Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Contentment At Home

Editor's note: I am not unsympathetic toward those who need better homes or a new kitchen. I hope everyone gets the the opportunity to have the improvements they need. Certainly, a new kitchen or bathroom makes home keeping much, much easier and will set the mind at ease. So, I pray that women everywhere will have decent, livable homes with plumbing that works and houses that have not fallen into disrepair.
Swan Cottage by Sung Kim
(click on pictures for a larger and brighter view! These all come from Allposters.)


There have been a few posts here which delve into the problems of homes that are in a state of deterioration. The modern homes particularly seem to break down more quickly, particularly kitchens and bathrooms. We constantly see home makeovers and new kitchens in magazines and film, which urges us even more to do something about our leaky pipes, sagging counter tops, and chipped floors. What can be done when the condition of the house takes away your motivation to keep it neat and clean?



Swan Cottage 2 by Sung Kim


I just remembered something that was told to me as a young girl: "Take care of what you have and do not worry about what you do not have. If you do not keep house well now, you will not keep house well when you get your dream house." While it is surely more enjoyable to sweep a new carpet and clean a new refrigerator, it is more of a challenge to keep up good housekeeping when things are not in the best condition. Still, the point is well made: if you will not make a bed when there is no pretty, matching spread and curtains, you will eventually not make it when you get a new bedroom set. If you will not clean the bathroom when it is not modern, you probably will not clean it when you get a new one.


The problem of being a contented home dweller comes with the habits that are developed. While a new kitchen might make it more exciting to wash a dish, it will eventually wear off if you do not develop a kind of pride in your housekeeping. So, even if the house is breaking down, you can still clean it and make it look charming. Remember the film based on the book, "One Small Woman," about the life of Gladys Aylward (later made into a movie called "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness), when she went to China. When asked how she would manage everything without money or material things, she said, "If your house is dirty, you can clean it." She did things without waiting for conditions to be ideal.


One of the most inspiring trends is that of taking an old, old house that is not livable and turning it into a gift and antique shop. Walking into these places makes you see what could be done with a small, plain house. It gives you hope that you can make even a less than perfect house an exciting place to be, when you see what these people do in those old places. Sometimes all they do is give it a new coat of paint on the inside. Then, they drape it with all the most humble of things, from old linens to measuring cups, and it has a wonderful feeling of love inside. With the nostalgic pictures on the walls, the candle sconces and the mis-matched furniture, no one seems to even notice the imperfections. All they see is this wonderful place that makes them smile and relax when they walk in.



Cottage Home by Consuelo Gamboa




I feel that even though we might have to move to a better house some day, it is important not to rest easy and give up. We have to leave a good impression on our children and grandchildren. We have to have certain values that we pass on. Imagine, for example, the pioneer women making homes on the plains of America, Africa, Australia or any other country in previous centuries. They may have had bare, sod houses but they knew to sweep them. They may have had shabby clothes but they knew to wash and iron them. They may not have had the finest china but they knew how to wash dishes and keep their little kitchens clean. They may not have had a beautiful bedroom set with Egyptian cotton sheets, but they knew how to make a bed.


Whatever our circumstances, even if we are waiting for a better house or waiting for a new house to be built, I think it is important, if not just for our own state of mind, to make it neat and clean and pretty. If we don't, we may look back on those years some day and regret not being better stewards. The Bible says, "He who is faithful in little, will be faithful in much." (Luke 16:10) If we can't stand to pick up clutter now in our inadequate houses, we may possibly let the new house deteriorate as well.
Many people will think they will be so much happier when they get out of their dismal environment. While we should always strive to improve our living conditions, I think it is important to remember that even if we are given the most ideal setting and the most modern home in the world, we still may take with us our basic attitudes about life. If we do not learn to be creative , positive and resourceful and diligent in our worst circumstances, we will bring our bad attitudes into the next place and make our lives there just as miserable as we were before.


