Gratitude for Home and Family

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It’s easy to take it for granted. Our home is the center of our universe, but how often do you think of it as being that important?

The same thing goes for our family. For most of us, family is our primary support team . . . a hand-full of familiar souls in a world full of billions of strangers. Isn’t it ironic to see people treat their own family members with less kindness and respect they give to a perfect stranger? It’s easy to forget the importance of your own personal support team.

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning “Good morning” at total strangers.” – Maya Angelou (b. 1928)

Appreciation for Home

Have you ever been without a home? If so, you had a crash-course in home appreciation.

There’s nothing quite so effective in learning appreciation than taking something for granted and suddenly losing it. It feels different to appreciate something you have now than to appreciate something you once had. Either way, it’s appreciation. Even if it’s just the realization that you shouldn’t have taken it for granted and appreciated it more while you had it.

At Home on the Road

My wife, Janey, and I have never experienced homelessness in the down-and-out, destitute sense of the word, but we have been “between homes” for extended periods of time. Even though we didn’t have a place to call home during three different eras, we always had a vehicle that was a reasonable substitute for home.

The first time, it was a van. The next time, it was an old bus/camper conversion. The next time we were homeless, we had a small RV that we bought specifically for extended traveling around Mexico and Central America.

As full-time, touring musicians, this mobile version of the feeling of home was fine . . . for awhile. Even though we were reasonably comfortable and content with our lifestyle choice, we still got weary and looked longingly down the road in the direction of home.

“Home is where you rest your bones,
And dream a cracklin’ fire . . . while you roam.
Home is where you hang your hat,
A rocking chair . . . and a lazy cat.
-from the song, “Home is Where” by Tupelo Kenyon

If you’ve never been homeless, you may have to stretch your imagination a little to get a feeling for what it’s like to be on the road full-time.

When you have a home, you have a center of operations — a mission control center. It’s a place to spread out and have easy access to all your tools and toys and supplies.

“Home is a place for your stuff.” — George Carlin

When you’re on the road, you do the best you can to take the feeling of home with you. You surround yourself with the essentials and a few small touches that give you the feeling of home.

“Living on the road my friend,
Is going to keep you free and clean.”
- from the song, “Poncho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zant

It’s a good lesson in learning what is necessary and what is just extra baggage, taking up room and getting in the way.

“There’s stuff on the dashboard, stuff on the seat
Stuff on the floorboard, crowding my feet
The console, the glove box, and stuck to the wood
Not only the trunk, but under the hood.

There’s a basket of little stuff with no place to go
And a room full of big stuff stacked in a row
There’s a stack of important papers and such
Got stuff up to here, and it’s all too much.”
-from the song, “Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff” — by Tupelo Kenyon

At Home Around the World

No matter what country we are traveling in, we notice the warm glow of light coming from the houses we see. We feel drawn to it like moths to a flame. It represents home and all the comfort, security and feeling of satisfaction that comes with having your own nest. Living on the road is definitely a stretch and a good opportunity for personal growth . . . but it’s easy to keep looking down the road for an opportunity to stretch out and grow into a more conventional idea of home.

“Home is where you stretch and grow,
Grow and build a life of your own.
Home is where your heart is at,
But while you roam, home is where you’re at.”
-from the song, “Home is Where” by Tupelo Kenyon

Active Appreciation for a Place to Call Home

Now that we have a home of our own, we appreciate it every day. We are continually commenting to one another how much we like this, that, or the other about our home and how much it means to us.

“There is no place more delightful than home.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

“There’s no place like home.” – Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”

Actually, we have two homes these days. The other one is a motorhome, and we spend about half the year on the road and the other half at home in Wyoming. We do the same gushing of appreciation when we are on the road. We are continually commenting to one another about how much we appreciate the different aspects of our rolling home.

Whichever home we are in, it’s more than just a roof to keep the rain off and more than “a place for our stuff.” Home represents comfort, safety and security . . . a place to cocoon and recharge our batteries. It provides fertile soil so our inner beings can take root, grow and blossom.

“If this world affords true happiness, it is to be found in a home where love and confidence increase with the years, where the necessities of life come without severe strain, where luxuries enter only after their cost has been carefully considered.” – A. Edward Newton

With the basic needs met, food clothing and shelter, we can more easily turn our attention to creative endeavors and personal development. This universal desire for home runs deep and manifests in diverse ways around the world.

