Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy House Warming by Missy Tippens

We are so excited to have inspirational romance and southern fiction writer Missy Tippens visiting with us today. Missy is a very busy woman! Not only is she a fabulous author, she is a wife, mother of three, owner of two dogs and a cat, owns a home-based business, and until recently an anatomy and physiology professor at a local college. How she does it all we have no idea! So without further ado, please give Missy a very warm welcome.

Congratulations on the launch of your wonderful new site! I’m excited to be part of the house warming celebration this week. And in honor of that, I thought it would be fun to talk about homey things—things that make a house a home. Especially for this holiday season.

Number one for me is familiar scents. I love the smell of home! And the smell of my parents’ home. And even though it’s been 20 years since she died, I remember the smell of my grandmother’s house. I love the familiar, but I also love to do special holiday fragrances. Pine, candied apple, gingerbread, vanilla, pumpkin… I enjoy setting out candles and essential oil burners. I love to put on a pot of spiced apple cider and have it warming when guests arrive. Yum!

Peace and security are another two biggies for me. I want to know that my home is a place where my children and their friends feel safe. Where we all feel comforted and loved. Sometimes that means turning off the TV (or music or video games or the computer or cell phones—which is not an easy feat with teenagers!) and making sure we all sit down for dinner. Or that we spend some time talking. It means dealing with conflict constructively and peacefully. It means leaving work…well, at work! It sometimes means letting the answering machine pick up during a meal or while doing something special together. It even means telling a teenager he/she can’t text for a while! The world can wear on us and tear us down. Home should be a place to be built up, recharged. A place to feel good being ourselves. I want our home to be a healthy, happy place!

Home is where we can express ourselves. I’m not big on decorating. It’s just not my thing, plus, it can get expensive. But my daughter is getting to the age where she wants to express herself more. And my oldest started doing it long ago with posters and his own art work on the walls. I like those simple things. My refrigerator is covered with the kids’ artwork from way back to pre-school. Family photos spanning several generations fill the shelves of our family room. I love comfortable, casual furniture. Others like beautiful antiques. No matter our style, it’s nice to have a place that fits us and is like sliding into comfy slippers when we come home.

When I think of home, I always think of food. I’m not sure if this is a totally good thing or not! :) But goodness, is there a time for food any bigger than Thanksgiving? My grandmother, and now my mother, always showed love in preparing a huge Thanksgiving feast. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole, asparagus casserole, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce, cranberry Jell-O salad, pecan pie, pumpkin pie… When I go home to Kentucky for a visit, my parents always want to feed us. My dad plans a menu ahead of time, then he buys all the groceries. Then he and my mom cook the meals we love best, all our favorites. It shows us love. And I hope I do the same for my children. Even someone who’s not a good cook can show love through creating memories, through starting family traditions.

I hope you’ve felt a sense of homeyness today! I tried to create that in my new release from Steeple Hill Love Inspired, A Forever Christmas. Check out Buffie's review here. I just love doing stories about returning home, about reunions with former loves. I’ll be giving away a copy of A Forever Christmas today in a drawing from among those who leave a comment!

Will you share some of the things that make a house a home for you?


  1. Hi :)
    Thank you for taking the time to post here Missy. I really enjoyed reading it. I could practically walk into the picture you word-painted of home.
    Home for me is anywhere I and my children are together.
    All the best,

  2. Missy, I am so happy that you are with us today. Love the post!

    There are so many things that make our house a home, but I would have to say the best thing is the sound of my children's laughter. When they giggle it brings a huge smile to my face.

    I love that you mention your grandmother's home. I sure do miss my grandma. She has been gone for almost 13 years now. But I can still remember and the smell of a freshly baked pie lingering in her home. And also the scent of the face powder she used. Sure do miss her!

  3. Hello and welcome, Missy! Thanks for joining us today!

    Home is where my family is. As long as my husband and kids are there, I'm happy. I'm not big on decorating either and if you saw my house, you'd agree. I like simple things and for things to be simple -- comfy furniture and pictures of my family. That's what makes me happy. :)

    Buffie, I still remember the smell of my grandmother's face powder, too! Mine has been gone for 6 years on Christmas Eve and I miss her like crazy.

  4. Missy, what a beautiful post! I haven't read your book (yet!) but Buffie's review already made it sound wonderful to me and now your post confirmed my suspicions - you've got a special way to write that makes others feel comfortable, if I might say so.

    I totally agree with the scent-thing. Can't stand smokers' homes, I feel like I can't breathe properly.

    Very important for me are laughter, warmth (the one for the mind, although for the body doesn't hurt, either) and the feeling of not being alone.

