Aug 112014

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”   ―  Thoreau

So why not just laugh now? – G

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Recently I posted a picture of myself in my kitchen, and I immediately started receiving generous messages from people wanting to help me “update” it. Along with their messages came pictures of how my kitchen could look, if I’d just put some effort and money into it.

I’ve always loved my kitchen, but after seeing those pictures I found myself looking at it through new, critical eyes.  Maybe it was all wrong. Maybe the 80’s counters, laminate cabinets, mismatched appliances and clutter really were mistakes I should try to fix. I stood and stared and suddenly my kitchen looked shabby and lazy to me. I wondered if that meant I was shabby and lazy, too. Because our kitchens are nothing if not reflections of us, right? I decided I’d talk to Craig and make some calls about updates.

But as I lay down to sleep, I remembered this passage from Thoreau’s Walden: “I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes and not a new wearer of the clothes.” Walden reminds me that when I feel lacking- I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have. So when I woke up this morning, I walked into my kitchen wearing fresh perspectacles. Here’s what I saw.

You guys. I have a REFRIGERATOR.

kitchen fridge one

This thing MAGICALLY MAKES FOOD COLD. I’m pretty sure in the olden days, frontierswomen had to drink warm Diet Coke. Sweet Jesus. Thank you, precious kitchen.

kitchen refrgerator inside

Inside my refrigerator is FOOD. Healthy food that so many parents would give anything to be able to feed their children. Almost 16,000 mama’s babies die every day from malnutrition. Not mine. When this food runs out, I’ll just jump in my car to get more. It’s ludicrous, really. It’s like my family hits the lottery every freaking morning.

kichen water faucet

THIS CRAZY THING IS A WATER FAUCET. I pull this lever and CLEAN WATER POURS OUT EVERY TIME, DAY OR NIGHT. 780 million people worldwide (one in nine) lack access to clean water. Mamas everywhere spend their entire day walking miles to and from wells just for a single bucket of this- and I have it right here at my fingertips.  I’m almost embarrassed to say that we also have one of these in each of our two bathrooms, and one in the front yard with which to WASH OUR FEET.  We use clean drinking water to WASH OUR FEET. Holy bounty.

kitchen microwave

This is the magical box in which I put uncooked stuff, push some buttons, and then a minute later- pull out cooked stuff. It is like the JETSONS up in here.

kitchen medicine cabinet

This is my medicine cabinet. Since my Lyme is in remission and each of my babies is healthy- there is nothing in here but vitamins and supplements and tea. Thank you, God. This medicine cabinet is a miracle to me. Every time I open it I feel like I should kneel down and kiss the ground. I have an inbox full of letters from mothers whose medicine cabinets look very different.

kitchen floor

Speaking of ground-  this is our kitchen floor. It’s not fancy, but it’s perfect for our most important kitchen activity: DANCING. When Chase was three a librarian asked a roomful of kids, “what do we do in the kitchen?” Everyone else called out “cook” or “eat!” But Chase yelled “DANCE!”

kitchen coffee

I can’t even talk about this thing. Actually, let’s take a moment of reverent silence because this machine is the reason all my people are still alive. IT TURNS MAGICAL BEANS INTO A LIFE-SAVING NECTAR OF GODS. EVERY MORNING. ON A TIMER.

kitchen school corner

And look you guys: LOOK. This is the kitchen corner where I keep all my kids’ school stuff.  My kids go to a FREE school with brilliant teachers and a loving administration and they’re SAFE there. The school sends flyers home about PROGRAMS and CLASSES and CLUBS to make my kids’ hearts bigger and softer and their brains sharper and their bodies healthier. This corner reminds me everyday that my kids have at their fingertips what so many around the world  are giving their lives for: quality education. When I wear my perspectacles I can’t look at this corner without a heart explosion.

My perspectacled kitchen tour taught me two things this morning: I’m insanely lucky and I’m finally FREE.

In terms of parenting, marriage, home, clothes – I will not be a slave to the Tyranny of Trend any longer. I am almost 40 years old and no catalog is the Boss of Me anymore. I am free. I am not bound to spend my precious days on Earth trying to keep up with the Joneses- because the Joneses are really just a bunch of folks in conference rooms changing “trends” rapidly to create fake monthly emergencies for us. OH NO! NOW IT’S A SUBWAY TILE BACKSPLASH WE NEED!  No, thank you. Life offers plenty of REAL emergencies to handle, thank you very much.

