Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Good Life ~ My Answer

(Punctuated by random old photos, just for fun.) (I asked the question here and here.)

Nature's Painting

What is the good life?

(Priority: living within God’s will for our lives, having all of the following in the context of a relationship with God)


Gratitude is living life with an attitude of rejoicing and thankfulness. I love the idea of “festival” from the quote below.

Gratitude is an ability to appreciate the little, beautiful gifts in life and celebrate them, even (especially) in the midst of difficulty.

Dinner Table 


Wonder is allowing ourselves to live in a state of awe and delight at the miracles surrounding us, such as God’s spectacular creation.



Curiosity is an insatiable appetite for ideas, people, places, the things that make us human, and the history that encompasses the story of all.

Art Study 

Deep, long-term relationships

Deep, long-term relationships are ones in which someone knows the very essence of you (in which you cannot pretend to be someone you are not, in which there is an element of honesty and vulnerability), shares history with you, and loves you unconditionally. These can be family, husband, and/or closest friends. (I love the idea of “taming” from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.) Children have the added dimension of being sacrificial relationships. A life is also made richer by living in community with others.

the family that reads together... 

Forgiveness and Grace

Forgiveness and grace give you freedom from anger, blame, and resentment.


Freedom from crushing debt (or crushing work hours, or crushing worry about paying the bills) is particularly valuable, as is having time for true leisure. (A law degree, for instance, can be a form of slavery if one is shackled with student loans, exhausting work hours, and an obligation to continue in the field even if it proves incompatible with current life needs.)

The Good Stuff


Creativity can involve designing, creating/building, performing, or restoring. Gardening, art, writing…

Fall Banner 


Ministry is a giving of oneself for the benefit of others, to guard against self-absorption. This includes prayer on the behalf of others.


Health is a willingness to do our share of the work of being our best, mind/body/soul, even if we are presented with challenges.

Levi swimming 

Meaningful Work

(Or an ability to make any work meaningful, whether it be supporting a family or ministering to our co-workers.)

Physical Activity and Fresh Air

I think this one is self-explanatory. [grin]

MHC 039


What would you add to or subtract from my list? What does “the good life” mean to you?


Random Thoughts

A husband, children, and good health are things that I am immensely grateful for and that make my life good, but they are not necessarily things that one has control over. Certainly, one can work towards those things, but I would hope that ‘the good life’ is possible for my children even if the right person doesn’t come into their lives or they are unable to have children or they struggle with health issues. I don’t want my kids waiting around for their ‘good life’ to begin. My family is also a HUGE blessing in my life, but family relationships are not guaranteed even if one is willing to her part in working at them.

I recently read this comment somewhere (can’t remember where): “I'm so sick of student debt. It is creating a generation of indentured servants. It is the only debt that isn't covered by bankruptcy, so even in the absolute WORST of times, you still have it hanging over your head. We were young and foolish and took out loans for law school, and they have crippled us. We are doing everything in our power to keep our kids from having student loans so they don't go out into the world encumbered by debt.”

“Instead, Pieper maintains that the arts are most definitely rooted in leisure. Pieper insists that we have forgotten the true meaning of leisure, from which springs richness, fullness of life, existential meaning, and happiness. Leisure is not idleness or even relaxation (both of which Pieper ironically says are other forms of work). Instead, leisure is the openness to the given world, an attitude of considering the things before us in a celebratory spirit. Ultimately, Pieper maintains, leisure is rooted in the idea of festival! Festival is humanity’s chance to rejoice in our being and offer thanks for our lives; it is the joyful homage we bring to the Creator for the harmony of his world and our place in it." ~From Artists: Don’t Just Work; Be At Leisure by Somer Salomon @ Transpositions

From The Little Prince:

“Good morning,” said the little prince.

“Good morning,” said the merchant.

This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.

“Why are you selling those?” asked the little prince.

“Because they save a tremendous amount of time,” said the merchant. “Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week.”

“And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?”

“Anything you like…”

“As for me,” said the little prince to himself, “if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water.”


Beach Delights

Several years ago I posted a list of “educational goals” for my children, and these go along with the theme of “the good life” so I’ll post them again here.

Educational Goals for My Children, or

How to Be a Human Being,

Capable of Living a Rich Life:

Trust God.

Be curious. About everything.

Read. Read. Read.

Help the underdog.

Entertain thoughts.

Set goals.

Observe nature.

Have compassion.

Discuss ideas.

Do hard things.


Build. Paint. Plant. Draw. Sing. Bake. Play an instrument.

Care for your body.

Follow through.

Appreciate beauty.

Ask questions.

Take responsibility.

Eat good food.

Play hard.

Plant a garden.

Try new things.

Share with others.

Manage your personal finances. Well.

Solve problems.

Plan for the future.

Keep house. Well.

Prepare for emergencies.

Nurture relationships.


Give of yourself.

Value truth.

Keep your word.

Smell the flowers.

Pick up after yourself.

Use time wisely.

Encourage others.

Laugh. A lot.

Brave storms.

Cultivate a spirit of gratitude.

Find passion for life.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I've been lazy in leaving comments this past year, but I look forward to every post and these last few have been just as wonderful as always. I always pore over your family photos and admire each member of your extended family. I wondered in the book shot who was making everyone smile and laugh, was it your Dad or Ben? And I know what you mean about enjoying your Lola, my youngest Laura is such a joy to me as well. Loved her little comment about life and Life of Fred, she's soaking it all up! :)