How many times have you seen a couple who longed for their dream home, and then, when they finally got it, it took only a short time before it looked just like the one they left: the porch is breaking down, the inside is dirty and the walls are damaged. Sometimes I see beautiful houses that have been sold. Such houses were lovingly cared for by the previous owners, but the new owners have no knowledge about the care and maintenance of the home. They let the property "go" into disrepair. They do not know how to maintain it. They may have come from a broken down old house and were quite glad to get out of there into a new house with the nice interior and a stove that works and a big refrigerator with an ice maker. However, they do not understand how to be careful and respectful of the property.

Bathroom Elegance 2 by Charlene Winter Olson


(the walls may be peeling and there might not be modern heat, but the towel is neatly folded and everything is clean)



Having a better house is a great blessing, but it does not necessarily make better people out of us. It may help us serve the Lord better if we use it for the right reasons, but if we do not know how to show hospitality in a less than perfect place, we may lack the knowledge to do it in the new house. If a person is not a faithful keeper of the home in a little old place, she won't be any better in a big, new place, once the newness has worn off.


Teapot and Iris by Chiu



I enjoyed listening to a woman who had a friend who lived above her parent's shop. It was a small place, much like an attic, but the friend invited her over to tea. All she served was bread and butter! That bread and butter became a sumptious experience of the senses in the atmosphere that the young homemaker provided. All around was neatness, cleanliness and orderliness. Her dishes sparkled, her floor shone, and her table with the cups and loaf of bread looked like something from a picture book. I will always remember the way the visitor said, "Bread and butter. That is all she had." Her eyes got a sort of far away look as she transported herself to those happy moments sitting, not even on chairs, but on on cushions around the low table in the living room. The young homemaker had given her best!

The way to develop such sweet contentment is to feel a deep appreciation and gratitude for what you do have. Washing the dishes can be a trip down memory lane when you recall how you came by the set of dishes you use every day, and dusting can be fun when you see how you were blessed with that wedding bowl and the pitcher. Washing clothes can really be fun when you think of each garment as a gift and a blessing.

Even young girls in dorm rooms can improve their attitude toward cleaning up after themselves. They may think there is no use doing anything in those dismal places, but if they will make that small place a haven, and use their imagination and knowledge to create the best atmosphere they can, they will find such skill very, very useful when they finally get a home of their own. Girls who live with their families and rooms of their own need to know that if they are a slob in their own room, there is a strong possibility they will not improve when they get their own homes. That is one reason it is so important to create a place within your limitations, that is lovely.
Added comment: To the younger women I would suggest ways to improve your house or get one that is more adequate for you, would be to watch your spending. If you smoke, drink, party, or even buy coffee by the cup twice a day, it can add up to quite a bit. Vacations, also cost quite a bit. I have one dear friend who chose to get a completely new kitchen rather than spend their bonus on a car or a vacation or even clothes. Going out to eat costs quite a bit, and so does going to the movies. If you give up some of these things for awhile you might find you have a little more money to use on the house. Sometimes even getting a new set of cannisters for the kitchen, or new curtains, can go a long ways to making the house a better place to be. The cost of new clothes or the amount that is spent at the mall, might buy a small improvement at home, even it it is a little rug for the bathroom.


A search of the art of both Sung Kim , T. Chiu, Charlene Winter Olson, and Consuelo Gamboa will reveal a host of beautiful paintings. The posters are not always very expensive, and some are under ten dollars. You can get frames at discount stores, and enjoy this beautiful art in your humble home. Please don't forget to click on each picture for a larger view. Having such pictures on the walls create a peaceful mood in the room, and are a great influence on the family, as they focus more and more on the importance of the home.

For further reference see Matthew 25:21-23

28 comments:

Machelle said...

Some of my favorite posts of yours are the practical and inspirational hints. It's eye-opening to think how much more enjoyable little things like dusting can be when you don't think of it as a chore, but rather caring for precious blessings. My family has lived in the same home since the 60's. it's a small ranch home, with small rooms, but my grandmother has always been able to make it seem warm and cozy, rather than suffocating and claustrophobic.

God Bless,
Machelle

Anonymous said...

Realy great post Lady Lydia!

I hope that this doesn't hurt anyone's feelings because I really don't mean it that way, but my late father had a quote, "Poor people have poor ways". I think that he included himself in that group when he knew that he wasn't setting his family's standards high enough. Anyway, he stressed to his us that if we wanted to progress in life (because he started out very poor) we needed to be aware of the difference in cleanliness/neatness standards of the poor and the better off.

