Encyclopedia of Me Monday: H is for...

I'm a homebody. With each passing year, I become more in love with being in my house, holed up in my cozy office or curled in the corner of my big green chair, puppies snoozing quietly beside me. My home is extremely important to me. It's my safe haven, my protection against the elements, my security blanket against the world. It's the place where I've had my happiest moments, really, where I've spent the most time with the people I love best.

When I moved into this house 31 years ago, I was barely out of high school, newly married, and wildly excited about being independent, free from the smothering atmosphere of my parents home where I was loved just a little bit too much. Finally, I was the master of my own universe, maker of my own meals, keeper of my own hours. I had a home-and a life-of my own.

It's unusual these days for people to live in one house for such a long time. And, even more unusual is the fact that his house was built by Jim's parents - he has spent his entire life in this place. When we bought our second home in Florida a few years ago, it was a thrill to have that brand new home of our own, one no one had ever lived in. For a time, I was captivated by the beauty of that new house, and our old home felt obsolete, like a tired old pair of shoes~comfortable, but no longer fashionable.

Lately, I've developed a newfound appreciation for this faithful abode. It's sturdy and strong, if a little worn around the edges. It's warm and snug in the winter, and the yard fills with breezes and birdsong in the summer. It's chock full of memories - of little boy laughter, and puppy dog barking. Within its walls are harbored all my hopes and dreams, the evidence of my triumphs and failures, the hopes for victories in the future. It's where I've recovered from illness, cried in despair and grief, rejoiced in good fortune.

It's home.