When I first married my husband and moved to Baltimore what now seems so long ago, I would reminisce over the longing to go “home”. He would dismiss my melancholic moments and remind me that home is where ever w are.

“Home is where the heart is”… Such an overly used cliche, I know.

As I sit here, on my parent’s beloved front porch, the most significant memories in my life come flooding back in like watching an old movie – they almost always bring me back right here.

My childhood home located along the Tennessee/Alabama border on almost 200 sprawling acres of land was practically right out of a storybook. Growing up here, I didn’t realize I had it all. Abundant open land to roam on, loads of trees to show off in all their Autumn glory, and a creek to swim in during hot summer months. Raising farm animals – calves, horses, chickens, pigs, goats, and sometimes ducks (as long as the fox allowed).

Taking it all for granted – even the swarms of fireflies that lit up the skies like tiny blinking lights at dusk.

Home is where my grandfather built this structure in 1946 with lumber right from this farm. Where mom and dad brought me when I was born. Where my 87-year old dad and 84-year old mom still live today, and have lived since 1961. Where my own children, now 4th generation, come to ride 4-wheelers and hunt. Where I feel most excited to return time and again.

This country gal weeps like an overgrown baby every time I have to, once again, say goodbye.

Infinitely more profound than a structure – 4 walls, a floor and a ceiling. As I sit here and reflect, home has become a lifetime of love, comfort that can’t be bought, and memories that can’t be matched.

Back then my husband didn’t get it but he gets it now – he, too, has come to understand the true meaning of home.

As I’m able to steal away this week to visit with my parents, I’m once again reminded of the great joy and privilege it is to help so many others find a structure to call home.

Until next time,

Renee