Save like Nana did. The little things.
Do you know the happiness of contentment? To be completely happy watering your garden, snuggled up with a soft blanket over your legs, a cup of tea and some knitting or crochet to work on. Each of us will have our own different version of perfection. My Mum's are. ... sitting up in bed with a cup of tea and a scone, some knitting or a good book. Complete bliss. Completely happy and content. This is why I try and keep her scone supply up! This will look different for each of us but the principal is the same... simple things that bring us great joy.
I knew such perfect happiness when I was little. One of my blissful moments was when I stayed with Nan and Pa. Every morning before he went to work Pa would make Nana a cup of tea and toast (and Vegemite) which she would eat in bed. So there I'd be sitting right next to Nana and Pa would make me my own plate of toast and Vegemite. Nan and I would sit there munching away happily and it was completely lovely. I don't remember anything else about the morning after that but I have always remembered this as it was a regular event. Childhood bliss! Nan and I were buddies. 💗
I have many little things that truly make my heart feel content. A bubble bath, a hot water bottle or heat pack on a cold night, a beautiful project to work on every moment I have time, a cup of tea in a pretty fine china cup and saucer. Picking fruit. Making jam. Once I said in a blog post I would rather be making jam than on a jet. Well, that is true. I used to feel some sense of guilt over NOT wanting more in the way of fancy parties and travel but I just don't. Not wanting to go to things because when I get there I know I would be longing to get home and looking for the exit plan! Andy and I have a rule of never attending anything without an exit strategy. NEVER! I remind myself of Nan who would be so relived to get home she always changed clothes to get comfortable and breathe a happy sigh that she was home.
Now I am even worse... if I go away I am worried about the dogs, the cows, the sheep, the chickens, the garden, the list goes on. When I get home it is such a relief that I am back amongst the gum trees and the cockatoos, the animals and I can breathe clean good air. City air is not good! Once we did a trip to Singapore which was a wonderful experience but when we got home I noticed something really striking. I could breathe. The air was so fresh and good! And I could walk on the beach! When we were away we went to take our shoes off and walk on the beach and people were horrified and told us "stop!!" It was a dangerous thing to do! When I walked into the house I realised my kitchen was bigger than the entire home of a family we visited. I began to realise why I thought it was blissful to be at home.
I do not believe my Grandparents ever had any urge to "keep up with the Jones" or really do anything extravagant. A great fun outing was an afternoon at the football or a picnic. A really big holiday was once a year Nan and Pa, Mum and Dad, my Uncle and Aunt collectively rented a house near the beach. This was about an hour and a half from home. These were wonderful holidays. I still remember how Pa never got tired of swinging me above the waves as they rolled in. (Or so I thought!).
People have asked Mum why doesn't she doesn't travel the world.. and her reply is because if she has spare time she would rather spend it with her Grandchildren and her beautiful Great Grandchildren! That is her goal. She is making them little cakes to take to school and knitting them warm hats. Just the same as her Mum did for us. Happiness and contentment are just wonderful. If you have found this, if you are truly snug as a bug in a rug at home, happy as a pig in mud lol, then you have truly struck gold! This is the precise opposite of someone who is never satisfied, never grateful, always restless... that is a life of torture. These people are the target of every advertising champaign offering them the solution! The rest of us are pretty sure that a new face cream/toothpaste/set of knives is not the actual solution to our problems! haha!
I remember one day having a wonderful time with my Dad. It had rained heavily and he asked me to go mushroom picking with him. So off we headed with baskets and knives. When we got there the mushrooms were pretty much as far as we could see, it was hard to know where to start. It was so much fun! As we picked we would say "look at this one!" each time we thought we had the biggest one so far. Dad said how much his Mother would have enjoyed this outing. He said how Nana would just love going out and collecting a load of wood. To her that was a joyful task. And how she would do what we were and say "look at this one! Isn't it a beauty!" It was true, Nana B was always a happy person, she always appeared to enjoy everything! I notice we could have more fun collecting mushrooms or firewood than anything else. Do you notice that? Some people can make anything fun and other people can make nothing fun!
