The Haves and the Have-Nots

There is a part of Nashville that I have recently found myself driving through on a regular basis. A part that I knew existed, but hadn’t seen up close before.

It’s a lovely part of the area – as most of this part of Tennessee is – large pastures, huge old trees.

I’ve driven this route many many times recently, and I’m usually struck by the ginormously-large LARGE homes along the route. I often find myself wondering what it would be like to live in a home the size of my entire apartment building. I wonder about the people who live in these houses and what they spend their days doing. (freaky sounding?)

The other thing I think about though, are these people.

And I wonder how they drive past all of those ginormous homes everyday and stay content… Are they able to? Do they struggle with envy?

Then I think of these people…

…and realized that they are probably envious of these people…

…when they drive by.

And those people are envious of these people:

…who are envious of these people

Then I think of these people:

And how they’d give anything for this:

It’s all about our perspective…


  1. When I move, I’ll always love this post.

    I never pass these houses now without thinking of your now-published post.

    Excellent, as usual.

    The big white one? Sold at auction recently. Up for sale again.

    Big yellow? Can imagine how huge that one is. Who cleans it?

  2. What a great post!

    And who’s to say that the people in the giant houses are really even happy?

    Thanks for giving me lots to think about this morning!

  3. Sister Honey Bunch says

    It’s so true. My son was commenting on some REALLY big mcmansions and wondered why they’re house was so big. How do you respond? I mean it’s not *wrong* for them to live in a large home, but it’s also not necessary.

    My husband grew up with a lot of money. We have a nice home. 1800 square feet. He wants bigger, because that’s what he knows.

  4. Absolutely fabulous post!!
    I recently spoke to a group of ladies about perspective…I wish I had had your photos for a visual!!

  5. ~ Straight Shooter ~ says

    I’ll say it every day if need be… I. Love. You. !!! Thank you for always giving us the correct perspective! Have a wonderful week Karla.


    such a good post. this one will really get you thinking.

  7. i love this. it’s so true. it’s so easy to look and always want more! bigger! better! we don’t always take that step back and be thankful for what we have that other people might envy!

  8. The Hunter's Wife says

    This is so true and sometimes the way we think. I am shocked when I see how many homeless people we have in our own country. It is just sad.

  9. Abbreviated says

    Perspective :

    The larger the house the more to clean…

  10. Domestic Chicky says

    Ha! Abbreviated took the words right out of my mouth – what a nightmare to manage!

    Great post Karla – very thought-provoking…

  11. Elizabeth...mommy...etc says

    powerful post, karla. it makes me appreciate what God is given me TODAY instead of always wanting something more for TOMORROW.

    also…check out my blog: BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!!


  12. You are so right….

  13. The Flip Flop Mamma! says

    My 11yo always wishes we lived in a huge house and not an apartment..I always tell her that I’d never live in huge house because I wouldn’t want to clean it! My hubs cousin lives in a 6,000 square foot house, with a secret passage in the den and everything. it’s a wonderful place to visit, but just way too much house for me!

  14. Well said. My sweetie and I were just talking about this last night.

  15. Gotta GROW with it says

    Woa..good post! Made me grateful.

  16. anglophilefootballfanatic says

    Thanks for giving a great slap of reality. I think my aunt should see that. Hers resembles the yellow one.

  17. BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) says

    My 5-year-old little girl has “I want a bigger house”-itis.

    I try to remind her that we are SO lucky to live in our house. It’s no McMansion but we are blessed to have a roof over our heads and live in a nice neighborhood!

    Thanks for the dose of reality Karla! So true. I grew up in a huge old remodeled farmhouse in the country and on the same road there were ramshackle trailers. We all road the same bus to school.

  18. What a perfect post to put things in perspective. You are so right. I think you should post this on “Inner Fulfillment” some day too!

  19. My apartment is so ugly and in such a bad area I cried when I first saw it, but it was all we could afford. Over the last year I’ve learned to love many things about it, and we just renewed our lease. In other areas of town huge McMansions stand empty and foreclosed upon…

  20. Terrific post!

    Makes me miss Nashville. I’ve visited several times and I think I could live there and be most content.

  21. Such a GREAT post!! Makes you think. It really is all about perspective!

  22. Heidi @ GGIP says

    Fantastic visual reminder!

  23. What a great post! It’s something we tend not to think about.

  24. Karla…I think about these things too, and when I get all whiney and discontent with my 1200 sq ft house, I think about my friends who went to Africa last summer and told me that entire families live in houses no bigger than my kitchen.


  25. All I can say is, WOW. Thanks for that serious reality check!

  26. Houses? I thought the last big one was a hotel!

    Karla, this is one of the best posts you have ever done! Absolutely powerful!

