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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Comfort

"Whenever I go on a trip, I think about all the homes I've had & I remember how little has changed about what comforts me."
-Brian Andreas (Story People)

Glowing, cozy rooms. Comfortable couches. Hot tea and cookies. Thai food. My Bible. Curling up with a good book or magazine. Great fellowship with friends. These are just a few of the things that "comfort" me...and like the quote says, those things have never changed. No matter how many times we move and how much "stuff" I get rid of, as long as I have a few wonderful things, I am comforted.

We are now settled in our new apartment and whenever we are there, I am comfortable and content. A calmness comes over me when I sit in our living room and drink it all in. Here are more photos...come take the tour!

However, none of these good feelings can compare to the comfort and peace I receive from Jesus Christ. But so often, I look to the "created comforts" of this world to bring me those feelings...my home, my rituals, my friends and family, my hobbies. While I adore living in a space that I love and in a town that I love...would I still be contented and praise Him in different circumstances? I've been pondering that lately. I have a feeling that this is why my emotions start to go crazy when my house is a mess and things are in disarray. A clean house is always nice, but I tend to let it affect me deeper than it should. Can I be full of joy even as I clean up the mess?

True joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness can come and go with circumstances and moods...but joy comes from Christ. Knowing that ultimately, no matter what happens in my life, I will spend eternity with Him. Paul had this mastered...here is what he wrote as he was sitting in jail.
"I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."
Philippians 4:12 (The Message)
I am so encouraged by this verse...and I like this particular paraphrase a lot. I cannot say that I have conquered the "wants" in my life. I have found that when I am not spending time meditating on God's word...those wants seem to multiply out of control. When I am disciplined and reading daily, I am better able to demonstrate self-control (or Jesus-control!) over my desires and wants...especially for material things.

Knowing that we can have joy despite what is going on around us is transforming. It frees me from the worry, wanting, and fear that come with daily life. I am enjoying the amazing blessings that God has given us...but I know that I can't place my hope or confidence in my apartment, relationships, or my things. My comfort and hope comes from Him.

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57 Comments:

Blogger AndiMae said...

Sara, thank you so much for this great post. I had a pretty rough weekend and it is good to be reminded that my hope and comfort are only truly found in Christ- that even though other things in my life may bring me both joy and sorrow, He is the only one I can and should depend on!

P.S. Your new place is so lovely and inspiring! Thanks for sharing it with us! I love all the sweet little details you have considered in creating a home for your family.

3/26/2007 9:44 AM  
Blogger angela said...

Sara, what an encouragement this post is to me! In our current living situation, I have had to learn dependece on God like never before.
I'm glad you are back to posting. =)
I have missed you.
By the way, I love the "Story People". We have a shop here in town that sells the books and prints. It's my favorite store.

3/26/2007 9:46 AM  
Blogger Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, you are always so refreshing and inspiring. And your new home- I looked at every picture. You are a wonderful hostess!!

Steph

3/26/2007 10:03 AM  
Blogger Chelee said...

I'm so glad you're back! Took the tour yesterday and you have some mad house decorating skills.

Welcome back to the blog-o-sphere.

3/26/2007 10:11 AM  
Blogger km said...

I love this verse too! It often comforts me when I struggle with our budget and watching people around me spend money that I think I should be spending. It's not in what we have but who has us! Thanks for this post.

3/26/2007 10:54 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Your apartment is gorgeous! I love it. Great colors. Simple, yet beautiful. I'm so glad you all have a space you love to be in!

I also needed the reminder about where my joy should be coming from. I get so discouraged about the town we live in right now, but I'm sure that is where we are supposed to be at this point in our lives. Focusing on Christ will give me joy and nothing else will matter! And I've always loved that verse, too!

Blessings,
Rachel

3/26/2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Hi Sara, I linked to you today. Thanks for this great post! God has used you in SO many ways in my life. You have challenged, encouraged, and inspired me. Thank you!

3/26/2007 11:17 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Welcome back! I'm so glad you and your family have settled into your new home. And what a cute home it is! Thank you for reminding me that my true joy comes from my Father. Many Blessings!

