Our homes matter.

"You're holding a stick of dynamite, and it will blow off your hand."

Chris strolled up and filled me in.

"I told them they needed their hands. They agreed."

The boys were lakeside, doing our mid-summer thing — fireworks.

Our boys, some family and some friends told Chris they would light their Mad Dog fireworks, part of the safe and sane grab bag of explosives, throw them, and then see what happened. Fatherly advice stopped them cold.

Our home, whether at the lake or in our neighborhood, has been the scene of epic events in our family's life. And I dare say home has been the scene of epic events in yours, too.

But.

Isn't that the way God designed it?

What we do there counts.

The world won't see her inner workings, but they will know the product — our children.

Why would I mention this?

Because it's the thick of summer and the heat likely has some of us running crazy. Plus, parenting is hard.

The kids finished the summer project ideas you found on Pinterest about two days into the summer break.

And the older ones, though they promised to do their summer reading early, can't find the books you bought before school was out.

And maybe this year, there isn't money for the beach because of gas, food and lodging. Or maybe work won't let you get away.

But you always have your home.

And before summer feels too long, remember that your home is the physical center of your family's life.

It is where the fabric of your family's life is woven. It is where God is introduced, our children's first prayers are whispered, and their first tears of bitter disappointment fall. It's where they fuss and fight. And where they laugh until they drop.

It's where knees get skinned and hearts break.

And it is where you, mom and dad, hide to catch your breath because keeping a home and tending your flock is kingdom work, a work that is challenging but most worthy.

So even in the thick of it, as we give our flawed and feeble best, remember that it will all be over before you can blink.

Trust me.

Want to know a secret?

Sometimes I stand in my driveway barefoot atop pebbles that snag my feet. Just for a minute, the cars are all there. Everyone is home. Our house, for the time being, overflows with people.

And I think she is glad.

I think our house is proud to welcome the kids she kept warm by her fire.

The ones she kept safe in their rooms.

I think she must ask God to green up the Zoysia so it's perfect just in case anyone wants to go yard surfing down the hill.

I think our house remembers that our kids jumped off her front porch and into the edge of the woods to see if it hurt. They climbed her trees and picked her periwinkle hydrangeas and hot pink azaleas.

I think the old girl remembers that Horse and Pig were played on her basketball court with a fervor matched only by the NBA finals.

In her living room, couches were shoved together, and blankets fastened to the floor with books and shoes so the kids could make a fort or a giant pallet — the perfect place to kick off summer reading.

Her kitchen has been the fixture of our blossoming family.

Is it the center of yours?

Isn't that where everyone gathers, whether friends or family, even if you don't have the space?

And isn't that where the best things seem to happen?

Recently, the kids tossed spaghetti onto the ceiling.

Now I know who did it all those years ago!

Now I know the girls would stand on the island and take pictures.

"Why did you do that?" I asked.

They shrugged their shoulders.

Then smiled as they told stories of days past.

They spilled their secrets around our long kitchen table.

We'd entered a new stage; now you're ready, mom and dad, to hear what we did.

All of this, summer included, happened in a second. 

Over when it seemed we were just getting started.

So, on a night not long ago, I slipped out and stood in the driveway to soak in the fullness.

I smiled at our house, and I think I saw her smile back.

Today is a gentle reminder that our homes matter.

What we do there - raising our kids, growing our families and introducing them to the God of our fathers - is the work.

Is anything more important than that?

" ... But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." - Joshua 24:15

Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer, and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House District 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected].

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