And my mother always added that soap is cheap and that neatness counts!

Anonymous said...

< If we can't stand to pick up clutter now in our inadequate houses, we may possibly let the new house deteriorate as well. >

I've been praying for a larger home for several years. I am unhappy in our current, too-small home. It is very difficult for me to feel motivated to clean and unclutter this house.
I will try to do better. This post was very inspirational.
Thank you.

Gail said...

How true it is that what you do with your home makes all the difference in the world. When I was a young mother, my husband and I had to live in an apartment house in Philadelphia. It was quite dirty and depressing. I was desperate there, but once I accepted the fact that we must live there for the year that my husband was stationed at the Navy shipyard, I vowed to make it as cheerful and pleasant as possible.

First off, I kept it clean as a whistle. Then I got out all the handmade afghans, knick-knacks and the lace doilies and hung pretty pictures. I would usually shop every day for fresh food and made good homemade meals. I played a little game with myself, which was to imagine that I lived in a cozy cottage in the country. Outside the air had a horrible stench, a train track ran directly behind the apartment house and beyond that lay acres and acres of oil refinery. If I looked out my window I could see a huge ball of gas continually burning at the top of a tower. The street below my bedroom windows was dirty and one time I saw a mammoth rat scurrying down it during a rainstorm. The apartment house was home to prostitutes, transvestites and cockroaches. I kept cleaning and spraying and doing whatever I could to keep down the roach population, and as far as my dealings with the human residents, I strove to be as joyous and loving as I could to all.

The last night I was there, I ventured to the door of the prostitutes and handed the elderly madam some bible tracts and told her that God loved her. She seemed genuinely touched, but I was too scared to stick around, so I hightailed it back to my apartment, and prayed that God would help them. I don't whatever happened, but I knew I had been obedient.

Whenever we could on weekends, I used to ask my husband to take us for a ride down through the Amish country. I got so much inspiration from their world and I guess I tried to pattern my little home after what I imagined theirs would be like.

What an experience. I'm glad I didn't have to stay in Philadelphia more than a year but God showed me how to make a little piece of heaven in the midst of "Egypt", if you will.

One last note: The woman who lived downstairs beneath my place came to visit me with her friend one day. They were so surprised that I had such a nice apartment and no amount of explaining could convince them that my apartment was identical to the one in which my neighbor lived! They were sure it was completely different! I still marvel at that.

Polly said...

This is so true!

I live in a 1100 sq ft house, quite contentedly, and we never want to move. We fix things up as we can. I try to keep it tidy and clean, fresh flowers on the dining area (there's no formal dining room!) table, etc. It's kind of like spending money--if you don't have good habits when you don't make much, NO amount of money will ever be 'enough.'

Good habits are so important!

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

Just want you to know that you are the Titus 2 Woman in my life. I know of no other Women that was a Homemaker except my Husband's Grandmother and we don't speak the same language. You have been a direct answer to prayer and I can not ever repay you for the blessings you have brought me through your wisdom. Thank you, and my Daughters Thank you and I am sure the Generations that come after will Thank you too.

You have inspired me to enjoy my Homemaking and not look at it with drudgery. Because of you, I get up and make Homemaking fun for my girls, so much so that my 2 year old PREFERS to clean with Mommy than anything else and I always tell her what a wonderful Wife and Mother she will be.

At 2 she can unload the dryer (she even cleans out the lint trap) into the laundry basket and take it to the bottom of the stairs to be brought up and put away, fold her clothes and put them away in her drawers, hang her clothes, help empty and load the dishwasher, remove everything from the bathroom floors so we can both clean them and then she puts everything back, she proudly replaces toliet paper for me, wipes up her own spills without being asked, throws away any garbadge she finds and clears her own place after eating.

Just the other day she cleaned up after a spill made by her 5 month old Sister that I missed. She did it lovingly, because I have begun to care for my Family lovingly. Oh to realize that your Babies are watching every breath you take and YOU are determining how your Grandchildren and so on will be raised by what you do right now, everyday. This is why MOMMIES NEED TO BE HOME WIH THEIR BABIES!

