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  • The Art of Living Well

    October 4, 2008

    About once a month, I get a glossy newspaper delivered to my front door to which I do not subscribe.  Because it does not speak to me or my values, I normally chunk it right in the trash where it belongs, but this time, perhaps because of our current economic crisis, the cover caught my eye and made me take a second look.

    This publication is accurately named INDULGE.  Inside you will find ads for Rolex watches, ridiculously expensive clothes, high end cars and the like.  But what really made me pause was the tagline: The Art of Living Well.  Clearly, the message is that the art of living well is about indulging yourself.  What a crock of  I disagree. 

    I think the art of living well is not about what you hang on your body or park in your garage.  I think the art of living well is not about indulging yourself at all. In fact, I think it’s about the opposite – denying yourself, surrendering to something bigger than yourself.  The art of living well is about doing, not having.

    I think the art of living well doesn’t go out of style or change with the season and won’t eventually rust away or be eaten by moths.  For me, the art of living well is:

    Serving God and others


    Satisfying work

    Giving and receiving kindness

    Looking after my family

    Enjoying meals with friends and families

    Reading a good book

    Taking and sharing pictures

    Telling stories

    Learning something new

    Doing something creative


    Listening to my litte boy sound out a new word

    * * * 

    Indulging myself in these things represent the art of living well to me.

    What about you? How do you define the art of living well?


    1. Moriah (Please Pass the Salt) says:

      Love your list.

      My two immediate thoughts: Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with [our] God (Micah 6:8); and “man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” With those, life cannot but help be good.

      October 4th, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    2. Jan says:

      This economy has hit my family very hard- we are struggling to support ourselves right now. But Halloween is coming (regardless) and my boy needed a costume. I did spend money on the costume yesterday but the rest of the afternoon was spent wearing the very wicked costume, listening to a spooky cd and decorating the house. After all this, my son busrt out with this: “I LOVE MY LIFE!!” And I decided, money or no money, we are living well.

      October 4th, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    3. Donna W says:

      You nailed it.

      October 4th, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    4. Jeni says:

      Your list is great!

      I define living well as the chance to snuggle with my Girlie and my hubby in a safe, warm house, with full bellies. Don’t need much more than that!

      October 4th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    5. edj says:

      I second your list. About the only things I’d add are a really good cup of coffee, and a nice cool breeze through the windows. Oh, and beauty outside–trees, flowers, grass, maybe even a few leaves turning colour. And my kids. And dark chocolate.

      October 4th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    6. Ann says:

      Ditto to your list and I’d add taking a nice long walk in nature, snuggling up with my little girl at bedtime and reading, oh and don’t forget checking in with some favorite blogs, including yours! 🙂

      October 4th, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    7. Roxanne says:

      I think your list is right on. . .my own list includes all of those and “knowing when to cancel all the plans and just stay home to be a family.”

      The art of living well. . .knowing the difference in what you WANT and what you NEED and being willing to put aside what you NEED for another person.

      October 4th, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    8. The Roost says:

      Great List! The Art Of Living well (great question to ponder by the way)…….In short….Every morning giving my day, time, actions, talents, gifts to Jesus for him to use how He sees fit.

      October 4th, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    9. soleil says:

      I agree with you all the way!

      Very well written!

      October 4th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    10. WrapAroundSam says:

      Look in the mirror, liking what you see is living well…

      October 4th, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    11. Kimberly says:

      Feeling like I have been productive by the end of the day. Which varies. When J was a newborn, I felt productive when I did nothing else except nurse him all day. Now I feel productive if I do the dishes and ONE other thing! And, since I am preggo, napping also feels productive.

      October 4th, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    12. Janis says:

      For the last three months I have been indulging myself. After 10 long years of living with cancer, my husband died this summer. I guess I thought that I deserved to look out for myself for a change. Well, it has fallen flat. While it hurt nothing except maybe my pocketbook, I am finished with indulging in myself.

      For me the art of living well is taking good care of my daughters. Most things that bring simple pleasure cost little or nothing. A pile of books from the library, a basket of colorful yarn, a tasty meal prepared at home, these things make me happy. I love to open my house to my daughter’s friends, too. Watch a group of teenage girls…as long as they have not been spoiled with too many material things. They enjoy each other’s company and that is all they need. It all boils down to our relationships with people and how we love and take care of them. To me that is the art of living well.

