What my version of simple is not.

I took a little impromptu survey of my Facebook friends, asking what they would simplify if they could.  Over the next few weeks I plan to develop the answers they gave and incorporate them into this space.

We have so many common struggles:  clutter, busyness, stress, relationship drama and spiritual battles.  We all have too many irons in the fire and not enough sleep to have the energy to fight well.  That is why I am here, with you.

As you read the posts I write, I want to be very clear as to what this blog is not.  I feel this is very important to put out there now, at the beginning, so we can understand each other and truly let this be a grace-filled and simple space.  So, without further adieu…

  1.  This blog is not just about minimalism.  It’s about simplicity.  I battle clutter way too much to call myself an authority on minimalism.  Will I incorporate minimalist principles into the ideas I share?  As needed, yes.  Just look at the design of this site!  Simple, no frills, no ads, just posts and comments.  Period.  Though I will share the posts on my personal Facebook page, I don’t plan to create a new page for A Life of Simple Joys because…well…I’m trying to simplify.  Ahem.
  2. I’m not going to tell you how to decorate.  When I read articles on simple living the common thread is everything appears monotone, clean, and empty.  Well, that’s just not me.  I believe we can have a beautiful, cozy and warm home yet not be burdened by all of our stuff.  We just have to know what brings us the big happies and do away with the things that don’t.  That will look very different for each of us.
  3. I’m not going to tell you how to eat.  Y’all.  Don’t even get me started.  I am Paleo until I smell bread.  I am a Trim Healthy Mama until I am faced with a basket of chips and salsa.  I have all the cookbooks and dabble in all the diets.  I am consistent in my inconsistency.  So I’ll share recipes here and there, but I can’t promise they will always be healthy, gluten-free, or even made totally from scratch!  I’m a work in progress.  Sometimes that involves butter.  Ok…often it involves butter.  Grass-fed, of course.
  4. I’m not going to tell you to get rid of social media or your cell phone.  You might decide to do that.  Great!  But I am not here to give you rules.  That is probably what has bogged you down in the first place!  (Speaking from experience, here!)  This is about grace and freedom.  It is about keeping the main thing the main thing and finding joy throughout our busy days.
  5. It’s not about checklists.  Or the aforementioned rules.  This is a space of grace and freedom.  It is about learning to find joy because we leave room for it to emerge in our day.  It will take many forms.  I will share the joys that I find with you and, hopefully, you will do the same with me.  This is a conversation, and place to remind one another of the good and beauty all around us when we are so battle-weary that our eyelids are propped open with toothpicks.  It’s a cup of hot tea and a square of dark chocolate because we just need a few minutes to catch our breath.
  6. I’m not FlyLady or Sally Clarkson.  But oh, do I ever love those two!  As a recovering clutter-holic I am beginning the baby steps and, y’all, today my sink is shiny.  And Sally Clarkson…I am  going to write a whole post about her, I think.  If you don’t know who she is, allow me to introduce you.
  7. I’m not going to tell you to homestead or listen to classical music or read Jane Eyre.  Don’t laugh!  Do you know how many times I have read books or articles, seeking encouragement, and just cannot relate to the writer because what floats her boat sinks mine?  I enjoy music, movies, and books of all kinds and nearly every genre.  I like to garden but have stunk  at it for the past three years.  This is not a place of rules or “how-to’s” but of learning to live forward into who God created us to be! We are all so different, and that is a beautiful thing.  I will share what I find brings joy to my day.  It may be a book I read, a plant I bought at the grocery store, or a recipe I cooked successfully.  If a new album sparks the big happies in me I’ll tell you about it.  You may not like it, yourself.  You are free to feel that way!
  8. I’m not going to tell you how to parent.  Frankly, the only authority on parenting is God.  He is the only perfect Father who has ever existed and even His kids rebel…every last one of us.  I’ll encourage you.  You can encourage me.  But there are a bajillion (that is a number, right?) blogs, books, quips or quotes that have already said everything that can be said about raising kids.  This is about keeping life simple.  That might mean putting the parenting books on the shelf and going straight to the Source.  Speaking of the Source…
  9. I AM going to talk about Jesus.  Everyone is welcome here.  I love you and will be so happy to engage in respectful, God-honoring conversation with you.  So much of what I am finding as I seek to simplify is that outward clutter in the various areas of my life is a symptom of inward clutter.  It starts in our spirit, shedding the complications we have allowed that create confusion and fatigue.  God made salvation and relationship with Him simple.  We mess it up when we add to what He has already established.  In the words of Bob Warren:  Jesus + Nothing = EVERYTHING.  Any ideas or routines I share will be simple.  They will be what is working for me and my family.  They will not be a standard to which you should aspire.  Always, always seek God’s wisdom and will for YOU and your family.  Again, we are all different and our walks with the Lord will also be different.

I think that is all!  I hope this helps to clarify why I am here.  I am so excited.  God has really lit a fire in me and I hope He does the same for you.  If you are still reading, I would venture to guess that He already has.  🙂

So will you please share in the comments who you are and, maybe, the areas of your life in which you long for simplicity?  And if you have something that is working for you, I’d love to hear about that, too!

Until next week…

Author: Jeanine

Wife, Mom, daughter of the King. I love coffee, books, writing, and good conversation. I hope to be an effective advocate for the Kingdom of God and inspire others to want to know the Lord more intimately. Jesus + Nothing = Everything

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