Meet Jessica Mariano or Jess, for short. She’s a good friend of mine and I’ll do my best here today to unfold her story of home but I think Jess does it best.
With that in mind, I am thrilled to be able to not only share her with you but also invite you in, for the first time here, into an intimate conversation between Jess and I via video. How fun is that? More than stil images, Jess and I spend a few moments uncovering and chatting about a bit of her what makes her home so special to her and how home has been an important part of her journey over the years.
How has your attitude toward your home changed over the years?
I have allowed for mess. The dishes can wait. And they do. I listen to my body and heart way more these days. When my babies were smaller I remember them following me around crying wanting me to hold them. I would say just one second, I just have to do this one thing. And that one thing turned into 5 things. I have learned to just drop to the floor and pick those babies up. I think decorating or cleaning was a way of putting my life in order. Now, I see that my life is what puts my home in order. The home is what serves me and my family. I don’t serve the home.
How did it feel to move into your current home?
Honestly I felt [a bit of excitement] mixed with a coming to reality that a family had lived their own journey in what was now our new home. Some things I needed to throw out as soon as possible. Almost a resetting or cleansing of the space. Because of that, we gutted an entire bathroom and have been living with one fully functioning bathroom for 7 months now. So many things need to be replaced and repaired. We ripped out the carpets and painted the subfloor. The fireplace is exposed and we have a piece of wood laying across the hearth. I have a fake fireplace sitting inside of it to make it feel cozier. I guess I say all of this to speak to the patience of owning a home and making it your own and how I’m not waiting for hard woods or beautiful countertops to make it my home. Heck, I’m not even waiting for toilets in bathrooms before hanging up beautiful art.
It’s about working with what you have in each season. Weather your curtains are hung up with thumb tacks or not, you can enjoy your space and express your heart.
How does your home make YOU feel?
Safe. Growing up home was not safe. I never wanted to be home. It took me a long time to want to be home as an adult. I remember when I first started to desire to be in my own house. To begin to make my bed and think about what I was doing and allow thankfulness to fill me up. To light a candle or take a bath and not think about the mess. Or even take a few seconds while the bath fills to clean just the bathroom as a treat to myself and my mind before climbing in and relaxing. I also feel creative in it [home]. I have made spots to serve different needs of our family. As a gift to myself for my birthday this year I made my own art area. I put my favorite magazines and art books in a wooden box and filled a glass jar with all my paints. It’s my favorite spot right now.
Some advice: how do you support your kids’ own creative minds without losing yours?
There is freedom in shutting the door. I like my white doors and black door handles. The contrast is gorgeous. I focus on that. I don’t need to think about what it looks like on the other side. I am creative. And I love that my kids are following in my footsteps. They want to be like me. But I have to let them imitate and express that creativity as they please. When I was 14 I decorated an entire wall with skittle candy wrappers. I grew out of that approach. But man I loved it at the time!
If there was one thing you could tell your 20-year-old self, what would it be?
Be gentle with yourself. How you look at your home is deeper than current trends and Instagram posts. How you are internalizing information and then inspired into action is heavier then you may think. Be in tune with your heart. Ask yourself what is motivating your action? Is it to create and express yourself? Then be free and express. But if you are trying to clean your closet to somehow clean up your emotions that won’t fully work. It’s part of it. But again be gentle with yourself and take care of what you need. Sometimes it’s to clean and decorate and sometimes it’s to not.
Can you guys see why I absolutely adore this woman? In addition to her allowing me to invade her space and shoot her home, Jess sat down with me over coffee to talk a bit more about her life and home and how she continues to see God’s divine hand of intervention in both.
Join us by clicking the video below and please be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and comment! In this chat, we dig a little deeper into this conversation and unpack how this sometimes false sense of home presented by culture has impacted each of us and how Jess has determined to live life a little differently. Enjoy!
CLICK THE VIDEO BELOW TO WATCH MY CONVERSATION WITH JESS ON YOUTUBE!