If I have things at least semi orderly, some produce, some flowers, my comfy bed, and my family are ok, I am content. There is nothing wrong with wanting to travel or buy a new car or whatever... I am just saying that happiness and contentment are beautiful. Today I am overjoyed with all the seedlings coming up in my garden and I have CUCUMBERS on my vines! If you bought me a boat I wouldn't be any happier. Collecting the eggs is another joy. Hens = happiness in my opinion!
This is a beautiful post. It brought back so many happy memories of my Grandma's. They were so different but they both lived full lives.ReplyDelete
One taught me how to set a table properly for a formal dinner. I knew what glass went where and what each piece of cutlery was for. Grandfather would let me taste the wine that you served with different meats. They lived right on the foreshore, so sandwiches and drink bottles were packed as we headed off to the beach for the day.
The other Grandma taught me to sew, knit and crochet. She was a milliner by trade and she and Aunty Claire, who made gloves, had kept their family going during the Great Depression. Grandma and Aunty Clare were the only girls and the two youngest in a family of nine children. Grandma would take us on a train trip to a neighbouring suburb and then we would catch the train home again. For us country kids this was a huge adventure.
If I can sew or I can garden, I am a happy camper.
I couldn’t agree more! I can really relateReplyDelete
What a beautiful post filled with simple truth! Thank you for that.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful post! I, too, am someone who is very content to stay home and enjoy the little things. That is so much against our current culture that pushes go-go-go and buy-buy-buy that people think I'm crazy. So many people rely on vacations and shopping to escape from their daily lives. We try to live the kind of life that is satisfying in itself and have no desire to escape.ReplyDelete
Totally off topic, but I wanted to thank you, Annabel, for the suggestion a few months ago about tart cherry extract for arthritis and sleep problems. I've been taking tart cherry capsules and can knit and crochet for much longer without having debilitating pain in my hands the next day. I am also sleeping much better after a lifetime of insomnia. Thank you again!
--Frances in SW Pennsylvania
Frances, I didn't see Annabelle's post about the tart cherry extract. May I ask what brand you use, mg amount and where you purchase it? I live in upstate NYDelete
She suggested "dark tinned cherries" for arthritis in response to a comment I made on her January 2, 2023 post. I looked up online medical articles about it and learned that tart cherries have been shown to help with arthritis and sleep problems. I first tried a tart cherry juice concentrate (purchased online), but it was very expensive and had a lot of added sugar. We have modified our diet to exclude most sugar because of its inflammatory properties so I searched more and found tart cherry capsules on Amazon. I now take Carlyle Tart Cherry Extract capsules, 3 each evening for a total of 3600mg.Delete
Thank you Frances, I'll order them today. LindaDelete
I am right there with you. Home is my happy place. Nothing is more soothing than to putter about my garden and watch the chickens scratch about. Last night our adult kids came for dinner. We had dinner for 10. The kitchen was buzzing with voices and laughter. After a simple but delicious BBQ we sat by a roaring bonfire and watched the sky fill up with stars. Something you don’t get to see in the city. It is the simple pleasures in life that mean the most .ReplyDelete
It was a delight to read your post today. I love that you keep your mom in scones.
We are very much alike! When we come over the hill coming home and see our house at the bottom we always just sigh. We have eight weeks at our house at the lake every year and we feel that way there as well. But, when we leave there I am ready to be at home in our home house again. We come over the hill and sigh because there is our big yellow house just waiting to be our happy place.ReplyDelete
We had tea and toast at my grandma's kitchen table but we had Cambric tea which had milk and sugar in it because children should not drink strong tea in her world. Wonderful memories! My other Grandma had a big cookie jar in her kitchen full of several kinds of store bought cookie which were a real treat to us because our Mom never bought cookies because they were expensive. I have that big cookie jar in my kitchen now.
This post comes exactly when I needed it! If it was written for me (thank you).
Today at work, my colleagues kept speaking about their weekend, glamorous outings, little trips to other towns just to go to a pool, and I was a bit belittled about my stay at home weekend. They don*t understand but I was OK because I have felt truly peaceful and rested with these days.
