I remember the first time I prepared to live "on my own". It was a few weeks before college, and my mom took me to Target to try to help me get the right things to make my dorm room feel cozy. She tried convincing me that pillows and comforters that matched my dishtowels would be a good idea. So I went red and black with everything to match the Union College Warriors, the basketball team I hoped to soon be playing for.
I'm thinking back to then because it was pretty much exactly 7 years ago that I was moving into the dorms, exploring my freedom, and going out on my home. It was also pretty much the last time I truly lived in my own "home". Ever since then I have lived in a shared, strangely decorated dorm room (because I wouldn't let me mom help for real), I spent a year in Australia, then I moved back, new dorm room with less stuff in it, then an empty dorm room while student teaching before going back and finishing up at Union in an apartment with my buddy Curt.
The next couple years I spent living with a combination of Curt, his brother Dan, their cousin Jake, my cousin Zach, and Jake's brother Brett. It was a blast! I love all of those guys, and they were amazing roommates. However, as you can imagine, rooming with 2-3 college guys lends itself more towards a living space than it does a home.
Now here I am, a couple months into marriage, and my wife knows how to make a home. I remember going furniture shopping with her the first time and it was TOUGH. I didn't understand why little knick-knacks were important for decorating. I couldn't tell the difference between all the different gray upholstered chairs. Now, when I look around the different rooms in our house, everything makes sense. She is extremely particular about each item and where it goes, how its positioned, and while I used to think I cared, I've learned that the only thing I really care about is that she feels supported to do her thing.
Because its amazing. Whether she wants the white, fluffy pillows or blush dresser drawers with crystal knobs, I don't care because when I come home, I instantly relax. She has made our house into a home.
Maybe the difference is ambiguous to you, or your definition of the terms house and home are different from mine. If so, let me explain. When I used to live in an apartment with my dudes, I didn't necessarily look forward to spending time there. I mainly just looked forward to my bed after long travels and many different hotels, and a routine filled with familiarity. NOW, I literally can't wait to go home after work. I enjoy waking up and in every single room there are several places that I am comfortable sitting, working, reading, watching tv, drinking coffee, and playing keyboard! I constantly want to have people over to host and entertain them, because I want them to experience the same carefree relaxation in a cozy environment that I get to experience daily. I used to only want to have people over if my roommates weren't using the tv.
Since I work at a university I have been watching freshmen moving in all week, carrying mini-fridges up stairs after shopping at Target for various necessities. I think back to when I left my childhood home and I praise God for all the experiences I've had ever since... but I am especially grateful for Him giving me a super sexy roommate and our very own home.