Design a Life You Love

By Kate Riley July 19, 2018

I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut. For the past 11 days, I have traveled back and forth to the hospital checking in on my dear best friend. Nine months ago, she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. She’s had rounds of chemo and surgery but today she received word that there is no cure. I won’t go into the details, but based on her condition, and the rate the cancer has spread, we’re at that point where we’re praying for a miracle but also facing a devastating reality. My heart is broken.

Between the interruptions of doctors and nurses and procedures we talk about the little mundane details of life. I held her as she cried, just wishing she could be in her kitchen doing morning dishes or folding her laundry. She had been robbed of joys as simple as daily household tasks.

Her home is small but cozy, she lives with her three kids and husband in 1,000 square feet, and she’s made it so special. Everything is beautiful, and it all serves a purpose. Her velvet sofa and two side chairs are where her family gathers to watch movies. Her home is painted in warm shades, and is layered with wood furniture, soft patterned pillows, lovely dishes and artwork, and reminders everywhere of a happy home.


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She inspires me in the way she has decorated her home and the way she lives her life. She keeps an incredibly clean and organized home, but still indulges her ten year old daughters in their love of two parakeets that chirp all day in the living room, and shed feathers all over the floor. She drinks rosé in summer because it reminds her of our girl’s trip to Paris. She doesn’t bother with a Facebook or Instagram account because she believes it distracts her from true connection.

Like her, I have designed my home so that I am surrounded by the little things that make me happy. A love to drink a glass of red wine in my courtyard in the evening. I have three pairs of favorite pajamas that I rotate, and look forward wearing at night. I love my teal sectional in the family room, even with the cat scratches on the ends. The tile in my master bathtub is chipped but I don’t care because it’s there that I indulge in a bite of chocolate and a hot bath before bed. With these simple things, I am content.

Joy comes from surrounding ourselves with the little pleasures in life. It doesn’t come from designer handbags or high end furniture. It will never come from Facebook likes or Instagram followers. Those things leave you empty at the end of the day.

Happiness at home comes from designing a life you love, it’s the feeling of sleeping in a pillow and linens you’ve chosen that are just right for you. It’s the shape of your favorite coffee cup. It’s the sound of your child’s laughter as it echoes through the home. It’s your sweet pets (no matter how troublesome they are) and favorite blanket, and the comfort you feel from being at home, in your home, the one you have created.

Do me a favor today friends. Share something that brings you the most joy. Tell me how it is that you have designed a life that you love? What are the habits or rituals that make you happy? What sounds or flavors or treasures make you smile? I’d love to know what it is, no matter how random, that makes you feel grateful, content, and happy in your home.



  1. I love summer mornings on our patio, drinking coffee or tea with my husband, our 2 cats hanging out with us while the birds sing their sweet songs and the squirrels play in the trees. My husband leaves for work and I linger, getting lost in a book.

  2. Taking a walk, regardless of the season – there is always something new to see in nature. I live in Ohio and even winter walks are a blessing when dressed appropriately!

    • So true Mary! I love summer and spring, but there is nothing like a brisk walk in winter to invigorate the body and stir the soul. I love looking at nature in winter as a reminder during dormancy that everything needs a break and moments of peace but spring will come again.

  3. I love keeping a tidy house but at the same time being fine with messes and spills from my 3 boys (okay, not always from my husband but I try!) Making all the beds in the morning is a ritual for me. On the rare day I don’t get to it, I hear at bedtime “mom, can you help me put my bed back together”. They love a tidy house too. Also, baking or cooking something delicious is the heart of the home for us. And more recently, potting indoor plants in the most simple vessels makes me happy, whether I give to a friend or keep here at home. There’s no place like home…

    • There’s no place like home is right! Especially the one you have made for your boys Chrissy. :)

  4. Go to He had exactly the same thing. There are also loads of testimonies from others who have cured themselves…..some who medical science had given up on. Don’t give up hope.

    • We have not given up hope at all. I will visit the site, thank you Aline.

