it is a “thing”

I’ve been blogging for a couple of months about my desire to live small, but well. To dig deep instead of staying on the surface. I have chosen areas of focus: more language, more favorites, more simple, and more wellness.

One thing I was very cautious about was quantifying all this. I have purposefully not numbered my books read this year. I am just re-reading my favorites. I don’t have a set amount of time I sit down to focus on my German lessons.  I just sit down with a grammar chapter, a duolingo lesson, and then I read a chapter from my reader. I am not counting my possessions.  However, I am really thinking about what I own and why I own it. My list of essentials is just that . . . MY list of essentials. As an exercise it has been liberating to learn why I love what I love. I am not weighing myself and tying my self-worth on that number.  I am following the “program” as I learn how to fuel my body and move my body.

But it turns out . .  it is a thing. I was just poking around the internet this morning as I sat down to do some thinking about one of my #100 Essentials, why it is an essential for me, and more about the company who makes my essential. I stumbled into a rabbit hole and am emerging 2 hours later energized. It was interesting to read how others are going about this deep year, why they chose to do one, and how they measure success.

I think I’ll continue do it my way. Without charts, graphs, without measuring . . . just learning to trust myself and really lean into the areas I choose to focus on.  I know all the areas are doing good things in my life.

For instance, my German is really improving. I have finished 13 beginners and intermediate readers. I started reading Harry Potter #1 in German (and listening to each chapter as I complete it). I am enjoying the distance from social media too. I still get on each day, but it isn’t the first thing I grab when I sit down.

This same focus is bleeding over into my devotion time, reading time, and the time I spend researching for various things that interest me. I used to get pulled along diversions on-line. Now I have a purpose, a focus, and I stick with that. I am enjoying shorter bursts of reading time but coming away from the book with more understanding and in some cases just more enjoyment of the story.

I’m staying off the scale, but I know that my clothes feel looser in certain areas (hello abdomen and triceps). I know I am getting stronger because I can complete my sets with a heavier weight than when I started. I know my endurance is getting better too because I can get more motion/steps in during my HIIT workouts.

And the simple part of my depth year continues to be a source of joy and thoughtfulness. I have found that with this fitness program I am going to have to buy a few things, and at first that made me grumbly. But, if it contributes to strength and endurance and I am really going to use it, then I plan to go ahead. Examples include: heavier dumbbells.


Other blog posts about going deep:

Go Deeper, Not Wider on the blog Raptitude by David Cain had an essay about this earlier in the year.  He seems to have inspired quite a few people to give this a try.

Leo Babauta of Zen Habits is working on it too.




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


This little 2 cup teapot from Stash Tea was given to me by a friend. It is the perfect size for 2 people. There is an infuser basket that you can purchase separately that fits in it perfectly. The deep warm brown is a classic teapot color.

During my morning fasting time I enjoy a cup of ginseng peppermint tea. Here’s the easy way to make looseleaf tea perfectly each time.

  • fill tea kettle with fresh water and turn on
  • fill teapot (without the infuser basket) with water and place in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Take out of microwave but leave water in pot.
  • when water in the kettle has come to a boil, dump the warm water from the teapot into your mug, put the infuser basket into the teapot, and put 1 TBSN of looseleaf tea (per cup) into the infuser basket.
  • fill the teapot from the kettle (the water will be just under the boiling point now)
  • set a timer for 3-5 minutes and walk away
  • when the timer goes off, empty your tea mug, put in your sweetener of choice, and pour tea from the teapot.

I’ve never had this method fail me. I sip my tea while doing morning office (Book of Common Prayer) and find that after a couple cups of water and this mug of tea, I can easily wait for my 11 am eating window to open.


Reading:  Des Spielers Tot (German), Farewell to Mars (B Zahnd), A Great Reckoning (Gamache #12, L Penny)

Watching:  Coco

weight bench

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


Yet another fitness related essential to add to my list. This bench has many roles in my life.  Obviously I use it for weight training days, but I also use it just like a regular bench. I sit there to put on/take off shoes, gather my thoughts for the day, a place to prop my legs up to stretch them a bit more. I also like that it isn’t super heavy and we can use it in the living room if we need more seats.