Even I had worked half a norm on Saturday and then went to our monthly shopping trip at the local market and 3 supermarkets, it was a bliss staying home on Sunday.
We were out in the garden for hours, drinking a cup of coffee and a glass of our homemade wine after dinner, played with the dogs, talking about nothing and everything, planning the garden, knitting, watching the birds singing and our hens doing funny things, the cats napping in the sun and everything green and fresh. Very relaxing. I feel happy and content when staying home. I feel happy when I am tired in the evening but content I did all I could that day in order to start another good day.
We have found some good prices on many pantry staples, like cooking oil, tooth paste and cheese, and some cans of bean, food for kittens and mustard so we did some back ups to back ups. And this feeling of security is a great joy, too.
Your Mum is a smart Lady! The BEST thing in life are family and true friends.
Sending love from far away, Laura_s_world from Romania
What a lovely post! I can relate is the best overall reaction to your writing! 2 year ago, we retired, downsized and moved to a very small village to be closer to our rural loving son and his family. Our peers have often asked about trips, our purchases and we laugh! When we downsized we kept what we loved and could use, so few purchases. As the move brought us to a new area, we are very comfy in exploring the area and rarely stay anywhere even overnight. We enjoyReplyDelete
, find comfort in our new home, being near our children - grands, growing a garden and working on a simple project
I prefer to stay home. It is definitely my happy place. I love to be happy and home is happiness to me..I don't really like going off to strange places. And I dislike stressful places where too much is going on constantly. I love peace and quiet, and living the country life. I have been on many trips and vacations and a few countries in my early married life. But I love this stay at home life the best.ReplyDelete
Dear Annabelle and bluebirds wherever you are, i am so full of joy to have found this like-minded blog. I am perfectly content being at home. Its hard to be a homemaker when you are never at home. I dont live to run, run, run or shop, shop, shop and i find it exhausting and unfulfilling. The places i do go are necessary and/or intentional because they have value. I don't isolate myself but i do live a life separated from the worlds culture of needing constant external bombardment to find simple joy and real happiness. So many people judge whether they had a good weekend by how many places they went or what fun or cool thing they did. I am proud to be Counter cultural. I have no interest in night life or running around all weekend. I have this quiet peace of being a maker and builder of my home and i am never bored. After running errands i am relieved to be back home. I do not have a farm thoughi would love that so much. I live in a town, in a subdivision with an adequate sized back yard that we have steadily added to. A few of This weeks tasks include pruning fruit trees, grape vines, and berry bushes, and i find joy and meaning in preparing them for another growing season. And topping off garden beds with a bit more soil and compost to get them in tip top shape. Its an attitude of the heart birthed in gratitude and thankfulness and Godly wisdom for what is coming in the time we live in. I find contentment in taking care of everything and making improvements and organizing, and producing all we can. Its shifting from looking at everything as a never ending " to do list", meaning we have to do it, to looking at it as a "get to do list " meaning it takes the same amount of time and energy but we embrace and enjoy the tasks at hand and do it with our whole heart and our best ability.ReplyDelete
During Covid, so many people were really furious that the night clubs, and bars and restaurants closed and they couldn't get out and enjoy themselves like normal. Our lifestyle is so engrained around home that closure of entertainment didn't bother us in the least. (The home haircuts were laughable at best but thats a different story)🤗
As people find themselves living in a day and age coming with little disposable income due to rising prices, this message of finding peace, joy, and blessed contentment right under our noses must be shared and demonstrated. The simplicity of enjoying a cup of good coffee or a pot of tea on the patio overlooking flowers and birds splashing in the birdbath is priceless.
