02 July 2011

I'll Be Back...

I've been buried in a heap of procrastination lately. I started a new part time job that takes more out of me than I expected and at the same time, I started blogging for Oh Baby Baby Food. My paid roles have taken a priority over this page even though it tends to be my passion.

I leave for a Global Adventure to Peru next week, but when I get back, I'm recommitting to Minimalish. I'll try to take some fun pictures of minimalish things south of the equator!! 

18 May 2011

Five Things I Won't Give Up for Minimalism

Inspired by Julie Rains on Wise Bread and Fabulously Broke in the City's "Ten Things I Won't Give Up to Save Money"... here are five things I won't give up to go Minimalist:

1. My Skinny Jeans. I have one pair of jeans that are the perfect color, the perfect length, the perfect cut... just not the perfect size (anymore). Although I have outgrown them, I cling to the hope that one day, my thighs will shrivel up. Probably not this week though since I just chased my spinach salad with a handful of nacho chips and a chocolate chip cookie.
Hope for tomorrow

2. Books. I'm committed to slimming down my library, but something about books - the smell, the texture, the promise of wisdom, I don't know, just something - makes a house feel more like a home. My Inspired Reading page catalogs the ones I've deemed most worthy of sticking around for this season of life.
The Promise of Wisdom

3. Kids' stuff. My journey is just that. It's my journey. As a family, we try to keep a handle on the sheer volume, but kids need to play. I won't deprive Tiny & the Tot of toys, games, board books, and art supplies until it all becomes overwhelming to them. Meanwhile, I'll be in the corner sobbing if I have to sort the balls from the dolls one more time today. When did I become OCD about anything, let alone toys!?!?
Organized for now, Minimalized later.

4. Heirlooms. I've gone from hoarding every item that ever belonged to my grandmother to treasuring a few that remind me the most of who she was. I have her barely-bound Bible, her tiny gold ring, and two sets of her best dishes. My girls will likely trash the Bible and bury me with the ring, but the dishes will serve their children and grandchildren for years to come.
Every Bible should be so well loved

5. Junky old furniture. When we reduced our clothing inventory, our dressers and armoire moved to the donate/sell/give away section of the garage. The rest of our furniture got repurposed. Instead of a trampoline, we have an old futon. The inherited swivel rocker serves as a playroom climber and a ratty Craigslist rug makes for a softer landing on the basement floor.
The futon trampoline / snack trap

I debated on adding a #6. My sewing machine, fabric, and card-making supplies currently occupy the closet of shame under the stairs. That's my "decide later" pile. Will they make the next "Five Things I Won't Give Up for Minimalism" list or will they be on a future "25 Things I Traded for Open Spaces" post? I don't know yet. My artsy Tot appreciates scissors and glue sticks, but I'm praying she will prefer a open, spacious reading nook filled with the promise of wisdom.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:
Five Essentials For a Minimalist Mama

10 May 2011

From Cluttered to Inspiring in 30 Minutes

I frequent this spot in our new house... well, I did.... Then it turned into a junk mail collection station. 
A quick 30 minutes took it from 



Next task: file my "to be filed" pile.

That basket you see under the desk is my sorry attempt to hide all the techie ugliness. I need something with a cover and a hole, but our modem and router need some regular attention (reset constantly), so I need easy access to power cords. I really despise that beast of a printer, but occasional use means it gets a prominent place on my desk until the wireless printer fairy blesses me with one that can be stowed in the back of the coat closet.

The cup is a stein from my dad's collection. The lamp is a remnant of my husband's bachelorhood... the birds hold my current reads and the chair doubles as a living room accent chair. For the true minimalist, I share the details of the pencil holder: one black pen, one blue pen, one pencil, one Bible highlighter and one black sharpie (for writing names on sippy cups).

As a procrastinator, I'm now officially out of excuses not to catch up on my writing assignments... the to-be-filed pile can wait.

Do you have a picture of your favorite place? If you are a writer, what places inspire you to write?

07 May 2011

New Title!

In a somewhat rash decision, I changed the title of "Plain & Simple As That" to "Minimalish." My rationale:

  • Quite frankly, I've realized I don't have the authority to say "It's Plain & Simple As That" about all the things I want to write about. 
  • I'm working on focus. Focus. Focus. Focus... that means I need a clear direction. 
  • I'm passionate about my family living a simplish, minimalish lifestyle ~ not in a sacrificial sort of way, just in a free-of-clutter kind of way. 
  • I have other outlets to download my non-minimalist-seeking soul writing: I can save my kid-drama for Oh Baby and my Christian-ponderings for guest posts on sheLivesOutLoud (or just my journal).
So, there you have it! Welcome to Minimalish. I hope you like it.. and I hope you will consider sticking around :) 

06 May 2011

The Perfect Gift for your Minimalist Mom

Image Credit: Creative Tools on Flickr
If you've ever attended an estate sale for an elderly woman, you should know better than to purchase knick-knacks for your mother! I look back now at how many little tschotskes we bought for Gramma Christmas after Christmas after Birthday after Mother's Day. Every nook and cranny of her house was stuffed with junk she was "saving for the nursing home" when in reality I sometimes wonder if she just didn't know what to do with it all.

My poor husband now has this dilemma every holiday... what to do for the woman who honestly doesn't want anything? So, my Dearest, this is for you, and all the others out there who have to figure out a no-gift gift.

