“There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.” When I was a little girl, I would chant the words while I clicked my heels together and imagined my red Keds were sparkly heels. The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies, and although I loved the story of Dorothy’s adventures, the end of the movie when Dorothy awoke to discover she was home with all of her loved ones was always my favorite part. Even as a child I knew there was something special about home and no matter how far away my imaginary adventures would take me, I was always thankful that my island tree house was in the back yard, that my mountain cave was in the hay barn, that I could sail the high seas from a wagon in the corn field, and that the top rail of the wooden corral under the canopy of an old apricot tree was always good for daydreaming.

Today, home still holds me spellbound with its boundless supply of simple pleasures that fill my heart to overflowing. Home is where, even in the midst of household duties, I most often pause to praise. Although there are numerous opportunities to stop and remind myself of the multiple blessings that have been bestowed upon me while I work away from home, it is when I am home that I am stopped by the blessings and my overflowing heart can do nothing but praise.

It is at home that I observe the changing of seasons and the passing of time. Sometimes when I have been working long hours and home becomes merely a place to eat and sleep, I find I long for home with the same intensity I have when I have been traveling and have away for a week or longer. Though I enjoy meeting new people and seeing new places or revisiting old favorites, I am never away long before my heart once more yearns for home.  No matter the season, I find home is a place of continual change, and yet there is a sameness about home that is immensely comforting and soothing.  It is a place where my heart and my mind can be at rest.

And yet, for all its warmth and contentment; despite the peaceful silence that wraps me in its folds, there is a longing in my heart that home cannot dispel.  All the goodness of home which calls me to pause and praise, sometimes intensifies the longing in my heart for the place of which my home and all the joy and peace I find there is just a faded and tattered imitation. It is that longing that often stops me in my tracks and turns my eyes and my heart heavenward and homeward, but unlike the longing for my earthly home that leaves me discontent with other – maybe even prettier and better places – it is a sweet ache that both satisfies the soul and intensifies its desire for there truly is no place like home.