candlestick display

why women feel empowered when they decorate

Did you ever think there might be a connection between decorating and feeling some control?

A few years ago I needed to do some updating to my tired looking house.  Maybe some new dining room chairs. I painted my dining room table black . Love it. I’ve already taken the doors off the matching hutch, painted it black and love it as well. Here But looking through an Ikea  catalog got me to thinking.

Why is it we women are always “redoing” something or another?  And most of us are.  There are thousands of decorating blogs that attest to this. (I do know a couple of women, though, who never think about redecorating. There’s something wrong with them, I just know it. )

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I put this post aside for a couple of days and had an experience that I think helped me answer my own question.

One of my best friends has been battling a serious virus for a couple of weeks.  As she was feeling much better we decided to get together. It’s been a crazy summer for both of us, lots of family events, etc.

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During the height of her illness, her sister (who lives in another country) and had only recently been diagnosed with cancer, died. She had planned on visiting her when she felt better. My friend’s husband died less than two years prior. Talk about a double whammy.  She pretty much felt like her life had spun out of control.

Anyway, we were sitting in her living room and she mentioned how she wanted to redecorate the room.  She was tired of it.  We talked about colors, new pictures.

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Well, I got busy and because I’m a frustrated decorator I started moving things around and suggesting some ideas. I suggested a small project she could easily complete the next day without taxing her strength.  She was doing much better by the time I left.

On the way home, I got to thinking about this whole “redoing” thing and why most of us women seem obsessed with it. I know the usual answer is the often quoted “nesting instinct.”  And yes, I think that’s part of the answer but I don’t think that’s the entire answer.

I wonder if some of it has to do with the fact that we feel some control when we change things around.  Most women I know feel much of their lives revolve around the needs of other people, children, husband, parents, and careers.

It’s not that we don’t willingly embrace it all but let’s face it, we don’t particularly feel in control.  When we add a new pillow, paint the candle holders a different color, etc. it gives us a sense of having some control in at least one part of our lives.  Not to mention it feeds our creative urge.

My dining room hutch

My friend felt empowered by what we did and the possibilities of what we were going to do. She couldn’t prevent getting sick. She couldn’t prevent her husband or sister from dying. But she could change a few things in her living room.

How about you?  Does “re-doing” a few things around your house empower you? Have you ever considered the connection between decorating and the feeling of having some control?  I would love to hear your comments.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

happiness

the winds of happiness

Michillinda-Lodge

Michillinda-Lodge/Whitehall, MI

A short post today. I’m getting ready to go to lunch at a lodge on Lake Michigan. It’s an annual trip for my friends and I. We love sitting outside overlooking  the lake.  It’s an incredibly beautiful day today with just a hint of the approaching fall. It’s a quiet day.  I always get a little nervous when the day seems too perfect to be true.

Tonight my hubby and I are bringing dinner to our son and his family who live just a couple of blocks away. Their  lives are hectic and it gives us all a chance to enjoy each other’s company. I’ve already baked the pork roast and pulled the meat for the bbq’s. I’ll bake brownies when I get home.  I’m kind of loving this day but I’m a smart woman. I haven’t successfully beat depression these past nine years without learning a few things.

One of those few things I’ve learned is to be grateful for days like this, to relish the moments but also to be very aware that a perfect day can become an imperfect one in a heartbeat.  It happens all the time.  How many times have we heard people say “everything changed in a heartbeat.” The diagnosis. The accident. The job loss. The death.

I think perhaps a good day is appreciated even more when we just take a moment to realize that others have had days just like this and then “everything changed in a heartbeat”. If that’s you today, please know that there’s someone in Michigan who really does care. Somehow, we are all connected. Maybe that’s why today I feel the tiniest bit anxious, like maybe God is telling me that someone right now is having a really, really hard time. So before I go to lunch, I’m stopping to pray for you , stranger though you are to me.

dissatfaction

Why dissatisfaction CAN be a good thing

(This is a revision of a much older post where I forgot to add tags, categories, etc.  What can I say? I was a novice. 🙂 )

You all know how much I love our “teeny-tiny red cabin”.  I’m at such peace when I’m there. God seems to meet me there in a special way.  Or maybe it’s that I seek Him more. I’m perfectly happy with my five hundred square feet (although we are thinking of adding a separate bedroom just for convenience when we have guests.) It will still be small.So that makes what I’m going to share, embarrassing but I promised to  be honest.

dissatiisfaction (google images)

Anyway, my husband and I were talking a walk along the dirt road around the corner from “teeny-tiny red cabin” and we come upon this big, beautiful home under construction. The owner invited us in to look around once he learned we were neighbors. The inside was everything I could imagine, even unfinished. Our teeny-tiny cabin would fit inside the living room alone. My heart yearned.  I was envious.

Ouch, it hurts to admit that!

But that got me to thinking, why is satisfaction so tenuous?  So fleeting?  What makes us perfectly happy with our lives and then “whoosh”, it’s gone when we see something better? How do we go from being discontent with what we genuinely love to wanting something else? I mean we have to know there’s always something bigger and better.

