Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sidetracked Contentment

I am very blessed to actually have a separate room for all of our school stuff.  We have a split level home with a second living area on the bottom level.  This is our schoolroom.


My favorite kind of day is when it's chilly outside and we can have a nice, roaring fire in the fireplace.  Okay, you can now quit imagining The Great Smoky Mountain Fire of 2005 or even the Gena-type fire.  I know you are!  Back to my schoolroom...  The kids and I think it is a greatly fabuloso day when we can take a couple of breaks and roast marshmellows!  Yuppers, I let the kiddos consume these monstrous puffs of pure sugar in the morning and then expect them to sit quietly and do their work.  What is more fun than stabbing some fwuffie puffs and cooking them to a black, carcinogen-laden crisp over an open fire?  Yummmmmy!


These types of days are absolutely perfect!  What is not to love about roasting marshmellows during school?!  I would dare say that I am one content woman.  Now it's not CONtent woman, but conTENT woman...


Well, I thought I was content until I started a new read last night-- Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow.  It got me thinking about how I am a relatively happy person, but I do complain sometimes both out loud and in my heart.  I'll start thinking about things that are not to my liking-- like the laundry (again!), the people zooming down our street at all hours, how I wish we didn't have stairs, how I wish my husband would eat a vegetable...any vegetable.  Sure these are just little things, but a lot of little things can add up to a sour countenance and an ungrateful heart-- and I don't want either!


In this great book, Ms. Dillow tells about her friend Ella in the first chapter.  Ella was a missionary in Africa for 52 years.  She not only endured, but found contentment and joy in this foreign land with no electricity and 120 degree heat! 


Here is Ella's prescription for contentment:

  • Never allow yourself to complain about anything-- not even the weather.

  • Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.

  • Never compare your lot with another's.

  • Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.

  • Never dwell on tomorrow-- remember that tomorrow is God's, not ours.

She is SOOO right!  And if I were truly content with all of God's gifts and blessings to me, I would NOT be doing any of the above!  Yes, I am a happy woman and I do feel very blessed...but I should strive to be truly content...completely appreciative in my circumstances, in God's place for me right now.  I plan, I worry, I do this, I do that...completely forgetting that GOD loves me and promises to take care of me.  He certainly doesn't need my help or guidance to do that!  The apostle Paul is a great example for us to follow.


Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.


I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.


I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


~Philippians 4:11-13


I can't wait to start reading more of Calm My Anxious Heart-- it is such a great book so far.  And instead of thinking about all the things that bug me this week, I will meditate on:


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


~Philippians 4:8




ccmmum said...

As i sit here, wrist a-throbbin', I think I need to read that book!

Next year(I don't care if it is 90 degrees outside in Florida) we are roasting marshmellows all winter!!!


mominpa said...

not to long ago, she highly recommended it to me...however it was one of those books I knew was going to be "painfully changing" if you know what I mean!! Thanks for sharing, I look forward to hearing more...and maybe I'll have to get a copy and check it out myself!! (but I know its gonna hurt a little.... :) )

DiWilliams said...

Sounds like a book I should read!

We don't have a fireplace and my 5yo Jesse likes to roast marshmallows over a candle flame ... with supervision of course!

Blessings ~ Diane

mamaduso said...

Yes, I can be in the same place. Luckily I feel like it I don't have a spirit of discontentment but I sure go through it on some days. It's been worse in the past.

Good reminder! I can't wait to get started on those earings- in fact maybe I'll go out today to get supplies. I want to come over with my kiddos and roast marshmallows too--Please, pretty please, can I huh?

By the way- You've been tagged with the Seven Sevens. See my blog for details!


RainyDayMichele said...

Oh that sounds like a great book. I, too, am so VERY blessed....and RELATIVELY content...so maybe that would be a good read for me. :o)

About the marshmallows.....we have gas logs...so dh said "NO WAY"....but the boys and I roasted mini-marshmallows with a toothpick over a candle!! lol. It was pretty hilarious. I don't recommend trying it with a scented candle....kind of flavors the puffs. lol.

ccpeterson said...

