Finding Contentment

Our tiny farmhouse weathered the February, 2021 freeze beautifully.

As I type this, the wind is howling noisily through the cracks and crevices of our little farmhouse. Making itself evident with both sound and sight all around me. It is screeching in from the south this time as evidenced by the rippling waves rushing from the back shore of our pond and running upwards through the ravine to the north end of the property. The naked tree branches are shaking violently in the twenty mile per hour winds.

When we moved from Houston, Texas to our farm in December of 2015, we were ecstatic to find a piece of land that was much larger than we thought we could afford. We were searching for a farmhouse on five or ten acres, but we ended up with a small farmhouse on thirty acres of beautiful land that included a barn and a shed. We felt as though we had won the lottery. (I’m pretty sure we DID win the lottery!)

Well, we quickly filled up our entire thirty acres with a menagerie of animals including cows, pigs, goats, donkeys, dogs, and cats and found ourselves wishing for more land. About three years after moving here, we became a bit discontented with the thirty acres that we thought was more than adequate only years before. For several years, I would look online for hours each month searching for more land to purchase, but God kept closing the doors.

In the past couple of months, I have realized that we need to be master stewards of what we DO have before God will open other doors for us. We are currently revising our plan and changing directions with our farm to focus on smaller animals that can sustain themselves easier on our small farm. We sold off some of our bigger cows and started focusing on Miniature Herefords and micro-miniature cattle. We already have miniature pigs and miniature goats on the farm as well. We are excited about our new direction and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Green Acres Miniatures.

The other area of future focus is our small farmhouse. It needs a major renovation, but we have been waiting until we were financially able to complete all of the changes at once in a major overhaul. I’m going to be honest, my kitchen is a real challenge. It has about six feet total of counter space and we have hosted from twenty to forty friends and family members here at once on many, many occasions. Couple that with the fact that the kitchen table is directly in the center of the kitchen and a person can barely fit around it when someone is sitting at the table. We are ready for a drastic change; however, the doors are currently closed on a formal renovation due to supply chain shortages, labor shortages, and the cost of everything involved with a renovation. We just keep stalling and waiting for the right time.

Well, during the past couple of months, I’ve been hearing God’s still, small voice telling me to do some of the work myself in our farmhouse. You see, when we first got married and were on a super tight budget, we used to do a lot of the renovation work ourselves. The Outdoorsman and I bought a home that was in foreclosure when we first got married and, during that renovation, we learned how to cut and lay tile floors, how to paint, how to hang wallpaper, how to renovate on a tight budget, and how to be patient with a slow progress. When we were finished, it looked so much better, but I never wanted to renovate another home because of the mental and physical energy it involved!

When we lived in League City in the house that we purchased as a foreclosure, there were a lot of inconvenient and unattractive things about the house, but we kept putting off changes and renovation because we knew it wasn’t our permanent home. We were planning to move to Central Texas once our two older children graduated from high school so we lived with a horribly unattractive and inconvenient kitchen and an overall unattractive home for years. One day, my husband and I talked and realized that we weren’t actually living there at all. We were in some type of temporary holding pattern even though our two older children were fully engaged in our local high school and were actively participating in extracurricular activities. If we wanted to get to know their friends and show hospitality to others, we had to make some big changes in our home so we completely renovated the kitchen and dining room areas into beautiful spaces for all of us. We added a built-in seating area and tons of beautiful storage so we could unclutter our home. We also added a really inviting outdoor firepit area with lots of seating for our children and their friends. Those transformations completely changed the way our home served our family for the following five years. We were able to host dozens of get-togethers at our home for special holidays, Bible studies, birthday parties, school events, and other occasions. We never regretted the time or money we spent on the renovations.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been “putting up with” the current state of the farmhouse for the past six years and it feels a lot like the way we were living in League City! I don’t like the way the farmhouse looks at all: the tile floors, the kitchen cabinets, and the main bathroom are all very unappealing to me. I want our home to look like an authentic farmhouse, but I have been patiently (stubbornly!) waiting for a contractor to show up and fix all of my problems!! Well, I’m about to start tackling some things myself to make the house more convenient for us and more pleasant looking overall. The bones of the house are great and the house was amazing during the Big Freeze of 2021. We never lost electricity or water and our old Dearborn stove heated the entire house beautifully for the duration of the storm. We were truly thankful for that and know that others in Central Texas were not so blessed.

Most of my life has been marked by being remarkably content, but every once in a while discontentment has crept in and, let me be honest, it can steal my joy faster than a pick pocket can steal the wallet out of your back pocket. Discontentment can cause a person to miss out on a lot of things in life, but the worst part of discontentment is that it causes your family to have to live with your whining and complaining about things you wish were better or different. I definitely don’t want to be discontent without being willing to be a part of the solution for it! In the past year or so, I have allowed discontentment to creep in and steal my joy concerning our farmhouse and our land. I’ve been wanting it to look like the homes I see on Pinterest or other online sites. Completely unrealistic pictures of a perfect home with zero dirt and clutter have captured my attention even though I live on a farm with over one-hundred animals and, therefore, have dirt or poop on my shoes about ninety percent of the time!

God is patiently trying to snap me out of my reverie concerning a perfectly organized home. He is currently prompting me to start renovations here at the farmhouse myself. Just start. Somewhere. Don’t make myself think I have to get it all done in the next month or two, but just choose a place to start and work slowly and methodically to see what happens over the next year or two. It may be inspiring what can happen here in the farmhouse while I am waiting for lumber and construction prices to come back down out of the stratosphere.

So, during the next couple of months, I’m going to start making both small and large changes to our home. Moving some things around. Getting some items out of the house to create more space. Selling some things. Discarding some unneeded items. Rearranging furniture. Putting things in storage. I’m hoping, by the end of 2022, we won’t really need a big renovation or addition to have the home of our dreams. We can have the home of our dreams within the current walls of our small farmhouse. After we do some work rearranging our farmhouse, we may find that 1,600 square feet is enough living space for our current lifestyle. After all, we spend most of our daylight hours outside either attending to animals or working around the farm!

What projects do you need to start on to create a more beautiful space for yourself and your family? Why don’t you join me in making the changes yourself? I’m anxious to see what we can do to improve our living spaces!! I know we won’t regret it!

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