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Making a Home for Memories

We held my brother Casey’s memorial service this weekend. People from across our lives and across the country gathered together: some who knew and loved my brother and some who never met him but came anyway to say with their actions that they cared. Each person in each pew formed a harmony of love and support for my family.

I’d never been in the sanctuary of the Methodist church where we held the service, where for months my brother attended and played his bass guitar in the band. But as the music played and the service started, I imagined what he must have looked like Sunday after Sunday there on the stage, guitar in hand, an overwhelming smile on his face because there was nothing he would’ve enjoyed more than strumming the bass line of a worship song on a stage.
methodist church sanctuary
A simple melody, familiar from my childhood, played over the loudspeaker while that place, that stage, and the scratchy fabric of the pew beneath me imprinted on my memory.

The scenery there became the backdrop for this pivotal moment in our lives.

I thought about this, and about home, after the service when our family and friends moved from the church to our house.

In a frenzy the night before, we had corralled the plastic toys and tiny trains, dusted the bookshelves and finally cleaned that annoying grimy spot on the baseboard by the front door. I brought down all our occasional chairs and set them throughout the downstairs so these could be the places where we might talk about Casey, or talk about nothing, or just be together in this time.


…how we work to make our homes beautiful and comfortable for moments like these… to be a place where the people most important to us can gather in a circle, with carefully balanced paper plates full of comfort food in hand, to pray that we would dwell in the peace that passes understanding.

I thought how glad I was that we’d chosen the cushioned upholstered dining chairs so we could linger over coffee and fried chicken until everything that needed to be said had been said, without cutting short the words because the seats were too hard.


I thought about how a carefully considered kitchen layout can facilitate the plating of mashed potatoes donated by friends who voiced their love with food when words just wouldn’t do.

How fresh sheets and blackout curtains in the guest room say to our friends that we’re thankful they’re here, that their comfort matters to us, that there’s always a place for them in our homes and in our lives.

I thought about how…


I thought about my favorite accessories in every room: the mingled laughter of family and friends, the making of memories, the heart-to-hearts, the faces we love but don’t see enough. These things bring life to a room that no trendy fabric or carefully placed vignette ever could.

This is why we work on our homes

…because our scenery becomes the backdrop of times like this; because a cushioned chair opens up the hours for words of comfort.

And as I thought about places, I considered my brother and his place in the world, how in order to remember him we had to talk about the Jesus he loved. Not because anyone wanted to attend a “religious” service; not because anyone wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to convert someone to their way of thinking; not because that’s just what you do to feel better when grief muddies the days. But because this is the way Casey lived, and you wouldn’t be talking about his life if you didn’t acknowledge what fueled him.

And I felt so thankful.

And I am so thankful for all of you. For giving me the grace to step away. For caring about us. For taking the time to write a comment or message to say that you were thinking about us or praying for us or just that you were sorry.

I’m thankful that whether we’ve met in real life or not, we can be connected. We can share each other’s grief and share each other’s joy across miles or continents via words on the internet. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support.

Let's connect


  1. What a beautiful post. “Homemaking isn’t about the home — it’s about the people in it.” Love it. Continuing to pray for you!

  2. Kelly,

    God bless you. I sat on my front porch this morning with the Lord inquiring how to start my week. There is always so much to be done. A meal for a friend having surgery today (now I need to learn about ‘gluten free”) my circle group finalizing our plans for an outreach ministry day for a woman’s rehabilitation “Day of Blessing”, All of the vents in my house that need to be cleaned and the box of new ones I need to install.

    My husband is taking his last test today for an Alzheimer’s diagnosis that will multiply my ‘to do list’ exponentially. BUT GOD
    in His infinite wisdom gave me a new friend who loves the blessing of her home in a way that is felt with the heart. And a confirmation of why I kill myself to make it the place I do.

    I thought of you so much last week in your loss and trial. Never once did I think about the place all would go for that time together – I guess I knew in my spirit God had gone before – as He does – to prepare a place – made home by loving hands.

    Thank you.
    Liz Sloop

  3. Beautifully said Kelly. You are so right, this is why we make our homes the way we do. I’ve been thinking of you this past week, I’ll be thinking of you this week as well. Prayers and Hugs.

