For me, 2012 was the Year of the Nest. It was my first year of marriage, and I had wanted to integrate Keller’s and my belongings, get rid of towers of boxes, and create an inviting space for guests—in short, I wanted to make a home. Our first place was on the eighteenth floor of a downtown Seattle apartment building. We called it the Nest, a reference both to our newlywed nesting status and to its place among the treetops. Although I did manage unpack all our belongings, it never stopped feeling like an apartment. When we finally moved last August, we joked that it was as if we had lived in a hotel for a year and were just coming home.
In that first week at the new apartment, we painted, unpacked, and organized everything. The second week brought our first house guest, my sister (technically sister-in-law, but we call each other ‘sister’) all the way from Jordan. It was so nice to be able to put her in a room that could be hers for the stay, whereas previous guests had set up camp in the living room. A few days later, we had our first party, inviting friends to grill out and relax around a bonfire in the backyard. Since then we have hosted meals for friends, gatherings for school groups, even Thanksgiving for a dozen. Our home is known as Fort Davis, a restful sanctuary set aside from the battles of the world. A couple friends helped us decorate our tree while being warmed by hot cider and a small fire, and as we together began to anticipate Christmas, my friend said to his wife, “This just feels like home, doesn’t it?” Perhaps the best compliment an intentional homemaker could overhear; the warmth of the fireplace could not compete with the warmth in my heart.
The other part of my desire to nest well was to be mindful in keeping a clean home and establishing routines. Since mindfulness is a habit rather than an achievement, it doesn’t fit the easy parameters of success or failure. Some days I am attentive and aware. Folding laundry is meditative, most weeks. But there are other times when it falls apart. The paper-writing season at the end of last term meant that laundry didn’t even get done for a couple weeks, and stayed in baskets cluttering the bedroom floor for a couple more. Cultivating the memory to be mindful is a work that will continue to be in progress.
2013 is deemed the Year of the Pen, but more on that in my next post!