Simply Living: On Our Own Way


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Right now, in this season, my work pants are old and less than fashionable, our breakfasts, lunches and dinners are homemade, our entertainment comes most often from the public library, and we’ve driven our car for nearly a decade (200,000 miles).  Right now, I can look into my living room and see scaffolding standing erect and pointing to unfinished walls.  When we walk on the first floor of our house, we tread not on hardwood or carpet but sub floors–and on most days I’m okay with this scenario.  This scenario speaks of freedom and choice.

Do we make these choices because we are in debt?  We owe a small amount on our house, and so these choice no longer are a result of debt.  These are intentional choices that allow us to save and not be tied to a career or to be ready for financial storms when they come (and they do).

These choices have allowed me to stay home when our children were infants. Later, these choices supported us through a recession where we found out we were pregnant and laid off on the same day. These choices have allowed for career changes and new dreams in midlife.  In the future we hope these choices will allow our family to give more to others.

Simplicity right now is financial–streamlining our finances to be there when we need it.

Simplicity in whatever form is often a difficult choice.  This is a world where there is a constant hum to become better, own more, and fill our lives with busyness.  I still hear the hum and ignore it often (but not always).

Is my life simple?  Our we saints for living this way?  No.  Life is complicated.  Even striving for simplicity at times can be complicated. It is our hope that this current complicated will lead us to future simplicity in our careers and home life.

My husband and I both work, raise our young children, and remodel on our days off.  That is busy.  In this season it is what we believe to be necessary.  Our simplicity plan right now is hard.  It is an ever changing journey.  However even when it is hard, we keep walking our path and we look out upon the landscape of this journey with an end in mind.  We plan to move soon–to make different life choices–to start a new season.  Our hope is to finish this house towards spring and be ready for that next opportunity that awaits us.  In the meantime, we will keep walking this walk holding firmly to each other’s hands and our children’s.  Our pants may not be fashionable, but our hearts are fashioned to our dreams of less so we can have more.

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Seven Ways to Turn the Winter Blahs Into the Winter Ahhhs…

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January and February often become what I call the blah months. This past Jan/Feb week has been especially hard. Everyday is a gift and whether the weather is miserable or pleasant, I know I should feel blessed for this time on Earth…but I’m human and my mind has a hard time conveying this blessed feeling to body and soul during the coldest months of winter. So again this year when faced with the physical, spiritual and even career challenges in bleak February I have succumbed to the blahs! Stubborn however is my mind (and heart) and so I’ve begun the fight back…

Seven Ways to Turn the Winter Blahs Into the Winter Ahhhs…

Sleep, Water, and Food – Have you slept, drank, or ate whole nourishing foods? No matter the season if the answer to any of those is “no” then your tank is running low and it is hard to be happy when your basic needs are not met. Take care of the basics that are essential to feeling joy.

Vitamins – Are you taking a good multivitamin? Having the nutrients you need can change body and mind. Find a good multi and help banish those blues.

Find the Sunshine Where You Can – I know it may be a little difficult to get outdoors this winter, but take a cue from indoor cats. Felines will find a sliver of sunshine to bask in it on the dullest of days. I’ve been known to gather the rays inside as well and really this little of bit of sun helps! On days when it is possible to head out of doors–GO! Twenty minutes a day of fresh air can change your day and season. Additionally, there are special light bulbs to help Seasonal Affective Disorder…but nothing beats the real thing.

You’ve Got to Move It! – Feel bad? Dance, run, walk… When the blahs really start to grab me I head to the tread or I crank it up and dance with my kids. Not only do I feel warm when exercising ( that is enough for me in cold winter), but I feel relaxed and if I get into the zone–the endorphins kick in and it is beautiful!

Smile at the Rain – I have a small picture in your house that I bought at a favorite outdoor market. It simply states, “Smile At The Rain.” So go ahead right now perk up and smile. It is indicated that an authentic smile will improve your mood. If you can’t authentically smile find some laughing babies on Youtube or watch a favorite comedy.

Look Forward to Something – Make big plans for the future…summer may feel like ages away but sometimes planning those spring or summer activities can shed some light on a cold, dark day. This afternoon my daughter and I planned a potluck picnic for her summer birthday. In just a few moments of imagining, we were both sunny with anticipation.

Find Beauty in This Season – As a child in the Pacific Northwest trees had always been the beautiful backdrop of my childhood and I could find beauty in them everyday regardless the season (winter rainy, spring rainy, summer slightly rainy, fall rainy…as the seasons go out there). As an adult I get so wrapped up in the busyness of life I fail to stop and appreciate the beauty that comes with each season. Again, spend some time either at a window or better yet out of doors and find the majestic in the natural world. Even the spindly limbs of a winter oak can make the heart light.

Spring will come eventually, but until then I’ll be outside, on the tread, or taking a multivitamin…while smiling at the rain…

How do you banish the blahs?