    My BFF's flat lacks all those things and I think that's very sad. She lives with her father and his girlfriend, whom she absolutely can't stand. It's a nice enough flat but there's absolutely no warmth or friendship or big love in it (she loves her father and he her, but he'd in a heartbad choose his girlfriend over his daughter, which is very sad). She comes visiting almost every weekend and always spends New Year with my mum, my sister and me because, well, we do have a real home.

    I always feel sorry for her but at the same time it lets me all the more appreciate what I have.

  5. I really enjoyed your post Missy! Scent is a big thing for me too. Certain smells mean home to me and nothing beats the smell of my parents house. Ican't describe it---but even my children know when soemthing has been at Omi and Pop's because it just smells like them.
    Since I am a military spouse, and we move often, home is not a house or a place for me,but the people who I am surrounded by--my husband, kids, family and friends who become family. Home is love, laughter, tears and the freedom to be yourself.

  6. What a lovely blog, Missy. Thank you for joining us today. I have your book on my tbr and look forward to making it part of my Christmas romance reading.

    They've both been gone for more than 25 years but the aroma of swiss steak always makes me think of my mom and the smell of baking sugar cookies takes me right back to my grandma's kitchen.

    I must be a bit of a gypsy at heart because I can pick up and move to a new town with no problem. My favorite items and most precious memories go right along with me and, in no time at all, the new house has been transformed into my cozy, comfy home - ready to welcome family and friends, new and old!

  7. Hello ^^ Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us.

    I would have to say the things that make a house a home are those thing you know you miss if you left. For me it's my animals, talking to family, and having a place to call your own.

  8. Andrea, it is too funny that we both remember the smell of face powder.

    LisaK, yes laughter is a wonderful thing to have in a home. And I believe it is a must in any home.

    Cyndi, I think it is wonderful that your children can tell if something has been at Omi & Pop's house. Such a sweet thing!

    PJ, making any house a home is a wonderful talent. My mother has a talent for that too. We moved a lot when I was a child and I have fond memories of every single home.

  9. Hi, Missy. I read AFC earlier this week and liked it.
    Home to me I love my house, but enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, my parents, sisters, and their families.
    I love the sounds, aromas, and decorations of Christmas. It is my fave holiday. The wonder of His birth should be celebrated throughout the enitre year, but Christmas is a very special time indeed.

  10. Missy, what a wonderful blog! You paint a very vivid picture of a warm welcoming home.

    For me, home is where my family is. Having been a Navy spouse for 21 years, moving was normal for us. So home was not so much about a place as it was about people--my family and friends. Cyndi knows the saying: Home is wherever the Navy sends you. :)

    Smells trigger so many memories for me. Scented candles and certain perfume scents remind me of my mother-in-law. And I think one of the sweetest scents in the world is the smell of the top of a baby's head. Nothing like it. :)

  11. What a great blog leading into the holiday season, Missy!

    One of the many things I love about the Thanksgiving-Christmas holidays is using my grandmother's recipes. They make me feel connected to her and to my mother. The ten-year-old grand already begs to help in the kitchen, and so I dream too that one day she'll pass the recipes on to her daughters and granddaughters.

    My favorite definition of home is from Robert Frost's "Death of the Hired man": "something you somehow haven't to deserve." Unconditional love and that comforting sense of belonging--that's home to me.

  12. RK, I agree! Time together is more important than any setting. :)

    Buffie, the sound of laughter is wonderful! Sometimes when we're all sitting around laughing about something, it warms me to my toes! :)

    I also remember the smell of my grandmother's face powder!! I just mentioned that the other day when friend commented on her blog that she remembers Coty facepowder on her grandmother. I think that's the kind my granmother used too. :)

  13. Andrea, it sounds like our houses may be very similar! I just hope you're not a pack rat like I am. :)

    Wow on the face powder! I wonder if all grannies wore Coty. I know the box mine used had the almost leopard spot box. I'll have to search online and see if it's Coty that looks like that. :)

  14. Lisa, you're right. There's something so homey about companionship, warmth, and security. I'm so glad you, your sister and mom are generous to share with your friend!

  15. Cyndi,

    I love what you said about home not being just a house or place. Even when moving around a lot, you can still have that sense of home. It's the people and the love shared!

    I wore an outfit recently that my mother had given me. She'd bought it, worn it, then passed it to me when the pants shrank and got too short for her. As soon as I put it on, it hit me that is smelled like "home"! It was the fabric softener--Snuggle. I walked up to my kids and said smell my clothes. What does it remind you of? And they both immediately said Mamaw and Papaw's house! :)

  16. Thanks for sharing your story, PJ! Isn't scent amazing. :) And so specific. Swiss steak and sugar cookies. Wow. It just goes to show what creating traditions and memories can do, years down the road.

