Capturing Contentment: Being interested in the details of daily life

posted in: actual | 4

round button chicken

Like Mother, Like Daughter‘s subtitle for this meme is “Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life,” and I love that. My own subtitle for my phfr posts this year will be Capturing Contentment and Contagious Conviviality. To have a happy, joy-filled home, I am the one who must be joy-filled. A mother’s joy – or discouragement or frustration or anger – in the home is a contagion, infecting everyone else who must live with her.

How can we pursue joy and pass it on to our family? That’s what I want to explore.

Making a home and a life that is pretty and satisfying is less about outward beautification and more about becoming happy, relishing the funny, and embracing the real duties it involves.

enjoy homeschooling

How to Be Happy at Home

I love to add this William Morris quote to the top of my to do lists:

The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. – William Morris

Rather than just go through the motions of all those daily details, really taking a genuine interest in them – whether it be by planning, by adding personal flair, or by offering them up as service to God – will cultivate happiness instead of the discontent and restlessness homemakers can be prone to.

These daily details are the stuff of life and not beneath our attention and interest. They are the way we shape the bodies and souls of humanity in our homes. And shaping bodies and souls is anything but dull.

enjoy homeschooling

Mundane Daily Details

enjoy homeschooling

enjoy homeschooling

We seem to be down with a never-ending cold. It is the kind that isn’t bad enough to call the day off and proclaim it a Sick Day, but it is enough to make the little ones clingy and whiny and make the older ones drag their feet (even more than usual) in their work. It is enough to make me whiny and foot-draggy about my own work, as the state of the house can attest.

Being interested in the daily details is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can mean noticing, being amused by, seeing the little things worth attention and wonder and love. It is attitude about one’s work that matters more than the work itself.

On the other hand, there is a kind of interest that is more likely to stress one out more. If interested means all wound up tight about how things look and how they are done, there is no surer way to go insane.

The happiness-giving interest is of another sort. It is an interest that is not too good to think through a better process for sorting and washing the laundry. It is an interest that notices the qualities of an onion while chopping. It is an interest that smiles at the window-smudges, because they tell a story.

enjoy homeschooling

The daily small details of life are not beneath us, but given to us by a good God. So, that “small talk” you fall into with other moms is not preventing deep, meaningful conversation and relationship. It is talking shop. It cultivates interest and engagement in your work, as well as knits ties with those other moms, forging community as you share daily, mundane, real life together.

enjoy homeschooling

Let us take an interest in what is before us, but let it be an interest that is not seeking tighter control, but an interest that fosters an attitude of enjoying where God has us right now, doing what we’re doing.

also linked up at

4 Responses

  1. Dawn Duran
    |

    What a wonderful reminder, Mystie. This is timely, and I appreciate it.

  2. Virginia Lee
    |

    “Rather than just go through the motions of all those daily details, really taking a genuine interest in them – whether it be by planning, by adding personal flair, or by offering them up as service to God – will cultivate happiness instead of the discontent and restlessness homemakers can be prone to.”

    So true! And something I have to remind myself of this daily, sometimes multiple time throughout the day. Especially by the time Thurs and Fri roll around! =)

    Thank you for this encouragement. I’m passing it along to my sister in law today.

  3. Cherry
    |

    Visiting from the Thrive at Home Thursday linkup – and so glad I came by! I love the quote by William Morris – thanks for sharing that! And I totally agree with your thoughts about the little details of life.

  4. Julie
    |

    “Rather than just go through the motions of all those daily details, really taking a genuine interest in them – whether it be by planning, by adding personal flair, or by offering them up as service to God – will cultivate happiness instead of the discontent and restlessness homemakers can be prone to.”

    I love this, Mystie. I want to write a whole lot more, but I have just realized I want to read all the posts you wrote this week and I am behind so instead of trying to make all my thoughts on this cohesive, I am off to read more of what you’ve written this week!