On Finding Home

My Drawing Spot

There is a reason that people say there is no place like home. While often this does refer to a physical place for some, I do think that home has so many different connotations. I think that home is more of a feeling than a place.

For some, home can be a place of hurting, a place of pain: a physical place that is not desired to return to. Others may not have felt the feeling of home. Perhaps home connotes a restless feeling from moving from place to place and having to uproot a livelihood, a workplace, a lifestyle. I believe that true home is found in security, rest, and community. While a home can be a physical place, it is so much more than that: it really can feel like a safe haven. I know that when I walk through the doors of my home, I am fully relaxed, restored, and protected.

When I was a high-schooler, my mom introduced me to the movie “The Saint.” I will always remember this one scene taking place in Russian during the Cold War. One of the protagonists has to make a run for her life to the American Embassy so the Russian Mob would not kidnap her. She is able to break away and sprint towards the embassy (in dramatic fashion of course becuase… #movies). As she gets closer to the gates she starts screaming “I’m an American, open the gates!” (Watch the scene here).

Although this is obviously an extreme example, I feel that whenever I rush home and make it, I’m able to guard my heart and mind from the any battles or struggles that I’ve been fighting through the day. Once I am home, when I’m truly home, I can pray, read, journal – whatever it takes – for me to shake off the day. I know that God wants us to live in peace and He truly desires that for each and every one of us. Isaiah 32 says “My people will live in a peaceful habitation, And in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.”

Home is a place where I can fight my daily battles, and fight for the things that matter most. It is a place of creation, inspiration, motivation, and determination. Home resets, recharges, and rejuvenates me. It is more than just a physical place, it is a state of mind.
Matthew 11 invites us to turn to Jesus when we need to rest “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I need to fix my eyes and set my mind on the one who can give me rest, that true feeling of home.

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Once I found my home, my sanctuary, I have to do everything to maintain it. I can’t just let my guard down. Proverbs 24 says “By wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; And by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” It is through the wisdom of the choices that I make every day that my house (both my physical space and that feeling of home) is built. It is a continued understanding of The Word that my home becomes a place that is established and deeply rooted in truth. And my continual thirst for knowledge – and keeping my faith fresh – that my “home” is filled with true and precious riches. It is then that I will feel safe, secure, and grounded. It is then that I will find my true home.

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About a month ago, I thought I was going to have to move out of my apartment I have lived in for the last 5 years of living in New York. It broke my heart because I have such an emotional attachment to my physical home; and it is my first place I called home in New York. It is where I hosted a Thanksgiving meal with close friends, where I received a phone call that I got a job after searching for months. Through a miracle (and a ton of posting on Craigslist) I got a new roommate just in the nick of time when I needed to resign the lease (praise the Lord, amirite??!). To say it has been a blessing would be an understatement, because I really do treasure the aspect of home. It may seem silly to say this, considering this is a rental apartment, I have invested so much time making my place somewhere I feel comfortable and safe, where I can shut the door and lift my eyes to Heaven, where my help comes from (Psalm 121:2).

So I ask myself the following:
What can I do to make sure when I come home, I am delighted to be there?
What can I do now to make my home feel safe for not just me but for others?
How can I bring that feeling of home, of peace, of rest out of my physical home and into the spheres of influence where I live my daily life?

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Quality Alone Time

On the surface, I come across as a highly amiable and social person. Which is mostly true: few things delight me more than spending time catching up with a friend over a latte (or breakfast – I love a good avo toast). But so much of my life has been going going going that sometimes I become anxious or lose focus or I find myself saying things like “It’s almost July and I still can’t believe I haven’t finished (fill in the blank).”
I’ve slowly learned the importance of “me” time. This could be spent reading, praying, writing, walking around the city, painting, or even sleeping. All I know is that my body and my mind need rest and space.
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I’ve recently made a routine of “me” time by making matcha lattes and doing my morning reading. I look forward to it every day: it’s quality time spent reading and praying. It’s my time I don’t have to answer emails, texts, or calls. It is an important way to start my day to reset my heart, mind and spirit so I can go into the day filled with encouragement and joy,
Here is my recipe for matcha lattes (adapted from @LeeFromAmerica).
2 Teaspoons of Jade Leaf Matcha
1 scoop of Vital Proteins (optional)
A pinch of Brain Dust (yes, you read that correctly) (optional)
A dash (or four) of cinnamon
1 cup of heated almond or coconut milk
1 TBSP of coconut butter (I like Artisana Naturals)
Set aside the matcha in a small mixing bowl. Heat up the almond milk in a saucepan over the stove on low to medium heat. Put some boiling water in a tea kettle. Once boiled, let the water cool down for a minute, then pour the water into the small mixing bowl with the matcha. Whisk the matcha with a bamboo whisk (like this one) to get out any matcha clumps. Let sit for a minute. Add all ingredients to a blender (including the heated milk and matcha mix). Blend for 1-2 minutes so you get MAXIMUM foam from the coconut butter and milk froth. Pour into a mug, sip and enjoy your “you time.”
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The Importance of Rest

This weekend, I had the opportunity to take a quick trip out to the beach with some girl friends. For me, the goal whenever I go somewhere for the weekend, especially the beach, is to “force” myself into a slower-paced and relaxing environment. Whether it be diving deeper into reading and prayer time (or – let’s be real – a full 8 hours of sleep).

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If I’m not careful, I end up filling my schedule with back to back activity. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good full filled social day. In fact, that is what is most tempting for me: to fill my schedule with coffee-dates or rooftop cocktails with friends. When my agenda steers from the core value or rest, I am not able to reconnect with God and feel more restless when I return to the city. Matthew 11:28-29 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Consciously setting aside quiet time allows me to rejuvenate and revitalize my life.

Now, I can’t always take a weekend trip, but I can make sure I set aside a day or two for rest and re-connection in my daily life. I’d rather give 100% effort for 5 days, than 70% for 7 days. And in case you were wondering about the math, it’s 500% v. 490% ;).

I’ve included some snapshots of Ocean Grove and Asbury Park New Jersey, where the weekend trip was. Last Saturday morning, we stumble upon a mod 60’s – 70’s era type coffeeshop called High Voltage. The decor is very East Coast beaches meet the Pacific Northwest. I recommend the iced latte. Enjoy!

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