“This is the atmosphere I want those who come into my sphere to taste—the goodness of God made tangible in food, in pictures, in music, in the way they are served. I want my home to reflect the deepest affirmation of my heart that God is with me, that He has given me every good thing. I want my home and life to be an invitation to feast, to touch, to savor, and to know the goodness of my beautiful God.” ~ from The Life Giving Home, page 83
I have learned so much about the concept of “home” in the past few months—what home means, what it looks like, and how to create it in a practical, everyday sense. I have learned and grown through a variety of sources, but most recently, I have been powerfully influenced by Sally Clarkson, both her books and her podcast. Her latest book, The Life Giving Home, transformed my thinking and gave voice to so many things I always wanted to say about home but never knew how to express. Her idealistic expectations are matched perfectly with practical, reasonable applications, and it is a presentation at once impossibly intimidating but also bewilderingly inspiring and motivating.
Prior to reading Life Giving Home, I heard Sarah Clarkson (Sally’s daughter) on the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, hosted by the lovely Sarah MacKenzie, and I fell in love with Sarah’s bubbling enthusiasm for books and Oxford and the indescribable value of story in the ways it shapes our lives. Sarah co-wrote Life Giving Home with her mom, and I loved watching their unique voices mesh chapter by chapter, as Sally would describe the ideals she & her husband Clay used to build their home and their family culture, and then Sarah would share her memories and insight into what it was like to actually grow up as a Clarkson. I truly enjoyed seeing the mother-daughter bond emerge between the pages.
The book is arranged by month, and each chapter details some kind of ritual or celebration that happens in the Clarkson home, things that serve to make home a place of rest, joy, refuge, and comfort. It sounds completely overwhelming, I know, but I found myself walking away from each chapter excited, with new ideas to implement in my own home. Before I had even finished the book, I found myself turning to Sally’s 3 dinnertime essentials: a tablecloth, candles, and music. What a difference those three simple elements can make! You don’t have to make things elaborate or complicated in order to make home. What an encouragement!
For more inspiration, here are several of my favorite quotes:
“I think homesickness is a holy desire because we were meant to be at home, to be profoundly loved and deeply known, to belong to a people and a place where our story can unfold nourished by beauty, formed by goodness, rooted in love.” – Page 15
“The atmosphere … created by color, creativity, and celebration makes not house beautiful but home beloved, where every aspect of home communicates life, color, love, order, excellence, hope. Despite, and even in, the usual round of dishes and laundry, flowers or a well-set table affirm home as a place apart from the whirlwind, a place where God’s goodness is tasted and known.” – Page 82
“The point of home is to be a refuge for the soul, a place where beauty can be encountered, truth told, goodness touched and known. It’s why home needs hush as well as bustle, silence as well as song.” – Page 181
[Note: I received a free review copy of this book from the Tyndale Blog Network. However, all reviews & opinions are my own!]
Are you familiar with Sally Clarkson? Come talk about her books in the comments!