straw bag


I used this straw bag almost all summer. It became my “go to town” bag for those trips that included meetings, meals, and transitions between errands. I didn’t use it for quick trips to town for groceries.

It sits in my closet and holds my umbrella, water bottle, first aid pouch, utensils to to pouch (fork, napkin, hand sanitizer, and reusable straw), a couple of reusable bags, and my EDC (every day carry) purse.  I pop whatever I might need for whatever meeting I might have in there the night before too.  In other words, all those things I might forget if I am running late in the morning.

Planning — Autumn 2018

Wardrobe Plans:


  • Bottoms:  4 (1 black slim trousers, 3 jeans)
  • Dress:  1 (black knit rib)
  • Shirts: 7 (white, striped, green, sage, purple, 2 black)
  • 2nd Layers: 4 (moss, black, purple, navy)
  • Weather related: 3 (denim jacket, black jacket, rain jacket <not shown because it’s currently soaking wet>)
  • Accessories:
    • Shoes: 5 (black loafer, black bootie, black flat, brown boots, black boots)
    • Purse/Tote: 2 (green purse, black tote)
    • Scarves: 3 (monet, red plaid, rust/purple)
    • Jewelry: 3 (earrings), 1 necklace
  • Underwear, bras, socks, and pjs
  • Things I don’t count: watch, wedding set, winter coat/hat/mittens/scarf (should it be needed),  and sunglasses.  I also don’t count clothes I only wear around the house or exercise clothes.



Month                    High / Low(°F).         Rain
Sept                         81° / 57°.                    6 days
Oct                          70° / 45°.                     5 days
Nov                         57° / 36°.                     7 days


  • Church
  • Spiritual Companion Group
  • Errand Running Days
  • Celtic Seminar
  • Election Day
  • My birthday
  • Thanksgiving
  • MA’s birthday
  • possible trip to visit my family

Home Activities:

  • Autumn cleaning
  • Winter prep for garden
  • Firewood (from downed/dead wood on our property)
  • House prep for winter
  • exercise: walks, biking, yoga, resistance training
  • wash all cold-weather bedding

Budget Goals:

  • Pay off medical debt #1 ($400)
  • Pay down medical debt #2 ($3200)
  • Spending Fast for me personally starting Sept 21 and lasting until December 21. I can purchase Christmas gifts. Not included are necessities like food, home cleaning needs, and bathroom essentials.







low impact exercise

Exercise and movement are so important to our being fit and healthy. It takes surprisingly little to get your workouts in at home.


I’m currently using–

For cardio three days a week:  my trainers, a jump rope, and my bike.  I use the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) variety.  I take a daily walk as soon as the sun is up to get my daily dose of sunshine. I consider the walk an activity not an exercise.

For strength training three days a week: 2 x 5 pound weights, 2 x 8 pound weights, 1 x 12 pound weight, and a set of fitness bands.  I do an upper body push (counter push-up &  military press), an upper body pull (row, standing pull-up), a lower body pull (dead lift, hip-hinges), a lower body push (squat), balance (just standing around on one foot), and core (planks, dead bugs & Russian twists)

For flexibility training every day: a yoga mat, a yoga strap, a yoga block, and a bolster. I do a slow, steady, home practice that mirrors an old Jason Crandell video where you do 4 poses for each area you are focusing on . . . so using Sun Salutations you work in 4 shoulder, 4 hips, 4 abs, 4 leg, then a couple of balance moves, legs-up-the-wall series and finally savasana.

For mindfulness every day: BCP (with Laud and Vespers daily) and Headspace meditation app.

low impact bathroom

I have been working to reduce the amount of waste/plastic/chemicals we bring into our home — again. I seem to do this in “fits and spurts.”  Since I’m using the Iona “rules” I’ll be posting more about how I use the earth’s resources for accountability.

Here is what is currently in my bathroom cabinet. Things that will be changing have the overstrike font and my replacements are listed at the bottom of the post.

  • Top shelf: 1) make up bag with stick blush, blush brush, BB cream with sunscreen, and mascara and 2) nail care box with nail brush, nail buffer, clippers, and a heel file.
  • Middle Shelf: yearly supply of contacts, eye drops, contact solution, Harry razor + 3 extra blades**, and clay (for masks, comes in a paper bag and I store it in a repurposed glass jar).
  • Bottom self: Osea face wash**, Ursa Major face cream**, LOreal face cream with SPF**, Dr Bronner’s gentle salve (I use this as lip balm & lotion), Dr. Bronner’s arnica and menthol salve, sandlewood comb, deodorant stone, Schmitt’s deodorant, Mable toothbrush, tide stick.
  • Things not seen: Lucky toothpaste & floss, toilet paper, potty cloths.


