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Where I Belong

Saturday is usually my errand running day. Since I homeschool, and I'm with at least five of my kids 24/7, it is nice to have a day to go out without feeling like a walking tornado. By then, I'm ready to get out of the house and do whatever I want and get some retail therapy. I just use the excuse that I "have to grocery shop" (wink! wink!).

Usually, my oldest daughter comes with me, and we talk, have lunch, and run errands, which almost always includes Hobby Lobby so I can push around a bunch of things in my cart only to return them all to the shelves and walk out buying nothing. It's wonderful!

A few weeks ago I was sick. The Friday, which was Valentine's Day, I was able to make it to the grocery store and get what we needed to celebrate and then come home and cook it all. By Saturday, I was still pretty worn out, but was still looking forward to getting out of the house. My daughter and I had a bunch of errands to run, which included going to Lowe's to get paint and several boards for a project we're working on in our sunroom.

So, with recovering from the sickness and the extra shopping, by the time we reached the grocery store at the end, I was worn out. Even my daughter didn't want to go in! I told myself I was just going to pick up a few things and be outta there! It would be easy! (As a side note, I probably should've just used the pick-up option at the grocery store, but I haven't given into that yet! I still like to pick out my own groceries, call me old-fashioned!)

I used to make big long grocery lists and plan all our meals ahead of time, but the last several years, I just wing it. I've gotten pretty good at knowing what we need just by instinct. But, wandering through the aisles, I felt sort of brain-dead. I couldn't come up with any inspiration of what we would need for the week and just threw whatever looked good into my cart.

Of course, the check-out was extremely slow. The younger checker was new and had to look everything up for the woman checking out in front of me. I loaded my stuff onto the conveyer belt and waited and waited and waited. It wasn't until I stood there looking at all I was purchasing, that I realized just how much junk food I had! I guess I wasn't in the cooking mood, because I had frozen pizzas, mac-n-cheese, ramen noodles, ice cream, chips, pop, and all kinds of other junk.

It was about that time that an older couple pulls in line behind me. (Usually people avoid going in line behind me since I shop for a family of nine!) All they had in their cart was a bunch of fruits and vegetables. We smiled politely at each other and then I noticed her eyes slowly going over the food that I had spread out before me. I could tell she didn't approve of what I was buying. She just kept staring! I could feel my cheeks start to get hot and my face feeling flushed. I started to inch my way between her and the food I was purchasing, trying to use my body as a shield. I wanted the young cashier to hurry up! As the conveyer belt started to move, I emptied what was left in my cart and surrounded it with the vegetables and milk I was buying to make it look better. I was embarrassed!

I tried to rationalize it in my mind. That it's ok to buy junk once in a while. That ice cream can be a healthy dinner. That I really do cook 3 good meals almost every day! I tried to hurry and pay for my food and get out of there! Thank goodness this wasn't one of those weird times when my debit card wouldn't work!

As I drove back home, I went over it in my mind. What was it about this woman's judgement that bothered me so? I felt like she saw me as a bad mom, a bad cook, a bad manager of my home. These are things that I try really hard to be good at! Of course, this woman couldn't accurately judge those things. She didn't know me. She didn't value me and appreciate who I am. She only thought she knew who I was.

Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get home. When I drove up, my little kids were waiting for me, jumping up and down, just happy to see Mom! My sons come out and help me unload the car. My family welcomed me in! Later on, I went for a walk with my husband. It felt good to be able to tell him how I was feeling and to laugh with him about what happened at the grocery store. A feeling of peace just washed over me. It felt good to be with MY people. People who love and understand me. I mean, my husband is the one who invented the ice cream dinner!

Home is the place where you're so wanted, that your babies can't stand to be away from you even while you're in the bathroom!

That's what home is, or what it should be. A place where you are known and loved. It is the place where you're drawn to and long for. Where the weight of the world melts off your shoulders. When you walk in, you feel an atmosphere of love and peace. It's where beauty surrounds you, not for the sake of beauty itself, but to uplift and inspire. It welcomes you in to comfort and restore. It nourishes and delights you with aromas and deliciousness. It challenges you and calls you to your best self and helps equips you for your journey. It fills you, so you are ready to face the world again. It is where you belong.

Perfection is definitely not required. But it takes work and intentionality. It takes selflessness and sacrifice. It takes time and connection to create a true home. I know you all understand that, because I feel like you are my people too. That you share my passion for the strength of the home and the family. To be honest, I believe the home is so important, that if you really think about it, the strength of our entire nation boils down to the health and strength of our families. That as we build up people and families, we build and strengthen our nation. Even Mother Theresa said, "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." And that is a mighty calling!

So as I try to focus this little blog of mine, asking myself what is my purpose here, that's what I have come up with. To try and strengthen, encourage, and inspire the caretakers, the managers of the homes. Showing my successes and my failures, my strengths and my faults. Knowing that if I can do it, a nobody from nowhere, that started out life as a teen mom, shamed and broken, with a family that has been pieced together by the hand of God, that has had tremendous struggles and heartaches, if I can make our home and family beautiful and our life sweet, in spite it all, anyone can! No matter where you're at in life, what your talents are, and what your budget is, all it takes is a lot of love and a willing heart.

You should be seeing some small changes around here, I hope to make things easier to find and understand. I have reorganized my website and added the tag line, "Make Home Sweet". To me, that means be intentional about creating an atmosphere of love and peace in the home. It's a thousand decisions over a lifetime that add up to make healthy relationships and families. You'll still be coming along side of us as we build our home, display our projects, and as I share my heart. I hope you all enjoy it!

Home - there's a lotta love and it's right where I belong!

Take care!



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Hi there!

I'm Maria (sometimes called Mama Ria by my little ones) and welcome to my home and my life! I hope to encourage you to find practical ways to Make Home Sweet!

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