Lisa Leonard Designs


January 1st | san luis obispo, thoughts

last week {with family in town} we visited hearst castle. it was one of the homes mr. hearst owned. its located up on a hill overlooking the ocean in san simeon.

i’ve done the regular tour 2 or 3 times, but in december they offer a special evening tour. they take you to lesser seen parts of the castle and there are docents dressed in 1920’s costumes. it was magical to see the castle at night.

when i started scrolling through all my pictures, i couldn’t help but notice all they glowing lamps i captured. so pretty. the home is filled with valuable antiques and works of art. most of the ceilings we saw are 500 years old and imported from spain. the detail is breath-taking.

hearst came from a wealthy family {they made their money in silver mining} and hearst is best known for his publications {which still include cosmopolitan and good housekeeping}. after walking through room after room filled with treasures and art i started reflecting on contentment.

was hearst content with all he had? i doubt it. am i content with what i have been given? i want to be. i want to be grateful and enjoy the beauty in my life without spending my time and energy wishing for more. things don’t bring happiness {at least not long term}. whether we have little or much, contentment can be hard to find.

how do you find contentment?

31 Responses

  1. April O. says:

    What a beautifully meaningful post.

    My contentment always seems to come when I am in God’s Word, and when I am giving “till it hurts” to others. Really, it’s amazing how letting go allows us to be so content in the blessings we receive from the LORD.

    May your year be truly blessed!

  2. Paige says:

    What a nice post.

    One of my goals is to have and attitude of gratitude everyday.

  3. Cathie says:


    I have been looking for the one word to help me in my “Happiness Project” and I do believe that you may have helped me with your very touching post ” Contentment”.
    When I was 13 my family and I visited the Hearst Castle and still over 30 years later it is my mind . I would love to see it again as an adult and marvel in all the beauty.

  4. Amy says:

    Those are some cool photos! I’d love to take a tour of that place sometime.

    My goal for 2011 is to become an easier going person. Don’t worry so much and enjoy life to it’s fullest!

    I find my contentment with my family!

  5. Linda says:

    I try to be grateful for everything I have and have been given. The ‘have been given’ is the most important. This year I am trying to be more compassionate … not easy sometimes but with a lot of help, I think doable.

    Beautiful photos … have been to the castle a couple of times but never at night – it’s awesome!

  6. denise says:

    lovely words lisa.

    God is leading me in contentment. it is new. growing. it has been just a couple of years, but as i rest in contentment i hunger for more.

    contentment, for me, is knowing…God is, was, will be…and then living/dwelling/remaining/ embracing.. in that knowing.

    yes, hearst has lovely glowing lamps, but we have a Light more brilliant than any that ever lit his paths to lead us on ours.

    happy new year lisa.

  7. Michele says:

    Very interesting and thought-provoking. I’ve been thinking a lot about contentment because it seems we live in a world where people just can’t seem to get enough. The Bible vereses that keep coming to mind are where Paul is talking about being content in Philippians chapter 4. Happy New Year!

  8. Leanne says:

    My husband and I have just completed renovating 3 houses over the last 16 years. Three “fixer uppers” in a row….we are looking forward to that feeling of contentment…I am excited that we are almost there. Time to exhale! (and we are NOT moving for a long time!!)
    Best of luck to you and yours in the new year. I love all that you do!

  9. Vicki says:

    very beautiful. you took amazing pictures! contentment is something i stuggle with hugely. it never hurts to have reminders like your post. praise god for grace….that always abounds!

  10. kirstie says:

    so hard for me to do, sometimes. but i find contentment when i stop looking so hard at everything & everyone else and count the blessings the Lord has given me. He is the source of my contentment.

    happy new year, lisa!

  11. I find contentment being with my family. The kids and now grandkids make life sing!

  12. shannon stinson says:

    i think “contentment” comes when i have experienced life. the ups and downs have taught me what is important and it has taken me MANY years….and i only get it a fraction of the time. it also has come for me in great measures, unfortunately, through the pain of what others have gone through. the loss of a child…losing everything…a loved ones broken marriage, etc. sad to say, i have too many times, had to watch others go through major trials to make me content in my own life. it’s a struggle more days than not….but something worth learning and holding onto.
    happy new year, lisa….may it be blessed and full of contentment!