In the shower:  Dr Bronner’s peppermint bar soap, Acure peppermint shampoo, 3 cotton washcloths (use one, clean one, and a backup) and my Turkish towel (1 in use, 1 in the cabinet).10178571-3E36-4D02-AAEE-E3653E7A6C2C


**Things I will be changing—

  • Harry razor—when I run out of blades, I plan to switch to a safety razor.
  • Osea face cleaner— not rebuying, I’m going back to the Akamai basic soap.
  • Ursa Major face cream— not rebuying, I’m going back to the Akamai Skin Fuel.
  • L’Oreal face cream with SPF— Right after I took this picture, I noticed I only have a few days’ supple left, so I’m going to try not using this and see how my skin does.
  • Toothpaste — going back to Akamai toothpaste.

Things I am thinking about —

  • Going back to the Akamai 3-in-1 bar for shampoo, but 1 bottle lasts 6 months and I decant into the small silicone bottle. Maybe not.



It seems like such a small thing, I mean, it is just a toothbrush. I’ve been brushing my teeth for about 52 years now and I never really gave my brush that much thought. The problem is . . . I should have.

Enter the MableBrush


  • No waste packaging
  • Bamboo handle (compostable)
  • BPA free bristles
  • Stands up
  • Cute non-toxic paint on bottom so you know it is your brush and not your partner’s.
  • It is very comfortable to hold, even for my hands — nice wide base to grip.
  • The company even has a way to get your brush delivered automatically, which will save you Amazon’s packaging it in a plastic bubble filled envelope and take one more thing of your to-do list.


For many years I have been interested in a more Celtic expression of Christianity. I believe it fits well within the Anglican tradition where I have found my home. There are many aspects which speak to me: a focus on creation, a deeply held Trinitarian thought, and a life of prayer.  These things are not exclusive to the Celtic expression of faith, but I find them easiest to incorporate into my life within this circle.

The Iona Community has a Rule of Life that I really like:

As Members of the Iona Community we commit ourselves to:

  1. Daily prayer, worship with others and regular engagement with the Bible and other material which nourishes us
  2. Working for justice and peace, wholeness and reconciliation in our localities, society and the whole creation
  3. Supporting one another in prayer and by meeting, communicating, and accounting with one another for the use of our gifts, money and time, our use of the earth’s resources and our keeping of all aspects of the Rule.
  4. Sharing in the corporate life and organisation of the Community

I’ve adopted it as my own for the past several years. I haven’t done anything formal with the community, I just adapted it to my present situation and my own parish.

Daily Prayer, Worship with Others, and Regular Engagement: 

  • The Book of Common Prayer makes this very easy. Laud, Sext, Vespers, and Compline are all easy to memorize and are meaningful.  Initially I set up alarms on my phone to help me to remember to take time to do each.
  • I attend corporate worship as often as I am able (and this is wholly dependent on being able to arrange a ride since I can no longer see well enough to drive myself) and each worship service includes the Eucharist.
  • I use the Bible texts as set out in the BCP for daily reading. I always get in the Psalms and usually the Gospel text.  I also try to have at least two other books to read each day (in addition to my German reading book): usually non-fiction during the day and fiction in the evening.

Working for justice and peace, wholeness and reconciliation: 

  • Weekly phone calls and letter writing to my Members of Congress. This often feels like ramming my head into a brick wall, but it must be done.
  • I have three primary organizations that I follow for guidance on the issues
    • EPPN (Episcopal Public Policy Network)
    • Green Anglicans
    • NAA and ASI (National Autism Association and Autism Society of IN)  — Justice, Reconciliation & Wholeness

Supporting one another, being accountable for my gifts, time, money, and use of the Earth’s resources:

  • I have my Spiritual Companion Group that meets twice a month — which is a lovely opportunity to check in with others and then share thoughts on the book we are reading together.
  • I don’t have a good way to be accountable for my gifts, time, money, and use of the earth’s resources.  I’m thinking about adding a monthly post to be my accountability until I find a person/group for this.

ancient wisdom


There are times in my life when all the facts seem to coalesce into a greater truth. Normally I find that this truth is also an ancient truth, an ancient wisdom, and that I am never the first person to encounter it.  That said, it is very important to me that I come to this wisdom for myself. Otherwise it always is just facts & knowledge but never truly my own wisdom.