      • On the same note as Aline, I have heard a lot lately about ketogenisis diets and how they starve cancer of their food (sugars) by making your body get its energy from fats. I found the reads super interesting but I have no personal experiences or know anyone who had done this to treat their cancer. However, I found all the articles I have quickly perused to be very interesting and really didn’t want to keep it to myself if it may possibly help your friend.

        Praying for your friend and her family!

  5. I’m sorry for the devastating diagnosis for you and your friend. Thank you for the reminder of what is important, it truly is the simple things and creating a life and home you love and feel happy in. It is so easy to get caught up in comparing your life to all the beautiful pictures on Pintrest.

    • Isn’t it? And it seems so so silly in these more poignant moments in life that we actually worry or care if our homes are Pinterest or Instagram worthy.

  6. I am so, so sorry for your friend. A friend that I know recently learned that her husband, who is young, also has stage four colon cancer. I truly do not understand life at times, God bless her and her family. I hope that she is getting help at her home for her kids. This story breaks my heart. Praying she finds peace – if that is at all possible.

    • Thank you Nancy, I pray for her to find peace too, we’re doing all we can to be there for her and meet any needs.

  7. My art collection wall. All of the pieces remind me of places, friends, and good times. There are moments and feelings that aren’t always caught on camera, but somehow my art collection captures them. As I sit in my 5 generational home, I can affirm that a home designed with love will continue to feel warm and wonderful long after a person is gone. I feel the love of my family every day and I hope that you and your friends’ family will too.

    • Thank you for sharing Stephanie, isn’t it true that art carries with it something extra special because it’s attached to good memories? I love that.

  8. I love the laughter of my grandchildren. A good book. My mom and dads things I still have that bring them to mind. Nature. Thanks for reminding me to stop and enjoy. You are a blessing to your friend.

  9. I enjoy having the patio door open in the morning and hearing the birdsong while I drink coffee and read. In the winter, it’s my husband and I playing scrabble by the wood stove with a drink and the cat’s lying by us. Seeing Monarchs on milkweed in my butterfly garden. Sending prayers of peace and acceptance. I’m sorry.

    • Wow Nanci, sounds so lovely. Monarchs on milkweed in a butterfly garden are one of the most enchanting things to observe, lucky you. :)

  10. beautifully put Kate. I’m sorry for this super difficult time. Your take home message is an important one and it’s so important to share and remind everyone about what actually matters.

  11. What a comfort you must be to your friend. <3
    When I wake up before the baby, I appreciate my "Jesus and coffee time"- just a little quiet time to focus and start my day in a peaceful way. Blessings to you and your loved ones.

    • Thank you Brie, treasure that time with baby, wow do those littles grow up fast.

  12. Sitting on my bed or on the deck looking out into the backyard, listening to my kids talk and laugh (and sometimes debate) one another, talking to my mom and dad on the phone, taking Sunday drives out in the sticks, and listening to my audio Bible and other books. Please know that I am praying for your friend and her family’s strength.

    • Thank you Darcel, you’ve created a lovely life. :) I love hearing my kids debate back and forth too, makes me smile, no matter what they’re talking about, I just love it so much.

  13. Oh gosh, praying for your friend and her family. Miracles still happen everyday, I will talk to God about this. Remember, you are there for your friend for a reason.

    • I think God brought us together for a reason Shelly, not just so she could be my friend but so I could be hers too, especially in this difficult time. Thank you for your prayers.

  14. I am so sorry to hear your friends story. Stories like that are crossroad stories and make us stop in life and reevaluate our lives. They can be our greatest teachers in life. I retired a couple o years ago and moved into less than than 1000 square feet. I found that I took only the things I absolutely loved and that the things that I bought had a story with them. I choose colors for my room that brought me a smile in the morning like a lovely sunrise would. I bought soft throws to encircle me, candles so that I could have candle light breakfasts with my grandson with glasses that were my grandmas to drink our OJ in the morning. Beloved books to share with friend, a bouquet of grocery store flowers sits in a collected vase . Art on the wall is collected from travels. I have a glider on my back porch filled with pillows so I can listen to the birds or watch for butterflies or cuddle my grandson.And make more cherished memories..for me and those I love.

