03 May 2007

Gracious Living

I came across a term the other day that I just love. Gracious living. It perfectly describes the way I want to live my life. My husband and I have one major difference between us... I am high energy and he is low energy. And so he wonders why so many seemingly small things are so important to me. When my kids have a birthday party, I go all out. Not in extravagance, but in considering every detail and in making the most of it. It brings me such joy to make that day special and unique for each of them. When holidays come around, I go all out. I make fun school lunches on Valentine's Day. And cupid comes and visits. We do the Great Pumpkin for Halloween. At Christmastime we donate old toys and clothes to charity. We bake a pass along plate for our neighbors. For Earth Day this year we made some changes around our home to save energy. And next year I'd like to take the kids to a park and clean it up. When we have people over for dinner, I go all out. Drink from wine glasses, even if it's just water. Have fresh cut flowers on the table. Listen to nice music. Light the candles. Sometimes I go all out just to celebrate life. Life is good!

I like to make the most of everything, I suppose. And to me, that is gracious living - finding joy in everything! I think joyful moments need to be accentuated. Some days I wake up with an extra pep in my step, and I just have an urge to try and make that day as special as possible. We might have a nice big breakfast, or go for a nice scenic drive. We might have a cake and candles after dinner. Just because. Party hats are even a possibility!

I had a discussion with MOFs recently about embracing your existence, and I think these are some good ways to do that. What's wrong with staying in your pj's all day and having a bake fest? Watching movies and eating loads of popcorn with your kids? If you ever have an urge to do something spontaneous like that, don't push it out of your mind. Abandon responsibility for just a day and do it. We have a pullout sofa in the playroom and sometimes I like to make up the bed and crawl into it with a pile of books for each of us and just veg. That's gracious living. We have a nice big back yard and occasionally I have the urge to go out and swing, or lie in the grass and look up at the sky. We have a great view of the stars and my kids love to go out there (if the bugs aren't too bad) and stare at the sky. That's gracious living.

I am grateful for life. I have down days like everyone else, but I am grateful for life. And there is so much to be done with it. And enjoying all the small moments is how I show my gratitude for it.

And this is how my children show gratitude for it. As you can see, we are healthy again! Yay!

(You'll need to press stop on my music to hear video)


Our next installment of Woman to Woman is on May 8. The topic will be Tips and Tricks: Getting the Family Together. In today's lifestyle, it's sometimes difficult to get the whole family together at the same time. Kids' sports, music lessons, church meetings and many other things keep families on the go. What have you found to be successful tools for bringing your family together during those times when it seems that everyone is going different directions? If you are Empty-Nesters, what did you do when your children were still at home? What works today for getting together with your children and grandchildren?


meta said...

so great!! we love having 'dance parties' at our house too. it's pretty much a daily routine when I need to make dinner. MY kids also LOVE to jam out on my husbands full drum set. kinda noisey for the neighbors though. it was fun to hear your voice too - it's been so long!!

sheri said...

Oh Lei, I love you! You've made me feel so much better about still being in my pj's and stinky at 11am. My back is freaking out again this week and I've been frustrated about not getting things done around here. But why? Just enjoy the moments we have. It will all get done, right? (I'll keep chanting this to myself all day to stay sane)

Morning Glory said...

I love your thoughts on living graciously -- you're so right about it. Life is precious! I wish everyone would read your blog because you say such wonderful things.

That's some serious arm action your little guy has in that video. Very cool!

Lucy said...


You seem so polished and refined that it is almost intimidating to make a comment on your blog. But then you let your kids dance to White Wedding from Billy Idol and I think it's all o.k. again.

Yes on gracious living! Yes on dancing in the living room!

And your kids can definitely move!

Amber said...

Fantastic post as always, Lei. "Gracious living." I love that. How different each of our days would be if we truly lived with that as our moniker.

I got a good chuckle over the diffence how you and your hubby approach things because we're the same way.

Montserrat said...

Ooo, I like that, "Gracious Living." Wonderful post! It is all about taking the moment and appreciating it.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Life is too short not to live graciously and in the moment. Each day I am trying to enjoy my kids more and more and I am trying to learn what to say no to so I can spend more time with them.

scribbit said...

I think graciousness is something that's been rather lost in general in our society, particularly among women. I think it's seen as June-Cleaver weakness to be gracious.

Fabiola - fabiolachiarelli@hotmail.com said...

Oh Lei, this post is just wonderful.
It is perfect for everyone (like me and my husband) who are always worried about our responsabilities and we forget to just let it go sometimes.
I will send your blog link to him, so he can get inspired as well.


utmommy said...

I got up showered and put my pajamas back on today. Sometimes you just gotta do stuff like that!

kfk said...

Great fun! Wish I could live graciously every day. You definitely have much more energy than I!