I’m a grown up now. I know what looks good on me, and that doesn’t change every three months. I know how I like my house. I like it cute and cozy and a little funky and I like it to feel lived in and worn and I like the things inside of it to work.  That’s all. And for me – it’s fine that my house’s interior suggests that I might not spend every waking moment thinking about how it looks.

Sometimes it seems that our entire economy is based on distracting women from their blessings. Producers of STUFF NEED to find 10,000 ways to make women feel less than about our clothes, kitchens, selves so that we will keep buying more. So maybe freeing ourselves just a little from the Tyranny of Trend is a women’s issue – because we certainly aren’t going to get much world changing done if we spend all of our time and money on wardrobe and kitchen changing.

BUT. Listen. I’m nothing if not a tangled, colorful ball of contradictions. I like a good make-over as much as anybody else. So . . . HERE WE HAVE IT. HERE IS THE MELTON KITCHEN MAKEOVER FOR YA! READY FOR THE BIG REVEAL?


kitchen one


kitchen after

Ba- BAM! Extreme home makeover! My kitchen IS beautiful because it is full of beauty. SO IS YOURS.

Today I shall keep my perspectacles super-glued to my face and feel insanely GRATEFUL instead of LACKING and I will look at my home and my people and my body and say: THANK YOU. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. THIS IS ALL MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH, ALL OF IT. Now. Let us turn our focus onward and outward.  There is WORK TO BE DONE and JOY TO BE HAD.


PS For stories about people around the world with all different kinds of kitchens, or for help creating your own pair of perspectacles, visit CWS!

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  2,156 Responses to “Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt”

  1. This is one of THE BEST posts I’ve ever read…the Tyranny of Trend. Yes!! There are people up in offices determining to keep us distracted and discontent. Thank you for using your perspectacles to show this.

  2. I LOVE this post! We recently remodeled our kitchen but did NOT replace any appliances. We had quite a few people comment on the “old” appliances. I told them that they work just fine and will stay until they don’t. I like my white and do not feel the need to make a cosmetic change that would cost a LOT more money. I’m very grateful for my beautiful kitchen that is full of love too.

  3. LUV how you think. Enough is enough and SO grateful for all I have, which includes the non-tangibles – love, support, kindness and being able to pass these things on to my family and friends! I am 67 so have lots of stuff I am in the process of giving away (simplifying my life, cupboards, closets, etc!) Many things I’ve out-grown, physically as well as mentally, and ask “Who can I give this to so it will make them feel special, help them grow spiritually, make a difference?!”

    Thanks for your sharing!

  4. Amazing! Thank you for writing this.

  5. Great article and fun! Thank You!

  6. I am SO glad I found this post. I needed a reality check and am going to bookmark this to read when I start feeling crazy again. For the past few years I have been obsessing over perfecting everything in my life, the most recent being a major, nearly $60k remodel. Actually I’m in the final week of the 5-month process and instead of feeling giddy and excited about my beautiful new space, I mostly feel ill over all the issues along the way (the imperfections) and all the money drained from our savings. So I Googled “post remodel money diet” and somehow ended up here. Granted, our remodel was initiated by the need for a 4th bedroom for our growing family, and to open up the space between our kitchen and family room, but the monster inside that tries to perfect everything came out and we went way over budget with updated stuff that didn’t need changing, and constantly prodded by all the folks on HGTV and Houzz that seem to all say dump the old and buy the new. I tried hard to find good homes for everything we removed and could save – Habitat Home Store being a big benefactor. Now that it’s almost done, I look around and yes, I’m happy we have the more functional space for our family, but I hope to NEVER do this again. I was already fantasizing about what I could update next – the bathrooms, the foyer, all the lights in the house… but there is nothing “wrong” with them and I need to get some better Perspectacles!!! Thank you so much. I’m going to ditch my home remodel email updates and follow you instead!

  7. Our downstairs neighbor is renovating her apartment, tearing it out right down to the studs, and rebuilding load-bearing walls. cutting and installing new tile, and lots of other noisy, dusty, expensive “improvements.” We live in a modest middle-class condo. I don’t knnow how she thinks she will ever get the money out of her unit. In the meantime, my husband is 91, I am 76, and our quiet enjoyment of our home is being destroyed. We are angry and sad.

