• Kari

The Grass Is Greener Where You Water It

How many Pinterest boards do you have? I have 43 today, as I write this. I may have even more by the time you read this. (I need a Pintervention.) I should make a board for projects I've actually completed, and not just dreamed of. We finally made me my own craft area out in my own corner of the playroom. (Not completely my own since it houses the crayons, craft supplies, and construction paper the kids use. But, more my own than any other space in the house!) Bless my husband, because he is able to hold his tongue as I often come home with something new to put in the craft area for a project idea I have. Usually one I have no intention of starting right away, but I need that specific thing just in case inspiration strikes. All of those craft supplies, old windows, scrap boards, fabric, yarn, glue, beads, paint... waiting to be made into something beautiful.

I have a board called Dream Home. It isn't filled so much with projects as it is with rooms and decor that my dream Kari lives in. I can actually see my introverted self become the outgoing, perfect hostess as I laugh glamorously over the perfect teacup, in the perfect clothes with my hair falling perfectly into place while I entertain all of the women who were so happy to come over to my home. A spread of the most perfectly delicious and equally beautiful food grace my designer counter tops. If I only had those rooms in that color with those decorations, life would be like that. Perfect.

Record scratch. Page turn. That is not reality. In reality, we still live in our first starter home 14 years later. Our home needs a lot of work. Not just to get it to the beauty standard I would like, but to even keep up the maintenance. But, for now we are choosing to feed our children instead. (Maybe we could do some alternate eating plan - The boys eat on even days, and the girls eat on odd days.) The church we have chosen to go to for the past 8 years is located about 25 minutes (with no traffic) away in a more prominent area of Charlotte. Most of the families in this church are very well off. I remember when we first started going there and were invited over to someone's house and they warned me that it was "small, and not as nice as some of the other ones." As I walked into their immaculate house that was near twice as large as mine, I had to fight my own thoughts as her words echoed in my head. There is no way I could have anyone over to my house then, if this house was small and not as nice. I have since made friends with several of the ladies at this church, some of which have become some of my dearest and best friends. Their homes are as beautiful as they are. And what is most amazing about them, they aren't show offs. They are genuine and kind, and also happen to be able to purchase some things I would love to own. For several years, this was a heart struggle of mine. Would I ever own that type of home? I would wait to invite anyone over until we could afford to fix up the house. For birthdays and Christmas I started asking for Hobby Lobby gift cards, or money for paint. My sweet mother-in-law got me that gift a few years ago with paint and supplies to paint the kitchen. And still all I was seeing were the imperfections. But, Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy...

"Hospitality is not about inviting people into your perfect home. It's about inviting them into our imperfect heart."

I truly think God made me crafty instead of making me rich. I have become more and more thankful for my unique idea of what is beautiful. My prayer for the last few years has turned from helping our situation to helping my heart. Change my outlook. And, you better believe it has it made me so much happier. It's lightened my heart and made room for joy. We have so many things to be thankful for. Three incredibly caring children who I genuinely love to be around. A husband who puts up with (most of) my quirks. Two crazy snuggly dogs. We HAVE a home. So many people in the world do not. When Emmie was born, My step-dad helped us change our garage that we never parked in and only used as a catch all for junk into a bedroom, Bryan's office, playroom, and craft area for me. What a difference that has made for us! How thankful I am to be able to give our kids their own rooms. Having two boys and a girl who are all 6 1/2 years apart in age, figuring out who should share a room was not easy. I continue to complete projects around the house because I enjoy projects. It renews my soul to make crafts and create something beautiful. Most of my home, especially my kitchen, is filled with DIY projects that I have done. I have plates as picture frames, a pallet as a mug holder, and a window for a message board. I have stopped comparing what I see in magazines and embraced my own style. There is no right way to decorate your home! You need new friends if they are telling you that. I still see the flaws that my house has, but I see the beauty too. And, while we continue to improve our home and ourselves because that is what we as humans should be doing, I am not waiting to have people over until that happens. My home is not filled with the finest things, but it's filled with love.

Being a hostess is out of my comfort zone. I am not sure if it is the introverted nature, or I am just

blessed to be awkward in conversation. It for sure isn't a talent I have. Most of my words sound so much better in my head than leaving my mouth. But, I have found my tribe of people who understand me and love me anyway. And most importantly, God loves me anyway. So, while hospitality is not naturally a gift I have, I will use it whenever the opportunity is given. We recently had one of our new pastors and his adorable wife over for dinner. It was way out of my comfort zone to do, but was so glad that we did. It ended up being pizza and cookies and it was so fun! We may have scared them off with our quirky family, but it was not because of our home. They made the 25 minute drive because we invited them. The answer is always no if you don't ask. We were made to do life together. Invite someone over, even if it's on your old couch with a plate of Ritz crackers.