Little Luxuries

An hour ago, as I laid my toasted English muffin on a plate and prepared to smother it in a rich layer of butter, I stopped the knife short of its double-wide serving.  Butter is a luxury, I reminded myself, and the butter was sliced thin.  Just enough.

My little family is currently in this alluringly curious season of life where my husband, though he has a fantastic job on the horizon, is out of work for a month, putting our next paycheck six weeks out.  Which is ironically the amount of time it takes to receive your first unemployment check.  This season, my friends, is a gift.  I knew it as such the very moment that the scales were removed from my eyes and I saw the warm home, the potatoes, the electricity…it’s all a gift.  Every single day.  But it’s hard to see the gifts when we take it all for granted; when it’s all part of the background…when it just gets paid for with the click of automatic bill pay.

This morning a friend sent this quote: The things we see every day are the things we never see at all.  ~G.K. Chesterton (Mr. G happens to be my new imaginary bff.)

This simple quote took my breath away.  I glanced at my candle then, how it’s getting shorter, melting into oblivion.  And oh, why do my precious candles have to be a luxury?  I see them every day, but I never really see them at all…until now…counting it as blessing and grace to have a candle burning steadily by my side.

In 2004, I sat on a plane floating over the Atlantic, convulsing in silent tears.  I was horrified by the prospect of landing in my home country, full of superstores and designer coffees.  I had just spent six months in Europe, three of which were long, bitter-cold days in Serbia.  We walked the two kilometers into town each day, stepping around frozen-dead dogs and frozen laundry on the line.  My eyes were opened to the glorious beauty that happens when excess is stripped away, laying bare the gifts of life.  It took less than two weeks for my restless heart to be consumed by the layers of American greed.  I was enveloped in it; wearing it like a thick cloak of distraction.

That husband of mine, he’s been a record on repeat about consumption and what it does to us.  How we were designed to consume, but to what end?  If we are eating up STUFF, do we have enough space to consume beauty?  Or the love of the Father?  Or the ordinary gifts that pile around us while we hungrily search for more?  Scavengers, we are.  While the husband spoke, I scribbled his words in my journal: Our desire for what we WANT is greater than what the world has the resources to provide or satisfy.

 Will you join me in attempting to see the everyday things this week?  To think twice before consuming?

 This present of time, it will only last a mere six weeks.  Then the paycheck will come and I will sprint headlong into Marshall’s and buy up their candle aisle.  But for now, I smile at my dwindling candlestick, counting its breath of life as a sweet gift.

“Meaningless does not come from being weary of pain.  Meaningless comes from being weary of pleasure.” ~G.K. Chesterton




  1. I’ll join you! This is BEAUTIFUL Jo! Thank you for the reminder. I want to keep this to look back on occasionally and to remind my self of all the little luxuries that surround us. This is especially helpful moving into our new home! It reminds me not to focus on filling it up with things, but to know it’s already full…and if we add anything to it, to add things that will bless our family and those who walk in our doors.

    1. Thanks, friend! Love your thoughts about only filling your space with things that will bless others…and to “know it’s already full”. So excited about your HOUSSSSE!!!

  2. Beautiful thoughts, especially this one: “My eyes were opened to the glorious beauty that happens when excess is stripped away, laying bare the gifts of life.” I have been on a quest for simplicity for years but still always seem to have so much stuff that I don’t notice the single beautiful items like a candle. My favorite rooms in my house are definitely the ones that have very little in them.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! And YES to simplicity in the house…I just simplified two rooms in our house that I felt were a bit chaotic, and now they feel soooo much cozier to me. I read a tip from “the Nester” where she suggested taking out ALL of the extras from a room for 48 hours (throws, pillows, any decor) and letting it “breathe”. When I added things back to my two rooms, I added much less than I originally took away. Hope that’s helpful! xo.

  3. I really enjoyed your blog post. I’m praying about finding a way to help my Leo learn to appreciate all he has in this life so far. Your post reminds me a bit like Eat Love Pray (the book)!

  4. This is so wonderful Jo! I had a similar experience after spending a month in rural Mongolia. After coming home each time I did something simple like brush my teeth and be able to rinse it in clean running water I felt a pang of guilt and sadness. But really it was the joy of the people I met who lived with so little that altered how I saw all I had. They just didn’t need much to live a full beautiful life. This was such a wonderful reminder of that lesson! Love to you and your family!

  5. “Glorious Beauty ”
    Happy Heart
    I am so with you. Wish I would have figured it out when I was a little bit younger.

  6. What a good reminder. thank you! I hope you have all you need and many “wants” as well in the next six weeks! I don’t know you so I can’t stop by with a basket for you but your post reminds me I have an acquaintance – a single mom – who is healing from back surgery and is in a halo… she has kids and no money coming in. I donated to her fundraisng website BUT I could also put together a basket of luxuries and essentials: bread, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, and throw in some things like chocolate and cookies!

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