What is home anyway?

Home Again, Home Again

BY: Starr Cliff

I have a really great life. A perfect life? No. I have certainly had heartache and loss; but I know God as healer and redeemer probably better than I know him in any other way, and he has been good to oversee my pain and certainly never waste it. Bumps in the road not withstanding, I really do get way down in my gut that my life is enviable. It humbles me. A good, good man who loves me.  Healthy kids.  Never missed a meal.  A family in Oklahoma who would do anything for me.

The one “hang up” and pity-party I keep revisiting in my adulthood, in spite of a full and joy-filled life, is my kids not being able t0 experience a strong sense of “hometown.” The crazy hometown pride, here’s where I from, it defines me in so many ways, I love it in spite of it’s flaws, yes please dress me in my high school colors 20 years later, that kind of home.  They may never feel about anywhere the way I feel about Oklahoma, because they’ve never been anywhere long enough.   And yes, that’s our bad. We did it. We keep moving them around the country.  Sometimes planned and exciting, sometimes unplanned and heartbreaking, but always landing somewhere where we eventually say, “Oh.  Yeah.  We get it now.  We trust you, Lord, with our whole lives. Thank you.”

So, my kids not having a home town, it’s a small grievance in an otherwise pretty charmed life.

I think I’m finally ready to let go of that heartache.  Here’s this burden Lord, I don’t want to carry it anymore. It’s time.  Now is the time partly because, let’s face it, my kids are age 13, 11, and 9. The one-hometown-for-their-whole-life ship has sailed. It ain’t happenin’ honey.

But also because the Lord has seen fit that now is the time for him to shine a gentle but very bright spotlight on my heart, and reveal the discontent there.  In short…he moved me to a military town.  So I have been given the precious chance of watching a handful of  families be moved, uprooted, have plans changed and changed again, all at the mercy of some higher up in an office somewhere sending them off to wherever the paperwork says to go.  They do it with joy and peace. They do it accepting the heartache that comes with saying goodbye, but without bitterness. If they feel a sense of loss over “home”, it’s not in a way that steals their joy.

So, this life of never being in one place long enough to lay down roots? It’s not the script we would have written.  But it’s okay.  Better than okay.  As I give up that wish and just go ahead and try and accept with joy that I didn’t get my way, I can more clearly see all the benefits of this life we’ve lived.

A friend once told me that my kids were “well on their way to becoming unflappable.”  It makes me tear up as I realize how true that is, and that I couldn’t have given them that gift with the life I would have planned had I been in charge. They’ve earned their grit the same way we have.  I’m grateful.

And I hope for them that someday they can process whatever heartache and unfulfilled wished-for-things they encounter in their own lives, and find the beauty in it.

So, you are all my witnesses that I am fully accepting this life of ours with joy: Dallas.  Lubbock.  Georgia.  And now, Lord willing for a good long while, Tennessee. I’m glad for the lessons, love, and beauty found in all of those places.



“Home is wherever I’m with you.”  A cliche by now, but also the God’s honest truth.  Home is the place that’s safe.  Home is where you are known, loved, celebrated, and accepted.  And we’ve always, always had that.  Always will.

“It is always true to some extent that we make our images of God. It is even truer that our image of God makes us. Eventually we become like the God we image. One of the most beautiful fruits of knowing the God of Jesus is a compassionate attitude towards ourselves… This is why Scripture attaches such importance to knowing God. Healing our image of God heals our image of ourselves.”

Brennan Manning

God can turn foes into friends when he pleases. He that has all hearts in his hand has access to men’s spirits and power over them, working insensibly, but irresistibly upon them, can make a man’s enemies to be at peace with him, can change their minds, or force them into a feigned submission. He can slay all enemies, and bring those together that were at the greatest distance from each other.

-Matthew Henry


Orange Conference Follow Along

OC Follow

This week I’ll be at The Orange Conference in Atlanta, GA seeing what is happening in and around the world of local church ministry to children, students, and families. I’ll be in breakouts, meeting with friends, and trying to update my social media feeds with those items that are curious, intriguing, and thoughtful.