Clean Something ~
Wash her car, and I don't mean just taking it by the drive through. I'm talking Shop-Vac until all signs of baby snacks and curdled milk drippings disappear. If you can't get her car for the day (and that's how long it'll take if you have small children), do something around the house that she despises ~ scrub the shower floor or clean the oven (after you make her a nice meal perhaps).

Take her on a Date ~
I hesitate with this one. Your mother does not want to spend her special day in line at the local family diner to eat a piece of over priced pie because you forgot to plan ahead. Trust me on this. If you have reservations, fine, take her out to eat. Otherwise, pack a nice picnic and go for a family outing. Maybe take her to the movies and buy her a popcorn and a big box of Milk Duds. But don't take her to a waiting room.

Tickets for a future date ~
How about tickets to a play, the ballet, the zoo, the museum, a rodeo, a ball game (if SHE is into that), a concert, or some little island off the coast of Italy ~ whatever she enjoys (that happens to match the depth of your pockets). Check your local Chamber of Commerce page for events and venues in your area.

Membership Has it's Privileges ~
Nothing makes you feel more special than jumping to the front of the line because you have a special membership pass. What's in your area that your mom loves to do: is there a museum, a theatre, an amusement park, a gym (careful with that one)? Maybe a two-for-one deal so you can enjoy regular time together.

Make it Personal ~
Think about what makes her tick, and go with it...

  • For the chef: substitute flowers with a bouquet of her favourite fresh herbs
  • For the nature lover: plant something in her garden ~ my preference would be a red bud tree. 
  • For the sweets lover: a dozen cookies or a loaf of homemade zucchini bread 
  • For life's student: sign her up for a fru-fru class (like a sewing, painting, writing or cooking) at the local community college  ... heck, go all out and get her horseback riding lessons
  • If she's a techy, or just "with the times": an iTunes gift card, a case for her Kindle, or upgrade her phone to an iPhone ~ got that for Christmas one year!! loved it! 
  • For the not-so-techy: upload all her old CDs so she can listen on her mp3 player
  • For the digitizer: a big-gig jump drive to back up her computer
  • For the adventurist: take her bungee jumping! 
  • For the practical mom : AAA membership
  • For the addict: Starbucks or Sonic giftcards. 
  • For the philanthropist: Make a donation to her favorite charity
  • For the newbie Minimalist: Haul off something she's been wanting removed ~ a old computer from the 90s or a piece of furniture taking up space in the garage. 
  • For the homebody: paint a room she's been wanting to dedecorate (not a typo.. a minimalist dedecorates while others redecorate). Add some crown molding to her living room or replace the tile in her bathroom. 
I know this is a long post, but I was trying to be inclusive. Hopefully, you'll can find something here for that certain special Minimalist in your life. ~ Plain & Simple As That.

Share your gift ideas in the comments! 

18 April 2011

7 Pre-Bedtime Activities to Streamline Your Morning

Image Courtesy of alexkerhead on flickr
Normally, Sunday mornings are a buzz at our house.  Getting Tiny, the Tot and myself all out of bed, dressed, and fed in time to get to church before the music starts is nothing short of a miracle from God.  The Daddyman is an experienced morning person, but the ladies of the house prefer to live in our PJs and only get ready in an emergency ~ you know, like a trip to the supermarket, a run to Sonic, or a surprise lunch outing.

A few weeks ago, I started working part time.  I'm only working a couple of days a week, but that's enough to make me realize I need a morning routine.  A simple one.  So, we've been taking notes from the Daddyman and our Facebook fans:

1.  Lay out clothes the night before.  Put out everything you need from head to toe including skivvies, shirt, pants, belt, shoes, socks, accessories.  For the fancy-smancy guys out there, make sure you include your tie and cuff links.

2. Prep for breakfast.  We eat cereal so there's not much to prepare, but my aunt has to have her coffee.  She has the coffee maker preset so her morning starts without a hitch.

3. Premake lunches. I wouldn't do this if I was packing a sandwich because that's just a soggy mess waiting to happen, but fruit, veggies, string cheese, a sippy cup of milk (or Juice for Tiny), and a hot dog can all go in the night before. In the morning, all I have to do is drop in a reusable ice pack and a box of raisins. 

4. Make sure your bag is ready.  
  • If you carry a diaper bag: take out anything dirty (diapers, clothes, bottles) and repack diapers, wipes, snacks, change of clothes, bottles, sippy cups ~ whatever you normally pack.  Here's an article about what to put in your diaper bag.  They list a lot, so just consider it an idea list.
  • If you carry a laptop bag: power cord, mouse, jump drive, pen, files, id badge
  • If you just have a purse: wallet, keys, phone, lip junk and other "lady things"
5. Prepare for the weather.  Have your umbrella and a light jacket handy in the spring; your ice scraper, hat, gloves, scarf, and parka for winter weather.  My husband cleans the snow off the cars at night even if it is still snowing ~ I thought he was nuts at first, but it does make morning snow removal much quicker.

6. Charge your cell phone.  I'm a iPhone addict so this is a twice a day thing for me.  If I'm going anywhere for the day, I pack either my outlet charger, or my car charger.

7. Load the car. I've always got something that can be loaded the night before: a friend's dishes to return, a box of snacks for church, or a race car that was left behind.  Just don't put anything valuable in plain site.. it's probably wise not to pre-load valuables at all unless you park in a garage.

