Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home

This will be our first Thanksgiving at home since 2009 – we’ve been in hotels the past couple of years since we were fortunate enough to attend the Macy’s Parade two years in a row (and watched the band march it!). It was an amazing experience, both years. 

We love to travel, that’s for sure, but the older I get, the more I just want to be HOME. Especially over the holidays. Especially Thanksgiving.

I have a different perspective on being home during this holiday, and I was reminded of it again the other day.

Almost 20 years (I’d love to lie right there and say 15 years) ago I was in my freshman year of college and Thanksgiving break was coming up. Everyone was ready to get the heck home. You remember that feeling? At first you’re so sad to be away from home, then you realize that newfound independence and love it, and then the holidays hit and you realize you just want some real food, your own bed and your Mom?

Well, we were all feeling it. But I for me it was mixed with dread. I actually called the housing offices to see if I could stay in the dorm over that break. My heart broke when they told me I had to leave. They probably wondered who was this crazy girl who wants to stay alone in the dorms over a holiday? But I had nowhere to go. Due to years and years of unfortunate stuff, we were homeless.

That Thanksgiving I sat in a rundown motel in a nearby town with my mother. We were lucky to even have the money to get that room. My friends would have taken me in of course, but it’s such an awkward thing on a holiday. (I did end up living with my best friend and her family that next summer – God bless them!!) My Dad and I weren’t talking much at the time, and I didn’t want my mother to be alone on Thanksgiving.

So we stayed in that motel room. We found a buffet-type place that was open and ate dinner there.

I always think about that motel, especially this time of year. I don’t remember much about that day, but I do remember the room with great detail.

Fast forward 17 years or so, and I started visiting the True Value in that town because of my partnership with them. I would always look for that motel…I thought I knew where the location was. I never saw it though and figured it had been torn down.

And then last year I took a different route to the store. And there it was.

I knew it as soon as I saw it.

I drive by it about once a month now. Sometimes I see it and can go by without thinking too much about it. Sometimes, like last week -- something clicks, my heart starts hurting, and the tears flow. :)

It was a sad, sad time in my life. I can say with certainty that not having a home is one of the worst feelings ever. I wouldn’t wish that on a soul.

We all know childhood experiences help to create the person we are today. And for that reason, I wouldn’t want one minute of mine to be any different. That Thanksgiving changed my perspective on home.

Yes, I was with my mother, and that was what was most important. But I wanted to be with her in our home. Any home.

So there’s a clue into why I’m so in love with our home, the idea of home, what drives me to make it a space just right for us. It’s what’s behind my desire to help you make yours (no matter what kind of home it is) a place that feels cozy and warm and a place you want to be.

I don’t tell you this for sympathy – I’m just working up the courage to hit publish. ;) I’ve just realized over the past couple of years that that day changed something in me, and I think that Thanksgiving may be why I’m even here today writing to you on TDC. :)

I hope you and yours have a lovely holiday, eat tons of food and are happy. I’m taking a few days off to focus on the family – Happy Thanksgiving!!

 

P.S. I hit publish. :)

154 comments:

  1. Good for you! You published it! Have a wonderful holiday! I will say a special thank you for all I have and thanks to you for reminding me of how easily it could be different!

    Laura

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  2. This is by far my favorite post that you have ever written.

    I had a thanksgiving like that. The ex had left us 20 days earlier. It was me, my mom, my 10 year old and my 1 month old. We ate at a Shoney's. It was so bitter cold. One waitress went above and beyond that day and she took such good care of us. She never knew how much she did for me that day. That was 20 year ago and I still think about her every single Thanksgiving.

    (((hugs))) you have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving. That young lady never ever has to go back to that time.

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  3. Thank you for writing (and publishing) this! It's yet another reminder to be thankful for what we do have, to look back and see how far we've come, or to remember the ones around us that are in this position.

    Have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your days off with your family!

    -Rachel

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  4. Thanks for sharing! How precious to get a little peek into your heart. May the Lord richly bless you and your family!

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  5. What a heartfelt post. I got a little teary eyed for you and your mom. Now I know & understand your love for your home & family. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  6. Thank you for sharing that sad Thanksgiving from your college years! A home is a wonderful blessing, and this memory was a great reminder of that.

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  7. I love reading your posts and this one brought on the goosebumps and watery eyes. Those hard times do bring us to where we are today and I think it really shows the goodness in you as a person to spend that Thanksgiving with your mom no matter where you were. 2 years ago my husband and I spent our Thanksgiving with a home for the mentally challenged and with so many of them not having anyone as far as family to come spend that day with them, it just broke my heart. The only thing that really matters is that you are with the ones you love, a warm home is just an extra blessing.

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  8. I am glad you hit "post". Your story choked me up, but also made me so proud of you for all of your successes. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  9. Thanks for sharing your story. My childhood was very similar. All through high school my family lived in a hotel much like that one. I recently shared my story with the teenagers at our church. You never know when you share your story who is out there that needs to hear that they are not alone. Others have experience tough times overcome. You brought tears to my eyes.

