keep dissatisfaction at bay


(This is not my original photo.  Don’t don’t how my watermark showed up but please ignore.)

My husband and I are at our “teeny-tiny red cabin”.  We bought it nine years ago, move-in ready.  It’s adorable.  We love it.  But it is only about 500 square feet.  That’s fine for the two of us but when family members come for a visit we need more space so two years ago we had local Amish people build our even more adorable bunk house “LaCabinette”, a 12’ x 16’ building with a porch.  We left all the 2’ x 4’s exposed, walls and ceilings.  We “whitewashed” the peak in a beautiful pale aqua blue and the walls are whitewashed in white.  Except for the futon in both buildings, everything is from thrift shops. Most of the book I’m writing that I mention on my home page was written here. It is a retreat from a very hectic lifestyle and is the most peaceful place I know.

Now that you know how much I love it here, you’ll be surprised at my reaction to what I’m going to tell you.  I’m embarrassed to share this with you but I promised to always be honest. Anyway, my husband and I were talking a walk along the dirt road around the corner from “teeny-tiny red cabin” and we come upon this big, beautiful home under construction. The owner invited us in to look around once he learned we were neighbors. The inside was everything I could imagine, even unfinished. Our teeny-tiny cabin would fit inside the living room alone. My heart yearned.  I was envious.

Why is satisfaction so tenuous?  So fleeting? What makes us perfectly happy with our lives and then whoosh; it’s gone when we see something better? How do we go from being discontent with what we genuinely love to wanting something else? Surely, we realize there’s always something better. Although why we don’t remember there’s always something worse, I don’t know.

I’m afraid I can only pose the question. I don’t know the answer. I do know though, that dissatisfaction can lead one down some dangerous paths.  It’s easy to go from dissatisfaction in one area in our life and project it to other areas in our life. For someone prone to depression, that’s not a good thing.

For myself, I’m careful to maintain an attitude of gratefulness because down deep I am very grateful for everyone and everything in my life.  My envy of the beautiful house was very short-lived. Do I still love it?  Yes.  Would I love it if it were mine? I think so. (After all, that would be more time commitment and the whole point of a Teeny, Tiny, Red Cabin is because it’s super simple to keep up.)  But does my teeny-tiny red cabin still bring me more contentment than anywhere else on earth. Yes. Am I grateful beyond belief? Yes. Was my sudden envy something to be ashamed of? NO!

I’m just human, that’s all.

I once read that one of the ways to avoid purchasing things we don’t need is to look at the things we see in stores as if they were in a museum. Beautiful to look at but not to buy.  That’s what the house around the corner has become for me. Beautiful to look at, but not mine to have.  “Teeny-tiny red cabin” is my piece of heaven and nothing changes that. Should someone buy the lot next to us and build something grand, I’ll go through the usual first pangs of envy and then I’ll come back to “teeny-tiny red cabin” and be glad it’s so small because I can clean it in an hour. So there!

Dissatisfaction can result in good outcomes if our dissatisfaction leads us to make necessary changes. We probably make few significant changes in our lives without some initial dissatisfaction. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think we all know the difference between dissatisfaction that serves no purpose other than making us envious and dissatisfaction in areas that  lead us to constructive change

There’s a truism I run across all the time-“There is always something to be grateful for—always.”

What about you?  Have you find yourself dissatisfied with something and then realized your mood had taken a nose dive?  What could you do to feel more satisfied with your life? What in your life can you be grateful for?

(bty, this is also being published in “

what happens in Vegas doesn’t……

what happens in Vegas doesn’t……

(Before I get to the main focus of this post, just wanted to give you an update about where we are with this renovation project.  Actually, I probably shouldn’t call it that because we haven’t demolished anything or ripped anything up but carpet and wallpaper which maybe only qualifies for remodeling, not renovation.  Whatever you call it we are now on the fifth upstairs room. It’s my hubby’s office.

We have painted and torn up carpet. I re-painted the ceiling fan rather than buy a new one. (Remember, I’m cheap.)  We picked out new flooring yesterday and as God would have it, we got a great deal.  We had some picked out at one home building store but decided at the last-minute to check out another and they were having a huge sale. Now we wish we had bought more so we could replace the floor in our bedroom as well.

