Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Good Life: simple luxuries

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
- Melody Beattie

I'm a true believer that most everyone can live "the good life" whatever their circumstances or financial situation. For me, life's luxuries are in the form of simple things like an excellent cup of coffee while leisurely looking through a stack of magazines, abandoning the day's schedule and taking a long walk without time constraints or thoughts of how many calories I'm burning, writing a thoughtful note to an old friend just because you want them to know you care...

You can fill your life with culture by visiting art museums, free concerts in the park, or trying a new recipe from another country at home. When you appreciate and enjoy the simple things that make an average day feel special, you learn to live without longing for more.

"An elegant sufficiency, content, Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, Ease and alternate labour, useful life, Progressive virtue, and approving Heaven!"
James Thomson, 1700-1748, Spring

Strive to include a little bit of glamour into each day. Here are some small things I do that have a big impact on my spirit and well being:

Start each day with a deep breathe and a thankful attitude. If you begin on a positive note, it will be easier to accept the day's challenges.

Read an inspirational quote or devotional passage to reference when you feel frustrated or anxious.

Sort through old photos and pull out favorites. Frame them or place them in a basket or pretty bowl on a table to glance at whenever you feel the urge.

Save old letters, pretty cards and small mementos that remind you of vacations, fun times with friends, or those who live far away. Put them in a pretty box to pull it out once in awhile to remind you of favorite memories.

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need".- Cicero

Buy fresh flowers (or cut from your garden) and fill a vase in your living room, bathroom or kitchen for no reason at all other than to enjoy them yourself. There's nothing better than living with beautiful things found in nature.

Stay up late on a week night, make popcorn or brownies and watch a movie you've been dying to see but haven't.

Pick your favorite reality tv guilty pleasure- mine was recently the Bachelorette- and make a date each week to watch with a friend or friends who share the same obsession. (You always feel less guilty when others are watching too.) Oh, and make snacks of course.

Bake chocolate chip cookies on a rainy day just to eat the dough.

Start organizing your closet and don't stop until you're done! Give away old "treasures" to Goodwill.

"With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy."
- Lope de Vega
Create a "Style File" filled with fashion ideas, exercise tips, pictures of hair cuts and hair colors you admire in magazines, decorating ideas... Look through your findings when you need some inspiration or are stuck in a rut.

Keep a list of movies you want to watch and/or books you want to read. Reference it next time you are standing in Borders or Blockbuster and know there are things you want but can't quite remember!

Completely redecorate a room using things you already own. Move things from other rooms in the house, bring things up from the basement...don't spend a cent. Marvel at how a new perspective can bring upon an instant transformation.

Light candles, listen to music and just be still for an evening.

"The simplest things give me ideas."
- Joan Miro

It's amazing to me how lighting can afffect a mood. I always have my lamps on dim at night to envoke a cave-like atmosphere. It makes me feel relaxed and prepares me for rest.

Read a book for hours on a rainy day. Get lost in your imagination.

Skip cooking a meal for dinner and serve a lot of favorite snacks instead: olives, assorted cheeses, french bread and olive oil, hummus, caprese salad...it's easy but feels like a real treat.

Search for the "perfect gift" for friends and family all year round. It's so fun to find things for loved ones throughout the year, hide them away and then look through at Christmas, birthday or baby shower times. Your gifts for others are much more thoughtful and personable when you aren't rushed to buy them at the last minute.
"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."- Robert Brault

1 comment:

Brad & Tasha said...

I love this blog! I was linked to it from Kathy T.'s blog. :) Also... Aimee, do you remember me? I'm your old neighbor from Richmond Street... oh how I remember the day's of making bracelets using your beads that you kept in the pill bottles!! Anywho.. I hope all you girls are having a great day!!