Thursday, January 03, 2008

Living Simply

I received this book for Christmas and have spent the last couple of days simply devouring it! I rarely highlight books here, as you know, and that should speak highly of how much I loved this one!

I sincerely hope I did not do injustice to the amount of effort Joanne Heim put into writing this book by how quickly I read it! She is truly a kindred spirit! I felt like I was having a conversation with a friend by visiting the pages of her book. She loves Avonlea, Little House on the Prairie, crafting, and creating a simple home and life, not to mention that she loves the Lord!

Quite a few of the ideas she presented in this book are things we are already living out in our family ~ but what an encouragement it was to know that these are things that promote living simply!

In addition to being encouraged, I was challenged to go farther in my desire to live simply. I loved her idea of praying through her to-do list each day, knowing that God has a plan for our day as well and making sure they are in sync.

I can't wait to walk through our home and "invite God in" by praying specifically in each room for what happens in that room.

She provides a great list of suggested Scriptures for teaching our children and incorporating them into our correction of them. I love this!

I also appreciated her list of suggested resources in the back and mention of many books throughout the book that I can read to continue learning more about this.

The overall tone of her book is one of encouragement, you-can-do-it attitude, fun and friendship! What a blessing!

Because I loved this book so much, I'm going to give one away here! All you have to do is leave a comment including your favorite idea for living simply and you'll be entered in a drawing. Comments will be accepted until Friday night at midnight, EST. I'll do the drawing on Saturday and announce the winner next Monday!

Make sure to visit Joanne's blog and if you have the opportunity to get a copy of this book - I hope you will be as encouraged as I have been!


Katy said...

oh, that book sounds absolutely wonderful! I was thinking I will have to try and buy one..until i read the rest of your post! :) I would love to win!
A few things we do to live simply are that we have gotten chickens this past year. Raised them since they were a day old! And they produce eggs each day! It is a wonderful blessing and i love our "girls".
Another thing we do (this may sound so silly) but I had the dish washer taken out. I like to do the dishes by hand. That may seem like a lot of work and quite ridiculous...but there is something old fashioned and homey about doing the dishes by hand! Thanks for introducing this book to us and offering the chance to win it as well! :)

Mary Ann said...

I would love to read this book! One thing we really value is eating a home-cooked meal together each morning and evening. Yes, it takes effort and planning for this to happen as well as saying 'no' to too many outside activities that would cause us to be running through the drive-thru instead.

I hope you have a great day today, Monica!

Anonymous said...

I would love the book. I am alway's searching for way's to simlify life. One way recently that I have started to simplfy is by cutting back the amount of activities my chldren are doing so as to have quailty family time. I send my children to public school so as to help my youngest with special needs. (speech,mild autism)I noticed that they started becoming more and more involved. Leaving me with little time to influnce or talk with them at the end of the day. So we have just cut back. The thing is no one was really that up set or noticed. We now spend time playing games, dancing together and my favorites are reading together more and cooking in the kitchen. Because now I know they will be able to feed them selves well when they leave home some day. I have noticed a much happier spirit amongst my children.

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica,
We moved into our *new* home a few months ago, what i saw was to much stuff!!! We are trying to go thru and unload clutter!!! Simplicity allows for more freedom to love and enjoy our families and others. The book sounds great (i love books), and i love her idea of scripture incorporated into our homes as well as hearts. Thanks for this give away and the post yesterday inspired me ALL day...thinking about continually cleaning my heart.Thanks so much, tammyp

Edi said...

Thank you for the book and website recommendation, I checked them out...I'll be adding her blog to my "favorites".

I think we live pretty simply.

How do we do it? With deliberate thought and planning. One thing that kind of "forces" it upon us, is the size of our home. This home was originally built to accommodate families just after the WWII - and the builder had restrictions on who could have the houses - families with I think 4 or more children.

Not a terribly big sized family - but the thing is - it's only 2 bedrooms. So how did a large family live in a small house??

We have less than 4 children - but it's still a small house by today's standards.

Living small means living simply.

