Is This The Life I Built?

This time at home has been a time to really think about things for me.  About my creative work for sure, but about the structure of my life.  When Katy Sewall said to her friend Tiffany Parks on a podcast I listen to (The Bittersweet Life)  “…is this the life you built, or is this just the life that accumulated around you?”  I really started thinking about this.  About the intentionality of that.  For all of us…are we living the life we built?

I’m not a planner.  I don’t make time-lines, I don’t use excel spread-sheets, I barely keep lists and the lists I keep are of things like possible titles for drawings or paintings.  Oh grocery lists, sure.  When I had a business I use to keep a sheet called “Weeks Work” with lines for every day and another called “Things to Do TODAY”…but one delightful part of retiring has been to just wake up and decide.  Of course, in the last few years things have crowded in…schedules and calendars are needed and then…suddenly.  Not.

It’s easier for the concretely-visual-me to look around the house at the trappings of my own life.  I see that though visitors feel we have way too much stuff here, that the house is over-whelming, it IS the life we built.  It reflects what we like, what we’ve done and where we’ve gone and our companions on the journey.  It seems important to have some remnants of the life we’ve lived around us.

But, there are things I can do without and I’ve pretty much jammed that stuff into drawers and boxes under the bed…and I DO know I need to toss them out…I DO know that…this wingnut is the symbol of my helplessness.

But then, do I draw enough? Do I read enough?  Do I write enough?  Do I keep in touch?  Things to think about friends.

This big lovely house behind us is on the market.

Lucille lived here for years and then Ralph and Jan, Nicholas…When our time is done here in the Waller/Chamberlin House somebody else will build a life in “our” house without knowing even one thing about us.  They won’t know that Zach’s college friends dug the herb garden or that Bill worked so hard over the years building rock walls or that the boxwoods came from Doug McKay’s garden.  They won’t be able to picture Tyko on the roof of the addition he built so meticulously. Now there’s a thought.

These days I certainly am cooking enough though…EVERY night.  No take out.  Tonight lamb chops and salad and these muffins…wild rice/shiitake muffins…haven’t tasted them yet but the batter was delicious…shallots, shiitakes…yum

this from an older book I have…”Bread” by Beth Hensperger (Page 104)

Okay…enough.  Keep in touch.





  1. It’s never enough. I so look forward to your posts. I particularly love your sense of place.

    Sent from Frankie’s iPad


  2. Dear Bonnie, It would seem we were born under the same star, a bright shinning star. I know several others born under that same star! The too much stuff star!!! And one thing i’ve noticed about everyone is KINDNESS.
    Often i wonder around looking and trying to decide what can go, but it all remains. Well, maybe some bags of clothes go. And replaced gadgets. Or something that i just don’t know where it came from. But the remaining treasures are all memories. Of KIND people or wonderful places.
    And you dear Bonnie are one of the KINDEST of all. I love that you share. I love your photos and words.

  3. Quite a philosophical post Bonnie….. Large questions to answer… Wishing you further moments of introspection….. Tell me if you find some answers. m


  4. I can relate to all the stuff…I keep wondering how/why/where it all came from in my 20 years in this, the only house that has ever been all mine.
    But what really hit the spot in this post: those muffins! I dislike sweet muffins but these savory ones, with my favorite shiitake mushrooms…yum. Now just wondering what I could use instead of wild rice. Or if they have to wait until a time “A.C.”

    1. these really are good…the wild rice just gives a nutty flavor…maybe slighty less brown rice or black rice? You won’t be sorry for sure. The recipe makes 8 and we’re having them again tonight with squash soup…

  5. well–i have to say that the life lived in a house stays in some way, hidden in the walls, or the odd debris that turns up in a basement or attic, and the feel–warmth and good food and creative juices will stay in the best ghosty way in your house, bon–but that will be for much later! and heck, let the wing nut be buried in the garden!

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