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  10. Your post really hit it home with me. The holidays are hard for me. If it weren't for the family that I created when I married my husband and we had our 3 kids, I wouldn't have a family. I come from an abusive family. I moved out 26 yrs ago with still a few months left of high school and never moved back. While I did see them for awhile after, it just wasn't home. They would blow me off for the holidays and I would sit in my apartment, alone. No family to go to. My husband marrying me has made it so he is ostrasized from his family. So every holiday, it is just my hubby and our kids. When you said why you work so hard to make your space just right, it clicked. I too love making our home homey, warm and welcoming. I work hard to make sure my kids don't ever feel the way I did. I am glad you hit publish. I am happy I stumbled upon your blog a handful of months ago. You have provided so much inspiration in so many ways. Thank you.

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  11. Wow! Thanks for sharing such a tough memory. No doubt it says something about the person you've become. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  12. Thank you so much for posting this. I work in social work with many families that go through similar situations. Some are there due to their own poor choices, some due to the poor choices of others. My heart breaks for them, regardless of the way they got there.

    Sometimes I wish more people could understand life from this point of view. It does change a person, for the better. It makes you more giving, more gracious, more understanding, more forgiving and more patient. I truly believe that a thankful heart is a generous heart. When we realize how we've been blessed, the natural response is to be more generous, whether it's with our time, our money or our talents.

    Thanks again for posting this and thank you for sharing your talent through this blog. Many blessings on you and your family during this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

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  13. I am SO proud of you for publishing this! What a great testimony to the power of home now--and a great insight into you as a person. Thank you SO MUCH for being honest!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  14. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Now that I think about it...you may have opened my eyes a little. We had difficult times when I was a kid too. Leaky roofs, lots of moving, sharing bedrooms w/ my bro and sisters. I always thought I loved my home because it's an innate trait. I never really connected my past with it. Wow! You would think I would have though??? Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! ~ Julie

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  15. Thank you so much for sharing. This really is very heart warming and reminds us of the true reason for the season.

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing. This really is very heart warming and reminds us of the true reason for the season.

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  17. My family was homeless one summer- we were having a (small) house built and we alternated between hotels, house sitting, and living in a cabin at a campground. It was a loooong summer, but I know how fortunate we were to always have a roof over our heads.

    I also remember the first Christmas when I was more excited about being with my family than I was about getting gifts. I was in college, and I honestly felt that even if I didn’t get a single gift, I would still be so happy just because I had my family all around me and I was home. :-)

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  18. There is 1 Thanksgiving I will cherish forever, we always went to my step grandparents house for Thanksgiving. I was back in my home town while my husband was over seas in the military, my Mom was diagnosed with Malignant Colon Cancer & I told her I wanted to have Thanksgiving in "our" home that year, she was so tickled (I think she had always wanted to do that)she helped as much as we would let her which wasn't much but you could see the joy on her face that she was home & we were able to be there. That was the last Thanksgiving she was with us. So that is one of my cherished moments.

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  19. wow, Sarah, I am so sorry to hear that. I can sorta relate, however. My Mom and I (I haven't spoken to my Dad in years thanks to years of abuse he put me and my Mom through)moved from apartment to apartment while I was young. She did the very best she could, while working a decent job (considering she never finished highschool). While we had a roof over our heads, it was always a temporary place. Some had roaches, others infested with rats (not mice, rats)...uck! My classmates would sometimes make fun of me, and one of my closest friends was banned from hanging out with me since we were from the wrong side of the tracks. To make it worse, my Mom has severe OCD. I'm talking wash your hands till they bleed, unable to clean her own house or let anyone else help her....it's BAD. I think those reasons are also why I LOVE and CHERISH my home so much now. I worked my patootie off to put myself through vet school (complete with 75K of student loans), and worked VERY hard to get to the point we are at now: married to the most amazing man, gorgeous home that is a safe sanctuary for our whole family. Yikes, long comment, but the words just wanted to come out-thank you for the forum =)

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  20. I appreciate your transparency. Just know that we are all blessed to 'know' you - even if it is on a blog. Thank you for sharing and I am so glad you GET to be at home this year for Thanksgiving!

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  21. Having a home is such a wonderful thing that a lot of the time I take for granted. Thank you for sharing you story and I am estatic that you and your family get to be together on Thankgiving at your HOME! You have a lot to be thankful for.

    Enjoy :)

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  22. WOW!! What a sad/happy story!! I'm so glad you've made it to a place of thankfulness for such a hard time! We all benefit from what you learned out of that experience! God works in crazy ways! :)
    I am so convicted lately that I am not giving my home enough attention to make it a place of comfort and memories for my family. I have all boys (7,5 and 1) and they mostly don't notice the things that I do to decorate or change things up so I often find myself not even bothering. But I too want to feel cozy and at home and want them to be able to look back and see that I loved them enough to make an extra effort to make this a real home for them!
    Maybe that sounds silly or it should just be easy to do, but it doesn't come naturally to me. One big problem is that we have been on an extremely tight budget since getting married almost 12 years ago! I see so many projects that I'd love to try but there is is ZERO money in our budget for our home. We have hand-me-down furniture and nothing really special to us.
    I'm not putting this here to complain or get sympathy either. Just to say thank you for opening my eyes to it all and helping me to look for little ways that I can make my house more homey! :)

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  23. You are so very lucky to have that memory. Less fortunate times help remind us to have compassion for those who have less and to appreciate the blessings God gives us every single day. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. Sarah!!!