  17. Jedisakora,

    So true! Pets and that special place to call our important to feeling at home.

    It's going to be tough going to my parents' home next time we go. They had to have one of their old dogs put to sleep recently, and I just can't imagine going there and Ebby not being there!

  18. Thanks, Deb! I'm so glad you liked it. :)

  19. Oh, Gannon, I so agree about the top of a baby's head!! There's nothing like that. I just can't wait for grandbabies someday!! :)

  20. Janga, thanks for mentioning cooking together! That's such a wonderful tradition. Something your kids and grandkids will always remember. And I bet they will pass it down!

  21. Great blog, Missy!

    Coming from a large family, being around family is what makes a house a home. I love that you make your teens turn off everything for dinner. We do the same thing. And we even eat in the dining room on Sundays.

    We've recently started a new tradition that every Sunday one of us gets to pick out the dinner. Then we all have to help cook. I was really surprised at how much my 17 yr old son enjoys it.

    And while I love scented candles, they drive my husband crazy. I love cinnamon and spicy scents.

  22. Oh, Christie, I love, LOVE the idea of having everyone pitch in to cook a meal each week!! I've always worked with my kids to make sure they can cook (since my poor hubby is clueless in the kitchen). But I love the idea of it being a family activity. And a relief to this tired mom! :)

    Thanks for sharing.

  23. Hey Christie! Great idea -- family cooking. We do that every now and then, but maybe we should make it more regular. Both of my children love to help in the kitchen.

  24. I just got home and decide to look around the house and see what I think makes it a home (other than the people living it).

    I have come to one conclusion. Memories are what make a house a home.

    Our home is filled with pictures, and all of those pictures bring back wonderful memories -- when the kids were cute little babies, wedding pictures of the hubby and me, travel pictures, and I even have a table of pictures of people who are no longer with us. My kids know about their great grandparents by seeing these pictures and asking questions.

  25. What a wonderful post home for me is where I feel comfortable and I am sure my children and grandchildren do as well.

    I am about to start baking another Christmas cake soon and I love the smell of a cake in the oven.
    It is going to be really hot here in Australia again today so the AC will be on again while the cake cooks.

    Congrats on the new release Missy I love Christmas stories.

    have Fun

  26. Buffie, yes, memories are so important!

    Helen, I have a friend in Australia who was saying they had a record high temp this week! It amazes me to think of you all having summer! :)

  27. Christie, my 17 year old son helped me make a new Indian meal about a month ago. It was really sweet. My 10 year old daughter likes to help with cookies and my 13 year old son likes to lick the spoon from the cake batter. :-D

  28. Missy: {So true! Pets and that special place to call our important to feeling at home.

    It's going to be tough going to my parents' home next time we go. They had to have one of their old dogs put to sleep recently, and I just can't imagine going there and Ebby not being there! }

    I agree. Pets make homes so welcoming and loving. You can always count on a animal to be glad you came home even if no-else seems to think so. I also can sympathize with you on Ebby not being around. We lost our three Shiz Tzu's to old age, a stroke, and cancer this year. It's going to be weird not to have them around for the holidays.

  29. Ah good. I didn't miss the party.

    What makes a house a home?

    I'd have to say that a lot of it is memories.
    My parents recently moved, and their new house doesn't feel quite like home, because I don't have any memories there.

    Another big one is like you said is Scents. I was walking in our local mall the other day and an older lady walked by wearing the same perfume that my Grandma used to wear. Even though I didn't know the lady walking by, I felt comforted and was filled with memories of my Grandma.

  30. Dorothy, glad you made the party! :)

    My parents moved a few years after I got married. It took a while for it to feel like home for me. Just a couple of holidays there and it started to change, to feel like I was going home when I pulled in the driveway. :)

  31. Missy, thanks so much for being with us today and sharing your thoughts on what makes a house a home!

  32. I've enjoyed today! Thanks for having me for the celebration.

  33. Thanks so much for visiting with us, Missy!!

  34. Oh Missy, so sorry I've missed this post. Really enjoyed it though ! Congrats on your new release !!
    Nothing can bring together people better than a delicous feast. Home is where the people you love the most are. I've been slaving myself in the kutchen for my family and a few friends all day... and I'm sure we'll have a blast ;-)

  35. Hey Missy! I LOVE this post. I agree on the scents and fragrances making me feel more a part of my home. I'm a huge candle person and flock to the new scents each year.

    I can't wait to read your new book! Great job!


  36. Emmanuelle, I hope you ended up having a great time and enjoying your labors. :)

    Thanks, Tami!! I love fragrances, too. I head into Bath & Body Words and can spend an hour! :)