Making Your Home a Haven 7th Annual Fall Challenge

Join the 7th Annual Making Your Home a Haven Challenge and begin making your home a comfy place for your family and all who visit.  #WomenLivingWell #MakingYourHomeaHave #homemaking #marriage


Welcome back to the 7th Annual “Making Your Home a Haven” Fall Challenge!

If you’ve been around a while – you know all about this series and might already have your candle going right now!  I can’t believe we have been doing this for 7 years – it’s been such a life changer!

Is your calendar full? Do you feel tense, rushed and even panicked at times? Do you feel like the rest of the family is feeling the same way?

I believe we can create a physical environment, as well as a spiritual environment, that can bring peace, harmony and a sense of calmness to our homes if we are willing to be intentional.

I am excited to share that this year we have a guest who will be joining us!  The guest is my dear friend and very talented New York Times Best Selling Author – Karen Ehman!  She is not just an amazing writer and speaker but she lives what she writes and she is a close friend who sends care packages, listens for hours on the phone, gives me good advice and mentors me in my writing style.  {She tells me I use too many exclamation points. 🙂 Lol!!!!!!!!}


Karen Ehman is a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and she has authored ten books including the very popular LET. IT. GO: How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith and New York Times bestseller Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It and When to Say Nothing at All.   She also writes for Encouragement for Today online devotions that is read by over four million women daily.

She is a wife and mother of 3 and she lives in Michigan – although I don’t hold that against her. (lol! That’s an inside joke for those of us who are Ohio State Fans. 😉 )

Karen has written up our challenges for every Wednesday in the the month of October. Check them out below!

Here’s the topic schedule:

Week One: October 5 – Create an atmosphere of coziness in your home.

Make it your aim to create an inviting, welcoming spot for your family; a haven with an aroma and look that is pleasing to the eye. Purchase a large fragrant candle in your favorite fall scent. Each day, light the candle as you whisper a prayer for the family members that dwell in your home. Then spend just a few minutes straightening up the main living area where your family normally hangs out. Cultivate the practice of paying just a little extra attention to the look of the home—as well as the hearts of those that dwell there—throughout this entire challenge.

This week, adopt this routine: Light. Pray. Straighten. Repeat.

Week Two: October 12 – Serve up some lovin’ from the oven.

This week, focus on the kitchen. Whip up some of your family’s favorite dishes—or try out a new recipe or two! Bake or cook what speaks love to your family. Perhaps they love old-fashioned meat and potatoes meals or nostalgic baked goods. Maybe your gang is into healthy veggies and fruit-based treats. Or perhaps you all love a homemade pizza or popcorn night. Anything goes—as long as your family loves it. Get those pots and pans clanking as you serve up some lovin’ from the oven.

This week, focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home.

Week Three: October 19 – Lean in and listen. Then, go make their day!

Be extra attentive this week, listening for a “heart drop”. A heart drop is when someone—in the midst of a conversation—says something in passing that gives you a peek into their heart and how they are feeling. Perhaps they mention something they are apprehensive about, excited for, or dreading. Listen between the lines for a concern (or a joy!) that they might have and then do something to show them you care. Leave a treat on their pillow with a sticky note that tells them you are praying. Send an encouraging text on the day of their big exam. Send a hand-written card to your husband’s work place. I even write on the side of their lunch box bananas with a ballpoint pen!

Lean in and listen for heart drops and then respond with a loving—and impromptu—gesture.

Week Four: October 26 – Reach out and gather in.

Don’t just make loving your family your aim during this challenge. As a family, reach out and bring others into your circle of love! Brainstorm as a family a person—or perhaps even another family—whom you can make the object of your love and kindness this week. Maybe it is a “necessary person”—someone who helps your family to get life done like the mail carrier, grocery store clerk, dentist, garbage collector, first responder, or teacher. Perhaps it is a family new to your church or neighborhood. Do something as simple as thanking them verbally and offering a small gift, such as a gift card or other small token. Or, light that candle, fire up that oven (or order pizza—it’s all good!) and open your home for a little old-fashioned hospitality. Stir up one another to love and good works. Not so others will be wowed by your family’s generosity but so others will be pointed to Jesus.