    Beautiful entry! Brought tears to my eyes. I had a moment earlier today...and finally just decided to lift my head high, and be truly thankful for my life. My family, home, friends, and even pets. Thank you for your honest, heartfelt post! You continue to inspire me. God Bless you! Happy Thanksgiving!!! (and I LOVE your new Library BTW-I've been out of the loop the past few months)

    Ashley

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  25. This really struck a cord with me. We are in a ton of debt (student loans and a couple of credit cards, car payments, mortgage...), living paycheck to paycheck, stressing over the holidays and how to come up with money for gifts. Feeling sorry for ourselves that our house is far too tiny to host a Thanksgiving dinner for my large family and wishing we had a bigger home with a proper dining area (and inevitably, a bigger mortgage payment!) But we have each other, and we have a cozy, happy little home. And that is what matters. Thank you for this.

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  26. Wow your story brought tears to my eyes. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

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  27. Thanks for sharing Sarah, it is a very sad story but I like the way you explain that its made you who you are. We all go through tough times and its good to be reminded about them, you just made me realize what a blessing this Thanksgiving is. I'll have 20 family members at my home this year, how awesome is that?

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  28. Wow, what an honest and amazing post. I always appreciate people who can talk about the good and the bad in life, because face it we do at some point in our lives have both. Home...is always a good place to be....hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday at home! Hugs, Diane

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  29. Thank you for this heartfelt Thanksgiving post Sarah. It is a beautiful reminder to be thankful for what we have and even thankful for our challenges that make us who we are. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  30. Wow. YOu are brave to write this. I can relate to your story and cherish my husband and 2 daughters more than i can say...our home is precious to me. I admire your courage in opening up about this and based on your current writings i'm so glad you and your Dad have a great relationship now. Thanks for reminding us what matters in this life.

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  31. Thanks for sharing. I think this post really ties in to Thanksgiving, as there are people out there who don't have a home and family to spend the holidays with! Thanksgiving really puts things into perspective for some - one of them many reasons why I love this time of year!

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  32. My husband was homeless for 8 years of his childhood and then after they found a house to rent it wasn't home. His mom was abusive and his dad a drug addict/alcholic (still is). They kicked him out at 16. He has alway struggled with holidays...


    Thanks for sharing this post! I know it is hard...when my hubby meets new people this is a hard spot in his life to share and I am sure it is with you too. He doesn't want sympathy but to show people God works :)

    Thanks again for sharing!!!
    Cindy

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  33. Thank you for having the courage to share this part of your story with us. Enjoy your thanksgiving at home. Thank you for inspiring me to make my house a home.

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  34. Thank you/congrats on sharing your story. This was such a touching and well written blog post. I'm happy to see such a lovely reminder about what the day is about.

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  35. What a beautiful story. I too was raised in a very poor home. My mom and dad divorced when I was 3 and I lived with mom who worked more than one job to try and make ends meet. I too am what I am because of those very trying times in life. I think they made a better and more appreciative person than I would've been otherwise and I also do whatever it takes to make my house a comforting, loving home for my family. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and all around happy holiday season.

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  36. Thank you for sharing your story. It made me step back and realize that I should be thankful for what we have, not only during this holiday season but all year round.

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  37. home is so much more the four letters. thank you for have the courage to hit publish. HAPPY THANKSGIVING ang

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  38. Thank you for sharing such a personal story! It is always the darkest times of our lives that seem to mold and shape us the most, hopefully for the better.

    Reading that I think I understand myself a little better too. I have always liked arranging and decorating my spaces...from the time I was young. I had never really thought about why I like that and crave that so much, but I think it stems from the fact that my family moved every year or two my whole life. And I hated--HATED it. I cannot even begin to describe how hard it was on me. That, and my parents' home, while not horrible or neglectful or anything of that nature, was just not a very happy place to be. (for a variety of reasons)

    So, I think I was always craving that home like you describe. I didn't realize that until I read this. I still am craving it a bit, even though my husband and I have lived in the same town for over a decade.

    But we are finally in the position to buy an adequate home for our family and it is a good feeling. I am so looking forward to moulding and paint and all that fun stuff to make it truly home for us. And a place our daughters will want to come back to once they are grown with their own families.

    Thanks again for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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  39. I love it when we are real with each other. I know it takes courage to share something as personal as this story. I believe God doesn't waste anything we go through, but uses these things instead to minister to others. Thanks for sharing today.
    Blessings,
    Christy

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  40. I just love you. I've read your blog for years but never commented, but I just had to comment on this post. You are such a genuine, real person, and I'm thankful for YOU and your willingness to share yourself with your readers. Have a happy Thanksgiving in your beautiful home with your beautiful family!

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  41. That was truly the most touching thing I have ever read! I just teared up and I couldn't stop crying ( Im still sniffing). Life sometimes throws us curveballs like that to appreacite things later in life. We will start on our first home building adventure in 2013, my DH and I are in mid-late 30s and we have always lived in one of my Grandparents Homes free of charge its been a TRUE Blessing. The Grandparents are gone now and each day Im here it just saddens me more. But I know that when we start " OUR HOME" it will be adventure that we will never be able to replace.
    You should frame this picture its such a touching meaningful story. I hope that you have a wonderful family fun filled Thanksgiving :)

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  42. And, I for one, am happy that you hit "publish" Thank you for sharing your "home" story so beautifully.

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  43. Thanks for sharing your story. It certainly makes us all appreciate the home we are blessed to have. But I think the most beautiful message of all is the blessing of family that you reminded us of. Happy Thanksgiving!
    Angela

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  45. Thank you for opening up, it's not easy at all. Enjoy your time at HOME with you family this Thanksgiving.

