Photo by Tony Bennett of Tony Bennett Photography
If you walked into our home unannounced right this moment, you would be greeted by five dogs, the smell of something wonderful my husband is smoking on the grill, the sight of photographs and paintings by talented friends, and mellow sounds from a Spotify playlist wafting through the rooms.
At least I hope that’s what you’d encounter, though more than likely once you stepped inside you’d venture into a foyer that needs sweeping, spot dust on the ceiling fans, notice carpet that could use a good cleaning, veer away from at least one couch peppered with dog hair, see a couple baskets of unwashed clothes in the laundry room and discover a relatively organized kitchen cluttered by a sea of clean dishes I still need to put away.
Welcome to our home. We live here, love here, work here and play here. Friends and family know our house is never going to pass a white-glove inspection or be featured as a residence you must see, which is just fine by us.
When we first married eight months ago, my husband and I focused on enjoying one another. In each other, we’d found home. Then, as life began to intrude, we found ourselves stressed and irritated with each other every Sunday because we’d look around and see everything we hadn’t accomplished during the week. Our to-do list became tangible proof we were failing.
Then, one night as we reviewed everything we hadn’t gotten to and Monday morning loomed over us like a storm cloud, we stepped away from the list and went out to dinner. For those two hours we didn’t think about household chores, yard work or the piles of paperwork on our desks. Instead, we laughed, we enjoyed and we dreamed aloud of what might come next. We also agreed to start looking at all of the things we hadn’t done at home as choices, not failures. So maybe I only vacuumed once that week and he didn’t organize the attic like he planned, but that’s because we’d, say, chosen to take the dogs for a hike after our shortest work day or spend a free Saturday with friends.
Quickly, our to-do list became a mix of obligations and opportunities, which made reviewing and prioritizing the list something we wanted to do. We were choosing how to spend our time and deciding what was important, what was imperative and what could wait. Our change in perspective allowed us the freedom to create a wish list of sorts without getting overwhelmed. The thought of painting the walls, finding new furniture that better fits our dog-filled life, redoing the cabinetry or creating more efficient, simpler spaces inside our residence has become a long-term project we’ll do together – one step at a time – as we see fit, even if it takes years, and it probably will, which is just fine by us. Finally.
In this, our third issue of Extol, we focus mainly on the concept of home and hope it provides you with inspiration and motivation. Thank you for taking the time to pick us up.
Editor in Chief