3/26/2007 11:24 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Your home is gorgeous! You and your husband have managed to make wonderful use of your space, and it is so cute and welcoming. Thank you for continuing to inspire...

3/26/2007 1:24 PM  
Blogger Sara M. said...

Sara, you have done it again!! Your new home is just beautiful. So inspiring for me. I'm off to declutter some more!
Sara M.

3/26/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Ruth said...

I think we have a lot in common (EXCEPT the fabulous decorating touch - haha) - I too tend to feel like I only find peace when my house is in order (I guess that is why some of my friends call me a neat freak) and things are under control.

Thanks for the reminder that true peace and true joy only come from Christ. Yes a warm, decorated, uncluttered, clean house is conforting but not the place for me to seek happiness and stability from. It is when I have my eyes on Jesus and focusing on him instead of the dishes that I am able to find peace and be a blessing to my family. Sometimes I literally put them on hold because I can't handle the sink having messy dishes or I have to vacumm right this second.

We are currently doing crown ministries and I think God put you in my browser for a reason - I love how he provides inspiration for us through others. Thank you!

3/26/2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Julie Luse said...

Sara, I love what you've done with the apartment, the colors are amazing, did you do it yourself?? Have you seen our dinky apartment? I think Matt has, it inspires me to do something with it, only we can't paint. I love your love of color, it really brightens things up. And I never thought about birds in the kitchen, hmmmmm. Nice segue into Jesus by the way, I've always loved this verse!
later
Julie :)

3/26/2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to put this verse above my kitchen sink! It is so revitalizing and comforting. Thanks, Sara!

(And, I took the tour: I LOVE the green in the kitchen. Beautiful!)

Rebecca

3/26/2007 4:34 PM  
Blogger Pea said...

It's wonderful. I, too, get cranky when things are not in order. It's good to know others feel that way sometimes, too.

3/26/2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

What a great job you and your husband have done on the house. It looks fantastic. Good job working hard and getting it done. Thank you for sharing it.

3/26/2007 5:58 PM  
Blogger Heth said...

You are a genius Miss Decorator. I've been waiting to see what kind of magic you came up with. LOVE it.

3/26/2007 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a long-time lurker and I love your posts. I just wanted to chime in with everyone else and compliment you on your amazing aesthetic skills! It takes imagination to make a small place look both spacious and cozy. I love your new place! You've made me realize that you can have an wonderful home in any town or city, big or small, as long as you are committed! Thanks for the great blog!

Katherine

3/26/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sociologists have done a lot of research on the relationship of wealth to happiness. Short conclusion: being truly poor (not enough food, clothing, shelter) is associated with being unhappy.

But once basic needs are met, there is no correlation between a higher "standard of living," measured in income or material possessions, and happiness.

I read somewhere that if you ask the average person, "How much would you need to earn in order to be able to afford everything you really need?", most people will say they would need to earn double whatever they are making now. If you're making $50,000 a year, you think you could afford everything you really need on $100K. If you're making $20K, you think you really need $40K. And so on.

It's obvious that material wealth does not bring happiness.

Off-topic observation: what's more challenging in my experience is finding happiness again after a devastating bereavement. I don't mean a grandparent you have fond memories of passing away, I mean a bereavement that makes you not even want to feel joy ever again.

I think that no matter how strong someone's faith in eternal life is, finding true contentment in the face of a devastating loss is quite challenging.

Bereavement undermines any illusion of control people have in their worlds.

The pressure some people feel to accept right away that "everything happens for a reason" or "God has a plan" or "your angel is in a better place now" is not always helpful during the grieving process.

It takes a lot of people a full year (and two years is not uncommon) to regain some kind of equilibrium after a terrible bereavement.

Conquering your material "wants" is one thing. But coping with the "want" to hold your baby who died, or to talk to your deceased sibling, or to have your parents know the grandchildren they didn't live to see, is very different.

Laurie

3/26/2007 11:21 PM  
Blogger Isle Dance said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/26/2007 11:31 PM  
Blogger Isle Dance said...

Gorgeous posts - love the images - and inspiration!

