yoga mat

A series of posts on my “The One” choices. #simplicity #100 essentials

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My yoga mat is a Manduka Pro. I like the thickness, it is very comfortable for middle aged knees and hips. I like the extra couple of inches on the width, wide child’s pose and wide down dog are two of my favorite poses.

This is my The One mat. The forever mat. The essential mat. It is not my only mat though.

I also have (in the same color) the Manduka Pro-lite (not as thick, not as wide) and I have the Manduka Eko travel mat.  The regular mat lays on the floor at the foot of my bed. It is Jasper’s,  the dog, favorite spot. It makes a convenient place to pop down for a stretch, or a snuggle, and I use it when I’m doing an indoor walking video. Shoes never ever touch my  The One mat, but this one gets used more like an exercise mat, shoes and all.

 

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Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Read—Celtic Book of Days, Water From an Ancient Well, Ferien in Frankfurt (German), A Trick of the Light.
Watch—Star Trek: Voyager, Fringe
Listen—Howl’s Moving Castle

 

razor

A series of posts on my “The One” choices. #simplicity #100 essentials

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I love my Harry’s razor. It’s comfortable to hold, seems unbreakable, is reasonably priced, the refill blades are cheap and awesome.

Here’s a link to their website. I don’t make anything from your click or your purchase. I just really love my razor.
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Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Read—Celtic Book of Days, Ferien in Frankfurt (German), A Trick of the Light.
Watch—Star Trek: Voyager, Fringe
Listen—Howl’s Moving Castle

living small

Living small . . . because there isn’t enough time to do it all.

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I have a category here on the blog that I call living small. I’ve used this term to mean living simply and living with less, but I’ve never been satisfied that those two ideas are “exactly” what I mean. It is a word that often comes to my mind when I read about people living big lives — doing big things, writing big books, having a big following on their blog or on social media.

Maybe it is the way I’m wired (INFJ, 5w4), maybe it’s my family situation (adult son with autism), maybe it is my health (auto-immune disorder), maybe I just don’t have ambition . . .

Maybe. Or maybe it is because I am not called to live a big life. Maybe I am called to living a small life— but living a small life really well.

I think it is what was stirring when I decided to blog about my family’s journey. I think it is what I was reaching for when I decided to long-form journal and blog. I think it is what I was sensing when I decided to stop living life so “quantified.” I feel like exploring this idea and seeing where it takes me.

I’ve chosen a few areas where I want more, where I want depth, where I want to focus. And I’ve chosen a few areas where I want less — less distraction, less luring me away from mindfulness, and less novelty of the new.

I want more:
* wellness
* simple-ness
* language
* favorites

I want less:
* confusion
* stuff
* social media
* novelty

 

**Photo taken by me in New Orleans, right outside the aquarium.**

 

cotton towel

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

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I have found nothing better than a simple, finely woven, cotton, Turkish towel. It dries quickly even in our southern Indiana humidity. It’s soft, but absorbent. Rolls up into a tiny roll  in the cabinet.

I use it as a towel, a coverup at the pool, a blanket on the plane, and even a yoga prop.

This picture shows it folded. Laid flat it is 36”x65”.

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Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Read—Celtic Book of Days, Ferien in Frankfurt (German), A Trick of the Light
Watch—Star Trek: Voyager
Listen—Ready Player One (audio, as I fall asleep), The Simple Show podcast

dry brush

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

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This is a Yorba Prime dry brush (body brush). I’ve had this for nearly a decade. I clean it after each use and store it bristles up.

Dry brushing feels amazing and helps keep my skin in good shape. Here’s how I use it—  You use it on dry skin ( I do this while standing around waiting for the shower water to warm, which gives me 3-4 minutes.) Use long sweeping strokes that move toward your heart on feet, legs, back, hands, arms, etc. circular pattern over my abdomen, and the soft parts behind my knees, inner elbows, arm pits, etc.

 

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Morning Office: Psalm 119: 49-72, Mark 6:13-29
Vespers: Psalm 49

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Read—Celtic Book of Days,   Ferien in Frankfurt(German), A Trick of the Light.
Watch—Star Trek: Voyager,
Listen—Harry Potter 7 (audio, as I fall asleep),  podcast

comb

A series of posts on my “The One” choices. #simplicity #100 essentials

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Hannah, my daughter, bought me this lovely sandalwood comb. It’s quite chunky yet still small.  I love the beauty, the simplicity, and the silky feel of the wood.

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Morning Office: Psalm 68, Psalm 98, Isaiah 47:1-15, Heb 10: 19-31, John 5: 2-18
Vespers: Paalm 103

Weather: 47-54 degrees F, overcast, waxing crescent . Sunrise-Sunset = 7:55-5:51

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Read—Celtic Book of Days, Fearless After 50,  Rising Strong, Cafe in Berlin (German), A Trick of the Light.
Watch—Star Trek: Voyager, Dunkirk
Listen—Harry Potter 7 (audio, as I fall asleep), The Simple Show podcast

4×4: Jan, Feb, Mar ‘18

I’ve been inspired by Courtney Carver’s 333, Janice @ The Vivienne Files, and always Francine Jay @Miss Minimalist.

I love Janice’s 4×4 wardrobe building idea and set out to implement it as best I can while only using clothes in my closet.