This week, as a family, reach out beyond your four walls to touch the life of someone else.

Our Key verse for the series is:

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” Hebrew 10:24 

Will you take the challenge?

“There’s simply no place like home.  Whether you have a one-bedroom apartment or a large farmhouse, home is where we rest, refuel, and build strong relationships with our loved ones.  No two homes are alike.  Home is a place where we express our individuality in the kitchen and on the walls.  Whether you are a full-time homemaker or work full-time outside the home, we all have in common the desire to make our homes a haven.  Together let’s pursue peace and harmony.”

~ excerpt from the book, Women Living Well

Are you in?  If you are – it’s time to prepare for the first challenge by going out and purchasing a large candle.  

What’s the scent of your candle?  

Share in the comments below and let me know you are are taking the challenge. My candle is Yankee Candle’s Salted Caramel, which will be followed by Yankee Candle’s Candied Pecans and then Better Homes and Garden’s Farm Apple Pumpkin. So I’m all set!


I’ll be using the hashtag
#MakingYourHomeAHaven on Instagram.  

I invite you to use it too so we can all connect there!

See you back here on October 5th when we discuss the first challenge!

Are you in?

Walk with the King,




This post contains an affiliate link.



    1. Heather,

      I’m so glad you are joining us! There are no sign-ups but if you aren’t getting my emails yet – subscribe along the side bar (if you are on a computer) or scroll down to subscribe on a device.


    1. Hi!

      I’m in too! Such a great idea to use essential oils!

      I will use grapefruit candles! Not an autumn scent but I find them too much sugary…

      Can’t wait to start! Thank you ! 🙂

    1. OMGosh!!!
      Where do you find a coconut pumpkin latte candle. The sent would be pure heavenly. My favorite sents in the same jar. So devine!!!

  1. Love this challenge! I’m lucky because my neighbor makes the BEST candles. “Harvest Thyme” will be burning in our happy haven!

  2. I’m SO THRILLED to be joining you all here this month! I just love this yearly series or Courtney’s ( Well, and I simply adore Courtney!) and I can’t wait to connect with you all. My favorite go-to candle scent is Leaves by Bath & BodyWorks and a new favorite is a soy-based one called White Pumpkin by Sentsational.

    1. LOL! I’m so used to Facebook and Instagram, I was looking for the “Like” button under your comment. ???? Excited to see that you are part of this tradition this year!

  3. I’m in! Going to start out with Yankee Candle Pumpkin spice and then see what else I have in my candle stash. (I’m trying to declutter and am going to use up what I have.)

  4. I’m so glad to be joining in for the 2nd year in a row. I haven’t gotten my candle yet. But going shopping/sniffing for one is so enjoyable! 🙂

  5. Hi! I’m in. Glad to be encouraged with this tonight. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with my to do list and needed to be redirected. I am starting today if that is ok. ????
    My candle is apple cobbler.

  6. I’m making homemade crock pot applesauce so the house smells yummy tonight! I’ve rarely gone out of my way to make any holiday memories. It wasn’t a great time for me growing up. But I’m trying this year, my boys, my husband and I deserve to enjoy this time, this year! So, I’m all in and going candle shopping tomorrow!!

  7. I seem to have gotten out of control with caring for a loved one with cancer. My schedule is crazy and I have needed some direction and motivation. So happy to have found this post and excited to go buy my candle and get started ????❤️

    1. Jeanne, I am so sorry to read about your loved one’s battle with cancer. It can be draining for sure. My sister-in-law died in hospice two years ago this month and I was able to stay in the hospice with her throughout much of her last four weeks on earth. You are doing holy work! I am so glad you are joining us for the challenge and pray you find some needed rest and refreshment. 🙂

  8. I’m in! I’ll be burning a homemade beeswax candle, and I’ll do homemade simmering spices on the stove since I’m allergic to fragrance. First time joining in this challenge but have loved reading about this challenge for years!

    1. Love it! Just started essential oils, but this is what I used to do. You can also drink some of the spice mixes as herbal teas. I will probably do some of each!

  9. I’m so excited for this Fall Challenge! I don’t have a go to scented candle but these are some great recommendations! I will be buying a candle this weekend!