Reading: Farewell to Mars (B Zahnd), Des Spielers Tot (German), A Great Reckoning (Gamache #12, L Penny)

Listening: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Watching: Krypton, Timeless


dumbbells & kettlebells

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


I have a new appreciation for dumbbells and kettlebells. I’ve had these sitting around for a bit, but until I started FWtFL I never used them consistently. Now they are being used three days a week. I’m not tying my “essential” to any particular weight, but to the idea.

I’m currently (2 April 2018) using 5#, 8#, and 12#. I’m getting stronger.

I really like the dumbbell design with the thinner silver handle. It is much easier to grip with arthritic hands. I have some old ones here that have thick handles, but I cannot safely hold them. Same thing with the kettlebell. The handle isn’t huge and that makes it possible for me to grip comfortably and confidently. Companies should really take this into account when designing exercise gear.


Reading:  Des Spielers Tot (German), Farewell to Mars (B Zahnd), A Great Reckoning (Gamache, L Penny)

Listening: A Swiftly Tilting Planet



Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by thy life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with the you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen.



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


There are so many reasons that I love this pen and include it on my #100 Essentials list. It is comfortable to hold, cool in your hand, the ink is a nice color, and you can get refills for the ink.

I actually have two of these, one in my purse and one by my journal/working notebooks. I go through one refill a year in my purse pen, and 6-7 refills in my work pen. I do a lot of writing though.


Reading: Des Spielers Tod (German), At Home in the World (M Geunther), The Nature of the Beast (Gamache, L Penny)

Listening:  A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Watching: Krypton, News


sleeping bag

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


I truly believe every person needs a sleeping bag.  You never know when the power might go out in the winter, a tornado might blow through your house, or your dog might barf all over the normal blankets late at night  — and I have used this sleeping bag in all three instances.

I love the Kelty because it is light, warm, mostly mummy shaped, but without the “hood.” It is small enough to fit in my emergency backpack when needed, but large enough to be completely comfortable for this this “slightly” claustrophobic gal. At just $60 bucks it is a good investment without breaking your bank.



Reading: Die Dritte Hand (German), The Nature of the Beast (Gamache, L Penny), At Home in the World (M Guenther)

Listening: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Watching:   —-


putting together a capsule wardrobe

A few weeks ago I answered questions that helped me establish some parameters for my capsule wardrobe. I took everything out of my closet, tried it on, and judged each piece of clothing.

This week is much easier. I am putting together a list of what I have, what I need, what might make for some “chic” outfits, and taking the NOs to the donation drop-off. I ended up with 4 small grocery bags for donation. These were mostly things that were too big or colors that were just wrong.

I started with the gardening/working outside clothes. I really only need a pair of shorts, a pair of capris, 2 t-shirts, a UV hat, and a UV over-shirt to make this work. I can wash one – wear one.  Good news! I have all this! All these went into a small shoebox size tote on my shelf.

Next onto exercise: This is about the same thing. I need 2 pair of exercise capris/shorts and 2 tank tops, plus my UV neon yellow bike shirt/jacket that helps vehicles and hunters see me. I need a good pair of trainers. More good news! I have all this too! These all went into a slightly larger tote on my shelf.

  • Champion knee-length exercise pants (Target)
  • Champion shorts (Target)
  • Champion tank x 2 (Target)
  • Trainers (Saucony Cohesion Grid)
  • Socks (Saucony Duo-Dry, no show)
  • UV/Reflective Yellow Long-Sleeve Bike Jacket (LL Bean)
  • UV/Reflective yellow short-sleeve bike jacket (LL Bean + I cut the sleeves)
  • Sports Bra x2

Actual Capsule Wardrobe ——



Neutrals/Column  — black and khaki/stone (in the warm months)

Accent/Secondary — white, cobalt blue, green

Miscellaneous — navy, dark gray, red

Warm Weather 1st Layer Tops: 


  • White V-neck (LL Bean)
  • Black V-neck (LL Bean)
  • Green crew-neck (LL Bean)
  • Cobalt crew-neck (LL Bean)
  • Graphic T: Charcoal (Hogwarts Crest)
  • Emerald Green/Navy Shell (Dillards — my “chic” top)


