I’d been eyeing this book for awhile. The title and the pretty cover drew me in, and I purchased the book expecting another home decor advice book that inspired me… but also maybe slightly made me feel like I just couldn’t pull the look together that I dream up in my head (and on my Pinterest boards, let’s be honest).
The very first paragraph hooked me.
“As a child, I didn’t have huge dreams, impressive ambitions, or fancy prayers. I was a simple girl who looked forward to having a family and settling down in a little white house and growing something — you know, like a garden.”
This is sooo me. Anyone who knows me knows that my biggest dream is to get married, have a family, and make a home that is a haven.
Then I kept reading.
“Compared with what other people were asking of God, I figured my request for a quiet life would be pretty easy to fill. But you know what happened? The opposite.”
She goes on to say that they’d moved thirteen times in eighteen years of marriage, and only had a white house (which she paid to have painted) once… for six months.
You’ll have to read the book to get the whole story, because it’s too much to share here. You’ll learn about what she calls “Lovely Limitations” — less-than-ideal circumstances that she calls “springboards to the creative solutions that often make a room far better than it would have been without that final push.” You’ll laugh at her quirky personality and totally identify with some of the struggles she shares.
The first half of the book shares more of the internal struggle of creating a home — adjusting your own mindset, pushing through fear, dealing with unwanted opinions, and embracing where you are.
The second half is full of practical tips and tricks for making your own space, well, your own. Not necessarily equivalent to Pinterest or a magazine, but a space that you love and can fully be yourself in.
As she says, “…this book isn’t about decorating a house. It’s about creating a beautiful, meaningful home that you love. Right where you are.”
For me personally, this book was so helpful. I struggle with comparison, and sometimes it’s super hard when my space doesn’t match my Pinterest or Instagram expectations. But this book felt like Myquillyn was reaching out and pulling me away from those expectations, giving me a good-natured scolding, and setting me back on the right track.
Something that helped? All the pictures in the book — of her real life home — show that she has found and fully embraces her own quirky, imperfect style. And while it’s not my style, she is quick to encourage you to find your own style, to do what you love.
And she nails it when she shares what she realized she’d really been dreaming of all those years.
“All my life I thought my dream was a pretty house, but really, my dream was to create a home. I realized that my quest for a dream house complete with hydrangeas and crown molding was sweet and well intentioned, but it wasn’t the ultimate goal for my home. I needed to create something that didn’t depend on money. Something I think you long for. 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.”
I came away from this book with a fresh outlook on my dream. I don’t have my own home right now, but I have half of a bedroom to myself. And now — and in the future when, Lord willing, I do have my own home — I want to live purposefully, to intentionally create a home and a haven.
And I need to remember the tag line for this book: “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
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