Recently I was introduced to the words "cottage core" on Instagram and I looked into it because a few of the accounts I follow were focusing more and more on it and the name caught my attention. You may or may not be familiar with the "cottage core" concept, but it is apparently an internet trend centered around slow living/cottage lifestyle imagery and videos with a side of fantastical make-believe and fictional storytelling as a way to escape from normal life.
It just made me think about some things. On the one side its cool that people are getting so interested in simple, old fashioned living again, and I also understand that many brands are built around beautiful imagery and the cottage lifestyle and that's great! On the other hand, I think that it's a shame to just make believe about a beautiful lifestyle on the internet! There are so many ways to bring simplicity, beauty and meaningfulness to our daily routine and lifestyle in a real and tangible way.
No ones whole life is made up of dreamy classical music, fresh cut flowers from their cottage garden and quaint flocks of chickens and ducks meandering through their yard. Of course not! Where those things exist there is also an abundance of hard work and dirty fingernails, achy backs and dirty dishes piled in the sink because they have to wait if all the other things are going to get done. But that is real life, and it is such a gift! Life is too short to fritter away in wishful thinking. The beautiful scenes and videos that I share are real snapshots of the real life that we cultivate and you can cultivate these things in your life too!
- Plant some seeds! No matter where you live, you can discover the joy of growing things from seed. Even if its just some herbs or succulents in your windowsill, you can grow something! Buying plants is fun, but growing a plant from seed is a whole other thing and so satisfying. It's also much less expensive.
- Create things with your hands! Find something useful and beautiful that you enjoy making with your hands. Stop telling yourself you don't have the skills or the talent, you do! You just have to cultivate it, and it's okay to make things that aren't masterpieces. Just create for the joy of it.
- Prepare beautiful and delicious food! You don't have to be a master chef or even a good cook to serve beautiful and delicious food to your family and friends. A spread of in season fruit, cheese, crackers and meat with sweet fruit spreads and sparkling grape juice is a lovely meal to share, and doesn't take one ounce of cooking experience or skill to serve. Invest in some inspiring cook books and focus on simple, quick recipes and meals that are not overwhelming to you. Make your kitchen a welcoming, happy place to gather with the people you love.
- This isn't possible for everyone, but if you can, keep a few chickens or ducks, or even rabbits! Animals bring so much life and meaning and happiness to a homestead, and no, you do not have to live in the country to have a homesteading mindset.
- Simplify your home and surround yourself only with tools and decorative items that are meaningful to you somehow. As William Morris said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful", but I would add that it should be something that has meaning and brings you joy too.
-Practice generosity! Give to others. The seedlings you start, the crafts you make, the meals you prepare... share them! It brings so much happiness to share.
God has surrounded us with so many gift if we look for them and cultivate them in our lives, and He intended us to do so. If your life doesn't look the way you want it to, and you dream of a more meaningful existence, you can begin taking steps to transform it, no matter where you live or what your circumstances are. You are the only one who can make the changes you wish to see.
The very most important thing that I know of as a foundation to a beautiful life is a rich, deep relationship with God. Without that, nothing else will bring any lasting happiness! So don't forget to make Him the center of everything you do. He is the ultimate Creator and cultivator of beauty.
So much love to each of you, and please leave a comment and let me know if this post encouraged you!
Images: LindyAnn (Gemmie), my baby sister, holds one of our Olive Egger hens, Narcissa, and a bouquet of fresh flowers from our garden, on the steps of our chicken coop called Flock Cottage. Gemmie helps me care for our flock every day and it is a special part of our daily routine.