3/26/2007 11:43 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Hi! I am recent lurker to your blog (saw it mentioned at GCM) and I just want to say thank you for sharing your home with us... I just love seeing the way "real" people live, as opposed to beautifully decorated rooms in books that look like kids would have no business being in. Oh, and thank you for sharing your dreadlock journey... that, among other things has led me to dread my own hair... and man has it been a process! Thanks for your inspiration!

3/27/2007 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! Sara I love, love, love, love your home. You and Matt have done a fantastic job, it's so warm and welcoming...unfortunately I live in England otherwise I would pop over and have a cup of tea with you. And Bella is adorable, I would want to play in her kitchen, whilst she cooked up the eggs for me to go with my tea!
Everything is so wonderful about your blog, such an inspiration, thanks Sara.
Jane

3/27/2007 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anna said...

What a great reminder not to place our hope in earthly things, but in God instead. I love your new place! You are so talented!

3/27/2007 6:48 AM  
Anonymous Danielle said...

Your new place is so cute! It's inspiring, since we live in a small home and are expecting twins, to be creative with organization and small spaces.

Also, thanks for the reminder that our comfort is to be found in Christ. God has been teaching me A LOT about that, as our house has been undergoing renovations and I can get discouraged on the discomfort of the process, heightened by the discomforts of pregnancy, instead of thanking the Lord we have the funds to make these changes and that regardless as to what happens, my joy and comfort are found in HIM!

3/27/2007 7:34 AM  
Anonymous Ruth said...

Laurie,

Obviously I am not the owner of the blog so not sure if this is appropiate. Please feel free to delete this post. Your post really touched me because I have gone through that. Loosing a baby a week after birth. It happened a year and a half ago. It is still fresh in my mind and heart. And yes it has been the hardest thing I have gone through. I can tell you the only reason I survived, the only reason I have hope is beacause of my faith in Christ. Did I grieve ? Of course, I still do. It is very clear in the Bible that we are to grieve. The difference to me is that I grieved with hope and to me the fact that I knew God was in ultimate control of my life meant that my son's life had meaning and was important and I have peace knowing that I will see him again.

Hugs to you if you lost a child too,
Ruth

3/27/2007 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sara,
I noticed a few blogs ago your interest in "meeting" readers. So...I'm a new one. I'm also a fairly new vegeterian, and I happened upon your blog through a veggie food blog a friend of mine recommended. Anyhow, it caught my eye a few weeks ago, especially as we apparently share a love for Christ and an interst in naturalness and simplicity. My interests in naturalness, simplicity, and veggie/ vegan eating is much younger than yours though, and I've found your blog helpful and encouraging on many levels! Plus, I love Bozeman and come there some to visit some good friends (don't live closeby, my hubby and I teach at a small private university in the MO Ozarks) and have been many places you refer to...co-op, etc. :) Thanks for sharing of your journey via your blog! Blessings, Hillary

3/27/2007 8:38 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

**Lurker** You have such an eye for creativity and use of small space. I too find joy in the simplest of things and can "make home" where my family is. Because that's all that really matters. I so enjoy your blog and this post has touched me. Thank you for all your wonderful insights and inspiration. Enjoy your new home!!

3/27/2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger M said...

What a charming place you have! I love your use of color. Congratulations!

3/27/2007 10:44 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

Great post Sara...and I appreciate your perspective so very much. Hope to see you, Matt and Bella in Boulder soon.

3/27/2007 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ruth, I am so sorry for your loss! No, I have not lost a child. I know many women who have, and I know from reading about bereavement that it is one of the most difficult losses to cope with.

My mother had five healthy children, but it was always hard for her to talk about the baby who died a few days after birth. I am glad that your faith has helped you through tough times.

My mother died when I was a child, and my father died when I was a young adult, not married yet, no kids. It is a continuing sadness to me that my children will never know their grandparents, nor did my parents ever get to enjoy having grandchildren or share their memories of my own childhood with me as a mother.

My belief system is different from yours, but I don't want to hijack Sara's thread with a theological discussion. I support whatever path people take that helps them learn to enjoy life again (at least on the good days) and feel content with things the way they are.