  27. Karla- This is my favorite post of yours EVER. I just wrote a little piece on asking jealousy to leave and this fits perfectly with the message I was trying to convey. PERFECT- you have nailed it, my sweet friend!

  28. Bookingirl says

    Great post! I live on one of those roads in Nashville and there are times that I look at the huge houses next to mine and think that I have the worst house on the street and then I realize that I DO have all my basic needs and more taken care of and that is all that matters.

  29. What an awesome post! I had this same talk with my children recently, about the haves and the haves nots, and then we started talking about children in Darfur. It is really an eye opener when we think that we have nothing, but then you are faced with people who really HAVE NOTHING!
    Awesome post, Have a great day!

  30. Mommy Cracked says

    Excellent post, as always. You always give me something deeper to think about.

  31. fullheartandhands mama says

    Well said.

  32. SAHMmy Says says

    Perfect post! Though I sorely miss my larger, newer house I take care not to complain about our current home’s lack of storage space, small kitchen, and 30 year old everything to my kids. We teach them to have thankful hearts and would do well to give thanks ourselves for the comfort, warmth, and shelter we enjoy!

  33. What an amazing post – one of your best yet. Thank you for the perspective. I have read this twice and plan to come back and read it again and again as we plan to move this summer. I want God to remind me of how much I already have and be thankful when I get the wants when looking for a house. Thank you so much Karla. Hugs.

  34. Thanks for putting everything in perspective! We all need that sometimes to remind us just how lucky we are.

  35. Absolutely perfect post – and perfect perspective.

  36. I love your blog, but this post is awesome… I literally read it about once a week. I’m at a point in my life when I am feeling more peer pressure than in high school (seriously! at thirty!!) All of my friends are “upgrading” to houses with playrooms and guestrooms and formal dining rooms to display their china – I don’t even have china! I LOVE our little house, I think it’s perfect for us, but sometimes I get caught up in it all and wonder if I really need to keep up with my friends… this post puts me back in place, where I need to be, where I want to be. Thank you!!

  37. Beautiful post Karla. I just came upon it on Stumble. Definitely giving it a thumbs up.

  38. The Nester says


    so true.

  39. My Beautiful Mess..... says

    I came by way of the Nester…

    Oh so very true – really brings you into a state of being happy for what you have :)

  40. Neurotically Yours: says

    What a beautiful post!! Really makes you think :)

  41. LOVE your post! And it’s so true! We always have the need to compare to others, but let’s just compare to others who have less than us instead of more….

    Greetings from the netherlands!

  42. What a great and well thought out post. Thank you for giving me something to think about.

  43. Thank you for making me think this morning about needs, satisfication, and wants. Excellent!

  44. Fabulous! Thanks for a great way to start my day! :)

  45. We live in “the poor section” of an area with homes that take up a city block. Thank you for this beautiful and creative reminder of perspective.

  46. Hooked on Houses says

    Very true, and very well put. -Julia

  47. oh my gracious, let me never be discontent with our home. whatever the size or location.

    thanks karla!

  48. Laurel Wreath says

    Thank you, came from Nester, God really wanted me to read this. Thank you.

  49. Melissa Santanastasio says

    WOW all too true, i cant tell you how much it unnerves me to see people feel the need to keep up with the jones’. I have been blessed with many wonderful things, I like to think i have a big house but i can also leave it behind as well. It is filled with love and memories and the fancy furnishings just take up space. Thanks for the perspective.

  50. Great post and something to chew on and think about. However, I will say that sometimes I think the envy goes the other direction too. I wonder if people in the mansions might wish for the simple life of those who have much less to pay for and worry about.

    I had a friend in junior high that lived in a house much smaller than any of those pictured in your post, but they were happy as all get out and I never heard a word from any of them about wanting something bigger and better. They spent their time and money doing family things and building relationships and they were content to have few possessions. I wish I was more like them! I’m more like the ones in your post, who forget how blessed I am! Thanks for the reminder!

  51. Jaime@WestNest says

    Thank you for that!

  52. Fabulous post! Sometimes we all need a lesson in perspective! I certainly needed it today:)

  53. Great post … thanks for sharing your perspective – I needed to hear it :)


  54. so true…makes me remember that contentment does not come from material belongings and to be thankful for what I have been given.

  55. Thanks for the dose of perspective! I struggle with “The Joneses”, and have to remind myself often of how blessed we really are. When I get a case of the envies, my DH reminds me that a lot of the folks living in those big, fine houses are barely getting by, juggling their payments, up to their ears in debt. It is nice knowing that you can afford what you have, small as it may be.
    On a lighter note, I know a woman whose late husband was a self-made millionaire. Ms June can have whatever she wants, regardless of cost. But when driving along the interstate one day, she pointed out a rather large house with lots of windows and said to her daughter, “Boy, I sure would hate to curtain that house!” Even though she had everything (materially) that she wanted, she had perspective. I guess she knew when too much really was too much.