      October 4th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    13. Angela says:



      With other people and with God. When those are in a good place, I am living well.

      October 4th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    14. Julie at Elisharose says:

      While I admit to never pondering the question, I think your list is pretty accurate to my way of thinking. I think by surrounding myself with friends and family,sharing my home with them, maintaining meaningful friendships, studying the Word of God, and teaching my children to do the same I will have lived well.

      October 4th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    15. Nancy says:

      couldn’t have said it any better.
      and it’s exactly what i needed to hear.

      October 4th, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    16. Laurie says:

      I think you should send this blog post to the editor of the magazine!! Laurie

      October 4th, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    17. Melissa says:

      That people don’t remember me, but remember Christ in me. That those around me feel loved and cared for. That I can be content in every situation, with much or with little.
      For me personally, I FEEL like I’m living well if I’m learning. I love to read, and also to learn new skills. I love to cook, especially to share with people.

      October 4th, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    18. Jennifer says:

      Amen Sista!!!!!! Now if everyone would get on the same page!!

      October 4th, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    19. Shelly W. says:

      I love this idea and I love your list! There’s a huge difference between living well and a life well-lived. I prefer the second.

      October 4th, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    20. Pat says:

      Living well and what “home” is has been much on my mind lately – I have abundant blessings – my dear husband and daughter, other cherished family members, a sweet, godly, nearly-90 year-old mother-in-law, friends, a home that’s paid for, a job, transportation, our church family and great pastor, God’s Word just for the picking up and reading, His love and grace, beautiful crisp fall days, food, clothing, books, hands to work with, eyes to see with… I kept a gratitude journal several years ago. Would be a good idea to start another one!

      October 4th, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    21. fern says:

      I would add the ability to show and accept appreciation and love.

      October 4th, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    22. Kelly @ Love Well says:

      I’d add cooking that meal for friends and family. Food speaks to me of God’s simple but lavish provision.

      I’d also add seeing God’s nature on a daily basis.

      October 4th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    23. Tracy says:

      at least they have the right title for their magazine. The dictionary says that the word indulge “implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another’s or one’s own desires”. Fits, doesn’t it?

      I like your list. No matter what, I can not see how buying expensive things is equal to living well. Things will never made anyone happy.

      October 4th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    24. Minnesotamom says:

      Amen and amen!

      This probably falls under “doing something creative,” but I would add for myself:

      Making cards and sending them to friends

      October 5th, 2008 at 12:02 am

    25. liz austin says:

      Right on! We’re here to gain a body and be tested in all things…for me that is patience so what do I do? I teach Middle School Art! 5th through 8th grade. Some days I feel that the only kind voice a student may hear might me mine….soooooo tell me about your picture….

      October 5th, 2008 at 12:36 am

    26. Clemntine says:

      Your list is pretty complete, I’d say. Looks a lot like what I strive for most (read: non-PMS) days.

      For me, the art of living well includes being the reason at least one person a day laughs so hard they gasp for air. Fortunately, my family is easily entertained. 🙂

      October 5th, 2008 at 12:50 am

    27. Everyday Mommy says:

      Ah, this post was a sweet savor. Well, done 🙂

      October 5th, 2008 at 1:22 am

    28. Everyday Mommy says:

      p.s. This could easily become a blog carnival.

      October 5th, 2008 at 1:22 am

    29. Beverlydru says:

      Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote my favorite definition of living well when he penned these words:
      “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of old and new friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

      October 5th, 2008 at 9:15 am

    30. Amber (BGH) says:


      Living well:
      Honoring God
      Serving My Family
      Loving Others
      Reflecting Christ
      Teaching my children to do all of the above.

      Battling laziness
      Keeping the home
      Learning to cook and bake
      Spending time with my children, enjoying them
      Being creative with my hands
      Living within our means
      Being happy

      October 5th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    31. Wendy says:

      Your list is great! I would have to add doing activities with my kids & husband like trips to the zoo, parks, camping and hiking, etc.