    • Oh wow sounds lovely. Bravo Linda, you’ve done it! Those breakfasts with your grandson sound like something out of a fairy tale. You are such a beautiful soul to create that for him.

  15. Beginning my day on our screened porch with hot coffee in my favorite chipped mug, reading scripture and hearing the birds waking up.
    Praying for you and your friend,,,so sorry that she’s going through this suffering. Peace and comfort for her and her family…

    • Thank you Theresa. I love your morning ritual, I’m sure it brings you both peace and renewed energy to begin each day.

  16. This beautiful post really touched me today. Two weeks ago, my father died very unexpectedly at the age of 58 and my entire world turned sideways. Right now my family is just trying to make it through each hour and each day, but I’m finding extra comfort in the small, often unnoticed and unmentioned, aspects of life that bring me some small piece of joy. Facebook, Instagram, and the news are no longer as important to me. Enjoying time with my husband, friends and my mom are what matter. I’ve been working hard to savor the quiet moments curled up coloring on my couch while I watch tv with my husband.

    My thoughts are with you and your friend. I hope you are able to cherish your final time with each other and hold onto all of the wonderful memories you’ve made.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss Rachel. Truly. Losing a loved one is devastating. The loss makes you realize that time with people you love is what we should cherish the most. Thank you for your comment.

  17. Ahhh! Stay strong, stay positive and grateful. For the lessons your friend has taught us all. Small moments in time, a passing hug and smile, listening to the laughter, watching a sunset surrounded by your tribe. These are the true gifts. And may we leave love behind as our legacy. Love and grace.

    • Love is the only legacy right? She has given me the gift of her friendship, there is nothing greater.

  18. So sorry for your friend. I am concerned because a 34 year old woman who just gave birth to her 2nd child was diagnosed too with Colon Cancer. There is a 50% rise in this type cancer since (something like) 1990. Yet we don’t screen until age 50. They don’t know why. Really scary. I will say a prayer for her and all those suffering from this terrible disease. We need to know why it’s increasing.

    • I agree Rosemary, this is something that concerns me greatly. Is it our diet, is it GMO foods or chemicals, is it stress, is it environmental factors? I suspect all of those things. We need to seek these answers, it’s really scary.

  19. I’m so sad to hear about your friend. Hearing similar stories always puts what is truly important in life into perspective. One of my favorite rituals is getting up before everyone else in my home to enjoy a cup of coffee and read my favorite blogs (one of which is yours). Although my kitchen is 20 years old and could use a remodel it’s still one of my favorite places to be and the heart of our home. Sending you and your friend my very best wishes in the days ahead.

    • Thank you Heidi, I do the same thing, I get up a little earlier than the family so I have a few quiet moments to myself with my coffee before I begin the day. Thank you for sharing your ritual.

  20. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. As someone that also faced cancer and survived, you do look at the world differently and realize what is important and what isn’t. Make time for family, friends that bring you joy/peace/happiness and give back when you can. Don’t take life for granted because you are not promised tomorrow! I try to let those that I love, be it family or friends, that I appreciate and love them with random small gestures – it brings me joy to see their happiness when I send them a card with a Starbucks gift card or some pretty dishtowels.

    • Exactly Ali, well said. When your health is so dramatically compromised, the things that have real meaning become the only things that matter.

  21. So very sorry. I appreciate your post and the invitation to reflect. There’s a space in our home that has always troubled me–a large open space between the open kitchen, dining and living room that isn’t really “part” of any of these spaces and I’ve struggled with what to “do” with it. This morning, I played with my nearly 4 year-old son bouncing balloons in the air and laughing there and I now realize its already perfect for our family.

