Home is what you make of it


What is home?

Home could be a lot of things.  Is it a place? A storage unit? A gathering spot? A cafeteria? Being with family and friends? I’ve had the privilege of living in several different places in a few different states.  This has helped me define what home isn’t.

I can tell you that while I was living in Iowa about a decade ago, home definitely was not where I was.  It wasn’t where I wanted to put my feet up.  Where I lived in Iowa, I wasn’t comfortable existing, which made it even more difficult to thrive.

In the summer of 2005, we got married and moved back to the Twin Cities.  In 2006, we bought our first home and moved into Saint Paul, just blocks from the hospital where I was born.  Is this home?  Yes, for now.  We actually really enjoy living here.  We have a small house on a tiny lot, but it’s ours.  When I’m home, I feel at peace.  I can relax.  Generally speaking, we live the life we want to live.  Still, there’s something missing.

We’ve done more traveling this year than we have in a long time.  We haven’t gone far, but we’ve gone in several different directions.  When we visit someplace new, we look around and think about whether this place could be home to us.  We are actively trying to define what home is going to look like in the next season of our lives.  There are usually characteristics of the places we visit that are appealing to us.  We’re compiling a list of these traits and hopefully they will lead us to our next rest stop.  (If you’re interested in what we’re looking for, just ask in the comments section below.)

To me, home is what you make of it.  When I visit my parents and in-laws, I feel at home.  When I’m on the lake shore in the north woods, I feel at home.  When I’m on my couch with a cat on my lap, I feel at home.

What does home mean to you? Is it about a place or is it about relationships? Is it a state of mind? Leave your comments below.

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About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
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  • http://bluecollarliving.com James Dibben

    Good first post with Let’s Blog Off!

    Welcome to the club!

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    I feel like I should add a disclaimer to this post.  The more I thought about it, the more difficult it was for me to define what home means to me.  If you asked me a year ago, it would have been much easier.  I’ve been open on this blog about the miscarriage of our daughter, Samantha, last January.  Since then, I have trouble actually feeling truly at home.  It is like home is an unattainable place off in the fog of the future.  I have a feeling the next time I actually feel at home, it will be when I can hold my little girl.  Until then, I’m going to have to settle for checking things off a list.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Thanks, James.  Now I have to try to keep up with it.  TOO MUCH PRESSURE!

  • http://bluecollarliving.com James Dibben

    Just add it to your hard work page. 😉

    Doing this every two weeks has really helped my creativity. It will your’s too!

  • http://bluecollarliving.com James Dibben

    I managed to miss this little bit of info.

    Good little addendum.

  • http://contemplatrix.wordpress.com/ L


    I am really attracted to the idea of home is what you make of it; that it might take a shift in perspective or some determination/hard work. some very valuable aspects of home are a result of purposefulness and patience, some of it hard won.  I also see what you mean that Home seems to require a feeling of wholeness, where we can recollect all the pieces of our heart.L (omphaloskepsis)

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Just did! Good idea!

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Thanks for your comments. I truly believe that a person’s sense of home has to come from experiences. That’s what makes your idea of home different from someone else’s.

  • http://www.cft411.com Joe Freenor

    Since I got out of the Army in 1966, every place I lived felt like home to me, but I cannot say as much for the cities.  I lived in the Long Beach, California area (for those who don’t know, Long Beach is about 30 miles south of Los Angeles) for almost 17 years and hated every minute of it.  Too much smog, too much everything I didn’t much like.  I married my wife in 1976, and we moved to San Diego in 1982.  Absolute night and day!  We came here because we loved the city, and all these years later we still do.  And the city very much feels like home to us.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    My brother and sister-in-law live in Carlsbad and love it. I’m glad you found your home!

  • P Anater

    Too true, regardless of the circumstances or the location.

  • Scott Sliver

    Go Saint Paul, MN! I especially like that you have several instances that make you feel “at home.” This is a very good thing!

  • Scott Sliver

    By the way, good meeting you!

  • ModernSauce

    Home is what you make of it – ain’t that the truth!  

    I’m sorry to hear about your little girl but thank you for sharing your story with us. ; ) 

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Thanks for commenting!

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    It’s good to meet you too! Do you have a connection to Saint Paul?

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Thanks for your comment. When you lose a child, it definitely changes how you see the world.

  • Btewes

    To me, home is not necessarily an actual physical place, but rather a feeling or aura that is generated by the people or space around you. Where you feel comfortable and at peace in your own skin, so to speak. A place you just want to sink into and enjoy. A place that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and brings a smile to your face.
    What is it that you are looking for?

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurie.matthews1 Laurie Matthews

    When I think of home I think:  safe haven, comfortable, full of hospitality.  Doesn’t depend on a place…. I believe I could make a home with my husband about anywhere!

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    I grew up in St. Paul — Frogtown — on Van Buren Ave right down the street from the Bourbon Bar.. and Johnny White’s and a few others that didn’t bother putting signs up :-) the neighborhood has changed a lot since the ’60s-’70s but I still check it out every time I find myself up in Minnesota.. less and less these days, but you never know…

    Thanks for joining us in the LetsBlogOff!! 

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    I’ll have to write a post about it, but every time we find ourselves somewhere else and we like being there, we try to define what it is exactly that makes us feel that way.  It’s amazing how difficult it can be to break things down to their smallest element to decide what makes it important.  A common example is living on a lake.  Is it the sight of water?  Is it the possibility of having a permanent place to dock a boat?  Is it being able to swim every morning?  Is it prestige?  Lots of things to think about.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    It helps when you have the right spouse!  :)

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    If you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, let me know.  I’d like a tour of the old ‘hood if you’re willing to lead.

  • http://www.thebootstrapcoach.com/ Josh Bulloc

    Home is where my friends and family are.

  • Pat Eggleton

    Yes, I agree. Home is very much what we make of it and it’s important to feel “at home” in the houses of our nearest and dearest, too.

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Amen, Josh!

  • http://www.backyardlifeblog.com Raun Lauterbach

    Absolutely! Thanks for sharing!

  • Katie

    Would like to know more about Johnny White’s bar. Doing family history on my husband’s side. He said his dad used to go to Johnny’s. It is on Dale street, right? Just curious as my husband’s father was raised by a man who was in the Negro Leagues back in the early 1900s and married to his aunt, as his mother had died 2 days after birth. Do you know how long Johnny’s Bar has been there?