"I loved our house but every bit of life was cleaned away by our maid. There was no eclectic collection of items gathered through the years. No sentimental clutter crammed together oozing secrets." -- Cecelia Ahern from "The Book of Tomorrow.
I love my house, too. But, fair warning, I don't have a maid who cleans away every bit of life in my house. And, further warning, don't wear black in my house; with one blond and one white dog living in my house, your clothes will not be black when you leave.
But I do promise you this -- if you don't care that your clothes may have some dog hair on them, and if you don't care that my house doesn't grace the cover of House Beautiful -- your cheeks will be sore from either laughing or crying when you leave.
I love to have friends to my house. We laugh, eat, watch sappy or funny movies, eat, laugh, then eat and laugh some more. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we just sit quietly, holding hands just to "get through" the loss of a loved one, the demise of a relationship, or any one of life's billion disappointments.
But we don't waste our time sitting around lamenting the imperfect state of my abode.
There is life is my house. Even the dog hair (and I sweep EVERY day, and it still doesn't matter!) reflects the happiness those canines bring to our home.
That pile of books on the floor -- quite incongruent in topic -- illustrates my constant curiosity and desire to learn, my insatiable hunger for knowledge, and my inability to focus on one topic at a time and hence the PILE on the floor.
And don't trip over the dog toys and bones on the floor, or their blankies. Forgive them. You see, they are so happy when I get home from work that they simply have to lie near my chair with all their favorite things, as I read, grade papers or write.
And, yeah, I know most people don't keep a paw print from their dead dog in their living room, but Shadow was such a big part of our lives and having even that bit of him around brings us joy and comfort. (at least I keep his ashes in the stairway bookshelves, largely out of view!)
And that jumble of pictures that seem outdated and silly? Well, those are the people I love and I need to look at them every day to remind me how God has blessed me.
That jumble of odd clippings, magnets and cards that droop sloppily from my fridge? Those are FROM the people I love and they, too, remind me how blessed and loved I am. They remind me that people know how I love to laugh, how I love to read, and how I love to be loved.
No, you will not see my house featured on the cover of any magazines (unless "Hoarders" puts out its own magazine!), but you will see a lot of life in my house. And Life is not clean and neat and unsoiled. Life, like my house, is messy and cluttered and gritty.