I have to admit, I started this post almost two months ago, and I've slacked since then. Rarely a morning goes by that I'm not scampering to get something together or looking for at least one of the Tot's shoes. It's a great goal though.... off to set the alarm. ~ Plain & Simple As That

15 April 2011

What is Minimalish

My Minimalish Living Room

I read a post recently about a successful thirty year old that quit a six figure career to join the minimalist movement. He writes a compelling story of a guy that left a high stress career to pursue his dream of being a writer. At first I was impressed, then I realized I pretty much did the same thing. Granted, I didn't make a six figure salary, but hey, I live in Arkansas, not California. My five-figure salary was probably somewhat equivalent. I didn't pursue a dream job; I went for my dream lifestyle. I became a real-life Stay At Home Mom. 
With the exception of our mortgage, we paid off all our debt right before I made my grand exit from the rat race. After carefully punching the calculator to figure out if we could support a family on one salary, we knew we would have to consciencly watch our wallet to make it work. That's where minimalism started for me.... it grew from there.
I'm a pack-rat by nature, but I despise the look clutter creates in a space. The visual and emotional weight of "stuff" wasn't inspiring to me during the baby blues stage of new mommy-hood, so the ongoing quest a more minimalist decor ensued. Being at home all day everyday meant I needed to create a home I enjoyed. Two years later, we added another baby to the mix and decided to move to a more kid-friendly community. I read every online article about staging a house for quick sale and the result was a minimally decorated home where I longed to spend time. This was just the encouragement I needed to continue down the road to minimalism. 
Living as a family of four (two of which have almost enough toys to charter a slow boat from China) in a 900 square foot duplex with small closets showed us it doesn't take much to survive ~ not even in the American culture of extreme consumerism. I learned the value of open space every time I tripped over the dining room table en route to the kitchen sink. 
Since then, we've moved into our "long term" house. While I still love the look of open space, I also love the warmth (and convenience) of purposely placed throw pillows and a coordinating blanket "styled" over the arm of the sofa. During the last 18 or so months, purposely living with less has forced me to consider purchases more carefully. Now we have space to buy & store the mega pack of paper towels from our "Club store" but I choose not to. I've found that having a surplus means I use more. I'm sure it's some scientific marketing tactic. 
Our family isn't completely ready for the extreme Minimalist "movement" just yet. We still splurge occasionally, but we have a better grasp on our spending habits. We don't drive new cars, we don't swap out the decor of home for every holiday, and we don't have special shoes for every outfit and we don’t have every nook and cranny of our home stuffed with stuff. 

No, I'm not a minimalist, but I am Minimalish. ~ Plain & Simple As That

Check out My Page: Minimalish for more posts on this topic

08 April 2011

How to Reduce Your Laundry Load

A few Quick Tips to Reduce the Amount of Laundry you do:

  1. Worn does not always equal dirty. Your jeans, in particular,will last longer if you wear them a few times in between washes.. plus, they're always more comfy on Day 2 or Day 3 of being worn! :)
  2. Hang up your wet towel. If it dries fast, it won't smell mildewy. If you showered well, you were clean when you used the towel, so you don't have to wash it after each use.
  3. Protect your clothes from the elements - and by elements, I mean babies and dinner. Daycare workers have learned that wearing a smock keeps baby droll and snot at bay, and every chef knows to wear an apron to keep from being splattered.  
  4. PJ Day! This is my favourite. Call it an environmentally friendly day or just a relaxing day at home. If you aren't going anywhere, why waste an outfit?... wear your PJs all day. The kids will love it! 
It's not a new idea... this photo was taken in 1965. I think she looks like she is having a great day. Little does she know how environmentally friendly she is. :)
Image courtesy of Todd Ehlers on Flickr

~ Plain & Simple As That

06 April 2011

Five Essentials for a Minimalist Mama

Babies may be little, but their stuff is huge... and it takes up a ton of space in your house.  With my first one, I was so excited to register for all the latest baby gear and gadgets.  By the time Tiny came around, I was ready to donate it all to other unsuspecting first time moms.  However, there are a few essential items that even a minimalist mom should consider.

1. Plastic bags. Recycle most of your grocery bags, but save a few. These can be used to line the small trash can next to the changing table, because face it, you don't want a large stash of used diapers in the house. The DiaperGenie and DiaperChamp are common registry items, but they require special bags. They eat toys (trust me on this, when Baby is old enough to figure it out, it's fun to drop your stuff in there and watch it disappear), and they don't really capture the stench all that well anyway. Stuffing a plastic bag in the diaper bag won't take up a lot of space and it won't add to the weight you're toting around, but it will give you an emergency container for dirty clothes, dirty bottles, or even a used diaper if you had to change Baby on the go.

2. A wristlet size purse for Mama's personal items. I use this cute pencil case (only I didn't buy it from a UK website) that easily transfers from the diaper bag to my book bag to my larger purse on date night.  It holds my wallet, my keys, my phone, a lip balm, a travel hand lotion, and a few cough drops. It keeps my things from getting lost in the diaper bag, and it's easy to pull out when I drop my kids off at the church nursery. Plus it's cute enough to be used on it's own when you go out without your littles. Can you say.. late night trip to the grocery store while the daddyman keeps the kiddos? That's what I'm talking about!

