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Your Home is a Source of Joy

Our homes are a continuous work in progress, and far from perfect. There are always things we want to change and improve. Yet we can find comfort and delight in our house or apartment, even if we’ve just moved in, are in the middle of a renovation, or only dreaming of future home improvements.


I’m in the midst of phase one renovations on my home in France. (See photos below.) The kitchen remodel is half baked. The downstairs powder room is an empty shell. Most of the walls are still ugly, rough plaster. Much of the furniture is what was left in the house when I bought it, and its dark and heavy style is not my cup of tea. There are so many things I want to change, but nothing happens quickly in France. And even if could twitch my nose and make it all change today, renovations are best conceived over time with thought, intention and attention to detail.


While I dream of what my house will look like in the future, I want to enjoy my home now. Because no matter what state our home is in, it should be a source of comfort and joy. Here’s some tips for creating more everyday happiness from your home.


Focus on the good and ignore the rest…

…at least until you can change it. Your home is a reflection of you. Look around and see the areas and little touches that reflect who you are. And if there are things that are not you or you don’t like, make a note of what you’d like to change, but don’t take it personally. Put your attention on what you love about your home. For now, I am focusing my attention on the beautiful new wood countertops, my pink retro-style refrigerator, the elegant French dishes I bought at a charity shop and the flourishing gardens.


Find the aspects of your house you enjoy, and find pleasure in them every day. Perhaps you have a favorite mug and a favorite place to sit and enjoy your morning beverage. Wake up each day and take delight in these simple, homey pleasures.


Express gratitude to your home

When you express appreciation for the things you love about your home, it can change your perspective and create a renewed feeling of abundance. State your gratitude out loud or in a journal, and on a regular basis. I am grateful for having a large, covered porch that provides shade for working on my laptop and is the perfect place to write on a rainy summer day. I am grateful for the quiet and the privacy my house provides. I am grateful for having an abundance of already established flowers, bushes and fruit trees.


Use the good china

Erma Bombeck was asked if had her life to live over again, would she change anything. One thing she said was, “I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.” Her entire quote is worth a read.


I used to be that way with fancy clothes, expensive tapers and vintage chenille bedspreads — hiding them away for some future special occasion that never came. It’s the way I grew up. The good china and the sterling silver flatware were hidden away in a drawer and only used at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and sometimes not even then.


Life is too short. Now I use my good china every day, because every day is a special occasion. If you have a beautiful candle melting in the attic, it’s time to pull it out, light a match and enjoy it. Better yet, never hide it away in the first place. Enjoy the good stuff every day.


Practice mindfulness

My mind loves to race into the future, planning every detail of upcoming renovations and ruminating on the dozens of decisions to be made. It can become overwhelming and stressful. Mindfulness helps quiet my mind. It keeps one fully engaged in the moment, whether it’s through meditation, sitting quietly in the garden surrounded by nature or simply being fully present with the task at hand. Mindfulness brings clarity about what is most important in this moment.


Try a mindful moment in your home. Take a deep breath and be fully present with all your senses. What do you hear? What do you smell? How does the fabric of your sofa feel against your skin? What sensations are you experiencing in your body? What are your senses telling you about your home?


For me, in this moment, I hear the ringing of the village church bells in the distance, the call of the birds and the crowing of the neighbor’s rooster. The air is filled with the fragrance of jasmine and the faint scent of cow manure. (It’s the country, after all.) My body relaxes as I sink into my cushioned porch chair. And my heart is filled with gratitude for my warm, inviting, but far from perfect home.

Fiber Optics came to the village and were installed this week. The next day my  internet and landline stopped working.
Fiber Optics came to the village and were installed this week. The next day my internet and landline stopped working. It's France! But they did give me a hotspot on my phone.

One of my favorite places to write: Under the grape arbor covered pergola on the terrace.  Notice supports holding up the soon to be replace balcony.
One of my favorite places to write: Under the grape-arbor-covered pergola on the terrace. Notice support pole holding up the soon to be replace balcony above.

Testing out paint on windows and shutters that will be painted over the next few weeks.
Testing out paint on window and shutters that will be painted over the next few weeks.

Sunny south facing terrace. Nothing to do here, but soak up the sun and occassionally hang the laundry out.
Sunny south facing terrace. Nothing to do here, but soak up the sun and occasionally hang the laundry out.

2 comentarios


Invitado
13 jul 2023

This made me grateful for our home and all the love we put into it all these years.

I can only imagine your new French paradise and can’t wait to come and spend time with you in it!

No matter the state it’s in, the love is there, flourishing, thriving..

I can feel it..

This I know, my dear friend. This I know..


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Invitado
12 jul 2023

Love this update and advice, Lori. So glad you are relishing the areas of your new home that you adore. Can’t wait to see you in person again and get all the details! -Michelle B.

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Hi, I’m Lori Cronwell. As a writer and frequent traveler, I admire the values most Europeans embrace: choosing quality over quantity; residing in smaller, more sustainable homes; working less and spending more time with friends and family.
 

Those values were key in my decision to drastically downsize to a 700 sq. ft. accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with the goal of creating a simpler, more sumptuous life with time for travel.
 

Slow travel, that is. Spending more time in one place — even if it’s just a week. You'll not only spend less, you'll discover a deeper and more meaningful travel experience.

Please subscribe below and join me on a journey to find affordable ways to explore Europe in the slow lane and to live a more European lifestyle every day of our lives.

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