Contentment. It`s the new rich.

Contentment: something that makes a rich man jealous.

Gratefulness. Something priceless you cannot buy.

I was down on the floor hand mopping my kitchen floor yesterday and I thought to myself,

The key to happiness really is not caring a hoot about money.

I know the Bible and lots of other people have already said this. But sometimes you just have to think it for yourself. It just hit me in such a real way, right then.

Philippians 4:11 says,

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

1 Timothy 6:6,

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

Isn`t it funny how people who lived so long before us can tell us something. Yet, we really don`t live that way or believe it`s true, until, something happens in our own lives where we can tap it into one of our experiences and then it it SO TRUE to us. The light goes on…

Silly humans.

Luke 12:15

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

I LOVE this one:

“There is no end of craving. Hence, contentment alone is the way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.”

~Swami Sivananda

“You can’t stop loving or wanting to love because when its right, it’s the best thing in the world. When you’re in a relationship and it’s good, even if nothing else in your life is right, you feel like your whole world is complete.”

~Keith Sweat

Go Keith! (Don`t sweat the small stuff- hehe)

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have, was once among the things you only hoped for.”

~Epicurus (Greek philosopher BC 341-270)

{Wonder if his name is where the word ‘epic’ came from?}

These words of wisdom from Epicurus always speak to me. Especially in the area of my girls.

I wanted them for so long. If you read my blog when it was on xanga, you`ll know how my heart ached for children of my own. Now that I have them, some days I feel like I`m flipping out of control. I mean, we have awesome, joyful, read story books on the couch covered in blankets, skip in the leaves,  kind of days too.

But you know. Some days…

This is maybe a bit if a rabbit trail, but on the note of frustration with children… I have noticed that on days that I feel especially stressed with the girls– it usually stems back to feeling angry at myself, or let down by the way I parent. Guilt. Failures.  Which for me comes out blazing as frustration in some variant of:

“Why can`t you just be a good child all the time?”

Example of this?

When I am working on the computer– it could be– deciding which coupons I want to print, working on my blog (whatever that is), or catching up writing friends, wasting time on FB etc. My girls just go nuts!

(Seriously, when I put up a blog post it almost always takes me like 3-4 days of working on it, off and on, when I can get to it without the girls coming and banging on the keys. )

Okay anyways, they go nuts. Sit on my lap (okay), beg for juice and whine and it`s all very vague (in a minute), start hitting keys and kicking (now you got on my left nerve), jumping on my lap and trying to climb up on the desk in front of the monitor (oops, there went my last nerve).

Then I get off and and am so annoyed at them. Kinda, no, I`m REALLY annoyed at me. I wish things didn`t take so much time, especially online. I wish we`d walk to the park more. I wish I was more of a quality time mom. I wish I was more patient, on and on. I need to show them a better picture of Jesus. I think of all the ways I wish I was better.

Galen mentioned to me the other day that I can be a little bit of over achiever. (I would have used to think that was a compliment, now I know it`s more like a gentle reminder.) He said it in a way that was like, you don`t have to work so hard. You can “do” less. It was really sweet and I am left wondering where I got the idea that my girls might get to live with a perfect mother.

BECAUSE THEY SURE WON`T GET THAT HERE AT THIS HOUSE.

They do get to enjoy a really snuggly one that loves them to smooch on them and love them to bits though.

Ok, rabbit trail much?

“Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand, desires makes a wise and a happy purchase”

~John Balguy

Shifting subjects again a bit…

I thought it`d be kinda fun to break it down and show you how little a “fancy” party can cost.

Remember, it`s all about the host making her guests feel special, NOT about spending a lot of money.

White tablecloth. A white table cloth takes over ordinary and makes in look ritzy. Think French bistro. You could use a white flat bed sheet or a long piece of cheap fabric… Mine is a tablecloth, I have had it for years.

Gold plate chargers. They were all a $1 each, after Christmas, at Walmart, one year. I have maybe 12 of them?

Sheet music under plates. 25 cents for a songbook– at my local thrift store. My local thrift has old sheet music for as little as .10 a book!

Plant. Houseplant I “planted” there for the party. I love to buy fresh flowers or pick roadside flowers when I have guests over to eat. Fresh plants/flowers is the #1 thing you can do take your party to the next level. Serious.

Little chalkboard name tags. They are in a pack of 5 at Joanns for pry around 2.00 a pack. I used a 50% off coupon. Cheap is the word here.

Clear glass plates and silverware. Bought for pennies a piece from thrift stores. I love to collect mismatched dinnerware. But you already know that.

Mugs. My wedding mugs. 7 years ago.

Napkins. My only splurge. They were $3.00 each from World Market. They are REUSEABLE though– which makes them a great thing to own.

Burlap piece in center of table. Leftover from a lady`s banquet I helped do at Gospel Haven church. I have used this piece so many times now!

Little pumpkins. Free, a gift from my mom. 🙂

Little creamers basket. A friend gave me a gift set from Bath and Body, it`s the basket that the set came in. So free.