3.  Sling. Strollers are great when you are out for a walk, but for everyday errands or just holding baby around the house I chose to use a Maya Wrap. It was great for carrying my baby, but also worked to strap her to a grocery cart or a highchair. It'll also work as a nice cover-up if you get stuck somewhere in public with a hungry infant.

4. Baskets. Baby's have a lot of stuff, but so do toddlers, preschoolers, little girls, tweens, & teens. Choose storage containers that will look good anywhere in your house, any season of life. I use these baskets from Target to hold diapers Tiny's room, socks and underwear in the Tot's closet, & toys in their playroom. As my girls get older, I can see them using these for their fashion accessories (purses & belts). They are pretty enough to use for winter gear on the coat closet shelf or even to line up across the top of the kitchen cabinets. I don't know what I'd put in them, but I've seen other kitchens with baskets for extra storage and it looks pretty. :)

5. Cups and boxes. Not just for drinking, cups are the ultimate toy. A cup can be a drum, a bowling pin, a (very temporary) hat, a sand box mold, a bath toy that also works great for rinsing baby's hair, holder for tiny hair accessories, snack dispenser, stacking/nesting toy, etc. Empty boxes are great for hours of free entertainment. Toddlers will enjoy decorating them. Then, they'll hide inside, or turn it upside down and set up a tea party on their "table." We even turned three diaper boxes into a play kitchen! For more ideas on How to Repurpose a Cardboard Box into an Afternoon of Fun before you recycle it, check out my post on Oh Baby! Foods blog.

Everyone is different and everyone will have a different set of "essentials" that make raising a baby easier. My point in this post is just to say, you don't need everything. Beware of marketing traps ~ a wipes warmer? really? because today's babies are too wimpy for cold wipes? (Don't be offended if you bought one, but please share if you did and still feel like your baby wouldn't have survived the diaper-years without it.) It's expensive to raise a child from birth to empty nest. My advice is this: Don't go nuts in the first few years and save nothing for a time they'll actually remember. Maybe even college.
~ Plain & Simple As That

31 March 2011

Getting Rid of Single Use Items

I'm on a quest to get rid of single use items, especially the ones that are rarely used, which means most of the tools in my kitchen. Today, my good friend Ginny over at Cooking with Chopin, Living with Elmo posted this. Sweet! Now that I know how to poach an egg without it, I'm getting rid of this:

Thanks Ginny! You are a kitchen goddess! ~ Plain & Simple As That :)

29 March 2011

Unpack your Memories

People! I beg you... unpack that scrappy old box of "memories" in your attic and unload some of the weight.

I found a box labeled "Stacy's Memories ~ Do Not Unpack!" So I've carried it around for years. Not only have I not unpacked it, I haven't even looked in it. Curiosity finally got the best of me, and I peeled back the tape to reveal a bunch of treasures JUNK!

Seriously, here's what I found: 
  • Stack of journals. I may read through these to see if there are any stories worth saving. They date back to my early days as a Christian and some are from the time I was dating/engaged to my husband.
  • A pair of rope sandals.. I have no idea where I bought them or why I thought they were special enough to be "memories"
  • A hand carved, personalized box ~ a gift from one of the kind people on my paper route in lieu of a Christmas tip. Actually, I think it may have had a dollar in it. That was back in about 1991. 
  • Castanets purchased on my trip to Spain in 1994.... you know.. incase I ever decide to take up flamenco dancing. 
  • An envelope of pictures (friends from elementary school and junior high should be warned. I have Facebook ammo)
  • An old passport
  • A leather purse I bought in Spain .. big enough for said passport and maybe a credit card.
  • The world's smallest violin. And yes, it actually works. A gift from my mom back when I played violin... 1986ish?
  • A stack of archaic disks. Does anyone have a computer that will read these? One might have my resume on it.
  • The stocking Santa filled for me. Smells like I got mothballs for Christmas. I don't remember being that bad. 
  • A tourist map and some cash from my 2003 trip to Nicaragua. I may consider the bills to be bookmarks and justify keeping them.

I'm sure I'm the only crazy one out there that packs away such tick-tack stuff and labels it "memories," but incase I'm not, I beg you to cull through your storage spaces. Maybe you'll find some real treasures, or maybe you'll find a pile of junk like mine. In the meantime, I've got to find someone that needs some Jesus sandals for their Easter play.  ~ Plain & Simple As That

26 March 2011

Buyer Beware: Before You Buy, Consider the Total Cost

That's not my money. Image Credit goes to Stevendepolo on Flikr
Before you make your next big purchase.. consider the total cost of ownership. Something that is a good deal in the beginning could end up costing you substantially more longterm.

We bought an aluminum fishing boat at a garage sale. It wasn't totally impulsive; we'd discussed the idea for at least a year. When we found one for $500, it seemed like a great deal. Then, we replaced something in the motor, bought a new battery for the motor, and a charger for the battery... and some oars incase the motor died in the middle of the lake.

**Cha-ching, cha-ching** 

We paid property taxes on the boat, the motor and the trailer every year. (Welcome to Arkansas - land of taxes.) We register it so we can take it on our local lakes which means we must purchase an activity card in addition to paying our POA dues. It would have been less expensive to rent a bass boat every time we wanted to go out rather than maintain this one.. not to mention the nuisance of storing it. That initial $500 is now.. well.. significantly more than $500.

