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