“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
It was a busy October filled with deadlines, meetings, personal matters, and errands. With the many things that took place in the past month, it was good to rest, take a step back, and get away from the city.
The invite from Avida Land came as a quiet relief and the offer to join a select few to the second run of Southern Living in the famous Balay Dako in Tagaytay under influential online personality Martine de Luna was an exciting prospect.
As a newlywed, I would be the first to admit that I am not yet the best homemaker. Southern Living is a workshop that enables participants to slow down and appreciate the possibilities that are at home. It also encouraged creating meaningful get-togethers with loved ones through its practical Home Gathering workshop that taught participants that they didn’t need a lot to make home gatherings memorable.
For someone who spends most of her days caught in between fastfood chains and her work cubicle, the thought of having to fix up the home and invite guests felt like an intimidating concept. While it initially felt like it was going to be another home decorating workshop, what made it different was the fact that Martine, along with event stylist Maricel Mendoza, spoke about the significance of making a house a home, no matter how big or small it was.
Said Martine, “Even if it’s just a starter home, you can still make it a significant one.” She and Maricel then proceeded to explain how important it was to be kind to your home and to make it beautiful even if you had no guests around, “Treat your family as guests.” They then proceeded to let us in on their trade secrets on how to beautify a home without having much. They also indulged us in a few DIY (do it yourself) trips but the grand takeaway from me was the truth that while you may not be starting out with much, you can do more than enough with what you have. It reminded me of being content and appreciating what you have at the moment while waiting for the best that is to come.
Martine was quick to say that opening your home to others brings bright blessings. She noted that the home doesn’t have to be extravagant but simply open to all.
As a young child, Martine experienced welcoming guests from all walks of life because her mother always opened their home to maltreated OFW workers back when they lived in Hong Kong. It was during this period that she learned how impactful it was to open one’s home and make everyone feel welcome. She went on to say that it didn’t need to be big celebrations, “You just have to be open to the many possibilities and be open. This is really what makes your house a home.”
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