Maybe a boat isn't the best example. I mean, it is a luxury item, we should expect to pay more.. but what about other not-so-luxury expenses.

Buying a home? Sure, mortgage interest is tax deducible and you can probably get more house for your money paying a mortgage than you can paying rent... but, along with ownership comes maintenance, lawn work, taxes, compliance to new laws (we got stuck for $5500 to switch our perfectly good septic system over to the city's fancy new sewer).

Before you buy, think about downsizing to reduce your utility bills and your overall environmental footprint. Plus, it'll take less furnishings to make it feel like home.

Looking at a new car? My first advice is to consider a used one. Right away, you let someone else take the hit for depreciation. Before you buy any car, find out how much insurance will cost. It can be dramatically different for a truck vs a sportscar. Do you really need an SUV for your once a year vacation, or would it be better to go with a smaller car for around town and rent a car to go visit your inlaws?

Also consider fuel costs. A few mpg multiplied by 15,000 miles a year can be a significant factor when gas is $3+ a gallon. Just do the math before you buy.

Have you been saving for a college education? If you're smart enough to get into an Ivy league school and you plan to be a lawyer, I say, go for it. If you're on the liberal arts path, opt for an education more in line with your future salary. It could take a lifetime of teaching fifth grade to pay for that Harvard elementary ed degree. If that's your dream, consider a state university. There's a time in life to follow your friends, college is not that time.

Okay, so these are big ticket examples, but before you make any purchase, you should consider the total cost. Don't forget to include interest if you're paying with plastic or taking out a loan. Those shoes may be tempting at 50% off, but unless you pay with cash (or pay your balance each month), you're not really getting the price on the sticker. That beautiful silk blouse is a steal at the outlet mall, but the dry cleaning bill will make up for it over the life of the trend. 

TVs were on sale during Superbowl season, so after 7 years of living TV-free, we finally broke down and joined America with a big flatscreen... and we added a cable tv bill to our monthly budget. Wise? probably not, but hey, we're selling the boat. ~ Plain & Simple As That

What about you? Ever experience buyer's remorse? 
What'd you buy that ended up owning you in the end?

23 March 2011

Why You Should Have Children Before You Turn 30

Some women have children into their 40s. I've heard of the random heroine who is still having babies in her 50s. Me? I'm done. My knees are too old to be carrying babies up and down stairs. I'm too set in my ways to put up with interrupted sleep routines. And my nerves just can't take it anymore! Besides that, my car is too small for three car seats and I'm not really interested in trading for a mini-van (no offense to mini-van owners.. they're great, I just really love my 40-mpg-VW too much to trade it).

So anyway...

Maybe you've heard that having children before you turn 30 can reduce your risk of some cancers.

Maybe you've heard that it is easier to lose the baby weight if you have children in your 20s rather than waiting.

Perhaps you want to give your parents their grandchildren while they are still young enough to enjoy them and to babysit for you.

These are all great and valid reasons to have children before you are a thirty-something.

I give you Reason #618 to have children before you are 30:

Once arthritis sets in, it is virtually impossible to open a sippy cup if the lid has been properly secured.

... off to find a hammer

~Plain & Simple As That

12 March 2011

How Things Can Make a House a Home

We have enjoyed being in our house-of-few-possessions for almost 2 weeks. Today, we commenced war on the storage unit. We brought home all the things a minimalist would give away, but we refuse to let go: my grandma's dishes, his grandma's quilts, my mom's Hummel collection.

The quilts occupy three big plastic totes in the attic. The dishes are in line to be washed and neatly placed on the built-in shelves. The Hummels have been packed and returned to their pedestals in the previously-vacant curio cabinet.

Simple is good; and a minimalist lifestyle makes for a very clean, contemporary house. But some things trigger memories - good memories - and those things have a rightful place in a home. And this house is just that... a home. Our home. Finally. ~ Plain & Simple As That

09 March 2011

Balancing Real Life with an Online Presence

Our recent move is going well. We still have some unfinished little things to get done, but otherwise, we are settling in. The biggest frustration has been working with a provider (I'll not mention the company name) to get internet access. Aside from the few moments a day when I bury my conscience and "borrow" from my neighbors' unsecured network, I've been semi-ignoring Facebook, Twitter, & Blogger. All are accessible via my phone, but how inconvenient is that? Teenagers may be able to text 30 wpm, but I have gray hair and my first age spot. I learned to type with two cartridges: black and white-out. I need a real keyboard.

Image Credit: Asthma Helper on Flickr
So, I'm in a bit of a quandary: almost two weeks w/o internet has been incredibly freeing. I have found more time to read, to organize, even to talk on the phone (people still do that apparently)... more time to live the simple life I desire. There's a part of me that wants to go without home internet access, even though I know I'd feel cut off from virtual-reality without all the friends that live inside my computer. Then again, when I do check-in with my Facebook friends, I realize I haven't really missed all that much.

Today's culture is somewhat reliant on having an online identity. Employers (should) Google you before they interview you. However, two weeks of reduced keyboard/screen time have taught me the importance of scheduling - even limiting - computer time. Giving up internet cold turkey may not be the solution to a simple life for everyone. I think the answer lies in learning to balance real life with an online presence. ~ Plain & Simple As That

What about you? How do you manage your online time?

