Legacy of Contentment

Words can’t express how grateful I am for these two people. They’ve been married 57 years and counting, they have lived in the same house for over 35 years, they have 3 children and 6 grandchildren (Will is one of them). While I didn’t grow up calling them Grandpa and Grandma, I consider them my own. All of my biological grandparents are now dancing in heaven, so I am incredibly grateful to have these two precious people in my life.

As I dive into the Contentment Challenge, the timing of their visit could not have been more perfect. I stopped by to visit Grandpa Gene and Grandma Neva after photographing a bridal session on Tuesday evening, and even though I was only there 40 minutes or so, it felt like hours. Time stops in their home. We ate dinner and had face-to-face, true conversation. It was so sweet.

Just think about the lessons of contentment we can learn from them! They have lived in the same home for over 35 YEARS. They moved in when it was next to a dirt road, and now that dirt road has been transformed into a major thoroughfare in their city. You can see how beautiful, dated, and old their wallpaper is. The chair I was sitting in when I took this picture had a distinct retro 70’s look and feel.  There was a plant hanging behind me that is literally older than I am – still growing in the window, planted circa 1984. There is no iPhone laying around (other than my own), no music playing, no Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Grandma Neva reads books and Grandpa Gene occasionally watches TV on an old (probably 24 inch) TV in their den. They talk with one another. Their minds are sharp, they love one another, they truly appreciate anyone who takes time to visit. I always feel so special when I’m there.

They are a beautiful picture of contentment.
They place their value in people, not things.
They fill their life with love, not stuff, and they have for years.

And you know what else?

They took their entire family (including all the grandchildren) to England for a week’s vacation 10 years ago.
They paid for the college education of all 6 grandkids.
Do you think they could have done either of those things if they had lived the typical consumer-driven American lifestyle? The answer is no, they couldn’t have.

Oh that Will and I might learn from their example! To set our eyes, our finances, our habits, our love, our work, our lives on the things that matter! On people! On love! On what we have, rather than what we don’t have!

I hope today you are inspired by this precious couple to look at what you have. To look straight into the eyes of your loved ones and connect with them, love on them. To be grateful. To be content.

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  • Oh, how these words lift my soul. What a perfect example of a loving marriage that values family and experiences over things. Loving this challenge! Although I'm heading to Target soon for a couple of staples. Wish me luck!

    Ps. Talking about my participation in this challenge over at my blog. Please visit!!!

  • Em said:

    What a beautiful photo! And what a legacy to leave their grandchildren - amazing!

  • Will said:

    Thank you for writing this. Love you, and they do too.

  • My husband and I were just talking tonight over dinner what it is to be content, and this post brought me to tears. Happiness truly comes from your love given onto others, not things. What a sweet, sweet example this couple is! You are blessed to have them in your life!

  • Emily said:

    THIS. This is what makes my heart sing stronger than anything else. My grandfather was so much like these two sweet people and the memories I have of him, his home, and the love he showed to others lives on despite his passing 13 years ago. I am inspired by your contentment challenge and although shopping is not a weakness for me, I hope to find a greater sense of contentment and peace by practicing living in the moment and working on my self-confidence.

  • Oh my, this is the BEST. They remind me exactly of my husband's grandparents. His grandparents live on a farm that Grandpa Tino was raised on. His dad came over from Italy and settled on the land in Michigan. Two years we celebrated 100 years them owning the farm. Not much has changed in that time, I imagine. I am so thankful for them and their legacy. I hope everyone has a real-life example of contentment to look up to. It's so encouraging! Thanks for sharing, Nancy. :)

  • Diana said:

    What a wonderful legacy!

  • Lucy said:

    What a beautiful story, Nancy. That truly is the dream and what life is all about! Your contentment challenge inspired me and I am completely on board. xx Thank you.

  • What an amazing picture! I love this so much. What an amazing example of love and contentment. They remind me of my own grandparents. Thank you so much for telling their story and adding the part about what they did for others also - it reminds me of the ways that contentment allows me to GIVE to the ones I love & that is exciting! Love you!