Catching up on simple pleasures this morning. I woke, again, to the purrs of our little Milly next to my pillow. Always a joy to hear that soft little vibration, and feel her tiny cold-wet nose and whiskers brush against my cheek, rousing me back to consciousness following a deep night’s rest.
As my eyes adjusted to the early morning light, I noticed a rosey glow around me and turned to face the window. I was immediately taken by the majestic sky before me and jumped from bed to snap a few photos. Just gorgeous. God’s simple gift to start my day in gratitude.
It lasted only briefly as the sun lazily rose in the sky, but long enough for me to breathe the cold morning air deeply into my lungs and open my heart and mind to a fresh new day laid out before me.
I couldn’t help but pause to give thanks for the amazing beauty of this fresh morning slate. And a simple two word phrase quickly came to mind, “But God…” There is no worry, struggle, or challenge I will face today, followed by those one syllable words, that I will not have the strength to overcome.
So, I look forward, setting my eyes on my goals and knowing that there will be more beauty in my day if I am aware and open myself up to receive it. The simple joys in life that can be missed if we are not intentional about slowing down and seeing the small pleasures in our day.
Slow your pace. Be intentional in your plans today, and each day. Make it a habit to look up and notice what’s around you. Really see it. What is right outside your front door today?
We can move through life so quickly on our personal missions, driven by our to-do list, obligations, and responsibilities. But God…
“From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.”
Psalms 50:2 NLT
Being grateful for what you have in life is one of the easiest (and best!) ways to simplify. When you are genuinely happy with what you have, no matter how much or how little, you will find that you live with true contentment.
On this Thanksgiving Day, pause for a moment and think about the blessings that have been bestowed upon you. Jot them in your journal, giving thanks for the simple things that bring you joy.
The joy of a beautiful, frost-covered morning.
A soft kitty nuzzling me awake as I snuggle down deeper into the warm blankets.
Quiet, peaceful time to study my Bible and reflect on God’s goodness.
Watching my daughter become more graceful and confident as she dances on her Pointe shoes.
A hot, steaming cup of coffee to soothe me into a more wakened state.
A dear friend to share in my health and fitness quest.
Talking to my husband about our plans for the house and what projects to start next.
Knowing my mom is rising early to cook us all a lovely meal today.
Reaching the ability to have much contentment in the small things.
After revealing a bit about our spending habits, (in my previous post Spending Significantly Less) it makes sense to think about what our true priorities are. Not what the world dictates that they sihould be, but what matters most to you deep within your heart. If you delve in to find that your biggest and only priorities are sustenance, a few articles of clothing, and a roof over your head, congratulations! You are already a true minimalist and need to read no further. But seriously, creating a simpler life does not mean that you must let go of quality of life.
You can have things, you can do things, and you can dream and reach goals while leading a simpler life style. You may want to pause here and jot down in your journal what you know to be some of your personal priorities. Mine look like this (in no particular order):
My faith: My faith is a tremendously important factor in who I am. In my belief system, my moral compass, and the spiritual family I have been blessed with in my church and growth group there.
My family: My days revolve around the needs and desires of my immediate family. I love them intensely and feel the pull to do so much more for them. I truly want to focus more on doing fun things with my hubby, and nurturing that delicate relationship with my teenage daughter. (And don’t even think of doing anything to cause my Mama Bear to come out!)
Hospitality & EncouragementofOthers: Wouldn’t it be wonderful to honestly have an open door policy with no worries of your stuff embarrassing you? This is my number one goal for simplifying our home. I want my family to feel ensconced in peace when they are at home. I want to be able to have anyone, at anytime, stop at our house and be warmly welcomed and invited in to sit down and chat awhile. I want our home to be a refuge and a safe place for kids to hang out, and neighbors, friends, and family to relax, feel welcomed and catch-up.
Finances: Well, you already know that I am not fond of this subject. But some things that are really important to me here are spending locally, buying with less packaging, gardening to provide a supplemental food source, cooking and baking more from scratch, and learning more ways of sustainability.
Health & Wellness: Sigh. I definitely need to spend more time taking better care of myself and feeding my family healthy meals. More organization, and planning, would go a long way in this area!
Our Home: What can I say? This one’s a biggie! This is by far the greatest obstacle to reaching my goal of a simple life. For those of you that are not aware, we made quite a downsize in our home about 4 years ago. This happened quickly and a lot of baggage (from a much larger space) came along with us to our small and cozy home, without a chance to really go through it. Oh. My.
My Work: Over the years I have spent my “life away from my family” by putting my efforts toward work at a non-profit organization. Though I still would not choose to work if I didn’t have to, it has evolved into something I can truly be proud of. Working in a non-profit that serves kids, we are making an undeniable difference in their lives. There has been considerable change, and growth, in me, as well, as I welcome new challenges and opportunities into my days. It has pulled me out of my shy turtle shell, and generated much confidence.
Unfortunately, during this season of life, despite knowing my priorities, I can never seem to stretch myself thin enough and I know I need to simplify further. It takes effort. It is not as easily done as simplifying sounds to be. I find that, like restoring a long neglected home, once you begin to tear down one wall, you find everything else that it effects and the project seems to hinge on so much more.
Simplifying life is much like that. But it’s time to dig in and get serious about our renovation project. For example, last night it was late and I was lying on the couch watching reruns of Law & Order. I thought to myself – I could accomplish so much more if I wasn’t so exhausted all of the time. Immediately I was convicted with the reality that if I went to bed earlier I would have more energy. How could I go to bed earlier with all that needs done? I could plan better. Utilizing my planner and scheduling in time and ideas for things of importance – and going back to it to look at and do what I have written down!
Have you narrowed down the things that are truly important to you? It’s time to break them down further into segments of action that you can begin to work toward. Those items on your list should be receiving regular attention – and if they do – will aid in moving you toward your own goals of simplicity. Let’s renovate!