Thursday, October 16, 2014

Living Simply So Others Can Live


I hope that through this series over the past month and a half, that you have found more simple ways to live. Some of the ideas may not be right for you, but they may be right for some. Living a simple life takes energy to find, but once you find that happy medium, it is a joyous life to live.


What is most important to you?

I hope that through this series, that you have been able to discover what is important to you. What you value. What are you choosing to do without? What do you need to let go of? However you answer these questions, whatever is NOT important to you, GET RID OF IT.

It is so easy to fill life with the unnecessary, the unfulfilling, and unsatisfying. Discovering what's important, helps you live a purposeful life, filled with the dreams and desires you want to accomplish, as you walk through life.

In fact, while doing this series, I ended up getting rid of 2 large boxes of items we never used. Yes, I walked this journey right along side of you. Many of them being clothes that I haven't worn in a year and would only wear out of guilt because I own them. I decided to donate them and keep only what I truly wear and appreciate. I also worked on going through our storage closets and purged of anything that I know I will never use. Some items may have been sentimental, so I put them in our keepsake bin. Making sure that each item has a place, for me, is utterly necessary when it comes to living a simple life. If I can't find a home, it doesn't belong in OUR home.

And finally, one of the biggest ways for my husband and I to live a simple life, is actually to get away. For us to truly take a break from the daily grind of life, we have to step away from it. That is why I am concludeing this series with a week's break from blogging. I was going to schedule posts throughout the week, but I don't even want to think about it.

To live simply, is being able to say no, to find true rest. It has been pretty hectic lately and we decided that before our first child arrives, that it would be a good idea to get away. So that we are! Nothing like celebrating simple living, than by staying in a studio condo, with simple amenities, in the sun of Florida! After doing LOTS of searching and finding the "simple" way of doing this vacation, we have found our answers and are looking forward to this much needed time away.

What changes have you made in your life during this series? I have decided to cut back one day of blogging, so now I am blogging 4 times a week (sometimes more, sometimes less), but I was getting overwhelmed by scheduling so many posts. So I decided to cut back on the number of posts, but hopefully improve the thoughts behind them. I also have found some time-saving ideas on how to better manage my time as a blogger. Life seems to always take some tweaking, but it is worth it in the end!

In what ways have you decided to live a more simple life? What tips do YOU have for living a simple life?

Enjoy a simpler life.

Live Simply So Others May Simply Live.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do Your Commitments Line Up With Your Values?

When you look at your calendar, does your blood pressure immediately rise? Do you start to feel flush in the face, as stress starts to overwhelm you? 

It is easy to become overwhelmed with schedules as life seems to pull you in every direction. The unfortunate part is that in committing to so many things, it is just as easy to lose sight of your values.

So what really IS overcommitment? We all know the FEELING of being overcommitted, but do we really understand what it is? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines "overcommitment" as: to obligate (as oneself) beyond the ability for fulfillment. b : to allocate (resources) in excess of the capacity for replenishment.

Think about those words: 

To "obligate". Do you feel obligated to commit to certain activities? Do you have a hard time saying no without feeling completely guilty? Obligations in my mind are not necessarily a good thing. There is a certain point where you should stick to your commitments because that shows loyalty and trust. But when you start to realize that some of your commitments do not line up with your values, that is when you should start to reconsider them. 

Overcommitment is also doing something "beyond the ability for fulfillment". Think about that. Think about all of your commitments - do they go beyond their ability to fulfill you? Not that we should do everything out of selfish gain - in fact, we should never do something out of selfish gain, but out of a servant's heart. When you realize you are starting to lose that fulfillment, it is time to reconsider your commitments. 

Do you feel like you "allocate" yourself, to the point where you are NOT able to replenish yourself? Are you just running from one activity to another, hoping that one day, you won't burn out, and eventually feel refreshment? Do you live from one vacation to another, just hoping to stay afloat?

All questions to think about, as you look at who you are, and how much you are committed to. 

And most of all, again, do your commitments line up with your VALUES? You may feel overcommitted, but when you realize that your commitments do not line up with your values, especially those that you try to daily hold on to, it is time to maybe step down. Stepping down doesn't mean that you aren't capable or not worthy enough for it, but stepping down says you value yourself, your family, and your priorities.

Beware of overcommitment. Do not let it destroy you or even those around you. Stay true to your values.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Problem of Following Technology Fads

How many electronic gadgets do you have? 

Why do you own the ones you do? Can you list legit reasons WHY you need that certain gadget? Or do you own it because that is what the trend is? That is what society says you should have? That is what you need in order to feel part of the "in" crowd in this world?