I recently had that experience with wellness. I have written about why I chose FWTFL. It was the best decision I have ever made health wise. It is an amazing set of “what’s” and “how’s”. It has given me the tools to get back to a healthy state.  But I am a “why” gal.  I like to know, no — I need to know, why.  So I read a book called “The Four Pillar Plan” (UK title) / “How to Make Disease Disappear” (US title) by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. It reinforced the “what” and “how” of FWTFL and went deeper into the “whys”.  Then I began listening to his podcast.  A particular episode really struck me as something that I wanted to know more about, something that was the big “WHY” behind all the little “whys.”

The big WHY is the circadian rhythm.

After listening to the episode(s) on circadian rhythm, I purchased the kindle version of Dr Satchin Panda’s book “The Circadian Code” then I read every article he referenced, then followed a rabbit trail of links and articles. It has been very enlightening. Very interesting. Very intriguing.

What makes us think we can just unroll thousands (and thousands) of years of living, being, and observation? This is the question I have to ask myself often. This is the crux of my endeavors going forward. It all came together for me when I sat down with my Book of Common Prayer to do Laud one morning and Vespers later that day.

Laud — Let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring to your holy hill and to your dwelling . . .

The very definition of Laud is praise, public praise so it is very fitting that my first intentional (conscious) thought is that of praising God. I notice that laud (praise) is tied to and acknowledges the rising sun. That first morning light that is filled with blue light, that light that alerts our body to awaken and prepare for the day  . . . and so I complete the prescribed prayers while lacing up my trainers, downing a glass of water, and heading out to walk in the new day, with the rising sun, and continue to focus my thoughts on God.

By the time my walk is done, I’m warm, hungry, and feeling quite alert and ready to tackle the day. I spend a few extra minutes outside watching Jasper caper about and weeding the gardens. This gives me nearly an hour out in the sun, moving my body, wakening my mind, and enjoying the peace and quiet.

The rest of my day falls into place with meals, plenty of water, a shower, light housekeeping, reading, writing, and learning.  By 3 pm, I am brain-tired and ready for a change. Some time doing yoga or resistance training helps re-focus my day from mental to physical — now is when I do any heavy cleaning or other physically intensive housekeeping chores, along with a quick dip in the pool to cool off, and my last meal occurs about 5 pm.

At 6:00 I sit down with my prayer book again and I find these words . . .

Vespers —

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are workday at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Vesper means evening (and Venus, as in the evening star) and I am reminded again to praise and I see again that it is tied to the changing light pattern. Now the sun is sinking, the day is aglow with reds, oranges, and purplish-gray. This is no time for glaring white/blue lights, screens, and exciting activities. This is a time to be be quieted, to prepare my body for rest and healing. This is a time for fireside (or candle-side) story telling, family chats, books, and audiobooks.  Even in the summer, when here in IN it can be light at 9 pm, it is easy to make this a quiet time — and sometimes another dip in the pool is needed to help cool down our bodies and make it easier to fall asleep.

There is so much more I’ve learned, and so much more I’ve remembered, but this is the gist of circadian rhythm and these are the keys to wellness:  Sleep, Eat, Move, and Relax.

vital worship conference

Vital Worship Conference: June 19-21, Grand Rapids Michigan

Weather:  Day 84, Night 57, Partly cloudy, but no rain.
Dress — “comfortable”


Travel Tuesday early morning and Thursday evening
Conference Tuesday afternoon to Thursday after lunch, opportunities to walk in nature preserve, walking between buildings

Packing List

  • Wear: shirt, pants, cardigan & loafers
  • In Roller Bag:
    • 45DEDB9D-D609-4EEA-B9F5-42A9F75965642 shirts, 1 pair pants, 1 jacket
    • Underwear/bras/socks — sports sandals
    • C6E55FC8-2514-46F8-84E1-05BA813D6057311: face cleaner, face cream, lotion, BB cream, lipgloss, tide stick, contacts + solution, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm
    • 81BB0E15-1574-42F4-8277-C8BCA3358655spiff kit: comb, emery board, Rx+supplements, toothbrush, wipes for glasses, small travel first aid pouch, sanitizer wipes, alarm clock, flashlight, phone charger + stand
    • food bag: protein shake packets, trail mix, chocolate bar
    • pen + journal + conference notebook
    • book
  • B193C950-B0B2-4AF1-A640-5134DEF19730Purse:  Wallet, glasses/sunglasses, and water bottle

living small, 6 month update

Six months ago I noted a few areas where I really wanted to dive deeper into living small (simply). It has been an amazing six months filled with questions, observations, re-thinking, and change.