No room to keep a bunch of clutter - someone outgrows something, doesn't fit, don't like, don't need - it's out of here!

We have chosen to not have our kids involved in a lot of activities outside of the home that would cause my dh or I to be running around each night to a different activity with a different child.

Jthemilker said...

Living Simply is something that I dream of on most days. Most days are full of hustle and bustle yet I still feel the longing to simplify. I miss meeting the Lord with my simple cup of coffee watching his glorious sunrise and not being rushed to prepare for the day ahead. I want to savor the fresh moments of each new day... by meeting my friend, my comforter, my King in the midst.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love books about living simply! I look forward to reading this one.

Two of my favorite ways to keep life simple around here are 1) having specific days for specific tasks (such as Desk Day on Wednesday -- paying bills, planning menus, etc. and Errand Day on Thursday -- bank, library, and grocery store with supper ready to go in the crockpot) and 2) one item in/one item out (for each new non-consumable item I buy or bring home, I try to part with a similar item to make room for the new one).

Living simply may look different for each person because what we value and enjoy differs, but giving thought to what is important is a big part of living simply.

I love it that you and Carrie are interested in and pursuing living simply! Thanks for sharing...Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

This book sounds great. The words "living simply" means so much to me. One thing that comes to mind is old-fashioned living. David & I garden and preserve a lot of food. We raise our own meat chickens. We make our own maple syrup. David hunts and we eat what he gets. Living simply is also about the attitude we have. We still focus on relationships. We don't run here & there and get in involved in too many things. We stay home and make our home where we want to be. We invite many people into our home instead of getting our "entertainment" from outside sources. We are not too busy to help people. We try to make do with what we have instead of running out and buying something new. We don't have a lot of gadgets and new technology. Oh I could go on & on but I won't.
I look forward to reading this book, whether I win it or get it from the library.
Towanda, PA

Anonymous said...

A couple of ways we live simply is by drastically limiting the amount of television we watch (almost none) and by eating together at the table for every possible meal.

Love your blog and the book sounds great!

Wendi said...

"Choosing less in a world of more" really speaks to my heart. This has been on my mind alot!

I am trying to say no to some outside activities. I like being home and with my family and being away too often makes me feel stressed!

I am also trying to not keep up with the Jones family. I hate to admit this but I have been jealous of a friend of mine. From the outside her life looks perfect. She has the big house, new expensive car, the latest this and that and takes vacations often. I had a heart to heart with her recently and found out that it might look like she has it all but she is unhappy and not sure if her marriage will make it. That really made me stop and think that it is the simple things that really make me happy not all of the stuff.

I will be adding this book to my reading wish list. Thanks!

Leslie said...

The books sounds very good.
My simple living tip is to resist that ever present urge to compare ourselves with others. It is not always easy, but it can become a habitual which is a good thing and fosters contentment. The other tip I have is simply to stay home as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

That books sounds like a great book to start the year off with! I don't know if this would count but one thing we value is our family time, especially with my husband being in ministry it is easy to get wrapped up in Church activities so we set aside a night each week as Family Night and we just hang out together as a family, it's great and our girls look forward to it each week!

nannykim said...

oh- thanks for sharing that---I have been looking for a book like that---I'll have to add it on my wish list!!!! How do you like this cold weather, today!!? ps--everyone loves that pumpkin pie recipe of yours (here)--I put pecans on it!!

Andrea said...

Sounds great! Please add my name to the givewaway. Love your blog, Monica!

Teri H said...

Don't include me in the drawing... but I just wanted to say I just received this book too! Now I can't wait to read it! Thanks for sharing!

Teri in CO

Mrs.Garcia said...

