folding table

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

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My little folding table really does some big work around here. Normally it sits beside my bed and acts like a night table. My stool fits under it. I keep my iPad and Kindle down there at night.

The stool will fit on top and I’ve used it as a standing table. It’s not the greatest set-up, but it will work. It is a deep walnut color.  I also can just plop the laptop on it and sit on the stool.

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Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), How the Light Gets In (Gamache, L Penny), Ahoi in Hamburg

Listening: Ender’s Game, podcasts

Watching:

stool

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

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I’m short (or petite, or vertically challenged). There are no two ways about it. I need a good step stool. I use one in the kitchen to reach the upper shelves. I use one in the bathroom to reach the top of the cabinets. I use one to hold the laundry basket when I’m putting clothes on the racks.

My favorite stool has other uses too: a laptop stand (especially handy when watching exercise videos that use the yoga mat) and it also sits on top of my folding table to make a standing desk.

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Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), How the Light Gets In (Gamache, L Penny), Ahoi aus Hamburg

Listening: Ender’s Game, podcasts

Watching: Agent Carter, GBBS

more simple-ness

A Depth Year: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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My third area of more/less is more simple-ness, less stuff. I’ve been chasing the idea of enough for several years now. I have decluttered, minimized, overhauled . . . ad nauseum, but somewhere along the line, things come in and I have to deal with the clutter all over again.

I’ve spent some time thinking about this and why it happens and what areas of my life are prone to “not enough-ness.” There are a couple of areas that really stood out, some because they continue to plague me and some because I feel like I have a handle on the area.: wardrobe/clothing, kitchen stuff, exercise stuff, books, nutrition books, household furniture/decor, and __________.

What I’ve learned about myself while really thinking this through is that while I am a minimalist at heart (can’t stand the clutter), I am also drawn to beauty and simple lines. For example: I had a very large collection of Fiesta Ware. I collected pieces because I thought they were beautiful. My kitchen stuff grew and grew and grew until I was storing stuff in totes. So not minimalistic and so not good stewardship of my time or money. Today though, I feel like I have a handle on the kitchen.

What changed? One day I realized that all the colors, shapes, and sizes of the Fiesta Ware felt chaotic and never quite complete (because new colors and new pieces were a constant temptation). So I sold the Fiesta Ware. All of it, except one pitcher and one small bowl. Then I went out and bought 4 simple white luncheon plates, 4 cereal bowls, 4 mugs, and 4 pasta bowls.

The pasta bowls are Dansk Christensen and I adore them.  Seeing the simple color (white with a one blue line) and simple lines has inspired me to change the the whole kitchen. Now instead of a pile of cheap dish towels in an assortment of colors, I have a nice stack of 12 organic cotton with blue stripes. Each change was deliberate and adds to the harmony of the kitchen.

Along these lines:
* I am going to continue to curate my #100essentials list. I have been posting this on the blog three times per week. This has been really helpful as I am looking at my things with new eyes.
* I am going to continue to refine and curate my closet to match my lifestyle and personal style+colors. Right now I have a wardrobe that is beginning to take shape, but I need to be mindful as I make future choices. It is too easy for me to go in a store and buy what fits and is on sale rather than what I really like, in colors that look good on me, and in styles that are comfortable but not sloppy.
* As our furniture needs replacing, I am not going to use Goodwill as my replacement center. I am going to make do and save for quality, simple lines, furniture. This may take a while, as I need to think about style, comfort, color, etc. This is not a strength of mine, and yet I feel like once I can define it and then put it in our home, the desire to simply change things will be lessened.
* I am going to continue to add plants to the house and I am going to begin a flower bed outside. I’m finding that plants and flowers are the “pop” I am looking for when I feel like I just need something new.
* Exercise stuff and nutrition type books will be dealt with as I work through more wellness, less confusion.

And finally, but not least importantly, I am going to let go of areas not in my direct control. I see the mess and clutter of other family members and it bothers me. So I am going to choose to NOT see and work on the areas of the house that are my primary responsibility.

candle holder

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

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I appreciate a simple aesthetic. I like simple lines, simple wood, simple colors, and simple smells. This little glass tea light holder has been holding my prayer candles for almost a decade. It doesn’t ask much, doesn’t require special cleaning, and has taken a fall more than once and manages to stay in one piece.

I use a beeswax candle with a cotton wick. I like the clean scent and the yellow glow.  Normally I save the plastic cup and any scraps of beeswax. I melt the beeswax (in a pyrex cup in the microwave), pour some in the bottom of the cup, add the wick, and then fill the little plastic cup to the top.  It takes a few hours once every six months to a year to fill up my box.

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Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), How the Light Gets In (Gamache, L Penny), Ahoi Im Hamburg (German)

Listening: Ender’s Game, podcasts

Watching: Fringe, Wonder Woman,

bible + bcp

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

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Even though this is technically two books, I count them as one because I rarely use one without the other. The Bible is “The Green Bible,” it has essays and a study guide for creation care.

Each morning, with coffee or tea and a candle, I turn to the Morning Office (Laud) in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and then read the scripture assigned for that day.  It is a way to steady myself and ground myself in what God is doing (and has done).

I return each evening for Vespers.  They are bookends to my day.

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Reading: At Home in the World (M Guenther), How the Light Gets In (Gamache, L Penny), Momente in München

Listening: Ender’s Game, podcasts

Watching: In awe as students take a stand against gun violence. Justice League, Fringe

fan

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

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

blanket

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

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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.

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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