Laurie

3/27/2007 11:09 AM  
Blogger momteacherfriend said...

Your pictures of your new place are awesome. I love the notes you added, how fun. You have turned it into a beautiful and comfy place for your family.

I also LOVE that verse...contentment...yes!

3/27/2007 1:45 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

I just wanted to say I love your blog. Stumbled across it inadvertently through the Wardrobe Refashion challenge I'm doing with some of your fellow Compacters, and with my growing interest in ecology and simple living, it's great (and, admittedly, rather refreshing) to see someone coming at it from a Christian perspective.

3/27/2007 9:05 PM  
Anonymous dana (awfreakout) said...

Hi. You seem so fun and down to earth! I found your flickr site somehow..can't remember how! I've left a few comments on your photos...your decor is luverly! I like a lot of your ideas and I'm a Christian too. Your ideas on children, eating, the environment remind me a bit like this couple at economads.com Don't think they're Christian but seem fascinating.

3/28/2007 12:29 AM  
Blogger sara said...

Love your little place! it is SO cute!!!!

3/28/2007 8:45 AM  
Anonymous MelanieMC said...

I'm about to look at all the picutures, but I just wanted to say how much I needed to read this post right now. It's so good to be reminded of what true joy is! Many blessings to you Sara!!!
Melanie

3/28/2007 9:53 AM  
Anonymous dorothy said...

I appreciate this post especially this week as my husband and I were up to midnight last night searching for things we can get rid of in order to create a more peaceful, less chaotic home. Christ needs to be the comfort of the family, first.

I was just asking myself as I headed to the computer if I took as much joy in diving into my Bible as I do checking in on my favorite blogs, which is a big "comfort" time for me when my kids are resting/napping.

I just LOVE the pics of your new home. We're in a tiny space, too, so I'm taking great inspiration from you.

3/28/2007 10:27 AM  
Blogger Jen. said...

Hi Sara! Thanks for this! I'm trying to be content amidst my mess while I complete the other tasks I have before me right now. I'm gradually working towards a simpler environment for myself & my family, though, and love reading your thoughts on that.

You have a real gift for making your house into a home. It looks like you've lived there for years! Thanks for sharing with us!

May your life be blessed as you continue to bless those around you!
Jen.

3/28/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara - Flickr is down, so I couldn't comment on your pictures there, but I wanted to tell you that I admire your style so much. Every time I see your homes, they just seem like places I'd love to spend the day. If I ever had the chance, I'd love to have you help me style my home!

Also, what kind of futon do you have in the LR? We're looking for a comfortable one for our guest room.

Natalie (from Des Moines)

3/28/2007 12:47 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Hey Natalie! I was just looking at HMN playgroup photos and saw your face and thought "awwww! There's Natalie!" :)

Thank you for the kind words...you know, you might just have the chance to have me help :) When we are back in Iowa in May/June I am scheduling different things to help "fund" our trip. Photo shoots, organizing/decluttering people's homes, etc. I don't know what I am charging yet for design/consulting, but if you're interested, let me know and we can work something out.

The futon was a "used" purchase, so I have no idea what kind it is. If I can get to the tag, I'll let you know.

Take care!

3/28/2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Diaper Decisions said...

Someone linked me here and I am so glad. We are getting ready to downsize...and I was feeling really discouraged, like is this okay for a family??? And this was just the boost I need. We are going from 2000 sq ft to 914, and if you can do it in 382 sq feet, I can do it with 914!! :) Thanks for the boost today. I needed it!

3/28/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Hi! I am a new reader, and I am already in love with your tiny abode (I, too, am a small-house person...my favourite home ever was a former 500 square-foot flat with a cheery red door). Your ideas about home, life, and faith are inspiring. I look forward to reading more!

3/28/2007 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Del said...

hi Sara,

I've been a lurker for about 2 weeks or so. Thanks for sharing your life with us. It is really inspiring. And your home is beautiful!

Shalom,

Del

p.s Your site reminds me a of a book by Lisa Graham McMinn, called the Contented Soul

3/28/2007 5:52 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Just beautiful! I love your style. The colors you used are great!