“He is happiest, be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Ideas of Home Are As Diverse as the People Who Live in Them

In our travels, we have seen homes of every description. We’ve seen mansions on the hill, and shacks in the gutter. We’ve seen igloos in Alaska, and grass huts in Hawaii. We’ve seen castles in Europe that took centuries to build, and stick houses in Guatemala erected by friends and neighbors in an afternoon. We’ve met people who get that cozy feeling of home from a sailboat continually rocking on the waves . . . a cave in the mountains with a campfire to chase away the chill . . . a tent flapping in the desert wind . . . and an open-air camp shared with the insects in the tropics.

All these people have one thing in common with their diverse experiences of home: No matter the race they are born into or the continent they are born on, we all have some kind of nesting instinct. We are pulled toward something called home. Our respective cultures define it differently, but we all feel the pull.

“This is the true nature of home — it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division.” – John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Stuck at Home

We’ve all met people who feel stuck. They feel stuck at home and can’t leave for a variety of different reasons. It’s easier to fantasize that the grass is greener over there, on the other side, in that other home. The problem begins when the fantasy grows into discontent. That attitude has the potential to poison all other areas of their lives.

Okay for Now, and Better is On the Way

If you can manage to be grateful and satisfied with where you are now, while looking expectantly toward the future for your dreams to manifest, you’ve got the best of both worlds. You enjoy the here and now reality of your surroundings while continually attracting whatever you desire and envision. (See previous articles entitled: “The Subtle Side of Manifestation” and “The Law of Attraction“.)

“Oh, should I dream of home so,
So many feel they cannot leave, I feel like going home.
So blow you winds of change, blow right down my door,
Where weary winds can rest and stay . . . my homeward shore.”
-from the song, “Home is Where” by Tupelo Kenyon

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” – Brian Tracy

“Gratitude is a lively sense of future favors.” – Sir Robert Walpole

The People at Home

Although home, as a physical structure, is an important aspect of our lives, it’s just the beginning. For most of us, our idea of home centers around the people you spend the most time with — your family. Who you become is significantly influenced by the people with whom you share time at home.

“Having a place to go – is a home. Having someone to love – is a family. Having both – is a blessing.” – Donna Hedges

As infants, we are nurtured, protected and encouraged at home by our parents and/or elder relatives. Our brothers and sisters play a major role and share in our mutual growth and personal development. Later, our children and younger relatives offer more opportunities for personal growth. We become teachers, while at the same time, are presented with a completely different set of learning opportunities. All this happens at home.

“A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.” – (Sarah) Margaret Fuller (1810-50)

Think of the people you shared the nest with when you were growing up. Notice the special bond you have with them and how unique it feels, compared to all your other relationships.

Special Appreciation for Your Primary Home Building Teammate

If you share your life with a spouse or significant other, think of the teamwork that makes your lives together what it is. Your life would be very different without the other. Notice all the little things your mate does to help you feel at home.

Janey is always doing some little touch that makes the house our home. Flowers in a vase. A home-cooked meal. Singing in the kitchen. Tending the garden. Kissing me good-night. Making the house spotless and creatively decorating. Big things are not necessary when you can share the little things with joy, love and appreciation.

“Flowers on the table . . . fragrance is everywhere,
I hear the sound of music, as your voice fills up the air.
Cookin’ in the kitchen, just singin’ to the stove,
You make a house our home.”
- from the song, “I’d Still Marry You” — by Tupelo Kenyon

The Attitude of Gratitude

Stop a moment and make a list of all the things you appreciate about your mate and/or home-mates. Feel the gratitude swelling inside as you appreciate the small things they contribute to your feeling of home and family. Here’s the secret to on-going enjoyment of these things into the future: Tell them how you feel. Not just once, but regularly.

“The greatest reward we could ever get is the genuine gratitude from the people we’ve helped.” – Steve Saia

“It is not failure of others to appreciate your abilities that should trouble you, but rather your failure to appreciate theirs.” – Confucius (5th century B.C.)

It’s true that home-life is not always easy and the relationships are not always pleasant, but those personal ties run deeper than most any you will develop over the course of your lifetime. These people at home know how to push your buttons better than anyone. Even though there may be times when you don’t like them very much, these people with whom you share nest-time help you grow into the very best version of yourself.

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.” – Cristion Morgenstern

Home-time provides you with the opportunity to rise above your petty differences and be grateful for the profound commonalities you share with your nest-mates. Of all the billions and billions of people on the planet, these are the ones you love.

“Home is where you’re at your best,
If not, there is no better place to be at rest.
Home is where you rise above,
And share yourself with those you really love.”
- from the song, “Home is Where” by Tupelo Kenyon

Think of all the times in your life when you have laughed. Who were you with most often? For most of us . . . family.