  22. So sorry to hear about your friend. I hope she can stay comfortable with her family and friends all around her.

    Living confidently in my own style is the only way to live. Having my family and favorite things around me make me happy and very content. I learned to edit out what doesn’t matter and embrace all that does to me. I find I just don’t need bigger, better and more. I agree with your friend about social media. I want to spend my time living the best life I can and not waste precious time watching someone else live theirs on a screen. :-) Thinking of you and your friend. God Bless XO

    • Thank you Diane, I love what you wrote about living confidently in your own style. You do that and that’s why I love you and your blog.
      Big hugs. xo

  23. What a beautifully written tribute to your friend. I am so sorry, as I do know what you are feeling. My best friend of more than 50 years died a few months ago from respiratory complications resulting from childhood polio. She had lost her three sons, healthy young men in their 40s one right after another, in the past few years, one from colon cancer.

    I keep reading about an alarming surge in young people having colon cancer. Your piece today should serve as a reminder to get yourself screened! Do not wait till age 50! It is happening to people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

    • Yes Ellen, many medical professionals are saying the same thing, so many cases of young people getting this cancer. It’s shocking really, and early detection is key.

  24. So sorry for your friend and her family. Sending loving kindness their way, and to you and yours as well. I was suddenly widowed when I was 50-but knowing it would have been coming wouldn’t have made it better. Grief is what it is. Be gentle with yourself.
    I have been writing my “memoirs” -my kids keep asking for me to write down all my adventures (so far) ever since I turned 60-and in doing so it’s very emotional.
    My fave comforts of home-a cuppa ( Chai or English Breakfast or Prince of Wales) , a decor magazine or amazing book; making a great dinner with my kids and their SOs when they are in town; writing something important/political/opinionated…meditation. Knitting. Yoga. Art.

    • A treasure of mine is my grandmother’s journal of her travel adventures. I love to look at her handwriting and the feel of the leather cover. Keep writing, your loved ones will treasure those memories too.

  25. I am lucky enough to have a few items from my grandparents and great-grandparents that are displayed in my home. They remind me of the importance of family and help me remember what is truly important.

  26. It brings me joy when my two children are home from college at the same time, walking 10 yards a\head of us, talking nonstop to each other. There is nothing better to me than the four of us being together. I am so sorry about your friend. My brother-in-law has been fighting Stage IV colon cancer for the past 2 years. I am shocked by how many young people are being diagnosed at Stage IV, having shown none of the typical colon cancer symptoms.

  27. What a difficult time for you. I’m sure your friend is grateful to have such a caring person in her life. I’m thankful for my family and the life we’ve created in our home. One of our 3 sons- age 13- sits on sofa with me in our family room and puts his head on my shoulder when he wakes in the morning. We don’t talk but enjoy the quiet time while I drink coffee. I’m grateful for his twin brother’s generosity as he announces the things he will buy for me when he’s an adult. My oldest -15 years- makes my day when he sends me texts from school when he receives a good grade. I’m thankful for my husband’s love and seeing his eyes soften when he smiles at me. In our house, I’m thankful that my family appreciates the effort I’ve put into decorating it nicely; they help keep it picked up with just mild complaints ☺️.
    I love hearing the birds in the morning when the sun is just up and I sit quietly until the house awakens. I take the time to notice the little things we’ve done to make our lives special.

    • My son does that too! He comes and sits next to me and is just silent while I drink my coffee. He’s done that all his life, even when he was a little boy he’d crawl in bed next to me, place his hand behind his ears, rest his elbows on the pillow, and just wait for me to wake up. No talking, just waiting. It’s one of my favorite things about him, he’s a thinker and totally at peace in pure silence. Your children are also a blessing to you, thank you for sharing.

  28. I think what I enjoy the most about my home is that it ISN’T mine … it has been provided by a congregation of people that allow us to be available to them day or night. I take pleasure in having made a comfortable place for my daughter to walk her own cancer journey as a 20 year old (13 years ago now!), where her children now feel just as “at home” as they do in their own space, and where countless brothers and sisters have come to enjoy friendship and guidance. I love having an open door policy … even if things aren’t always up to scratch … there is something lovely in communal transparency. Your dear one is fortunate to have a friend like you!