Silver pedestal bowls. I got 5 of these at a gross, way out in the country, Amish thrift store for .50 each. Dishwasher sanitized them. I love them so much and use them daily.

Drink bottles. I own 5 of them and keep them from party to party. I fill them with water and keep in the fridge so they are cold. They add something special, I think.

Goblets. My wedding goblets.

White Bird. .50 cents at thrift store. Ugliest bird you ever saw. Painted it white and used a black marker on the ridges of it to make it look “weathered”.

The glass dome covering the muffins. .50

Paired with a old, white plate, also .50.

Glass white candle. Twenty dollar candle from TJ MAXX for like, $6. I only light it for special occasions. 😉

For the food. My friend, Heather and I made the food. We had individual little breakfast eggs/meat muffins. Baked oatmeal with pie filling on the bottom. Yogurt. Blueberry muffins. Fresh fruit platter. Oj w/ ice cream. Coffee with flavored creamers.

To again stress that pretty parties do not have to be costly. I will tell you that the food I made, I bet didn`t cost me more than ten bucks? And I`m shooting high by saying ten. Clipping coupons helps a ton with that. Honestly, the can of pie filling was pry the most “costly” (not) thing I bought. Heather is way better at clipping than I am, so I bet she did even better then me. 🙂

Fun to be thrifty. 🙂

Please understand I am NOT saying being thrifty is the key to contentment. Alone, being thrifty, will consume you with the desire and make you go crazy with discontentment.

But it CAN make a great antidote to contentment, in that it will enable you to live with less, scaling down the necessities of life.

Where the kids sat. At a chalkboard coffee table, on stools, with a large white sheet underneath that got whisked away with all the crumb-ys in it.

I couldn`t resist this last picture of Elle being all wifely to Matthew. She actually her her arm around his waist-- but I didn`t catch that on camera.

Ok, well with Godliness and great contentment, humility and a touch of thriftiness, (kidding) go have a blessed day today!

If you want to vent or inspire us on any of these subjects– please share. We love to hear what you have to say.

Both girls on my lap….

Later,

Jenny

PS. If you like pretty fall parties, here is a gorgeous one…

And the simplicity of this one takes my breath away…

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10 Comments

  1. Andrea Esh says:

    Yeah I hear ya. Somewhere along the line I thought it would be doable to be like close to a perfect mom. Laughing so hard now, because What was I smoking?
    on a differant note, I love the sheet music thing. Very pretty.

  2. Cindy says:

    i know that money can’t buy happiness…but couldn’t i pretty please have a chance at proving that to be true???!!! 🙂

    ahhhhhhhhhh. contentment. motherhood. and beautiful parties. i really could vent on the first two, and gush over the latter at your house!

    but gotta go! later!

  3. Rachal says:

    I love this post! Contentment is sooo hard for me. And believe me, there are lots of opportunities to practice!!! I go back and forth from trying to be content to wanting what I want and being angry that I can’t have it! I wish I was more creative and could do the cheap/beautiful thing as easily as you do….I am trying…
    The problem is that I like pretty things and most of the time I can’t afford what I like! I want some nice grassy type stuff to put in my pottery vase to set by the fireplace…..but you know what kind of artificial stuff shows up at the thrift stores!!! AND you know what nice (non-tacky) looking stuff like that cost at Hobby Lobby!!
    Thanks for all the time you put into your blog. You inspire me. I really mean that..not trying to be gushy!

  4. Rachel says:

    some of the most profound thoughts happen during the most mundane of tasks.
    contentment?
    yep, it surely is great gain.
    love this post.
    but, love you more.
    ♥~R

  5. Aug says:

    I should read a post about contentment every week. Maybe that would help. I think I am slowly learning…but such a long time it takes to learn this lesson. At least for me.

    I loved the quotes you put on here and also what you said about people from times past trying to pass down wisdom to us but we have to be at a point where we actually “get it” for ourselves. SO TRUE!

  6. lisa says:

    i admire you. =)

  7. Angela says:

    Love your thoughts on contentment! And how true that we don’t believe things til they affect us!

  8. Kristy says:

    someday i want to come to a party at your house. you do all the things i wish i could and make it look easy. guess i will stick to “soccer parties”. somehow those sort come easier for me!

  9. linda hershey says:

    the whole part about trying to post and all the kid-intermission time and trying to be the perfect mom, getting frustrated at the kids b/c the perfect mom has shattered once again…yeah, i do such a louzy job with failure. i don’t know if i ever thought i would be a perfect mom…
    but i distinctly remember thinking i would be such a FUN mom. You know, the creative zany one that all the other kids wished they had?…i’m so strung out on getting everything right that i’m not even fun. i am just a time-bomb most days.
    and i truelly believe God spoke to you so that you would write this post on contentment b/c man, i need more contentment.

  10. Kay says:

    Aw, Jenny. This post makes me really love ya. Loved the mommy rabbit trail! Oh, that is SO me! And contentment… funny how such simple concepts can be so, uh, simple! I wanna pull off a party like that sometime……… you rock.

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