I could go on and on, she is amazing and she just loves to learn and do everything. She wants to be like me and I want to be worthy of that. You help me do that and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you, Thank you. You are my Honorary Mother.

On your post, this is very true and I see this from my very own window. We live very close to our old home. We put a lot of love and time into it. My husband is very handy (because he decided to be and worked very hard at it) and had landscaping that neighbors would purposly take their walks by and bring their children to see. This didn't take alot of money or land, we lived in a small town home with maybe ten feet wide of yard.

The new owner doesn't turn on the landscape lights, hasn't used the fountain, doesn't trim the bushes and all is overgrown and nasty now. The back patio is full of dirt and old furniture, covering over thousands of dollars of new stamped concrete. No one walks by anymore and it is so sad to see what was once a beautiful house being so neglected. It wasnt just time or money, it was caring. It was our first house and we decided we would do the absolute best with what we had and we always got compliments. We had many people who wanted to buy our home and it was because they could feel the care and God's blessings. This can be evident in a Mansion or a run down trailer, I have been in cold hard Mansions that I wanted to run out of and wanted to visit forever in a run down trailer. The difference was the Woman.

It is in the love of the Women who is the heart of the home. It is the Queen who makes the palace.

Many Blessings :)
Carrie

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Carrie, your reference to the house that you sold that was never looked after and allowed to deteriorate brings to mind an alarming trend. I've seen several houses that have been treated badly to the point of demolishment by the new owners. The first time I ever noticed something like this was a brand new farmhouse that a woman had lovingly planned and contracted herself. She bought good wallpaper from England and styled it after her own grandmother's farmhouse. When her husband got a job somewhere else they sold it. A lot of people looked at it and really liked it but the one who got it didn't even move in to it. It sat there for two years with no occupant. Eventually the owners came for a weekend, letting the dogs mess up the carpets. Then, they painted over the wallpapers a garrish dark navy blue. The porch and yard had also turned into another world. Far from the pristine care that was at first given it by the original owner, the new occupants let it go and piled up trash.

I just thought it was so strange.

Then another person sold her house that had river front property with it. It was a beautiful setting and her husband had done a lot of custom work in the house. She had a new kitchen and had decorated it with grape motifs and designs. Her home had a beautiful view. They had to sell it because they wanted to move closer to where their daughter lived. They sold it to someone who lived in another state and the person tore up the inside very badly, ripping out all the custom cabinets and shelves and even walls. They claimed they were "damaged." When my friend went back to get something she had left in the garage, she said she almost cried to see what the new owners had done.

Yet another house was a pretty Victorian. The owners had lived all their lives there and raised their children there. They wanted to move to something smaller without an upstairs. When they sold it the people buying it said they had looked all their lives for something like this and that it was perfect for them. Now, when you drive by you can see they care nothing about it. The first thing to go is usually the front door area and the porch, and believe me, it has gone.

There were lovely farmhouses in a place I once lived. The original owners took great care of the land and made the houses beautiful inside. When they grew too old to look after them they sold them. The new owners have torn out walls and made a terrible mess on the outside which they never finished. The gates are broken and the animals get out of the fences. I can't figure it out, unless it is just that the newer generation of house owners just don't have it ingrained in them how to respect property. I can understand having a few things messed up, but damage is another thing altogether. I do not think that some people are as passionate about their houses as people were in the past. It seemed if a man had a house he was usually doing something to it. Either he was up on the roof or repairing something or planting something and the house was a great source of satisfaction. This trend is quite puzzling. I've seen very valuable houses go to ruin in a very short time.

Anonymous said...

