If Only . . .


Have you struggled with the “If Only's . . . “ in your home? When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a tee-tiny apartment and I spent the first year of our marriage thinking: “If only . . . . we had a house.” A year later, we purchased our first little fixer-upper home, and I just loved it. (Rust-colored-honey-comb-looking linoleum in the kitchen and all.)


We took care of that tiny house, and spent hours working to make it just perfect, but every once in awhile I would hear a little voice inside my head say: “If only . . . we had a garage.” Sure enough, a few years down the road we sold that house for a bit of a profit and bought our next fixer-upper, which included a nice big two-car garage.  We spent loads more hours working to fluff up that home, and really loved it too, but it wasn't too long until I stared at the front of it one day and thought ~ “If only . . . it had a front porch.”  (It was kind of a flat house, and really would have looked amazing with a front porch!)


When my husband took a job a few years later in Alabama, the very last house that we visited had the largest front porch I could possibly imagine. It was no fixer upper; rather a brand new home all ready for us to move into without too much work to do. We purchased the home, headed South, and have enjoyed many hours rocking on that front porch. (I wish everyone in the whole wide world could have a front porch swing to spend an afternoon on!)


But, as you can imagine, the “if only's” still creep in every once in awhile. “If only . . .I had granite countertops,” I hear myself think as I scrub my plain old formica counters.  (Gosh, I really would love those; they just look so perfect in other people's homes!)  “If only . . .I had a three car garage. . . “ (we're one of the few houses in the neighborhood that doesn't have one, so you know, it would just make us “fit” better, right?)  Humph.


What I'm slowly realizing though (after almost sixteen years of “If only's”), is that I love having a home, I love having a garage, and I absolutely LOVE my big ole' front porch. However, reaching my “If onlys. . . ” doesn't fill an empty void.  Instead, something else manages to pop up that I convince myself I need to have.  And the funny thing is, very few of my “if only's” have been anything I've needed at all.


The truth is, there are millions (jillions!) of folks in the world who survive each day with so much less than the abundance I've been given.  (Truly, we are crazy blessed; which most of the time I completely am thankful for!)  Maybe one day all my “if only's” will be fixed. . . but in the mean time, I need to embrace the family that lives in my sweet home, who drive up in my not-quite-big-enough garage, and who hang out with me on my front porch swing.  (So if you hear me dreaming of those countertops, will you please just say HUSH?)


Have you struggled with the “If Only's . . . ” in your life too?  And do you have any tips on resolving this one?


Photo Credit

Print Friendly and PDF


  1. Hi Laurie First I just love you and all the work you do .I’ve made a ton of your recipes ,all great by the way .Well I also struggle with the well you know we need this of that bigger better but I’m always stopping.my self and really thanking God for all we have nice House cars extra and a great family you are also a blessing in my life as well and I want to thank you again Laurie ,Tina

    • You are so sweet Tina – and that means so much to me! 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind encouragement . . . I needed that today!

  2. I believe there is a reason that we have “if only’s” and Beth Moore confirmed it the other day(I think it was her anyway) We will not truly be fulfilled till we see God face to face in heaven(or earth if he comes back before we’re gone) That is why we are always wanting more because their is a hole that will only be filled when we gaze into his face.

    • I think I’ve heard Beth Moore say that too, and I know she’s right! It’s often hard to remember in the world that we live in, but definitely keeping our focus right makes it so much easier to forget the “if onlys”! Thanks for the reminder, Liz 🙂

  3. Jennifer G. says

    I think it’s human nature to always be wanting more. We constantly try to fill that void with material things, but what we really need more of is Jesus. It’s sooooooo hard not to think “if only”, especially with everything society “promises” will make us happier. God is constantly humbling me and reminding me of the blessings that he has put in my life. Although sometimes I think he likes to put us in spots that remind us that we don’t really want our rewards here on earth, heaven is the ultimate reward. As long as we can keep our upwards instead of horizontally (at other people, things, etc), we’ll eventually get there and no longer yearn for more!

    • Love the reminder to keep things focused horizontally ~ that really is so humbling and keeps us remembering what matters!

  4. I struggled with the “if onlys….” for long time. I lived in a beautiful 17 room colonial with a huge farmers porch in a well to do neighborhood, but I always felt like something was missing, especially when I stayed at home and would see all of the neighbors have pools put in, cleaning ladies coming in and out and entire landscaping crews revamping their already gorgeous lawns. Even though we had such a nice home, it was a lot of upkeep, especially the expenes – taxes, oil, etc. We finally decided we really weren’t happy in this situation and the whole “keeping up with the Jones'”. We pretty much gave up everything and relocated from way up north to way down south. We now rent a three bedroom house in a great subdivision (we have four children) and even though money is tight right now, we haven’t looked back. It was putting so much weight on us and literally making us miserable. Our children are happy, we are happier and we realized that “home” is definately where you make it, and we thank God each and everyday that we have our health and each other. No more “if onlys…” for us, we are just enjoying each day as it comes and whatever God has in store for us, we will accept it openly.

    • What an amazing story Lori ~ thank you so much for sharing! There is SO much to keeping up with the Joneses, but someone will always have more, and no matter what we try we can never keep up. I LOVE hearing how your family made changes to enjoy what really matters… you all are doing great!

