Life As It Is, Versus Life As We'd Like It

***I am so grateful to have my dear friend, Brenda Nuland, sharing with us here today, as I take a bit of a blogging break!~ Sally***

Do you ever find yourself frustrated with the way your life is compared to what you would like it to be?  I do quite often.  God has shown me my attitude has much to do with having peace about what I desire and reality and I'd love to pass on some of what He has shown me, hoping it will bring comfort to you in your journey.

We can choose to have faith that God is in control of our lives. By spending time in the Word, reading books by and about people of faith, and listening to music that feeds the soul...we build inside of us a deep reservoir to use in the challenges of daily living.

We don't need to be going through a great trial to need strength for living. Sometimes I find it easier to pray for a large need than for money to fill the van with gasoline. Little things need big faith, too.

We can choose to learn what we do not know.  I have been making a home for over thirty years and there is a great deal I still do not know about all the aspects of home-making.

I continue to learn how to better clean house and do laundry, ways to decorate my home, gardening skills I need...lots of gardening skills I need, recipes to try out, decisions to make about next semester's schooling, books to read...miles to go before I sleep, miles to go.

We can choose beauty in a world that gets darker every day.  I work at making things beautiful. I study the library books, magazines, articles, etc. in an attempt to find new inspiration. My home has to be a sanctuary from this world for all of us who live here.

I thought at one time I'd love to decorate in a Shabby Chic color scheme with big cabbage roses in pictures and on pillows.   However, that was not to be in a small house with two men. Fortunately, they both liked the lace on the windows, the teapots and teacups, the vintage look of the kitchen, the shelves of books and more books, all items men can live with.

They both appreciated the results of a morning baking in the kitchen along with coffee or tea (or a large glass of cold milk for my son). They liked the flowers planted, the herbs in containers, the rocking chair on the porch and the aromas when the door was opened and they stepped into... home.

This world should be a comfortable place in which to isn't.  My home can be quite comfortable, though. I like soft sofas and chairs, throws everywhere for when it gets cold, pillows abounding, hot drinks on cold days, flannel housecoats, comfortable clothing (washed and put away where they belong), clean bed linens, quilts, and soft cats.

However... there is more to being at peace and comfortable than our choice of the stuff around us.

This world ought to be filled with grace and it is not.  Only in my home can I have some control over grace filled words and atmosphere. It has not always been grace filled.  There have been plenty of days when tempers flared and words were spoken because the people living here were exhausted and cranky. However, because grace is sought after and important, there is always the hope (and plan) for peace to follow forgiveness.

For most of us, we do not stay within the walls of our home all day, every day. Life is often lived on the other side of the front door, whether family members work outside the home or simply must run the necessary errands required of keeping a home.

We attend church and other meetings. We take part in school activities whether they involve homeschooling, public schools, private schools, universities or preschool. We volunteer, we hold public office, we do what we are called to do to be salt and light in the world.

But at the end of the day... there must be a place where we come home to a world a little closer to what it ought to be.

It will never be perfect this side of eternity. But when there are people making an attempt, doing their best, putting thought and energy into bringing a little bit of Heaven into this fallen world for their family (in spite of the fact reality is far from perfect and perfection can never be reached) then we are at least heading in the right direction toward hearing "well done good and faithful servant".

Brenda lives in the American Midwest near a major University.  She loves good coffee, tea served in lovely English teacups, old books, and decorating with vintage thrift store finds. 

Brenda has been married for over thirty years and brings her experiences of raising a daughter and her "surprise child" son born twelve years later. Her daughter is now a homeschooling mother to five children and her son is graduating from college and getting married this year.  They are her favorite people on the planet along with her high maintenance Maine Coon cat named Victoria. Brenda also writes at her blog Coffee, Tea, Books and Me.