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I love the view from my room at “The Nest.” I love the landscape…and the birds that nest in the rafters outside my window. I love the houses, the greenhouse, the people who make it home…and the privilege of sharing lessons we learn along the way. Here’s a little recap of some we learned in 2015, with links to the original Journal posts for those of you who may have missed them. Enjoy!

Home is the place in all the world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule.    ~ Frederick W. Robertson

We all long for this…more than a geographic place or structure. In all my years searching for a sense of home and belonging, I know now that it’s all about confiding hearts, people we can be sure of, acceptance and safety where tender hearts gush confidently and freely, without fear of rejection, misunderstanding, or ridicule.

Sometimes it’s our own internal geography that’s most harsh and unwelcoming to our tender hearts. We mistake tenderness for weakness, and become brutal judges of one of our best qualities. Hanging out with people who are at home with themselves is a great way to learn how to create a warm and tender spot inside our own hearts. One that makes us more inclined to want to come home to ourselves. It’s what life together in an ACTS community is all about.

Be patient, though…and realize there will always a space between admiring a quality in others and developing it in our own lives. It’s why we need that caring and compassionate spot inside ourselves. It’s why we need to let others into the process with us. I’ll be the first to admit how terrifying it can be initially, but then a wonderful thing happens. As we risk saying the unsayable, something breaks open inside and we realize we’ve never felt so relieved in our lives…or more free.

This is the beauty of vulnerability. And the power of it to break life-long patterns of shame. I love that! I love the opportunity we had recently to share what it’s like to live and learn and heal and grow together in an ACTS community. The artfully edited videos transformed our awkward-feeling interviews into beautiful accounts of what can happen when we allow our true selves to be known, accepted, and loved. Our stories are going to help those who hear them!

We stand on the brink of unlimited possibility and great promise in 2016, and I’m thankful for all the lessons we learned together in 2015. Sharing them with you from my bird’s eye view of  life at “The Nest” is one of my greatest joys, and we love extending the definition of home beyond the ACTS property in Elizabeth and onto the pages of the Journal.

Thanks for stopping by each week to read a new gush of words from my tender heart, and for joining us as we practice being our truest and best selves…and freely expressing who we are.