Inspiring Gratitude || 6 Questions to Help You Stay Grateful When You Want More

A slow life is a grateful life. 

Or, at least that's where our intentions lie. It seems that the vast majority of people hoping to simplify their lives are aiming (even subconsciously) to live a more grateful life too. 

However, a grateful life isn't for the faint of heart. Slow living forces you to examine your life, your priorities, and your possessions in a very raw and honest way. You must question your motives. Why do I want to add another chunky sweater to my wardrobe? Why do I seem to always overcommit myself? Why do I want to keep up with the "Joneses" so badly? You must take the path (much) less traveled. 

We simplify, it seems, to purge ourselves not just of our stuff, but to filter our very hearts as well. I firmly believe that minimalism starts in the heart — if you've gone through my intro to minimalism course "The Art of Simple Living", you're more than familiar with that phrase. If you're drawn to minimalism for the aesthetics alone, that's great. (Heaven knows I love a beautifully curated capsule wardrobe more than most.) But for the vast majority of people I've encountered, they approach minimalism/slow living out of necessity, the search for contentment, and for bettering themselves. 

Simplification is the process they work through to find contentment, to design a life they love, to learn to not keep up with the Joneses and forge their own path. 

That can only happen from a heart that isn't constantly wanting more. "More" in the physical and social sense. More stuff + a fuller schedule = success according to our culture. But when your mantra is "less but better" you're bound to be more grateful as well. 

Living a slow life usually equates to living a more intentionally grateful life. But taking the path less traveled can be hard. Here are six questions to ask yourself to inspire gratitude in your day to day.

I catch myself struggling with gratitude all the time, despite how much I've minimized. I still occasionally buy things I really shouldn't and forget to examine my intentions behind the purchase. I still loose the gratitude behind my lifestyle choice — especially as my husband and I work to sell our house and move to our dream location. Gratitude seems even harder when you're in those pesky "in between phases". But I'm working daily to bring thankfulness into my life, even when it doesn't come naturally (which is funny, because really, what don't I have to be thankful for?) 

Here are a few questions I'm training myself to ask to make sure my choices come from a place of gratitude. 

1. Am I buying to fill a heart void or a physical void?

2. Have I said 'thank you' for what I already have? 

3. What am I taking for granted? 

4. How has my life changed for the better in the past year? 

5. What am I thankful for that isn't material?

6. How can I say thank you more than "I need/I want"? 

Ask yourself some of the questions above and let me know your responses in the comments or in an email if you'd rather! 

#30daysoflittlethings Week Three Linkup and Recap

We've almost made it through the whole month, friends! Can you believe Thanksgiving is this week? Evie turns 2 on Friday, Aj's aunt is visiting, my family is coming into town, I have to figure out to be enough of an adult to host Thanksgiving at my house, and plan a birthday party. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose life is about to get crazy in the midst of holiday hubbub- so now, more than ever, I think it is so important to slow down (if only in our minds) enough to be thankful. We can easily miss the little moments and tiny thank you's simply by being too busy- so that is my goal for the next few weeks. Join me? 

Again, this challenge has been so fun for me. I hope you all are loving it too. 

This week I was thankful for:

  • The uniqueness of small towns. Though our town may not have many coffee shops or grocery stores or much else to boast about, for that matter, it does have a few rare gems (like this little "time traveling" phone booth full of books). 
  • The smell of Fall. I made homemade chai using my mom's recipe last night. There are few things that make me happier than smelling ginger, cinnamon and lots of spices all boiling in my kitchen. 
  • Our trip to Monterey is a memory now and I'm grateful for it. 
  • The warmth of our house on freezing cold days is something I hope I never take for granted. 
  • And conversely, sunshine that allows us to get outside. Because NE is bipolar, I swear. 

Now it's your turn: 

Add your links below!

#30daysoflittlethings Week One Recap

One week of our #30daysoflittlethings project down! I've loved seeing all of your photos and can't wait to read everyone's posts! If you're just joining in, you can read the original post here and follow along daily with me on Instagram. Basically, we are all just trying to be grateful for the small things. 

I'm currently in CA with AJ (see what I did there...?) and probably won't be interacting much until Wednesday or Thursday, but PLEASE post your links at the bottom of this post in the link-up. It's oh so easy and will be so encouraging for everyone participating! The link-up will stay open all week, so no pressure to get it up today. 

My little things: 

  • Safe travel. AJ and I haven't flown anywhere together since we met in Latvia, so this is kind of a special adventure. 
  • Moms. My momma is currently watching my sweet girls (and kitten and dog and house) while we are away and I'm so very thankful for her help!
  • Capsule Wardrobes. Seriously, I'm thankful for them. It has made getting ready for this trip a whole heckofalot easier- less focus on the clothes and fitting everything into a suitcase, and more focus on my man. 
  • Age. Another weird thing to be grateful for. BUT. We had a little "Friendsgiving" gathering at my house on Monday and there were women from all walks of life there. I call them all my friends and am amazed at how much we can learn from those who are older, younger, more mature, more adventurous, more experienced....than us. Friends have no age limit. 

Your turn: