Making Your First Home, Your Second Home


My Cottage 

So many people I know have second homes; whether they are “up north”, as we say here in Wisconsin, or perhaps in another state.

Years ago I thought I wanted a second home on a lake somewhere—Perhaps on Golden Pond. Well, maybe not on THEE Golden Pond, but something like it. I need more than two hands to count how many times I’ve watched that movie. The soundtrack, the scenery, and all the warm feelings that come from it make me return to it again and again.

As I sat out on the deck the other night with John, I was glad I did not have a second home. I love perusing through magazines like Cottage Journal and Cottage Living while sipping a glass of wine in my Adirondack chair with the dogs nearby, and conversation now and then with John. Often I’ll show John a picture from a magazine of something I like and maybe want to incorporate into our home.

I realized in essence we have made our first home, our second home. We do not need another house somewhere else. Besides the fact, I want to live a simpler life, and having two homes does not fit my definition of simpler. That to me would mean more work!

It was a heart warming thing to realize how much we enjoy our little cottage or as I like to call it our “Cottage in the Village.” Often on the weekends, many of the neighbors are not home, so we have the chirping of the birds and whispering of the wind through the trees all to ourselves.

So often I think others have second homes to “escape” their busy, crazy lives- though many don’t feel this way, so I want to be sure to say that, too. But, I find complete joy waking up every day to my quaint home and loving it for what it is. I also have the glorious option of hopping on my bike or going for a walk past the lake which is only a few minutes from my home.  So I “sort of” have my own Golden Pond.  Maybe one of these days, you might even see me dancing and singing away to myself out in my backyard, just like Kathryn Hepburn does in the movie.  Now that would be something!

My writing cottage behind the cottage

I Wanted a Simpler Life

It started in my late 30s. This yearning of wanting a simpler life. I no longer wanted to be in the corporate world. It did not feel authentic to me. It felt crazy busy always striving for more, more, more. I came home almost every day from my job complaining about one thing or another. I could not stand the politics. I wanted a simpler life.

It is not always easy living a simple life; yet when I bring myself back to it, I want more of it. I sometimes get caught up in the “expectations” of the world or thinking I should live more like the “Jones” next door. So yes, I am human, and though I know it is always about choices, I can sometimes lose my way. But the longer I live this simple life, the more I find myself feeling more comfortable in the choices I have made to have less and not more.

I imagine everyone defines a simple life in different ways. For me, it is about not having to go to a corporate job. It is about weekends spent at home grilling out, playing games with my hubby, hanging with my dogs, and putt-sing to my heart’s content around my house. It is about getting up each morning during the week without an alarm and finding my way out to my writing cottage. It is about having lunch with my mom or close friends in the middle of the week. It is about a walk with Frankie or Kylie when I need a break away from my computer and my work.

We do not take many vacations, and when we do, we drive and take time to enjoy all the beauty of the landscape. It means I shop at second hand shops for clothing and most household items. I still chuckle to myself as I think back to my 20s when I would not have been caught dead in a thrift store. Now I find complete joy and excitement when I “score” a cool new outfit, shoes or decor for my home, and pay nothing close to the original cost.

I wanted a simpler life, and though sometimes I struggle because of my ego… My heart is more often than not, guiding me on this path of simplicity and happiness.

How do you define a simpler life? I’d love to hear from you!

PS: For some reason some of my words are being hyper-linked, of which I did not do (like the word politics). Not sure why. Computers can sometimes cause me to not live a simple life when I can not figure out why it is doing something I do not want it to. Sigh.


I Salute my Almost Forty Year Old Brother this Memorial Day Weekend

I do not like war. I wish with all my heart it did not have to be. But I salute all the men and women who have sacrificed so much, many times their lives, to protect our freedom. I’ve always been grateful, but I feel a bigger tug at my heart this Memorial Day weekend because my “little” brother, Keith, almost forty years old, is overseas. He will turn forty in June- usually a milestone in many lives- and he will be in a foreign land.

You may recall in earlier posts this year where I shared that my brother, who we affectionately called Ke-Ke when he was a small boy, joined the National Guards at 38 years old. He quit smoking, and left his family behind to pursue his dream. Most go off to boot camp at the tender age of eighteen or nineteen so Keith had his work cut out for him. But he did it, and I was so proud of him.

Since then I’ve gotten to see a side of him that is strong, proud, passionate, and determined. The mind and heart are powerful things. He set his mind to accomplish his goal and followed his heart knowing the risks- knowing he would need to leave everything behind. That takes a tremendous amount of courage.

So on this Memorial Day weekend I salute you little bro— You are my hero!