26 February 2011

Moving Day - Take 1 (Plan B)

As I stand here, writing this post.. yes stand.. all the chairs have been moved already.. I get more and more excited for my new home. I've been disappointed in a few things that weren't exactly as I expected, but I am reminded that we are moving to a home that is made up of 1000s of manmade pieces that have to fit together. It's not going to be perfect and I need to have a realistic expectation. That being said, our builder takes all my diva requests into consideration and his doing everything he can to make it perfect. Through this process of building, he has become a friend for sure.

So, yesterday was Moving Day #1. Due to weather delays (who could predict two FEET of snow in Arkansas), we had to wait past our closing date to start moving, so we didn't have the leisurely 10 days we had hoped for. This is forcing a slight change of strategy, but we are still culling as we pack and move. Instead of just cramming packed boxes into the house, we are moving everything to the garage and organizing into two piles: keep and sell. This strategy is giving us three passes to evaluate each item we decide to keep:
  • Packing: Before something goes in a box, it has to pass a certain criteria "do we need it? does it fit? will we ever use it? do I even want this anymore?"
  • Unloading: After being in a box for a while, my heart sometimes changes. Or, in the case of our  big leather couch, it didn't fit in the basement play room, so it has been relegated to the "sell" pile along with the matching chair and ottoman. I'm a bit sad about that, but will get over it now that I can justify some new furniture.
  • Unpacking and Reloading: As we move from the garage to the house, we will have yet another opportunity to sift through the remnant and decide if we want to keep it. 

I have to admit my sickness here: I love movingI love how clean everything feels in a blank space.  There's no better time to organize every nook and cranny of a home. Random piles of paper got sorted this week. The outgrown clothes in the kids' closets transfered to the donate/sell pile. Dark corners of the deep freezer and even the bottom of the garage are rediscovered. Okay, okay, so maybe a little bit of my love for moving is because I get to supervise and tell men where to put things. Anyway you dice it, I still think it's fun.. or maybe it's just a sickness.

Adios Duplex Alley! ~ Plain & Simple as That

Tell me your moving tips, I'd love to hear them.. or share some garage sale tips. Looks like I have one coming up soon!

22 February 2011

Unscheduled Vacation

I didn't mean to take a week of vacation. Sometimes life happens.

Thursday was my birthday ~ all day I was thinking I should do a post entitled, "Gifts for Minimalist: What to get someone that doesn't want anything."
Friday, we closed on our house. I'm hoping to have some good packing tips from that one.
Saturday, I spent the day with some amazing teenagers. You can see a cool picture here.
Sunday was jam packed too.. and then the week started on me again.

We are trying to move into our house by Thursday this week, and I'm hoping things settle down soon so I can get back to one of my true joys ~ writing.

My next few posts will be more about things I keep than things I discard because although I love the idea of living with less, there are some things that I can't let go. ~ Plain & Simple As That

15 February 2011

Prioritizing Relationships: The Key to Finding Joy

Image courtesy of Kabils on Flickr

On my Facebook page, I wrote that "'Plain & Simple As That' exists to inspire readers to find freedom from stuff and to seek joy in others." But are the two really related, or are these mutually exclusive goals? I feel like I've pretty much found my freedom from stuff, but as far as finding joy in others, it's still a struggle. Just this morning, as I sat down to a moment of quiet time with my Bible, my journal, and my tea before Tiny & The Tot woke up, and I focused on my frustration with relationships.

I think my frustration stems from having a breadth of relationships rather than depth in my relationships. The question then, is how do you find joy in others and how do you nurture friendships so they grow deeper rather than just adding more friendships? I'm no expert here, but I think the key has to be communication. Real conversations. For me, that means becoming a better listener, learning to "see" people beyond the words they share, finding compassion for the situations they face even if they are a result of poor decisions. God knows I've made my share of poor decisions. I'd elaborate that point, but my mother reads these posts and I don't want to completely break her heart.

As I think about seeking joy in relationships, I realize I need to decide which ones are worth nurturing and then prioritize my time better to work on those few. Rather than spend my time reading and commenting on an acquaintance's Facebook status, I need to:

  • call my grandma who is in the hospital even though I don't know what to say.
  • call my grandpa even if he doesn't remember who I am.
  • make time to visit my best friends even though I have jealousy issues.
  • apologize for that thing I did when I was 14, even though the offendee might not think about it as often as I do.
  • engage in things that interest Tiny & the Tot even if it bores me to tears. 
  • spend more time with my husband and approach tough conversations even if it means we pay a babysitter.
  • pray more and seek God's direction, even when especially when I know I won't like the answer.

Living a life of simplicity should in theory free up time to do all these things, but it doesn't just happen. It requires time, patience, and effort. I guess in reality, it's not a really matter of simplicity after all; it's still a matter of priority. ~ Plain & Simple As That

I'd love to hear how you nurture your relationships and find joy in those around you rather than the stuff that may seem to surround you.

12 February 2011

Happy Thought

I thought I'd share a happy thought... 

THIS is just a few short weeks away!
Image Courtesy of Ian from Flickr 

11 February 2011

How A Sharpie Saved My Marriage - or at least my favorite jeans

I may be just a weensy bit passive aggressive.

