Home and Self Improvement


It’s been a little over two months since hurricane force winds heaved a tree into my home. We are still displaced, but are fortunate enough to be staying with my parents while construction continues.

This wasn’t the ideal time for us to be making major changes to our home, but the project wasn’t exactly planned. It’s winter, a challenging season for the work that must take place outdoors. Contractors and their tools and materials have invaded our living space. And having two little boys running and crawling around makes it impossible for us to inhabit our disheveled house.

Home improvement can be frustrating, but it can also be fun and uplifting. A new roof, new drywall, new paint, new floors, and a new view outside of our windows will be waiting for us when we return. It will be like having a brand new house. That is the bright side.

It’s a home makeover like the ones you see on TV, but we’re calling the shots. My husband and I decided that we were going to choose the fine details, like the colors for the walls and the wood grain for the floors, based on what we like, rather than on trends or principles of resale. Why redesign our house based on what works for someone else? We aren’t planning on selling any time soon, which means we will be living in the house, so we might as well enjoy our environment.

The same thing is true for improving ourselves. This time of year we are bombarded with commercials and TV shows for products and services that tie in to the most common New Year’s resolutions: lose weight, find that special someone, quit smoking, get a makeover, declutter, go to college, etc. Sometimes we need to do one or more of those things, but we have to do it in a way that works for us and at the right time (if we can help it).

Maybe you’re not ready for an extreme workout, but a yoga video might get you motivated. Maybe dating or learning online isn’t for you, but volunteering or registering at a community college is. Maybe you’ve just gone through a traumatic loss, and you aren’t ready to part with sentimental clothing or possessions. Wait until you are ready to heal. I will say, however, that this is a good time of year to quit smoking, since it’s so cold and dismal outside. But, how you do it depends on you. 

The changes you want to make to your life come from within. Coincidentally, it’s also where your spirit lies. Don’t forget to improve your connection with God on your quest for a better you. Pray for His guidance along your journey, and look and listen for His advice. He will tell us when to change. He will show us how. He will illuminate our path with gold coins so we keep going. 

It’s ironic that my house is on the same street as my church. Every Sunday when I go to Mass to strengthen my spirit, I stop by my home to check on the progress. The better it becomes on the inside, the better I become on the inside, too.


Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.