If you were to ask me my favorite day of the week, I would answer “Saturday” without any hesitation. That wasn’t always true, in fact it’s only been true for the past little over a year. It was a gradual change, one that took enough Saturdays being similar to notice a pattern; something we took note of and began to practice with more intention.
When we bought our house 16 years ago, I was excited about the sunroom tucked off the side of the main living area. It wasn’t fully insulated, so it had a sliding glass patio door separating it for energy efficiency. Energy efficiency wasn’t very lovely however, and it wasn’t long until we had that ugly slider with its toe-bruising metal door track switched out for double French doors. That helped our enjoyment of the space considerably, but for the most part, it remained a little used room. No matter how many different arrangements we tried, we couldn’t seem to create restful, inviting space there. It felt a bit like an odd afterthought.
Our lives were busy with a growing family, so the need for a quiet, beautiful space to sit was nice in theory, but the reality of carving out time for that was sporadic at best. As we began to dream about the possibility of remodeling, Chris and I talked about how our family had grown and changed, and how we wanted our home to reflect the way we lived our lives currently. Once again, I was drawn to the potential of our sunroom, and knew it was a priority to finally create that restful, inviting space there that would actually be used.
The doors came off completely, a heat run was added, the warm wood floor of the living area extended into each corner, and simple colors kept the eyes focused on the many windows and the view outside. A comfy sofa with soft blankets beckons, along with gliding rockers. Our family’s love of reading is evident in the ever-present stacks of books and magazines. Chris’ treasured, generations-old family Bible sits in a place of honor. On the wall hangs a quote, a reminder that I had purchased and brought home with me to mark a particularly important experience. Not only did it remind me of Jesus’ tender love for me that week, it also felt like an important vision for how I want to live. It says:
There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
What began to happen after we finished the house project was noticeable on one particular day – Saturday. I would rise early, since my internal alarm clock didn’t seem to distinguish between weekday and weekend. With the espresso machine heating up, I would snuggle into one of the chairs and watch the morning sky begin to change color.
The quiet house surrounding me was a welcome space for my heart after the full days of the week.
Eventually I would hear stirring upstairs, and Chris would wander in to join me. Most often, we would sip our coffee while we talked, lengthy conversations that we usually didn’t have energy for at the end of a busy day. Sometimes we would just sit in silence together, slowly rocking, each of us lost in thought or a book. There was no sense of time, no urgency or agenda, simply a space that invited us to slow down, rest, be.
Another welcome development has been the way our kids and even visitors have joined in the set-apartness of this day. Once our kids drag themselves from their beds, the energy in the room becomes playful and lively, with siblings and friends sprawling over each other as they compete for space on the couch. Teenagers and twenty-somethings, otherwise reluctant to talk, seem more likely to loosen up and join in or even initiate conversation.
While I have a few snapshots of these priceless moments, there are many more pictures in my mind: the faces of those most dear to me, faces bright with laughter or surprise, full of sorrow and seemingly endless tears. I wouldn’t trade anything for those moments, for the miracles that happen as we simply slow down and create space to honor the relationships and experiences that fill our lives on one day each week. Our Saturday morning rhythm has become something I both savor and jealously guard, for it feels like a new, sacred space for our family.
Janet Stark is a woman learning to embrace her depth and sensitivity. Inspired by Mary pondering things in her heart, Janet writes about her experiences here. She is grateful for the deep love she shares with her husband of 26 years, as well as her 4 children and 2 grandchildren. She is a life-long lover of words and looks forward to reading and sharing at Red Tent Living.
The room, the pictures of your family, the tradition of your quiet Saturday mornings all speak of the beauty your soul brings Janet. I have come to love that room, in each of its transitions to the space it is today. Grace and Peace. Always.
Janet, Thank you for sharing this “tree of life moment” with us ~ the realizing of a hope deferred. I love that the image is really your home and not a stock photo. It is so warm and inviting. I also love that you shared real pictures of sprawling, as that is where my mind immediately went. “I wonder how it looks with real life living in there?” We just got a new-to-us comfy couch and the jockeying for position that takes place with my tweens isn’t quite as playful as with your young adults, but there’s still hope! And sprawl is exactly the word that my almost teen boy uses when claiming it for himself. “I just want to sprawl!” There is so much to love and to learn here about growth and change and hope and rest. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and the beauty of your heart and home.
Dear Janet, I love what your vision has birthed in this room. The space you have created together with Chris is truly sacred space. Love, Valerie
I love this post! It reminds me of my house growing up with a very similar space. Your words paint beautiful pictures. I look forward to having a room like that in the future with our kids as well. Thanks for sharing!
This makes me wonder about creating intentional space and honoring the change of season that our Littles are in. Thank you for sharing real life Janet! Blessings, Joanna
First of all, I loved the photos. I loved seeing the beautiful room and then the joy and life happening in the room. I have really enjoyed reading your posts about your home….your “space” and how you have been intentional in creating places of joy with family and friends.
Janet, this looks like an incredibly inviting space! What fun to create a room where memories are made and cherished. I wouldn’t want to leave it!! Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to create such a space in my own home 🙂