Life as I know It

My photo
San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Contentment


Contentment. Such a sweet word.

How do we achieve it? By focusing on small pleasures and victories, by not having expectations that can crush and disappoint us. By accepting others as they are and not trying to change them. By being ourselves. (You DO KNOW yourself, don't you?)

Lend yourself to your chores. Enjoy the process and don't focus on the outcome. (I wouldn't write and illustrate books or garden if this weren't true!) Take time to stop and really look around you.


See the beauty in the bedraggled. Don't unexpected harvests taste better?


Savor bounty and be grateful.


Take time to absorb the beauty around you. Sometimes it is easier if you choose a few things you love and put them in a place of honor. You'll be more likely to notice displays that are changed frequently.



Share a meal with friends. Love makes the best meals.


Make a special (tiny) bouquet for each guest. Tap into the language of flowers and add rosemary for remembrance and friendship.



A walk, even on the coldest day, will yield the promise and hope of spring. These twigs should burst into a galaxy of blooms in about a month.



A big bunch of herbs for use and for delight. I never take these old "friends" for granted.


Many California natives bloom in winter. Manzanita (white/pink blooms), hummingbird sage (with dark pink blooms), Ceanothus (blue), and native willow.


I send love across the cold miles.


Sharon


P.S. Be the lucky winner of this charming, glass, bird's nest plaque, which measures approximately 7 x 10 inches.  Just leave a comment and keep your fingers crossed. I'll draw a winner in about a week.

52 comments:

peg said...

You know what, Sharon? I so miss Pussy Willows!!! Your blog is amazing and I'm loving your stories about lemons! We have a Meyers and a very old Eureka tree...both produce unconditionally! Thanks for always keeping us up to speed when it comes to garden activity!!! ♥

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your posts soooo MUCH Sharon! Thank you for reminding us of the joy in small, simple things...live is good!
AND thank you for a chance to win the adorable plaque!
xo ~Diane P.
N.Cali

Thea said...

Thank you for the words of hope and renewal. I sometimes feel we are in the long haul month with only the hope of Spring sustaining us. I love how much you still have blooming in your garden. I've got holly and magnolia leaves and lavendar that never seems to die back. Last week we had two warm days in the 60s. So I was out back and what started to bloom was my purple iris, a bud closer to the ground, surrounded by old iris leaves that i left last fall. Then we had snow and several cold days. Have a wonderful rest of week, Sharon! xo t

Comfrey Cottages said...

Lovely words and thoughts to live by, Sharon. Contentment can be found all around one, if the heart is just open to the possibilities. Seeing, smelling, touching nature and bringing it into our homes in simple displays is such a wonderful way to open ones heart. I love your arrangements and displays of these plant pleasures. Hugs and Love to you Always, Lesliexx

lemonverbenalady said...

Beautiful fruit, flowers and thoughts, dear Sharon. xxoo Nancy

Linda Hoye said...

Sharon, as always, you inspire me. Thank you for these simple ideas, and they really are simple when one takes the time to consider them, yet they can bring such enrichment to our day, can't they. Once more, I'm prompted by your beautiful posts to make small changes.

Nellie said...

What a beautiful post, Sharon! Full of reminders for all of us! Thank you.
Nellie

La Table De Nana said...

You made me realize I have to grow that lemon geranium again:-)
I am over the moon that a lavender plant I was given in a pot for Mother's Day..that I brought in..may just bloom:-)
When it is -16 f outside..that brings contentment:-)

Anonymous said...

Sharon, your posts bring such tranquility and joy. I look forward to a new one, and often re-read prior posts because they are so delightful. Thank you. Cathi Lamoreux

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

How sweet of you! I enjoy each and every day to the fullest. I think that brings contentment! This is a beautiful post my friend! Sweet hugs!

Julie Marie at Idyllhours said...