I haven't commented much lately but I must tell you how much I love your post today. Contentment and gratitude for what you have and simple pleasures are so important. Love from Arizona, ElaineReplyDelete
Helli i am a bluebird living in the US. Today its quite cool outside and I am blissfully content making a large pot of vegetable soup with bits of meat, some vegetables we dehydrated and others that we leftovers frozen just for soup making. Along with bread in the bread machine, this is the smell of " home".ReplyDelete
Dearest Annabel, I love all your posts, but this one is by far my favourite, and one which will resonate for a long time to come. What a blessing you are. xxxReplyDelete
I like everything! I am happy at home cooking and sewing, I do want to improve in the gardening and cleaning/tidy areas now I’m working less, but I love having a freezer full of meals and treats like scones, homemade jams and chutneys in the pantry, shortbread, bread and cakes in the tins. I love making things and am currently making a heap of sensory quilts for my school. But I also like saving and planning for trips, a weekend with the car club, a quilt retreat with my group, every couple of years a nice relaxing cruise.ReplyDelete
Annabel, I'm so glad that you feel this way - your post is really lovely and down to earth. I had a wonderful childhood which made me appreciate the happy home life - I realise for some people that wasn't something they had, but I was the lucky one. And more than once, I have been made to feel guilty because we don't travel overseas nor do we have any desire to do so, and are more than happy to just potter around our home with an occasional one or two night stay at a nearby area - and I'm always so happy to be home after that. Home is where the heart is.ReplyDelete
What a Lovely post! I absolutely Love this! It really resonates with me and I can totally relate! It’s the simple things that can mean the most and a thankful attitude can make all the difference! I pray I’m making happy, lasting memories with my little Grands! Thanks for sharing your happy memories!ReplyDelete
Laura C. (aka Nana C.)
What a heartfelt post Annabel. The emotion in your words transcends the technology on which I read them, and that makes me happy and content 😊ReplyDelete
When I was a young girl the standout blissful moment for me was picking wild blackberries on nan and pops farm. I was so young and yet I would grab a bucket and head off picking blackberries in the stinking hot sun for hours, and I LOVED every minute of it. I don’t actually know why, it was hard work, but I just loved it.
I get a similar feeling these days when I sew. I almost transform into some sort of meditative state. I think of very little except for sewing perfectly straight little lines.
I get that sense of peace with other things too in varying degrees, but like you said it’s almost always at home, oh except for Sunday when I was at the beach, it was warm but not hot, the water was the perfect temperature to dive straight in, I laid on my towel and shut my eyes and listened to the softly crashing waves and buried my toes in the gently warm sand…in that moment I was perfectly content…sigh…🐦❤️
There's so much truth in this post, and it put a smile on my face. There are places I'd like to visit, if only for the education I could glean from their history and our heritage. But, I truly am content right where I am. :-)ReplyDelete
I love this post. I am with your Mum on just wanting to spend time with the grandchildren (and for her great grandchildren also). I too was very close with my Grandma. I loved spending one on one time with her. She and I could sit quietly for hours, both of us reading a book. I always felt safe and loved unconditionally with her. My Grambunny was the life of the party and always had people in her home for a meal and music afterwards. I loved being able to stop and see her for a few days on my to and from college. She was one of the most positive, and fun filled people that I have ever been blessed to have in my life.ReplyDelete
I love this post, Annabel! It resonates in my soul. I am most comfortable, happy and content to be home sewing, baking, cooking, reading, cleaning and all the other wonderful choices we have as homemakers.ReplyDelete
My paternal grandmother and I would make chocolate chip cookies, sew or exercise together. She taught me all the domestic skills, along with being a strong woman in character who is willing to fight for what is right. She loved taking care of her home and family. Yet, she owned a grocery store and ran that, also.
I do not care for travel either. We have family members that can't seem to stay home and they travel any time the children are on school break or it is summer. They seem to enjoy traveling; well, some of them. One child isn't so keen on it. For some of us, home is truly where our heart sings.
Love and hugs,
What a lovely post! This really blessed me today:). Sally in KY, USAReplyDelete
So enjoyed this post! I tried to imagine you as a girl munching on your toast with your nan. So neat to read that so many bluebirds had grandmothers that taught them life skills. I have had many mushroom hunting experiences with my own children. Also picking wild berries, wild plums, apples, and pears.ReplyDelete
Work can be fun!