  10. I’m in. Already have been burning Village’s Rio Carnival. I love finding new scents on the cheap at TJMaxx and Home Goods! ????????

  11. I have done this with you ever year and can’t believe it’s been 7 years! ???? So fun that Karen Ehman is joining in! I will be burning BBW Falling Leaves!

  12. I also do not do candles, I use Young Living Essential oil and will start by using a diffuser blend sweet fall bergamot and cedarwood.

  13. My husband buys me a new candle every fall – this years is from Bob Evans called Buttered Maple Syrup. He’s right in there with me on this.

  14. I am in , I have already started. so my choice for now is Nichole’s Home Accents,” Falling Leaves”,
    “Fresh Linen”, ” Blue Hawaii Breeze”, and ” Simply Gardenia, which concerns me because I have a problem with strong heavy scents. My son and his girlfriend went out and purchased candles for me weeks ago and these were their choices, so we will see how and if I can tolerate them

  15. I have been a full time home maker for 30 years. I absolutely love my home! It is my favorite place to be. All my children are grown and now I am making my home a special place for my grandchildren!! My children ARE my greatest accomplishment and blessing. I think it is very important to have our homes be that safe haven!!! Now Iknow I have failed at this some over the years, I’m not perfect!!! But it has always been my hearts desire to have a place where even my grown kids and grandkids (4 so far) ! Can come and feel loved!!! My scents are Amber Road, and Orange Amber from Scenty!!

  16. I started lighting my candle last week! Decorating has never been ‘my thing’, but since participating in this challenge a few years ago I started slowly adding fall decor. This year I couldn’t wait for Labor Day weekend so I could put out the few “cozy/warm” touches I have purchased. My candles are Bath and Body Works’ Gathering (for my upstairs) and White Barn’s Hot Buttered Rum (for my main level).

  17. I love doing this challenge every year. Our house was recently flooded and we are now living in a hotel while repairs are made in our home. Feeling homesick, frazzled and discombobulated for sure. ( Did I mention the dog is with us at the hotel?) Obviously I won’t be able to light real candles there; I will use a battery type candle for this. Bring on the peace!

  18. I am a first timer also. I will use Yankee Home Sweet Home. It’s also nice to use tealights, then you can layer, Soft Blanket, Home Sweet Home, Clean Cotton, whatever you like.

  19. Wow! Glad I stumbled across this this morning…I was needing a little inspiration! Count me in as well!! I don’t have any fall scented candles (and it’ll likely be a month or so before I’m back to the city) so I’ll be lighting a simple white pillar candle for the pretty, warm glow, and putting some cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and orange peels in the mini crock pot for my fall fragrance blend. ????

  20. So funny this challenge was in my inbox this morning, last night I went to light my candle and I thought of you Courtney and the prior years challenge. I’ve always enjoyed the lighting of my candle, the peace it brings from an accompanied prayer and the smell in our home is cozy and warm like soft flannel pajamas! I’m burning my all time fav – Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Cupcake.

  21. Mainstays Candles Mulled Cider and Pumpkin Spice

    Honestly, I’m getting a little hungry just reading the names of candles! What great ideas.

  22. I will do the candle again this year. Right now I am still smelling summer and has been burning “Honeysuckle” from Pier One.
    But I do intend to try some new ones. Great recommendations!

  23. Candles, although warm and inviting looking, can be full of chemicals that cause headaches. Instead, I will diffuse theraputic grade essential oils like Frankincense, Cedarwood, Thieves, or oh, so many more choices that are pleasant and helpful. Thank you for this challenge. I’m in!

  24. I have never participated before but plan on doing so now. Like some of you, I am bothered by strong fragrances but some of those mentions on here sound good. I will go candle shopping this weekend. I can also relate to not doing much over the years because I didn’t have good childhood traditions to go by but it will be nice to start some new ones of my own.

    1. I use many different ones but the one I use in the fall and Christmas season is called holiday joy by dōTERRA. Smells cozy! Cinnamon, and nutmeg and many other delious scents in that blend.

    2. I diffuse Young Living Essential Oils–Lavender, Thieves, Purification, and Northern Lights Black Spruce individually. Candles are pretty, but we have cats, and not safe to burn anything around them.