      I don’t think acquiring things is a good measure of “Living well”, either. I think living within your means is also an excellent way to live well ’cause then you don’t have the stress of debt.

      October 5th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    32. Lori says:

      Gee, could the whole “indulge yourself – you deserve it!” mentality be one of the reasons for our huge debt problems and economic issues currently taking up front page space in the news? Hmmmmmm

      October 5th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    33. Betty Beguiles says:

      Awesome post! I couldn’t agree more!

      October 5th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    34. Marmee says:

      I think you said it all! GREAT post…..we all need to hear this once in a while. Thanks.

      October 5th, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    35. apathy lounge says:

      All of the above…plus exercise and making stuff with my own hands.

      October 5th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    36. k&c's mom says:

      Time with girlfriends.
      Time with grown children.
      Time with husband.
      First graders when the learn to read.
      Great church.

      October 5th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    37. Jeanne A says:

      The magazine reminds me of the Bible Study I did recently of the book of Daniel by Beth Moore. She talks about the Babylonian culture and how we are living in a culture similar to it. I’d never thought about it before, but totally agree with it.

      love your post

      October 5th, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    38. Heidi says:

      I’m not sure what I’d add to your great list, but I do know our society is sending the wrong message to our children. Last night I went to a meeting of our post prom committee and found out that last year’s budget for this all night safe party was $18,000. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!! I came home very sad and wondering if there was any way to curb this indulgence people seem to heap upon our kids. This truly has me worried and I have three weeks to come up with a way to voice my concerns to the group.

      October 6th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    39. Renee says:

      Amen sista!

      The art of living well for me starts with God’s word…and living with integrity based on what He tells us to do.

      We can all live that way for a couple of hours at church, but what about the rest of our lives? That’s where the integrity part comes in…something that, unlike sin, is not humanly innate at all.

      October 6th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    40. Lori Drumm says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. The idea of needing expensive clothes and fancy cars in order to live well is exactly what’s wrong with our society.

      October 6th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    41. Carola says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more…

      October 6th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    42. zoom says:

      The quest for material items to make us happy is no different that the quest for the Holy grail. Searching and searching for Christ cup, when the light of Christ can reside in our hearts.

      October 6th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    43. Beck says:

      My favorite self-indulgent product catch phrase is to refer to something as “decadent.” Advertisers maybe need to look that word up a little bit more closely.

      October 6th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    44. Kelly says:

      Yes. Ma’am. I totally agree! Thank you for this post, there need to be more like it.

      October 6th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    45. Sarah S. says:

      You should start your own magazine. I would be a regular contributor…

      My blog post today mentions a little about what I consider ‘living well’: finding joy and worship in the little and mundane. Being blessed by what the Lord has called you to do for that day. Loving my family, caring for the pets, even caring for my home and car that He has given me. Living well would also have to include showing Him to all around me.

      October 6th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    46. Jennifer (Et Tu?) says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Amen to that!

      October 6th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    47. Natalie says:

      Recently discovered you and think you’re great!
      I have found in my life that ‘living well’ can happen only when you are truly grateful for what you have. Whether you struggle financially or are very wealthy, if you are humble enough to realize that all blessings come from a loving and generous Father in Heaven and you truly have and express your gratitude for them, then you are living well. Then you will be at peace.

      October 6th, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    48. Linda says:

      Your list says it all! With out God we would be nothing afterall. And people…we need people family eachother. Love.

      October 7th, 2008 at 11:41 am

    49. Angie says:

      What a great post! I’ve learned much about living well this past year as I’ve learned to live in the moment, be grateful and see God in the details. It’s not about doing. It’s about being. And being together.

      October 7th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    50. Living Well « says:

      […] In AntiqueMommy’s post on the Art of Living Well, she poses the question of how do you define living well? Check out her readers’ great […]

      October 9th, 2008 at 10:05 am

    51. Karen {simply a musing blog} says:

      Oh, I think you pretty much summed it up – beautifully, in fact.

      “We are here to add what we can to, not what we can get from, life.” – Sir William Osler

      October 11th, 2008 at 11:13 am

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