I’ll be home with bells on. I’ll be home with bells on.
Trim the tree and wrap the presents, turn the Christmas music on
This Christmas I’ll be home with bells on.
Can’t you just hear Dolly Parton belting that out? It is a happy place for me: Dolly and Christmas!
Tredessa and Ryan just moved in to their little, leased, 3-bedroom first home – in time for Christmas. It is so cute. They’ve got a big, fenced back yard with a workshop and garden shed. The house has been renovated and painted and upgraded and spiffed-up just in time for them, but those gleaming wooden floors slant for some good marble-rolling, like any 100-year-old house does. They are near “downtown Frederick,” one of the cutest little towns between Denver and Fort Collins. Everything is small and quaint there, little shops, family-owned Italian restaurants, and parks where young families meet up during walks and soccer practice. They have an alley and live about 7 blocks from Rocky and Jovan and only about 1.3 miles from Dave and Tara over on the Circle. The photos below are realtor shots.
Front of house. Entry and living room (the piano is at the base of the stairs now), family room
Eat-in kitchen, fresh paint and brand new counters and cabintery, and one of the bedrooms.
1200-little-square-feet of love.
When Tredessa mentioned concern about a lack of good closet space and how small the rooms are, her sister Tara incredulously reminded Tredessa: the whole house is yours! You are not rooming with other people now. You have just increased your square footage by like 1000+ square feet! Haha! :)
And Tredessa and I were just talking about how good God is and what a crazy blessed year it has been for them. They met, fell in love, got married and were planning to live in an apartment for a year or two, but the deep desire of Dessa’s heart was a house where they could stay put for a bit and maybe get started on their family. And God just delights in doing good toward us. And so my daughter has a home. Home for Christmas!
Where the Heart is…
Home is a big deal to me. My family moved a. lot. while I was a kid, and both my parents had had rather nomadic childhoods so there was this silly moving thing. Dave and I determined NOT to do that, yet, living in a small Nebraska city experienced some uprooting and movement we did not enjoy. I long for cocooning. I enjoy having a place, being settled. Yes, sometimes I have made it an idol, and I have had to learn that God is my home, He is where my heart truly rests.
5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
Psalm 16 NIV
But at Christmastime, like no other time, I think, home is wondrous. A house to hold everything your heart holds dear. Season turns in to season and the children grow and look forward to certain cookies baking and a particular ornament going in an exact place on the tree and new jammies because of the Christmas morning photographs and the traditions make home more than a roof over some walls, but a place, an altar of sorts ~ a warm reminder from Father that we are His family, His household of faith. And He blesses us and gives us family on which to lavish our love and a place in which to enjoy it.
And God has blessed my familia. With homes and family.
Stephanie and Tristan got to buy their house when they had only been married for 3 months! She was still only 19 years old (Tristan was a ripe old 21, I think) when God planted them in the middle of their block, a good-looking young couple who were not even certain yet about becoming parents, when or if it would be in their plans. But o-my-goodness, the delight a year and half later when they presented us with Gavin. Now three of the cutest kids frolic through those rooms and Steph’s home-style has grown (in the 10-years-on-Dec-27-since-they-got-married!!!) and become colorful and jovial, kind of a light, bright, retro-vintage, but wholly modern and extremely hip home base. And she changes up her Christmas decorating every year. And a lot of times I see on Facebook that she has been listening to Spotify and I will smile when I see her, in her very own home with her own little munchkins, listening to a lot of the Christmas music we listened to while she was growing up. Wasn’t that just yesterday?
I don’t think we have a full Kelley-family Christmas-decor reveal yet, but this is from a recent photo shoot Steph and Tris did in their living room. You can see more at www.maydae.com
Dave and Tara travelled so much they were not even interested in buying their own home for years. They’d been able to lease a wonderful, roomy place right after their 4-month-honeymoon-ministry tour when they got back to accept a position at Northern Hills Church.
But suddenly last year, it hit Tara that she wanted to buy a house. Just kaboom. She was ready to commit to a neighborhood and a little bit of stay-puttedness (yes, I know that is not a real word). And just a couple of days before Christmas, they closed on their home, the perfect place for them with lots of parking for lots of people over there all the time and a gorgeous back yard that connects to open space where Hunter can run. And parks nearby. And lots of family near, now. Ahem.
And the house is warm and bright and cozy and light and roomy, yet intimate and filled with Tara’s touches and so super clean and organized (that’s Tara)! We squeezed all of us and Ryan’s family from Florida in there for Thanksgiving and we all became fast-friends and family just because we were so squished and it was lovely. Last year around this time, they got a house for Christmas with an extra bedroom for a new baby – and who even knew that was about to happen!?!
Tara’s at Thanksgiving and after Christmas movies last night
Inspired by Dave and Tara’s success, Rocky and Jovan decided they’d had enough of apartment dwelling and bought their first house right after Christmas last year. And Jovan boldly added color and more color and handmade touches everywhere. Jovan has been madly crafting and creating all season long, some of which you can see on her blog (www.littlebitsandgiggles.com), making life merry and bright for her family. While Rocky continues to work on the recording studio going in to the basement, the girls are enjoying their great big yard and being very close to their grammie and papa (Jovan’s parents). There is definitely room for a baby brother!! Haha.
Then Stormie. The baby of the family – she bought her very first house just before her 25th birthday this past April. And she has made it uniquely hers this Christmas season. Her very busy schedule and roommate/sister leave to be married resulted in her deciding on something very “scaled back,” though her version of that includes an actual antler “tree.” Yes, antlers. And she even put a few lights outside. And did some very different, non-commercial-type things for her little home Christmas decor. This is Christmas for her and the dog, Saber, whom she lovingly calls, “The German.”
Stormie’s house. And antler tree.
Everybody is safe in their homes tonight, where little lights twinkle and Christmas is expressed in many new ways, but also just like we have always done everything. And I am home and the house is festive and the ghost of Christmas past just walked down the hall and when she opened the door, I heard the 5 little Rhoades kids giggling and making merry – like it was yesterday. My heart is no longer at home just here. A little bit of it lives in 5 other lovely homes nearby…