Author Topic: Contentment  (Read 1438 times)

Offline Shelly

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Contentment
« on: September 06, 2013, 12:51:19 AM »
Contentment.  This is a topic that has been heavy on my heart and mind lately.  Everywhere we turn, we see images of beautiful homes, clothing, makeup and all things made to make us feel better about ourselves or to make others feel better about us.  You cannot check out at a grocery store without being bombarded by magazines purporting to make us into super women who can create these lavish meals on perfect dishes set on a perfect table with beautiful floors, walls and window treatments.  Even while checking email, these images find their way into our homes by way of ads thanks to google.  How is one to cope when our surroundings are seemingly less than society tells us they should be?  How does one not fall into the cyclical trap of wanting more and more?   

 "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Hebrews 13:5  I found this verse recently and it resonated in my heart.  Be content with what you have and the He will never forsake us.  That is a comforting thought.  We will not be forgotten and our needs will be met.  How many times have we felt like there was more month than money?  Or with less food than hunger and yet our needs were met again and again?

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." 1 Timothy 6: 17 - 19.  I sometimes wonder about those who live the "high life."  How many of them are truly happy?  With the amount of substance abuse, I would guess not many.  Yet we see many people throughout the world whom we would label as "poor" and they have smiles on their faces and are willing to share their meager supplies.  They have found true happiness, I believe.  I think about those people and compare my own way of living.  I have a small home that is on its way to a century and a half old.  My furniture is nearly 100 percent hand me downs, but it is sufficient for our needs.  The Lord has always provided for my family and we have never gone hungry nor been without shelter.  He has not forsaken me and yet I find myself looking at my worn upholstery wishing for something new. I do sometimes find myself daydreaming about a large house with magazine ready furnishings. If I have those things, will I be happy?  Again, my guess is I would not if that is all I work for in this life.   Do I feel that improving one's home and acquiring nice things is wrong?  Absolutely not.  I feel that having a safe and comfortable home is perfectly within the lines of reason.  I only feel that we step outside of those lines when we place less important goals in front of more important goals.  For example, purchasing a new expensive couch instead of paying off the car or buying a new pair of jeans instead of building our food supply.

So, I choose not to look at magazines that make me wish for things that would put my family on a path into debt.  When I feel those covetous thoughts enter my mind, I remind myself that my worn couch is worn because of all of the meaningful discussions my husband and I have had there.  My clothes that may be a few seasons old can remind me of all the places I have been. My needs are met and material things cannot fill the voids I may feel in my heart.  Turning myself towards Christ is the only way to fill those.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2013, 01:02:43 PM by Shelly »
Wife to Trevor for 16 years and SAHM to Maisie (4) Liam (4) Aedric (1) Harold (1)

Offline Andrea G

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 10:19:31 AM »
Well said. By a lot of peoples' standards we are poor.  We don't have all the big expensive toys. We have only one vehicle now. We don't go on vacations to exotic places.  We don't eat out very often. Our house is a fixer-upper that we will probably never be done fixing up.  But we have what we need and some of what we want, and that's okay.  The rest really doesn't matter anyway. :)
Loving life in southern Ontario
Wife to David, Mom to Kate, Paul, Matt and Julianne

Offline Shelly

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 11:34:04 AM »
You sound a lot like us, Andrea.  Our house was built in 1874 and we're constantly rebuilding and fixing.  (currently our bathroom) and we have 1 car and we make do in a lot of places.  You're right.  The extras really don't matter at all, do they?  We have plenty of food and we have clothes and we have enough money to pay our bills and save some away for the future.  When I think of things in this way, my heart feels full and I feel peace.  The trick is keeping the negative images of how we "should" be living out.  :)
Wife to Trevor for 16 years and SAHM to Maisie (4) Liam (4) Aedric (1) Harold (1)

Offline Andrea G

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 12:58:28 PM »
I am glad we are living this way, and it is much less stressful since we are not obsessed with our possessions.  We are working on our upstairs bathroom too, and whenever it gets done then we can do the other one, which has a lot of fun issues to deal with. All in good time. :)
Loving life in southern Ontario
Wife to David, Mom to Kate, Paul, Matt and Julianne

