My brother is arriving from Canada for an 8 week visit today. I haven’t seen him in a year and a half. We were always close growing up and we’ve remained close from a distance, as he lives in Toronto and I live in Wicklow. So, you can imagine the excitement in the house.

The last time my brother Jon was here, he was helping to refurbish the farmhouse that my husband and I bought. The whole place needed to be gutted as there was no central heating system. On top of that, we decided to take off the old plaster and point up the stonework that lay beneath it. This was Jon’s job. He spent days in the December rain chipping away at the plaster on the front of our house. Jon spent that Christmas with us; however, he had to leave before the house was habitable.

We have been living in the farmhouse for the last 6 years, but Jon hasn’t had a chance to come back. Instead, when we call and chat over the distance, he repeatedly expresses his disbelief that we live in that ‘kip’. In fact, he distinctively remembers the putrid odour of 250 year old soot that emanated from the ancient fireplace.


Fireplace Before

Last night, I was frantically trying to prepare the house for Jon’s arrival; almost as if I had to convince him that the house could be loved. I had a busy day yesterday. I worked and then spent 4 hours in the car between picking up kids from school and driving them to their football and piano practices. By the time I cooked dinner and cleaned up, I was VERY stressed for I wanted the house to be perfect for Jon’s arrival.


The Dining Room Before


The Dining Room After

I could feel the pressure mounting. I could feel and see the negative thoughts intruding… ‘This house is shit… I can’t keep it clean… blah blah blah’. At one point, I thought I was going to scream. And then, as if some fog lifted, I told myself to breathe. I sat down. I took a breath. In this moment, everything was fine. Enjoy the excitement. The reality was that my brother, who I love dearly, was coming to see me the next day. He was flying across the ocean to spend time with my family. What a blessing. My thoughts were replaced with feelings of happiness and joy.


My office space Before


My office space After

I want to be fully present for my brother. I do not want to be caught up in tormenting stories that I tell myself. I breathed in my discomfort, smiled and I took each job one at a time. As I hoovered my floor, I thought about my intention. My intention is to prepare my house for my brother’s long awaited and long anticipated visit. This was a time for celebration. A smile spread across my face as I worked, and love infused my moment.


Home is where the hearth is 🙂 Fire place After…

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