  56. Lindenhaus says

    How true! It seems the eye never really can be satisfied. As for me, our 2,800 square foot home is too big, too expensive to heat and cool, and a pain to keep clean. I’m looking for a cozy 1,500 square foot cottage to put my own stamp on.

  57. Mrs. Querido says

    Hi, I came over from Nesting Place. Your post was beautiful and stirring. I am grateful for our 1250 sq ft one level home. We have 3 bedrooms and only one bathroom, but I am grateful. I often think of my husband’s family in Mexico that have ten people living in a space the size of our living room and a bedroom combined. And I am grateful that we only have to fit five people into our whole home. Americans need a better perspective!


    Mrs. Q

  58. Laurie Anne says

    What a wonderful post. It is so true :0)

  59. Jill -Forever and Ever House says

    I found you via Nester. I love this post so much that I cross posted you on my blog. So true. So true.

    Thanks for sharing your talents.

  60. I love this post…

  61. Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality says

    Great post, Karla, and SO true. I think we’ve all had a reality check of perspective in our lives. I know I have. I’m thankful for what I do have and try not to get caught up in the I-want-a-bigger house mode. That will just kill ya…I’m so blessed.


  62. Alright, Karla. That post was simply perfect. I can’t wait to meet you tomorrow :)

  63. Nancy-Lessons Learned on the Farm says

    What a wonderful perspective.

    If those folks in the smaller houses are anything like my family, they’re probably pretty happy to have a big yard for kids and animals to play in and although they might wish they made more money so they could pay bills a bit easier or fix things that are broken, they probably like their land MORE than the McMansions with micro-size yards.

  64. HeathahLee says

    This was a great post! I came by way of The Nester.

    One of our pastor’s kids went on a mission trip to Jamaica a couple years ago and helped build concrete “homes” (really just a 10×10 building). One of the children that belonged to the family the house was being built for asked Rob if his house in America was as NICE as the one he was getting to have. Of course, Rob was kind and didn’t tell him that he could fit many more of these houses in his one house…but it also made him that much more grateful for what he had at home. You said it perfectly…perspective.

  65. Darla @ UltraBeautyBoutique says


    How true.

  66. Hi Karla….I came across your post from Nesting Place. Thanks for the perspective…I for one always need reminding…I know I always want more…but I have what I need…so I should be content.

    Also, my name is Karla as well…and I don’t meet many of us with a “K”…so good to meet you! I’m in St. Louis.

  67. Nancy Hood says

    Wow, well said, thought provoking, and a memory that will keep. Thank you for this~

  68. I linked over here via the Nester and am so glad I did. Thank you for putting allll things into perspective.

  69. That was awesome! I love that! Meme from

  70. Brian and Staci says

    Goodness…it does put everything into perspective doesn’t it?? Or at least it should. I came over via The Nester—can’t wait to read more! Your blog looks great! Thank you for this beautiful post!

  71. Elizabeth says

    Thank you for putting all of our lives in perspective.

  72. Great post. Thank you.

  73. Me again. Your post reminded me of a quote I’d once heard and I finally found it:

    “The poorest shack in which love prevails over a united family is of greater value to God and future humanity than any other riches.”

    Have a beautiful day.

  74. Sun-Kissed Savages says

    Wonderful post. So true. A great reminder…
    Gosh, that picture of the child…I just want to take them in my arms…

  75. new every morning says

    I have goosebumps. Thank you for the wonderful reminder to be content.

    You’ve blessed me today.

  76. that was really neat. really creative!

  77. Thank you for this post. I needed it.

  78. thought I’d stop by… found you from “nesting place”. I really love this post- inspiring and motivating for me to be more grateful and more giving.

  79. Found you through the nester. thank you for this perspective. I complain about my loud neighbors and apartment with thin walls, but I know that we are blessed because it’s a roof. My son has his own room, we have a basement for storage, and the rent’s not as high as it could be. Thank you

  80. Island School House says

    The most interesting part about all this is that its probably the people in the large houses that are not content! They probably have huge mortgages, car loans and credit card debt, and the guy in the little house is probably a millionaire and knows how to use his money wisely!

  81. Really enjoyed this post when I found it in July (don’t remember how!). I was reviewing my blog when I found it again, and wanted to tell you.

    Merry Christmas and God bless you with abundant joy.

  82. showingoffmyassets says

    That is the truth. It is too bad that people don’t look at things like we do. I too feel like it is all perspective and we need to keep that in mind. Good post…


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