I just got off the phone with a new friend who is facing a lot of challenges. She is as sweet as her troubles are heavy, and the hope in her voice had me inspired and moved.

We love to talk about living simply, but the human experience is rarely this way. We want to commit ourselves to one thing only, and yet that one thing encompasses many smaller things that tug us in different directions.

Simplicity is a choice amidst a reality that is far from simple.

I don’t advocate shutting ourselves to the troubles of the world in the name of simplicity— in fact, I insist on the opposite. I insist on shedding the excess in order to be involved with the greater struggles of our families, friends, and communities.

We all walk through seasons that are characterized by myriad emotions that entangle our hearts. We all experience the mess of what it means to be connected to loved ones. We face the interconnectedness of our decisions and their impact on others. There’s no escaping the fact that despite our pursuit of simplicity, life often deals us the opposite.

25 simple joys for not-so-simple days

There is no truly simple narrative for a life that is involved in the right things. The right things call on us to make difficult decisions and sacrifices.

But in the meantime, there’s simple joy. There are those moments of ecstasy we can cherish in the midst of defeat and confusion. Let’s celebrate life no matter what– those celebrations can be simple.

25 Simple Joys For Not-So-Simple Days

1) The long, sweet hug of a best friend.

2) Fresh cut flowers.

3) A softly strummed guitar.

4) The scent of a new book.

5) Children on the playground.

6) A hot shower on a cold day.

7) An after-dinner walk.

8) A phone conversation with an old friend.

9) The smell of the pavement after rain.

10) Excellent espresso.

11) Driving without traffic.

12) Sitting by the ocean.

guide to 17 mile drive in pebble beach - simplicity relished

13) A perfectly-baked cookie

14) A word of encouragement.

15) Your favorite song on the radio.

16) Quiet, un-rushed mornings.

17) Freshly blow-dried hair.

18) Farmer’s market produce.

19) The knowing smile of a friend in a crowded room.

20) Genuine laughter.

21) Old photographs and good memories.

22) Sleeping in.

23) Shade on a hot day.

24) An unexpected postcard.

25) A true day of rest.

Which simple joys do you appreciate on difficult days?