June 27, 2013

simplicity and gratitude.

There are a lot of things that I try to do every day:

workout (almost never happens)
drink enough water
eat some fruits and veggies
go to bed earlier (rarely happens) 
tell Nick & Alden that I love them (this always happens :) 
clean something in the house
snuggle the dogs

Many days, I only get a few of those things accomplished but there's one thing that I get done every. single. day. 


I practice gratitude every day and it makes me happier, calmer and more peaceful in the life I am building. 

I am a naturally anxious and restless being. I'm always thinking 10 steps ahead, worrying about and planning for all the contingencies and actively working towards the next thing. If I'm not doing all of this stuff in my head, I feel unprepared and unproductive. (I know, I'm working on it...)

Practicing gratitude has helped me to find a balance in both my emotional and my tangible life. When I actively send thanks out into the world for the multitude of positives in my life, I find myself smiling more easily, making more memories, focusing on the meaningful things instead of the menial things. I don't mind quite so much that I've been wishing for new paint on the walls, a piece of new furniture for the bedroom or those beautiful sandals I saw in the shop window. 

All of a sudden, the universe responds to my thankfulness by reminding me of the precious smile I see on my little boy's face every morning, the unwavering love and support that I get from my husband, the cozy and comfortable house that we have built into our home, our full pantry and clean drinking water, the clothes in my closet, our wonderful families, our health, and the promise of our careers. I'm reminded of the perfect little moments that all of us have every day but are often times too busy to appreciate. The bird on the windowsill, the playful bounce of a puppy with his toy, the sweet smell of fresh cut grass on a beautiful summer day.

Being grateful makes me feel better about not always moving, not always working on something, it makes me happier to be where I am. 

These are all things that I am thankful for and that make me a better person, every day, for recognizing.

With this gratitude comes a desire for simplicity. 

I am now, as my husband calls it, an anti-hoarder. Haha. That hasn't always been the case (just ask my parents about all the times they couldn't walk through my room because there was so much STUFF everywhere). My appreciation of simplicity, both practically and emotionally, has grown from maturity and experience. Case in point: I am on a rampage to use up all of the cleaning products we have in our house so that I can clean out the cabinet and replace them with one all-purpose cleaner and can't wait for the day when I can stand in front of that cabinet and gaze at that singular bottle sitting in an otherwise empty space. I'm even more excited to find a more useful use for all of that space that we will create. I'm an odd breed, these things excite me :)

Ultimately, being grateful for all that we have has made me more willing to live with less. I realize that we could be doing so much more meaningful things with our space, time, money and energy. Less clutter means less cleaning which means more time to spend with Alden. Less junk in the closets means better storage solutions which leads to better organization and an easier logistical life. Less extra food in the pantry means less waste, probably less calories and more money in our budget for other things we want to do (like travel, gym memberships or community center events with Alden). 

Yes, I still wish to one day have our dream home and I'm still pining for that gorgeous Prada bag (maybe in 10 years...) but one day at a time, I'm sending just a little bit more "thank you" into the world and maybe that will make a difference. 

I'm hoping to begin a little series here on the blog, that I'm going to call Simple. I'll find projects in our lives that I believe would benefit from a simplicity makeover and will report on the progress that I make. Maybe by the end of the year, I'll  have worked my way through the house and I'll be able to tell if it was worthwhile in a larger sense but in the meantime, at least we'll have clean closets and an organized garage :) and that is something to be grateful for. 

much love, L&N

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