For the past few weeks I’ve had a weird nagging feeling. I’ve been unsettled–at home.

I kind of feel like someone is watching me and I don’t know where to sit and I can’t find where I put my cup of iced coffee. No place in the house feels comfy or cozy or inviting. Ugh, I cannot get comfortable in my own house.



If you are an introvert and you hosted a wonderful party with 100 people while your entire first floor is full of tools, and your stuff is mostly moved out because your ceilings and trim-junk are being redone and now they are a constant reminder of all the painting you aren’t doing and your oldest is a senior in high school this year and you realize how wonderful all these things are–but they still make you tired….

If you are tired because of any situation…

Good stuff, bad stuff, boring stuff. Life stuff.

And you feel like my dog when it thunders. He just wants to lay down and hide, preferably on the sofa with a blanket while watching with big eyes, waiting for it to pass so he can finally rest. He could probably use one of those thundershirts–it’s a trick to make him feel cozy and normal because things are unpredictable out there.


When my house feels out of control, no matter what the reason, it seeps into my life. And because you are the kind of person who hangs out around here from time to time, I’d bet you might feel like that too. Our homes influence us, good and bad. And for people like us, it’s wise to take notice and make a few small changes.

Sometimes we have to put on the thundershirt.

For my house sanity, I’ve learned I HAVE to have one sane space.

Take back one room. Start with one wall.

Put your thundershirt on, slow down and focus on creating one sane space for yourself, create some normal, do something ordinary, honor a routine.

This especially applies to stressful times of our lives, moves, transitions and fixer-uppers.

Here’s our bedroom the first day we moved in. Thundershirts for everyone please.


One way I’ve helped myself feel settled at home among changes is to immediately create ONE comfy, visually un-messy space in the midst of the chaos. Do not wait for the chaos to go away. You will be miserable for longer than necessary.

When we moved to our current house, even though we didn’t have a kitchen, I put on my thundershirt and painted the family room, even the walls that I knew were going to get knocked down and damaged. I put out throw pillows, even though I knew we’d have to pack and cover everything up in a few months when we put up the drywall. I felt like our family needed one little corner where we weren’t forced to stare at the mess and the undone. We needed a little win and a little progress and for one corner to give us a warm hug.


I created one normal space even though logically it made no sense in the middle of fixing-up our fixer-upper.

If your house is all hard floors and bare walls and rugless, you will start to feel unsettled and un-cozy and wonder why your home is rising up against you all jail-like and making you nervous.

I can’t put off living in our home until things get perfect and done. My boys and Chad and I deserve to have a comfy place with pillows to watch Napoleon Dynamite, in the midst of the imperfect, even when we didn’t have a kitchen. Especially when we didn’t have a kitchen.

temporary home

When things are weird and unpredictable, gift yourself with a small space where you can relax and focus on the good and the normal. Or at least not have to stare at the bad.

in process

For me, today, wearing the thundershirt at home looks like:

  • prioritizing painting the family room–start to finish, just this one room
  • having a plan for dinner (glory–here’s my current plan and it’s saved my sanity lately)
  • mopping the floors, because that’s instantly rewarding and feels so normal
  • washing the drapes and re-hanging them even though the walls and trim still need to be painted (#idhtbptbb) drapes are a hug for a room
  • bringing in the rug–again, even though the walls and trim need painting–I’ll just move it out of the way or cover it when I paint, but the trouble is worth it because of the coziness the rug brings–even in the midst of the undone
  • listening to All Sons and Daughters on repeat because they sound like home

Sometimes you need to create a safe place to remind you of the good. Sometimes you need to create a welcoming place to help lighten the bad, imperfect or unfinished– if even for a moment.

the ministry of one sane space