We bought it at a small Christian book store in Colorado, which, unfortunately, was going out of business and (not unfortunately for us) had everything on sale. My mom and I were in the store, browsing, and of course finding treasures. As we were getting ready to leave, she asked me, "Anything else you saw?" (Silly question, she knows me well...)
This book, standing up on a shelf, caught my eye, and I thumbed through it because the photos. At the time, we were building our house, and I loved the look of these rooms: the real wood paneling, the colorful furniture, the homey touches, the lived-in-look. We bought the book for the pictures.
I had no idea how the words would grab me, sum up my home-making ideals, ring truth to me, and be far more important than the photos. That day in the bookstore was years ago - don't remember exactly, but maybe eleven years? For most of those years, this book has been part of my morning devotional reading. I keep it alongside whatever devotional book I'm reading (Valley of Vision right now), with the Bible and my journal/prayer notebook. Kay Arthur, with her poetic prose, reminds me, of
"that which is necessary to sustain this sanctuary,
to keep it a house-
to make it a home, a haven they're drawn to."
I went through and wrote on sticky notes something specific I could do to apply the thoughts of each page.
I re-wrote the book as a personalized prayer.
I have read, and re-read, absorbing its layers of truth.
"A sanctuary you can create,
A harbor of safety for loved ones
from the storms of life,
Your shelter in the world
-from the world,
A sanctuary for your soul.
This is part of the joy, the wonder, of being a woman.
Here you celebrate the expression of being you
as you take a house and make it your home.
What you create in your setting makes it uniquely you."
I love to think of the work of making my home as a celebration, a form of worship. It is a heart attitude, one I am continually working on. My home will be different from anyone else's, and as our children go out and make their own homes, theirs will be different.
To create a haven for my family, that is my goal.