I woke up to a Lion King sunrise here in Uganda.

My 16 year old texted that we might get the first snow in over a year back in Charlotte, North Carolina. The first snow at our new house. And here I am with a sunburned face and two pitted out tee shirts.

Today we spent a second day with Grace and her family. And since I wear house colored glasses I can’t help but notice deep truths spilling out from all over their home.

If I had just heard Grace and Momma Grace’s story without ever meeting them I would imagine them living in fear cowering in a corner somewhere vowing to lock themselves up safely away for the rest of their ever. I would worry that their lives were forever ruined and that their home would be full of locked doors and closed up windows.

I would be wrong.

Here’s what I learned about how to have a happy home from a family who lives in Uganda with no running water, no glass in their windows and no stuff to get in their way…



Keep your living room simple and tidy.

grace kitchen

Open shelves in the kitchen allow you to put used items away quickly so you can get back to more important things.


Make your bed. And hang up your clothes.


Enjoy the pretty sheets. (these sheets made possible by Compassion & Grace’s sponsor who believed she was worth getting the floral sheets!)


Remember animals add life to a home.


Wash your bowl promptly after you eat.


Take time to notice happy accidents full of pretty colors.


Slow down in the small things.


Let your friends help out if they are around.


Attack your everyday mundane tasks with gusto.


Hold pink balloons and paint your toenails blue.


Dress in your cute clothes even if you are just doing every day chores. Unless your mom fusses at you for wearing your Sunday best on a Tuesday. Then, run in your house and change as fast as you can.


Smile often. Your children are watching and Mom can set the whole tone of the home.


Stop for a rest in the middle of the afternoon.


Let the children help out around the house.


Maybe the secret to moving on from the past starts with doing our simple things.

Maybe you do your simple things well because you’ve found Hope.

Maybe you have a visitor at your house and they’ve heard your story and know a fraction of your past, enough that they’ll vow to never forget.

Maybe that visitor will be amazed that your home runs smoothly, peacefully and dependably.

Maybe she’ll wonder how. HOW in the world do you move on and create this haven after despair?


Maybe she’ll finally realize that she’s been following the answer around all day.

A bright yellow tee shirt that’s part of the Compassion uniform is patiently waiting for me to acknowledge what Grace and her family live out every day.

DSC_1390 2


Happy homes and homes full of fear are opposites.

Grace is learning to live freely without fear. She spends every Saturday and school holiday at the Compassion center learning about the Bible and being cared for and loved on by adults in her community. Today I told Grace and her mother that my friends and my parents are praying for her, especially that she won’t have nightmares. Thank you for your comments in the last post. Also, they were so confused that I’ve already told “all my friends” and my parents about their story that they just told me yesterday but trying to explain that was beyond translation. Yay internet!

Join us in finding sponsors for the children waiting to learn about true Hope. Click here to sponsor a child today and partner with Compassion to help free children from poverty in Jesus name.


Thank you so much for reading these posts, looking past the typos and being willing to hear and take action. This Nesting Place community never ceases to amaze me. I love you all so much and your tweets, emails and comments are a lifeline here in the hot, iced coffee-less place.

Here’s to many more happy homes!


The rest of today’s posts:

The Meaning of Life in Three Parts by Jeff Goins

What It Means To Boil Water by Joy the Baker

A Day in the Life. Ish. by Emily Freeman

What Good Dads Do by Shaun Groves