I should add we already have hardwood floors but the upstairs floors have been painted.  Having already gone through one huge project refinishing downstairs floors, I’m not doing that again so we are simply putting new over old.  We decided against hardwood and are using a laminate instead. Hardwood on top of hardwood seem a frivolous luxury. 

Anyway, I’m taking pictures and they will be forthcoming.  I’m editing all remodeling pictures from  earlier projects and hopefully will be posting them next week.)

Now to what I want to talk about today.  It was prompted by reading about Christ’s temptation.


Let me first say that I absolutely HATE  (Does all that formatting make it clear how much?) the phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”  I’ve heard it used for countless other circumstances since then and I acknowledge it’s said somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But the far-reaching implication is anything less than wholesome.

Didn’t Satan try the same approach when tempting Christ? “Just this one time, Jesus.  Who will know?” Or paraphrased, “Jesus, what happens here can stay here.” Isn’t that how we’re tempted as well?  “No one will find out. It will be my secret.” Goodness knows I’ve done it myself with my addiction to sweets.  Who sees that tenth cookie I eat? (Originally, I used “five” but who am I kidding?  I can eat a whole dozen. The reason I can and no one knows is because I don’t put on weight easily. A blessing and a curse.)

But I know.

You know.

We might fool everyone else but we never fool ourselves. We can stuff it down deep somewhere. We can pretend we didn’t do it.  We can try to cover it up but it will eventually ooze into some part of our life affecting our well-being in some way. Sometimes emotional. Sometimes mental.  Sometimes physical. There is no way our lives aren’t affected.  The  more serious the offense, the greater will be that impact.   The accountant who “borrows” from the company for years only to be discovered and sent to jail certianly knows that is true. Every time we do or think anything, it becomes a permanent part of who we are and affects or even limits future choices. Personally, I believe everyone intuitively knows this is true.


The Scriptures are pretty clear that Someone is always watching. That doesn’t mean God is trying to trip us up or He’s got an “evil eye” on us but more that His presence is everywhere. Frankly, I find it comforting to know God is watching. even when I screw up. It makes me feel loved and protected just as a  child feels when they are aware of their parent’s watchful eyes.

Psalms 90:8: “You have placed our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of your presence.”(New American Standard translation)  Gandhi said basically the same thing. (

(I have probably stepped on a few toes today but I promised myself when I started this blog that I would maintain my integrity and not shy away from expressing my religious beliefs.  I also promised myself that while I would not be afraid to express those beliefs, I wanted what I write to apply to those whose beliefs differ. Truth comes to us through many sources.)

What happens in one part of our life isn’t compartmentalized from other parts of our life. We are “synthesized” beings. The more everything is in harmony, the better we function.

Why do you think the phrase was even coined in the first place? It certainly wasn’t to guarantee your privacy or keep your secrets. (If you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida I can sell you.) It’s to urge you to indulge in activities in Vegas that will bring revenue to the various establishments. It’s about the money. It isn’t about you. Surely you don’t believe that the management in Vegas or the Chamber of Commerce (or whoever coined the phrase) meant it for your best interest. Did Satan have Jesus’ best interest at heart?

I’m not referring to the gambling that is synonymous with Vegas. I’m referring to the concept in general that says we can behave badly in situations where no one knows us nor is anyone likely to find out. Here’s the truth:

  • We can fool some of the people some of the time.
  • We can fool some of the people all the time.
  • We can fool all the people some of the time.
  • We can even probably fool all the people all the time.

But we never fool ourselves.

Chicago, Chicago, that wonderful town.

Well, we have no free Internet here at hotel. We’re too cheap to pay so I’m posting from my phone again.

As you can probably guess from yesterday’s post, I haven’t bought anything yet. Almost positive it won’t be clothes anyway. My thrift shop clothes are fine by me. I’m actually finding better quality than what’s in the stores these days unless I want to spend around $80.00 for a sweater, which I don’t.

Here’s the interesting thing though and it’s very appropriate for this month of thankfulness I’m doing. When you’re truly thankful for what you have, it’s easy to not get caught up in wanting everything you see. Yesterday, while shopping the Magnificent Mile, I realized just that. It was totally freeing.

