A Once Upon a Cottage Story, Mine… And Yours

The Story of How We Arrived at Chocolate Box Cottage. You might call this a “Once Upon a Cottage Story.”

Hi, I want to take a moment to share my heart with you. Yes, you.

You see, I want you to know that I’m a real person like you with good days and hard days. Days when I can (and do) lay out on a quilt in the grass with my husband, gaze up at the starry heavens, and breathe in the fragrance of a blue night that feels perfect against my skin and days like last spring when we awoke to find nearly all of our small, curated flock of Painted Desert sheep, along with our plans for paying our property taxes, strewn across the pasture – dead – victims of mountain lion predation.

Movies, books, and social media paint a 🍓 strawberries, ruffled curtains, and sunshine view of rural living, and I am a romantic at heart, but I must confess that living in the countryside didn’t exactly come easily to me. It is easy to look at another person’s life in photos like the ones I share here and think that your own life is somehow lacking. Oh, dear reader, please don’t!

If you and I were in my kitchen talking over 🫖 teacups with a plate of cream biscuits and lemon curd between us there are things going on in both our lives that we would share: concerns about our children, ongoing health issues, fears about aging, and more.

Leaving our home of 17 years, the one painted the perfect shade of yellow, with majestic oaks and an established garden, where we raised our blended family of five children, and moving to a new community that didn’t feel (to me) welcoming and that necessitated a long commute to work made for a difficult and prolonged adjustment.

Are you contemplating a move to the countryside, dear reader, but plagued by fears of the unknown? Let me leave you with the advice given to me by a true friend upon finding out we were moving.

“I dare say you will like it after a while. It will take a couple years, maybe longer, but I think, in the long run, you’ll be glad,” my friend said.

And, oh, was she ever right!

Some of the long list of reasons we moved to the countryside include:

  1. to pursue a more independent lifestyle
  2. to breathe great lungfuls of pristine, mountain air
  3. to have room for more animals
  4. to be surrounded by the beauty of nature
  5. to create a place for our family to come home to for holidays

You have your own reasons for wanting to move to the countryside. I would love to know what they are in the comments, but the good news is you don’t need to move to enjoy an authentic, beautiful, and utterly fulfilling cottage lifestyle wherever you are!


Cottage Economy is that sweet spot between old-fashioned values (like thrift and DIY) and modern conveniences (like a good electric mixer and a sewing machine) that save you time and effort and make life easier.

If you have a moment, click over to link Cottage Diary page and take in the recent happenings at Chocolate Box Cottage. To make the most of it, pour a cup of your favorite beverage and settle in for a few minutes. My phone (an iPhone 12 Pro Max) is usually in my pocket, so there are always some interesting captures and I enjoy sharing with you! The ups as well as the downs. For, you see, nature is beautiful…and fearsome.



  • I remember the story (and title) of your move from town and seeing the house for the first time. It has stuck with me through the years. I remember my own fears about leaving town life for country life. We have been here for 8 years and I love it more every year.

    • You’re my first commenter! Yes, it certainly was a rough adjustment. Some days I think I am still adjusting. I’m so glad you’re happy with where you are. Living in the countryside teaches us so much.

    • Thank you, Rhonda. Perhaps we will get a chance to chat someday.

  • Lovely site my lovely Michele. Working side by side we learned much from each other but now I get to see you everyday (although it’s virtual) and I get to continue learning from you. Thank you, thank you for inspiring so many people and now even more! God Bless you as you Bless others!

    • ❤️Hi Robin, those were fun times when we worked together. I am so glad God brought you into my life.

  • I admire you for taking the risk. Whenever we change our lifestyle, there’s great risk involved. Thank you for being a lovely example for me and so many others. I know there are really hard days. Prayers that the lovely outweighs the difficult.


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