  4. what a beautifully written and SO true post. i am so glad you were able to gather with friends and family in solidarity. i’ve been thinking about you so much, kelly. you and your family are in my heart, and i have been praying for you. for what it’s worth, just know that we all care so much about you.

  5. This was a wonderful reminder for me. I’m sometimes so engrossed in my projects that I forget exactly why I feel so strongly about making my own little corner of the world. The feeling is there, but you have articulated it exactly. Thank you for the reminder, and thank you for sharing something like this with us. In my thoughts this week.

  6. This is such a beautiful post, Kelly. We all need to step back and reconsider what our homemaking is for while we are on that frenzied quest for perfection. That’s not what its about underneath it all…it’s about family and moments like these where you have a beautiful and wonderful home to host everyone during a time of need. thinking about you all.

  7. You have been on my heart and in my prayers every day since I heard. I’m so sorry for your loss and for the hole that I know he must leave in all of your lives. I’m so thankful that He knew the Lord and is with Him now. I will continue to pray for you and your family throughout the weeks and months to come.

  8. What an insightful reflection you’ve made about how all the care and attention you’ve given creating your lovely home came together in that one gathering, how it all makes sense. I’m so glad that you and your family and friends could be warmed by the comfort of your home on such a sad occasion and that your home will offer the same welcome for future gatherings and happier times to come.
    Your brother looks and sounds like he was a really lovely guy.
    Take care and I shall be thinking of you xx

  9. Lovely thoughts about home and family. I’m so sorry you lost your brother. I hope warm memories help ease the pain.

  10. Beautiful Kelly. Sometimes it seems like we become so obsessed with making our homes beautiful but what isn’t said is that it’s for the people we want to share our home with. A place to be comfortable and connect. Good for you for being able to see this during such a terrible time.

  11. Kelly,
    I’ve thought about you quite often after reading your last post. I’m very sorry that you’re in the “I visit my sibling in a cemetary” club. My husband and I are both members. It’s a really sucky club to be in. I will pray for you over the next year as to me, that was the hardest. Please take care of you!

  12. Sweet Kelly,
    Sending you love and prayers at a time when words fall short.

  13. Beautifully and perfectly said. Will continue to send prayers your way..

  14. Oh Kelly – this was such a wonderful post. I loved every word of it and it really hit HOME. Which is exactly what I needed this morning. Love you and yours and still praying for you as well.

  15. Kelly, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you and your family. Thanks for sharing these thoughts on “home.” You are so right.

  16. Beautiful Kelly. I’m so very sorry for your loss and we will continue to pray for you and your family! I hope that you are comforted to know that you will see your brother again in heaven. <3

  17. So beautifully written, Kelly. Thanks for sharing your heart with us all. Once again, I’m so deeply sorry for your loss.


  18. So beautifully written it made me cry.

  19. What a beautiful post, Kelly … and even more beautiful perspective and tribute!! Been thinking of you a lot. xo

  20. You packed a lot of perspective in this post with your well chosen heartfelt words. I contemplated many of them when I was done.


  21. Amen. It _is_ this simple -home is for people in it. Thank you!

    My precious little brother passed away too soon and there always be a big hole in my life where he should have been, he is always in my heart. Thank you for your post and for dropping me a note a couple of months ago.

    Sending good wishes your way –


  22. Kelly you have been on my mind and in my heart so much this week. I’m praying for peace for your family during this difficult time. I’m so glad your home was able to be a gathering place for all of you to remember your brother.

  23. Kelly Kelly Kelly. I thought about you and your family so much since your post last week. You are so blessed knowing your brother is with the Lord now and that you’ll see him again. Still praying for you guys.

  24. Death sucks. I know this on a very personal level and the sad is very hard. Although, I don’t know you or your brother I’m so sorry for your loss.
    When my husband died unexpectedly I couldn’t imagine not having the memorial service at home. We were married at home, he died at home and we would celebrate and grieve at home. The kids could play and jump on the trampoline,the men could wear shorts or jeans, my son would be in his “brick house” and I knew without a doubt it was what my husband would have wanted.
    It took a little of bit of doing to make it all come together but by the grace of God and family it did happen and when I stood rearranging my spice cabinet and dusting off the top of my cabinets at 2am the morning before the service, I was so glad for my home…and the next night after everyone was gone–and I was overwhelmed with my grief and a 13 year olds grief…I could smell the goodness and love in my home sweet home.
    You honored your brother in such a special and thoughtful way. I hope your good memories and stories bring you comfort.
    Be well, Be blessed.

