This morning, I thought I would share with you, something that I have lately turned my focus to: contentment. This word has become almost null and void in our lives today. This is not a sermon, but something to stimulate a little bit of thought.
First a little background on what I’m talking about. How often are we pushed to keep striving for bigger and better things? This is usually used as motivation for us; make more money, buy a bigger house, fancier car, or sparkly jewelry. Work more, make more money, get more stuff. This seems to be the progression of life. But at what point to we realize that all of this is a give and take. While it is very important to work hard and achieve goals, especially for something you believe in, and absolutely ALWAYS do your best, the environment and feeling behind your work is sometimes sacrificed, spilling over into the rest of your life. Sometimes the quality of work, when moving up more means more responsibility, and more stress. This in turn causes more money to be spent to go on last minute vacations, or new “toy” purchases, because you deserve it. And...if all of this new “stuff” is bought, there has to be a place to put it. And that means more time taking care of the extra property you had to buy to put all the stuff in, which means less time doing things that make you feel good, like perhaps spending time with your family or working on something you are passionate about.
This is something my husband and I like to discuss a lot, and I feel like this is a process that really takes time. Taking a look back at our life a couple of years ago, compared to where we are now, has definitely been a journey! Jared was working a swing shift schedule in a factory that paid really well. He felt trapped because in the naive excitement of buying our first house, the bank approved us for a house with little wiggle room left in our budget, and we went with it. We never saw each other, and when he was off, he was exhausted physically and mentally.
We had to do something different, so we came up with a plan to sell our house. This conveniently happened in the spring of 2008, right when the recession hit. So, 2 long years later, our house finally sold!
Last day at our first house!
That was a long two years, but it was a real wake up call to us. We didn’t need a house that big, or all of the stuff in it. We wanted a cute little cottage, which was more our style, with less space to take care of, and a nice yard for our dogs to run in and that we could garden in.
I really believe timing is everything and things happen for a reason. One day, we were driving across the lake and happened to see a For Sale By Owner sign. I drove this way everyday, and had never noticed this cute little neighborhood. We decided to see what this house looked like, and I immediately knew it was meant to be ours. It even had a greenhouse with it! So we set up a time to look at it, and I was in love. It was perfectly quaint, and neat and tidy. Most people would see the word “ outdated”, but we saw “potential.”
We have in the last year almost completely remodeled the house exactly the way we want (with the help of my handyman-of-the-century-grandpa!)
Our house is a little smaller than our other house, but the space is much more functional!
Jaded Janet is the color on the shutters, did I pick it just because of the name? Maybe!
A little paint, and some pretty glass tiles on the fireplace.
A fully blossoming greenhouse!
This kitchen was the den with dark paneling I showed up above.
Jared took a job making less, but with better hours and less stress. Our time together has a much better quality. We spend a lot more time working on things that we enjoy, and spending time with our pets and each other.
We are planning on staying here forever because so much of our heart and soul is in this place, and we don’t really need more space, (even if we do have a couple of little ones.) Plus, we just plain hate moving!!
So contentment is the feeling that we are really trying to embrace, and keep in the back of our minds. I would love to hear thoughts on this idea. Do you find it comes easy to be content, or is it something you never really thought about?