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Our home was built back almost 40 years ago, before kitchen islands were a common addition, and for that reason alone…I had come to view it as a small space.  Not only that, but when I visited others with big kitchens that opened into the living area, I came home to feel closed in – in my small space.  It became not just a perception but rather fact, that my kitchen was just plain small.  Therefore, I saw it as a place that closed me in, a place where I did not want others to gather, and a place I constantly strived to update and redo.

Perception, when we compare, can get us every time.

Over the years, we did different things to create more space for our kitchen and our home, and as we made each change I began to start loving my kitchen again.

In the front of the kitchen, next to the two large windows, we opted for a desk/work space for both of us, instead of a space to sit and eat breakfast.  This space has been one of my favorite spaces to be.  Small twin desks face out each window with a slender small bookshelf in the corner.  We were able to brighten up this corner and add a live plant atop the case that has been growing for years, now.

We had a friend that does carpentry build us a wall unit – slender and very tall – full of shelves.   It became a   fixture in the kitchen,  not a piece to  ever be   moved.  It has housed

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cookbooks, and décor, and is a place that is completely full of wonderful things that no longer have to sit on counters or take up space.  That end of the kitchen was now complete, and seriously a favorite place of mine to stay put all day.

Over the next several years, we collected more things.  A rolling cart (to give me a makeshift island I could pull out if necessary) was placed by the refrigerator and it too became full, a catchall spot, and guess what?  I never once pulled it out.  It just sat there and took up space where we could have had to walk.

Canisters were taken off the counters and placed in our tiny pantry (another source of angst, when comparing to friends’ walk-in cupboards – oh how I longed for that!)  Other appliances were tucked away, counters cleared.

We updated the cabinets and made them white, with beautiful gray counters.  Oh my goodness, this helped so much and brought me such joy that I still love today.  They are so fun to decorate, and my kitchen was starting to shine and invite me in…

And lastly, our floors!  We never updated them but just covered them instead with indoor/outdoor carpet tiles.  Those grew old and we added a couple rugs.  Our kitchen became smaller with all of these layers, it was frustrating to me that I had tried and tried, but it was impossible to make this space large.

And then…just a few weeks ago we got them.  New floors!  We finally got the most beautiful plank flooring that is light in color.  We set the rolling cart on the street (it was gone in minutes) and I found a smaller, sleeker cabinet that sat in its space, allowing more room to walk.

What I’m saying in this detailed visual of my too-small kitchen is that my kitchen has grown in size – in my eyes!  Remember how the Grinch’s heart grew bigger?  Well, my perception enlarged.  It wasn’t that my kitchen had been too small.  It had been too full!  Dark colors, appliances and containers taking up spaces, layers of flooring, and additions I’d made to try to look like “them” had closed it in.

As I looked and studied and envisioned my own space, lightened the mood (the colors), emptied the shelves, placed things away and out of sight, and got rid of extras and only added the sleek…my kitchen was not too small – it was just right!

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I woke up this morning thinking about all of life, personally, spiritually, practically…all the things. Our vision gets clouded and we begin to feel closed in, closed off, shut out, because we don’t fit the norm, or our home doesn’t look like theirs, or our lives don’t seem exciting.  And sometimes, it’s just our perception and our fullness that we need to consider.

We can return to simple lines, brighter hues, less things…and more of what makes us happy.

The floors have changed the entire look of my kitchen, with all of the layers underneath our feet gone.

Feeling just a bit too small in this big world?

Maybe you’re not too small at all, but just too full.  Here are some practical helps for making your “space” brighter and roomier every day in every way:

  • Listen to the rain, with eyes shut, when it’s failing outside your window pane. It will expand your rest.

  • Look for one space that’s cluttered and clean it. One little corner at a time.  It will offer less chaos.

  • Listen to His Word as you read about His character.  It will lessen your load as you cast it on Him.

  • Lighten a dark space with whites, greens, and colors – as you remove the bleak.  It will make you smile.

  • Listen to music that uplifts, makes your feet move, or calms your fears.  It will brighten the mood.

  • Look for simple things in your home you can remove or tuck away, as you reduce the full and embrace your space.  It will cause your eyes to see the beauty that’s YOU.


I heard a song by Teddy Swims called “Simple Things” that I’ve listened to over and over again.  It’s lovely, if you want to listen, as well.

Not too small, but too full.  It’s what I’m thinking about these days as I am careful what I place on my plate and how it’s arranged…before I sit down and enjoy.

Not Small, But Full
by Marcy Lytle
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