I had an uncle who had a beautiful farmhouse built in the early 1900's. When his wife died he couldn't live by himself so he moved to town and let one of his grandchildren live in the house. He was trying to help them out. The granddaughter married a ne-er-do-well and he took everything in the house and sold it---everything that would move. Then the granddaughter ruined the rest of the house by not looking after it. All the antiques were gone and all the quilts, scrapbooks, etc. that were left in the house. The granddaughter had parties there that were so loud the neighboring farmer complained and called the sheriff. Yes, the nice houses are in great danger of the next generation who hasn't been taught to be good stewards.Makes you kinda worry about our public places too.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia, I found this post very encouraging. Your site is a beacon of hope and a wealth of information. Thanks for all you do. Gail, your comment was WONDERFUL. What a great attitude. I printed your words and put them in my domestic notebook. When my husband and I were married, he was an Army lieutenat and we lived in a mobile home at Ft. Hood. To me it was a palace. Peggy

Anonymous said...

I know what it is! It is that Women have left their post. Sorry, that is what it is. I was in the Military and the MOST IMPORTANT thing in the world was not to leave your post. It didn't matter if a war broke out ten feet away and you were guarding the bathrooms, you did not leave your post. They had to discipline Privates for doing this all the time because they would always say "Oh, but what was going on over there was so much more important" and we would tell them, NO, you must stand your ground, the enemy could be using it for a diversion to draw everyone away and much more. Plus you didn' know the whole picture, only the General did which is why you were to OBEY HIS COMMANDS.

Women think that Oh, I am only caring for this small home and small children. I could be out there making a Difference! I could be ministering to God, I could have a career.

Right, then you have homes that are falling apart, a country with crippling debt and children who don't love, don't know you and have no training or understanding of the home.

Men used to be proud of their homes and the families in them because they were their kingdom and they would do their best to keep it beautiful because it was a direct reflection on their wife and their wife was a direct reflection on them.

Now, they just lease or go into debt for big cars and watches, don't want to marry and share money and hey a child support check is fine. The home isn't a nest to raise children, it is a place you sleep in. Sometimes.

Our house was purchased by a Woman who works very hard at her job and is a widow. She didn't even know how to turn on the air conditioning and she pretty much let the place go to ruin. She is gone all day and much of the night working to pay debt. The home isn't a haven it is a stress. My husband even tried to help.

Women have left there post unguarded and now the enemy is fully in.

Many Blessings:)
Carrie

Hadias said...

Your words are so true of the choice of wall hangings that we choose to place in our homes. I own the Teapot and Iris painting by T. Chiu. I has inspired my decorating style and encourages my mood when I look at it as do the other wall hangings that I own.

This is inspiring which. I share the same idea regarding the ttitude of caring for what you have like it were already what you desire. Beautiful post.

Lady-in-the-Making said...

Lady Lydia,

I truly needed this today.

Thank you so much. God bless you.

Gail said...

Thanks, Peggy for your encouraging words. Our first home was Navy Housing and how I loved that place, too. Again, I found it possible to make a drab place into the cutest little sanctuary. I also loved that most of the women were stay at home housewives and we would visit out in the front yards while our little children played in front of us. We had a weekly bible study, too.

I still live in a military town and have the utmost respect for them. They seem to be about a generation or so behind what currently passes for American life.
The camraderie and respect they show for people and order in general are a blessing. My husband is retired Navy and our oldest son is in the Air Force. He just underwent major surgery for a serious tumor that was found inside his spinal cord. We spent several days with him up at Walter Reed Army Hospital. What a wonderful spirit there is at that place. You see all kinds of young people missing various parts of their bodies from the roadside bombs. But they all tool around on their wheelchairs and with their prosthetic limbs, acting just like any other young person. Most of the staff are young people and they are like a big family.

If any of you could pray for my son, Bobby, I would be most thankful. The cancerous tumor was 4 centimeters and inside his thoracic spine. It looks to be all gone and is the kind that usually does not recur but he must be monitored the rest of his life.
(MRI'S). Neurologically, he suffered some damage to the nerves which govern his ability to sense his legs. They are strong and he can move them but they feel numb (like they are asleep). So he has to learn to walk like that while we pray for restoration!!

Anonymous said...

