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Slowing Down to Be Thankful at Home

“We’ve paid for our speeded-up lives with a loss in the quality of our time. Our chronic lack of time has robbed us of the ability to understand that the truth of living is found in the experience of being, and that life cannot be put on hold while we’re trying to produce more.”

Alexandra Stoddard, Gracious Living in a New World

I started The Inspired Room in 2007 to share my love of decorating and home, but even back then more important to me than decorating ideas or new projects or buying more things was the idea of living authentically. With Thanksgiving here in the U.S. right around the corner, it’s the season we are encouraged to slow down long enough count to our blessings.

But living authentically with gratitude for what I already have at home is something I want to be mindful of all year round.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying our homes. I love decorating because it is something that is so fun for me. It’s a hobby and my job. There is nothing wrong with wanting a pretty home, a clean home, an organized home or a home with new furniture.

But when the wantingdoing or getting starts to overshadow simply being, I start to feel out of balance. While I might feel compelled or even expected to do more, when I slow down long enough to think about what matters most to me, I have a greater desire to just BE intentional with the time I invest in the people IN my home and life. And that is what living authentically is about for me.

With the world spinning around us faster and faster, it can be so easy to lose sight of what really matters. We can even convince ourselves we need things we don’t, or that we will finally be content when we get just a little more of what we want and less of what we don’t want. But what if we were just simply grateful for what we already have?

The internet can be a breeding ground for wanting MORE: for wanting the world to LOOK AT US MORE!, to give us MORE affirmation, MORE likes, MORE stuff, and offering us MORE to DO or MORE to BUY or MORE ideas we don’t even need. It’s all about getting something more we think we need in order to be happy, content, popular, or successful. But in the process, we forget to really live.

I think ultimately none of the things we chase will ever really satisfy. Whether we desire more, or less, or this, or that, we will likely never be content if we are frantically trying to arrive somewhere we perceive to be somehow better than where we already are right now. Being fully alive in the moment requires deliberately growing an attitude of gratitude.

I love sitting down to dinner at our table with the family. It’s a deliberate choice to slow down and appreciate blessings rather than continuing the frantic pace of the day. When I clean, instead of muttering about what a mess everyone makes, I focus on being grateful I have a home and a family to clean up after. When I dream of new ideas for my home that are within my creative ability or budget and time I have available, I begin to cultivate contentment and gratitude right where I am. When I turn off the computer or phone or iPad and walk away from the internet world, I’m intentionally shutting out all the noise and distractions so I can be fully present in the moment with the people I’m thankful for.

It’s a daily discipline to be thankful at home!

Slowing Down to Be Thankful at Home

– From my New York Times Bestselling Book Love the Home You Have

I was invited to be a part of a Thankful at Home blog tour this week, with 25 blogs reflecting on various ways we celebrate Thanksgiving or how we are thankful at home. Please enjoy their posts and blogs via the schedule below!

Slowing Down to Be Thankful at Home

Monday:
Savvy Southern Style
Finding Home
Lilacs & Longhorns
The Inspired Room
The Crafty Woman

Tuesday:
Stone Gable
Debbiedoos
What Meegan Makes
Maison de Pax
Confessions of a Plate Addict

Wednesday:
Thistlewood Farm
Eclectically Vintage
My Soulful Home
Cedar Hill Farmhouse
Southern Hospitality

Thursday:
The Lilypad Cottage
A Little Claireification
Fresh Idea Studio
Pennywise
The Rustic Pig

Friday:
Housepitality Designs
Mom4Real
Country Design Style
The Everyday Home
Unskinny Boppy

 

39 Comments

  1. Julie {Lilacs & Longhorns}

    Melissa, as usual, you got right to the heart of the matter. It’s what drew me to your blog in the first place a few years back when I ran across The Inspired Room. Focusing on what really matters instead of acquiring and the daily hectic pace of life — it’s exactly what I love about Thanksgiving! Even with the hectic pace of cooking, I still adore the meal, the gathering of family and friends, and the practice of being mindfully thankful — it’s such a wonderful holiday. Thanks so much for sharing and being a part of the tour! :)
    Julie

    Reply
  2. Michelle@Life on the Funny Farm

    I love this post. Like many others, I have been dreaming of how to decorate for Christmas this year and it’s so easy to lose sight of Thanksgiving. So I also am doing a series similar to this on my blog. I’d love it if you’d stop by for a visit if you have the time.
    Thanks,
    Michelle

    Reply
  3. Peggy

    Beautiful article :)

    Reply
  4. Kim

    Melissa, it is all so true. The internet can so easily take over our lives and we do need balance. I really need to work more at that.