Oh Sharon, what a beautiful post!... I love all of your posts, but this one especially touches my heart so... those teensie little flower vases are so precious!... and I especially love that your home is filled with the things that make you happy... many from Nature... love your stacks of books and your bowl of lemons... and I am sure those tomatoes on the scraggly little plant taste the very best of all... so looking forward to Spring and all of the beauty she brings... I am beginning to make some crafts out of Natures treasures... also loved seeing your kitchen in the background with all of your utensils, coffeepot and such... sending much love to you... xoxo Julie Marie PS What kind of twigs are those?

Julie Marie at Idyllhours said...

PS Please do not enter me in your giveaway (even though that is so beautiful!)... I have already won one of your generous giveaways... "Blue Belle" is wishing for Spring too!...

Bonnie K said...

That is so well put. You and I have learned the secret to enjoying life. I try so hard to impart that secret to my students. My kids haven't had happy lives and they think the key to happiness will never be theirs. Funny how people think there is something big to being happy when really it is the little things. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Sharon, what a lovely post. Your flowers are beautiful. Even though there are no flowers blooming here yet, there is much beauty to enjoy. Thanks for the reminder.
Martha Ellen

Maria said...

Sharon, thank you for your wise counsel. Your remarks have a particular relevance for me at this time.

Lorrie said...

Contentment is a valuable lesson, often overlooked in this day and age. Managing expectations, knowing oneself, and focusing on the little things - such wisdom in your words.

Thank you.

Crafty Cristy said...

Thank you for the advice about achieving contentment. "Savor bounty and be grateful." Great words to contemplate today.

Thanks for offering your the beautiful bird nest plaque.

Lori in Indiana said...

Oh Sharon! As the old song says ...

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

Blessings <3

Susan said...

How better said! I love the photos and the reminders what brings us to contentment. XOXO

Patti said...

Such a lovely post! As the years go by, I appreciate the simple, uncomplicated things in life more and more.

Anonymous said...

Just what I needed on a stressful Canadian winter day. I've been craving a taste of spring-thank you.
Jan Waters

Kay G. said...

Dear Sharon,
What a wonderful post with such beautiful photos to remind us to look out for the beauty around us and to be content with what we have!
That heart-shaped bowl with the lemons truly makes my heart sing.
Would love to win the framed bird's nest, we love anything to do with birds!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, each flower/herb grouping are breath-taking. You are so very clever. Lucky you to have such beauty around you this time of year. Thank you for giving a boost in the winter doldrums. I agree, nature is all abounds no matter where one lives.
Jane in Nevada desert

Tracy said...

The radio announcer on MPR this morning reminded us there are only five more weeks of winter. The snow covered landscape in MN makes us appreciate our short growing season all the more. Can't wait to get my hands dirty in May and plop nasturtium seeds in usual and unusual places!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dear Lori,

Oh yes, I once heard those words sung in a Shaker church in Kentucky. Love this.

S

Shelley Nilson said...

Yes, finding contentment in the little things. Thanks for reminding me about forcing some branches. Husband brought home a bouquet of Stock yesterday. Fragrance transports me to the garden, which is blanketed in snow.

Sandy S. said...

Dear Sharon,

What a beautiful post, thank you.
I love your pictures! It's the dead of winter here. There is beauty still, but ahhhh.....
I long for spring and the smell of dirt and the pleasure of planting my Zinnia seeds.

Sandy S.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURA INGALLS WILDER-February 7th. Her life still inspires us.

Teri said...

Well, I guess that I will try again to win something. Seems that I haven't had much luck at that but you just never know. I am crossing my fingers, my toes, my legs, my ears, and every hair on my head.

Casa Mariposa said...

I found a trio of hyacinths in their forcing glasses for $10 at the grocery store the other day and felt quite content. It was a little pop of unexpected happiness. :o)

Anonymous said...

A lovely, thoughtful post. And I would love to win the plate since I collect "nest" items.
Barbara W.

Amy Ouchley said...

I love the way you encourage us to pause and share nature's treasures. Small gestures that portray the thoughts of our hearts can be uplifting.

Darla said...