Offline greyhoundgirl

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 01:24:18 PM »
Thanks, Shelly, I needed this today.  While I'm not into fancy stuff at all, today has been a bit of a down day for me and I was really feeling sorry for myself over the soup I had made for lunch (and disliked).  A silly little thing, but on top of some sadness already in my heart today it was just setting me off, I guess you'd say.  So thanks for the reminder.  :)

Offline trlmom3

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2013, 10:00:46 AM »
Great post Shelly. I sometimes forget how blessed we really are until I look around and see all I do have, but sometimes take for granted.

Laura
Laura
From Northern Michigan
Married to Rick
Mom to Nathan(Kayla), Tanya(Scott),Adam(Nicole)
Gramma to Aiden , Gabby, Isaac  and Sophia Rose born Mar 30 2015
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Offline MoWin

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2013, 04:32:11 PM »
I wasn't sure whether I should post on this thread or not, but it is in my heart. We live in a tiny, tiny little one room cabin that we built ourselves. I loved it at first, but it has been almost 3 years since we moved in. It feels like we are constantly camping.  ???  I so thought we would have added on by now. It just hasn't happened. My hubby's work cut out all overtime. We counted on that for our building money. At least he was not laid off like several were. He is doing the best he can. I try not to let him see when I start feeling closed in. We have made some improvements. We added a nice deck to the front. This year we poured a concrete patio, built a picnic table, and bought a gas grill. We spend lots of time out there when it is cooler. We made the decision to put up a storage shed instead of starting to add on. The reason we made this decision is because we knew we would not have enough money to get very far in building. We are paying $40 a month for a storage area for things we do not want ruined and do not want to get rid of, but have no room for here. So we built the storage shed and will continue to put the $40 back as savings. Maybe next year will be the year when we can build on.  ;D

I struggle quite a bit with discontent, so this was a good thread for me to read. There are people much worse off than we are. We are cool in the summer, warm in the winter, have more than enough food to eat, our home does not leak, nor is there any black mold in it. We have no debt. Actually we live pretty good. My hubby makes sure I always have money for fabric. I will be so glad to get my stash home. Then I really need to make more of an effort to use from it instead of buying more.  :-[

Ehhh, I just need to realize how blessed we are. I think when we lost our garden this year, it just kind of started me on a downward spiral.  :'(  It is time to stop feeling sorry for myself and begin enjoying life again. Funny, but this just occurred to me. If the Lord wants us to be able to build on to our cabin, He will find a way for us to do it. Why am I so sad about it? Time to trust and obey! Thanks for starting this post Shelly. I think I have achieved a breakthrough tonight.   :)

Blessings,
Winona
Winona in northwest Missouri
Wife to Kevin
Mom to Carolyn, Cathryn, Isaiah, Hazel, and Jon
Grandma to Ashton, Ava, Noah, Izabella, and Maddison
Furbabies: Aeris, Buddy, and Callie

Offline Leahsgarden

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2013, 04:56:35 PM »
If you didn't hand quilt your quilts, I would suggest selling them to help increase your egg nest for expanding the cabin. It would be slow, but doing nothing produces nothing. Even $40/month adds up to almost $500 a year.

Is there any way you can salvage building supplies from your old house, or maybe even sell it? Or use it to build a "wall" to protect your garden from getting destroyed again! :)
...Leah
wife to Chris
Mommy to Caleb, Logan, & Josie

Offline MoWin

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2013, 07:07:15 PM »
Thank you Leah, for the suggestions. I have sold a few quilts, but like you said, since I hand quilt, it takes a long time to get one done and no one around here would want to pay even what I have in a quilt, not counting hours. We live in a rural community and everyone is in the same boat. We do hope to be able to salvage some of the lumber from the old house, if we ever get to the point of actually tearing it down.  :D I so wish I could build a wall all around us because we are surrounded on all 4 sides by farm fields. Unless they spray on a calm day (which we seldom have around here) something will get drift.  :( Just one of the prices we pay for living in the middle of no where.  ;)

