Samantha Wiraatmaja »

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What I Learned From Building A Home

“Home is the nicest word there is,” said Laura Ingalls Wilder. For me, this year has been a journey in discovering what this word really means.

In the past 8 months, we have bought a house, renovated it, got married, moved in, and spent a lot more time on Pinterest than at any other point in our lives (please tell me I’m not the only one!). It has been a thrilling journey of one transition after another, albeit rather bumpy at times, and I am thankful for the road that we got to travel.

As the dust settles from the road, I look back and see that we have found many treasures along the way. The journey brought us through joy, tears, frustration, hope… and they in turn have given birth to life lessons for us, worth their weight in gold.

I have learned to appreciate beauty. Beauty is powerful, and I am learning to appreciate that. I love my home because it is beautiful to me. Its beauty allows my soul to exhale and find rest. It is a peaceful haven, an oasis.

There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty, for we were created for beauty, intended for pleasure. We see this evidenced in the great lengths that God went to in preparing this world for Adam and Eve – lush greenery, flowers and fruit in every color imaginable, animals in so many shapes and sizes. Without a doubt, God loves beauty because He is the origin of all that is beautiful. He is full of color, and surrounds himself with dazzling colors (read: the book of Revelation).

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting,” and I agree wholeheartedly.

Photo 15-8-14 2 45 57 pm

In turn, this has taught me to find beauty in all things, even when it’s really hard to. When we first got the keys to our apartment, we couldn’t wait to get in there, plan, and dream about the home we were going to build together. Then we actually got in there and started the work of turning our dreams into reality, and it was not a pretty sight. The first few months that we owned that house, it was ugly. The colors of the walls, the floor tiles… were totally made to kill inspiration & stifle creativity. The ongoing renovation works also meant that it was messy and dirty. As a type A perfectionist who hates mess and uncleanliness, this was a particularly difficult lesson for me. I had to learn, and am still learning, that not everything turns out right the first time… And that’s ok.

As something beautiful began to emerge from the dirt, the mess, the hacking & sawing & hammering, I found that learning to live with ambiguity and messiness (so difficult!), and leaning into the discomfort of it all, is a vital part of the process of raising beauty from ashes. Because that is the way it is with our lives, isn’t it? We are imperfect beings who are being made perfect. It isn’t going to happen overnight, and there will be mess along the way, but the end result is so worth it.

William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” and that is another thing I have learned – Keep things simple.

In our busy metropolitan way of life, our relationships and lives, like our homes, often get so cluttered up. Things get swept under the carpet with the intention of cleaning them up when we have more time… which we never do. Hurts, unresolved issues, wrong relationships, bad relationships, time-wasting habits – all these things are allowed to trickle into our lives and remain there.

In setting up home, I have found that there is true beauty in simplicity, and it is a lesson that permeates through every aspect of life.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

  • VictoriaOctober 10, 2014 - 11:40 pm

    There’s a lot of wisdom in your post; and you’ve shared it very humbly. It is a great post for all new homemakers, (and old ones like me too!) Thank you for sharing and including such inspiring quotes.ReplyCancel

  • KaylaOctober 14, 2014 - 2:09 am

    This is my first time stopping by your blog — it’s beautiful. I like your design! This post is very sweet, thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn F.October 14, 2014 - 3:36 am

    I agree sometimes it’s hard to find beauty in chaos. And yet I’m so glad it’s still there if we look, because sometimes Chaos can not be avoided, but a bad attitude can! =)ReplyCancel

  • Jody ThomaeOctober 14, 2014 - 4:00 am

    “…beauty allows my soul to exhale and find rest…”
    Wow! Isn’t that the TRUTH!!!
    I wrote a whole chapter on beauty in my book – I think we need more beauty in this world so THANK YOU for giving us this precious reminder today.
    Blessings, Jody

  • Amy HagerupOctober 14, 2014 - 9:34 am

    I love this, Samantha. I too am a fan of beauty and of simplicity. your images were just delicious too. Congrats on your new marriage and new home. Go gently now, AmyReplyCancel

  • Erica@RaisingMunchiesOctober 14, 2014 - 12:54 pm

    You are so right in “Keep things simple”! I have really been craving simplicity in my life lately. The need to declutter. Thank you for the lovely reminder. Congratulations on your new home and recent marriage xxReplyCancel

  • Tasha @ Real ImprintsOctober 14, 2014 - 9:26 pm

    Keeping things simple is my motto lately…I am realizing that there is a lot of joy and beauty when we do! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on beauty and congrats on your new home!ReplyCancel

  • BransonOctober 15, 2014 - 9:52 am

    I am all about keeping things simple! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • JessicaOctober 16, 2014 - 9:19 am

    I’ve been decluttering a lot lately and it makes home feel more like home. It gets rid of junk that’s not useful. It’s still a process, but I’m trying to find the beauty!ReplyCancel

  • CarissaOctober 16, 2014 - 10:05 pm

    This is wonderful! My life is in transition right now so I don’t have a home of my own yet. So frustrating! But I cannot wait to have my own space again to create and enjoy.ReplyCancel

  • Tara JoyOctober 17, 2014 - 11:12 am

    I love Philippians 4:8 one of my absolute favorites! I want to be more simplistic, it is so hard with my little toddler and his toys exploding everywhere but we’ll get there!ReplyCancel

  • DaraOctober 17, 2014 - 2:16 pm

    Simplicity truly IS beautiful! I love that you shared these thoughts….so important in today’s world.ReplyCancel

  • LauraOctober 23, 2014 - 12:54 am

    Wow! What a busy year you have had. Congratulations on getting married AND renovating a home. Best wishes to you and your new husband!ReplyCancel

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