    • Are you angry and sad because of the noise or because of the jealousy of your neighbor remodeling her apartment. You went on and on about the renovations and at the very end of your comment you brought up your ages and being angry. I am thinking that to a 91 year old man breathing is probably a chore but that does not warrant you being angry about your neighbor making a little noise trying to better her situation. And you don’t have a RIGHT to worry about if your neighbor will ever get her money out of the updates. You NEVER get your money out of what you put into a home. It is worth it because you ENJOY your home and living arrangement. Maybe you and your husband should consider moving to a quiet sanctuary IE: a nursing home or a assisted living community. Your ages are not a license to restrict others from doing what makes them happy. A little renovation to an apartment is not a bother for most people.

      • Wow. That was harsh. It’s obviously noisy & dusty at the very least, from the construction. And this lady does have the right to be angry & sad. Just as you have the right to suggest they move into a nursing home…. Even though it was very mean-spirited to say.

  8. Got here for the first time through Gratefulness site…your kitchen IS beautiful and you are an angel. Just a faabUlous perspective.

  9. Hi Glennon,
    I just woke up on my 51st birthday, and opened FB to your post on Internet protection for your son, I have the same issue with mine,( he’s an Aspie, and needs logic to explain everything, over and over) and will use some of your descriptive terminology to explain to him why Ibam a helicopter mom in this area.
    I also have a loved in home, I saw the box for suggested info, and opened up this post. Thank you.
    I am usually over whelmed by the clutter in my home, and the lack of immaculate perfection I see in others homes, but I am also a creative, and creative can be messy and glorious and overwhelming and depressing all at the same time.
    I am working on bringing balance to my chaos and putting the joy back in to my space, sometimes I have piled on too many projects, too many roadside rescues, that I have no time or energy for my son. And, oh yeah, I own a off-premise catering company with my ex- husband.
    This reminds me to put my perspectives on and examine my surroundings. What projects can I do in a short period of time? Keep them at hand. What projects require more time and commitment than I have currently? Store out of sight or donate them.
    What projects really matter in the grand scheme of things? Donate, donate more of them for someone else to sink their teeth into.
    Do some with my son, and put aside many of them for more time with my son.
    Crank up the music and dance. We love music and love to dance, we hardly do either lately.
    Time to re- decorate with joy, and let the dust bunnies dance in the corners.

  10. Remove Google plus remove twitter remove Facebook and remove DMCA and remove eula and remove nsa and remove the safe harbor worshippers and it’s terrible acts and remove apple technology and remove Skype and remove Microsoft technology and remove netflix and remove DRM and remove Hulu and remove red box and remove the ndaa and remove all copyright acts and remove all the utility bills and insurance commercials and remove all the taxes and fees and remove mpaa and remove riaa and remove IRS and Remove Fbi and remove Sony and remove ACTA and remove COPPA and remove AOL and remove ACA and remove Verizon and remove AT&T and remove etrust and remove FOIA and remove adobe and remove Spotify and remove TPP and remove governments and remove congresses and remove FDA and remove DEA and remove ACLU and remove verisign and remove Kindle and remove nook and remove Mozilla Firefox and remove safari too and save the link from the FCC and remove TRUSTe and remove EME

  11. I love your perspective. The world so often seems to be set up to have us forever hungry for more, regardless of what we already have. Gratitude give us the power to be happy whatever the world says.
    A serious message delivered with good humour and spirit. Thank you.

  12. Thank God I find like minded / hearted people like you on my (on-line) path !

  13. Your kitchen looks like the Jetson’s compared to mine which was built in 1944. Same long cupboards which get new paint once in a blue moon, same counter laminate and desperately in NEED of a new floor but I can’t afford one so I just wash the one I have. :) Suits me fine. I can’t get over people who tear out perfectly good stuff to install new.

    • Love your post and your writing.

      My favorite kitchen floor in my whole life was the one I spent as much time on as I could possibly muster from the age of 5 to 7. I grew up in the mid-50’s in post-war rural Japan to American missionary parents. Our maid’s home was a 3 minute walk from our western style house. Oh the joys of getting to spend time at our maid’s house, with her three older sons who adored my blonde little brother and I. She was our “grandma” and we loved her to death and beyond. Her kitchen floor? Hard packed dirt. We moved to the US when I was 7. I miss that dirt floor. (btw – it was a very clean floor. So hard packed that water pooled.)

  14. “because we certainly aren’t going to get much world changing done if we spend all of our time and money on wardrobe and kitchen changing.”

    That’s my favorite part.