  5. Beautiful post, Laurie! I get the If Only’s too. It ebbs and flows, so I know to wait for the obsession to abate. It’s funny – now that I’m on Pinterest, it both gives me an opportunities to get them out of my system (virtually)… and makes me have them so much more when I see everyone’s gorgeousness.

    For me, it’s the “If only’s…” for my house, but also for me – If only I was thinner, had better taste in clothing, had stuck with the piano, was a more patient mom like so-and-so…. and the list goes on and on!

    • Thanks Mara! Oh goodness, the if only’s on the other stuff just about do me in – thinner, cuter, DEFINITELY nicer clothes (I don’t even know what to buy!), better mom, all of it…. I think we set ourselves up for failure, don’t we?

      (and then there’s that whole blogging thing . . . ) 😉 It’s so hard to remind myself of what really matters some days!

  6. Everyone goes through the if-only’s, it’s human nature. But lemme tell you about those granite countertops, they aren’t all they’re claimed to be. Mine have actually been scratched and dulled. Go with quartz if you should ever change them out. More durable, a million (and one!) colors and cheaper to boot. Besides, your house is fabulous as it is.

    • Thanks Theresa! I’ve heard Quartz is great… probably by the time we get there a whole new option will be available, but I’d love to have your granite! 🙂

  7. I have to ask … is that your house pictured, b/c I LOVE IT! Love the blue, love the front porch, love the “square inside round” windows, LOVE!

    • I wish it was my house! No, that’s not mine 🙂 I do think my house (while not very fancy…) is pretty cute… but it doesn’t have near the character that that one does!

  8. There isn’t a person out there that doesn’t get the “If Only” blues! What I suggest from personal experience is to set aside an entire day at least once a year to volunteer at a soup kitchen and/or an homeless shelter. I’ve lived in a shelter, and I often forget just how lucky I am now. I may (or may not) have everything, but when I just want a better outlook, I volunteer. It’s so enlightening for me and I help provide much-needed support for those in need. Hope you can find what helps! 🙂

  9. DeAnna Bumgarner says

    I have had my if only moments too. I wanted tile floors. They looked so fresh and clean, then I suffered with planter fasciitis . Once I got my gorgeous granite counter tops my loving, helpful, self-sufficient child broke my coral wear and crystal glasses as he accidentally set them down too hard. Be careful what you wish for. Be grateful for what you have.

  10. What a great post. I had a similar realization through my son earlier this summer: http://bring-on-the-new.blogspot.com/2014/04/he-got-that-from-me.html Gotta clean up that attitude – he is watching!

    • I just read through your post Randi – what a wonderful lesson your child has taught (and I love how you shared it too!) We ALL do that – such a good reminder for me this morning. 🙂

  11. Thanks for writing this. It is difficult sometimes to realize and be grateful for what you have, when there is so much MORE STUFF out there. I’m struggling with telling these “if onlys” to be quiet, be happy in my current situation. Work so hard to be perfect, and the grace that is daily life will pass you by….

    • Erin – it is SO HARD some days, and what makes it more difficult is we only see a tiny bit of the big picture. You’re so right that our daily grace so often passes us by ~ thanks so much for that reminder!

  12. Heather Conway Jacques says

    I grew up in low income housing, raised by a single parent and we did without a lot, so there were a lot of "what its". I can remember laying in bed one summer night, I was about 11 and our power had been turned off, and it would be days before the first of the month, to get it turned back on. I remember laying there thinking I would never ask for anything else, if the God could just make a breeze strong enough to turn the blades of a fan that sat still in my window….He did. Throughout my life, I've remembered that night. And when those moments of come to me..I just try to remember "what if" I never had a had the blessing of faith. That keeps me grounded, humbled and grateful for all I have and all that I didn't. Its made me when I am.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story – what a wonderful way to remember what blessings we have in our faith. Thanks so much for sharing Heather (I love that!)

  13. Laurie, this is something I have to pray about all the time. You’re right, we ARE crazy blessed! I have granite counter tops but I want open concept. LOL! Isn’t that crazy?! I have a beautiful home and it more than fits us. I dream of a fixer upper where I can have the Property- Brothers-Routine and transform my little diamond in the rough into a fabulous jewel! LOL! Thank God for our health, running water, flush toilets and air conditioning. And, thank God for Passionate Penny Pincher!

    • I completely understand and am right there with you Amy – I think the same things all the time! But it’s so good to ehar I’m not the only one who has to be reminded more often than not 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. I’m going to add my 2 cents. When your children are grown and moved out, you will realize you don’t need that space any more and may end up downsizing big time! What you want today may seem like a necessity, but later will be a burden. Also from experience, having more stuff in the house just creates more clutter which many of us struggle with. I found when I downsized I had no problem getting rid of my stuff that I had thought I needed when bought.

  15. Melinda Baillieul says

    At this stage of life, I’ve had most of three if onlys I could ever need. Now I have only one tha t I’m hoping to achieve in the next year or so…if only I could live closer to my children and grandchildren. We moved about 4 1/2 hours away bu5 health issues have me wishing hard to go back.

  16. When I get the (what if’s). I remind myself that the last time I got the (what if’s) I moved 800+miles away. But got my what if. But my what if is not close to family. That’s hard with 12 grandchildren that live in Utah.And I live 800 miles away.

Speak Your Mind