3/28/2007 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SaRa!

Wonderful job on your home! I love your blog, along with EVERYONE!

I just want to let you know what a blessing seeing and reading your life has been to me. I don't feel like I'm the only one with a third head! I found your blog through The HCBB, at a time when I was really letting go and allowing God to take over. On my walk with Him, it warms my heart to someone moving in the same direction...wearing the same bandana;) thank you sister, for making a creative, passionate difference. You are a Joy.

BTW hanging your shirts from thee bottom does totally help, and pants too;)

I wanna know how the organizing goes. I clean houses on the side, and have always wanted to take a organizing whip at other peoples homes.

thanks again. your SIC, samarah

(spicypeach from the HCBB)

3/28/2007 7:37 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I LOVE your cozy little home!! :)

I came across this article and thought it might make you smile: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,261909,00.html

3/28/2007 8:33 PM  
Anonymous Mom2Wilmo said...

What a beautiful home!! You have such a gift Sara...and some of the same colors that I have in my home. I just love the way your kitchen and bedroom is decorated and organized. Thanks for the post!
-Noel
(Mom2wilmo on Mothering)

3/29/2007 6:43 AM  
Blogger KimProbable said...

I'm always so inspired by your entries. Thank you. The timing in me reading this one was perfect since I've been struggling today with the pull between feeling the need to declutter and the need to keep hang on to things. I know that I need to let stuff go in order to find more peace in my home, and your entry is a reminder of the truth in the phrase "less is more".

3/29/2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Tracey, in MI said...

The beauty of a home comes from the heart of it's inhabitants.... and yours is gorgeous;)

3/29/2007 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Cat said...

Sara! You are amazing! I love...LOVE what you did. What a huge difference! The transformation is...well...wow! Y'all did a fantastic job!

You are such an inspiration! I just love stopping by and visiting and revisiting - thank you both for all that you do and are willing to do to show us that we too can do the same!

xoxo Cat

3/29/2007 5:12 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Your new apartment is BEAUTIFUL after all that hard work! I love your style of decorating, so homey and cozy. No wonder you are content, you ahve made that place your own little nest!

3/29/2007 7:17 PM  
Blogger renee said...

Sara-
Don't know you but we have a few things in common. I live in Lincoln and was raised in Iowa (Fort Dodge) and have spent a ton o time in DM. I am on the verge of moving my boys and I back to Mpls (where we lived for many years prior to Neb) - I stumbled on your blog and am fascinated by your decorating, your zest for life and your outrageous ability to put a positive spin on everything.

Thanks for sharing your home, your family and your life.

It's obvious you have inspired plenty of other women...please keep the goodness coming!

-Renee

3/29/2007 7:20 PM  
Blogger tansy said...

what a great cozy place you have created! i love it.

3/30/2007 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Mary Ellen said...

Yay! Finally pics of the house. You are soooo creative and inspiring. Thanks for blogging.

3/31/2007 1:49 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

sara, i've enjoyed reading your blog for a month or so now, and love your insights and your new apt.! God has been putting this verse in Phil. in my path for a few days now, so i was very excited to read it and be reminded again that my contentment doesn't rely on my ability to take care of everything (which i can't), but only on Christ's sufficiency in all things. i am learning a lot from you and others God is using to bring me to a simplified life, not because of eliminating "stuff" but as i turn my focus to Him. hope you have a blessed day out there in beautiful MT!

4/03/2007 6:35 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

Your home is wonderful and your decorating style is full of warmth and comfort. I love it. I enjoyed my first time to your blog and I will subscribe. Have a great day.

4/10/2007 9:01 AM  
Blogger In Recovery said...

I love the Message translation of the Bible.

4/13/2007 9:02 PM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Okay, you totally put me to shame. I was boo hooing (not really, but complaining on the inside) about the fact that my condo is only 900 square feet ! And mind you, I am single, so its just me and my dog.

I LOVE your place and you have given me a new interest for fixing mine up and an appreciation for God and what He has blessed me with!

Thank you!!

Leigh

4/18/2007 3:06 PM  

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