  13. sarita says:

    Being content is something I think seldom people are , sad as it is this world is so lost in things & stuff instead of what is important …Life is such a lesson sad the learning has to come after the pain but it is true… I am an easy learner , I love my life and find contentment in the simple pleasures of it .. I try to live each day like it is a new day , clouds , sunshine, the smell of coffee , the sweetness in a childs eyes , the love of my children and grandchildren …nothing bought could ever replace the free life we have ….thanks be to God for all his free contentment….be blessed in 2011

  14. Happy New Year to you and your family.
    To me contentment means being healthy and happy, especially with a Starbucks coffee in my hand.

  15. joanne smith says:

    those are just beautiful pictures lisa.
    contentment… yeah.. it’s so easy to compare ourselves with everyone else. but i try not to… and like you said, i really want to be grateful for what…and who.. i have in my life. happy new year to you!

  16. Melody says:

    Beautiful pics! Happy 2011! :)

  17. Hi Lisa!

    I didn’t know you had a blog!
    I found your link at Kim’s (Savvy Southern Style),
    I find contentment when I start counting the blessings I already have…
    Hugs and Happy New Year!

  18. Beth says:

    I once read a quote that said “contentment isn’t having what you want, it is wanting what you have.” It stuck with me & i try to remind myself often of it. My family & i have what we have because of God’s outpouring of blessings. So really how could I ask for more? Happy new year!

  19. Megan says:

    Our pastor mentioned awhile back that we should ask ourselves: if all we had was our salvation, would that be enough? If we are stripped of dignity, wealth, comfort, etc, what would we do? I know times get tough. Trials come. Life is hard. But I like to think that I would think eternally.
    1 Timothy 6:6 says ” But godliness with contentment is great gain. ” I know that rewards in heaven will be greater, should my contentment be based on the Lord’s provision in my life.

  20. Jenny says:

    Contentment is a funny thing… we are to be content in whichever circumstance we are in, but we will never be content on this earth, for it is just our temporary and fleeting home. I wonder if we will never be truly and completely content before reaching our Heavenly home. I don’t think it’s possible, but still is something we need to strive for.

    Happy New Year, Lisa! See you in a few weeks @ Blissdom!


  21. I just wanted to let you know that even though I don’t comment often (due to 2 little ones keeping me busy), I love reading your blog. You continue to encourage and inspire me so I just passed a blog award on to you.
    Check it out…

    Happy New Year!

  22. Melanie says:

    Lisa, It’s amazing that you, too, are reflecting on contentment. Your words are encouraging me in my journey. Check out what I just wrote about. :)

  23. Jill says:

    great reminder to treasure the blessings we have. i personally choose to be thankful intsead of jealous. this helps me thank God for the many little things instead of wishing for more.

  24. Whitney says:

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you.

  25. Luann says:

    hard to put into words. i’ve experienced it more this past year than ever. what i thought i NEEDED and how our Lord has walked me through that to multiple times of surrender and joy in seeing what i really do NEED vs want. and having a eternal focus vs temporal.. it’s been so liberating. so freeing. it’s spilled over into other areas and i’m finding it’s a constant reevaluation of sorts…

    hard to put into words.. just know that i am experiencing contentment finally. even if BLANK does or does not happen. because my hope is solely in my Lord, and this life is temporary.

  26. Linda says:

    Great post! I need to do better in this area as I always seem to have a list of things I want to get. I guess it’s all about balance, being thankful for what I’m already blessed with & not hinging my happiness on things. Thanks for the reminder!

  27. Whitney Hill says:

    Gorgeous photos – Happy New Year Lisa!

  28. adrienne says:

    thanks for that post Lisa. I have been doing our budget and worrying. We have tuition to pay and a van on it’s last wheel (ha!), but we are happy and healthy and God will provide. I will be content with what i have been given. happy new year!

  29. Melody says:

    Hearst Castle was one of my favorite things we did on a trip to California last summer. The evening tour sounds lovely.

    Right now I’m finding contentment in just simply being present with my two children. They teach me so much every day, even the youngest who is only 11 days old.

  30. Cat says:


    I know the feeling very well….searching for happiness and contenment in a world that seems to overflow with lists and tasks, and rushing around.

    I think there is a lot to be said for loving where you are right now, not where we will be when we have lost weight, or bought a new house, or done whatever thing society deems worthy My contenment comes from a job well done, and a clean house. These things make me feel in control and centered, and therefore content, even if they aren’t at the top of society’s list.

    So my goals for this year — to chase my dreams, and live my life, not the ones my parents/family want for me….the one that is what I want for me.

  31. katie says:

    lisa – your photography is beautiful…what kind of camera do yo use?

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