Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


I cannot sleep at night without some kind of white noise. This fan gets a workout year round. In the winter it provides noise and a gentle breeze. In the summer it is on high and pointed directly at me while I sleep, exercise, read, write . . .

One thing that stands out about this fan is that the front pops off easily so you can clean the blades. As you can see, I need to do that on my next bedroom cleaning day.


Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), Momente in München (German), How the Light Gets In (Gamache)
Listening: Ender’s Game
Watching: Fringe, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

more favorites

More favorites . . . less novelty

A Depth Year: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


I love to read. Actually that may be an understatement. There must be a stronger term than love that doesn’t imply a psychological problem.

I’ve always been a reader. I don’t remember learning to read, I just remember being in first grade and getting to go to special class because I read so well. It is a like a thing just happened and I fell in love with words. (Incidentally, the only other thing I remember about first grade is kids asking/talking about breastfeeding. — How random is that?)

Until my journey with simplicity started several years ago, I had an enormous library. I mean big enough to actually be a small local library. I know this because when I donated my books It took 5 trips in a suburban and literally became a rural library. It doubled the number of books they had. Every once in a while, I’ll get a call from someone who is currently reading one of my old books. It gives me goose-pimples!

I now keep a physical library of around 25 books. A few more sometimes if I am learning about something new, a few less if I feel that someone else needs one of my books. Overall I try to maintain a one in-one out rule, but as long as the books fit neatly on my assigned shelf, I’m okay with some rule bending. In fact, now that I am doing more German – less social media, I decided to start a German shelf.

Most of my books are now on my Kindle (and also accessible on my phone if need be). I love the Kindle like its another child or fur-child. Seriously. I have so many books on there, that only Amazon seems able to remember if I already own a book.

It is for that reason that I decided during this “depth year” to focus on more favorites – less novelty.

I am committing to re-reading my old favorites (either in physical form or on my kindle) and not having a to-be-read list of new books for 2018. My only exceptions will be Louise Penny’s Gamache series and any German books (after finishing the series on my kindle and the 1st Harry Potter).

Along with this I am committing to watching my old favorite tv shows/movies that we already own rather than buying new series and movies on iTunes. And finally, the same will apply to my music collection.

. . . hmm, let’s just go ahead and add no new exercise videos or apps either. Lord knows I have enough already.

lenten discipline, 2018

This Lent I’m focusing on praying for South Africa.

The embattled South African President Jacob Zuma could be out of power within days, but residents in Cape Town are facing uncertainty of another kind: their water supply is fast running out.

After three years of relentless drought, a rapidly expanding population and accusations of poor planning by authorities, day zero, when the taps are simply turned off, could be as soon as May.

Here is the resource put together by the South African Anglicans:  Water

Our kitchen tap is turned off for 40 days. We have a couple of water pitchers on the counter for drinking water. Dish water is fetched from the bathroom. We bring in just enough for a half pan of washing water and half a pan of rinsing water.

It certainly makes it easy to remember to pray!


Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), Momente in München (German), How the Light Gets In (Gamache)
Listening: Ender’s Game
Watching: Fringe, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

Ash Wednesday & Lent

It begins in ashes . . .. it journeys through darkness . . .it ends with celebration

Lent is the period of time between Ash Wednesday and carries on for 40 days, not counting Sundays. Sundays are not counted since they are the weekly celebration of the resurrection.

Ash Wednesday — Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.

In my faith tradition we begin Lent by hiding the allelujah and removing decorations from the sanctuary. We receive the ashes as a sign of our mortality, self-examination and repentance. We remember that it is only by his gracious gift that we are given everlasting life.

At home, my altar is covered with a gray cloth, I place a bowl in the center and each day as I do Vespers I place a paper of self-examination, repentance, or prayer for another into the bowl. I will burn these papers during the Great Vigil (Saturday night waiting for Easter Morning). I also like to use rocks and a smaller tea candle on my altar during this season.

I have seen people who make rough wooden crosses and literally nail their requests to the cross during Lent and then attach flowers to each nail on Easter morning. I like this idea, but prefer my quiet bowl, rocks, and candle.


Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), Karneval in Köln (German), The Beautiful Mystery (Gamache)
Listening: Castle in the Air
Watching: Fringe, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries


Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


This cotton throw blanket is my favorite. I love the muted sage and cream stripes (it must be a theme, because they are the same colors I have on the duvet cover and it was not planned). I love the weight. It is just heavy enough to keep you warm, but not so heavy I can’t use it in the summer too. It is my curl up with a tv episode (while taking my afternoon rest) and my curl up with a good book blanket.

It is from the Threshold collection that was at Target a few years ago.


Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), Karneval in Köln (German), The Beautiful Mystery (Gamache)
Listening: Castle in the Air
Watching:  Fringe, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries

more language


A Depth Year:  Part 1, Part 2,

Time to explore my first area of more/less — language, specifically German lessons.

Why German? I studied German for 9 years: 4 in high school, 4 in college, and 1 in Germany with the Goethe Institute.

I’ve been reading a lot about dementia and one thing every study seems to say is that the more elastic you keep your mind, the more you continue to learn, the more you make new neural connections, the healthier your brain is. Puzzles, crosswords, learning a language are all things that have been mentioned in these studies.

I’ve played around with other languages since those German years. I learned a bit of Turkish while we lived in Turkey; a bit of Hebrew before going to Israel (and continued for several years after returning to the States); a bit of Greek to help with Bible study; a bit of Swahii because it seemed like fun. You get the picture.

But thinking about this idea of going deep rather than wide, I decided to return to my German lessons. The key is to gain proficiency, not just dabble.