  29. I am so sorry for what you and your best friend, as well as her family are going through. It is heartbreaking. I lost my ex-sister-in-law last August. She happened to have been like a sister to me and she had been my best friend for years. We raised our children together. Unfortunately, I have had numerous losses in the last 10 years and suffered greatly. I have designed my life around the little things. I love the summer when I have my windows open and I can hear laughter from the neighbor kids, the birds, even the lawnmowers. I love to wake up in the morning and the sound my cup makes when I set it on the countertop (weird I know). It brings me back to my childhood when I was at my grandma’s house and I would hear her in the kitchen. I love to hear my mother’s wind chimes in my backyard. My dogs go without saying (I love them like my children) I love to sit in my living room and see the curtains ruffle slightly in the breeze. I love to walk in the winter after/during a snow storm, the whole world is cushioned in silence. I love that I live on a street that is paved in bricks. It is a beautiful sight to see. I love to hear my grandson say Nana. His smile is priceless. I love our walks at night to search for the moon to say goodnight. I love that I am simplifying my life. I love my beautiful backyard. It is small, private and I meditate on the deck at night. The flowers are gorgeous and the smell intoxicating. It truly is the simple things in life that matter most.

    • Melisa you are a storyteller! I got lost in your comment and your beautiful descriptions.
      I am so sorry for your losses. You have designed a life you love despite your heartbreak, that’s so wonderful.

  30. My pets greeting me each morning, so happy to see me and to start a new day.
    After they eat and I make coffee, the two dogs play together and the cats come
    for a cuddle while I enjoy my coffee. Keeping your friend and you in my prayers.

  31. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of life…for me it is enjoying our rural, rustic property on the weekends during the summer. We have our RV parked there and enjoy time in the creek, the meadow and the forest. Time away from the hustle and bustle, the stresses and strains….the place where I have permission to do absolutely nothing! Prayers for your friend, her family and you. Bless you for being there for her.

    • There’s nothing like the sounds of nature to soothe the soul, an RV parked next to a creek is the best thing ever.

  32. Kate, I’ve been reading your blog for many years now, and don’t think I’ve ever commented before. My young niece was also diagnosed with advanced colon cancer several years ago, has undergone several harrowing treatment regimes, surgery, etc. She continues the battle but is positive despite everything, and continues to work and travel, making every minute with her dear husband and friends count. She’s an unbelievable inspiration. It sounds like your friend is as well. I believe they touch our lives for a reason, a very special reason, and it sounds like you tap strongly into that belief, too. Thank you for your thoughtfulness every day, I always look forward to reading your posts.

    • Thank you Meg, I’m so sorry for your niece and her diagnosis. I just want to punch cancer in the face but I can’t. All we can do is continue to support those that are battling and invest in cancer research so that someday we can beat all of it.

  33. Kate, my heart breaks for you, for your friend, and your families.

    That said, here’s what brings me peace, solace, and no end of joy: the tiny backyard oasis that I have created for myself, my love, and my three cats. Some string lights for shine, a fountain for it’s lovely trickle, a hammock for comfort, and a fence to keep us all safe and private, these are the things making me happy and content.

  34. Kate: I was so touched by your beautifully worded post. I am so very sorry for your friend. She is fortunate to have a friend like you who has been loyal and faithful, spending time with her and supporting her. Prayers said (and will continue to pray) for your friend.

    We are so busy that I can’t say I even have a ritual. I enjoy those moments when I can just sit still in my home and enjoy the quiet and the pretty view of my garden. I like the moments when our family (my two kids, my husband and I) play games together at the table. Or when the kids are excited that I baked cookies or brownies. I am pleased that our kids like being at home and feel comfortable and loved. My home is often messy and I often feel the struggle to keep it all together. But if my kids are happy here, then enough.

    • Exactly Rachel. I struggle to keep my home from getting too messy but those messes are a reminder that you’re surrounded by people you love. I believe as long as kids feel safe and loved when they come through the front door, nothing matters more.

  35. I’m so sorry about your friend and I’m so glad she has you and her family by her side.

    After being evacuated for nine days due to our devastating wildfires last October, I’ve found myself looking at my possessions and realize that if I’d lost them like so many did, I wouldn’t necessarily replace everything. I’ve been on a major editing mission since then, and finding it so much easier to let things go.