  25. Kelly, that was beautifully written, Your home is very COZY and Warm, the kinda home you can linger in for hours and not feel the time pass. I love you, Andy, Mila and of course our entertainer Weston. You have a wonderful Family and I am Proud to say your part of mine. I miss yall.

  26. Kelly,
    What a beautiful post. I was smiling and crying at the same time. You are so right…home is about comfort and love. Blessings to you and your family.

  27. Oh my, Kelly, I am so so sorry. Just now seeing about your brother… he sounds like a precious man of God & you’ve honored him well by honoring his Jesus.

    Weeping over your words here. You’ve said it all so beautifully. I pray that you & your family would truly sense that peace that passes understanding deeply. many prayers for you tonight,

  28. this post is one of the best perspectives I’ve ever read on interior decorating, it’s purpose in the grand scheme of the life God’s given us is to relate love to others, nothing more. May God bless you Kelly in this difficult time of grief and loss.

  29. Kelly, I’m just not getting caught up and saw your post. I’m so terribly sorry about Casey’s death. This post was so heartfelt and written with such love. Hang in there and thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    P.s. I am glad to count myself lucky to have been able to meet you IRL.

  30. What a beautiful post, Kelly. I’m sorry to hear about your brother. Thinking of you!

  31. Kelly,
    I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for this post. It really make me think about things in my home with a new level of intentionality. I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts.

  32. Kelly- what a beautiful post. I’m so happy that your home could be the home-base for those conversations that needed to happen, and that you helped all of us, put our homemaking work into perspective. Whether it’s for happy occasions or sad ones, you are right, it’s all about the people in our lives, not the “stuff” or the decor.

    Lots of love and prayers your way.


  33. I love this post, Kelly, but my heart breaks for the reason behind it. Words cannot express how much I feel for you and yours and the hole that has been left in your hearts. We know what it is to lose a sibling too soon… you and your babies now have a guardian angel looking after you.
    Much love and hugs,

  34. So sorry to hear about our brother – really positive post to make you consider some different angles. Thoughts with you and your family.

  35. Such an eloquent and touching reminder, Kelly. Thank you for this perspective. Thank you for sharing your heart, even when it is surely heavy with loss. Continuing to hold good thoughts for you and yours.

  36. I’m so sorry for your loss. Best wishes to you and yours.

  37. Kelly, you have such a beautiful perspective even at this difficult time in your life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently and for reminding us all why creating a home MATTERS.

    So very sorry for your loss, my friend.

  38. Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful post. It puts things into the right perspective. Prayers.

  39. A beautiful post, Kelly – I am deeply sorry for the loss of your brother.

  40. Your words are beautifully put. So very sorry for your loss, Kelly. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  41. Beautiful words Kelly, and sums up the meaning of home perfectly – we live in our homes not our houses, whether the windows need painting or the dust needs clearing, it is still our home and love should live there.

    You made me cry with these words as it made me think of my dear dad and how I miss him, but remember him in so many things in my mum’s home – the wardrobes he built, the kitchen he fitted – memories are there for the taking if you only look around you.

    Much love to you and your family at this sad time from far over the water – god bless x

  42. I am so sorry for your lose.

  43. Oh babe, I am just getting caught up on your blog and I read this touching, beautifully written post. My sincerest condolences for your loss. I couldn’t agree more with you – the house and the things in them is truly just a backdrop on the most important things: family, friends, those you love… you have a beautiful home and a beautiful heart. Sending big hugs across the miles xxx

  44. I had only found your blog a while back and my first visit was just magical for me as I really needed a pick me up that day and your entry was so humorous and wonderful I walked away with a smile and a full heart. I put your blog on my FAVORITES and vowed to make it habit however as life does it had it’s own ideas… so when I FINALLY got back here for the second time today I read all the way back to this post and again it was the thing I needed today. You are one of the most amazing people I’ve ever come across and I thank you for being you and sharing it with people. Please accept my sincerest condolances. Home can be a really great word can’t it?!?


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