Monday, November 13, 2006

Ahhh, But It Is Good To Be Home

"How many many friendships life's path has let me see; I've kept a scrap of each to make the whole of me." —Anon.
We have arrived home after an almost two-week journey throughout the Midwest to do some business and see friends. This trip was very last-minute, so much so that I didn't have time to think about what to post while we were gone. But, now that we are back and I've had some time to think it over, I will begin posting some pictures of our trip.

We were able to see our friends, the Carpenters again. Our time with them is always so sweet. We also saw the Servens again. Why is our time with them always so short? And finally, we spent a number of days with James and Stacy McDonald and their beautiful family.

"Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same." —Anon.
It is truly amazing what time away from home with godly friends can do for a tired soul! We are so refreshed, relaxed and revived! We came home with a new outlook toward all of life's daily struggles, and we know fully the refreshment of being with the Saints. Thank you to all of our dear friends who made our family so comfortable and welcome in your lovely homes.

"The beauty of the house is order, the blessing of the house is contentment; the glory of the house is hospitality." —Anon.
One thread we have noticed that all of these dear friends have in common is their love of hospitality. It is rare indeed to enter a house and find that you have instead entered a HOME. We ate sumptuous meals, laughed long and loud, engaged in deep, satiating conversation, and experienced the satisfaction of worship with sweet friends. It is a rare find, that truest of all measures of God's love, to feel His hand stretched out to you through the tender care and mercy of His people. We have been blessed through these friends, these precious brothers and sisters in the Lord.

I have come home with a sharper vision of what it means to make a house a home. The Lord has challenged me, through some of His own, to be even more the heart and keeper of my home. To Him be the glory and praise for this time of rest and refreshment!

"But every house where Love abides
       and friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home;
       for there the heart can rest."
           —Henry Van Dyke


Margaret in VA said...

Sounds like a lovely refreshing time. Looking forward to when you make your way North and East. ;^)

So what is one thing that you learned that you would like to incorporate into your own home from each of these gracious hostesses?

Amy Howard said...


That is so hard to narrow down to just ONE thing for each family we visited.

I guess I would have to say that from the Carpenters I would add the joy of laughing through chaos in house remodeling and the giving of parting gifts (snacks for the rest of our road trip... very thoughtful). But thoughtful, generous, and hospitable is how I would always describe the Carpenters... it's just an extension of who they really are deep down inside.

From the Servens, I would say the great conversation that my husband and Pastor Serven were able to have. They also were extremely gracious hosts and hostesses in taking me to "Mecca"—the Mary Engelbreit Store in St. Louis—before we parted; even though their evening was slated to be busy, they took the time and joy to indulge me. Thank you, Servens!

The McDonalds were uncommonly good cooks. We joked about it being the best McDonald's restaurant we have ever been to (I'm sure they have heard that far too many times, but laughed with us about it anyway). They really treated us as part of the family. I was very blessed by their children's servants' hearts. I was never without an extra pair of hands to help me with my children, allowing me to get some work done with my sweet husband and Mr. and Mrs. McDonald. The beauty of their home really added to our stay. There is a graciousness in all of their decorating, that really sets the heart at ease—and at home. Best of all, they were asking us to stay longer. We really wished we could have!

I know I'm leaving out things in my rush to write this and get breakfast on the table for my family... I could go on and on.

...but I'll save that for future posts. ;)

Duchess of Fife said...

That's wonderful, Amy. I always find it so encouraging to learn from these women who have been along the path of homemaking longer than I have. I feel like I don't know what I'm doing most of the time and lack any real talent in this area. It sounds like you got some great inspiration on your travels :)