Monica, that book seems like the best book I have have heard of yet on Living Simple or Simplicity life style.
I would also love to win.
To live simply in our home we do not allow so much clutter and Stuff into our home.Daily I go through stuff we no longer need and give it away or recycle it our if it cannot be given away or recycled we get rid of it.
That is one way we live simple in our home. However the best way we live Simple in our Home is loving God, Serving God Daily and Showing Hospitality to all.
God Bless,

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a wonderful book!
One of the ways that we have decided to live simply is to not buy toys for the children. We do occasionally buy a ball or a small, inexpensive car (the kind that cost 1.99) but other than that any store bought toy comes from other family members.
I like to create with my children. Make their playdough, use toilet paper rolls and rice or beans to create a musical instrument, the scrap wood goodies that my husband makes for the kids. It is incredibly fulfilling to do this. I watch the kids (2 and 3) and am continually amazed at their imaginations.

Chrissy said...

Monica - This sounds like a wonderful book. One thing my family does to simplify life (I think you and I discussed this) is to say "no" once and a while. An example would be the amount of time we devote to outside activities. If it becomes anything less than a pleasure, we cut out the activitiy. Just one of the ways we keep our life as simple as possible.

Frances said...

I agree with everyone above: this book sounds wonderful and I would love to read it! If I don't win your giveaway, I will try to get it through my library. And if they don't have it, I'll put in a "Suggestion for Purchase." And there you have one of my "living simply" practices: using the library for all it has to offer. I often bring home stacks of DVDs to choose from should we desire to watch a movie. And with the ability to suggest a purchase or request a book through InterLibrary Loan, I can get my hands on almost any title I desire - for free!

Mominin said...

I try to live simply...but most days fall short. One thing I've really been working on is getting rid of STUFF. We are a family of 6 in 1200 sq.ft. so things take over quickly.

I've also switched to cloth diapers and mommy products. I have so much more to learn, though...and would love a copy of the book! Thanks for your blog and the chance to win this book!

Tracy said...

I was writing all the information down about this book and was so excited to see the giveaway at the bottom of your post!

Our main way to live simply happened by accident. When we moved into the parsonage a few years ago we realized there were no closets (except in the bedrooms), no basement, no attic...only a garage. I carefully decide what's worth keeping. The only things we have in storage are seasonal- camping and outdoor gear, christmas decorations, and that's it!

The pared down feeling is refreshing and I never have to worry about opening a closet door and not knowing what's inside!

Anonymous said...

I will definately have to take a look at this book. It is coming clearer every day that I need to simplify and clean up our lives and home around here. I loved your post yesterday too.
My one simple tip that I can simplify our lives is to not feel I have to do in, not running here and there, but to simply stay home more. My 5 year old boy has been asking, "Are we going to have a home day today?" I have definately run around almost everyday of the week for the past 5 years of his and his almost 3 year old's sister's life and its time to turn our home into a haven and restful place.
Looking forward to simplifying in 2008.

AmyG said...

I would really enjoy this book...what an encourageing find!

Dianna said...

This is going on my library list!

My tip for living simply is to get rid of the extra stuff, and to use what you have. Don't keep stuff around that you're never going to use, and don't not use nice things just because they're nice. Use them and if they break, at least you had the pleasure of using them instead of dusting them!

Anonymous said...

This book is going on my list! We've been working hard trying to declutter & simplify our home. One thing that works for me: using items around the house as a "good enough" solution rather than wasting time & money shopping for a "perfect" solution.

Missy K said...

This sounds wonderful-- please include me in your drawing.

My simplicity tip may be more of a contentment tip-- I love to decorate and cook and catalogues and magazines can be a great source of inspiration, but sometimes I realize that they are not so much feeding my creativity as they are either creating needless clutter or fueling discontent with what I have. I then put myself on a ""diet" from them for awhile and cultivate gratitude in what I have.

Jamie said...

Sounds great! My idea is to simplify my cleaning products. Once I use up my current stash I plan on buying a simple all purpose (and non-toxic) cleaner that I can use on most everything! One bottle will take up less space and will save time because you won't have to sort through all the bottles looking for the right cleaner!

Kristi said...

That sounds like a wonderful book! You are so kind to give one away!

I love the idea of praying over your to do list!! I need all the help I can get!

pinklady said...

monica: I've been reading your blog for months now but have never commented for some reason. your ideas are refreshing and easy to accomplish. I'm trying to be better about simplifying and use your tips almost every day. THANKS!