I’m afraid I can only pose the question. I don’t know the answer. I do know though that dissatisfaction can lead one down some dangerous paths.  It’s easy to go from dissatisfaction in one area in our life and project it into other areas in our life. If you’re prone to depression, that’s not a good thing.

For myself, I’m careful to keep up an attitude of gratefulness because down deep I am very grateful for everyone and everything in my life.  My envy of the beautiful house was very short-lived. Do I still love it?  Yes. Would I love it if it were mine? Probably.  But does my teeny-tiny red cabin still bring me more contentment than anywhere else on earth?

A resounding, “Yes”! Am I grateful? Yes. Was my sudden envy something to be ashamed of? No!

I’m just human, that’s all.

I once read that one of the ways to avoid envy and buying things we don’t need is to look at the things we see in stores as if they were in a museum. Beautiful to look at but not to have.  That’s what the house around the corner has become for me. Beautiful to look at, but not mine to have. “Teeny-tiny red cabin” is my piece of heaven and nothing changes that. Should someone buy the lot next to us and build something grand, I’ll go through the usual first pangs of envy and then I’ll come back to “teeny-tiny red cabin” and be glad it’s so small because I can clean it in an hour. So there!

Dissatisfaction can result in good outcomes if our dissatisfaction leads us to make necessary changes. We probably make few significant changes in our lives without some initial dissatisfaction. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think we all know the difference between dissatisfaction that serves no purpose other than making us envious and dissatisfaction in areas that could lead us to constructive change.

disstaisfaction (google images) ment

What about you?  Have you find yourself dissatisfied with something and then realized your mood had taken a nose dive?  What could you do to feel more satisfied with your life? I think these are questions it is good to pose because we are inevitably going to run into situations where we are envious. It’s normal but it’s not normal to let it ruin your day.

And I hope you have a good one. God bless.

How our hair affects depression

O.k., today’s post may seem silly. What does hair have to do with depression? Actually, more than you might know. I got to thinking over these past nine years of depression-free, pill-free years. The one constant was my hair. It’s wild, unruly, and I have a lot of it. I’ve colored it for years but somewhere in these nine years, I gave that up. At least the permanent color. Sometimes I still add a temporary color that fades away in a few short washings. All it really does it tone down my too-bright hair.

I guess I’m bringing this up because I just looked at some recent pictures of myself when I thought my hair looked good and, well, it didn’t. Our hair humbles us like nothing else and we need to make peace with our constant dissatisfaction. It’s just hair, after all.

It’s just hair, after all.

In addition, while most women over fifty have short hair, I’ve gone the other way and have relatively long hair. I just think I look better in longer hair and most importantly my husband loves it. Although this morning I almost took the scissors to it because it was so wild.

I think women’s hair should never look too “set”. You know what I mean. And yet there are days when I wish mine would stay put.

I can actually gauge  what my mood is going to be like by what my hair looks like. Every woman alive knows that “a good hair day” is a good day in general. But when you deal with low moods it’s even more important. I take great care to make myself and my hair presentable every day. It helps set the tone for the rest of the day.

That’s why hair is important. The last thing a depressed person needs is to look in the mirror and see a disheveled wild person staring back at them. I’m not saying that if I’m weeding my garden or painting a room that my hair never looks messy. Remember, I said I like my hair to move. I’m talking more about the effort than the result.

So if you’re having a bad day, do this one thing for me. Go wash your hair and do something with it. It’s kind of amazing how mild to moderate depression responds so well to the constructive little things we do. If you’re really down, I know, I know, it’s an effort to even get off the couch and move. But, please, do it anyway. It doesn’t cost anything(unless you use really expensive shampoo). It requires very little time.

Do you find that if you look better, you feel better? Or are you wanting to look bad so people will feel sorry for you? Good question, huh?

olympic challenges

I was watching the Olympics this past winter and I was really impressed with their efforts and their sacrifices. But then I got to thinking about the heroes of everyday life. I know a few of them myself. People who have overcome great odds, people who will face great challenges in their future.

But what about the people we know who never achieve such fame but whose challenge is every bit as great? I know a number of people who deserve Gold Medals for various reasons. People battling cancer. Parents of children with special needs. Young couples struggling to make ends meet financially. Older people fighting loneliness. Those suffering the loss of a loved one.

I’m not diminishing the efforts of these Olympians, but sometimes we get so caught up in the drama and the glitz that we don’t see what’s right in front of us–people who deserve our applause no matter how small their stage. So the next time you want to cheer someone, look for someone in your own life that deserve your applause.

It could be that person you know who battles depression. They are Olympian athletes in their own right but in their case, their heroic efforts are seldom noticed. I know someone like that. She has lived her whole life under its shadow and yet has managed to find joy wherever she can. No one sees her fight but I do. She is my hero.

So today look around for someone to award a “Gold Medal”.  Give them your encouragement, your support, your applause.  And what about you?  Do you deserve your own medal? I think each of us is brave in some way. I think each of us overcomes challenges every day that no one knows about. So today if it’s been one of those challenging days, give yourself a medal. You deserve one.

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