I just had a chance this week to visit the house where I grew up in Salt Lake City. The one that my parents have decided to put on the market. Although all of us kids know it’s for the best (my parents have moved to Park City), our hearts are all heavy to let it go. There are so many memories bursting from within those walls.

Walking around those empty hallways reminded me of this post my sister wrote about it a while back. Makes me teary each time I think about it. I think this is my favorite part of what she wrote:

“Every inch, every corner, every crack of that house is soaking with memories and the air is different inside that place than anywhere else in the world. It is mixed with millions of sacred moments; expressions of testimony and love, sighs of relief and frustration, gasps for breath from emotional times, whiffs of special scents from Christmas or family recipes or fires in the living room, and dribbled with wafting sounds of laughter and tears. Thirty-five years, nine kids: indeed, millions of memories. I wonder if the renters feel a buzz in the air? Can they sometimes catch a glimpse of the joy and growth and love seeping out of the corners?

It makes me even more melancholy to think of this now that Dave and I are starting to think about the day that will come when we will be letting our house go as well. It makes me think hard about what we can do to bring in a spirit of love and service and supporting one another. How I hope that one day my children can feel the same way about our home as we do about that one.

The thing I have realized is that it’s not really the house that matters so much. It’s how it feels in that house.

How blessed I feel to have been able to grow up in a home with so much character and love within it’s walls.

My parents are so hoping to be able to hand that home over to a family who can build memories like we did there. They are even willing to totally work with the price to get a good family in there. More information about the set-up and contact info. here if anyone is interested.

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  1. I felt the exact same way when my grandfather put his house on the market after my grandmother passed away. I didn't want anyone else to have that house or live in it because it was their home for 64 years and it held so many wonderful memories for me as a child. I just knew no one would take care of it the way my grandparents had and it wouldn't mean as much to the new owners. I even considered buying the home, but it was in California and we live in Colorado. Anyway, I went to visit with my grandfather before the house sold and it didn't feel the same without grandma in it. The memories will always be with me even if the house isn't.
    I know how you feel.

  2. I love when you said it's not so much the house but rather how it feels in the house.
    I had to move into a small manufactured home after my husband walked out on me and our children. I knew that no matter how humble and simple our home was, it could be a place of great love and where the Spirit could reside. I knew that my children would build memories, have laughter, and experience the security of a loving home no matter what the house looked like…
    I love your sister's description of how the air is different in that home than any other place in the world. It's true– there is no place like home.

  3. I drive by your parent's house on Augusta often and think of that very same thing. I will be so sad when the day comes that my own parents sell their home! I hope it's not for many years to come.

  4. Before our Mother passed away (Dad had already passed away), my sister went through our house and took photos of every nook & cranny, even opening up doors to take photos of where the vacuum and cleaning supplies were kept–EVERYTHING. Then she went on Shutterfly and made a hard-bound book with the photos and gave me one as well. She made the photos smaller to put 4-6 on a page. It's one of my most prized possessions.

  5. Have you seen the Disney Pixar movie, "UP"?

    The opening scene is one of the best "love stories" in just a few minutes (how Carl and Ellie love each other and grow old together).

    When they find out they can't have kids, they start to save money for a trip to Paradise Falls. But they ended up using the money to fix the car, repair the house, etc. Then Ellie suddenly becomes ill and dies before they can go on the adventure together.

    Most of the film Carl is dragging the house behind him to Paradise Falls. Carl is so attached to the house that he can't let it go. Ellie's presence is felt there throughout the film. The house represents their relationship and the many memories Carl has with Ellie – Carl is trying to hold on to that so desperately)

    Towards the end of the movie, Carl is looking at Ellie's childhood scrapbook when, to his surprise, he finds pictures of their married life and a final note from Ellie: "Thanks for the adventure – now go and have a new one. Love Ellie"

    Carl then realizes that the house isn't Ellie. The house is an empty house because Ellie isn't in it. Ellie is in his heart.

    Finally Carl is able to let go of the house (there is a scene of him letting the house sink beneath the clouds)

    Treasure up the memories of your house in your heart and good luck on your next adventure with your family 😉

  6. p.s. Be sure to take lots of pictures to remember your house by. It looks like you already have taken some nice pictures.

    Your home is beautiful and has a good spirit to it. I'm sure that wherever you live, you will create a welcoming atmosphere (beautiful, clean, organized) and that your home will have a peaceful spirit to it and feel like a temple and a place of refugee for your family 🙂

  7. Hi Shawni~

    Thanks for your nice comment you left on my blog about my 2012 word. I love your title of this post: "making a house a home," because you're right. It really isn't so much about the house, but how everyone FEELS in the house and the importance of the relationships and memories there! You mentioned picking my brain about building our house and you are welcome to pick away anytime! I would say you hit the nail on the head with this title about a home though–we have been in our new house for about 6 months now and it is finally starting to feel more like a home. Thankfully, we celebrated Christmas with my whole family here and have had a few wonderful events like a niece's baby blessing, and family dinners, etc. that help to take the "starkness" and "newness" away. I have found that each home we have been in has shown itself to be indicative of how our family has tranisitioned, (such as leaving the season of babies behind-so sad!), and how we've grown. I definitely feel like we're in a new phase! Embrace your new home as a new adventure–you're going to love it!

    P.S. I clicked on the link to your parents' home and I am in love with that room with all of the instruments in it! What a history and manifestation of love of music, family, and serious discipline. My 2 oldest girls play the harp, and my 2 oldest boys play piano, and it is a labor of love to keep going. In fact, for one of your Friday Q & A, I'd love to hear more about your parents' methods for keeping practicing going and how you've adapted that for your own kids. Thanks for sharing that!

  8. About a year ago we were in the same situation as you guys are now-we had just sold our house and were about to build another one. It was such an emotional time for our 7 kids-for all of us. We love that house-and all those memories so much. I was so grateful I took lots of pictures of it to remember, and gave the kids lots of time to get out those feelings of sadness, loss, joy, pain,…whatever they were feeling. Now that we are in our new house, it is great to feel that Spirit here as well.
    I don't know how to post a link but you can read about our last day on our blog if you want. It's under 2011 February titled Leaving Home.
    Thanks for such a great blog-I love reading and feeling so inspired by other women trying so hard to raise good kids and beautiful families.

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