October 22, 2017

Love the Home you Have (and what I’m still learning)


Take a few minutes and add a touch of spring to your table

I’ve never completely written the story about our generational decision to uproot our entire family, move 1000 miles from northern city living to the south and buy acreage with our family members. How is that possible? I speak often of our “homestead,” but intricacies have been left out.

I promise, I will do that soon.

Deciding to create something in the middle of nowhere, basically out of nothing, allowed 19 cousins to grow up as siblings, but when we made that decision 21 years ago, I didn’t count on years marked with financial difficulties that put the “dream” on hold.

It’s been during the last 10 years that I’ve truly embraced the entire concept of “Love the Home You Have.”

love the home you have

Who can ever anticipate losing your own business and going through seasons of unemployment, I certainly didn’t, but those moments  solidified what I knew to be true:  we all have a choice. 

A choice in all seasons to embrace the gifts we’ve been given this day rather than always wishing for something else.

A choice to lean into the truth that the little things in life are most often the big things.

A choice to find joy in the midst of our difficult seasons because it’s there that beautiful moments happen.

A choice to open our doors to others, regardless of how we feel about our home, because people just want to be asked, to be wanted, to experience real, authentic living together.


My dear friend, Melissa from The Inspired Room, has walked with me through some of those seasons, so when she asked me to endorse her new book, perfectly titled, Love the Home You Have: Simple Ways to…Embrace Your Style *Get Organized *Delight in Where You Are  I was delighted. In the last six years of our friendship, she’s been an inspiration with doing just that.

Melissa also shared a bit about my porch story in her book. Yes, The Porch that took 17 years to build is about so much more than a fabulous Before and After or a great outdoor living space addition

It’s a story of community and an open door policy. A story of thrifting as a lifestyle.  It’s a story that begins with a difficult journey, a commitment to a long term vision, God’s faithfulness, and hopefully, a story that encourages you.

I’ve been asked to take on her Love Your Home Challenge on this special book release day. That’s an easy one for me since it seems like I’ve lived many years of that challenge. It’s truly one of the themes of why I started the Becoming Conference: Creative, Purposeful, Frugal. 🙂

In her book, she encourages us to find beauty in simple things, find the balance of beauty and mess (bedlam), incorporating daily routines, using what you have to decorate, decluttering,  simple ways to find contentment where you are and so much more.

For my 15 minute challenge, I grab spray paint. Yes, whenever I’m feeling discouraged in our home and want a pop of something new, the paint comes out. The kids are known to warn friends to get out of my way or they’ll be next.

I shop our house or I head to the thrift store with a penny in my pocket. 🙂

Love the Home You Have Challenge - be inspired

Ugly brass candle holders become beautiful accents for my Easter table,  $0.99 wire basket holds marked down, wilted flowers that have come back to life, and as I sit sipping from my $0.25 yard sale mug, I’m reminded of the beauty in the little things.

Spray paint wood candle holders

I haven’t had time to create an amazing Easter mantle. We all have seasons like that, so rather than focusing on the poorly decorated spots,  I embrace the large, yard sale wood, candle-less, candle holders that I bought for a quarter each (YES, I KNOW) and pretend I don’t see the drips of paint on the side.

Chalk Paint on the mirror with thrifted items

I add a pop of color with a tiny bunting, wait patiently for my daffodils to bloom so I can add them to the glass, love on all the thrifted items (every single one you see), and appreciate once again the power of paint. The mirror was a $5 yard sale find that was UGLY and with just 20 minutes of time and some chalk paint, it’s the perfect spring addition.

Finding joy in loving the home you have is where it’s at.


Creating the home you love comes with a beautiful mess

And because I am so over all the perfect pictures on instagram and pinterest, you all know I’m about embracing every bit of beauty and bedlam I can muster, so this is what that gorgeous picture above truly depicts.

embrace the little things in the home you have

Yes, this is what momma woke up to since she went to bed before those sweet kids did. :)It sure is a beautiful mess, though, isn’t it?

So, let’s join Melissa in celebrating: Love the Home You Have: Simple Ways to…Embrace Your Style *Get Organized *Delight in Where You Are.

Love the Home You Have - new book by Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room

She’s having a Love your Home Challenge to encourage each of us. Find the details at her site and buy a gift for yourself because her book truly is one. Love the Home You Have



  1. I love everything about this!! It’s such a great reminder, but sometimes, hard to implement. Can’t wait to check out the book.


  2. I,m convinced you can fix anything with spray paint or flowers 🙂 Looks great!


  3. Jen, I just love your story. I can’t wait to read more of it. I think what your family did was AMAZING! Home matters so much, what a gift you gave to your family. I’m so honored to have you a part of this adventure, thanks for sharing your home love challenge and post today. xoxo


  4. I love your mantel and how you were able to pull all of it together for just a few dollars!!

    Great job!!!



  5. I can relate to it all. Growing up in a military home.. it was move move and more moving. When I was on my own. I experienced several travails of which left me homeless struggling to come up with money to pay for many surgical procedures my disabled son desperately needed. Home.. I hadn’t a clue what one of those was but I sure wanted him to have it. More struggle. Many failures many set backs. . Still my God was with me especially since I couldn’t do it myself. Time has gone on and I experienced a severe trauma then another and homeless again. Finally found my feet and strength and tried again. I think the car accident was my straw. That last homeless was too much to bear. And I live with a friend. It’s a home. I struggle to accept my life within it. Find the joys to create goodness in a world of conflict and angst. It is blogs like this that I see as my wee lights off in the night fog. I am not alone. . Well I am physically but spiritually there is this light. This insight with humor beauty hope and. . Really.. kindness. Other readers must see it too. Please thank that Melissa for writing such a good book. People need hope and laughter not just platitudes and pleasant affirmations.
    Thank you for even the times you write me. Lifted me up it did.
    God bless you all and all your homes♡


  6. I love this message, it so speaks to me and where I am right now. I was discussing this very topic with my husband earlier today. This was so timely for me, thank you for posting!


    Jen Reply:

    So glad, Kim. It’s a struggle for so many of us and sometimes, it just takes a few of us encouraging each other right where we are at. 🙂


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