Sweet Sanctuary – Where is Yours?

Sweet Sanctuary – Where is Yours?

Sweet Sanctuary – Where is Yours?

The definition of sanctuary in the words of my dear friend Marianne Piotrowski is “A place of refuge, a place to feel safe & comfortable.  A place where one can de-stress from the outside world & commune with God.”  It means something different to each of us but serves us all in the same way.  Sanctuary can be your home, work, family, friends, outdoors, church – anything, really.  But what does it mean to you?

Most times, a person’s sanctuary changes depending on what stage they’re in at that moment of their life.  When things are good, it can be family or friends.  When faced with hardship – death, divorce, or job loss – many people find sanctuary in their faith.  For years, my sanctuary was work because I couldn’t bear to be at home.  Over the last couple of years, my sanctuary has shifted to my home.  I have transformed it into a place where I enjoy being, though I don’t spend nearly enough time there.  When I faced losing my home, it became very clear how much it meant to me & I fought with all of my being to keep it.  Thankfully, it worked & I feel so blessed.

What are the characteristics of your sanctuary?  Are you surrounded by people & things that you love?  Is it simply going to the beach to watch the sunset?  Is it escaping to the spa for an amazing massage?  Maybe cooking a delicious meal for your cherished family or friends?  Here’s what my sanctuary looks like:

Home.  I have a tiny condo in Huntington Beach.  To many it’s nothing special but to me it’s my escape.  I’ve decorated it with antique furniture & vintage glassware- each carefully selected based on the feeling I get the minute I see it.  If it takes my breath away, I must see it every day in my home.  I love how I can either close all of the curtains & hibernate or go out on the balcony to soak up the sun or watch the stars.  I’m just a half-mile from the beach so I enjoy riding my skateboard or bike on the boardwalk & watching the waves.  I love where I live & Marianne points out that it’s not the house that is important, it’s what you do with it to make it HOME that is significant.  She is so right!

Pets.  I’m the crazy pet lady. 3 cats, 11 lizards, a frog, a fish & a praying mantis.  It seems like it would be crowded, but it works- everyone gets along, each is well fed & loved.  The antics of them all is hilarious, I laugh hysterically at the crazy things they do!  The cats cuddle with me at night while the lizards, fish & frog just do their own things.  The praying mantis kind of freaks me out but I’m dedicated to caring for him well.

Plants.  I have an itty-bitty balcony where I keep my unique garden.  I have a “black thumb” & manage to destroy all plants that require TLC.  So, I have a succulent & cactus garden (they thrive on neglect) in which only the unusual looking plants live.  My favorite is my Night Blooming Cereus– it’s large & fragrant blooms open for just one night then wilt as the sun rises.  This plant attracts bats!  Too bad there aren’t any bats at the beach…. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to sit outside at night & watch them swoop in for a drink of nectar.

Scents.  I use aromatherapy in my home to enhance my time there.  Wallflowers by Bath & Bodyworks are my favorite- the scents I use are Eucalyptus Mint for stress relief or Lavender Chamomile for relaxation.  There’s nothing better than having a great smelling sanctuary!

Paint me a picture of what your sanctuary looks like & how you created it – I’d love to know!  Maybe I can get some ideas from you on how to increase my enjoyment while in mine.  Thank you for sharing!

– Carrie

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.


  1. nada says:

    wonderful blog. my sanctuary is my home also. love to watch my family enjoy themselves and interact. i have my room which is for those times when i need quiet and time to gather my thoughts. God has blessed me tremendously. i lost my husband 2 years ago. i has been a very hard 2 years not only for me but also for my boys. i lost my soul mate but my b0ys lost their dad. no he wasnt biologically their father but being their dad was something he did with love compassion and happiness. we miss him daily. this house i am in was the one he picked for me to have. we were suppose to get it together before he passed on, so i now have it. 3 weeks ago God put a man in my life. he is a wonderful human being. not only does he love me he loves my boys; so now you can understand why my home is my sancutary. may God bless you and keep you.

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Nada, I’m so sorry about the loss of your loving husband- you have been thru one of the most difficult parts of life yet you have made an amazing sanctuary for your family in honor of your dear husband. I’m so glad you were able to fulfill his dream for you & your family- that is what makes your home so much more special. Thank you for telling me why your sanctuary is so special! Carrie

  2. Jeff Turner says:

    Careless Bayer (as I affectionately call you),

    Thank you for the reminder of the importance of that special place where I go to get in touch with a different reality. Some call it the world as it really is. The quiet, un-rushed, without a to-do-list place where I can look at my heart and soul and ask questions of God and then…. listen to understand. This is not my natural tendency. Unfortunately I too often listen to respond or when I am in a really bad place, listen to ignore.

    It was the pattern Jesus demonstrated over and over in His life. Engaging community, friends and then drawing away for times of peace and reconnection with God. He seemed to most often find sanctuary in natural settings of His own creation.

    I love this glimpse into a family friend’s world that I would not know otherwise. Carrie, you have created a place where you find peace. I pray it is a salve to your soul. To my friends, if you don’t know where your sanctuary is, I pray you find it and when you get there may you find the ‘peace’ that is intended just for you.

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Jef, shall we tell everyone how I got my Careless Bayer nickname? It can’t possibly be because I’m a tad bit clumsy, can it? Thank you for using humor to make me feel like it’s not so bad to have an accident or five! You say it so eloquently as you describe what sanctuary means to you- it really makes me think & look deeper at mine to realize just how special a place I truly have. You’ve been to my home but didn’t know just what it means to me. You cared & asked often how my fight to keep it was going, I appreciate that so much. Thank you for sharing your sanctuary with me! Carrie

  3. Joe says:

    Sanctuary what a powerful word and when you have a house full of children as I do my sanctuary actually comes from watching how they all interact in our home. Also that time when everyone is asleep and I can actually hear silence for a short time just to reflect on my families day.

    Thank You for sharing

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Lovie, I love that your sanctuary is full of life- family is so important for completing our perfect place. When your kids are asleep, just knowing they are there & safe in your home is incredibly peaceful & fulfilling, I’m sure. Since I don’t have kids, I have filled my sanctuary with other life forms- furry, scaly or slippery, I love my “kids” like you love yours. Thank you for making your first blog comment on MY contribution, it means so much to me! Carrie

  4. Neil says:

    Carrie –

    I love this post! I love coming home after work and either laying on the floor or just hanging out in the backyard. This allows me time to do nothing other than just sit, relax, and watch Jesse go crazy with our three dogs. Our neighborhood is pretty quite so sometimes I will just listen to the birds, frogs and crickets that live in our backyard. My other favorite place to find sanctuary is the beach, I love to sit in the hot sand and then go for a swim. The ocean has a powerful effect on me, between the sound of the waves chasing and the salt water in the air, I think I am a fish out of water. Thanks for sharing and letting us know the importance of life outside of work. Neil XOXO

    • Carrie Bayer says:

      Neil, I love the description of your sanctuary- it sounds very similar to mine, your home where you can absorb the peaceful environment & enjoy all creatures in it. Knowing how much you love the beach, you, Lisa & Jesse should come to HB & cruise the boardwalk with us & play in the sand with Jesse, we’d love that! You could even bring the doggies to dog beach! Thank you so much for sharing your sanctuary with me. XOXO Carrie

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