  25. Tracy I use EO all the time. Young living cinnamon bark, orange, clove, and nutmeg. It smells amazing. If you have any other questions I would be glad to help:)

  26. I’m in for the challenge (this will be my third year!) and I’m excited that Karen will be joining! Her books have spoken to me on so many levels, so it will be neat to see what she brings to the challenge this year!

    I’ll be using 3-wick candles from Bath and Body Works that I recently scored on a great online sale! I’ll start with Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin, then Pumpkin Woods, and lastly, Pumpkin Apple.

    I can’t wait for the challenge to begin! 🙂

    {{and I love all of your exclamation marks! I can feel your excitement through your words, and it makes me excited!}}

  27. I don’t use candles in my house but I have been already diffusing holiday joy blend in my diffuser in my kitchen and living room the past few days!

  28. Yay! So excited for this challenge again 🙂

    I’m burning a Pumpkin Pie candle from WoodWick right now, and when it’s gone, I’m going to light up the Salted Caramel from Yankee Candle.

    Also so excited to have Karen Ehman’s devotions this year…she is one of my favorite authors!

  29. I can’t wait. I love so many of the fall colored scents, pumpkin butter being high on the list!! It’s on my shopping list!

  30. I’m in again! I love this challenge and already bought my first candle last week. i’ll be starting with Bath and Body Works Spiced Pomegranate Cider, then on to their Salted Caramel. Right now I’m burning Circle E Bird of Paradise.

  31. This sounds great and probably just what I need. A friend just gave me a beautiful scented candle as I began another teaching year at our homeschooling community and while I love candles, I have not been good about actually using them since we had kids.

  32. To save some money and to use up my surplus of candles, I will be using what I have on hand at my house. (I hope that is okay.)

  33. 1st time joining the challenge and I’m all in!!! I’m gonna call it divine intervention that I JUST got my shipment of a Yankee Candles in yesterday. I will be lighting Autumn in the Park, Crisp Fall Night, and Autumn Gathering.

  34. Mine is Bath and Bodyworks Heirloom Pumpkin! Stocked up during their annual sale in July and started burning them at the beginning of this month when I switched over to our fall decorations.

  35. I am really looking forward to this year’s challenge. I just ordered Cinnamon & Cedar, and Apple Cider & Clove candles! This is a very rough season for me and my family, I am praying this helps to center us and keep us focused on The Lord.

  36. I’m in for my first go round! I’m visiting my momma for the month of October and looks like her candle of choice is Yankee’s Luscious Plum.

  37. I’m certainly in! I always look forward to this challenge. My candle scent is New York New York. My youngest son moved there a few years ago and my son next to him bought it for me as a remembrance. So sweet!!

  38. Ready to try for some peace and bringing order back to my home. Finishing up summer scents with candles but anxious to bring in the fall smells soon.
    Thanks for the encouragement Karen & Courtney!

  39. This wilbe my first year joining in-my husband has allergies to candle scents so I think I’ll be burning it on my patio table during my quiet time. Haven’t purchased a scented candle in a LONG time so I need to go sniff some!! Excited to be joining in!

  40. I’m in. I have to think about the candle. My husband and I like such different flavors and I really want our home to be a haven for him as well.

  41. I love Fall and this challenge reminds me to slow down and serve the ones I love. We did it last year as a family, and my children were so excited to do it again this year. For us it’s a time of coziness, quiet and peace.

    We are burning Caramel Apple.

  42. I’m In! I’m burning Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Pecan Waffles. Excited that this may spark a new outlook and atmosphere in our home. Thank you!

  43. Yes! YES! YES! I am in! I was just thinking about this and looking forward to the challenge. I’m excited about the new twists! I’ll be using my wax burner, not sure what scent yet. And this is the perfect excuse & time to revive my blog writing. Yay!

  44. I love this idea!! I’d like to do this but I’m all alone. Empty nester, not married. Any ideas how I can tweek to fit in?! I love fall candles too! Pumpkin Apple is what’s burning now!

    1. Do you have a family you can adopt? I have adopted 3 families in my neighborhood, they just don’t know it. I pray for them each night.