    My dad passed away last August, so we sheltered in his home during our evacuation. After the fires, I was able to donate the majority of his furniture and household items to families in need. But his antique roll top desk, which was in my family forever, was waiting in storage for just the right situation. I felt guilty that I couldn’t keep it, but it doesn’t fit my lifestyle or home design, and paying to store it was no longer an option.

    I was having a conversation about it recently, and was overheard by someone who’d lost her home and antiques. I was absolutely thrilled to gift it to her yesterday! It’s such a small thing in the grand scheme of things, but I’m just so touched that my family’s heirloom will become someone else’s treasure.

    • Oh wow that is an amazing gift Valerie! I’m so touched by that sentiment, doesn’t it feel good to pay it forward?
      I can relate somewhat, my aunt lost all her furniture in the wildfires from last October, and I had an old armoire that used to live in my bedroom. I kept trying to sell it on Craigslist but it was not meant to be, because it was meant to be gifted to my aunt which is where it lives today. Destiny!

  36. I feel joy, peace and contentment in my home where I live with my two cats. Nature also brings me joy. This morning I was out on my deck watching the hummingbirds come to my feeders as the sun came up and I felt true peace and contentment.

    I am so sorry about your friend, I truly am. Sending light and love to her and everyone who loves her.

  37. What a lovely post about your friend. Sorry to hear this. I lost a friend to this cancer. You are fortunate to have each other.
    We moved as a family of four to a 500 square foot house on a ranch..1 bedroom. Five years later our things are still in storage, and one child is almost out of college with another almost in. Quarters are tight, but we share the bedroom….someone during the week and someone else on the weekend. What I love most is the beautiful view! It is always changing, morning and night with wonderful sunsets. I also love watching the cows walking on their way to the pond, each with a different personality. I love looking out the window in the morning and stepping outside to watch the sunset. We spend time riding on quads and enjoying each other. We were just on an evacuation warning due to fire, that also helps you see where your priorities should be. Praying for your friend, her family and you.

    • I can feel the love that must exist in your home! Living in such small quarters brings you even closer as a family. Sounds like a storybook life.

  38. I don’t do it as often as my Mom did but nice cotton sheets hung outside on the line and then ironed and on your bed! Feels more luxurious then any silk or satin and brings back wonderful childhood memories of sliding into bed, clean from your bath and sleeping like a log!

  39. Your beautiful thoughtful post is a loving tribute to your friend. I am sorry to hear of her illness. My thoughts and prayers will be for her, her family and for you. Thank you for being there for her.
    These are the people who bring me happiness, peace and joy….
    my husband, my kids (even when they drive me bonkers), my granddaughter, my extended family and good friends.
    Things that bring me happiness, peace and joy include:
    flowers, chocolate, my collection of hearts, ALL the family photos, keepsake jewelry from my grandmother, parents, husband.
    Moments of happiness, peace and joy include:
    my granddaughter’s funny smile and the way she says “Gramie”, waking up and going to sleep with the sound and smell of the ocean outside my door, a moment of sunshine in my western US hometown that reminds me of sunlight in Hawaii or Provence, the smell of gardenias…jasmine or tuberoses, reading a good book in my favorite room..the living room, and eating chocolate…..anything chocolate!!!

    • wow G, you’ve just described all the simple treasures that give life meaning!

  40. I am so very sorry to hear about your friend’s diagnosis. At times like these, we feel so helpless.
    As for what small rituals bring me joy, at this time of year it is heading out to the garden at 6 AM to weed and putter before the heat sets in. In the cooler seasons, I look forward to my afternoon chai tea and a good book in my favorite chair.
    Thinking of you and your friend and lifting you both up in prayer…

    • Thank you PJ, gardening is so therapeutic and there’s nothing like curling up in your favorite chair with a good book.

  41. I am so sorry to hear about your precious friend. I will keep her and her family in my thoughts and prayers. I will also keep you in them as well because I know how special it is to have a best friend. I am so glad you can be there for her.

