Fiona in the Spring

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”

It’s a verse I’ve heard since my youth, one I have often striven for to varying degrees. Contentment remains…elusive, though. In fact, I believe contentment looks different in varying phases of life. The lessons learned about contentment as a single 21-year-old are useful, but different than the lessons in contentment as a wife and mother in my 30s.

We have done a lot of growing, a lot of striving. We have purchased a house, moved up in our careers, made significant changes, renovated a home, had a baby, and so much more. While all of these are good things, they aren’t centered on contentment (though they are not inherently opposed to it either).

As I moved into this new year, as I continue to learn what it means to be a working mom, as I strive to balance my life and my career, I feel a call toward contentment. Read more

Thoughts on disappointment

Thoughts on disappointment

It seems to be the theme of our life these days…things just aren’t going as planned.

We didn’t plan on Michael dying.

We didn’t plan on struggling so hard to find a house.

We didn’t plan on our finances being so tight.

And now we are waiting…waiting to hear about another potentially major life change. Knowing that there isn’t anything we can do to make it happen. So we wait. And wait some more. In anticipation, but withholding hope because we have been rocked by disappointment so often these days.

In fact, disappointment seems to be a daily occurrence at our home. I hate to say that. I hate to admit how hard it’s been. I’m too much of an optimist most of the time to really tell you how hard things are.

But over the course of time I have learned not to discount the importance of disappointment. In my humanness I want to shrug it off. God’s in control, I say. And He is. But that doesn’t change the fact that disappointment exists. It exists in the weight of a sinking stomach, in deflated dreams, in the ache of unmet anticipation.

Sometimes I need to acknowledge it more. Give it validity. Because if I don’t, am I really dealing with it? Or am I just pushing it down? Because I don’t want to live a life that’s just on the surface. I want to be content down to the depths of my soul, and if that’s where I’m hiding the disappointment, then I need to root it out.

I can’t always dismiss it, so instead, today, I choose to acknowledge it.

I am disappointed.

But I won’t stay there.

Because tomorrow is a new day, and as Scripture says, weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning…and my hope is in the Lord!

First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA

“Affording” happiness?

“Affording” happiness?

A headline struck me today, it was an article from USA Today titled “Why do we spend money on happiness we can’t afford?”. Do you see something wrong with this question? Because I do.

Headline from USA Today

(Disclaimer: My comments about this have nothing to do with the content of the article, merely the headline…)

Can we ever “afford” happiness; is it really possible to buy happiness? I don’t think so. But this is the trap that Americans (and I admit, I myself) fall into over and over again. The black and white truth is that we cannot buy happiness! It’s not a commodity. And things, material items, can’t make us truly happy.

I believe that happiness is a feeling, the truth behind it is joy. And joy is something that we get from knowing that we are loved by God and redeemed through the blood of Christ.

So why do I and so many others think that buying just one more thing will bring us happiness?

Sure, we get an emotional high when we make a purchase, but why can’t we also get an emotional high from knowing that we are being responsible, frugal, self-disciplined when we choose NOT to make a purchase?

Husband and I have tried to mesh our desire for a comfortable, hospitable home and our slim budget by shopping clearance shelves for the little things and saving for the big purchases (like the leather loveseat and ottoman we recently bought at a liquidation sale for $300 or the antique trunk we found at an antique store in Ohio for $98 (which I just have to say, was actually under our budget)).

I find that the more I focus on the things in life that truly bring me happiness, joy and contentment, the less I feel the desire to spend, spend, spend.

So here are some of the things that are making me happy these days:
Ginger wagging her tail.

  • Wagging puppy dog tails
  • Cozy couch time with Husband
  • Crafting/Sewing/Baking
  • Cleaning my house (seriously!)
  • Hugging my pony
  • Reading
  • Sipping hot tea
  • Laughing with friends
  • Sleeping =)
  • The smell of Christmas trees
  • Warm fires, indoor or outdoor
  • Music that makes me dance
  • Clean laundry
  • Blankets, I love blankets
  • Taking long walks with Husband and Puppy
  • Looking at pretty, twinkly lights
  • Candles, candles and more candles (trying to make up for the lack of fireplace in our current home)
  • Funny thing is, most of these require minimal, if any, money.

    This is my happiness.

    Husband and I in Colonial Williamsburg.