  45. I’m in Florida. It’s hot here and I just love cozy weather. We won’t get it until around November usually. Well, what’s a girl to do? Crank up the AC and diffuse away! I love candles but they don’t love me. Oh and of course I’m in????.

  46. I buy the same Nature’s Wick candle every fall. It has a trio of scents — apple, vanilla and bonfire — and wood wicks, so it crackles like a bonfire.

  47. I look forward to this reminder each year since I have found Courtney’s blog a few years back. I love fall and the thought of blessing our family with special things is very nice. I love the candle “Pumpkin Pecan Waffles’ by Bath and Bodywork.

  48. I’m in for sure, wouldn’t miss this, I look forward to it every fall. My fav candle scent I will burning is pumpkin spice from I forget wepax melts from Walmart. I can only do candle warmer scents.

  49. I felt a little guilty spending money on something as frivolous as candles last week, but this makes it seem meant to be! I ordered soy candles from ShopBlackTop on Etsy. Trying to set a more seasonal tone, I’ll burn the “Pomander” candle with the clove oil, sweet orange, and kumquat scent combo first. I also ordered “Evergreen and Orange” for Christmastime, and “Tobacco and Tea” and “Anise and Orange,” just because they sounded interesting. I’ve never been a candle person, or big on having scents in the house, though I like them. For some reason, I’m yearning for cozy aroma in our home these days.

  50. I’m in! Tyler candles are my #1 pick! I’ll be burning Mulled Cider! It is the absolute perfect fall scent and seriously they make your entire home smell wonderful! Go get one for the challenge!

  51. Love this challenge! My current candle is apple something or other, but its almost gone. Will be on the lookout for a new fally scent this weekend. =)

  52. Love this challenge….my fragrance of choice right now is from Swan Creek Candle Co., Roasted Espresso, makes you want to drink it! 🙂

  53. I’ll be diffusing a Pumpkin Pie blend of essential oils in my diffuser, alternating with Thieves to keep everyone healthy as we enter into cold season!

  54. I am so excited about “Making my home a Haven”. My candle I will be burning is Bath and Body works “Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin”. You see My daughter is coming home, I haven’t seen her in almost a year. I’ve always been so busy with my extra jobs I take on when she has visited I haven’t focused on her nor my home. God has had me set my priorities in order, and it’s my family, my home. (Yes, I have cooked for them and took care of them, but my mind hasn’t been there) my whole self. This time it’s gonna be a different visit. She had been in a lifestyle that will take her straight to hell. But God has made me promises about her, and I just feel like those promises are coming to pass as I follow His guidance. I have always been in turmoil about her and things but I have a peace. So this “Making My Home a Haven” has a VERY special meaning to me…As such as time as this… So excited.

  55. I like woodwork candles for the crackle. I purchased one specifically for each month for the next four months!
    October is Apple ????
    November is marshmallow fireside
    December is pine
    January is a frosty scent
    Going to be intentional!!

  56. I’m in for the first time. Will start of with my essential oil in Christmas Spirit. Love to diffuse this in my home at this time of year.

  57. I’m in going to get my candle tomorrow from Yankee Candle. Something nice and festive. I’ve done parts of this challenge over the years but I really want to be all in this time from start to finish…

  58. I look forward to this every year. It is an awesome ‘reset’ as to how I can serve my family better and continue to work at softening my heart to be as cozy as the home. Thank you so much for your ministry, Courtney!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (lol)

  59. I am excited about joining this again. I plan to purchase my candle this weekend. Probably one from Bath and Body. or a Yankee candle. Something not too sweet, more earthy. I use white linen the rest of the year. Any suggestions ladies?

  60. I purchased a new scent today blackberry cider. My runner up is pumpkin spice. I also bot the LED small lights at Target dollar section and put on my mantle with a leaf garland . So cozy.

  61. I’m in! I know I’m late commenting, I’m very behind on my emails

    There’s a pumpkin scented candle I saw at Michael’s that smells like a pumpkin cookie. That’s going to be my scent

  62. I’m in. I don’t have a scented candle yet. We recently purchased some battery powered candles, which go on with a timer. Planning to get a scented one as well. Looking forward to this challenge!

