The truth is, it’s never about the house. The house can be small, large, plain, exquisite, or somewhere in between.

It may be picture-perfect, or maybe not.

The lawn may be perfectly manicured or barely mowed. Those things don’t matter because they’re just not part of the criteria.

Because the thing about a fun house is that it’s actually the people living there who make it fun.

One day they open their front door to you and you walk into a friendship that lasts a lifetime. That’s what happened when I walked into this house for the first time 28 years ago.

When the Elkins family moved into that house, none of us realized how it would change us all. They moved into our neighborhood, started coming to our church, then eventually Cal became our youth pastor with Dawn right by his side.

Their home was always open to us for everything from slumber parties to pity parties. Cal gave me advice on life and love and Dawn gave me perms in her kitchen while telling funny stories about her childhood.

Our families spent many late nights there playing games and laughing out loud.

I babysat their kids and never once let their son crawl out onto the roof, no matter what Cal says.

Their house was fun because they’re fun.

And when they pulled out of their driveway with the moving truck the same week I left for college, they left their influence behind. And I’ve never lost it.

My family and I were so glad to be able to spend some time with Cal and Dawn and their family over the weekend. We spent a lot of time laughing and remembering the good times we spent in their old house. It definitely was a very fun house. Because they made it that way.

And I couldn’t help but think as I sat down to write this post that I hope our house is fun, too.

I am very thankful to a couple of my close friends who have “fun houses” as well. We don’t live in the same neighborhood, but still, they’ve welcomed us into their houses time and again. They care about our kids and have invested their lives into them. And that’s really what it’s about.

Who lived in the “fun house” of your childhood? And who lives in the “fun house” for your kids?