Your comment about dorm rooms takes me back. I can remember how excited I was to have my room in college. I was lucky enough to have a private room, which meant that it was very small though. I had an old carpet my aunt gave me on the floor and art prints on the wall. I even had a couple of little plants and a basket of fruit. LOL . . . I remember some of my hallmates making fun of me with my vacuum and furniture polish on the weekends. (I went to a major university, so I guess it was a bit funny to some) During my second year of college, I was moved into a suite which had a group of equally small private rooms and a living room and bathroom. Luckily, I was with a group of like-minded girls and we had a wonderful time decorating out little suite. Those girls were such a blessing! It had very ugly furniture . . . the kind of stuff you see in doctor's offices, but we added little touches to it. I really remember these dorm rooms fondly because they were very homey and cute. I had an apartment my last two years of college and the land lord used our apartment as the one to show prospective tenants. because it was decorated so nicely. Nothing fancy. We had hand me downs, but my roommate and I like having an actual "home" to come to after our classes and work.
I'm glad you mentioned dorm rooms. When all you have is one room to live in, keeping it nice really makes all the difference. It is hard to study in a room that is dirty and plain.

Mrs. H

Anonymous said...

Truer words were never written!

And of course, wherever you go, there you are!

We just moved into what I hope is our forever house. It's a decent size, in a lovely neighborhood, and really has everything we ever wanted in a house. Yet, it still takes the same amount of work to keep it. I still have a lot of work to do on decorating it. And although we are very happy we are here, we were just as happy in our old homes, one of which was a first floor small apartment.

I always giggle when I see those fancy stainless steel appliances that are all the rage now. They may be in style, but do they really make your cooking taste any better?
: )

Thank you for another wonderful article! ~ Ann

Kimber said...

I LOVE this article, Lydia. Thank you for writing it and sharing.

We have just made a decision to put our home up for sale. This is my dream home and we built it only 4 years ago, I think I have said that on here before. The problem is that our state has changed so much recently and shows signs of changing so much more that we are feeling led to take our family away from here.

I have lived in modest homes that we fixed up and then sold. We also set up homes in houses that were for the most part stripped out to the studs until we renovated them. We never finished a house and then got to enjoy it for ourselves before this house, so I had to learn to be content with things in a state of being repaired or renovated for so many years. I have loved living in a mostly FINISHED home for this past bit, and it is somewhat sad to build a dream home and then abandon it. The thing that makes me feel ok about it is I made a HOME out of every place we have lived and I know I will do that again. We may not ever live in something again that is as close to being my ideal place as this house is, but I know we will be happy where ever we land.

Home is truly about the people within the house and the effort made to make it a place of love. I've lived in shabby and I have lived in chic and I was equally happy in both. Just because the house is fine, there is no assurance that the goings on IN the house are fine. Likewise, you can't judge a shabby home to have shabbiness of the lives within. We just can't judge these "books" by their covers.

Thank you for the great encouragement this article was for me today. Now, I have to get back to some cleaning and sorting out. Looks like I need to start making my home "sale ready."

Who knows, perhaps the Lord will allow us to build this home plan again in a better location? Wouldn't that be lovely? As close as this is to exactly what I wanted, there were a few little technical mistakes made in the construction and a few things I probably would do a little differently. Perhaps next time those could be seen to and the house could be even nicer and be even more suited to us. It is good to keep a dream and this one is comforting to me. I am, however, content knowing that whatever home we end up in, I will make it warm and cozy and just right for my family. That is a joyful thought.

Kimberline

Trish said...

I have enjoyed this blog so much! you are truly an inspiration! I have worked in a school for 11 years, and after looking around my home and thinking, "What in the world happened here?", I am on my way home!! This is my last year working. The second week of April is my last week of work!

Also, I have 2 grown daughters (still living at home) and I'm not giving excuse to the fact that, according to the world, I don't need to be home because I don't have small children. I plan to use this time wisely and teach my girls how to keep house!

Thank You!!

Judi said...

My husband and I once had neighbors who kept the outside of their house spic and span. Every week you would see them mowing, planting flowers, painting trim, etc. One day, we were talking to the husband, and he made a comment that he needed to do some repairs inside but didn't have the money right then. He said, "The inside might not look good, but by golly, we make sure that our neighbors and anyone who drives down the road don't have to see a mess outside."

I was never inside of his house, but, frankly, I think it had to be just as tidy as the outside. I can't imagine that he and his wife could have lived any other way. To me, his comment showed that he took pride in his home and in his reputation. He knew that some people would form their opinion of him just by what they saw when they looked through their car window as they drove by. He didn't want people to think he was a slob who didn't care for his property.