Think of all the times in your life when you sat down for a meal. Who were you with? Again, for most . . . family.

And what about the times when you were sick or just plain worn out and needed to regain your strength and vitality? Where were you and who were you with? At home with family.

Who taught us to play? Who taught us how to work? With whom did we grow up? Family.

“Home is where the food is good,
A place to laugh, joke and smile, and knock on wood.
Home is where the old folks go,
The young folks play, and the children grow.”
- from the song, “Home is Where” by Tupelo Kenyon

How Do You Feel About Home and Family?

How do you feel about your home? How do you feel about the people who share your home with you — past and present? How do you feel about the people who provided you with a home as you were growing up? Just imagine their sacrifices, hard work and determination to do the things they did so they could pay the rent or mortgage every month to provide you with that incredibly valuable thing called . . . home.

“No matter under what circumstances you leave it, home does not cease to be home. No matter how you lived there—well or poorly.” – Joseph Brodsky (b. 1940)

Can you see the value of gratitude for these fundamental elements of human experience? Where would you be without them? Can you imagine what your life might have been like without the people and place that defined your experience of home?

The feeling of gratitude is a wonderful thing. Not only does it feel good, it helps create an on-going life experience that continues to feel good. If there is anything better than the feeling of gratitude, it’s the expression of gratitude.

Gratitude Expressed

Tell them how you feel. Find a way to communicate the fact that you appreciate what you’ve shared. Let them know their presence in your life means a lot to you. Let them know you noticed all the things they did to enhance the quality of your life. Let them know they matter.

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop (620-560 BC)

It’s common for people to think, “Aw, they know how I feel about them. They don’t need me to tell ‘em.”

Tell them anyway. Why not? Make someone else’s day a little brighter, and notice how it helps make the lights come on in your world too.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” – Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

Be the instigator. Don’t wait for them to bring it up. You can do it. Tell them how much you appreciate the role they have played in your life. Express your gratitude for the home you grew up in, as well as for the home you grow in now.

No Time Like the Present

Don’t wait because you could miss your chance. If you have ever intended to express words of gratitude to a loved one but missed your chance due to an unexpected death, you know what I mean. There will never be a better time than right now, because the future is so unpredictable.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

An Easy Thank-you Note

If you’d like to share more than a simple thank-you, you could email this entire article to the people you’ve been thinking about as you have been reading. It’s easy to do with the link at the top or bottom of this article. You can add your own comments and send this article in its entirety.

Good to Go . . . and Good to Return

A life of traveling and adventure is a common dream, and as someone who has lived that life for the last 38 years, I recommend it. However, the one thing that makes all the going even more rewarding is knowing there are people to return to . . . family.

And, it’s a great feeling to know there is somewhere very special to return to at the end of the road . . .

Home is where.

“Go home and believe in yourselves more.” – Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

While reading, did you choose to hear the relaxing instrumental music linked at the beginning of this article? To learn more about it, click here.

Listen FREE to the songs below . . . chosen to enhance the ideas in this article.

Related Songs
Home is Where
The feeling of home is such a universal idea, and it’s a concept that can be so diverse, at the same time.

I’d Still Marry You
Sometimes, the people closest to us could use a little lift. Let them know how you feel, even if they already know.

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff, Stuff
About all the stuff you’ve been keeping that’s not good enough to actually use, but it’s way too good to throw away.

Hand in Hand and Heart to Heart
"You and I drew a good lot in life." We never take it for granted, but continually re-create it on a daily basis looking forward with imagination and gratitude.

Live From Your Heart
We all come from a long, long, long line of love. And our lives are enhanced exponentially when we interact with one another as if that mattered.

Songs by Tupelo

Related Links

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Behind the faces, beyond the reach of social conditioning, deeper than individual egos, we are identical. We are presence, consciousness, pure knowingness – the awareness of “I am.” We are life itself. Celebrate life with this insight on how to take your personal relationships to a whole new level.

Communication – Friend or Foe
Our communication skills can make or break us. This article includes some refreshing insights on communication from an unusual vantage point. Celebrate life with newfound attitudes about the art and science of communication.

10 Ways to Grow a Relationship of Mutual Personal Development
Even though the way of discovery and personal growth is a one-lane road, it sure is nice to be able to share stretches of it with someone else. With what kind of person could you share something so profound? If having this kind of life partner is important to you, have you asked yourself, “How can I be that kind of person?

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This is the end of the article entitled Gratitude for Home and Family published by Tupelo Kenyon on June 29, 2007 at 6:00 am | In Communication, Relationships - Copyright 2007 - All rights reserved worldwide.

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