Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A few ponderings about contentment

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12

I have been thinking a lot about contentment this week...thinking back to our former house. A family member was overheard once telling someone it's a shame that we don't have our big, beautiful home, anymore. My reaction surprised even me, for I was shocked anyone would see this home as anything "less", even compared to the former.

I love this house at the edge of the woods. Yes, it's half the size of our former home and one does have to spend more time keeping it decluttered...and we have to work harder at getting along. Tempers can't simmer for long around here. Although, I have been known to "go rock" on the front porch when this female needs time away from the menfolk. :) But I don't see this house as less. After all, in the 1960s when it was built, this was the average size family home.

The young woman who "decorated" this house before we purchased it (the first home she and her husband owned) was a domestic artist. Although her taste was a little more Victorian than my English Country preference, the canvas she left me to work with made it easy to move in and create a cozy, pretty home. The cottage style kitchen was exactly what I would have done (and what sold me on this house the first time I went through it!), especially the cabinets all painted a pretty butter yellow.

There are times I miss the extra room, having had a formal dining room with two doors that shut out the clutter of projects as well as the table that has been set for a special event days in advance. I miss the nice basement but during a tornado warning, I miss having
any basement. The larger kitchen came in quite handy, too. It was nice to have the space to have open houses, Holiday parties, etc. for a lot of people. But then again, that's not my lifestyle now so why look at the past?

The first verse just before that shown above (but in the KJV) is Phil. 4:11. "...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." I have had a sampler in my home for many years that has that verse on it, purchased during the four years we lived in Iowa where my husband worked as an engineer. It was my own private joke (although my daughter got it), that I would learn to be content in whatever STATE (as in living far away from home) I was in.

There were many years I was not a contended person. God has taught me a lot about being content and living in the moment. I believe that process of becoming content in our life is very important for living in peace. I'll write more about it tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm going to sit on the porch for awhile and enjoy the day...no looking back and wishing for what was...no looking ahead and accepting worries today's grace cannot hold. Just sitting on the porch and enjoying a couple chapters of a good book before it is time to begin dinner. Contented with my pretty but much smaller house...in the country...at the edge of the woods.


picketfencemom said...

This is a wonderful and thought-provoking post, Brenda. I do believe that being content is a choice we can make...or not. But life is much easier and happier when we do choose contentment and bloom where the Lord plants us. It is a wonderful gift to make a house into a loving, peaceful home--no matter where we are.
Thanks for sharing!

Susan P. said...

I also believe that being content is a choice we make. I also am a big believer in staying in the "present," not looking back into the past or forward into the future ~ we need to enjoy each and every moment that the good Lord gives us. As a young child we moved around a lot and I remember my Mama having a sampler that said, "Bloom where you are planted!" I love that!!

Jenny said...

Hello, Brenda! When I decided to make contentment a way of life, life certainly did improve, even though nothing changed. Interestingly, I'm having to learn to be content moving to a much larger home. I'm used to small, cozy homes (1000-1500 sq. ft.), and we are moving to a 2400 sq. ft. home in June. This will be a learning experience for me, especially in housekeeping and creating cozy spaces in large rooms. It will be nice to have ample storage, though!

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Groan....oh, why did you have to post this TODAY??
I spent the afternoon at a friend's house-and coveted her home the entire time I was there. It must be 2,500 square feet or so, with big rooms, lots of tile, painted a favorite shade of green with bright white trim...and on 3 acres to boot.
Four moms were there with 13 children and there was plenty of room in the pool, on the patios (yes, I meant to put the s) and on the lawns for football and wet soft soaker balls.
Did I forget to mention the 3 car garage with the fooz (sp?) ball table?
Oh, how I would love to have her home. I know it fits her family of 5 but for my family of 7 it would also be such a nice fit. It was hard coming home to our not-even 1500 square foot *cottage* with no fourth bedroom, no extra bath, and worst of all, no family room!!!
Did I mention how I handle rainy days? Good, because we don't even want to go there!!
joanna, *mostly* joking...:)

Lee-ann said...

This post of your has been wonderful for me today and so I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We too had a huge house and one we put our heart and sole into along with our dreams only to see it lost to us so we moved here our beautiful little miners cottage and along the way have mad new friends and fallen in love with our home content to be here. but there had been moments when old friends would come look down at the place we were happy in and walk away never to see them again.

I know my home is in my heart not the walls around us but at times I feel myslef wishing "if only" but you know your post today has made me see today again it is not the walls but the heart that makes a home so thank you.


Sandra said...

A great post, Brenda. Contentment is so important to our lives. Being contented no matter what our circumstances can be so hard to learn but oh so worth it!

Being contented and living in the moment are two areas that are important in my life (I'm stilling learning both!).

the feathered nest said...

Brenda, I love your "ponderings". Contenment is a big issue with me. I try but it's hard! It's something I struggle with alot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Allison said...

Oh I so agree about living in the moment and being contented with the little things, not always wishing for something else. I have really worked at that, and continue to do so as it isn't always easy. It's worth working for because being content truly is a gift that keeps on giving. Thanks you for the reminder!