Friday, August 08, 2008

Simplify Life Week: Day Five

A Need to Simplify

As I worked on this topic and series of posts this week - I became aware more and more of areas I need to be more intentional about simplifying.

We could probably all name several things that are complicating our lives - and I see that as the opposite of simplicity. Simplicity adds to our lives, complication takes away.

So, as I look at my life - what are the things that add complication? Are they worth ignoring if they take away from my life? Please note here that I am aware some situations cannot be reduced to being either simple or complicated. Sometimes, we will have complicated things in our lives that we cannot change. However, if we commit to changing some of the things we can - we will have more energy for those things that require more of us.

I'm sure that I'm not finished coming up with a list of things that need simplifying - here are a few thoughts though:

* Should I continue to head out every Monday morning while leaving my three littles at home with Grandma to hit CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens? Yes, the deals are compelling - but is this simplifying my life or complicating it? Would a simpler solution be to go out on Sunday evening, get these errands done and then spend an hour at a coffee shop journaling, praying and spending time with God? This is something I've been wanting to implement and it seems to sound like a good scenario. Or, is the better option to skip the stops and just do the time with God?

* Am I worried and anxious about pleasing others? Yes - and honestly, that complicates my life.

* How can I balance my desires to spend time doing crafty projects? What is appropriate for my schedule and season of life?

* Working on paring down our home, excess.

* Outside commitments that take me away from the home - reduce and examine.

These are just a few thoughts - I'd love to hear what's on your heart on this topic.

Hope you've enjoyed this week of talking about simplifying. I have purposefully taken a very different approach than the world often takes on this topic and would continue to enjoy your thoughts on all these ideas! Thanks for all the great comments this week!


Christi said...

Monica, I've really enjoyed reading your thoughts this week. We too, have purposefully chosen to do things differently and with my oldest beginning school at home (and all of his friends starting kindergarten) it seems to be a lonely time for us right now.

This line from your previous post really speaks to me:
learn to say no without guilt - even to good things. "what a surge of energy when we realize that saying no is really a way of saying yes to all we really care about."

I am a born "pleaser" so this is hard for me. But that quote helped me see things in a new light.

Thanks for sharing your heart!

Wendi said...

I have really enjoyed this series. These things are on my mind often. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I think the first senario sounds great. I don't think you should get rid of the stops. You get such enjoyment out of the good deals and it not only helps your household but so many others even those across the globe. I think you have simplified this hobby by leaving the kids at home. If you were to drag them out whining and tired just to get the deals then I would say yes this needs to be simlified. But the fact that this is such a productive enjoyable hobby of yours I wouldn't try to simplify it too much. God Does want us to enjoy life.

GeonHui's Bakery said...


These posts have been great and helped continuing this journey that God has taken me on.

I've been reading in Psalm 119 lately and I've been praying these verses over and over.

"Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." v. 36-37

It's so hard. Especially when something seems like a good thing. I had an offer recently a side job of knitting some hats for a photography studio. Oh how I wanted to take the offer but after much prayer and consideration it was clear that God wanted me to continue on simplifying my life and at least for this season I needed to let that go. It wasn't easy but that's okay. I hold on to the promise that he can do immesurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Barbie @ Mamaology said...

Your posts this week have been so helpful. Thank you for the time you took to really think through this topic! I personally think in our culture this will always be something we need to be striving towards.

BTW I try to get our 1 evening a week once the baby is in bed and go to a coffee shop for some quiet time. This has been at my husbands leading and it is Wonderful! It refreshes me so much. I think your idea to do so would be great for you. Praying that God leads you.

More than Survival said...

Monica, I have enjoyed reading your thoughts this week. It was interesting that you got to experience a "pioneerish" evening after this week of "simplifying"! I have also been doing some posts of similar thought line... God must see all of us living such complicated lives and want to open our eyes up to HIS freedom! Thank you for the encouragement you give us to think beyond the world's ways!