Yes, it is costing us almost $500 a year for storage.  :o That is exactly why we put the stinking storage shed up.  :) We do pretty good on saving. We are both frugal (I'm even frugal with fabric, but I do buy when I don't actually need it. I'm bad.  :(  It is like a treat for me. I never treated myself when the kids were home. Extra money always went for something extra for them, like all mamas do.  :D ), but it seems like every time we get a sizable amount saved, something happens and we have to use it for something broke down etc. (How do you like that for a run-on sentence? LOL) We had to have work done on the old ancient pick-up this year, had to buy a new water pump, had to buy new tires for the pick-up and will soon need new tires for the car. I had to have new glasses. Just never ending like it is for everyone else any more.  Our only splurge this summer was the gas grill, lumber for the picnic table, and a few bags of cement. (We already had sand and gravel here.)

I know it sounds like I am whining. I guess maybe I am, but I am trying to change.  I really do love our little cabin, but sometimes it does get kind of claustrophobic. LOL I hope to be able to thin out some of the stuff in here, now that I have the stinking shed so close. Our storage is currently in Oregon, which is 10 miles away. Some of my things, I couldn't bear to have that far away, and some of my small appliances aren't used all the time but at least weekly. I am setting up shelves along one side where I will store my small appliances. I just have to walk out and get them when I need them. Should help to reduce the clutter somewhat.

Maybe a should make a commitment to not buy any more fabric unless absolutely needed to finish a project for the rest of the year. Let me think on that before I commit to it.  :-\ I have enough fabric now to make lots of quilts. I even have several batts. Backing is another story, but if I can get over my weird thing of everything having to match, I can start piecing my backings. LOL I have pieced a few, but I always used matchy match fabrics or leftover from the front.

Well, Leah, how did you like my long, long, rambling response to your suggestions?  ??? I do thank you for your input. I feel better tonight. Everything will eventually fall into place.  ;D

Blessings,
Winona
Winona in northwest Missouri
Wife to Kevin
Mom to Carolyn, Cathryn, Isaiah, Hazel, and Jon
Grandma to Ashton, Ava, Noah, Izabella, and Maddison
Furbabies: Aeris, Buddy, and Callie

Offline Leahsgarden

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2013, 10:19:37 PM »
Oh, I can relate to wanting to whine. I've been feeling grumpy that we don't have any linen closet in our rental. I just can't get that one under control, despite trying out 3 different storage methods and decluttering in the past 2 years.

Could you build some shelves on the side of the house (where you don't plan to expand) and then cover it (roof and sides)? I think a lean-to is kinda what I have in mind. Then use that area to store appliances and not-so-frequently used items. It'll keep it close to the house and free up some room.
...Leah
wife to Chris
Mommy to Caleb, Logan, & Josie

Offline Andrea G

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Re: September 6, 2013 - Contentment
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2013, 07:00:24 AM »
Winona, has it really been three years?  :o 
I followed your progress as you built, it was so cool to see what you were able to accomplish. Although it may be small it is nice and the fact that you were able to build without going into debt is fantastic.  David and I would love to do this.  Our youngest is 13, and we look ahead to when they are all grown and on their own and our house will be too big for us.  Not to mention all of the problems we have with it.  It sounds like your old house is much like ours, cold and drafty in the winter, leaking roof, mould in the bathroom, etc.  So we are thinking that we would rather start again and you have really inspired me to think that we COULD do this, with the help of family and friends.  I do see how having not much storage could be a problem though.  I hope that having the shed will help with some of that.  I like Leah's suggestion of the shelves on the side of the house.  That would keep things handy. Regarding selling quilts, could you make smaller items that wouldn't take so long, maybe placemats or pillow coverings or small wall hangings, and sell them online?

If the Lord wants us to be able to build on to our cabin, He will find a way for us to do it. Why am I so sad about it? Time to trust and obey!
I think you nailed it! But sometimes waiting can be so hard. I think He is teaching us patience, and I must be a slow learner, because He gives me lots of practice :)
Loving life in southern Ontario
Wife to David, Mom to Kate, Paul, Matt and Julianne