There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like HomeJulie Brasington, also known as the Happy Home Fairy, is on a mission – Helping Moms Build Happy Homes. Julie is both a coveted guest at moms’ groups around Broward County and was also a 2013 Parents Magazine Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Julie’s blog encourages and equips moms with creative ideas to bless their families and inspires her readers to fulfill the purpose for which God has uniquely designed them.

On her popular blog, she refers to her husband of nearly 10 years, Ryan Brasington, who is the Worship Pastor at Rio Vista Community Church, as the “Happy Hubby.” Noah, four years old is known as the “Happy Buddy” and Jethro “Jet”, who just celebrated his first birthday, is the “Happy Baby.” At first glance, one might think that all in this family’s life is “magically happy.”

But a closer look reveals another story. Last Mother’s Day, Julie would have gladly traded her fairy wings for a pair of sparkly red shoes to kick her heels and magically transport her home. This time last year, Julie had spent weeks in the hospital at her newborn’s side, not knowing if or when he would come home. Baby Jet was being treated for everything from a fatal genetic disease, to a disabling infectious disease, to a muscle weakness called hypotonia, to a kidney condition called VUR, to a feeding disorder, and had surgery for a muscle biopsy and g-tube.

Julie did get her red shoes and a nurse noticed them right away and said with a smile, “You just click your heels together, darling, and you’ll all be home before you know it.” Nintey-six days after giving birth to Jet, her wish came true. But it was far more than a wish; it was a direct answer to prayers that thousands of believers had prayed.

In the midst of all this, Julie used her blog to include her followers in the faith story that unfolded. Her blog certainly has incredible ideas to create happy homes – but it also became a platform to display the work of God during a very unhappy time in the life of the Brasington family. Through Facebook links to her blog, Christians around the country, and even the world, supported this family through prayer and words of encouragement.

Often, social media is a tool for us to share the “perfect” moments of our days – birthday parties, dream vacations, date nights with a spouse, performances by our children, cute crafts or special activities we plan for our kids, or even the perfect lunch we have packed for them. None of these things are bad! But with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and no shortage of mommy blogs, mothers can easily become as depressed about their worth as they can by flipping through the pages of a fashion magazine.

Julie addresses this issue in one of her posts:

“Sometimes I read other blogs and everything just looks so happy and all-around awesome for that blogger – as if they never have to bribe their kids with M&Ms so that they will smile for a photo or that their marriage never hits a bump or that they never raise their voices at their children. This blog does not reveal everything that goes on in my world. I NEVER, EVER want this blog to be a place that stirs envy in my readers. I NEVER, EVER want my readers to walk away feeling some sort of emptiness because the enemy led you to believe that somehow I’ve got this thing called living all together.”

Being a mom has always been hard work, but now we live in a world of information overload with access to thousands of opinions with the click of a button. Two decades ago, a mother’s references for decisions were books, family and close friends. Today, there are countless avenues for people to state strong opinions as fact on what we feed our children, how we educate them, choosing discipline methods, making medical decisions, and working outside the home. How does a mom stand confident in her decisions when she is bombarded with such a vast marketplace of ideas? The sad verdict in the “mommy wars” is that everyone loses.

Could it be that the best decision for one family is quite different than the Lord’s plan for another? Do we believe that God is in control in spite of our mistakes and shortcomings? Can we trust our imperfections as parents to point our children to the perfect parent, their heavenly Father?

You’ll quickly notice that does have character shaped lunches, lots of fun crafts and cute printables, but Julie also stresses the importance of “keeping it real.” When asked if Julie actually does all the ideas she posts, this was her response:

“When I do get a spare minute to craft, either the Happy Buddy is at preschool or he is deciding that he doesn’t want to do any of the crafts I suggest. He’d rather just sit with a piece of paper, a glob of paint and a paintbrush. So, with all that said, NOPE – I definitely do not do all of the ideas I post. I like gathering a million different ideas and putting them all in one place with the hopes that as my buddies grow, I will have a constant source of inspiration whenever I may need it. Also, Happy Home Fairy celebrates the fact that every family is DIFFERENT. What works for some, may not work for others. And that is always changing as we start and end the various seasons of motherhood. Even though I love holidays and all the ideas I share on this site, I have noticed that a lot of our happiest Happy Home memories are not the holiday crafts or holiday decorations, or grand holiday traditions, but they are found in the tiniest little things in between the holiday magic (which don’t require a website for help). It’s when I snuggle my boys a little longer before bed, or read them an extra story, or take them on a long walk, or start a tickle fight, or randomly shout, ‘OH NO!’ in the house and then when I have everyone’s nervous attention I say, ‘Mommy loves you!’”

“Mommy loves you” – this is what our kids will need to remember. When our children are grown, they will probably not remember how organized or creative we were when they were little. What will stand out is the safeness they felt with us, the security they saw as we trusted the Lord day after day, and the unconditional love they could always depend on us to give them.

There is no place like home, but as Julie’s blog shows us – home is not always happy, especially when God asks you to surrender your newborn child to him. But through the Brasingtons’ journey, they trusted the only One who can bring joy into our homes in the midst of trials, and they shared God’s faithfulness with all who would listen. This is what sets apart – while being lighthearted and fun, Julie also shares her heart through the questions and struggles of life. Her brutal honesty is what moms are really looking for, as opposed to the perfect pictures and partial truths we often share online.

So moms, give yourself a gift this Mother’s Day and embrace who God has called you to be and create homes that point your children to him as he leads you. And remember, there’s no place like home, and there’s no home exactly like yours!

Would you like to meet the Happy Home Fairy in person? Rio Vista Community Church in Fort Lauderdale hosts “Moms on a Mission” the first Friday of each month during the school year and Julie does a segment called “Happy Home”. For more information on Jet’s progress, click on “Happy Baby Updates”.

Connecting online is a great resource for busy moms, but many churches also have gatherings designed to minister to moms. Check with your local church to see if they host a mom’s group or MOPS.

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