  15. We have a lot in common, and now that I have a new $1,000,000 word…
    “PERSPECTACLES” even more alike. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! :) :) :)

  16. Sent here from Facebook by Elizabeth Gilbert (a high compliment, I think 😉 ). I feel LUCKY to have found this post and read this! So wonderful, so clever, and I appreciate that the focus is on what you learned from the ‘recommendations’ that you update your kitchen instead of berating them. You just figured out something beautiful from their suggestions and shared (when others might have been defensive and angry). I will return to your blog again and again. Love it! Thank you!

  17. Thank you! I found your blog article very refreshing and I like your kitchen too. I think exactly about my kitchen as you do yours. I do not know when the thought came to me, but perhaps it was as I began to learn about children carrying water, villages where kids have to trek every day to the next village to get water; when I began to read about people whose homes had been destroyed by all sorts of major disasters and about people who, because of the downturn in the economies of their countries, that I began to take a different perspective on not only kitchens but about my home.

    I am very fortunate to live in a wonderful country, Australia where most people do have homes. My home shelters me, and since I am fortunate enough to be able to have a duplex home in a beautiful, peaceful, quiet, safe suburb, I am privileged to have a place that also restores my soul. I am fortunate to have a garden with a magnificent lemon tree, roses and to have a clothesline, a Hills Hoist (Australian iconic hoist) where I can hang out my clothing and linen to dry.

    My kitchen is workable. The stove works although it is fairly ancient and electric, the oven works, I have a sink in it that does my dishes and an extra bowl for rinsing. It is fairly small with little bench space and no overhead cupboards, but hey, I have lived here for nearly 9 years now and I have lived well, minus the cupboards. I have some lovely old fruit boxes that I am considering having someone screw to the walls so that I shall then have overhead cupboards. I also have a refrigerator in which to keep food cold.

    As for the rest of the home, it is perfect! I have a BATH, a separate shower and running hot and cold water in both the laundry and the bathroom. I also have a separate toilet. The tiles in my bathroom and laundry are very dated, but I love the honey colour of the small ones in the toilet and laundry and I love the deep blue tiles in the bathroom and they make me feel happy.

    I may never be able to renovate my home in the way that I imagine. Truly, I have a picture inside about how it could be amazing and should the renovation fairies arrive on my doorstep, I would be able to direct their actions in two seconds flat.

    So why do I not extend myself to do all of this. For a start, it will cost many thousands of dollars. It is not going to make me any happier than I am at present. It works and is constructed well and does what I need it to do. I also am so busy teaching the little ones whose lives are just beginning in school. Yes, I live in a wonderful country where every child has access to an amazing education and I am one of those fortunate teachers who gets to play a role in their development; a Kindergarten teacher who helps to shape their values and make sure that they have the right building blocks so that they go into the higher years feeling happy and confident in their abilities. I prefer to spend money on good books and literature and equipment that will help them learn.

    Truly, I could say so much more and it could fill an entire book, but it is enough to say that I love my home and it is a true blessing to me. I am happy, healthy and doing well. That is enough in itself.

  18. That was lovely. Thank you and keep on enjoying your blessings:)

  19. SPLENDIDLY DONE! I’m here, for the first time, because Liz (Gilbert) sent me. Love your perspectacles! AND your writing style. Sign me up!
    Hugs, Bella ~

  20. Recently my kitchen sink faucet sink broke. Every day as I walk back and forth transporting water from the bathroom I remind myself that women in some parts of the world walk miles to a well every day to collect water.

  21. Wonderful article. I feel better about my kitchen, which looks somehow similar, already. I like to dance in the kitchen too. Luckily my husband can cook. Bless you and your gorgeous family.

  22. That is an awesome, inspiring article! Thank you for making my day!

  23. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful piece. It’s time we learn to see the world with cleaner perspectacles.

  24. Thank you for this wonderful reminder of the things that truly matter. And dancing in my dated kitchen with the one I love is top of the list. Crafting glorious homecooked meals together and dining by candlelight happens in our 70’s “vintage” home, too. I’m grateful to be reminded so poignantly of how special my life experiences have become.

  25. I LOVE this!!! So perfect and a timely reminder to yours truly. PLUS….Your children are BEAUTIFUL and your HUSBAND IS HOT!!! what else could you possibly need?? :) Cheers to you Glennon! <3 Thank you!

  26. YES!!!! love love love your kitchen and all it does!!! And bless you that you are healthy and your babes are healthy!!! but …… dont eat Sabra they use GMO beans etc etc ; we just stopped getting their hummus :(

  27. I just cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this! Thank you for putting things back into perspective for us all. Gratitude is so important. Beautiful family! Will share this post!

  28. Dude your husband is hot

    • That’s the best you can do after that great perspective about how to look at life?? “Dude your husband is hot”????????