    Blessings to you,
    Andrea xxoo

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  46. Thank you for this heartfelt post! I'm sure it meant everything in the world to your mother to have you spend Thanksgiving in the motel with her. Love, Lottie

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  47. I'm about to turn 30 and haven't lived at home for ten years, but that fact that my parents are losing their home, the home I grew up in, and this will be their last Thanksgiving there pulls at my heartstrings. I too am so grateful for the home I have and hope to achieve it's potential. The great thing about great loss is that you are able to feel just as deeply as you felt that loss. Thanks for publishing. :)

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  48. What a heartwarming story you shared. I know it was hard to do but it lets everyone know that things like this do happen to wonderful people. I was blessed with a family full of love and compassion as I grew up and never take it for granted for a second. I am so thrilled that you have a home and a family and know the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Bless you for sharing with us.

    Judy

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  49. Sarah, thanks for sharing that Thanksgiving...I know that was hard to do. I've never gotten up the guts to write about how I grew up. It ain't pretty. God Bless you and your beautiful family this Thanksgiving. You've created a wonderful home for your loving family. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  50. I am grateful for your blog. it is packed full of ideas and inspiration. Thanks for sharing such a personal story, it is what makes a good blog, great!

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  51. Sarah, what a heartbreaking and heartwarming story. What we live with really does shape who we become and you have turned your experiences into a wonderful life. I applaud your courage to share your story with us, your followers! Glad you hit publish! ; D

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  52. Glad you worked up the courage and posted this. May we all be mindful of our blessings and reach out to those in need....of food, housing, or even a warm smile. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  53. Definitely your best blog entry, yet! So heartfelt, open, and honest. I, too, believe our past experiences (both good and hard) mold us. Thank you for sharing, and HAPPY Thanksgiving!

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  54. Sarah thanks for reminding us what's truly important in life...people. As we enter this season of sensationalism its nice to know their are still people out there who get it!! Jackie

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  55. saying it out loud, or in this case, typing it and hitting publish - can be a great weight lifting...wishing you and your family a great Thanksgiving...

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  56. I think you discovered how important it is to remember where you were so that you can be grateful for where you are now. All those sad things in your past add up to your thankful heart now. You made it different for your family, and it has deeper meaning for you because of it. That's what matters the most. Funny - I wrote a post that made me feel the same way and will bravely publish it tomorrow...Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours (:

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  57. Thank you for this awesome Thanksgiving story!! Melts my icy heart. :)

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  58. thanks for sharing your heart with us . I am so glad that you are "home" this year with the people that you love and that love you back!

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  59. What a touching post, thank you for sharing it with us. Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your beautiful family in your beautiful home!

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  60. What a touching post, thank you for sharing it with us. Have a Happy Thanksgiving with your beautiful family in your beautiful home!

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  61. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. I'm sure it was hard to hit publish and very brave of you. Sometimes it is hard to share such personal things with the world. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family in your lovely home you so graciously share with us!

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  62. Bravo for publishing it! Experiences like these are painful and hard but we always learn lots from them. It is up to us not to dwell on the unfortunate but find meaning and growth from it. Happy thanksgiving!

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  63. Thanks for sharing, Sarah. It may not have been easy, but a Thanksgiving story that we all need to hear. We all need to be - must be - Thankful!

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  64. Thank you for sharing this. What an experience you endured and how amazing to be on the other side, looking back. It is brave and wonderful of you to share this experience! Happy Thanksgiving in your beautiful home!

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  65. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for all of your wonderful posts!

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  66. Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing!

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  67. Happy Thanksgiving from the bottom of my heart.

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  68. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. It made me cry because I know the emotions you felt. It's so nice to see how you've taken those experiences and turned them into positives. And now you share your time, talents, and love of home with all your blog readers. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  69. Thanks for sharing! Happy Thanksgiving to you! I think you identified exactly the feelings that I put into my home too. I didn't have the warmest of childhoods and I hope to make beautiful memories now in a home I love with my great family. I hope you take a few days off to enjoy your family time.

    I also hope your hydrangeas made it through this tough summer too. I've been meaning to ask you.

    Mari (from Andrea's Garden Center)

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  70. Sarah, as I read your post, a flood of memories rushed back to me so fast I couldn't process them quick enough. The tears have started as those memories are painful. And although it hurts to remember, I don't ever need to forget. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    N

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  71. Thank you for hitting publish and for sharing something so personal.
    Enjoy your beautiful home this holiday with your wonderful family!

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Jen

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  72. Sarah, thanks for sharing such a heartfelt and well written post. That took a lot of courage and I'm really glad you hit publish. Hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!

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  73. Sarah, it is way too easy this time of year or any really to get caught up in the hussle and bussle and forget about how blessed we are. Thank you for reminding me, when I sit down at our table full of food I will remember your story (probably cry again) and be thankful. Much Love! Jillian

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  74. These are the posts that really hit home and make me realize how blessed we are. Behind all the decor, all the DIY, it's good to be able to share a part of ourselves and know that we are NOT alone. Happy Thanksgiving Sarah, and thank you for hitting publish! :))I definitely shed some tears over this one!

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  75. I love that you took some sadness and hard times and turned it into a positive thing in the way you live your life and the home you create for your family.

    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving with your family!