Anonymous said... are truly a lovely person!

What a thought provoking post.

As each day passes, the need to have things simple is so appealing.

My daughter recently spent the night at a freinds house and when she came home , she said her friend had told her , how she envies us..that we always sit down together to eat dinner every (almost) night. My kids do play some sports throughout the year but we still try to have quality family time especially at dinner. We do, limit the number of activites they do... I can't see spending all of our time driving here, and driving there...

Many Blessings to you...

Anonymous said...

That book does sound wonderful! Simple living for me this morning was making and eating Bisquick Cinnamon Rolls with the kids in our PJs :o)

Tamara said...


This sounds like an excellent & encouraging book. Thank you for suggesting it!

We are always working on simplifying our home & our lives. One thing we do is to avoid shopping at clothing, home & gift stores except for special excursions (like on a birthday trip, with birthday money). I often shop at Walmart for groceries, but I avoid the areas of the store that hold temptations for me! I also try to ask myself if an item is something I need...would I still buy it if I were nearly broke? Can I live without it?

Thanks for your encouraging and uplifting blog!

Jeanne said...

Thank you for the book recommendation! I'd love to be included in the drawing.

Both my DH and I come from homes that show love through gift-giving. As you can imagine, our children (and us!) were overwhelmed with toys. And for some reason, those grandmothers always recognize when a toy was 'missing'. To combat the ever-growing toy problem, we implemented a cubbie routine in our home. Each child has a one cubic foot cubbie to hold toys. All the other toys are put into a large bin and placed in storage. The children are no longer overwhelmed with picking up their toys. We also rotate the toys out of the large storage bin so they have 'fresh' toys.

melissa said...

Living Simply - only buying what's on the grocery list!

The book sounds great! :)

Taya @ Delightful! said...

This book does sound wonderful! I would love a chance at winning a copy! Blessings!

jayedee said...

my favorite idea/tip/suggestion for living more simply is to look around and realize how much your life is cluttered with things you don't really need. i found i was "owned" by many things and now that they're gone, i don't really miss them at all!

Julie said...

Hi.. I'm not sure if I've ever left a comment on your blog before... I found you through A Measure of Grace. I just wanted to say I have been enjoying your blog... and the book that you recommend is wonderful! I have a copy (no need to enter me in your contest) and have been visiting A Simple Wife for a while now. I love the encouragement to live a simple and Godly life at home... it's wonderful to come across people who value the same things!

Anonymous said...

Simple living for me is not buying any "things" to decorate my home, but using what I already have, and making it myself if I really must have it. Also, keeping my view toward Eternity eliminates the "wants" and allows the true "needs" to be seen. My real home is not here, it's in Heaven!
Kathy Frazier

Anonymous said...

Thank you Monica, for mentioning praying through the to-do list and to pray through each room of the house. These are ideas that I'll put into practice immediately. Another way to have a great 2008!
Rita in Olympia

RT said...

This books sounds wonderful--like something that could encourage me as I attempt to organize and declutter. I'm a packrat by nature, but I really want to live simply, not reliant on all the "things" that so easily distract me. A few things we do that help us in the simple life: one car, no cable tv, lots of books and active play with our 3 year old.

Amy said...

We are trying to simplify our lives too by reducing the amount of stuff we are bringing into the house and making sure that we take stuff out too. We are trying to make the most of the space that we have instead of buying a bigger home or expanding.

This definitely goes along with my goals of getting organized this year.

The book looks great- thank you for sharing your review of it!

Anonymous said...

I too, sometimes think of how much better off we all would be if we learned to live more simply. I am in the process of getting some organization done in the hopes that my mind will be clearer and more free and that I may be able to enjoy the life that God has blessed me with. You and so many others have inspired me through your blogs and I have just started my own yesterday. I hope you visit me there and we can become friends. (
By His grace, Debbie

Unknown said...

The book sounds divine! I am trying to live simply, but I fail miserably...this book sounds like just what I need.

One of the things I do to attempt to live we have no credit cards. We play cash only. Things get tight sometimes, but at least we're not a slave to the lender.