How fun! My kids LOVE to roast marshmallows. We don't have a fireplace but sometimes we turn up the grill and roast them on that...ha. Outside of course. And by the way...my husband won't eat veggies either!!!!!!!!!!!!

flapjacks said...

Hi Marsha,

Thanks for dropping in on my blog!

Yes, snow can be fabulously beautiful - a cold, clear winter day with the low sun sparkling on untrodden snow is magic! I hope you all get to see it one day.

However, the other side of it is grey skies and a partial thaw so that ice forms under the snow and we have to hold onto the washing line to get down the garden path safely and there's muddy slush in the gutters. Yuck.

On those days, please send me some of your wonderful Texan sun!


P.S. Love the photo of you and the children!

4Blessings said...

Sound like you had a good, delicious morning. It is so great to have days like that. Those memory making, snuggling with your kids kind of day. I think I'm going to have to get that book. I needed that reminder to be totally content in all circumstances. Thanks!! Jenn

Col323 said...

I'll be checking that book out. Thanks for sharing your

thoughts. You also gave me Ph4:8...I needed that actual

book, ch and verse for reference. I'm referring to this all the time and

could not track it down in my Bible for memory purposes. Let's hide

it in our heart...the Word!

ClassicalEducation4Me said...

I just wanted to take a moment and say thanks for the comments that you leave on my blog. I truly do appreciate them! I wish I could have met you when you were here, but my kids were sick! I've read the Calm Your Anxious Heart book a while back - good book! I could probably use it right now - LOL! Contentment is hard to attain at times even though I am generally a very happy person. Have a great weekend!


mamaduso said...

I added more info in the comments section under the church question. Tell me what you think now.


BrooksideAcademy said...

LOL, only we have to use the wood stove instead. Too Funny...but very yummy - when toasted lightly, in a cup of hot cocca ;)

The book sounds wonderful. Enjoy your study:)

JenIG said...

Good old Ella; what a great list. And this is a super post.


PS next time you come out here I will explain alllllllllll about Homestar Runner, and then you will get the fwuffy puff thing.

DandelionSeeds said...

Okay, so I'm "innocently" visiting Amy Beth's blog and happen to read her comments from her birthday... You can only imagine my uber utter shock when I read what you wrote. I've copied it to remind you....


I would send you a poem as well but AnneMarie's and Gena's were too hard to top...and Kate's was rather goody-good too! And I had NO idea it was Kear like der!!! You should've told me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! afkhjlafsdasgdfagsdhjgasd

You are the best Amy and I hope you have an absolutely fabuloso birthday!!!

Lots of love,


I just couldn't believe that it was there in black and white... "the best Amy". Now I know you're a spelling junkie, but either your punctuation is bad, or you really meant it... so I only have one question... am I the second best Amy?


In Him,


jayfromcleveland said...

(Marsha.... mallow??? Gee, I'll bet you never you never heard THAT ONE before! Be glad you're not my age, or else you'da grown up with the Jan Brady imitation, "Marsha, Marsha Marsha"! (But maybe you did anyway?))

You're right Marsha, there's only one way to eat a marshmallow... you light that puppy on fire and let it burn itself out so it's black and crispy on the outside and white and gooey in the middle. What carcinogens? It's only carbon and our bodies are mostly carbon anyway, right? debbiefromcleveland is always getting on my case about how I make marshmallows. She thinks I'm supposed to stand there in front of the fire for fifteen years like she does, holding that thing on a stick at just the right proximity so the thermodynamic gradient turns it golden brown the way she likes it. But I can eat five'a them before she only eats the one. And I don't even need a campfire, I can just catch a light off the stove and that fwuffy puff is sugar crisp mere seconds later. But I don't get the deal with smores. My kids like 'em but I can't stand 'em. I like marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars individually, but somehow smores are counter-synergistic -- they are LESS than the sum of their parts. Go figure. have a nice weekend, j

ccpeterson said...

You've just been tagged! See my blog for details. ; )

JenIG said...

like hi, i was just over on amy's page and i had to come back over here to see what you were snorting about. now i know; it's funny. kasldfjsa;lja