    Reply
  5. Kate Harvey

    This is such a great post. I especially love what you write about cleaning! Cleaning is my least favorite household activity but focusing on how lucky I am to have a home to clean, and a husband who sometimes makes a mess, is a much better idea than feeling grumpy while doing it. Thanks for this.

    Reply
  6. Heidi

    Amen! It really is true that you have to step away from all the noise to really enjoy living life from time to time because isn’t that what it really should be about?!

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. Linda@Creekside

    I’m really resonating with your words today, Melissa. And I’m slowing down by not blogging this month.

    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2013/11/later-my-friend.html

    To tell you the truth, it’s like a huge weight has been thrown off. I can breathe easier already. There’d been too much striving, too many expectations I placed on myself, and I was too absorbed in that screen on my desk.

    I’m still checking in on a few of my favorite blogs {smile}, but otherwise I’m letting this whole frantic scene go for now.

    It could end up being my best month ever …

    Reply
  8. KATHYSUE

    Melissa,
    Such a well written heartfelt post and I could not agree more. Like I always say,
    “Enjoy the Process!” I don’t care what you are doing, BE in the moment and especially with our loved ones. Time with the people we love is our most precious commodity and the one we will miss the most when they are no longer with us!
    Thank you for sharing your words,
    Kathysue

    Reply
  9. Christina

    What a beautiful serene table! You couldn’t be more right about the pace of life today – it seems especially around the holidays we lose sight of priorities in the constant rush to chase “things”. Thanks for a beautiful post!
    Cheers
    Christina

    Reply
  10. Beth@Unskinny Boppy

    Truer words have never been spoken. You hit the nail on the head with this post. I have never been a jealous person, but in this internet/ blogging arena I am constantly feeling pressure to perform better or keep up with everyone else. I have to constantly remind myself in a Stuart Smalley kind of way that I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. :) Great post Melissa! I’m honored to be joining you guys this week.

    Reply
  11. Linda Stevens

    You expressed very eloquently exactly what was in my heart when I awoke this morning. I haven’t blogged since Sept. when I lost my MIL, and just haven’t been at all motivated to get back to it. Been too busy living in the moment and enjoying home and hearth. Thanks for reminding us of what is important in life.

    Reply
  12. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Your post resonated with my heart, Melissa. I think the concept of *being* may be one of the biggest challenges we face in our culture today. In fact I just finished my #31Days series “31 Extraordinary Days to Be…” (http://bit.ly/14Zc9bZ) where I talk about this as well. Thanks for sharing the AS quote, too. A few of her books were gifted to me in my early days as a homemaker and she influenced me in such a positive way.
    Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!
    ~Diane

    Reply
  13. Melanie

    Amen, Melissa! I have been running around everyday these past few days and I am actually looking forward to just staying home today and nesting! I love my house and the people I share it with. :-)

    Reply
  14. Shirley@Housepitality Designs

    Beautifully written Melissa…we all need to find balance in our lives and to set the priorities which comes down to what we are most thankful for…and at the top of the list would be our families….As a child growing up, I treasure the moments when we all sat down to dinner every night… each of us talking about our days..and I carried that tradition with my own family…When we come to the end of our journey in life, it is our memories and love of our family & loved ones that we treasure….

    Reply
  15. Meegan

    Melissa, Thanks for this post. I really needed it today. Thanks for always sharing your ideas and your inspiration. I have enjoyed your blog for years.

    Thanks again for your words of inspiration and your creativity.

    Make it a beautiful day!

