Monday, July 1, 2013


I do not watch much television. Days go by without me plopping in front of the "idiot box." "Idiot box" was coined in 1990 on MTV. I never thought I would agree with anything on  MTV!

I occasionally watch HGTV, also referred to as Home and Garden Television. Although I am not much into gardening, I enjoy do-it-yourself projects around my house. I am astonished watching dilapidated hovels transformed into relative mansions.

My own house is only seven years old, with the open concept that will need "updating" soon, in this age of fast, manipulated obsolescence. Picking appliance colors was tricky seven years ago, for sooner or later "stainless steel" will be the new "avocado." I chose "bisque," because I like "bisque." NO one on the show agrees with me. According to the experts, the new appliance color is "white ice," in other words, white. Everything old is new again.

HGTV has turned me into an amateur house designer, decorator, architect, and re-modeler. When I am in older homes of friends or relatives, I am constantly looking over their shoulder for the possible location of the support beams and ways to expand that kitchen. Can that wall come down? What if we open up that staircase on both sides. What was the homeowner thinking when selecting that fabric? Could live with this orange paint?

I am presently in the middle of a few home improvements of my own.  I tell myself that because I am an artist, I love "beauty," for the sake of beauty.  I have bought travertine tile for the back splash in my kitchen. I have a small kitchen in my lower level too, so, of course, that has to be tiled too.  And I will install it myself, naturally, with my newly-purchased wet saw. I have become discontent with my new, lovely home. And with what I have spent "updating," I could have funded a clean-water well in Africa! Maybe two.

I am experiencing house envy from HGTV.  I never thought I was materialistic, but I am quickly crossing that line.

I was humbled by a recent episode in which a young single mother had a $100,000 house budget. She was so glass-is-two-thirds-full enthusiastic with each disgusting shanty she toured–disgusting in my humble opinion, which, by the way, got humbler as the show progressed.  By the end of the show, I almost wept in rapture for the joy she was expressing for the opportunity for her first starter home. She literally looked more angelic and lovely as the show evolved. I remembered how I had adored our starter home, a little cape cod with rotted  window frames, no heat other than wood, and the back porch that was barely still fastened to the house. Ah, those were happy days!

A few months back I saw a different episode in which another single mother also had a $100,000 budget. I was as shocked as the Realtor when the buyer criticized every room. "I was hoping for granite counter tops . . .  hardwood floors , , , nice master suite . . . upgraded bath . . ." And, as you can guess, the young woman's face became more distorted with each bitter pronouncement of dissatisfaction. The show ended awkwardly, with no sale.

I am examining myself as to whose attitude of these two mothers mine mimics. As an adoptive mother (read But the Greatest of These is Love!) I often quote James 1:27, at least the first part: "Religion that God accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress," PERIOD. I don't  often want to drag my guilty self into the next part of that verse: "and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

I promise, publicly, after this last (expensive) piece of travertine is stuck to the wall, and grouted, and sealed, I am done upgrading myself out of dissatisfaction. I want an angelic face of gratitude! I have so much to be thankful for!

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," was coined by another expert in beauty, Leonardo Divinci!

Be thankful in all things!



  1. Loved this episode of your blog. Funny you should write about redecorating. Greg's 29 year old daughter just bought her first home. An 800 sq ft bungalow in Chantilly, a popular little neighborhood near downtown Charlotte. We are trying to make all her wants reality, but the girl sure has expensive taste, kinda like your travertine back splash.
    As a realtor, I understood what you were saying about the young buyer on TV who was disappointed at what her budget afforded. That's what usually happens to everyone on their first day of house hunting. The 2nd day they start to understand how houses are priced. Price, location and condition. If you are willing to concede on one or two, like location and condition, you can get a good price. Meg really wanted to live in Chantilly, so she now own's an 800 sq ft home. If she had chosen the suburbs she could have easily doubled the sq footage and had all the bells and whistles like granite countertops and stainless steel appliances for the same price. Unfortunately most of us wish for more than the budget allows.

    1. Beverly, You are right — our "wants" are often more than we can afford. Why do we insist on having them anyway? And even if we can afford it, "I want that" often morphs into "I NEED that." Ultimately, that travertine, or granite, or even location isn't going to make us as happy as we thought, for as long as we had hoped. We enjoy our new things for a while, then we take them for granted or become dissatisfied because a new fad has rendered them obsolete, and then we NEED the next "in" thing. I think, in the long run, I would've derived more satisfaction had I paid for those wells in Africa. The recipients certainly would!