Here's my side of the story: I appreciate help around the house, but not help that isn't done MY way (as if there was another way). One day, I was in tears (you know, the stupid I-don't-know-why-this-is-making-me-cry tears).

You see, I married a sweet man who loves to do stuff around the house: shovel snow, fix appliances, do the dishes (fly-ladies would love my man), air up my tires, mow the yard, paint stuff, change diapers, hang pictures, assemble furniture, move heavy boxes, and yes, even "help" with laundry.

I had gently asked him "not to worry about my laundry," but I think he thought I meant, "oh Honey, you do so much other stuff, you don't need to do the laundry. I'll take care of it." What I really meant was, "Please Dear, keep your man-paws off my DANG Levis." I can laugh about this now, but at the time, I was pretty mad. I have enough trouble getting my jeans on when they are clean. I don't need to extra challenge of wiggling into jeans washed in hot water and dried on anything warmer than "delicate."

This particular day, my jeans must have been exceptionally "clean," and it was affecting my mood.  So, rather than address the issue as an adult, I just whipped out the Sharpie to prevent a reoccurance.

For the record. I do my own laundry now, and I'm happy with that. ~ It's Plain & Simple As That. 

****UPDATE**** It has been brought to my attention that I need a sharpie with spell check! I'll work on that. 

10 February 2011

How Culling My Closet Made Me a Better Shopper

The act of intentionally living with less forces me to consider purchases more carefully. In the past, I would buy something because it was a good deal ~ but cheap jeans are a waste of money if they don't fit well. I won't wear them, and I'll have buyer's remorse every time I see them. I was on a never-ending cycle: purchase cheap item > bring it home > hate it > toss cheap it in a storage bin > purchase new item, cheaper this time out of guilt for the first one > bring it home > hate it... and on and on. Sound familiar? How do you change it?

Know Your Style
Reducing the amount of stuff in my closet to what I actually wear helped me discover my true style - if you can even call it that. I always gravitate to comfortable jeans, crew neck T shirts, and flat shoes. Now when I shop, if something doesn't fit into the realm of "comfortable, modest, & layered" I don't even need to try it on.

Be Picky 
Since I don't shop often, when I do go to the mall, I feel better about being picky and buying what I absolutely love. Before you say that finances are tight and you don't want to spend a lot, take a look at your closet. Add up the cost of all the clothing you never wear or rarely wear. Would that have been enough to justify just one perfect pair of jeans?

Be Purposeful
I don't shop aimlessly looking for something to love. I shop with a specific purpose such as replacing my favorite corduroys because the corduroy is worn off. When I find a replacement, I buy THE one I want. If something extra catches my eye and I really want it, I usually wait a few days. If I'm still thinking about it a week later, I might justify that it was meant to be mine. 

Stick to a Color Pallet
Find a color pallet that match your skin tone and your lifestyle, then stick with it. When you shop, don't even look at that beautiful sunshine yellow scarf if you know it'll make you look like you just ate your first raw oyster. You may find you can actually create more outfits with less pieces if everything in your closet coordinates. Bonus: a simplified morning routine.

Shopping has become a part of our culture - it's a passtime in America. I'm not anti-shopping, but going to the mall just for something to do is like going to the grocery store when you're hungry. When you go, at least go with a plan. Buy what you love and nothing more. That's the bottom line for me. It's Plain & Simple As That.

08 February 2011

A Tale of a Spice Cabinet Decluttered

T-2 weeks until we move. 


Two moves in one year lends itself to some awesome stuff-cleansing. We have three weeks be out of our duplex, so I'm packing more intentionally than every before. Today's focus. The elusive...
Spice Cabinet
Okay, mine wasn't really that bad.
 (Image courtesy of Collin Anderson on flickr)
I must have discarded all my duplicates during the last move; I noticed I'm down to one small jar of cinnamon. I distinctly remembering having up to four at one point. The extra seasoning salts are gone too. 

*insert a little self pat on back here*

Not so fast. There is more work to do.

Today, I took a look at the Spice Cabinet with different eyes ~ eyes that could read expiration dates.  Anything that expired prior to the fall of the Economy in America.... Gone.   

Starting with... the "gourmet" Dill Weed in the glass jar. I'm sure I paid at least $6 for it.  The plastic safety seal was still intact, but it expired shortly after Pope John Paul II. Rather than feel the guilt of a dumb purchase every time I open the spice cabinet, I sprinkled it in with Tiny's nasty diapers and left it to stew until friday when the trash man comes.  

06 February 2011

8 Tips To Simplify Your Morning Routine - Ladies' Edition

Normally, Sunday mornings are a buzz at our house. Getting Tiny, the Tot and myself all out of bed, dressed, and fed in time to get to church before the music starts is nothing short of a miracle from God. I have finally accepted the truth. I need a morning routine. A simple one. So, I've been collecting notes from my husband (an official morning person) and my Facebook page:

1. Consider a coordinating wardrobe. I have a friend that mostly mixes black, white, and gray with her colorful accessories. I look sick in white and baby snot shows up too easily on black. My pallet is more brown/tan/beige/cream, with navy and red mixed in. Check out The Project 333 to see one approach to a streamlined wardrobe. Note to self: Must remember to stop even looking at black shoes.

