Homemade bread in the oven.
China dishes from a great-grandmother.
A family picture hanging over the mantel.
Books in the shelves. And nightstands. And coffee table. And end tables. And....
It probably goes without saying that part of what makes a house my house is books.
But with our recent move, I realized that while I was surrounded by books, it still didn't feel like home.
In fact, after being in our house for a month now, it has only truly begun to feel like home in the past few days.
And I was actually pretty surprised at the moment the thought, "this feels like home", first struck me.
It was late evening, just a bit past 8 PM. The sun was just disappearing. Light fading. Lamps glowing. The house was settling in for the night and so were we.
While Ryan tucked Lily in, I started the dishwasher and moved some laundry from the washer to the dryer, added towels and soap to begin yet another load.
Ryan stepped out of Bird's bedroom, singing under his breath, turned on the television and found a Spurs summer league game to watch.
Reagan got on the computer and FaceTimed Ryley in Virginia, showed her the progress on their new shared bedroom.
I opened a kitchen drawer, selected a Mexican hot chocolate, and fired up the Keurig.
And that's the moment when I first thought, "Home. Tonight this house feels like home.".
You know what it was?
Sound. Or rather, sounds.
Lily gibber-jabbering through the baby monitor, Backyardigans on the iPad.
The murmuring voices of Ryley and Reagan on the computer, punctuated with laughter.
A basketball game on TV.
Washer, dryer, and dishwasher all busily humming along.
The Keurig noisily spluttering out my yummy drink.
These were the sounds of home.
I paused for a minute, just listening, feeling grateful that such simple sounds could be that powerful, could evoke such warm feelings.
Living in eleven houses in twenty-two years of marriage, you soon learn that a house is just four walls and a roof. It's what's under the roof that really makes a home. And hearing those sounds was a nice reminder that this twelfth house will soon feel like a home every day, too.
So what about you? What makes a house feel like home to you?
"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."