Dulce Domum*

Dulce Domum*

by Cathee Poulsen

“…she let herself sink ever deeper into that summer, luxuriating in the beauty of the place…In a place of sadness, she chose joy, finding the beauty once again, even amidst the pain and the anguish.”  ~Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy

How many times over the past months have you and I complained about being “stuck at home”? And have we even bothered to remind each other that “our times are in his hands”?

Are they?

If that is true, I remind myself that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. Sweetly at home. Realizing things about home that make it a dear place to be in the midst of this hoo-ha, this disturbance which is beginning to wear us thin.

I’ve heard it said that every story is either about leaving from or coming back home. Home is one of the oldest themes in history and for certain central to the story of the Hebrews’ pilgrimage. And in literature — whether The Wizard of Oz,  Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Homer — coming back to the refuge and safety of home is always our deepest desire.

“Frodo was now safe in the Last Homely House east of the Sea. That house was, as Bilbo had long ago reported, ‘a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all’. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.” ~Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Take Joy in Simplicity

I have to say I’ve rather enjoyed the seclusion of my home. Simplicity Cottage has been a place of restoration and renewal for many a weary traveler over the years. It is what we’ve wanted our home to be. And it has nurtured us through these challenging weeks.

Like you, I’ve decluttered closets, painted tired old pieces that needed a refresh, rearranged furniture and dumped out unneeded items.

One of my best finds was a new Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap (I’m a huge fan) with the summer fragrance, Fresh Cut Grass. Love at first whiff.

I ventured out and made a batch of Mango Jalapeño Pepper Jelly and was so proud of the outcome. The last time I made jelly was 50 years ago in N.C. when I tried grape jam that turned out like purple taffy. Buddy loved it and talks about it to this day.


I’ve listened to many podcasts and taken Frank Viola’s Master Classes to sharpen my understanding of the Kingdom and God’s Ultimate Purpose. And I’ve read copious amounts of Commander Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny. I’ve been anything but bored.

Don’t Demand Conclusions

“The last few years have taught me to suspend my desire for a conclusion, to assume that nothing is static and that renegotiation will be perpetual, to hope primarily that little truths will keep emerging in time. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

That quote appeared in Real Simple magazine and the words seemed wise enough to pass on to you. None of us enjoy uncertainty and we’re swallowed up in it now. We long for a conclusion but just maybe these times are to teach us that things are, and will be, continually shifting, changing. We are learning to trust God in whole new ways.

The night of doubt that assails us right now demands a stronger faith than has been required previously. But that resulting faith is far more valuable to us than a faith that’s never been tested.

“Hitherto the Herb of Grace had been to them a summer home; they had known it only permeated with sun and light, flower-scented, windows and doors open wide. But now doors were shut, curtains drawn to hide the sad, grey dusk. Instead of the lap of the water against the river wall they heard the whisper of the flames, and instead of the flowers in the garden they smelt the roasting chestnuts, burning apple logs, the oil lamps, polish – all the home smells. This intimacy with the house was deepening; when winter came it would be deeper still. Nadine glanced over her shoulder at the firelight gleaming upon the dark wood of the panelling, at the shadows gathering in the corners, and marvelled to see how the old place seemed to have shrunk in size with the shutting out of the daylight. It seemed gathering them in, holding them close.”

~Elizabeth Goudge, Pilgrim’s Inn

A Call for Silence and Reflection

One of my happiest discoveries is the Monk Manual. What a crazy name, right? Those of you who know me well, know I’m a big fan of lists, planners, and journaling. The Monk Manual combines them all but with some really meaningful additions:

  • a place to list your top 3 priorities for the day
  • 3 things you’re grateful for
  • a way to daily track a habit you’re working on
  • your schedule and ToDos
  • notations for ways you can give
  • highlights of the day
  • when you felt a lack of peace
  • and ideas about tomorrow’s plans

As with the lifestyle of monks, there’s a need to focus on awareness, reflection, and intentional plans for the day that honor Christlikeness. A free 30-day course is available to teach these principles and you can work at your own pace. I’ve loved having time for things like this.

This Too Shall Pass — Sooner or Later

In the New Testament I think of the words found in Hebrews about our home:

For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Hebrews 13:14

Because in spite of all the moving words we read about home, we know that what we have here is temporary. Whatever joy or beauty or peace reside in our brick and mortar buildings, there’s still that deep yearning for another place. One that is yet to come. But make no mistake — we will definitely get there.

In the meantime, if we are rooted and grounded in Christ, He is our home. We never need fear being homeless.

So, brothers and sisters, may you be able to cherish the moments this season has bestowed on you to ponder, to discover, to relish being at home more than you ever dreamed. It really is a sweet place to be.

*Dulce Domum (lit. Sweetly at Home)  This phrase is used as the title of ‘The Wind In The Willows’ Chapter 5. ‘Dulce Domum‘ means ‘Sweet Home’.



  1. Cathee, as always your writing brings a sweetness and self-awareness to me. I’m so glad you’re still writing. Lots of wonderful take-always here. I love that. The pandemic has brought refining fire. It’s a good thing. Not always easy, but so much better in the end. You know how I love home sweet home. Just give me a box of paints and I’m happy. I just started reading “The Common Rule: habits of purpose for an age of distraction.” If you haven’t read it, I think you’re already living it. It’s fabulous. Just what I need right now. Missing you, my Catnip.

  2. No one understands more than I how soul-satisfying home is. As you know, looking out at our trees, watching the birds and squirrels, caring for the beautiful flowers and landscape feeds my soul. Having friends and family who share this place with us is the cherry on top.

    BUT I had to chuckle at you talking about the seclusion of your home. Seclusion? In the midst of this quarantining, I don’t know anyone else who has been to more parties/dinners, traveled more or had more people in her home. You wear me out!

    That said, I couldn’t agree more that this time we’ve been given is a gift. A time to grow ever closer to the Lord as we face the future, listening for His instructions .

  3. Lynne Jones Lawler

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this today! Your God-given gift for sharing, your words…they speak loudly to me and I thank you. I admit I have chafed against this sheltering in but your post has made me think of all the lovely things I CAN be doing rather than those things that I cannot right now. You are a blessing.
    Love and hugs from ‘Bama~

  4. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I really needed this right now.
    Love you

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