But, I also think he and his wife really wanted to be giving something to people too. They didn't just keep the place tidy, they also added flowers, a flagpole, and some little statues in the front yard -- nothing expensive, but cute. It just seemed like a little gift they were giving people.

We weren't slobs, but, after that conversation, we began to take extra care with the outside of our place too. Little things, like keeping ugly garbage cans around back instead of out front, can really make a difference in how a house looks to those who pass by.

BarbaraLee said...

Even though I haven't finished read this post, I usually download for bigger print, but what I have read is true.
We have been living in this house for 3+ yrs and needed updating. The basement needed to be finished for room and heating reasons. So it got a makeover the 2nd yr we were here. We gained 2 bedrooms, family room, sm. storage & office. The point is I didn't wait until it was remodeled. We kept things clean and organized. We live pretty simply so it does make it easier. Right now we are remodeling our laundry room. Now things aren't laying around the house making a mess. I found temp. spots for them until its done. We want to use cash as we go. No credit.
I got a brief post regarding poor people and she is right also. I have been on welfare and struggle with money but my home and children have been clean. Those low income families make others look bad. It is a shame. They are missing out on something special. It breaks my heart because they will be raising their children the same way.

Rachel said...

This is a very timely post. My family and I are about to move half way across the country, to what is (God willing) our "forever" house...we have we two parents, and five small dc (and potentially more in the future)...right now, we're in just a squeak over 1100 sq ft, and we're "DROWNING" in "stuff". The lead up to the packers coming has been intense, and I am so ready to just throw up my hands in frustration, and exhaustion, and give in. But I have three little girls looking on (the boys are 10 mos old, so their looking is limited), and so I am trying my best to keep a lid on things.

Our new home is three times the size on 10 acres, and we will have plenty of room for the things we have now, and then some. And it will surely make life easier to have a place for everything and everything in its place.

But this is certainly a timely post on something I have been thinking about for a while. Thank you!

Tammy said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so much what I needed to hear. I struggle with being content in our small home and seeing what others have but after reading your post I realize that if I don't take care of what I have now why would he Lord bless me with something more. Thank you for being honest and to the point. Looking forward to reading your other post.

Blessings

Sarah said...

I too can fall into discontent about my small house, with dated bathroom, etc. This post was a great reminder to me to just be so grateful for a home I can make still enjoy and make pretty despite it's drawbacks.

Bloom where you're planted, as the saying goes.

Blessings.

Sarah

Anonymous said...

When my mother was a young woman (Depression era) she had a friend whose family was so poor they used wooden packing crates for chairs at the table. But what she also remembered about her friend and her family was that they had fun together. In other words, they enjoyed life and it wasn't dependent on fancy possessions.

Joy of Frugal Living said...

Ach - I wrote I long and very complimentary comment and blogger ate it!

So anyway, thank you so much for this post, Lydia. It really lifted my spirits. Your encouragement has been so helpful to me.

Jennifer

Tiffany said...

I come to your blog when I need encouragement and always feel refreshed and ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. You epitomize feed sack frugal which to me means to create something beautiful and useful from the ordinary and to do so with grace and gratitude.

Anonymous said...

well said, Lady Lydia! I'm sure you have heard this saying--"happiness is not getting what you want-it's wanting what you have". Since my homecoming last May, the budget is always tight, and there are many things I would like to buy(curtains, new bathroom rugs, etc...) but cannot afford at this time. But one thing I can do is keep my house tidy and orderly. I've been doing major decluttering, and major spring cleaning, and cultivating a grateful attitude. All of our needs are met, and we are happier than ever!

Anonymous said...

Anon. you are so right--when parts of the house need replacing or refurbishig, cleaning it and decorating it helps a lot. Sure, we could always get a new house, but the payments now are about $3,000 a month, which means the wife has to work 6 days a week and miss those days at home to take care of it.

Anonymous said...

I read this back a few day ago and I just wanted to say thank you... I really needed to read something like this and your article has changed my way of thinking. :-)

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