    Reply
  16. Yvonne @ StoneGable

    Melissa, what a brilliant reminder to slow down and actually LIVE the moments of life we have with attituded of gratefulness and wonder! There is so much that passes by our eyes… its good to sometimes close them and instead breath in life… just still and thankful!
    Beautiful beautiful! I’m keeping this post to remind me to L-I-V-E!

    Reply
  17. Shannon

    Such great sentiment. I am spending today cleaning (recovering from the weekend) and preparing for the week and need to remember to focus on the gratitude I really do have. We are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time this year and want to be Thankful for it by the time it gets here.

    Is this an old picture or did you really paint your dining room white?!!!

    Reply
    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Oh, so observant of you….it’s not an old picture, it’s from yesterday! More details on what’s going on with room, coming up soon! :-)

      Reply
  18. Kelly

    Melissa…your post embodies what Thanksgiving is & should be in our hectic world. It sends the perfect message for this season & throughout the year. Julie told me about your blog & that you would be a perfect person to help us celebrate Thanksgiving in every sense of the word. Many thanks to you for your wise words. You have a new reader…
    Kelly
    p.s I am really going to try not to mutter about cleaning up, but be grateful that I have a family to clean up after…your words will resonate with me as I wash & mop & pick up after my crew! :)

    Reply
  19. Jeanette

    Beautifully said! Thank you.

    Reply
  20. Donnamae

    Great post…a gentle reminder to really be thankful for all we have….in all aspects of our lives! And mostly, we need to slow down, and find our balance in life. These days go by so quickly, and I know I don’t always appreciate each and every day. Thanks Melissa!

    Reply
  21. Lynne

    I am excited to meet you on Saturday at West Elm…after reading this post, I KNOW it will be such a PLEASURE to meet you! Thanks for reminding us all of what is truly important. Sometimes it gets lost in all the hustle and bustle.

    Reply
  22. teresa

    Remembering to be Thankful – one of the highest priority ….now and all year long…I’m thankful for this season…which helps me to remember…..
    “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.
    I’m thankful for you and your lovely thoughts today.
    Thanks

    Reply
  23. Cynthia

    This is such a beautiful post and so very true. We do all need to take time to enjoy every minute of our lives and our loved ones. Time is very precious. I thank God for my life everyday. It is so easy to lose sight of what is truly important in life. Family, friends and enjoying the moment and the small things is so important!!

    Cynthia

    Reply
  24. Tanya

    This will be the first year in 4 years that I don’t have to cook the big Thanksgiving meal.. I’m kind of bummed ubt excited that I will actually have more time and less stress and being able to enjoy the holiday more.

    Reply
  25. Lisa

    This is my favorite time of the year…it is a refreshing of my need to be thankful always…I want to nest and gather my loved ones around.

    Reply
  26. Gabriela

    lovely post and so true! I find times when I am ‘hiding out’ enjoying a book to be a decadent treat. less is more has never rang so true. xoxo

    Reply
  27. Janet

    Beautiful post. One that I will print and show my two teenage children. I always tell them that life is too short and to enjoy every day and not to sweat the small stuff. Thank you for reminding us to unplug and enjoy the present. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  28. Jeanette @ Creating a Life

    Beautifully said, Melissa. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve really been trying to focus on using, and appreciating, what we already have. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

    Reply
  29. Jenna

    I love the curtains in your photo. Did you make them or buy them? Would you mind sharing your source? Thanks!

    ps- great post :)

    Reply
  30. Glenda Childers

    I enjoy keeping home pretty simple.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    Reply
  31. Claire @ A Little Claireification

    This is a wonderful post – just a perfect reminder. I love it. And your table is gorgeous. How fun that the middle is left unpainted. It is perfect. {and… you made a Turkey already?? Go girl}. So happy to be a part of this tour with you and the others!

    Reply
  32. Jordan

    I love this post- it’s a great reminder. And your dining room is lovely! I love all the different textures you have going on and how it all works so well together! I included your beautiful dining room in a blog post I wrote about mixing and matching dining room chairs (with a link to your original post), I hope that is okay. I’m so glad I found your lovely corner of the internet…blessings!

    Reply

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