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  76. Thank you for such an honest, raw story. I already loved you, but now I love you even more. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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  77. I love how authentic, real and honest you are. Thank you Sarah for sharing this with us.

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  78. This is a beautiful, authentic post that serves as a wonderful reminder to be truly thankful of all we are blessed with, and to reach out to those around us. Bless you!

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  79. Sarah, thank you for being so brave to post your story. It really started my own thought processes going about "home". I just came out of a 10 year live-in relationship and was forced to leave what was "home" to me. This is the first Thanksgiving in my 59 years that I have been totally alone. The shock of being betrayed and totally blindsided hasn't subsided yet so this holiday season feels pretty bleak and empty, but I know "This too shall pass". No parents, siblings, children or "real" friends (few acquaintances) to fill the void, but I have a temporary roof over my head and food to eat (Stouffer's frozen turkey dinner!) and am thankful for those blessings. With God's grace, someday I will have a home that no one can force me to leave!

    May all of your many commenters find something to be thankful for, no matter what their circumstances, this Thanksgiving. Blessings to you and your family, Sarah and enjoy your holiday at "home" with your loved ones. Being together is what is really important, but the bonus of being at "home" together is the whipped cream on your pumpkin pie!

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING !!!

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  80. Thank you so much for hitting the publish button and sharing this personal story with us. It brought tears to my eyes. <<>>

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  81. Thank you for posting this! Home surely is a special place, isn't it? And we women especially have a desire to make it right for us and our families. I have often wondered has my home/desire for a home become an idol for me...Homes are wonderful, but at the end it shouldn't be with a demanding and prideful heart that I am creating my home, but with a thankful heart that is willing to see my dreams go, if God so sees best. I don't know. :) I just read this for Thanksgiving:
    http://www.theologyforwomen.org/2012/11/equipped-by-gospel-for-habakkuk-3-kind.html

    ...and i am feeling for everyone who will have hard time this Thanksgiving!

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  82. Good for you - having the courage to hit publish!!

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  83. Thank you for sharing! It's so easy to focus on the "frivolous" during the holidays....new perspective is a true gift! THanks for sharing and from my home to yours...Happy Thanksgiving!

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  84. Thanks for your lovely blog! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  85. Thank you for sharing this with us. It puts into perspective exactly what the holidays are all about. Blessings to you and your family. You certainly have a BEAUTIFUL home now:-)

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  86. Wow. I am crying- for a lot of reasons. Thank you for sharing this. It was such a wake up call for me. I am so sorry you went through such a very difficult time. Thank you for reminding me to look for the lessons in the difficulties I've faced and to be grateful for the many, many blessings I have today. Thank you, too, for the reminder that the holidays can be so hard for a lot of people. I am so fortunate and I never want to be self absorbed but I am sometimes. Thank you for softening my heart and focusing me on others today. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family. I only "know" you through this blog but I can tell that you are wonderful. :)

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  87. Definitely got teary eyed reading this post : )

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  88. Me too, and to Deb stay strong and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  89. In the last month I've spent nearly $1500 on my house... broken fridge, washing machine, hot water heater.. and found a broken ejector pump at midnight. I have a houseful of people coming tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I read your post an hour before my find in the basement. I was so grateful for the reminder to be thankful for this house that needed these repairs. I'm ashamed I needed that reminder! Today I will clean up last night's mess and NOT call my family to whine about it! Yours is still my favorite blog!! Thank you, thank you!

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  90. Sarah, thanks for sharing such a personal story! You are now such a strong woman, and an encourager to so many. :-)
    I hope that this Thanksgiving in your physical "home" is even more extra special for you.

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  91. I know this sounds weird but you were almost blessed with this experience? Why? It gives you perspective and makes you appreciate your present life so much more. My hubs lost his job two days before Christmas four years ago and every Christmas, we relive it. Sad, yes? But it gives us perspective. Do we have bills? Yes. But can we pay them? Yes. So it was a gift even though at the time, it seemed like the end of the world.
    Enjoy your day, give your mom and big kiss and know that YOU are a gift to so many of us blog readers every day.
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving, Sarah. :)

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  92. Thank you for sharing that. It really does put things into perspective this time of year. Thank you for having the strength to share...you have no idea how many will be touched and effected by your story.

    HAPPY thanksgiving.
    ~ Jillian
    www.hersplitends.com

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  93. Awesome post... and didn't it feel good? The wonderful thing about getting older I think, is that we become smart enough and brave enough to let go of the things that "shame" us and understand that they are part of what make us wonderful... they have made us wiser, more thoughtful, caring and appreciative. Without ever little step we've taken in our lives, we wouldn't have the wonderful lives we have today. xo

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  94. Haha, yes you did hit publish. Thank you for that! I'm glad you did; that was a very special post. Thank you for being real, & sharing from your heart, Sarah.

    I saw someone's beautiful photos of their gorgeous dining table set for Thanksgiving the other day on Facebook. Not gonna lie, it caused me pain for a bit, as I don't have a big enough table, nice dishes, or a dining room. We 'make do'. But then I felt better as I thought about it that it's about people. About being together. About all we do have to be thankful. And I guess reality is, I would only preset a gorgeous dining table about 3 times a year. So that's not really using a room. And reality is-I have a lot to be thankful for.

