Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Living the Thoughtful Life

Last night, after hubby, my daughter, and I finished putting fresh mulch on our flower beds, we decided to take a well-deserved break and sit in our backyard to enjoy nature. It was a gorgeous evening with mild temperatures, a cool breeze, and blue skies. I watched a cardinal frolic in the tree branches, saw a black-capped chickadee check out the birdhouse we recently hung (he must be house-hunting!), and listened to the different sounds of nature.

It was glorious.

Right before bedtime, I snuggled into my reading chair in my office and wrote in my journal. This office is actually a dream come true for me. I've always wanted a space to call my own for writing, and with the exception of a few months before my daughter was born when I had a small room (before it was turned into the baby's room), I haven't had a room of my own. As I scribbled away in my journal, a deep sense of satisfaction filled me. This room was mine, decorated just like I wanted, a haven for my creativity and my soul.

These two events - soaking up nature and soaking up the ambience of my new office - made me realize that I strive to live a thoughtful life. What do I mean by that? Perhaps it can be described as choosing to enjoy and embrace the simple pleasures of life.

Too often, we become wrapped up in our world's culture that demands we continually strive to have more - whether it be more stuff, more money, or more success. We want perfection in our body, our spirits, our careers, our kids, our spouses, our houses, and on and on.

We need to stop thinking this way.

My office isn't perfect. My house isn't perfect. My backyard isn't perfect. I don't have the latest styles, the brand new car, or the high-paying job. And even though my bank account wishes it had a little more in it, I am incredibly thankful for everything that I have.

I don't have "perfect" in the conventional meaning of the word. Instead, I have my own version of perfect. My hubby fits me perfectly. He understands me like no one else can. My daughter is a richly creative, talented, beautiful little girl and she is perfect in my eyes. My house may be older with cracks and chips and dents, but it is perfect for my family and I.

This version of perfect - your own version - comes from changing your thinking.

Living a thoughtful life means you think about the simple things and how they enrich your life. It means you sit outside on a balmy spring evening and listen to the birds, talk with your family, and soak up God's beautiful creation. It means you stop wanting for more and start being thankful for what you have. It means you believe you are already a success no matter if you don't have your perfect job or your perfect house. It means if you have children, they are perfect just the way they are even if they draw on the walls or leave their socks on the floor or have to be reminded to brush their teeth every night.

Living a thoughtful life means you are blessed and you know it.

It's not easy to change our way of thinking, especially in a culture such as ours, but it's possible. How? By looking at things differently, by seeing them in a new light, and by embracing the blessings we have and forgetting about the things we don't have.

We have a choice. We can be miserable in how we live because we don't live in a new house or have the latest plasma screen TV or haven't taken a vacation to Europe yet, OR, we can embrace what we have - and celebrate it.


  1. Wonderful post Melissa - you are growing wise indeed and have discovered the real treasures in life. I am so proud to call you my daughter - love you lots and sending hugs:-)

  2. I so second your thoughts. So much of our lives and our attitudes comes from the perspective we choose to see it through. We can decide to see the beauty in the every day, and are all the richer for it :)

  3. oh yes, what a wonderful post.

    I have Simple abundance - a book by Sarah ban Breathnach beside my bed which I dip into sometimes at night.

    And how lovely to have your space to write in. I write at an island in our kitchen, looking out at the hills and countryside in front of our barn.


  4. Absolutely wonderful post Melissa-and this line is true for me too:
    I don't have "perfect" in the conventional meaning of the word. Instead, I have my own version of perfect.

    I think part of the reason I appreciate the Greatest Generation so much is that they seemed to be grateful for what they had-even though it was far less than people have today.

    I am going to think about this wonderful post for a long time-great writing!!

  5. Thank you, Mom! But I had to get all this wisdom from some thank YOU! ;-)

    Joanne - I think that's what you do so well at your blog - see the beauty in everyday experiences. You've certainly enriched my life with your amazing blog posts!

    Bluestocking - It sounds like a wonderful place to write - looking out at the beautiful countryside. I love to go back to the family farm and gaze at the wide open stretches of very peaceful.

    Valerie - Aww, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I heartily agree with you that the Greatest Generation certainly knew how to appreciate what they had. We all need to take a lesson from them!

  6. "Living a thoughtful life means you are blessed and you know it."

    Well stated! I used to think I've been lucky, but I've grown to understand that I've been blessed.

  7. Jasmina - Thank you! I think it is a defining moment in our lives when we realize how blessed we truly are.

  8. Ah, what is perfect? I think its like beauty, in the eyes of the beholder. Great thoughtful post my dear. I agree celebrate what you have, embrace it!! There's so many others who don't have half of what we have, we think we have so little but its not true.

  9. What a wonderful post.

    The older I get the more I realize that happiness is enjoying what I have right now.

  10. Lovely, lovely post. The older I get, the more I see that the most important things are gratitude for what we have, and kindness.

  11. Talei - Our society has a way of telling us we need more when in reality, we have plenty already.

    Debs - Agreed. I don't want to spend the rest of my life "waiting" to find happiness! Time to celebrate it now!

    Christine - I think you're right. Gratitude and kindness are incredibly important in this cynical world.

  12. I have my own version of perfect - loved that line.

  13. Writing brings a sense of clarity in my being. The difficult part for me is to be thoughtful and yet be able to function each day. I find clarity in writing.


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