That’s not to say I won’t buy something. There’s a store in Watertower Mall that carries books called “Story People”. ( I would give you the author’s name but I don’t remember it. You can google the title and it will show up.) It’s a wierd series and is not a novel or a non-fiction. It’s more a book of truisms combined with colorful weird cartoon-like people. I’ve wanted it for a couple of years. I think it’s because a number of years ago I created some sketches of weird creatures that really appeal to me bit I’ve never known what to do with them. I think I might try to develop a story-line for my “people” as well.

Plus, I have to buy a hat. Left mine on the train and Chicago is really cold in the winter. Did I tell you, I lived here for a couple of years when I was eighteen. That’s a story in its-self- how a young, inexperienced and totally trusting young woman lived two years in a big sophisticated city and left unscathed. I’ll tell you about it sometime soon. Chicago has brought back lots of memories.

Anyway, heading out now although why I’d leave a gorgeous hotel room with ten foot ceilings that is bigger than “Teeny Tiny Red Cabin”, I’ll never know. Remember, please overlook any errors. Working on a minuscule screen isn’t easy us I can’t review first.



the winds of happiness

A short post today. I’m getting ready to go to lunch at a lodge on Lake Michigan. It’s an annual trip for my friends and I.  We love sitting outside overlooking  the lake.  It’s an incredibly beautiful day today with just a hint of the approaching fall. It’s a quiet day.  I always get a little nervous when the day seems to perfect to be true.

Tonight my hubby and I are bringing dinner to our son and his family who live just a couple of blocks away. There Their  lives are hectic and it gives us all a chance to enjoy each other’s company. I’ve already baked the pork roast and pulled the meat for the bbq’s. I’ll bake brownies when I get home.  I’m kind of loving this day but I’m a smart woman. I haven’t successfully beat depression these past nine years without learning a few things.

One of those few things I’ve learned is to be grateful for days like this, to relish the moments but also to be very aware that a perfect day can become an imperfect one in a heartbeat.  It happens all the time.  How many times have we heard people say “everything changed in a heartbeat.” The diagnosis. The accident. The job loss. The death.

I think perhaps a good day is appreciated even more when we just take a moment to realize that others have had days just like this and then “everything changed in a heartbeat”. If that’s you today, please know that there’s someone in Michigan who really does care. Somehow, we are all connected. Maybe that’s why today I feel the tiniest bit anxious, like maybe God is telling me that someone right now is having a really, really hard time. So before I go to lunch, I’m stopping to pray for you , stranger though you are to me.

feeling sad

  This is one of those days when I’m feeling a little down.  It’s a mild case and I know exactly what prompted my low mood. There’s nothing of major proportion going one-just an ongoing situation that makes me very sad.  As my dear husband always says, it doesn’t matter what I do (in this particular case), I end up with the short end of the stick.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the situation were at all predictable but it isn’t. I never know when I’m going to run into the wall.  It’s unnerving to say the least and I end up with a lot of bruises.

I would give anything to be able to gift-wrap happiness for those I know who seem to be in short supply. But I’m learning that in the final analysis I can give “gift” happiness only to myself.  While other people and adverse circumstances can negatively impact our lives (sometimes dramatically and sometimes for a long time as in the case of grieving), in the final analysis, we determine our own level of contentedness. Beleive me I haven’t quite got this right myself yet but I instinctly know it’s true  because it’s a fundamental tenet of Christianity and all major religions.

Ultimately we are the ones responsible for our own sense of well being.  It isn’t easy finding equilibrium when someone we love is miserable. For me, it hurts more than just about anything else I can think of because I have an insatiable need to make everyone happy. But we can’t, no matter how hard we try, make anyone else happy. (I think most of us know that intellectually.) Everyone has to mine their own gold.

With that being said, let me encourage you if you are feeling as I am today. Get on with your life. Get up and get moving.  When you do, you will start to feel better and your mind will start to occupy itself with other matters.  “Putter” as much as you need to ’till your “sputtering” dies down.  Talk with a friend but then let it go.  Constant rehashing  makes it worse.  Rumination (going over the same issue, ad infinitum) is a symptom of depression and  can also trigger depression.  Avoid it at all costs. It never helps.

So what do we do when those closest to us are miserable?  For me, I do my best to keep own head above water knowing that someone has to stay afloat. I keep treading water until the situation improves while guarding my heart against further damage. “Gift”  yourself some happiness today.  It’s not insensitive. It’s the kindest thing you can do for them and for you.