      • Well, she’s not wrong.

      • LOL. We women notice kitchens, children; our own as well as other people’s and we take note of what we are grateful or not so grateful for and yes, we do notice HOT MEN! We are multi-taskers and just because we happen to notice the HOT MEN, we also are aware of everything else at the same time. That is why women rock and the world goes on because of us. Notice that this is also written tongue in cheek and if you read what I wrote a few posts before, you will also see that I am one very happy and GRATEFUL woman. Just saying.

  29. You totally get it! Thank you! Loved this post.

    I particularly liked your “perspectacled” comparisons to the frontier women. I often ponder our old used car situation. Don’t get me wrong. We decided to forgo a new car (and new car debt) and spent cash on a new transmission and some other car “makeover” stuff. Like you my bottom line was the our good old used car would be the envy of King David with all his top of the line gold chariots! He would trade up to our car for sure. In fact, he would trade his kitchen for mine any day! Thank you!

  30. G, this is one of my favorite posts of yours ever. Almost weekly I go back and read it.
    Yes I’am enough.
    You are enough,
    We are All enough.
    Thank god for all my many Blessings. ❤️

  31. Life should always be about appreciating what we have –not stressing over what we don’t have!

  32. Wonderful endearing words. Sharing with friends on fb.

  33. Hi every one, here every person is sharing
    such familiarity, therefore it’s nice to read this weblog, and I used to go to
    see this webpage daily.

  34. Haha! Awesome!

  35. My friend shared this with me, and it is an inspiration to me! I thank you for this. I going to repost some of your quotes on my FB page so I will be reminded to not let society sweep me away!

  36. I enjoyed this article. Thank You for posting it! I’ve had worse kitchens. I’ve had better! Yes my appliances may have rust, make strange noises and are temperamental! My old cupboards aren’t real wood they are cheap falling apart particle board but still useable. I don’t have to go out side & pump a well pump either. We aren’t starving! A sink full of dishes proves we ate! My floor has scratches, burn holes and isn’t level but still we make do. I’m pleased and content. I know if my new cupboards or new appliances are meant to be. I will have them. Until that day if it ever comes I will stay satisfied. At least we are paying our taxes and our mortgage even in hard times. Let’s all see the good side of what we have and live with.

  37. I just keep coming back to this. And reading it. And amening it. And reading it again. And reminding myself. I need the reminder more often than I care to admit. Thank you.

  38. Your family kitchen is beautiful! Thanks for this post :)

  39. I have this article bookmarked so I can return to it often; a fantastic reminder to me of how amazing God is to have gifted our family with so much.

    Into this world I bring nothing and so I depart except for those memories I gift to those I leave behind.

  40. I have shared your post. I read it every so often in order to keep my heart soft with gratitude of how blessed I am with material items, safe neighborhood & clean water. I love God for Who He is. I praise God for what He does. As I touch the appliances in my kitchen, I praise Him, especially for chilled diet Coke(gentle smiles)

  41. I love you Glennon. You are a beautiful soul. And you make me giggle. Double win.

  42. You are so right about everything!! Beautifully said!! Your kitchen is Gorgeous!!!

  43. This is such a great reminder of how we should be grateful for the things we have. I was talking to a friend the other day who one minute was complaining about how much debt he was in and the very next minute was telling me how he was getting a brand new car.

    I asked him why and he said that the car he wants has leather seats, climate control (instead of just air conditioning) and he prefers the shape.

    He told me it would only cost him an extra £130 a month and that it was a good investment. I asked him what was wrong with his current car. “Nothing, I’m just bored of it.”

    A lack of gratitude for the things we have is one of the main reasons people are in so much debt. We have so much stuff that makes our lives so easy compared to so many people in the world and yet we still want more. So we spend money we don’t have to get things we don’t need and then spend years working more hours to try to pay off the debt we built up.
    Ironically we end up not enjoying the things we have because we’re stuck working more hours to pay them off.

    I love this blog because it teaches us, in such a simple, easy way how to be grateful for what we have. It’s not our stuff that makes us happy, but the beautiful people with which we share it.

    Keep writing, G, you are awesome!


  44. I absolutely LOVE what you’ve done with your place! The “after” photo looks like it right out of “God’s Remodeling: The Coffee Table Book of Life.”
    I think I will live (and love) with more gratitude from now on!