Warm Weather 2nd Layer Tops:


  • Red cotton cardigan
  • Black zip cardigan (LL Bean)
  • Navy cardigan (LL Bean)
  • Green 3/4 sleeve cardigan (Dillards)
  • Green linen button up (Dillards)

Weather Related Tops:

  • Black windbreaker (LL Bean)
  • Blue rain jacket (LL Bean)
  • Black/Charcoal Jacket (LL Bean)
  • Denim Jacket (Dillards — Keeping this, even though it isn’t quite right)



  • Black trousers (LL Bean, perfect pant original)
  • Black trousers (LL Bean, perfect pant slim)
  • Black Capris (LL Bean, perfect pant)
  • Black Jeans (Lee, old)
  • Stone capris (LL Bean, perfect pant)
  • Stone trousers (LL Bean, perfect pant original)
  • Dark wash denim skirt (Dillards)
  • Gray wrap dress  — hmm . . .
  • NEED: Black skirt or LBD


Shoes & Purses :

  • Navy flats
  • Nude flats (hush puppy)
  • Black sandals (Clarks)
  • Brown sandals (Merrell)
  • NEED: black flats
  • NEED:
  • Denim Tote (LL Bean)
  • Verde Side Effect (Tom Bihn)
  • Black Side Effect (Tom Bihn)


Cool Weather adaptations — will sort through in September/October:

My cool weather capsule doesn’t look much different. It is basically long-sleeve t-shirts instead of short-sleeves and I’ll need a “chic” shirt option; the capris are stored and I’ll probably get a new pair of jeans and trousers; the sandals get stored and the ankle boots/shoes/snow-boots will come out; and the light-weight jackets will get put away and I’ll get out the down vest, puffer jacket, and storm coat.  I’d also like to get a fleece jacket for around the house.



Palm Sunday

It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

–BCP, Page 271


preparing for FWtFL

On March 4 I began to prepare for my FASTer Way to Fat Loss program.  It starts tomorrow, so I have had 3 weeks of practice.  Here is an honest look at how I’ve felt over the past 3 weeks about varying parts of the program.


*How is IF?

  • 3/9/18 — I am going to hurt somebody this morning! I woke up knowing today was not just IF but a Low Macro day. Then I couldn’t find the strainer for the teapot so my herbal tea wasn’t “just exactly right” and my daughter made delicious homemade cherry turnovers (my favorite) at 9 am. 11 am seems so far away.  So very far away.
  • 3/14/18 — I’ve got this IF thing.  A couple cups of water, a cup of herbal tea, and I’m not thinking about food all morning anymore. Well, I still think about it, but it isn’t all consuming anymore.

*How is Carb Cycling?

  • 3/10/18 — One week of prep/practice and I think I understand the flow of the days. It should make next week a bit easier. I am learning to be hungry and be ok with that.
  • 3/18/18 — I’ve got the routine and I understand the numbers. I’m developing some meals that work for the different days.

*How is movement?

  • 3/6/18 — Who the heck thought up a Bulgarian Split Squat? They need to be illegal.
  • 3/12/18 — I really enjoy the long LISS after an intense HIIT.
  • 3/14/18 — I was able to do my whole strength training with the heavier weight.
  • 3/23/18 — Jumping from a 10 pound to 20 pound kettlebell might not have been a good idea. I think I need to step it back to a 12 or 15 pound first.  Good Lord, my biceps and triceps are hurting!

*weight loss? inches lost?

  • weight loss — 3 pounds
  • I have definitely lost inches.
    • Abs — 2 inches smaller
    • Hips, waist, Bust  — all 1 inch smaller
    • upper arms, thighs — both 1/2 inch smaller

I still have lots and lots of questions! Mostly my questions concern the correct amount of calories and how to set my macros.


Reading:  Die Dritte Hand (German), The Nature of the Beast (Gamache, L Penny), At Home in the World (M Guenther)

Listening:  A Wrinkle in Time

Watching: Krypton, Timeless