    Thanks again for sharing something so from the heart. Rejoicing with you on your lovely home & wonderful family.
    Happy Thanksgiving, Sarah. Love, Chrissy

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  95. That was a beautiful post. The journey definitely makes the person. You have made a beautiful home for your family!

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  96. Thank you for posting this. Years ago I shared a similar experience, only I was the mom. Bless you, Sarah, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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  97. Hi there...I seldom comment because you have so many and are so successful that you don't really need more...does that make sense? You are extremely talented and I so envy you for this, but you truly deserve your success. What a dear person you are...You are great with sharing ideas but you also share your soul and make readers feel they have a friend.

    Be kind to yourself and enjoy this special Thanksgiving at home.

    Thank you





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  98. Thanks for sharing something so profoundly intimate and traumatic. I felt a lump in my throat and the burning of tears glimmering in my eyes as I read this. I, too, have experienced homelessness and loss of stability, but at a much younger age. That is why my house (my home) is so core to my identity. A place to belong and feel safe. A sanctuary--it is my dojo.

    You have done an amazing job, propelling yourself from that bleak moment in your past. You should be proud of the person you have become. There is much to be thankful for!

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  99. Thank you, Sarah, for always being so transparent and honest. May your holiday be full, warm and content! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  100. Thank you for sharing that. I can't even imagine how difficult that time in your life was or how difficult it is to share something so personal. So thank you for trusting all of us with that piece of yourself.
    Have a wonderful thanksgiving.

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  101. This is beautiful and I love it. I understand where you are coming from. I think that it's amazing that you shared this with your readers. May you and your little family have a very blessed Thanksgiving.

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  102. ...and so glad you did publish. A lot of folks have had a Thanksgiving or a dozen that were not perfect - and ashamed to tell. Thank you.
    It makes perfect sense why you love your home so much.

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  103. I'm glad you shared your story, even though it was personal and bittersweet. I imagine we've all had stories like that, too. This Thanksgiving will be very low key for us. My husband has been ill and unable to work and we are surviving, though barely, on my income only. We'll have a very small dinner only because my office gave me a gift card to a local grocery store so we could buy it. I was humbled and grateful. There will be no Christmas this year at our house. That's difficult since my 2 yr old grandson and 3 yr old granddaughter live with us along with my 14 yr old son. He's old enough to understand, them...not so much. But it is what it is. Times are hard for everyone. But we have each other and we love one another and that's what really matters. I wish you and yours a very nice Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you do with your wonderful blog. I enjoy reading it very much! - Karen

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  104. People just don't understand when you tell them you were homeless. Thank God for St. Vincent's Home for the Homeless in San Diego, CA. My mother and I took refuge there for two weeks. They even helped her find a job. Thank you for sharing this. I'm so happy to have a home and wish everyone the best this holiday season.

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  105. Beautiful... "My cup runneth over". Thank you for sharing.

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  106. Having much of the same experience as MeenyMoe here, except the shoe is on the other foot. I have been off since '08 and now receiving disability. They let the hubs go while I have been off. We have been living on my disability check, which contrary to what everyone thinks isn't that much. It barely covers the mortgage and utilities. We have family, but who wants to admit to them that you are headed down the drain and fast. We tell them that we are going to the Inn at one of the State Parks (like we use to do when times were better). Luckily, it only affects the two of us as there are no children involved. Christmas will be done the same way. It's OK, we still have a home, there are many others that don't have as much. We don't have all the new gadgets and gizmos, but that isn't what the holiday season is about anyway.

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  107. God bless you :) Happy Thanksgiving!

    from R.O.R.

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  108. Thank you so much for this post. It is so easy to read all of these beautiful DIY blogs and get lost in thinking that everyone else's lives are perfect and this was a reminder that everyone- even if their house looks fabulous- has had major struggles in life. This story touched my heart on so many levels and I thank you for having the courage to publish it!!!!! Good for you girl!

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  109. Thank you for sharing. I had similar experiences while in college -- no where to go during Thanksgiving. I was also homeless, but for a different reason. My parents decided they no longer wanted a home and weren't really going to be responsible for their children any longer. I too think back on those times during this season. My college son is on his way HOME as I type this and I am gratefully getting his home ready for him. Bless you. cdsmith322 at aol dot com

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  110. This is another reason why you touch us with your posts. "Life" makes a good writer.

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  111. You did. You hit publish. Good girl!

    Now, can I just say that if I didn't already love you so doggone much I would have decided today to love you?

    I think our pain is what makes us beautiful. Not the hurt itself, but the grace it creates in us. And so now I got to see a little corner of where you got yours. Thank you.

    I have those roads, too, those roads to Graceland.

    Happy Thanksgiving Sarah.

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  112. Favorite post by you ever. So genuine, honest and heartfelt. Good for you, girl. What a wonderful reminder to each of us to be truly grateful for what we have while sharing a really important part of who you are, and why you do what you do. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  113. I didn't think it was possible to like you any more than I already do, but now I do. Your realness and honestness is refreshing. I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience and am glad to see you turn it around. You are the real deal and this is why your blog continues to be a favorite. Everyone loves you.

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  114. Happy Thanksgiving. This article hitted my heart, made me remember a Thanksgiving on 2004 that we loose our home due to economical issues. Hopefully I got a new apartment this year and I will be able to share a big thanksgiving dinner with my family and friends.