  45. Wow, if I had that gorgeous man and beautiful children in MY kitchen, who cares about the kitchen!!! Besides, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with your kitchen. Maybe a vase of flowers would be nice ;o)

  46. First, I can’t imagine giving people unsolicited suggestions on updating anything in their home. But it seems this swings hard to the other direction; i.e., be grateful for what you have and never, ever want more. But God has told me to be a good steward of all he gives me and that means houses occasionally need things replaced/updated, not to be trendy, just to take care of. My house is 40 years old. I tithe, give, put my daughter through a private college on cash. Now, it’s time for some updating, because God gave me a house to take care of, not just let fall down around me.

    • Hello Trish, read your post with interest and I do agree that God gives us stewardship over our money and possessions and I do not think He means our homes to fall down around us through lack of care or disrepair. That rhymes, did you notice; care or disrepair!

      I cannot help but comment that I did not see this article pointing out that anything should not be maintained, but rather that instead of feeling bad about what we do not have or thinking that we should meet some sort of societal standard to keep up with the Jones’s so to speak, we are to also learn to be content with what we have.

      I did not read that we should not re-do our kitchens if that is what we want. This woman has gone and thought about what really matters to her and has decided that, renovation or not, her kitchen functions and she has a happy healthy husband and family. They are her true riches.

      As I read all the good things that you do such as tithe, put your daughter through a private college because you care about her education, I thought that you were thoughtful too. I did not read into her article that we should not want more. That is not what she was saying here.

      I had a thought and hope you will not think I am being too presumptupus here but I think that sometimes Christians have a guilt mentality for wanting more in their lives. Sometimes this ‘wanting more’ has gone to extremes and there are huge mega-churches where getting wealthier and wealthier has become the new theology. They HAVE lost sight of what our Christianity is meant to express! I am happy with what God has given me stewardship over and I would certainly love to have my kitchen re-modelled. If you saw it you would understand in a heartbeat. However, I have chosen to pay off my mortgage so that I have a secure home for the future and the kitchen is lower on the priority list, so has to do and it is workable and I do not have 5 kids to raise. So the kitchen is not TOO frustrating! I do replace appliances when necessary and fix things that break.

      So it is ok to want more and not feel guilty and if you want a new kitchen in your 40 year old house, go for it! My house was built in 1977 so it is about the same age as yours and probably styled similarly. It is more about being grateful for what we have and maintaining perspective. Hope you have a wonderful day and may God bless you.

  47. Very well written article that really does hit the heart of what most middle aged women (and men) get wrapped up in these days trying to look good on the outside but never really happy on the inside. I think being happy with what you have already gives such inner peace as well as a freedom from commercialism that helps with saving money for so much more important things – like college funds for the kids and retirement. We are digging out of major debt from the economy crash of ’08 so it has made us so much more fugal but also helped us realize we don’t need all that crap most people used to think we “had to have” to be successful. I’m happy with my old refridgerator from ’95, my 2001 Camry, and hand-me-down furniture and house hold items from relatives they didn’t want. Thanks for verbalizing this so well!

  48. Awesome post! My wife shared this with me and it really made me re-think buying the things that are hanging around on my want list.

  49. This was beautiful…thank you!

  50. Preach it sister!! My kitchen is so much like mine, same appliances, cabinet, stuff on the fridge and the inside of my fridge!!! My mother comes over all the time and criticizes my things. Her house is new and updated and spotless. Her kids are grown. She is not trying to put two kids through college after I gave up my career to be at home with them because we were BLESSED enough that we could do that. Not everyone is that lucky. so I am blessed. The trade off? An older home with memories, no brand new house, no show place . What we got in return? A BLESSED life and home we live in and love! My house is exactly how I want it. I don’t want a home out of a magazine that I would be afraid to mess up and would never get paid for. Do I have the ” latest and greatest of things” ? Nope and I don’t want them. I love my home and family just the way it is, even the clutter that proves I have people who LIVE there and are making memories! God Bless You sister… You GET it!!!

  51. you are a beautiful writer, a way with words and an amazing human being who even though i”full of contradictions” is just fabulous anyhow… The path you are following, that of simplicity and gratitude (and not “following the trends”) is admirable, but take gladness into the remodel of your new kitchen, which is a place where many blessed events occur

    • Before I even finished reading all the way through, I thought your kitchen was just perfectly lovely! lol. As I say in my apt, if you want to look at a work of art, go to the museum! I’m too busy actually living here!

  52. Thank you for this reminder of “Who I am.” We are so very, very fortunate in this land of plenty. Even those of low income peeps. I still can afford that stuff that keeps my family alive! Thanks for the humbleness and humor.

