I’m 31 years old, been married for 2 days shy of 9 years, have 4 kids and have never owned a home. We’ve lived in 9 houses/apts/townhomes in 5 cities and 2 countries/continents. 9 places in 9 years. That’s a whole lot of packing, unpacking, decorating, undecorating. Jake and I have found that each house, apartment, or town home has its own unique spaces and places, and too often the furniture and decorations that worked in one place simply didn’t work in another. We’ve been here in Madison for 9 months, and I still haven’t decorated (well, unless you count our kids’ artwork or giant paper continents taped to the wall). Jake and I brainstorm and plan for “future house”, while not really knowing when that will ever happen.
After reading The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, I’m a bit more encouraged to rethink my decorating strategy (or I guess non-strategy). The Nesting Place isn’t a “how-to” book on decorating (although she does give some helpful ideas), but instead, it’s a book about creating a meaningful home that is perfect for you. for me.
Home. A place of rest while we are on this earth. A safe place for our children. A place to love and be loved. A place that is beautiful. A haven. With enough money, anyone can create a pretty house. But it takes intention to create a home.
Myquillyn shares with us her journey through her many places and spaces- houses, apartments, job losses, job gains, new babies, etc.– and what she has learned along the way. She is uber creative, but also realistic in how she spends, where she shops, and materials she uses (she can create beauty from poster board and pages of books!).
She gives tips as to how to decorate on a budget, how to think through what you already have, and how to think through what it is you really want from each room. She suggests using Pinterest to get dreaming about what you love. Not to copy what you see, but to inspire and to help create an image of what you’re going for.
[As a side note, she talks about what goes in behind those Pinterest photos and how they aren’t created to shame us, but they are given as a gift to inspire and motivate us. We would never compare our selflies from the after-school pick up line with our best friends’ wedding portrait, right? They are two very different occasions– so why do we feel the need to do so with our house photos?]
Myquillyn ends the book with a story of her trip to meet a child that she sponsors through Compassion International and what that has helped teach her about contentment. I love that she included this at the end because it’s exactly what we need to hear before we put action to the inspiration that she has offered. We need to hear that we have enough. That our homes are beautiful. That toys aren’t a hindrance to our dream home. That “the future” isn’t going to make us happier than we are right now.
What I found to be unique about this book is that the author knows what it’s like to live in a house you own, but also the joys and frustrations of rental life. They too have moved a lot for a variety of reasons, and instead of giving up on decorating (like me), she has learned to thrive in the places that she lives.
I used to be consumed by getting the right things to make our house beautiful. I was a slave to our circumstances, assuming that the right percentage of money, cute stuff, and God-given fabulous style would inevitably produce a magical, beautiful home I could be proud of. Until then, I couldn’t fully love where I was.
She comes off as so approachable, believing that everyone is creative (because that’s how God created us to be!) and also encouraging everyone to loosen up and take some decorating risks. I very much need this encouragement.
She finished her book with a sort of benediction:
So go, make your home a place of rest and joy and nurturing. It is from home that we become all we were create to be.
I love that I came away from this book excited to think through our rooms and make a plan. Jake and I have put it on our “summer list”, and hopefully I’ll have some fun before and after pictures to share with how this book has inspired us to make this apartment into what works well for our family.
You can read more about Myquillyn at her blog, The Nesting Place.
Thank you, Booklook Bloggers, for providing this book free of charge in exchange for my totally honest review.