    My 4 rescue fur angels make everyday special. They always have me laughing at their antics. Also, just special gifts from family and friends that I can look at everyday. My precious husband, in-laws and my sisters. Nothing material can ever replace family and friends.

    • So true! And I love how you call your pets your “rescue fur angels” – that’s the best description ever.

  42. I love sitting in my recliner, reading magazines with a cup of coffee from Costa Rica, brought back by our church’s mission team.

    I am going to add your friend to our prayer list…

  43. Thank you for channeling some of the sadness into a reminder to be grateful for simple comforts of home. I’m a new homeowner struggling to make the house feel like our own, but there are so many things to appreciate already. Facing the couch outward to watch the sun rise and set over the canyon. Leaving the windows open at night to feel the cool breeze and hear the crickets. Sipping wine on the front porch with my husband as neighbors stroll by with their kids and dogs. Hosting friends at a fully extended dining table. I need to remind myself that decorating can have a wonderful impact on comfort and function… yet decor choices aren’t what will really make the house a home. It’s the people and the routines and the love.

  44. I’m so sorry for you all. I have been where you are now. You and her family are in my thoughts. Love to you all.

  45. So sorry for your friend’s diagnosis. I lost my Dad to colon cancer when he was only 43. Your friend is lucky to have your support and I’ll say a prayer for her comfort and peace. To answer your question I built a home near the beach that I hope to retire to one day. There were a few things that I wanted because of good memories of my grandmother’s home—a front porch, a claw foot tub and a window seat. I even copied old fashioned type latches on my cabinet doors. When I walk into this house I just feel good and even better when my own grandchildren are here. God Bless.

    • Wow Mary Beth, that’s amazing. So true that special places from our childhood stay with us, how wonderful that you’ve recreated those memories for your grandchildren.
      Much love to you,

  46. Thank you for sharing this post. Honestly, I couldn’t read most of it. As my husband goes through immunotherapy, we stick with the mantra that this is going to be hard, scary and long… but it can also be good. We never give up hope, even as we cry together like you and your friend.

    What brings us joy is our 5-month old daughter. At times there’s extra fear and grief because we have so much life to come. But mostly we look at her splash in the bathtub, crazy dance on the floor or grin at us every morning and we can’t help but grin back. It’s a reminder that home is the people we are with, for as long as we are with them.

    Home for us is also a 129-acre farm–not a conventional choice for a lot of people. We were seduced by the idea of the romance of country life, and fortunately it turned out that it is exactly the right life for us. It’s a lesson to trust yourself and seek out and work for what feels important and right for you.

    I wish you all of the joy that we get from baby wiggles, giggles and smiles, and all of the peace that comes with quiet mornings and evenings, big skies full of sunrises and stars and wide fields of gold and green.

  47. Nothing represents the natural highs of life to me like waking up to birds singing. I love songbirds, and have made a point to help my three year old notice as well. Lately, she has begun sighing and saying, “What a beautiful day. What a beautiful breeze. What beautiful songbirds.” And I feel giddy inside at her joy, and mine.

    Fireflies also make me so happy. They are my nightly reminder that magic is real.

    Prayers of hope and peace for you and your friend.

  48. From your description of your friend,she is truly a treasure. Besides our spouses,friends are the only humans that we chose. God send us the rest,and I believe He put fiends in our paths for special reasons. I know you are in shock with this diagnosis and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You have my heartfelt sympathy.

    • Thank you Sue, I agree. We were brought together for a reason, to bless each other and show our love and what it means to be a friend.

  49. I love my dog, my small condo, and courtyard! I am content, the best gift of all.

  50. Katie, I don’t know your sweet friend but as silly as it sounds, the way you have described her, her family and life, I feel as if I’ve known her for years.
    LOTS of love and good vibes for you all.Please give her a hug for me and let her know she has so much love pouring in.
    Living here in Eagle Idaho it can get wicked hot in the summer during the day so my favorite thing to do is wake up before my family and have coffee out back when it ‘s cool and gorgeous.(We are DIY remodeling so it’s also nice to avoid the chaos)

    • Thank you Sunday. I was just in Idaho two weeks ago celebrating the 4th and I could feel that heat so I know what you speak of. You live in a beautiful place.
      Thank you for your concern for my friend, we are surrounding her with love at this time.