  53. Your gratitude is inspiring and refreshing. You have a beautiful family!

  54. Great post, wonderful reminder of what is truly important in life!

  55. First off, I love your kitchen. It looks like a kitchen from life, not a magazine. Second, I love the fact that you aren’t afraid to tell some folks, in your own way, they need to mind their own business.
    Third, your house looks lived in, that is a good thing. It means that you and your family have the intelligence to use what you have.
    Fourth, Your son Chase had the best answer for his teacher and I imagine he was telling the truth, Dance is a great thing to do whether it is in the kitchen or anywhere.
    You go girl, you and your ideas ROCK!!
    Don’t update anything unless you and your family aren’t happy with it, or it is broke.
    It is after all your money and you and your family get to decide how and where and for what you spend your money on.
    Lastly, some folks just don’t get the old adage, ” If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”
    A sad statement for our society.
    I love this read.
    Thank you for sharing all the thoughts on your kitchen.
    Glad you decided to leave it alone.
    Sharon Lee

  56. I can’t even imagine someone writing you with suggestions on improving your kitchen. Wow. I was so happy to see your fridge, looks like mine most of the time, but I was envious of the bottom freezer! LOL I believe in ignoring trends and find that most of my needs seem to be fleeting. Good for you; just look at that family!

  57. School is not “FREE” though — taxpayers pay for it, just sayin’… :)

    • A ‘free’ school is actually a private school, which is quite expensive. It is based on ‘child-led’ learning, where students are trusted with full educational freedom; each student decides what to do, how to do it, and when to change what they’re doing.

    • Dear friend, I’m so sorry you missed the point. :(

  58. LOVE this post!

  59. I think your kitchen makeover was the very best one I have ever seen.
    Love this post of yours. and is the first time i have been on your page.. love you and your spirit..
    Carry on. you got what it takes.

  60. Love the post! Life is all about the people that fill our space, our attitude & perspective. Thanks for encouraging me to check & reflect on my perspective.

  61. Such a lovely post! I struggle to have people round to the house I rent, it’s such a dive! But it has a beautiful garden, and a lovely cat, and I know the kitchen is clean even though it doens’t look it, and I am grateful to have a space to bake in, and rest in, and get well in, and screw it – i’m going to invite people over to enjoy all that too!

    The area I struggle most with this in is clothing. I’m going to reassess my wardrobe combination options, and stop eyeing up new things. They will not make a difference to my life. Thanks.

    • I have found some CUTE things at resale shops like Goodwill. And I don’t care what others say, it’s new to ME and that’s all that matters! :)

  62. Theres nothing wrong with ur kitchen I would keep it the way that it is. Mine on the other hand I would love to change it my floor tiles are mostly gone or cracked my walls had flooring glued to the walls mine is a 60’s kitchen.

  63. Looks like there’s nothing wrong with your kitchen. My kitchen is small but we have everything we need.

  64. I recently posted on my blog that January is usually a time for resolutions in this world. I do not make resolutions as there are only a few things I strive for every day and try to teach my children. One of them was “contentment”. Being content makes for a very happy life :-) Great post! Tina

  65. I want to renovate my kitchen this Spring! I think that it has potential but the space is not used very good, so I hope with my renovation project I will get more space in the kitchen.

  66. Gratitude is what makes us never take things for granted!
    Thank you for sharing this. Julie

  67. I love your kitchen makeover! It looks a lot better than it did before.

  68. Well written Ian, this week I’ll be looking through a new pair of perspectacles and seeing the world (and my kitchen) with love and gratitude… how lucky we are to be Australians with an abundance of food & water and the opportunities to make our lives what ever we choose.
    Big hugs to you, K and your family

  69. GDM…. You wrote this so beautifully! And it is spot on.
    I feel the same way you do. I am blessed not to have anyone come into my home and suggest make-overs, everyone feels comfortable here and love coming back (so far 😉 ).
    We use all of our appliances, cars, blankets, bed frames… and so on as the list is endless. Why not?!
    I don’t know what those people mean by upgrading…..? People who need changes, may need to change things in their lives if that are so unsettled and not grateful for what they do have.
    It sure isn’t worth it to me to have bills coming in for replacing what is still working (repaint like one person suggested)….. no spending extra money for this household!
    Thank you! HugZ

  70. Well said! No wonder you are a best-selling author! You hit the nail on the head, girl. When I update my kitchen, only the COLORS may change, but nothing that is still working and useful will be. I heard someone on one of those reality shows a few months back say something about one of their friends….”OMG, she has a white refrigerator” – I was appalled….and I can’t believe that anyone who is not very close to you would suggest that your kitchen needed updating – shameful.