  63. I have been looking forward to this! I can’t remember how many years I have been part of the challenge, but it is always inspiring. I appreciate both Courtney and Karen’s faithfulness to Women’s ministry.
    I have benefited greatly from you both????
    I will light an Apple Cider candle but there were so many I want to try thanks to the other commenters.

  64. Yes! I’m in! I participated in this last year and loved every minute of it! Don’t have my candle yet but hope to pick it up tomorrow! 🙂

  65. I’m in! The first candle I will choose is from one of my favorite local boutiques Merry and Bright (owned by a former English teacher of mine from high school!). The scent of the candle is called Sweet and Southern and it smells like fall. After that what candle I’ll choose is a mystery.

  66. Oh I must go grab a fall scented candle. I don’t know what scent I’m getting yet. So many choices but I love this idea of lighting a candle each night and saying a prayer over my home and family as I do. Can’t wait!

  67. What perfect timing,we just movied to a new state . The house really needs something that makes it feel like home . I’m having a hard time adjusting so for me this is just what I needed .
    Getting my fall smells out in the morning . Let the burning and praying begin .

  68. I am in on this but I have to adjust to candle challenge. I told my GMG this… after 25 years of marriage, my husband told me that he really doesn’t like candles in the house. They just look like fire hazards to him. I found this our during Kathi Lipp’s 21 day husband project this summer. When I revamped our bedrooms and cleaned up clutter and decorator items on the dressers and night stands that had been there a long time. He was happy that I removed the candles (they were unlit candles! But the daily straightening is perfect. I will do that with music. And for this week, I may burn some candles while he is at work but once they are gone that is it. No more candle purchases.

    1. Candles scare me at times too…I had a close call once.
      What about the battery operated candles? They really do emit a nice glow. My mother in law gave me one that is on a timer. It might work as an alternative.
      I love the challenge each year.

  69. I couldn’t sign up for emails…….I have apple and pumpkin candles! I’ll have to bring them out this week!

  70. We use diffusers and essential oils in our home. My favorite fall scent is Frankincense, Wild orange, Clove bud, and Cinnamon.
    I also really love the oil called Holiday Joy, and I will be diffusing the oil called Peace during this study as well.

  71. I’m in! I got my candle yesterday. It is a Mainstays(read:Walmart, haha) Black Cherry. Cinnamon scent makes me sneeze so the fall flavors are out for me. Hoping that this will help me kick start my prayer journal.

  72. I am in. 🙂 I actually have my diffuser going with essential oils – orange, cinnmon bark, and frankincense. Mmmm!

  73. I’m totally in! Yankee Candle scents Pumpkin Butter cream and Crisp Fall night. Fall is my favorite season. I just happen to stumble on this site through Pinterest and I am in love!

  74. I’m switching between Whipped Pumpkin and Vanilla Buttercream from Avon this week. Hubby has mentioned how nice they smell. As brand new empty nesters, we are enjoying our cozy home with just the two of us this year!

  75. My fall decorations are inside and out. Leaves eveywhere, owls, pumkins, and acorns. Usually have a ree with all kinds of fall deco. My scentsy is pumkin spice. My candle is burning. Love all the ideas.

  76. “Leaves” from Bath & Body Works will be followed by “Holiday”, then “Winter”. I may switch off during cold months to include Yankee Candle’s “Home Sweet Home” (our adult children love coming home to that scent since I burned that when they lived at home). We have downsized from selling our 4-bedroom home a year ago to a 1-bedroom apt. that we thought would be temporary while waiting for a Townehome. God has been teaching me to be content in whatever circumstance I am in! With most things still in storage – living in a 1-bedroom apt. has become cozy and my husband and I have downsized from 2 storage units to 1 storage unit, donating things we thought we needed but learned in 9 months to live without. I’m loving your challenge, it’s refreshing and inspiring! Thank you!

  77. Looking through Pinterest for tips on Priorities and come across this challenge. Sounds like a great challenge to do giving that I was described right at the beginning of the read. I’m obviously a couple weeks late, but I’m still motivated! Where can I get the whole challenge?

  78. I am jumping in late, but loving it already. My DIL challenged me to do this. I am familiar with Karen from Proverbs 31. However, this is my first visit with Courtney. I am going to use my new diffuser and a new oil that I just received this week- lemongrass.

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