I would say the hot ticket item these days is an iphone. I will start off by saying that I am NOT against them. In fact, my husband has one and I can't tell you how many times it has helped us get out of a bind. Binds where we were lost and needed directions, needed to get somewhere but did not have an address, binds of needing to check information in an email, but couldn't because we didn't have a computer, but had my husband's phone. Often you hear people say "how did we ever live without that item"? I often think about that with cell phones in general. But, for every person, is an iphone needed?

That is where I get stuck. I struggle with the constant push to get the latest and greatest. To follow the technology fads and trends. What is the role of technology in life? If we bought every item that advertisers say we should buy, we would all be swimming in clutter and items that we don't need. With that said, how many items have you given in to? Do you REALLY need them? Or are they just something you WANT? Buying what you want is not necessarily bad in and of itself, but it is a trend that is hard to put a halt to. 

Do I need an iphone? I would love one. There are features about it that would be so convenient. But that's just it: convenient. I do not need to live a life of convenience. My tracfone that I pay for by the minute, suits me just fine. No, I can't check my email on demand, but I use my husband's old computer to do that. I can't always open mass text messages, but I figure if someone really needs to get ahold of me, they can call me. I can't look up directions, but a map in our vehicle typically works and so does a phone call to the destination I am trying to find. I can't play a game when I am waiting, but it gives me time to just sit and think. Read a book or a magazine. Or just soak in the world around me.

How much do we miss in life because our heads are glued to an electronic device? How often do you just sit and look outside? Sit outside and read a book? Take a look up and see someone in need? Having too many gadgets, just because of the trends you are trying to live up to, may not be as fulfilling as you think. When you see the next model coming out, do you think "I've got to have that?" If so, have you thought about those who do NOT have, so that you CAN have? Again, I am not saying that an iphone or all the time-saving gadgets are bad. I just think we need to think more about the IMPACT that they are having on our lives. Is the impact always positive? Is it helping you live the simple life that you are desiring to live?

What do you think? How do you think technology has influenced our society in a positive OR negative way?

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Simplify Your Wardrobe

Do you ever stand in front of your clothes wondering what clothes to wear? 

Do you find yourself mixing and matching colors, wondering if a certain color goes with another? 

Does even the thought of getting dressed, cause you stress? I am here to tell you it should not. 

How do you view your clothes? Do they define who you are? Are they a status symbol? What if you viewed clothes as simply something to wear? 

  • We all have dreams of what we want to look like.
  • We see a picture in a magazine and think "I will look like that someday" (or dream that we will).
  • We see a manikin with an outfit on and think "I want that outfit" - yet when we try it on, it looks like anything but.
  • We dream of having a different life - one where we WOULD be wearing all the clothes we dream of wearing.

Then reality hits.

It is just a materialistic dream.

What we need to start asking ourselves is:
What do I wear everyday?
What does an average day look like and does my wardrobe reflect this average day?
Are any of my clothes falling apart?
Do all of my clothes fit?
Is each piece of clothing practical?
Is it me?

Why do you own what you own?

So where to start?
1. Find your core color. What is that you ask? 

·         Blonde hair and blue eyes - Navy
·         Dark hair and brown eyes - Black
·         Dark hair and blue or green eyes - Black or Navy
·         Red hair - Brown

2. Buy clothing that coordinates ONLY with your core color. For example, I am blonde hair and hazeled eyed (according to my driver's license). Therefore, my core color is navy. When I discovered this core color idea, I went through my closet and decided if it was worth getting rid of all of the clothing that did not coordinate with navy. I realized that I often wore black pants. That put me in a dilemma. I quickly realized that some colors went with black and navy and some did not. Some hues of purple did not go with both - so out went the purple shirts. The next time you go shopping, ask yourself if the clothing item coordinates with your core color?

3. Pick a clothing style that is YOU. Do not spend time trying to keep up with the trends. As soon as you buy that new shirt, know that in a few months it will probably go out of style because the store will have a new line of clothing in. Don't waste your time or money. By picking a style, you save yourself so much time - no decisions need to be made as to "who" you want to be that day. When you pick a clothing style that is comfortable and is you, you narrow down the choices when shopping and getting dressed. 

4. Everything coordinated? If you enjoy coordinating every accessory, more power to you. In trying to live with less, having matching accessories may not be at the top of the list. Some have a different colored purse for every outfit they own. In doing this, think about how much time is spent switching purses? Is it worth the space they take up? Is it worth the decision every morning? What about shoes? How many pairs do you need? Maybe some dressier and some casual. I steer clear of the colored shoes because I know they will only add choices (which I am trying to lessen) and add clutter to my closet.

Something to remember: no one has the same wardrobe - so why do we spend so much time trying to look like OTHER people? We see a cute outfit on someone and automatically we have cloth envy. We are trying to imitate others, instead of being ourselves.

