Home for the HolidaysI’ve heard James Taylor, Martin Sexton, and Sarah McLachlan sing their versions of “I’ll be Home for Christmas” over the past couple of days. It got me to thinking about just where my “home” is.

I was born and raised near where I live now in North Carolina. My parents divorced when I was in high school, sold the family home, and made respective spaces and lives for themselves.  No home there.  After getting married immediately upon graduating from college, I moved eleven times – and I mean states – in eighteen years of marriage.  No home there.

I recently sold my post marriage house.  I lived there for seven years, the first three with my two sons. I roamed around that huge four bedroom house by myself for four years.  When riding back through the neighborhood and by the house, it didn’t even feel anything remotely like “home” anymore.  I’m glad to no longer be there because nothing about it fits who I am now.  I’ve been in my new place all of a month.  It doesn’t feel like home yet either.

So, feeling kind of homeless, displaced, and unattached to any structural home has got me wondering just where home might be for me.  Home, I’ve determined, is not a physical place.  It’s a feeling.  It’s the comforting knowing and sense of calm and peace that I carry within me wherever I go and can tune into whenever I want no matter what the walls around me look like.  Home is a state of mind. Sometimes, I have to consciously remind myself of this thought and consciously go looking for my home.

The song goes, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.”

Pliny, a philosopher,  said, “Home is where the heart is.”

Emerson wrote, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

I wasn’t able to be with my two sons for Christmas this year.  My youngest told me that he didn’t even feel the need for us to see each other because he could feel the love and connection between us regardless of the distance or time.  So wise at thirteen-years-old.  Although it would have been nice to feel their skinny arms around my neck, I didn’t feel an insistent need either.  We are at home together always.

In 1995, my brother died on New Year’s Eve of AIDs.  For years, I missed him terribly, tortured myself with the memories of his sickness and death, and wondered desperately where in-the-heck he was.  Now, I meet him at home.

The physical circumstances of my life are always going to be in a never-ending state of flux.  That’s just the way life is.  I’ve learned not to be surprised by it anymore. Even when chaos is swirling around me, it’s nice to know I can always go home where it’s welcoming, loving, and safe.

BTW – I would change the saying to “Home is where the heart and brain are.” They kinda have to be in the same place, don’t they?

Happy New Year.  Make it a good one!  I plan to.


image credit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimjohnston/


  1. Judy M. Hampton Reply

    You are an amazing woman and I feel so fortunate to be your Mom!
    I know 2011 will be a wonderful year for you and well deserrved.
    Love you, bunches.

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Lets make it a great year for both of us! Looking forward to it!

  2. Debbie, as always you are an uplifting inspiration. Happy New Year to you! Thank you for being who you are and taking the time to share your insightful thoughts.

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Chris, thanks so much for the kind words. Blessings and all the best to you!

  3. Hi Debbie. Thank you. I certainly feel at Home on your blog site.

    You take care, and all the very best for 2011. Stephen

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Stephen, backatcha! I checked out your blog. Good stuff. Thank you for putting mine on your blogroll.

  4. Ande Waggener Reply

    Yes, I think the heart and brain are generally best hanging out together. 🙂 I think what you’ve figured out here is that home is where the energy is. Home is within. We plunk our physical selves here and there, but when we are in tune with the essence of ourselves, we’re home.

    Your energy is so warm and inviting that I felt at home with you immediately. So happy to have “met” you this year.

    I didn’t know you were in NC. I am attracting bundles of people from that state recently–many of them are subscribers of my blog, thejoyfulspringer.com (lots of dog lovers in your state). I find it interesting because my old roots are on your coast. I went to college and law school at William and Mary and my first husband and I honeymooned at Nags Head. And my current husband, Tim, moved here to be with me from Charlotte. What is it with NC? Hmmm. 🙂

    Ducky and Tim and I send you a heartfelt intention for a joyous 2011. Let’s keep growing together. 🙂

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      You are right. I think that I have discovered that the feeling of home, the love of my son, the essence of my brother…I connect with all of these within myself now. Unconsciously, we like things because of the way they make us feel, but the feeling is inside us the whole time. It is the energy these things evoke from us we find so pleasant. These things are just mirrors. Eureeka! Thinking out loud.

      Yes, there are lots of animal lovers in NC and some pretty awake, aware people. Also, still lots of “back assward” ones. I feel like I have the honor of being a catalyst for change here…even if I do not fit in most circles most of the time. 🙂

      Blessings to you!

  5. Hi Debbie,
    I was just surfing the internet and stumbled upon your blog.
    Very glad I did. Have a great 2011 and continue writing a very moving and informative blog.


    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Riley, thank you for stopping by and for the encouraging words. Make it a good year. I plan to!

  6. Debbie,

    I’m glad you are find a soft, gentle, warm space within to call home. In the end, we can never rely on anything external anyway! You are also a great inspiration to me. Happy New Year!

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Sandra Lee, much gratitude for the kind words and encouragement. I find you and your blog a wonderful source of information and inspiration as well. Thank you.

  7. Debbie,

    Thanks for this post. It is true home is found in different places and spaces. It’s not always a house with walls, windows and roof. I pleased that you found your own inner home:~)

    I remember one Christmas when I was going through a difficult time as my concept of “home” was dramatically changing. My eldest daughter had just left the country to work across the pond in England. My youngest was busy with her own school activities and I had recently separated from my husband of almost thirty years.

    I was angry and upset, but didn’t understand why at the time. It’s wasn’t the separation as that my decision and my youngest was willing to spend time with me, but I remember I felt totally annoyed about everything and everyone. I even refused to have a Christmas that year and spent it, instead, taking long walks with my dog and being totally alone.

    While you might think this is heading towards a sad story, it wasn’t. My Christmas gift that year was rediscovering myself. By isolating myself, I gave myself space to heal. My the end of the holidays, I was back at “home” inside me and I knew I could live in this inner home…’tho I confess I do still redecorate every once in awhile:~)

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Sara…I can relate. That is what I did this past Christmas. I spent it alone. Many people were sad for me. I was not. I enjoyed my solitude and my space and just the time to relax and exhale after a huge move. Just goes to show you, it is all in your attitude and approach. It does not have to look like a Norman Rockwell painting for it to be good. Glad you found your time that year to heal and nurture yourself. That is what is all about. Wonderful.

  8. Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad Reply

    I love you Debbie, you are a great addition to my ‘home’ life.

    • Aawww. Thanks, Marty!…..and back at you. It’s amazing how much our online friends can influence our lives, huh? Happy Holidays and warm wishes to the Napkin Dad!

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