Christian Communicators  

Blueprints for Building Your Spiritual Dream Home: Front Porches and Family

teal wood quote

 

Fireflies, family and the front porch. This is the substance of my childhood. As we played in the yard on summer evenings catching fireflies, the adults sat on the porch watching, laughing and swapping stories. Reminiscing about those days stirs a pleasure within that reminds me of the beauty of home, particularly one with a front porch.

chalkboard front porch sign

When my husband, John, and I bought our first home I was smitten by its generous craftsman front porch. Built in the days before television, it was wide enough for several rockers and deep enough for a swing, allowing neighbors to come and sit a spell on summer nights. John and I spent countless evenings after work observing the activity of our little town from our perch on the porch.

our first house

Our first house

Because our home sat only a few feet from the sidewalk, neighbors and friends would often stop and chat as they passed our house during their usual walk. I loved inviting them to sit and swing for a bit while we talked about local happenings. It was my favorite place to be. A place of respite and release.

A porch speaks volumes about community and family and gathering. 

welcome, wise women

Nowadays, many homes are built with just a stoop. Our modern communities feel a porch is no longer necessary—a thing of the past. After all, we barely know our neighbors. Pulling into our garage after a hard day’s work and closing the door behind us doesn’t allow for much socializing.

Unfortunately, that’s mostly true. But it doesn’t have to be.

Nothing brings a sense of welcome to a home like a front porch, especially one ample enough to accommodate those we hold dear.

Original photo of front porch 2

 

When we built our final home, I wanted a big front porch that could embrace anyone who wanted to laugh and visit and talk. One with lots of rockers. And a swing. I also wanted a big back porch with a table where we could sit and eat dinner in the evening and laugh and eat and talk. And swing.

So we built those porches and have enjoyed bringing loved ones, friends, neighbors and even some we didn’t know, onto our porches and shared till our heart’s content.

Sometimes I’ll hear the creak of the chain from the swing while I’m inside and know one of my family members is enjoying the peace from our back porch. That sound lures me out of the house to sit and enjoy conversation with a loved one.

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Or I’ll notice the front door ajar and peek out to find my husband with his feet propped up against a column while he watches the sunset.

When we first moved into this home one of my best friends came to visit. As she was leaving the front porch she looked out at the expanse of sun and deep blue in front of her.

“Big Sky,” she said. “You should call this place Big Sky because of its beautiful, unhindered expanse of sky .”

I think of that every time I look out across the front porch and see a stunning sunset. It’s like having a front row seat to God painting the sky. I feel closer to Him in those moments. And I’m filled with peace.

So whether we entertain others, sit in silence and enjoy the peace and quiet, or linger long over a good meal, a porch is something that this designer believes should remain a part of our homes. It allows us a comfortable respite away from the TV and chores that need to be done inside. It gives us a sense of community—whether it be with our family or God. And that’s something that doesn’t just belong in the good old days.

 

Building godly homes

Share some favorite front porch stories with your children. Kids love hearing stories from your childhood.

Does your home have a porch? If not, is there a spot around the outside of your home where you can create a welcoming spot for family and friends?

Take it outside. Now that we’re nearing summer, take dinner outside and enjoy talking with your family without the TV. Or invite some friends over for a cookout.

 

For further ideas on how to build community, even if you don’t have a front porch, check out Kristin Schell’s blog about the turquoise table, or Emily Freeman’s book Simply Tuesday.

Let’s work together to build kingdom homes!

6 Comments

  1. Yes! this is my favorite part of a home and being new to the south, I am enchanted with front porches and rocking chairs. I have spent all winter dreaming of spending time with my family and friends on our new porch. I didn’t fully understand the attraction until you pointed out how front porches welcome others in- it’s a shared, open space conducive to togetherness.

    • I didn’t know you were new to the south,Lalena. So glad you have a home with a porch! I know it will become your favorite place once the weather warms up. Enjoy it! 🙂

  2. Carol — your front porch is dreamy! And, you are spot-on about porches and community. Our neighborhood doesn’t have big front porches. Like you, I was tired of seeing garages doors go up and my neighbors disappear behind them. It’s been amazing what the turquoise table has done to bring folks back out into the front yard where we can gather and connect. Thanks for sharing and for being part of our Front Yard People community.

    • I’m so excited you dropped by my blog, Kristin! I heard you speak at the Allume conference and wanted to get my own turquoise table to put in my front yard. But, it wasn’t very realistic for me since I live in the country and nobody really walks on our curvy road. So I’ll just keep inviting people to my porch instead. So excited for your turquoise table community movement! Thanks for leaving a comment 🙂

  3. I love this, Carol. I’ve never lived in a house with a porch like you’re describing, but I’ve seen some here in the South. I’m thinking particularly of Charleston. They were just beautiful.

    What wonderful memories you’ve got and are making in your new home even today.

    • I agree, Ellen, Charleston does have beautiful porches.I know there have been some great memories made on those porches. A front porch is a treasure to enjoy. Thanks for dropping by!

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