More than Survival said...

Wow! A lot of us want a "simple" life! I think that one big thing in our life (with 4 children) is to limit their outside activities to 1 each. It keeps life a little more simple, yet still allows each child to develop an area of interest. It is a hard and fast rule here, so the kids choose carefully!

Jamie said...

This book is now at the top of my "must read" list.

We have been trying to simplify since having our children. Our priorities changed and we just view life differently.

Some simple things we do...we don't buy into all the must-have-technology out there. In fact, we hardly ever even watch tv any more. Meal time, cooking, and baking are family events, not chores. And I've gotten rid of almost all recipes using preservatives or anything processed. We really simplified the holidays this year and it was so much more meaningful...and fun!

Thank you for your inspiring blog. I am addicted!

Jennifer said...

One thing I've really been trying to work on this year is *making do*. Instead of buying something new for a specific purpose, is there something we already have that can be repurposed instead? Saves money, shopping time, and space...and forces me to think creatively!

This book looks great!

Mrs. Pear said...

Oh, this book sounds wonderful!

One really big thing that has helped me to live simply is a "just try it, what is the worst that can happen!" mentality! I am finding that living simply does not mean giving stuff up so much as it means learning to do them ourselves.

It is this attitude that has me making all our own bread and swapping freezer meals with friends!

Rose said...

One idea of mine for living simply is to win a book here about living simply! =) No, really, one way we save time and money is not to pay for movie rentals. We don't watch movies too often, so it feels like a treat whenever we do, using a free coupon or code or promotion or something.

Anonymous said...

Hi ya! I just found your blog this week and absolutely love it! Please enter me in the wonderful drawing. :):):)

As for Living Simply...I would have to say we are trying to cut back on the clutter and getting rid of things we don't use anymore or haven't used in a long time. We are military family and usually do this when we PCS to the next base.....but I'd like to do it more often. It gives you such a great feeling after decluttering. Pitch, sell it, give it away. :) Blessings, Stephanie

ren said...

It's been 2 years now since we got rid of the television and that has not only made me more productive, but greatly increased quality family time while reminding us to focus on the good, noble and true things in life!

We also do a simple Bible time each night before we tuck our son into bed. We read a chapter of scripture and from youngest to oldest, go around and ask "What do you remember from God's word tonight?" And no one can have the same answer. Then we each say one thing we were thankful for in our day before singing a couple songs and praying together.

Our son really looks forward to Bible time each night and it's been a wonderful and easy way to end the day, focusing on the Lord and cuddling on the couch together.

I'm always blessed by your blog and am excited to hear about this book!

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

That sounds wonderful- thank you for the review! I'm heading over to Joanne's site next to peruse...

One way we live simply is necessitated by our space issues; small apartment. Most of our belongings are in storage, but what is here, is used daily (or almost.)

Of course the motto "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!" is our family quote- we sing it as we're cleaning and decluttering on Saturdays! :)

Anonymous said...

We live simply by almost always having home cooked meals and not having meat at every meal.I also come up with frugal menu ideas and do my best to buy the most I can with the little money that we do have to spend on groceries. When we lived in the country, I also enjoyed having a clothesline for drying our clothes during nice weather.
I would love to win this book. Count me in!

Mrs. C

Anonymous said...

My best advice is only three words long:

Toss the television

This book sounds great!

Anonymous said...

We too try and live simply. Simple good meals, simple clothing and such. We try and focus on our family and what is important. I would love to have this book how fun! Amber

Kimberlee said...

The book sounds great Monica!

I have been on a clutter clearing mission for the last several months. Finding contentment in what I have has definitely helped me to live more simply. My other must-do is family dinner every night. We sit down at the table every night together. It is such a special time for us. We occasionally go out to eat, but we still enjoy the time together.

Kay said...

the book you read sounds great! I would love to read it. I'm writing it down just in case I don't win it! :)

Anonymous said...