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  115. I've been reading (and loving) your blog for years, but this is the first time I comment. Bless your heart-and thank you for having the courage to share such an honest story. Thank you for inspiring me to make my home a comfortable, warm, safe and lovely place to raise my children. There are literally mornings when I don't want to do anything and I think to myself, "let me grab a cup of coffee and read TDC for just a minute"---every time it works like a charm and I'm soon up and taking care of business here at home. May the Lord continue to bless you and yours on this Thanksgiving. :)

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  116. what a story to share...it will definitely make me more thankful for things and try to keep things in better perspective - girl - you are a true testament to how far you can come with faith, love and hard work!

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  117. I love that you had the courage to tell us this story! Many people have had different hardships in life whether it's a financial or perhaps cancer, etc.

    We love how you love your home & let us into your world. Some of us even live through you through your decorating & your funny way of expressing yourself!

    I wouldn't change a thing.

    Liz VanKirk

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  118. Thank you so much for your bravery in sharing your story. It brought tears to my eyes and a stab of pain to my heart to remember similar times of mine as a teenager and the shame of it all. It reminds me that we never know the sadness behind some people's eyes, we might not even see it for many of us hide it with a cheerful smile. Thank you for your openess and trust with us, it makes me admire you even more!! ((hugs!!))

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  119. Thanks so much for sharing that story. I've been reading your blog for awhile now but this time I just had to comment and say Thanks! You are very brave for sharing that.

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  120. ValenzMom (aka Helen)November 21, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Sarah,
    Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. I had a rough life, too. My parents divorced when I was 4 and my mom married twice more by the time I was 10. The last husband was an abusive man who she stayed married to. I moved out when I was 17 and married when I was 19. I tried to maintain contact with my mom and stepdad so that my kids would have grandparents, but it was hard on my own marriage. I finally broke contact with them altogether 10 yrs ago. It upset my daughter so much that she gets angry with me over little things now and keeps our grandkids away from us for months at a time.
    I made our home warm and wonderful for my family when my two kids were growing up. My son appreciates everything I did for them and understands the relationship between my mother, stepdad and I. But my daughter has a different take on it all. It's funny how you can raise the same children in the same house and they turn out differently...

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  121. Wow. you had me tearing up. What a meaningful and heartfelt story. Nothing like that experience to make you truly grateful and appreciative of what you have. Thanks for getting the courage to share.

    Happy Thanksgiving :)

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  122. Sara~
    I am proud of you when you show us the behind the scenes and "keep it real" this, however, was a whole new level of vulnerability and I would have paused as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for opening that piece of yourself up for everyone here in blog world. It's easy to see the debt free awesome life you are blessed enough to live and be filled with envy, and forget, we don't know your story or the pain that has influenced your drive to have such a beautiful home. What a great reminder to us all, especially in this season of thankfulness.

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  123. Okay, this is going to sound awful, because it is. I'm so sorry!

    I read a lot of décor blogs, and I've been reading--and loving!--yours for years. But lately, I've been depressed, and then irritated with everything--even all y'all.

    "My home is so empty," I thought. There's no way I can do what these people do. And everything* they post is big, like a patio!"

    But reading this post, I broke. We were homeless for a while when I was a kid, too. And you've made me realize again how grateful I should be to have this warm house, which I should be thinking of as a blank slate, full of opportunity. I will make this place home, with your help.

    Thank you.

    *seen through Depression-glasses(tm)

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  125. This is why I LOVE reading your blog! You always keep it real. So glad you had the courage to post this, you never know the people you will touch with your story. God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving.

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  126. You're the beat and so inspiring in every way. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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  127. The first year I was a single mom my mom was living with me - we had Thanksgiving at Denny's. Not as devastating as being in a motel, but memorable all the same. I am happy to say that that was the first (and last) year we had Thanksgiving dinner away from family and a real home. I can't say the same for my sister, a Captain in the Army Reserves, who is spending her first Thanksgiving away from home. She is in Kuwait and I count the days until she is home with us again.

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  128. Thank you for sharing that. I am one of those who have truly been blessed in her life...I had loving parents and a happy childhood. I married, nearly 30 years ago, the most amazing man and we have 2 children who have never given us a moments heartache. We have everything we need in life and in fact so much more than we need and I try everyday to be truly appreciative of those many, many blessings. I am sorry you have known struggles and hardship in your life, thank you for sharing it and reminding me, again, of how very lucky I am.

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  130. Thanks for sharing. I grew up in a very run down, dilapidated house. It was always a mess. My parent's did not take pride in their home and were probably more concerned with working and paying the bills. They were both raised in messy homes too. I always had everything I needed and a lot of what I wanted but never had a place I was proud to call home. I still will not go back to visit my dad at that house. I have done a lot of soul searching over appreciating that it drove me to be a very successful person but I have not been able to just 100% move beyond it. I am also somewhat obsessed with making sure that my children have a safe, clean and presentable home to live in.

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  131. I always enjoy reading your blog and getting inspired by all the great DIY projects you and your readers publish. I comment as a mother of two beautiful daughters and many precious grandchildren. So, I have been around for awhile. I have always been into DIY,crafting, sewing,etc. most of my life and I think it will be a sad day if I cease to learn and explore. There is so much more to do.

    Thanks so much for sharing this poignant part of your past with us. Daddy worked hard to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs It was not a perfect life but we always spent holidays together in the home we kids grew up in. This goes to show some life experiences make us stronger and oftentimes more grateful for what we have rather than sorry for what we do not have.

