Archive for the ‘Simple Living’ Category

Merriam-Webster defines “thankful” as “conscious of benefit received.” I can agree with that. Here’s a small chronicling of all the vast blessings that fill my life. (Thanks to my brother-in-law Hunter for the last three iPhone photos.)

There may be some in the world who are yet unmoved by music. I hope not many. I am thankful for sounds that somehow explain the human soul, and for a great road trip to Memphis with two of our dearest friends. (Iron & Wine was great, but NOMO–an “afrobeat dance explosion”–blew our minds.)


Within the past two years I’ve been discovering the joys of film and digital photography. I’m grateful for time to notice the world’s endless interest, and for photographer friends who are willing to teach me.


A warm meal of hummus and pita gives joy to the heart. I’m given as much food as I could ever eat and more in this country. It may be often repeated in this season, but many are still lacking. Compassion and generosity go far in healing our world.


Stark, brilliant moonlight is God’s gift of beauty through the darkness.


My life would be much the worse if I didn’t live in this little house:


With this little dog:


With the man who two years ago tonight, held my hand for the first time as we watched the sunset. I knew then that he was something special. I’m so thankful for his kindness and love, and his brilliant mind which created this:



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Fall Lovelies

It’s a cool night. I sit by the window, snuggled in a sweater, listening to the soft rain tapping on the roof and dripping past the porch. No matter how dreary it can be, I love this season. It reminds me of Scotland and urges me to cook soup and drink chai. Both of which happen to be among the most delightful nourishments in the world.

This delicious recipe, featuring chicken stock, potatoes, and veggies, can be found here.


This beauty of a beverage can be found here.


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Morning Coffee

It’s been a busy week.  Between work, writing projects, getting together with friends, cleaning out clutter, and whatever it is we do with our days, it feels like time is flying by.

My parents are moving to a new, smaller house. They had a garage sale last weekend and I also got rid of a lot of things. But because they have less space to store all of my childhood relics, I’ve been having to decide what to do with some of them. Because our apartment is small,  and we value our open space, we generally have a one-in one-out policy. This means that if we acquire new stuff, something has to leave. On Sunday I absolutely purged and re-arranged the whole place, which created both a huge bag of Salvation Army items and an effective workspace for me. Unfortunately, I also brought back the heat, since I took the opportunity to put away my summer clothes in bins.

Clearing away clutter is tough. But I’ve realized lately that I don’t want to be defined by my Stuff, nor do I want to cling to it as if it will save my life someday.  Regardless of all the little things filling my house, I have no more or less security because of them.  I want to value my relationships and my time.  Stuff takes on symbols of relationships and time, but it is not a substitute for it. And I must prioritize. I can throw away scraps of paper and keep long, heartfelt letters.  I can get rid of that thing that I bought at that thrift store and never wore, while still treasuring the friend who was with me when I bought it.  Above all, I want to enjoy my life without being weighed down by clutter and the guilt that comes with keeping it and with getting rid of it.

I’m so thankful for what we have.  But sometimes the little things like cake with my morning coffee do more for my soul than anything that sits around collecting dust.


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The weather here is getting delightfully cooler by the day. It’s time to put on sweaters and get out the warm blankets at night. The other evening, Mason and I wandered into a JCPenney to look for a few fall/winter clothes. We were unaware beforehand, but they were having a significant sale on mens’ clothes, and there were some great clearance items in the ladies’ section. After a bit of browsing, we ended up with two shirts for Mason and a dress that I can wear to an upcoming wedding.

At the moment, we are definitely on a student budget, but it’s rather fun and inspiring to see what great deals emerge with a little time and research. Still, a bit of caution is in order. While discounts can be helpful, it can be tempting to spend a lot more money when we see “SALE” in giant neon letters. (It’s human nature, and good business, after all.)  Though our fall shopping trip was spontaneous, we also had planned in advance to purchase a few new clothes.  When the opportunity presented itself, we were prepared.

There’s nothing like getting an incredible deal. Receipts like this one remind me why I strive to never pay full price.


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The weather is turning cool. Perhaps it’s the teacher in me, but in my mind the fall always signifies change. I start thinking about new ways of approaching each day, of making life better. Since all of a sudden the humidity has dissipated, with glorious days promised ahead, I set up a clothesline beside our house. Hanging my clothes to dry has not been a habit that I’ve kept up in the US. During my days in Scotland, I didn’t have a dryer, and it was quite lovely to wear clothes that were scented with the actual fresh air as opposed to Bounce “Outdoor Fresh” or “Renewing Rain.” (Actual renewing rain showers were the only drawback to this custom.)

In several aspects of our lives, Mason and I are experimenting with simplicity. We’ve realized how much waste is present in our day-to-day living, and we’re hoping to cut out as much as we can. If this practice saves us money, wonderful. But that’s not really the point. The point is that we discover that we are okay without Stuff.  Needless consumption never changed anyone’s life. Though we are slowly inching toward simplicity, we can hardly remember anything we’ve given up. In return, we are finding that our lives are fuller with little joys that we would not have noticed before.

One joy is the welcoming breeze of fall after a long blazing summer.  Another is the sight of laundry on the line.


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