name of that painting? I really like and maybe I can buy a print of it. What makes a home say welcome? I think the fact that you can walk in and feel that it's ok to take off your shoes and walk around in your socks. Or the feeling that you they are glad you stoped by and came to visit. Those feelings make a house feel welcoming.

Elizabeth said...

I love this topic and all the comments! I do believe that "welcome" is more of a feel than a thing. The Psalm quote is absolutely perfect and I have it framed in my home as a reminder.

Thank you for your beautiful blog! :)

thehomespunheart said...

Lynn Marie - the name of this painting is Hometown Memories 1 by Thomas Kinkade.

Thank you, ladies, for all of your great comments! I can't wait to re-read them this afternoon and linger over the ideas you have shared!

Leah in Iowa said...

Great comments! After reading through all of them, I have nothing more to add! =)

It'll add a few more things to my "to do" list though. ha

Chalieg said...

Just thought i'd keep the comments going... I love all the comments and thought I'd share some of the things we do. As you mentioned about the picture, the glowing of lights is a very welcoming feeling... every evening, I like to light a candle in my front window. Candles can create the mood for a lot of things. I also always try to have scents around the house... even an old rag doused with vanilla extract hanging somewhere in the room just makes a huge difference. And sound? soft hymns or the like help all my kids to calm down, and when guest are there, the extra noise in the backgroud helps them feel at ease from trying to break the silence. And make them know you are glad they visited...celebrate by making tea with your fine china,ect.Always try to keep a jar of cookies for unexpected guests. Fresh flowers on the table... might as well have the home say 'welcome' to you too. Things with a soft appearance always help too, plants, light curtains blowing in the breeze. And yes, God must be there too... just thought I'd share some of the practical pointers. Just found your blog and am enjoying it!

balujan25 said...

Good post, nice blog. Thanks for share useful information. I like this post.