    God bless you this Thanksgiving Day and always.

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  132. Your story helps me realize just how much I am truly grateful for. Hope your day is filled with blessings!

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  133. Nice story,
    thanks for taking this chance to talk about this.
    Happy Thanksgiving...

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  134. Thanks for publishing this story. It goes to show you that hard work and determination can bring you out of a tough situation. Also, it is these moments in life that really teach us something IF we are willing to learn.

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  135. Sarah,
    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. It was a beautiful post. When you go through things like this in your life it does make you have a greater appreciation for your family and home. You should be very proud of what you have accomplished in the last 20 years!

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  136. Wow - brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for your bravery in sharing this. We never know how sharing our life experience can touch or help someone else. Bravo to you for hitting publish!

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  137. This post was very tender. It's hard to share our secrets and you did it with dignity and respect to your family. Not that I expected anything less. I love your blog and your humor. Thank you for sharing a peek into your motivation for making your house a home. Happy thanksgiving!

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  138. We almost lost our house several times when I was a child. I think being in that situation really shapes who you are and the choices you make later on. Thank you for sharing. What a great reminder that people...our family and friends...are most important this holiday season.

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  139. Thank you for being so honest about that one Thanksgiving for you. I rarely comment, but I read your blog diligently and this one touched me. I love how honest you were. Happy Thanksgiving to you and I for one am so happy you have a home that you fill with joy, love and warmth and that you are willing to share that with us!

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  140. Thank you for this post! I think there are a lot of us that have a similar story or a variation on the theme that drives us as adults to create the kind of warm, loving, stable home for our families. I know my own story shaped me tremendously and I got a little teary reading this post because I was just trying to explain to someone yesterday why my home and our traditions are so vital and important to me. Thank you!

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  141. Our families are elsewhere and it was my son's year to spent turkey day with his pa so the husby and I had pizza! And it was very, very good! Thanks and have a great weekend!

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  142. you almost make me cry, but again i guess that's what makes who you are today.

    i should be more thankful and gosh, i miss my mom now.

    keep inspiring us, please!

    Rinie, Malaysia.

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  143. I would love to see the two glass bottles and the metal rack with signs on deal nest.

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  144. I've read your blog for over a year now, since we moved into our "new" open-concept home & have needed to personalize such a large expanse. . .Thank you for sharing your heart. I have to say it was not what I was expecting, and has really moved me. My folks moved out of state my second year of college, & not being able to fly home for Tgiving was tough emotionally. But I empathize with you & overcoming a difficult time. It's a reminder to me not to complain, to be thankful for God's blessings, to to share with others. -melody in central cal

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  145. These are definitely the moments that define us, although not the most fun.

    I found this year, Thanksgiving was all the more meaningful to me because my dad was in the hospital. And I'm sure it will be a memory that sticks with me every single year. To be all the more thankful for every moment. Thanks for sharing your story. You are truly an inspiration.

    Have a fabulous holiday season!

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  146. This brought tears to my eyes. I am so happy that you got to stay HOME! Sometimes those sad experiences in our life make us the strong woman we are today. Out of all the Thanksgiving stories I have read this year. This really touched my heart.

    God Bless you and yours this holiday season.
    Cathy

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  147. Wow. My thoughts have been along this line the last week. A year ago we had a house fire that left us in a hotel for 2 months. As I pulled out the few Christmas ornaments this weekend that survived the fire, I started feeling sorry for myself. But then I remembered how glad I was last year to just be surrounded by my family at the holidays. I am so thankful to have a home to live in with my own little family. Plus, it was quite fun to buy some new holiday decorations today!

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  148. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving in your beautiful home surrounded by your family. What a moving story. Thank you so much for sharing it! I work at a university, and this story gives me a new perspective on the hundreds of students I see around campus every day. They are all so young, and I assume they are carefree, but many of them have painful home lives that we don't even know about. Thank you for this story and for the new perspective. Happy Holidays!

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  149. Sometimes others see our love for creating a home as frivolous - the truth is what drives that passion is anything but. My story is a little different but my childhood has also fueled my desire to create a home for my family. Thanks for sharing your heart - I know it's not easy!

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  150. I'm very late posting this but I do hope you read it. We have been homeless too (From May to September this year)and before that we also had lost our home a few years back. The ache, the pain, the embarrassment and the sadness..I have felt it all. I wont go into detail but let me say this: I have stopped reading some blogs because I was jealous of the things I didn't have...of seen beautiful homes and me struggling to get food. Now I can go back to reading yours because I know, one day I will make it too, and one day I can see my home the way you do. Thank you for publishing it. It means more than you know.

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  151. Thank you so much. I stumbled on this post through your blogging tip one on Pinterest.What a gift to be able to touch people like nina there. Amazing!I,too, love to be home, and love everything about it.I love your blog ,too. Thanks for being so brave and sharing a part of yourself!

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  152. I was looking at your amazing Chevron job and checking out other past posts. I happened to run across this one.

    Bless you for sharing. I am a school social worker and work with many kids that experience homelessness. I have a young gal who has lived in a hotel the last two years of high school and she will be going to college in the fall. She is amazing to have weathered her situation and maintained good academic standing in the midst of her struggles.

    Your story will be encouraging to her and others like her! :-)

    You are amazing to have the heart to share your story.

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