My planning sheet includes extra squares for accessories (scarves, jewelry, purses, sunglasses), shoes (boots and sandals), and weather specific outerwear (coat, vest, rain jacket, knit hat & mittens). I did this because I’m not very good at “finishing” an outfit. Shirt, sweater, pants, shoes — check. Necklace or scarf — not so good. Actually, shoes are not really check, as I tend to throw on either my trainers or, on really cold days, my Ugg knockoffs.

I have two things on my wish list: a black skirt and red sneakers (converse, maybe?).

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Morning Office: Psalm 25, Mark 3:7-19
Vespers: Paalm 9, Psalm 15

Weather: 3 – 31 degrees F, overcast and snowy, waning crescent . Sunrise-Sunset = 7:58-5:45

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Redemption in Indigo, Rising Strong, Cafe in Berlin (German), Fearless After 50
Star Trek: Voyager
Harry Potter 7 (audio, as I fall asleep)

 

Mornings. . .

Mornings, especially winter mornings, are a real struggle for me. I am a creature of light. I like to get up with the sunrise and by the time the sun sets I’m done (as in put me in the recliner with a book or a movie).

After years of pushing myself to get up and get going — zero to sixty in two minutes—I’ve been working on a more gentle approach to my 50s and winter mornings. I’m finding four elements necessary this year.

  • Fire—there is something about coaxing a fire to life while saying the  morning office from the Book of Common Prayer. It feels right. It feels  deliberate. It feels connected.
  • Air—my body wakes up stiff these days and the only thing that helps is to get it moving. So I pull on my trainers and pull up a walking video.  30 minutes of “walking” and I’ve loosened up my joints and muscles, my heart and lungs have cleared out the sleepiness and I’m thinking more clearly.
  • Water—warm water, peppermint soap (or coconut, depending on my mood), Akamai skin fuel, a hint of amber oil, and Grove lip balm are my personal care essentials. Throw in some mascara and a touch of lipstick and watch out world!
  • Earth—by now I’m hungry.  A smoothie and decaf coffee with almond creamer is my standard breakfast. Focusing on organic and plant based helps start my day right.

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Morning Office: Psalm 119:1-24, Genesis 4:1-16, John 1:35-42
Vespers:

Weather: 42-58 degrees F, overcast, 3rd Quarter/ waning crescent . Sunrise-Sunset = 7:59-5:40

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Redemption in Indigo,  Rising Strong, Cafe in Berlin (German)
Star Trek: Voyager
Harry Potter 6 (audio, as I fall asleep)

Epiphany 2018

6 January 2018
Holy Day:  Epiphany
Chalking the Door
A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 18.
  • The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.
  • They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.”
  • The “+” signs represent the cross and 2018 is the year.
 Dreikönigskuchen–3 Kings Cake
Ingredients
  • 4-4 1/4cups flour
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest, thinly stripped
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, thinly stripped
  • 1/2 cup raisins, cherries, cranberries (whichever your family likes best)
  • 1 whole almond
Egg wash
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1Tbsp water
Coating
  • 1/8 cup apricot jam
  • 1 Tbsp hot water
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together all ingredients except for the almond, egg wash, and coating.
  2. Once a soft, smooth ball forms, set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk. About 2 1/2 hours. Be sure to cover it and place in a warm spot.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 Pieces, one a little larger than the rest.
  4. Roll each piece into a ball and arrange the 7 smaller balls around the slightly larger one on a sheet pan, forming a flower.
  5. Let rise another 30 minutes, then brush with the egg wash.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. Prepare the glaze by mixing the apricot jelly with a tablespoon of hot water.
  8. Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
  9. Brush with several coats of apricot glaze and sprinkle with the coarse sugar
  10. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, poke an almond into the bottom of one of the rolls.

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Morning Office:  Psalm 46, Psalm 97, Matt 12:14-21
Vespers: Psalm 96, Psalm 100

Weather: 14-23 degrees F, sunny, waning gibbous moon. Sunrise-Sunset = 8:00-5:35

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Commonwealth, Every Earthly Blessing
Star Trek: Voyager (rest time) and Fringe (family time)
Harry Potter 6 (as I fall asleep)

 

5 January 2018

12th day of Christmas
Eve of Epiphany

Today is a transition day for us. The whole house gets a thorough cleaning in the morning. The King Cake dough is started and left to rise behind the wood stove for a couple of hours. While that’s rising, I begin to take down the Christmas decorations.

I’ll put a winter wreath on the door, change to a matching Vespers table, and keep the warm white twinkle lights in the eating area window.

Each year I try to bring home more green plants for the living room. I spend the rest of the year trying not to kill the plants! I need light and life to help steer my ship through these dark winter days.

My natural tendency is to hide away in the warm house, but this year I am going to stay involved in my Spiritual Companion Group. I’m going to ask a friend to join me for coffee at least once a month. I’m also going to go outside and walk around the yard as many days as I can.

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Morning Office: Psalm 2, Psalm 5, John 15:1-6
Vespers: Psalm 29, Psalm 98, Rom 15:7-14

Weather: 2– 20 degrees F, partly cloudy / sunny, waning gibbous moon. Sunrise-Sunset = 8:00-5:35

Reading, Watching, Listening . . .
Celtic Book of Days, Commonwealth, Every Earthly Blessing
Star Trek: Voyager (rest time) and Fringe (family time)
Harry Potter 6 (as I fall asleep)