The Simple Life – Gratefulness

Grateful – Appreciative; thankful. Expressing gratitude. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Sometimes, we forget the meaning of simple words. When living simply we go beyond ridding ourselves of unnecessary material and non-material items, and as a natural next step, we end up practicing frugality. It has been my experience. We start appreciating everything in our lives, develop a thankful heart, and start expressing our gratitude in many ways.

In embracing simplicity, I started appreciating my environment and the things that comprised it, material and unmaterial. I view the things that I had learn to appreciate during the process in a different light. These are not only things that serve a purpose and function, but also enrich my life. I am grateful for what we have, and for each day that I am given. I started operating in gratefulness, in gladness, and respect of the gifts I had been entrusted. In the process, I learned to become a steward of these blessings. In mind and heart, I went from ownership of things to stewardship. Owning became less important, and generosity towards myself and others went along with feeling grateful for what God had given me. My focus slowly switched from accumulating to a more giving/generous disposition because despite crazy challenging circumstances, I felt blessed and not lacking; I started operating from a place of abundance. I switched my attention to gratefulness and now I focus on what’s important – experiences, people, values … Things are enjoyed and shared because they take second place. I feel blessed and grateful for it. I have given new meaning to our possessions – these do not control my attention anymore; instead, these serve us, our lifestyle, because while embracing a simple life, I am operating under gratefulness and generosity with myself and others.

Every person takes as long as needed to embrace simple living; after all, it is an individual process that develops in many layers, steps, and what fits me doesn’t necessarily will fit another person. In the writing of these series, I come from a place of understanding my own journey, with the hope of inspiring.

Photo by M.A.D.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you – Matthew 6:33

The Simple Life – Frugality

Frugality – Thrifty. Not very abundant; meager; economical. (American Heritage Dictionary)

After reading the above definition of frugality, no wonder why many people stay away from frugality, as far away as possible. It is very negative, and also depressing. I just don’t agree with that definition, although I will go along with economical, and maybe thrifty. Many people equal frugality with lack of something. The word has been given a negative connotation, one of deprivation, and even poverty. It couldn’t be further from the true meaning.

A person who consciously and voluntarily practices frugality does not suffer lack of something, instead maximizes the enjoyment of it. Maximizing use and purpose, as well as longevity of an item not only saves money but also “honors” the item and our living space/surroundings. Being frugal goes beyond minimizing expense; it also means approaching the items we use in our daily living with gratefulness and best disposition. Best use and the extension/expansion of it falls under this frugal approach. When embracing a simple life, simplifying our surroundings and the way we live, a natural shift to frugality happens. Wastefulness becomes alien to us, and instead, the things we bring into our home fit well with our lifestyle. There is no need for the unnecessary, duplicity, or even impressive name brands. Instead, the focus is on how these items can fit and serve me and my family better, and how these can improve and simplify my lifestyle and surroundings.

Frugality goes beyond the financial scope, although for most of us it might start that way. When we embrace a simpler lifestyle, we become more creative in the way we use what we own, whether these objects are practical, functional, or just bring pleasure/beauty into our space. Frugality goes beyond our material and financial spaces; it becomes a way of life, parallel, and part of living a simple life. Frugality sparks creativity in finding new ways for best use and possibilities. When approached in a positive way, frugality and generosity go together, along with gratefulness.

Now, does that sound so bad?

Photo by M.A.D.

Less Will Have to Be More

Glancing back this month and reviewing our budget, I realized that expenses are on the up and up. Not that we are spending more, but that things are costing more. If you have been paying attention, not to the news but to the world around you, you might have noticed inflation creeping in. If you pay attention at grocery prices from month to month, you already know it. When people refer to “less is more,” they usually do so in the context of aesthetics, décor, clutter… I think that with our current “real” state of the economy, not what the news are reporting daily, but what you see people live day by day, less will have to be more. If you have no clue of what I am talking about, on your next shopping trip to the grocery store (a definite need) be a bit more observant and glance at people’s grocery carts on line ready for checkout. It is an eye opener. When people are downsizing basic needs, it is a sign of how real things are becoming. It is true that the pandemic caused much damage in many households, and for many people income dropped, while for others, unemployment assistance became a blessing, increasing their income compared to the job they had before being unemployed, hence why many people are not interested in returning to work right away, but that is another subject. So for many others, less will have to become more. Less groceries will have to be stretched out for more people/servings for a longer time. If you think that the pandemic already did this in 2020, wrecking people’s lives, incomes … you are right. Post pandemic it will be inflation.

For us who have been around in the 1980’s, we remember inflation. Interest rates to buy a home were at 14% or more, and the cost of living was high. In my opinion, and I am not a financial expert, only someone who observes life, the difference this time around will be that the salaries have remained pretty much the same since that time while everything else has gone up in price, and possibly much more if inflation hits us hard. For the younger generation, it will be an eye opener, as their purchase power will be challenged much more than it already is. Old timers will not be as shocked but will see the difference, especially, if they are on a fixed income. What a recipe for scrambled eggs, hopefully not kept in one basket. Maybe it will be a lesson in grateful living and appreciation of what one already has, and going back to basics.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Matthew 6:26 NIV

The Magic of an Ordinary Life

I am sharing with you something special today. I came across this YouTube video by The Elliott Homestead, and as I watched it, I felt a sense of serenity, peace, joy, beauty, gratefulness, and love. I decided to share it here because its main message is so beautiful and true. I hope it inspires you to appreciate the beauty that is all around us every single day. Thank you to The Elliot Homestead for making this lovely video and sharing it with the world. It truly touched me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.