I am becoming increasingly worried that Santa is spending so much time sitting around making lists. When is he going to get down to the serious work of making everything in that workshop of his?

by Stephanie Hansen
Worth Works


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presented by Stephanie Hansen

I ran away from home again yesterday. In the middle of cleaning the kitchen sink, I set down the brush, went up to change into nicer clothes, put on coat and scarf, checked to make sure I had my wallet and skedaddled. I went for a long walk into the next town whereupon my efforts at exercising were promptly rewarded with a chocolate eclair. I counted fifteen dollars in my wallet and headed for the warehouse-sized dollar store. Among other things, I bought a small unpainted curio cabinet in the shape of a house. The house has fourteen compartments of varying sizes and shapes. The project is to fill the house I bought with things that reflect my definition of "Home" in order to help me identify what is missing and ill-fitting in the home I have.

Mulling it over brought me back to the ugly, empty apartment that was truly my first home. Slowly, I filled that home with colour, light, texture, scent, spice, laughter, questions, knowledge, faith, rules that were meant to be broken, and lines that were never to be crossed. I couldn't afford anything else, and I couldn't afford anything less. Into the largest compartment in my model home, I will put laughter. Into the other compartment of equal size, I will put faith. Faith, for a couple of reasons, will be symbolised by mustard seeds. The space for knowledge will be symbolised by books. The room to grow will be symbolised by a blank white compartment...for what may come. Into the middle, of course, I will put myself. Be cautioned not to forget to make a place for yourself in your own home. Risk will be symbolised by spices...probably cloves, peppercorns and cumin seeds. Pleasure will be something sweet. That leaves seven more.

Colour and light take me down to five, and a well-placed question mark to remind me to keep my heart open to what I do not yet know will leave me with four more choices. I have thought of adding my husband and stepchildren, but they cannot be my defintion of home since I was home before I with them.

Whether or not this may sound negative, in my home, there must be a dark empty place to symbolise stillness...of mind, spirit, body...a place where I can withdraw from the pressures and the cares of the world when they will not withdraw from me. Now three. There must be lines...boundaries. I tend to forget them. Two. Something soft. I'm too young to be this old and my body has aches that will not cease and desist until I lay on something soft.

If I don't take the time to relieve the chronic aches and the tension they cause, it all spreads into my mind and emotions eventually affecting and infecting motives. Unattended tensions become spiritual maladies. I will be certain to have somewhere soft to rest. What, then, belongs in the final empty place in my home to make it "my home"? I don't know. Honestly, I don't. If I did, I would already have the perfect home ideally suited to Steph. The unclaimed space in the corner must belong to whatever I'm running away from or to.

There are more definitions of home than I can count. To me, home is that place where we are welcomed and respected by all, and protected from all others. I lived alone for quite a while in order to give myself a home by that definition. Home, to many, is not a dwelling, but a feeling that dwells in us. No...home does not take risks. LOL (couldn't resist) Home is a destination, but if we are open-minded and honest about it, we probably can't point to it on a map. Home is wherever we go to nourish and fortify our will to keep living. It can also be said that home is not where, but how we live. Others, still, say that their home is wherever their family is. I understand and accept every defintion, but there is only one definition of home for Steph. What is yours? Can you draw a picture? Can you symbolise the home as a whole, or in parts, as I have?

I sincerely pray that we may all go home for the holidays.

Stephanie Hansen
Worth Works Studio


1. Find a house like the one Stephanie Hansen, from Worth Works, used and work on creating your ideal home.

2. Go to your visual journal and make a page that speaks of home and place. Think of circles within circles and explore your place in the world; within your country; within your region, within your city; within your neighbourhood; within your own fence line; within your four walls. Focus on one of these and create a collage about place.

3. Make a special place for your writing or art. You could store art or writing supplies in the little house that Stephanie used.

3. Explore the meaning of the word home

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