Four years ago, like one of those sea change shows on TV, we packed up our belongings and emmigrated from Britain, to the other side of the world, Australia, to a new life on the beaches of Sydney… a new life by the sea.
And a few years on from that, ready to put down roots, we bought a tatty old fixer-upper beach cottage, neglected, sad and in need of a new family to give it some love.
And it’s in this old cottage that I began to open my eyes, learn lots about myself and finally really become grateful for all that is not just an old beach cottage but more, all that is me.
One evening in the early days of the cottage renovation, all our budget used up, I was feeling pretty disgruntled about life…I seemed to conveniently forget that we’d successfully relocated our family to a lifestyle that is considered one of the best in the world and was focusing more on what I didn’t have.
I whined about the state of the cottage…why did I have to deal with a fixer-upper? I wanted it done and I wanted it now.
That evening I sat in the study, surfing the net and came across blogs featuring before and afters of their homes, stories of their thrifted finds and tales of decorating. Homes that were not full of money but more were loved, appreciated and happy.
Right away I decided to quit moaning and get on with it – I’ve always loved to play house and decorate and so I decided that so what if I had to work to a budget, so what if I couldn’t have it all right now? I would improvise, paint, make do and mend.
I started to look at all the things that were positive about the cottage and the reasons we’d bought it in the first place and looked at what I could do with all the potential – the wood floors, the sunshine streaming in, the huge old fig tree, the battered old deck and sash windows.
I decided this cottage would not be about what we didn’t have but what we did.
The more positive I became the more I knew this place was just right for the laid-back coastal chic look I loved so much…the furniture with a faded old patina, the vintage china I’d been collecting for years and the piles of old white linens I’d brought with me from England.
As my journey with transforming the cottage went on and as I came up with creative ways to get the laid-back coastal vibe I wanted without spending much money I began to see positive possibilities in much more than just our house.
I realized how my positive attitude to the cottage had turned it around from somewhere mediocre to a home to live a great life in. But more, I slowly began to see that there was something to this positive thing and actually it was key to my spirituality, my happiness and most importantly my confidence.
It’s taken a old tatty cottage on the wrong side of town to show me the right path and finally see what it’s all about.
It’s not all perfect in our new life, though it’s pretty special living by the sea. I still often feel unsure, let down and disappointed by things not going the way I wanted.
But now I’m just that little bit more confident that my attitude is actually the most important aspect to quality of life and to my own peaceful spirituality. Most importantly I have been shown that I am in control of that, no matter what happens around me.
I have more faith now and it’s a quite nice lesson to have learned.
by SarahLeave a Comment
It’s so hard sometimes to not let circumstances dictate our feelings! Thanks for sharing your journey to contentment and enjoyment in what you DO have not what you have to do! I’m kind of in a place with our new (old) house that it seems overwhelming and one project already went very badly – and there won’t be enough money to do it again for a LONG time. But I do have so much – family, friends, a great house, grace and a Redeemer who gave more than I ever can! So blessed.
This is a great post! Thank you!
Love your positive attitude
Everything you said is so true, isn’t it great you’ve become aware and grown along your renovating journey, that’s something money can never buy, something we have to discover ourselves
Hope that all made sense!
Cindy S. says
You are such a delight, I love reading your blog, and seeing the inexpensive way you make everything around you so beautiful. It gives me hope.
Hugs, Cindy S.
hi sarah. i hope this note finds you well. what you say is true weather you move your family millions of miles away or like me go through a divorce right at home. its funny because i used to have to convince my kids that thrifting was fun and we weren’t doing it because we had no money. now they are all believers and either come with me or run out to the car on a saturday afternoon to see what i’ve found. not only has thrifting brought us closer together but it’s given us a beautiful home that we are so proud of.anyone can spend money at the furniture store.i wouldn’t trade my garage sales for all the high end stores in the world.keep doing what you’re doing and your ship will come in and i hope that yours has a fabulous old trunk on it!
