By Derek Maul

Sunday afternoon Rebekah and I drove up to Richmond to see the grandchildren. David and Beks are four and two now; Not just cute but fun too. They love books, they play with creative imaginations, and they genuinely enjoy their grandparents.

Our daughter thought this was a great opportunity for her favorite chef to prepare dinner, so I made my best spaghetti sauce and homemade pasta. The reviews are in and apparently I did well.

We are so spectacularly blessed. To spend Sunday morning with our dynamic, joyful, love-soaked faith community and then dinner with Naomi, Craig, and the children; well – unless our son and his bride were also living in the area – it really doesn’t get any better than that.

How simple is the essential formula for “The Good Life.”

-To love, and to know that we are loved

-To be free, and to respect the freedom of others

-To have enough, and to know what enough is

-To enjoy faith-based community

-To experience reconciliation with God

-“To love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind; and to love our neighbor as ourselves” (Luke 10:27).

But we sure do complicate life, don’t we? And we work hard prioritizing so much that is completely unrelated to – and often at odds with – the simple principles outlined in the bullet list above.

I’ve made these same essential points before, and I’ll likely reframe them again another time, but the truth that ties them together bears repeating. If you find yourself confused regarding the foundational principles of the good life, then I have a couple of recommendations:

Show up at church, open your heart wide, and renew your commitment to follow Jesus.

Make sure to spend at least an hour every week in the company of pre-school-aged children. Open your heart wide, and let them teach you the truth.

It’s my recipe for “The Good Life,” and it is within reach of every one of us.

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Derek Maul
Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at