Orange Leaders Blog

You’re accustomed to reading helpful leadership articles and event information from Orange Leaders blog. During conference, you’ll still receive detailed information about OC15, as well as information about Orange Tour and Orange Conference 2016, so check the blog daily. As well, we’re including recaps and notes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so that you’ll be able to take in some of the key concepts being presented this year. To easily see all of the posts related to OC15, click this category link.

Social Media Accounts to Follow

Whether you’re a preschool leader or a NextGen leader, Orange Leaders have accounts for you to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and beyond. In addition to our brand accounts, our Orange Specialists each have Twitter accounts where you can connect, share, and learn helpful insights. Click to see all of the Orange social media channels.


A hashtag is a means by which you can follow a subject matter or conversation on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook (public posts), Instagram, Google+ and more. A hashtag is our connection to you. It’s how ministry leaders and Orange hears your ideas, questions, and insights. Every time you use the hashtag for The Orange Conference —#OC15—there’s a group of leaders listening and learning from you. Join the conversation.

Be aware that no person or company can “own” a hashtag. Therefore anyone can use a hashtag for any material they choose to publish. Orange takes no responsibility for unseemingly content published using any of these promoted hashtags.

Twitter Searches to Follow

Whether you have a Twitter account or not, you can still follow the Twitter conversation by following searches.

To follow a search, simply go to www.Twitter.com, search for the name, subject or hashtag you wish to follow, and bookmark the search. Refreshing the bookmarked search page will allow you to stay on top of the most recent posts on your desired topic.

Tip: At the top of the search page, you can choose to view the “Top” posts for your search, or you can choose to see “All” posts for your search.

Recommended Searches For Those Attending OC15:

Twitter: #OC15
Twitter: #JustAPhase
Instagram: Using the search feature indicated by the magnifying glass in the app, you can search for names, hashtags and subjects to see recent posts.
Facebook: In the search function at the top of the newsfeed, enter any search term or hashtag to find related posts.

Recommended Searches for Those Not Attending OC15:

Twitter: #OC15Live – You’ll be watching the Live Stream at home, right? See below for details.
Twitter: #OC15
Twitter: #JustAPhase
Instagram: Using the search feature indicated by the magnifying glass in the app, you can search for names, hashtags and subjects to see recent posts.
Facebook: In the search function at the top of the newsfeed, enter any search term or hashtag to find related posts.

Twitter Lists to Follow

Each Twitter user has the ability to create lists of people from which they want to see posts. Orange Leaders has created a couple of lists you can follow that you may find useful.

If you have a Twitter account, you can “subscribe” to lists so that you have access to only that particular group of Twitter accounts via your “Lists” menu. To find the Orange Leaders’ lists, go to Twitter.com/OrangeLeaders, click “Lists.” Next, click the list name, and on the left, click to subscribe. Subscribing to lists gives you access to this group’s updates via your Lists menu in your account.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, bookmark the following URLs:

Speakers at Orange Conference 2015
Orange Bloggers at Orange Conference 2015:

How to access/view Twitter accounts without opening a Twitter account.

If you’re not interested in following lists, or bookmarking searches, you can still find information from your favorite authors or speakers on Twitter without having an account—provided the person you want to view has a public account.

To read a public Twitter account, go to Twitter.com and search for the person’s name or email address, if you have it. Or, if you have the person’s account handle, for example @OrangeLeaders, simply add /OrangeLeaders (removing the at-symbol, @, and replacing it with a forward slash, /) to the end of www.Twitter.com. To go to the Orange Leaders account page without having an account, in your browser’s URL address bar, type www.Twitter.com/orangeleaders.

Live Stream and OC15Live Hashtag

Once again, we are excited to offer non-attendees a Live Stream experience throughout OC15. Watch from the comfort of your home or office or favorite restaurant—provided that WiFi is available.

Be sure to RSVP today, and watch this blog for updates and the soon-to-be-released schedule!


For those who like to get a little more technical, the web and phone application, IFTTT (If This Then That), can provide hacks for gathering resources, information and contacts.

Click to view Orange Leaders’ IFTTT recipes.