More Favorites  . . . Less Novelty:  I am reading through my Kindle books instead of buying new fiction books. I’ve had to change the non-fiction reading part as 1) my church received a worship grant and there are some books I wanted to add to my library to help explore the idea of Celtic themed worship and my Spiritual Companionship Group will be reading these books, 2) I bought a couple of landscape books because I enjoy looking at beautiful gardens and I’m knee-deep in front yard planning, and 3) my wellness journey brought 1 book to my attention that I really wanted to have my own copy of so that I can refer back to them at any time.

I am now back to operating on a one in – one out rule for my books. They currently fill 2 shelves on the bookshelf and that is quite enough.

More Language . . . Less Social Media:  This might be the single thing bringing the biggest changes into my life aside from the wellness changes I have put in place. I have unfollowed everyone on Facebook and I only use it for my wellness accountability group. I still browse my Instagram feed, but just once a day. And Twitter is now a news feed and I try not to interact too much.

As a consequence my German is really improving.  I can now read 15 pages during my set German reading time. I haven’t had to look up a word in several weeks. And I can follow the audiobook without difficulty. I just finished Harry Potter 1 and will start Harry Potter 2 as soon as I am home from the conference I’m attending.

More Wellness . . . Less Confusion:  I am still following the Faster Way to Fat Loss program. I have learned so much and gained so much confidence. I am on my 12th week and I have lost 22 inches now. I likely have 5 more inches to lose.

I also read “How to Make Disease Disappear” by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and “The Circadian Code” by Dr Satchin Panda. Both books strengthen what I learned from FWTFL.  They are helping me understand some of the “why” behind the “how” of getting and maintaining heath.

My needs have changed as far as exercise gear goes. I’m not using the kettlebells anymore. They are tricky with my hands. I have some hand weights that have thin handles and I use those and a couple of resistance bands. I also narrowed my yoga mats down from 3 to 1.  I cut one up to put under my weight bench to keep it from slipping and to keep the weights from marking up the floor. The other piece of that mat goes on top of my travel mat (that I kept) when I need a bit of extra cushioning. The very large yoga mat hasn’t been used in 12 weeks and I am think if I don’t use it in the next 3 months I will find someone who wants/needs a very good mat. I also find that I don’t really use the step bench as such. Mostly it is just a platform for my fan.

More Simple-ness . . . Less Stuff:  There have been quite a few changes in this department. Little things like adding a flashlight and an alarm clock (rather than using my phone at night — helps with sleep) and needing a bigger purse since I am wearing glasses most of the time now and I need to be able to carry my glass case with me.  I got rid of my wallet and just use a little pouch now.

My bathroom cabinet fluctuates with products, but since they are consumable I don’t count them anyway. My two small shelves easily hold everything and that seems to be a reasonable way to contain the amount. I continue to strive for healthy, ecologically sustainable/durable products. I have a 3-1-1 kit that contains tiny jars that I can decant product into when I travel and that eliminates a lot of waste and hassle since I don’t need to find travel size samples.

I simplified my wardrobe even more by taking it down to neutrals + green. So now I have 2 pair of jeans (denim), 2 pair of trousers (black), 2 pair of capris (black and denim). My shirts are all black (4), white (3), or green (1).  All my 2nd layer sweaters are black (1), green (3), white (1), or denim (1).  Shoes are all black (loafers, sandals, ballet flats, + trainers +sport sandals). I have 2 at home outfits, 1 workout outfit, 1 swimsuit, 2 sun hats, and 1 pair of slip ons sneakers for outside work).

I’m back to traveling with my backpack (since my shoulder has finally healed), but I do not plan on getting rid of my rolling case — just in case I take a longer trip or have another injury that makes the backpack tricky.  I got rid of the toiletry case and just use my 3-1-1 bag and my Tom Bihn Side Effect.

My page “The List” is on-going and ever-changing list of my essentials. A lot of the list is linked to posts where I “justify” each essential.  I actually need to work through that list and re-do posts because as I continue to refine my thinking things change. I notice that I am missing something or I notice that I really don’t find a particular thing to be essential.