Cultivating Contentment

Today I wanted to post inspirational Valentine’s musings with a picture story of my beautiful kids working on a heart banner and cards for friends to share at our upcoming Valentine’s Day Party. The layout would be beautiful. A photo essay color-coordinated in shades of reds and pinks with touches of green to inspire hope as we are looking forward to spring arriving. This was not to be. My dear husband had a middle-of-the-day meeting on healthcare reform for the Hispanic community. He needed my camera.

I didn’t want to give it to him. What about me? I shouted inwardly. I had a plan, a beautiful plan. I wanted to throw an adult temper tantrum. I wanted to tell him that his meeting wasn’t important, even though I knew better.  I knew that I needed to practice self control – hold my tongue. So I longingly gave the camera to him and resigned myself to the kids doing crafts without taking pictures.

How silly you must think. But don’t we all experience this daily in one way or another? I thought back on our ladies class devotional yesterday morning. How to be content. Aren’t we the same as the little girl in the store with her mother shouting, “I WANT…I WANT…I WANT!!!”? Me, mine, my way or no way. We so often slip into this thinking even while trying to walk out a life of following Jesus. So much of the time I think I’m content until I find myself wanting this and wanting that – sometimes reasonable, sometimes not.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Philippians 4:11-12

The ladies discussed how to cultivate contentment in our daily lives. One way was professing thanks over the now. Another way, when the situation is SO bad you can’t even think of a single thanks to give, is to remember. Remember God’s grace and strength through other times that seemed bleak and hopeless. Remember how that hopeless event gave you a perspective, wisdom, or blessings that never would have come unless walking through it.

Well, my itty bitty tantrum certainly wasn’t bleak or hopeless. So I started thinking of ways to say “Thank you, Jesus” instead of the complaining I wanted to do. And I know it isn’t Monday yet where I usually post thanks. But, still, the process I am learning through that act of gratitude is changing me. As I look around me this morning, I am thankful for 32) the soft downy snowflakes falling outside my window, 33) the crumb cake cooked late last night to fill our bellies for breakfast from that same dear husband as he worked on our taxes, 34) the double refund that God graced us with to cover our needs for the year, 35) the ability to give more then we thought for our new church building, 36) time to sit and play a puzzle with my Janie-poo, 37) watching my boy sketch the snow, 38) seeing my oldest daughter play with my youngest daughter and making her laugh, 39) the extra groceries I will be able to bless my mother with, 40) a potty-training success story for the day, 41) and the chance to shed that lie of Santa Claus and tell the true story of St. Nicholas and the real gift of Christmas, the only gift that matters, the gift of the Cross.

How much better is ALL THAT compared to a few pretty pictures?

Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. I Timothy 6: 6-8

And

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6: 19-21

How much better is the treasure of gratitude then trying to fill my empty earthly desires?

On that note, I will still share some past pictures taken that are  pretty and pink – Valentine’s-y if you will – remembering Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

As well as give a nod to a wonderful new blogger I found (A Field Journal) who is full of all the inspiration for Valentine’s Day that I can’t provide today. Just click on her link in my side bar under Blogroll. It is a treasure trove of everything vintage and shabby chic that I love! You can even sign up for her Natural Historie correspondence where she will send you lovely things in your inbox – a breath of fresh air in the middle of a technical box of computer wires where you long to feel and touch the lovely.

The only pic I got this morning...that wonderful crumb cake I was mentioning next to my favorite tea cup.

A wild strawberry from our backyard.

My favorite rose tea pot from England passed down by my mother-in-law.

The tissue paper of roses...the moss rose.

The delicate skin of baby toes.

Roses are red, violets are blue. These violets are pretty so I'm sharing them with you!

This picture says it all!!!

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4 thoughts on “Cultivating Contentment

  1. Oh, I love your baby toes picture! That is too precious!

    My aunt sent me an e-mail that really helps me focus on being grateful. It went something like this:

    I’m grateful for the dirty dishes that I wash, because I know that my family’s had enough to eat.

    I’m grateful for the toys strewn all over the floor, because I know that my children want for nothing.

    And so on. It really helped me look at things from a different perspective.

    As for me, I have to add that I’m grateful for morning sickness, because it’s a sign of the little miracle who’s growing in my belly!

    • Yes…I’ve been there several times…with the morning sickness that is! But you will be blessed beyond measure! I love that poem. You should send me the whole thing if you still have it. Would love to print it out and magnet it to my fridge! Blessings to you this week.

      • Here’s the rest:

        I’m thankful for…

        the taxes I pay, because it means I am employed.

        the mess to clean up after a party, because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

        the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means I have enough to eat.

        for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.

        for the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means that I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.

        for my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.

        for the lady behind me in church who sings off key, because it means I can hear.

        for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.

        This really helps me put things in perspective!

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