Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I've written on here before that I struggle with contentment.  It's something that I'm constantly striving for.  Sometimes I'm doing good in this area.  Then, other times the ugly old face of envy creeps up.

That's why I've had to be careful with what I feed my mind.  I love watching shows like House Hunters.  But, it often ends up making me upset.  I've recently started a Pinterest account.  And, I enjoy finding really fun & inspiring ideas.  But, again, there's a fine line between getting inspiration and longing for something you don't have.

I also get Country Living magazine.  I really, really like this magazine.  It's probably my all-time favorite.  It's got a little bit of everything:  recipes, gardening tips, info about vintage finds/collectibles,  DIY ideas.  But, my favorite part is looking at the pictures of featured homes.  Usually the homes are old farmhouses that have been restored & renovated.  The results are what I call 'farmhouse chic'.

This picture is from the kitchen of a featured home from April's issue.  I love this look.  So bright & airy, yet maintaining it's farmhouse charm.  Here is where envy starts to creep in.

The houses they feature are, of course, owned by people who have the money to spend to make them as beautiful as they are.  Even though mentions are made in the articles about 'working with a budget' or 'cost being an issue', I get the definite sense that these folks don't REALLY know what it is to have very little to work with in terms of finances.

And, then I read something that makes me downright mad.  This beautiful home set on a 20 acre property is owned by a husband and wife.  Two people.  Two!   Here's the quote that got my blood boiling...

  "Inside 2300 square feet accomodated the couple beautifully when they spent all day outdoors, but come winter, the space felt...cramped.  DiMauro had grown weary of sharing the one full bath with frequent weekend guests.  And Windley, who had followed her passion, painting full time, felt hemmed in by her tiny office."


Ok.  I know.  2300 square feet by American standards isn't considered 'large' anymore.  But, somehow our family of 6 makes do in our home that is right around 1600 square feet.  If they would like to talk about feeling cramped...try being cooped up inside over winter with 4 rambunctious little boys.

See.  It's that ugly envy face again.  

And, I have to wonder...if we didn't have television shows, internet sites, and magazines to tell us what we don't have but ought to wish we had, would we care as much as we do now?  Would we be envious or oblivious that we didn't have as much as someone else?  

And, I've said this before, and I'll say it again....even most of the poorer folks among us in the U.S.  live in luxury compared to so much of this world.  Yes.  Luxury.  Do you remember this link about Hong Kong's cage homes?

Or the slums of Calcutta?

Or the poor in Kenya?

Or war-torn Afghanistan?

Or the poor of Appalachia in our own country?

This all puts it into perspective pretty quickly.  

I pray that it doesn't take extreme loss and devastation within our own country to remind us how blessed we are.


  1. Hey, Karen! I didn't know you blog. Great post! It's something we all struggle with from time to time. Contentment is something God's been working in me as well. Since we lost our basement to a flood (where we had our boys' bedroom and an office) and the kids have been sharing a tiny bedroom for the last six months until we could find another home, discontentment has crept in more times than i can count. It's those time when I tell myself that there's a mom out there somewhere who would give anything for her kids to just have a bedroom to share. And the fact that I have to shove blankets aside to get to the closet means my child has a soft and warm place to sleep and clothes to wear. A luxury not everyone knows. I think we are spoiled here in America. We all have so much more than we need and therefore think we are entitled to it. I pray that God helps me to be grateful for everything He gives me, because I deserve none of it!

  2. Good post, Karen :) I think being aware of this issue is huge. So many people live their lives consumed with getting the next big thing, consumed with having the perfect house, whatever, that they are missing out on their life. I don't want people to say on my death (not that they are likely to) that I was always perfectly turned out, or that my house was impeccably decorated. I want to LIVE my life, not be getting ready to live my life. I am probably over halfway through, and if I am still trying to fix things up, I am wasting my time. I think loving my kids & husband will be my biggest legacy, and if I do everything else imperfectly, I am okay with that. (Jill)

  3. Great post, Karen! I especially appreciate your comment, "if we didn't have television shows, internet sites, and magazines to tell us what we don't have but ought to wish we had, would we care as much as we do now?" I was amazed at how much my "dissatisfaction meter" went down after I unsubscribed to stores' e-mail sales fliers. When I saw them, I wanted the clothes or household goods or whatever, but when I don't see them, I am so much more satisfied with what I have. Sad, kind of, how fickle I am that way, but thankful that God loves me anyway! Thanks for a great reminder of how blessed we truly are!

  4. Really great post.

    We, too, are a family of six (well, almost, baby coming next week!) in the same size home as yours.


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