We recently painted and decorated our home office. Instead of going shopping to decorate, I went "shopping" at my house. travelling room to room with a basket looking for items that would fit the new decor. It was nice to use those creative muscles and simplify the amount of clutter by repurposing. This book sounds wonderful. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Oh Monica Dear!
How this post "hit me between the eyes". As you know, I am too much of a clutter-bug, but I am being challenged by my precious daughters & grand-daughters to downsize. As you know, I am praying about moving from a spacious 4 room apt with basement, to a one room studio apt. Whether I actually make this move or not, I am definitely challenged to downsize this year. Please pray for me as I do this. Thank you for your gracious example.
I'm so proud of you!
This book sounds great, but I don't want to infringe on all of your dear blog friends , so you need not enter my name.

Lots of love, Grandma

Rachel said...

This looks like a great book! I could surely use some ideas for living more simply. Some things we are doing to live simply are eating most meals in, watching very little TV and trying to do the one-in, one-out principle when we get new things.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I love this book, and I love Joanne! I met her several months ago, and she's delightful!

One way we live simply is to limit activities outside of home. We eat dinner together every night and it is a time we all look forward to.

So glad you enjoyed the book. I already own it, so please make sure it goes to someone who wants to read it! They'll be blessed!

Kathryn said...

For me, living simply is not just about decluttering, although I have definitely done my share. ;-) I choose to cook from scratch, and quarterly fill my freezer with 40 - 50 home-cooked entrees. For some reason, that full freezer has the same effect on me as a balanced checkbook, or a decluttered home. I spend much less time grocery shopping and cleaning as a result. We eat much healthier if we do not eat out. Also, we choose to stay at home more, and try not to have a too-full schedule or watch TV. We love to spend our time reading together, picnicking outside at our picnic table, and just playing with our son. This is one of my favorite topics.

Anonymous said...

Count me in too please!

Lynette said...

This book sounds wonderful, I think that one of the things we do to live a simple life is to menu plan and eat meals together as a family, we make sure that we have time for dinner together nearly every night and menu planning helps take the stress of the evening meal. Living simply is something that I am learning about and am always looking for great new ideas.

Angela - Life w/ Two Busy Boys said...

It sounds like a great book. I will definitely have to get it - if I don't win. :)

Anonymous said...

count me in ;) Love you!

Anonymous said...

The book sounds wonderful and I would love to win one. I have been trying to clean out clutter and keep things simple in our home. I love the idea of praying over every room and what happens there. It is an awesome idea!!
Thank you for a chance to win this.

*carrie* said...


It was so good to talk to you just now.

I laughed out loud when I saw the author's name on the book. I think you told me several of the small world connections without mentioning her name. I just looked through a book she and her husband wrote on marriage (while we were at M+K's). Also, my blogging friend Mer knows her. Love it!

I definitely want to borrow your copy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica! We just got our internet set up here in Austin. I would love a copy of the book - it sounds great. I am having to slim down on a lot of the things we moved here and have kept in storage - because we have no place to store them! I am really ready to live more simply the extra stuff is so exhausting! :)

I hope to talk with you soon!
Rebecca W.

Cori said...

I love the idea of living simply but the act of it is much more difficult to put into practice. I'd love to read this book and use it as encouragement. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

Anonymous said...

Take a time of quietness each day - to calm down and feed your soul. Even if you just have a nice beverage and just sit. Sometimes we have to practice being still. For those with children it may be easier to accomplish this in the early hours or after they've gone to sleep. See it as a priority for "you".

Huskerbabe said...

One way that helps me to live simply is to stay home. Not all the time of course, but sometimes I may go for 3 or 4 days without seeing anyone outside my family. And for me that makes less stress, less expense, less time wasted on trips to town. It's very simple to do to!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I could go back and live the life that I did 40 years ago. Life was more simple then, but I did live in a city and didn't work, thus didn't have a car so I didn't have to worry about the cost of gas. I walked where I wanted to go without the threat of being shot or mugged. All my babies wore cloth diapers, good for the environment, yes, but pampers weren't yet invented. We used brown bags, or brought bags from home to the grocery store, plastic bags weren't invented. Simple life yes, let's just go back!