PS.... glad that the power came back on before you lost food... also glad that the trees did not damage houses! So true what your husband said about looking alive on the outside when it is dead on the inside!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Monica, I heard a quote once and wrote it down and posted it on my fridge as a reminder. It says *Don't be so busy do good things that you miss the best*. This is not easy to those of us whose nature is to want to please others,but as i get older (:-)) I see the wisdom of it. May the Lord bless you as you seek Him and serve your family and so many others. Thanks for all your thought and great amount of time and love for us to share these wonderful posts.tammyp

LS said...


I've been reading your blog for a while but haven't commented yet. I enjoy your thoughts and all of your crafts and family night type things!

I love simplifying life but I find that it's a constant pursuit. We have to constantly be fighting to keep our lives simple in today's world that demands so much of us. I'm nearing the end of my third pregnancy and my condition has forced me to slow down and go shopping at Walgreens less (30 miles away) and cut out other activities I used to do more often. I also struggle with how much I should limit crafts and home-beautifying projects. Some women I know don't get involved at church at all because they are so focused on the home and yet others I know don't focus on the home because they're too busy serving at church. I don't want home or church to become my idol. I want a lovely haven of a home but I also want to be about eternal things since life is short. It's always hard to find that balance!

Thanks for your thoughts!

Anna said...

Monica, I have really enjoyed reading your posts this week! Simplicity is something that has been on my mind recently. Your insight has helped me see how I can and need to simplify my life. As a wife and mother, I think that it is so very important for us to provide simplicity in our homes for our husband and children. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive. (I Corinthians 10:23) ...

When we "DO" so much that we miss what God really calls us to do we miss the most important. I think as wives and mothers we can be so distracted with things that won't matter. I ask myself this often: Will it matter for eternity if I have a closet full of toothpaste, hair products and such or if I made another craft item or sewn another dress. These things in and of themselves are not bad, but when we spend so much time doing them that we feel stressed and desire simplicity, we need to re-think some of these things.

What will matter is if I spent time with God, was a help-meet to my hubby and a mommy to my children. I simplified my life some time ago. I went through clothes, kitchen gadgets, menus, school supplies, crafts, sewing stuff, cleaning supplies and books to allow as little time "keeping house" as possible. I don't think God wants me to be so concerned with the little things that I forget what's really important.
I agree with Tammy P but this is a quote I like...enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things....
An older wife and mom. Kim

Carrie said...

Monica~ I really enjoyed your thoughts this week on simplifying!!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart!

I'm glad you and your family made it through that crazy storm! We had a bad storm last week. My husband is a lineman for a power company! He was out for 14 hours the other night! It's crazy to think of my husband hangin from power poles during horrible summer storms turning back on electricity! Glad all is well!

Linda said...

I've absolutely LOVED this week of posting! I think I read every post at least three times, *lol* ;)

The shops are open on sundays there? Wow, what convienience! If you'd to that in our town, people would just get angry.. 'sunday rest' is a thing they still believe highly in.

We'd have to drive to Rotterdam to shop on sunday.. but most sundays we're way too busy with church stuff anyway.. *lol*

greetings from the netherlands!

Niki Jolene said...


This post really struck a chord with me.


Gini (Hallquist) Young said...

Trying to catch up on my blogging and reading my faves (of which you are one)since the birth of my son, #2. I'm thrilled about this series. This is one of the constants in our lives at my house. Both my hubs and I desire simplicity, but struggle to keep it. We pare down our house and our schedules in a way that we hope honors God, and somehow new things creep in to fill up our lives again. I think this is a continual process. I appreciate that this is a topic of concern

As for the sale hopping...I'm with you. I used to do serious couponing and sale hopping, but after talking with itsamomthing decided that for this time in my life the bargains weren't really worth the pay off. Too complicated and time consuming. Time with my family is more valuable to me at this point. I ALDI because it saves me the most without the hassle of coupons. I still coupon, don't get me wrong, and if there are a whole slew of items in one place I try to make that stop, but I no longer go all over. Lucky for my there is a CVS across the street, to which I can actually walk.