Sharon:
You always have that special way of bringing calm to my busy days. My life has become so hectic lately that I'm embarrassed. Your blog is a gift that I enjoy unwrapping! Thank you for helping us focus on feeling content and seeing the beauty in what we have.
Fondly,
Darla


Anonymous said...

Such a lovely post. I am dreaming of spring and planning our daughter's fall wedding! What fun things to get me out of the winter slump! :) Blessings to you!

Kristina L.

Tina said...

Got my fingers crossed. Love the print.

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Oh gosh... those twigs are going to be soooo pretty!

Dee Nash said...

Such sage advice. Sending warmth and possible rain from faraway Oklahoma. I'll see you in a few days too in Seattle. I am so looking forward to this.~~Dee

Nancy Claeys said...

You have such a lovely home Sharon -- love the flowers placed in just the perfect spots. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Dee honey,

We got rain!! We so needed it.

See you soon,

S

Susan said...

It has been far too long since I last visited. Like a prodigal child I am greeted by words of wisdom. As I start my new online project I've been fretting over the outcome. What a relief to refocuse on the pleasure of the work. Thank you.

My Little Home and Garden said...

Thank you for your visit. I'm returning the favour and discovered all of your wonderful advice in this post. I'm appreciating the sunshine (not a given in the wintertime), a bit of knitting and reading, just savouring the day.

Accepting others as they are has been a focus of late.

-Karen

Rebecca said...

I just want to ingest the entire post - photos and words, thoughts and wisdom - and make them part of my essence. Just beautiful, Sharon.

Laurie said...

you have the perfect kitchen, its a pure mixture of everything lovely wholesome healthy pretty and old and new, the photos take me to a special place when I visit here, my peepers have not been working so well the last while and i have been catching up , I never miss a post but no always am I able to comment, I hope you are well and happy, its lovely to see blossoms instead of snow, its a treat for my winter weary eyes,

Little Bird said...

Hello, dear Sharon!
How do you always seem to know just what I need to hear? Contentment. "Yes, that's it!", I said to myself as I read your blog today! Quit wishing I could be out in the garden (the wind is blowing-blowing here!) and wrap myself up in the pleasures and joys of the indoors for awhile longer. I also appreciate the comments from your other blog devotees. It is helpful to see that the restlessness of the season is somewhat universal among similarly minded people. Thank you, yet again!

GRACE PETERSON said...

Hi Sharon Dear, I've been meaning to come by for a visit. Thank you for stopping by my blog. It's always good to touch base with you.

Contentment, ah yes. I think it's one of those traits that comes easier with age. When we're young we tend to want everything right now. As we get older we realize what's really important and to be content with the process. At least I'm finding it much easier.

I'm very much in love with your hummingbird sage. You know me and my affinity for pink! I wish I could keep my plants alive but I think my soil is just too wet during the winter. So, I'm admiring yours from afar. Beautiful!

Take care sweetie.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hi Grace!

Salvia spathacea is one of my all-time favorites. It is a native here and I have naturalized it under olive trees, alongside Salvia elegans and Lepichinia (Pitcher Sage). I love them all so much.

Thanks for the visit. Your garden looks splendid.

Love,

S

Willow said...

Simply beautiful post and kept me entirely in each moment of it !
Thank you

Lili said...

Oooooh your aqua bottle collection is simply stunning...realized this must be in Maine. I am wondering if I cut some of my quince twigs this time of year if they will blossom out inside too. I may just go ahead and try it. You always plant such beautiful thoughts when you write Sharon. xoxo

canvas print said...

i really loved the print, you should do some more.

Rebecca said...

Unexpected harvests DO TASTE BETTER!

Blessings...Rebecca PS: Sooo enjoyed my visit!

Georgette said...

Oh such lovely photos and windows into a beautiful, soft, inspiring world of nature, love and giving. The small tiny details are so often the most touching, the most precious and most innocent. Thank you for sharing.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Love this post
all of your sharing.
Have not been online much
and catching up.
So
looking forward to Spring...