  71. This morning was a dark day in July in the middle of January. I laughed and cried as I read your article. So wise for someone so young. Perspectales and yes gratitude is missing. it was the above quote from unknown that made me read your article, you have such a happy spirit. So once again I wait for plumber guy to arrive, bathroom #2 is out of commission. Fingers crossed bathroom #1still works, two cars out of commission, but heh two legs and a heartbeat. Take away all the negatives and there is so much positive. I needed a fresh outlook.

  72. Love your perspectacles! You GET real life ….

  73. love it x we could all do with new perspectacles once in a while x thank you x

  74. I seriously need to follow you girl! you are courageous, Brilliantly normal, a leader, and a truthful inspiration. I don’t know you but I adore you and your words of wisdom.
    Thank you for sharing, Thank you for being just Beautiful You.

  75. Thank you for this. I took a cute picture of my granddaughters on my bed with the dog tonight. I wasnt going to post it on FB do to people would see laptop papers on my dresser in the picture. Who cares going to post it right know.Thank you a sweet memory to share would of been missed.

  76. I like your kitchen but I would be concerned about your countertops. Need to get them tested to see if that tile contains lead. I just recently read that ALOT of those types of countertops are full of lead. The older appliances last longer by the way. I have a beige fridge from the 80’s that I am not replacing. I did spray paint my beige dishwasher(it is stainless inside-cost a fortune to replace) black. Looks great. I take the panel off and spray it once every two years. Black appliances never go out of style and show less prints than the stainless.

  77. Hear, Hear!!!!!


  78. Wow… and many more wows’ !!! Great reading….enjoyed every word. I am a senior, who by the way is very fussy about her kitchen… must be tidy.!! However, I am presently spending 4 months in Honduras, while we attempt to get another school built here in a small village for children that have nothing……I do mean nothing. !!! This article of ” wit ” represents a whole new way of thinking……let’s stop and take account if what we have that is so commonplace with us that we don’t even give it another thought. Others that do not have a kitchen, let alone fresh beautiful running water, a refrigerator, food to put in a fridge , a cupboard of vitamins….and on and on, may also never have these things, but they manage with what they have. Our lives are so easy, so instant hands on…..we have need for nothing…..especially not a kitchen make over. !!! We are all so spoiled….we need to get off our ” high horse ” and try to help others have a better life, a kitchen…whatever it may be, some clean clothes, some food, books to read and learn and yes even schools for the children to feel safe and loved. Thank you to this wise woman who wrote the article…” Give me gratitude or give me debt” !!!!

  79. Love it!!!! 😀

    And I spy a Rainbow Loom….

  80. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I woke up this morning feeling a little dissatisfied with my lot in life and your very perfect line popped into my head. It is my new mantra. And I don’t even have a messy kitchen. In fact, my husband and I are at a fortunate stage in life where doing a bit of a renovation wouldn’t break the bank. So when I say “give me gratitude or give me debt” I’m mostly emphasizing the gratitude part. And reminding myself that I do not want to contribute to the debt our young people and future generations will have to pay for my over-consuming of the earth’s resources.

  81. This is one of the BEST things I have read in a long time. I try to remind myself all the time how lucky I am and how much I have, way more then I even need! thank you for this post, you really made my Sunday even better.

  82. Thank you for the reminder…

  83. I love your perspective and it reminds me how much we take for granted. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 reminds us all that we can’t take anything with us, so we should be content with what we have. And I love your word, perspectales! We all need to put them on.

  84. Thank you for this! We all need this perspective in life! This really spoke to me. I hope there are years of dancing in your kitchen!

  85. I across your blog through a fellow blogger on another site and I’m glad I did! Gratitude makes life go a lot smoother!

  86. Your kitchen is way more “updated” than mine (I live in a 130 year old house) and I’ve always been so very thankful for my wonderful kitchen! It’s hideous and old and even partly abhorrent to some people (“Oh Kris, we could do SO MUCH in here!”) but it works for our family and we are simply so thankful.
    I, too, reflect on a daily basis how WEALTHY we are compared to most of the world. Water! Cold food storage! (aka refrigerator) A ROOF! Windows! Heat! A washable floor! LIGHT! An oven! Plates and cups and silverware and lots of pots and pans … oh, how very blessed!

  87. Absolutely beautiful, thank you.

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