Holley Gerth says
Sarah, I love how you weave the spiritual and physical together into lovely words that change the way we see our lives. It’s easy to see you have a gift of bringing beauty to wherever you are…and you most certainly have brought it here. Thank you!
miss bliss says
This is lovely! -from a fellow friend by the sea, in Miami, who just found something sweet for her beach nook, via Craigslist! 🙂
This is a good reminder…thank you.
Wonderful post, Sarah! I too believe that your life is defined by your attitude. Keep it positive and enjoy all the little things, as they truly are the big things in life!
Have an awesome day!
Alison Gibbs says
Great post Sarah.
It is amazing what can be accomplished with the right attitude
Kerryanne English says
You nailed it Sarah and in the process you have a beautiful beach cottage. Never underestimate the huge leaps you have taken to bring you here to Australia and your cottage by the sea.
Hugs ~ Kerryanne
It’s so important to be grateful for what we have, and stop moaning about things we don’t. Once we get those things anyway, there are new things we crave for, or at least THINK we want – or need. You inspirer so many bloggers (me included) and I love everything you do…he he…I must say, I just LOVE the floorboards. Oh well, one day…ha ha….in the meantime I just have to live with the crappy, ugly floors we got.
Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to see your next project.
Have a lovely and happy day 🙂
Wenche ( http://lobeliahjem.blogspot.com/ )
COZY KITCHEN BY THE SEA says
The same thing happened to me.
Lived in my 4000+ sq. ft DREAM HOME in a big city.
Forced to move.
Cried for months.
Moving into a COZY home was not my choice.
But I have learned what is important.
ALL THOSE REMAINED THE SAME…AND SO NOW I LOVE MY COZY KITCHEN BY THE SEA.
ALL BECAUSE GOD knew what he wanted for me.
If it were up to me, I would have been in my Dream Home, not knowing how UNHAPPY I REALLY WAS !!!!!!!!!!!!
Gretchen Schaumann says
Sarah – your attitude and words you write each time you set yourself in front of your laptop always touch a multitude of people. Thank you for this wonderful post. I’ve been along with you on this journey for close to a year now, and I’ve watched you grow in confidence and spirituality and find it wonderful that you are aware of this too. Too many people go through life always looking at what they don’t have and forgetting all that we have been blessed with. Its so refreshing to see such an eloquent post that you’ve written by a lady that has chosen to work at staying positive, working with her hands, working with what she finds along the roadside, in a thrift store, tag sale and things she finds strewn on the beach. What a tribute your blog has become and such an inspiring site. As I’ve said before, once I found your site, I tell everyone about it, because to me it is a treasure and gem each day that I am gifted with receiving one of your blog link posts via my email.
Keep up the great work Sarah, you are a gift to many of us fellow bloggers.
I am so blessed. At times, I’ve been pretty ungrateful about my circumstances. This is a sweet reminder of finding satisfaction (right where we are)!
A beach cottage? Is a dream of mine!
I love your positive attitude that you are sharing with us all and I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you have done to your beach cottage, its a gorgeous home and inspiration that it doesn’t take money to achieve so much, you should be very proud of yourself.
I am so happy that I have found your blog.
Such a lovely sweet story Sarah & your beautiful home shows what a little positive thinking can achieve ~ just lovely.
I love your blog and your cottage its beautiful! Isn’t it funny that our homes when made new again, go under a renovation and when we are made new again in Christ we go under a restoration! Be blessed ! What an awesome post:)
Well said! Giving thanks with a grateful heart changes everything!
melissa @ the inspired room says
I love this post, such a great story!
Janmary, N Ireland says
LOVE your blog, as you know!
Lovely to see you here too, sharing your faith and what inspires you.
(Waving from WAY over here in N Ireland!)
your openness and humor are gifts to your readers, as well as the photos of your achievements. we all struggle from time to time, and it is helpful to hear about others’ hurdles and how they got over them. i think you got to the key to a good life: attitude. thanks for the reminder!