What My Grandma Taught Me About Creating a Haven

Growing up, my grandma taught me a lot about creating a haven for others. Here are five of her lessons…

Everyone longs for a haven. But when you’ve actually experienced one, it makes you crave one – and want to create one – even more.

I was blessed to grow up knowing the haven of my grandparents’ home. (Grandparents are wonderful, aren’t they!?)

While my grandparents must have been stretched raising seven children and caring for aging parents, I never noticed. Their home brimmed with people – and love.

My grandma’s loving smile and genuine concern helped welcome everyone. And it was her warmth and focus on others that mattered.

It didn’t matter that her home didn’t have the newest furniture that matched. It didn’t matter that gourmet food didn’t grace her table. It didn’t matter that her home wasn’t spotless.

What did matter is that she made the best of what she had.

Whenever we walked into her home, it wasn’t the belongings or furnishings that stood out. It was my grandma’s smile, her friendly greeting, her laugh, and her questions about your life that made you instantly feel valued, appreciated … and at home.

People were a priority for her. And whenever people were in her home (which was quite often), they were the focus … not housekeeping.

Growing up, my grandma taught me a lot about creating a haven for others. Here are five of her lessons...

5 Lessons My Grandma Taught Me About Creating a Haven

As haven creators, it can be so tempting to get caught up in the stuff of havens. Is my couch comfy enough? Do I have the most appetizing food in the cupboard? Does my home look clean enough?

Those aspects set the stage for a lovely home. Yet to create a haven, we’d all be wise to follow my grandma’s example:

  1. Smile. And smile a lot.
    A smile doesn’t cost you a thing, but it can brighten someone else’s day and set the tone.
  2. Have a friendly greeting for everyone who enters your home.
    Be sure to welcome people – whether they’re guests or they live with you every day – whenever they come to your home.
  3. Laugh. And laugh often.
    Life’s too short to take everything so seriously. Lighten up a little! Laughter will make things better.
  4. Be genuinely concerned about others and ask thoughtful questions about their lives.
    It’s not always easy to think about others first. But try to show a genuine interest. Ask deep (and shallow!) questions to find out more. Invest yourself in someone else’s life.
  5. Make people the priority. Not things. And not housekeeping.
    It’s hard to NOT focus on what’s in your home when you think about creating a haven. But at the very heart of a haven is people. When you make time for relationships and forget about the stuff around your home, you create a loving place where people feel welcomed and wanted.

With the warmth of these simple personal touches, you can transform any place into a haven. Just like my grandma did.

When it comes to creating a haven, what lessons have you learned from your parents or grandparents?

Need peace?

If you focus on all the messiness of life, it can be easy to believe that peace is elusive, if not impossible.

Yet you can experience peace in the middle of any situation. Really! Over the next week, Hilary Bernstein will email you each morning with a Bible verse about peace, a brief devotional to help you hide it in your heart, and a printable Bible verse.
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  1. Am happy with what her grandma taught her. It related to my mothers life huree.

  2. H ow fortunate for you to have such a wonderful grandmother and to get to spend so much time with grandparents. I did not get that in my growing up years, and have always envied those who have. Thank you for sharing this. It is truly a blessing.

  3. What a wonderful reminder to focus our efforts on what Jesus did—-loving others! Thank you!

  4. My gramma died when I was 12 and she and my grandpa didn’t have much but I always loved going there because I truly felt loved there. It wasn’t what we ate or the surroundings, it was her. I have so gotten caught up in the material things and have forgotten how that lovely haven felt. At 70, I would like for my family to have those memories of me so haven building is gonna be my top priority????

    1. Amen! We’ll all try together and hope our little corner of the world is happier because we cared.

  5. The simplicity of this type of hospitality is so easily overlooked. It’s not necessarily EASY, but it is SIMPLE. Love Jesus, love others. It’s outward focus instead of inward. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thank you for this. With all of the social media these days, women tend to feel pressured about clean houses, all furnished and decorated from a magazine, but what it is really all about is being yourself, opening your home to others and just being there. Its not hard but for many there is to much of an emotional risk to do it. That is sad. Thank you again for reminding me to just be.

  7. With dysfunctional parents, I treasured Sunday dinners with my grandparents. I learned selflessness, gardening, cooking, sewing and art from Granny. She was my soft place to fall and I miss her. I’m so grateful for her in my life. Thank you for your lovely piece of “Haven” pie.

  8. My grandmother was my mentor and one of my best friends. She always welcomed family and friends. She taught me how to make pies and she always loved me for who I was. I miss her terribly and I wish that I could speak to her now. She ran the house, she fed workers and her family. She confided in me and told me things I was sure she had not told anyone else about her life, her losses and her dreams. I spent so much time with her when I was young she was like a second mother to me. I will cherish my memories.
    She was still planting a garden when she was in her sixties. Now that I am in my sixties I realize how wonderful that was.

  9. Thank you Hilary, You have put into words things I have been thinking of for my home, Yet when I look around, I realize I was looking for things to make it happen when I already have all I need. Thanks to God! I just didn’t realize it. I know I can do even more to foster this. God Bless you for sharing this! E.

  10. My Nannie was a true blessing in my life.
    She taught many lessons of cooking as a form of love and caring. Up until she was 100, there was always someone in town she delivered a
    Homemade pie to every Saturday. A gift from the heart.
    At least twice a month she prepared a delicious
    Meal on Sundays.

  11. Lovey your testimony, of a great example your grandmother was. I had a grandmother just like yours! She was so talented, funny, hard working, great cook, seamstress, artist and a sweet and loving person. She was my inspiration as a wife, homemaker, and mother, and friend. She was my yard stick to measure what I could become. I wanted to be just like her, and I think I am. Thank you for reminding me of how Blessed by God to have had such wonderful examples in our lives. Gone now but never forgotten….
    I am now a 70 year old Grand Mother of two sweet boys 10 and 12, what a gift.

  12. I could have written that post. You described my grandma to the letter. Behind the haven she created, was her deep faith. Sharing her faith with her family was the best gift she gave to each of us.

  13. In my grandparents house, one of the things that still stands out to me is that there was always an encouragement to pursue interests and passions and creativity. Plus a healthy dose of diy stubbornness to make do and mend. So there were always projects going on. And no matter what your interests, everyone was encouraged to do their thing. In a neurodiverse family, that meant books and magazines everywhere and cookbooks and car manuals and craft projects and art supplies and comic books and model cars… Sometimes it was absolute chaos, but everyone felt their interests and passions were accepted and nurtured.

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