Cultivating a Sense of Place {Book Club Thursday}

Welcome to Book Club Thursdays!

Own Your Life Book ClubWe’re reading through Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love (aff. link). For your convenience, all the posts in the series are archived {here}. So if you missed any,  feel free to head on over and catch up. Or, to make life even easier,  subscribe to our Book Club Thursdays newsletter and receive all book club posts directly to your email!

Chapter 14: Cultivating a Sense of Place {Owning the Atmosphere of Your Home}

Our Journey through this book is almost over. Each week you show up and we flesh out what it could look like if we’d own our lives by living with deep intention, bold faith, and generous love. Sally reaches into our hearts and pours wisdom gleaned over the years and I’m left full, excited, and aware that only In Christ am I able to really live this kind of life she speaks of.

For me, Chapter 14 was especially meaningful.

Homeless Civilization

At the age of 16, when I should have been home learning the skills needed to one day manage and pour into my home and future family, I was instead on the streets running from house to house. By the time I was 17, I was pregnant with my son and had lived in about 4 different places, none of which were really my own.

Cultivating a sense of place was inconceivable for me. Owning the atmosphere of my home was unheard of. I was simply trying to make it through the day. Two years after having my son, I ran away from the concept of marriage and ended the relationship with my son’s father. By 20 I was a single mom, hoping desperately to make life work. I was a mess and could not manage my home.

Messes would pile up. Dinners were almost always a Domino’s pizza pie. And the atmosphere in my home? Well, it left a lot to be desired. I understand the idea of a homeless civilization. Sally shares a story of a young woman who expresses one day, “You all have a place to belong… You are a part of each other. Everything a person could want or need–food, friendship, spiritual encouragement, rest, comfort, and fun–is here. It is so familiar to you that you don’t even recognize the structures in place to support your lives.”

Sally describes this homeless civilization (one which I was a part of) as people who have dwellings–“apartments, houses, dorm rooms–but they do not dwell in places where life is preserved, protected, and cultivated so that the daily needs of their hearts and souls are met.”


Oh, how I desire to live like this, “painting the reality of God onto the walls” of my home!

Defining Your Vision of Home

Though, I’ve come so far from that young, single mother who spent all her money ordering pizza for dinner. The journey hasn’t been easy.

I’ve struggled with how to make meal times pleasant, enjoyable, and ‘good’. I’ve struggled with how to run the home rather than letting the home run me. I’ve struggled with making home feel more like a refuge and sanctuary than a bootcamp. I’ve shared this story before, so I won’t go into detail in this post, but our house fire in 2010 changed a lot for us. It changed the way I view ‘home’. I walked back into my house 4 months later with a vision for what I wanted family life and home to be like.  Oh, how I’ve stumbled through the process.

And yet, the vision of what home looks like was seared into my heart through God’s word, books, and beautiful mentors, like Sally. In prayer, I’ve built my plan and I hold it up in front me as I navigate through these years.


(If you haven’t done so already, check out pages 193-194. Sally outlines some of the beautiful ideals she’s established for her home/family. You might be able to pull some ideas for your own home.)

Attitude of Home

“The atmosphere of our homes, though, should reflect our views of God. If we consider Him pleased with us and generous in His Fatherhood because we are His beloved, then affection, humor, and happiness will be manifest in all the moments of living. But if our goal is to have a perfect environment, then anger and harshness will permeate our homes and dissatisfaction will whine through our conversations. Home will not be a place that invites but that discourages.”

I relate so much to these words. I’ve had to learn that the atmosphere in my home is a direct result of what’s going on in my heart and mind. If I’m in a bad mood, it seems the whole house is in a bad mood. But when I walk joyfully, in peace and gentleness, that, too, is evident in my husband and children. For me, this all begins with my relationship with God. That’s where I’m changed, transformed, and able to walk in the power of the Spirit.

Out of that relationship flows goodness, virtue, beauty, and goodness.

Home: A Place of Discipleship and Relationship


I read it once, that “rules without relationship equals rebellion”. I understand this well. And so, I pray continuously that God would help me reach the hearts of my children. Discipleship, out of that perspective, then becomes soul-work and not me-work. Rather than look at my children and try to conform them to what I want them to be, I look at them as the beautiful souls God’s entrusted me with and I teach, lead, nurture, instruct, and correct from that understanding.

I’m learning that the making of disciples is a long journey. I won’t always see the results immediately. However, I can continue to plant seeds in faith, trusting the Holy Spirit will water and cause them to bear fruit in due season. There’s peace that comes from knowing that God is the one doing the heart work. He simply asks that I show up and pour from what He’s generously poured into me.

We disciple and we pursue their hearts. In tandem. Because one without the other is unbalanced.


This chapter has so much more to offer than the little I’ve shared above. Sally’s love for her family and God, is evident in each word written. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read through this chapter and imagine what “Cultivating a Sense of Place” and  “{Owning the Atmosphere of Your Home}” could look like.

Care to unwrap that? Let’s talk about it (feel free to do so in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or privately).

Then meet me here next week when we’ll continue with Building a Legacy Over a Lifetime {Owning Your Marriage}

*unless otherwise noted, all quotes are by Sally Clarkson.

Thoughts To Ponder

1.) What ideals do you want your home to reflect to those who enter?

2.) How will you build a legacy of faith and love through the rhythms of your home life?

3.) In order for you to offer hospitality to others, you must be sure you take time to replenish yourself. What are two ways in which you might refuel (e.g., take a time-out alone at a café for coffee and quiet to plan your week, or sleep in one morning a week to catch up on rest)?

Discussion Questions graciously provided by Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life Team
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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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