a home. a refuge.

“A welcoming home is where real life happens. It’s where personalities are nurtured, where growth is stimulated, where people feel free not only to be themselves but also to develop their best selves. That caring, nurturing quality – not the absence of noise or strife – is what makes a home a refuge.” ~ Emilie Barnes

I want the type of home Emile describes. It isn’t what is hung on the walls or the fabric the pillows are covered in…it is how all those things and so much more work together to create an atmosphere, a refuge ~  place where Chris, my kids, myself and guests can feel welcomed and free to simply be. I love that Emile includes the part about noise & strife. My house has a lot of noise and often too much sibling strife! Such a great quote, such discernment and wisdom, don’t you think?


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  • Natalie, the Chickenblogger - It’s a warm, sincere message,
    and one that fits quite nicely with your
    blog, and home.

  • Sandy - Perfect quote! Home is a refuge where we should be free to be. Free to be uniquely us. A refuge, a safe haven where we are loved without conditions. So much inspiration here on your blog. It’s just what my inner physician needed. Healing for my soul. Your blog is sparking my creative juices which have been stuck for quite some time.

  • Kelli - Thank you. This is very much what I needed to read this morning. I just might turn this quote into an art piece for my home.

  • Tiffany - Yes! Praise the Lord for Emilie Barnes’ beautiful wisdom & love of home!!~ So Thankful she shares it all in her beautiful, meaningful books.~ The Spirit of Loveliness and Welcome Home are my favorites– they will always be remain on my shelves, close-by!~ *Thank YOU for sharing her wisdom & love of home, too.~ 🙂

  • Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis - So true! thanks for sharing these words. ~Melissa

  • Kelly - Oh yes! Wonderful! Hope your day today is lovely. Kelly

  • seriously sassy mama - As much as I like the quiet sometimes, I like the noise. My girls are 9,7, and 4. It is beginning to get really fun here at our house. I cannot wait to show them all the cool things I know about being a girl.

  • Tonya - Your home looks so warm and inviting. Like anyone could come in and feel at ease. Even with the noise and strife 🙂

  • tracy - Thank you! Thank you for that quote! It’s why I read this blog. It just hits home (no pun intended.) I have been stressing over how to decorate our new house and feeling as though I have been failing for not having things on the walls or everything organized in it’s proper place. Maybe I should just put this quote in big letters on our main family room wall … 🙂

  • jenny - love this!
    This is my heart too Ashley.
    A big part of our ministry as wives and mothers and most importantly, children of God, is making our home this and inviting others in.
    This is where our ministry takes place most of the time, especially in certain seasons. It is so important. It’s about being real and loving the people around you.
    So many times, we think hospitality means having a perfectly decorated home with every kind of baked good presented on the prettiest of plates. That’s all well and good, but that’s not the heart of hospitality. The heart of it is exactly what you shared.

  • Jody Carr - I too needed to hear this. I get so caught up in wanted to create a nice house that I stress too much about what others think! The important ones are the 5 precious children and husband who matter more! Thank you for speaking to my heart today!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - I love this quote. Everytime my daughter tries something new, maybe doing things I would rather her not do and that I’m not entirely comfortable with, I remind myself she only has that confidence to do things because we have provided a safe and supportive environment for her. Home should be the place where she can just “be” and express who she is.

  • janine - I love this post, the quote, the photography, the sentiment! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Amy - I love it! That quote is perfect and exactly what I want my home to be also.

  • carolina - Love the pictures. Both B&W, in the middle. You have a wonderful family. About noise, I missed it when kids are sleeping but I have very delicate ears so I prefer not too much.

  • Teresa - So very cozy. 🙂

  • Stefani - Perfect. Thank you. I needed just that quote today.

  • angela - I loved this so much.

    How do you make that collage? Is it a premade one that you drop photos into in photoshop? I love it!!

    I’m not sure if you’ll get to my question, but maybe someone else reading this can answer?

  • AshleyAnn - Angela – I made it in Photoshop, but I am sure there are free downloads online for something similar

  • Marisha - I love this post. What a beautiful quote! Real life…feeling free…and certainly NOT the absence of noise! Not with seven energetic kiddos! 🙂 Those are some of the most wonderful things about being home and being a family.

  • Christina C - Love this post, exactly what I want my home to be. Thank you for sharing that quote.

  • Alison - Love, love, love this quote! such a great reminder. Can I ask what you are reading right now that you came across it? I am looking for an inspirational book at the moment. Thanks 🙂

  • AshleyAnn - Alison – it is in the book A Spirit of Loveliness by Emilie Barnes

  • Jacci in Ohio - I agree! Much wisdom!

    And our home has strife, too… more than I would like, if I’m honest. But Emilie makes such a good point, and as I think about it, it really may be that our most profitable conversations and times of teaching really come out of and after the strife…

    Thank you for blessing me today!

  • laura - beautiful quote. thank you for sharing

  • Carol Shrader - Oh so precious! Thank you for sharing this, I loved every single word!

  • nela - Hello Ashley…. I don’t remember how i’ve dicovered you web site…. but I’m from Argentina, a south america country…. It took me one week to read your story, about your family, and the things you write.

    I’d like to tell you something about me, my mom and my dad weren’t able to have kids, that’s why mi sister and I are adopted… (i think that word is ok, my language is spanish)…. Im 30 years, my sister’s 35.

    And the reason i’m telling this is because yor husband and you make a really true love thing, you have adopted little one, every day you change her life, you give her the possibility of having a family, that’s why I have to say thank you… thank you for doing that thing. Thanks for giving her a life full of love, and laughs.

    I’m sorry for my bad english, you are in my favorites web sites.

  • Kristin - Just wanted to *thank you* for your posts, Ashley, and for sharing your days (with all their ups & downs). I always come away feeling inspired, awed at your creativity, talents & energy, and like I’ve just had a hug from a close friend. xo

  • Kirsten - Ashley,

    Have you seen the trailer for the documentary called “Stuck”? I am sure you probably have, I seem to always be a little behind the game on movies and things. But its about international adoptions, and their process…. it looks extremely provocative and I cried just watching the trailer.

    *Thanks for being a light through your blog!


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  • Our Home - […] bookmarked this quote on Ashley Ann's Under the Sycamore blog earlier this year and keep coming back to it. I pray our home is a refuge for our family and […]

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