Thank you Annabel,ReplyDelete
I too enjoyed collecting wood on our farm. We would pack a thermos and some cake or biscuits and when we’d finished stacking the wood in the trailer we’d sit down and have afternoon tea out in the paddock usually with our backs leaning against a tree. I’m not into parties or travelling either. Would always prefer to be at home and I never get bored as there is always something to do.
Hi Annabel and everyone,ReplyDelete
This is such a beautiful post and spoke volumes to me. My maternal grandparents would have me to stay often when I was little, and I have lots of good memories of similar feelings of contentment and peace and love. My grandmother used to fix us both cups of tea in her beautiful "good china" teacups and we would sit at the kitchen table and talk; or go for walks to gather wildflowers (she would teach me about them, and some herbs) or huckleberries, and bake things together. She also taught me how to iron and mend things and other useful life skills. I looked up to her as a beautiful example, too, of lovely manners, strength, and beauty. (And one tip I took to heart - wear some lipstick! I always feel a little perked up with some pretty color on my face.) My grandfather used to take me fishing and gardening with him, and I loved helping him start seeds in his basement under the grow lights - he taught me tons and I always felt very loved and happy doing those things. My grandmother would immediately cook for us some of what we caught when we returned.
I hope you all have a wonderful day.
Count me in with the contented bunch! I love, love, love being at home. There is stew simmering stuffed with veggies, snickerdoodle cookies in the cookie jar, and homemade bread to have with the stew. A little Bible study and some knitting coming up. It's been a rainy day here in the Pacific NW of the US, but the sun is coming out! Thank you for a wonderful post. Love having you for a kindred spirit.ReplyDelete
Anna belle your comments today rang extra true to me.ReplyDelete
We love home and family best. I am more than content to let others travel the world and chase their tales.
I did that when l was younger and like you l remember returning to Australia and realising the air was perfumed with freshness.
Home is best.
Loved this post, and it reminded me so much of my grandparents, who loved having a big garden, sewing, canning, working in the yard, etc.ReplyDelete
I like a bit of both, and do enjoy traveling, in a limited way. Particularly to see family. I also love, love, love a trip to the beach, or to the mountains. Being home is so wonderful, and I love a simple day at home. Which, we don't get much of these days, with two very busy teens. I remind myself that's the season I'm in - I'm in the parenting of teens season. Embracing it now, because it's going to be gone in a flash, & my husband & I will soon be home alone.
I enjoyed your post so much! Your memories of your grandparents made me smile. My grandmother used to always eat a Kit-Kat before bed, and when I stayed with them she made sure I got one too. She doesn't do that anymore because she watches her calories, but I still think of her whenever I see Kit-Kats!ReplyDelete
Our family does a lot of running around for my son's sporting events...he plays a sport every season...but we're enjoying that time with him. Other than that, we love to be at home. Our daughter got to go on some great trips with her high school (Rose Bowl parade in California, went to Europe after graduation with a high school group). My son is going into high school next year and he'll get to participate in similar experiences. We're grateful that our kids get to travel safely with amazing chaperones, and we get to stay home in our comfortable beds. Puttering around my garden with my little dog is my happy place.
This makes me think of my grandmother, Granny, and my two great-grandmothers. All four were happy women who enjoyed and loved and cared for what they had, seldom made trips anywhere, focused on family and home and were content. You could feel the contentment the moment you were with them, it radiated from them.ReplyDelete
I love being at home. I love providing through the work of my hands for my home and family and making things lovely and comfortable. I hope to do even more of this in the days and weeks and months ahead.
This past week I started cleaning up our porches and patio after the messy winter/pollen season. I made jelly from the parings and cores of apples. I will go out to my shed and bring in some fresh decor items to decorate my home for the new season.
I try to keep fresh flowers in my house at all times. Just now I have orchids and African violets blooming away and looking lovely. It is the season when I can bring in iris and daffodils and tiny 'fairy' bouquets of various flowering weeds that are just the sort of things a child most loves to pick.
My mother did not want this sort of life. She saw it as one of hardship and privation. I see it as a contented, lovely way to live.