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Tonight I soaked in a warm bath, by candlelight, with a cup of tea, and enjoyed a simple pleasure. In this busy world, we don’t even take time for baths anymore. We just jump in the shower at the speed of lightning, and jump out. The crazy pace of this world has kept us from enjoying the small things in life, that can make it so enjoyable.

Sometimes on Friday evenings, my husband and I will go out to eat at Olive Garden, and then go to the bookstore. They have four big comfy chairs, and if we are fortunate enough to grab 2 of them, we get nice and cozy, and read for awhile. Sometimes we’ll get a cold drink, or some coffee and a dessert. It is so much fun! It’s relaxing, and doesn’t require a lot of effort for a Friday night at the end of the week, when we are both exhausted.

I wonder how many of life’s pleasures we all miss out on, and instead just beat ourselves to death with the necessary work of living.

In the spring and summer, I like to go on picnics.  Not long ago, I took my mom to a lakeside park, that had easy access from the parking lot. I chose a pretty tablecloth, and had a beautiful hand painted white picnic basket, and a cooler. We were able to enjoy our meal, and watch the ducks go swimming by, and the squirrels playing in the grass. Our lives are so busy with errands and doctor’s appointments and such. How nice it was to take time for enjoyment. It doesn’t have to be expensive. So much can be done without great expense. 

I have even ordered some of the older wooden bed trays off of Ebay, so that I can eat a meal in bed if I choose, or tilt the top for reading. Such a fun indulgence. Most of the older trays have an adjustable top that can be placed at different angles.

Often I will light scented candles. It’s difficult to beat Yankee candles for fragrance, but I have found some others that smell good also. Buy your favorite scent-peppermint cocoa, sugar cookie, chocolate chip, lemon, cherry or strawberry. It makes the house smell so nice.

I like to buy myself a grocery store bouquet once in awhile. As women, we tend to think a man has to give us flowers. But with most every grocery store carrying them these days, buy yourself some as a treat. They aren’t so expensive like the florists. Sometimes I will buy one or two bouquets, and divide them up, and place the flowers in different places throughout the house, like the foyer, kitchen counter, bedroom, etc. It’s another simple way to enjoy beauty.

Light a fire, or use the fire logs you can buy at most discount stores these days. They are easier than stoking a fire, and they last for a couple of hours. A fire is so cozy on a cold night. When my husband and I go to the North Carolina mountains, we love to sit by the fire and read. (And sometimes kiss.) Grin…

Eat on your good china once in awhile. What are you saving it for anyway? No one is more deserving of pretty dishes than you and your family. It suddenly hit me one day, that I am 55 years old, and my daughter will probably want her own pattern of china. I have Old Country Roses, and didn’t start collecting it until several years ago. Why not enjoy it? I decorate with it also-not just in the china cabinet, but on the mantel and tables. Another thing I have always loved to do is to buy 2 matching china dishes in a thrift store. It’s like having lots of different dishes, and the variety is really nice. In second hand stores, you usually don’t find a whole set of most dishes, so this is a way to have lots of different looks for dinner settings, when it’s just you and your husband, or you and a friend.

Another fun thing is to use small round tables (or a card table) and a beautiful tablecloth, and make a dinner area in a different place in the house. You could make a romantic table for two in the bedroom, or family room. Sometimes I use an area of my living room away from my main dining table, which is too large for just two. Use a pretty tablecloth and candles, and it’s better than the fanciest restaurant. And don’t forget to eat outside when the weather is nice. Any porch or deck will do. You can also set up a fan nearby that will keep most of the bugs away.

Sometimes when you are cleaning or relaxing, put on some soothing piano music or a guitar instrumental. Or you might want to play one of those with the sound effects in the background-with rain falling, or a creek or the ocean. I really enjoy this. Sometimes it is good to just turn off the TV for awhile. You will be amazed at how peaceful the right instrumental music can be. (Stay away from classical orchestra music that is too busy, and instead choose something melodic and beautiful.)

Put your feet up for a little while, and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate with real whipped cream or marshmallows. This can be so comforting.

Here’s the link to an article I wrote with the same general idea. It’s called “Reducing Stress by Living Simply.” The link is: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/389469/reducing_stress_by_living_simply.html

Well, these are just a few ideas that may bring some simple pleasures into your life. Please comment if you have some additional suggestions. Life is too short for it to be all drudgery. We really need to slow down, and enjoy the simple things…

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