It has taken me some time to work through these concepts. What am I most comfortable in? The clothes I have, do I own because I am trying to look like someone else? My body shape is unique to me - no one else looks like me. So why not try to be myself?

I enjoy comfortable clothes. I enjoy my thrift store purchases. I need to keep going through my clothes, but if they are not "me," I should not own them. I want to keep creating my own style because it is ME, I want to be.

Are you ready to simplify your wardrobe?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Simple Living: Avoid Convenience Items

How much would you pay for convenience?

How much DO you pay for convenience?

Fast food restaurants. ATMs. In and out grocery stores. Drive-up coffee shops. Our culture is filled with countless convenience options. Just drive town any town street and you will see convenience thrown at you, from all over.

I would say the one item that we are willing to pay for the most when it comes to convenience is food. 

Think about all of the fast food restaurants we have. Chain and non-chain restaurants. Have you ever walked through the grocery store aisles and noticed how many packaged convenience foods there are? 

The only thing is, it is easy to forget about how much convenience foods cost. 

How much are you willing to pay for convenience? School lunches can often be the biggest cause for over-paying for items such as these. Think about snack-size packs, like crackers, fruit snacks, chips, etc. How about juice boxes? Lunchables? Even paper bags and baggies. What are you willing to pay, just to make something convenient? 

The biggest argument for buying convenience foods is that it saves so much time. But what about the time it takes to make the money to purchase these foods? The time to find a place to store all of them? The space that they take up in your home? In the end, does it REALLY save that much time? 

It may take a little more prep in the beginning, but what about packing healthier snacks for your family such as apples or crackers and peanut butter, hummus with crackers or vegetables, or even buying a large container of yogurt and putting them into snack-size containers? Then when it comes to meals, instead of stopping at the closest fast-food restaurant, choose to double your recipes so that you can eat one and freeze the other. Choose to keep the necessary staples in your home so that when last minute meals happen (as they do to everyone), you will be prepared.

Are convenience foods everything they say they are? 

What do you do to prevent buying them?

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Simple Living: Turn Off The TV

As I sit here and type this post, I am sitting in my grandparent's old chair, while my husband does some work on his computer.

Our tv is not on.

Although, I admittedly say that often times, this is the scenario, but the tv IS on, really just as background noise. We may turn a head or two a few times towards what is going on in the show we are watching, although not really paying attention to it. Really, we aren't bit tv watchers - we really watch tv only when there is nothing else going on. There aren't any shows that we are "addicted" to, and there really hasn't been one in quite some time.

The only problem is, sometimes it's just hard to sit and do one thing at a time, such as work on our computers. A lot of my posts come to light at night, as I sit and have time to think about what I want to write about next. It's only hard because we choose to let the tv become that ever constant background noise.

I wish we had more nights like these and honestly, we have all the power to not turn on that tv.

To just sit quietly.

To go for a walk.

To go outside.

To read a book.

To work on a project.

To watch the stars.

To just get a breath of fresh air.

Turning off the tv allows us to have conversations that maybe we normally wouldn't have. To spend time together doing something we both enjoy, building the relationship.

What about your family? How much time do you spend in front of the tv? How much time do your children spend? Are you even aware of what they are watching? What is your tv taking away FROM? Often we see it as "something to do" but we quickly forget that it is taking away from something else. What is that something else in your family?

You may have to start slow, but take time to turn off the tv. Pick up that book you have been wanting read and sit in the peace and quiet. You will be thankful in the end.

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Take Advantage of FREE - The Library

Have you ever considered what it would save you, if you used your local library?

Maybe you aren't much of a reader, but do you read magazines?

I think in this "want it now, want it new" culture, we can easily forget about the resources that are FREE, sitting unused, while we pay for a place such as a library, yet never use it.

When was the last time you were at your local library? I often hear from people that at the library, they can't find a good book. Well, maybe that is true, but do you find a book on a website that you want to buy? Have you called or asked your library to see if they could get it for you, for FREE? You may think "but I want to read the book again". Lets be honest, how many times does that actually happen when buying a book? They usually just sit, unopened, collecting dust.

Instead of buying a brand new book that will just sit on your shelf, go to your local library. Many libraries offer the ability to look up a book on the internet (instead of physically having to go to the library). If they do not have it in stock, often they can "interloan" it from another library. Yes, you may have to wait a few days to a few weeks (depending on the book's popularity), but it will save you money in the end! You would have to wait for a shipment anyways if you bought the book, right?

Plus, there is something peaceful about walking into a quiet library, filled with books, that offer a wealth of knowledge.

Take advantage of a place like the library - you'll be surprised at how much you actually enjoy it in there!

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