  51. First of all, I am so sorry to hear of your sweet friend, but what a lovely post this was. Prayers for her peace.
    My true source of joy is gone (my son), but I take pleasure now as best I can.
    My sweet husband, my precious pup, my house that is still coming along (even though I’m 59) all make me smile, and working on my upcoming blog is a purpose for me. I am also helping a friend start her new boutique travel business, and that is a new fun thing.
    Thank you for your blog, I love to read every post.

  52. Thank you for the reminder to appreciate all that is around me. I love the big stone house that has crooked walls but was built with the love and effort of my mother, our warm climate and beautiful garden, my two big, messy and full-of-love dogs! I will say a word for your friend, very sorry to hear it.

  53. Your time spent with your best friend is the most precious of all. I pray she has peace and is surrounded by all the loves in her life now. We all suffer the loss of loved ones in our lives. There truly are no words of comfort. Time does heal it a bit. And be sure to take that time.
    I love coming home because I feel like it wraps it’s arms around me and gives me a big hug when I enter. And who doesn’t need more hugs these days. It doesn’t matter the style, decor, or size. In fact smaller is sometimes preferable.

  54. Hi Kate
    I’m reading this from Australia & have a sibling battling cancer as we speak. I thought I’d share a quote I’ve just read which I think is really poignant – “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.”
    I love walking into my home after work & going “ahhhh”. That’s my special moment.
    My thoughts are with your friend & her family.

  55. So very sorry to hear of your good friend. Prayers to her and her family, and friends.
    We have lived in our current home for 21 years. It isn’t a huge fancy home, but it is comfortable and well loved.
    My greatest joys are just the memories of precious family time together, which is rare these days with my three children grown and married now. Sometimes we only are able to get together once a year, but this house comes alive when that happens! We live in a quiet subdivision in the country and are surrounded by woods, with an abundance of nature. Sitting on our back deck in the evenings, with a good glass of wine, and just watching the birds, deer, and anything else wandering through our backyard, makes my heart content. And, of course I can’t imagine a day without my beautiful sweet Labrador. She has been my faithful companion for twelve years. It wouldn’t be home without a little dog hair spread around!

  56. First time commenting on your blog but I’ve been a loyal follower for years. I’m so sorry to hear about your lovely friend. Please listen to Pastor Benny Hinn’s interview with Dr. Joel Wallach about cancer on youtube. I hope what he shared in that interview will be of any help to your friend.

  57. Kate,
    I am so sorry to hear about your dearest best friend. I will keep all of you in my thoughts. I am sure her life well lived will provide some comfort to her and she will know that her time here on earth was well spent, no regrets.

  58. I’m so sorry about your friend. Very true and wise words. It is so easy to get caught up in consumerism and what we see on social media thinking those things will make us happy. When I catch myself in that frame of mind I always know it is time to take a little break, reflect on what I am grateful for and think about what truly matters to me. Sending blessings and love to you, your friend and her family and loved ones.

  59. Kate – I’m so so sorry for this devastating news about your friend, and thinking of her family and all of you who love her so. It’s a beautiful reflection you’ve created in her honor. In that vein, I would say I have not done what I should to make our home comforting and spirit-boosting. For a favorite moment, it would be having tea in the morning in one of my favorite mugs with my kitties by my side.

    Thinking of you and her and her family and everyone who cares about you both.

  60. Plants. The plants probably give me the most joy in my home. I get to be a part of their growth if that make sense. My heart is heavy for your friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend.

  61. I’m sorry for your friend, her family, and you in this hard time. So sweet that you all have so many wonderful memories to dwell on. Prayers.

  62. So true. Sorry for your friend…and you. My simple pleasures are yummy-smelling beauty products (a brown sugar scrub and herbal aloe facial cleanser), a tall glass of iced Tazo green tea with lemongrass & mint, and taking my bra and my contact lenses off at the end of the day! Ha!

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