What’s my plan? I carved out a niche of distraction free time in the late morning for my German practice. I pulled my old (1985) German-English dictionary off the shelf. I bought a grammar refresher book. — These are physical books. I downloaded Duolingo on my phone. Then I loaded some beginner readers on my Kindle. Finally, I bought Harry Potter 1 (paperback and audiobook) in German.

First thing each session, I start with Dueling and review vocabulary. Then I move onto a grammar lesson. These two only take about 10 minutes all together. Then I spend 20 minutes copying out a section from my beginner reader, reading it aloud, looking up any words I don’t know (although I can get most of them through context) and finally re-reading the section.

I am also reading my gospel lesson (Book of Common Prayer reading schedule) in both English and German.

Each evening, I reread the section from my notebook.
Eventually, I will read Harry Potter during the day and when I have completed a chapter, I will listen to that chapter on audiobook. I am excited to begin this, but not quite ready. I want to get grounded again on the basics so that I am enjoying the book as a book.

I will continue to work my way through the Harry Potter books and then I’ll look for another book that Audible carries in German. I will continue this pattern for at least the rest of this depth year and hopefully for the rest of my life.

In order to make more time for German, I decided on less social media. I removed all games and social media from my laptop, moved all social media apps to the 3rd screen on my phone and muted most of FB. I kept a simple living group, an exercise accountability group, and the depth year group on FB, along with immediate family members and my church’s FB page.


Reading:  At Home in the World (M Guenther), The Beautiful Mystery (L Penny), Karneval in Köln (German)

Listening: A Castle in the Air




Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


I’ve debated about including my bed in my list of essentials. I’ve decided it belongs here because sleep is a key to wellness.

I love the simpleness of a platform frame, mattress, organic pillow, organic cotton sheet sets, and a duvet (in an organic cover). The duvet is amazing because it is so warm but so light.  I used to feel weighed down by multiple blankets. So I really appreciate this benefit of the duvet.

I keep an old quilt across the bottom because Jasper likes to lay there. It helps keep the duvet cover clean.


Reading: Water From an Ancient Well, Karneval in Köln (German), The Beautiful Mystery (Gamache)
Listening: Castle in the Air
Watching Smallville, Fringe

drying rack

Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials


I have chosen to live without a clothes dryer for almost 20 years. This is possible because we line dry our clothes for as much of the year as possible. But when it’s rsiny or too cold, we use drying racks by the woudstove (or in front of a fan).

This is my favorite rack. I can get 2 days worth of my clothes on here. It fits neatly behind the stove leaving plenty of room for safety. I don’t leave clothes unattended by the stove until the flue is closed for the night.


Reading: Water From an Ancient Well, Karneval in Köln (German), The Beautiful Mystery (Gamache)
Listening: Castle in the Air
Watching: Smallville, Fringe


Post series on The One, my list of 100 essentials for living simply and living small. #simplicity #100essentials

One of my favorite things in the world is my kindle. It holds my library in less space than a normal size paperback. It’s easy on the eyes (far easier than reading on my phone) and I can change the font size depending on how I’m seeing each day.

If I had 5 minutes to gather my life in a tote, the kindle would be the first object I’d grab. No kidding!
Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Read—Celtic Book of Days, Water From an Ancient Well, Karnavel in Köln (German), A Trick of the Light.
Watch—Star Trek: Voyager, Fringe
Listen—Howl’s Moving Castle

living small. . . forming rhythms


*Picture taken by me of the last liftoff of the Shuttle Atlantis. *

Last Sunday I wrote about living small and how I came to the conclusion it was a calling on my life. I identified four areas were I wanted more and four areas where I wanted less. It was a natural step from there to pair a more up with a less.

More language — less social media
More favorites — less novelty
More simple-ness — less stuff
More wellness — less confusion

Daily rhythm is what allows me to form deep habits. Habits that can take a shifting but remain in place. I’ve spoken about some of my rhythms: morning, housekeeping, and cleaning. I find bunching tasks into a fluid rhythm works best for me and I pair that concept up with time blocking. In other words, I work for a set amount of time on a certain group of tasks and then have a set amount of rest/free time.

Now that I have paired up my more/less and know that I want to incorporate them into my daily flow, it is time to think about where in my day they fit best. German is probably best done when my mind is sharp and alert — so that is before 2 pm. Favorites is easy because I already have a couple times a day when I sit down. Simple-ness is pretty easy too, I’ll just keep doing what I have planned for that as I follow my housekeeping rhythm. Wellness is the one I can’t exactly plan a space for because there are different components. I am not done thinking that one through.

My day begins to look like this —
Morning (7 am-10 am)
*Wake up, say Laud (with fire), drink water, take Rx
* Move my body
* Self-care (shower, coffee, meal)
* Housekeeping & Cleaning (+simple-ness tasks here)
* Rest
Mid-Day (10 am-2 pm) Still need to find a flow to this set, so these aren’t chronological
* German
* Read non-fiction
* Write
* Sext (noon)
* Meal
* Move my body (usually Jasper’s walk)
Afternoon/Evening (2 pm-8 pm)
* Rest (+favorites)
* Meal prep for dinner and tomorrow
* Finish laundry (usually it has been hanging all day)
* Move my body
* Meal and clean-up
* Vespers (with fire)
* Watch news or a show with the family
* Prep house for tomorrow
Quiet time (8 pm-10 pm)
* Self-care
* Meditation
* Compline
* Read fiction (+favorites)
* Listen to audiobook (+favorites)


Reading: A Trick of the Light, Water From an Ancient Well, Karneval in Köln.

Listening: Howl’s Moving Castle

Watching: Star Trek: Voyager (last 2epusodes), Fringe