2. Choose dual purpose make-up. I love my MaryKay tinted moisturizer. It saves me a step, it's the perfect amount of color, and my face hasn't been this clear since I was 10. I'm also a big fan of Burt's Bees tinted lip balm in Watermelon. It's the perfect color for this pasty white girl with the added benefit of keeping away the winter chaps!  

Contents of my makeup bag: 
Tweezers, Mary Kay tinted moisturizer, Mary Kay Mineral powder/brush, 
2 Mary Kay eye-liners (I have one too many), brow brush, shadow brush, 
3 pony tail holders, 3 hair pins, Clinique blush, 
Neutrogena eye shadow (it's old. I know. Don't judge), Burt's Bees tinted lip balm, 
Cover Girl Water Resistant Black Mascara.
That's it. (.. and I know I need to wash my brushes.  Don't look so close, and quit judging.)
3. Grow your hair out. Short hair is super cute ~ especially for those of you with the perfectly sculpted face. God must have been in a hurry and just skipped all the extra little pinches ~ the cute nose, the high cheek bones, the long neck, etc. He just wadded up some clay in a ball, stuck it on top and called it good enough. 

It's okay. 

I'm not bitter. 

alas... I digress... back to my point. 

Long hair. It's much easier to go with a ponytail or a scarf when you're in a hurry than to have hair you absolutely must style. 

4. Pick easy-to-wear jewelry that can be casual or dressyPasty white girls look even more ghostly in silver, so I wear either small gold hoops or diamond studs. Both work perfectly fine with jeans & a t-shirt, or my fancy smancy "Christmas Casual" outfit. I love Nashelle's custom jewelry for moms, and this mini pendant ~ super simple yet elegant.  Bonus: this is the kind of necklace you never have to take off or match to an outfit.   

Square Plate plus yogurt & a banana = Square meal.
5.  Eat the same breakfast everydayShhhhh, don't tell the FDA. I'm sure it isn't the most healthy thing to do, but you can make up your fruits, veggies, etc at your other meals. Besides, unless you live somewhere along the Mediterranean, you probably don't live by the perfect diet anyway.  At our house, Tiny & the Tot get oatmeal or yogurt and a piece of fruit.  I eat cereal.  Everyday.  Occasionally, I buy a different kind for variety.  If you're a protein girl, keep some hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for an on-the-go breakfast.  

6.  Invest in an insulated mug. Those stops to visit your morning barista really add up both in $$ and time.  Make your morning tea (or coffee if you are a sinner like that) at home.  If you are a coffee drinker, follow my aunt's tip and set the coffee maker ahead of time.  Although, my friend, the microbiologist, encourages you to clean your coffee maker, or else...  WARNING:  Don't click that link if you are easily grossed out!  

... you clicked it, didn't you?  

I warned you. 


Now maybe you'll drink tea.  

Again, I digress... 

7. Last tip. Create a night-time routine
  • pre-make your lunch (and the kids' lunches if you are dropping them off), 
  • make sure your purse, diaper bag, and/or laptop bag are decluttered and repacked. 
  • set out clothes for yourself and the kids so there's no early morning decision-making pressure
  • Put your cell phone on the charger in a dedicated spot near your keys and purse/wallet.
8. Okay, one more. Make a check list for everything you need to have in hand before leave the house so you don't second guess yourself or have to come back for a forgotten item.  

Follow these ideas to shave a few minutes off your morning routine, take away the stress of making a lot of decisions while you're still groggy, and keep the kids from experiencing the trauma of the unknown.  ~ It's really Plain & Simple As That.

What makes morning easier at your house?

If you like this post, you may also enjoy: 

01 February 2011

Tiny Is Quiet... Uh oh!

Photo by: JoshBerglund19
When the baby is quiet, consider it an alarm.

Gazing across the living room today, I noticed some marks on Tiny's face today, but I didn't think much of it since she had recently been playing with some new Tadoodles markers.  However, as she got closer, the stench grew stronger. That's when I noticed the "marks" all down her legs, coating her hands and smeared all over her face. My baby ate poop.  Nasty, runny, stinky poop.

After promptly scrubbing her down in the bathtub, I returned to find more of the offending stench smeared across the carpet. My visible frustration prompted the Tot to offer this tardy, though always valid, advice to her little sister, "you shouldn't eat poop."

Just today, Tiny has tossed chicken nuggets, macaroni & cheese, cheddar cheese, Cheerios, pears, oatmeal, and yogurt off her tray. But the poop, she enjoyed. Little Stinker. We're having liver and onions tomorrow night.  ~ It's Plain & Simple As That. 

3 Quick Tips for Documenting Noncash Charitable Donations

Sample 501(c)(3) receipt
Yesterday, I met with my tax man to look at my 2010 taxes and ask some proactive questions about my 2011 tax situation. He said that with a receipt from my 501(c)(3) organization and my list of noncash items stapled to the Salvation Army Value Guide, I had proper documentation to deduct $1013 on my 2011 taxes. In the meantime...

I had a list for my 2010 donation, but it wasn't nearly as detailed (because it was a LOT more stuff, and at the time, I just wanted it gone). I listed things like "Ladies' Clothing - 1 bag," "Men's shoes - 1 bag," "Box of books - 3." He estimated it to be a $2395 deduction. It seemed like a high number to me, but since we moved during the same tax year, it will be more "acceptable" to the IRS.  

If you plan to use charitable donations as tax deductions, there are three things you need to know incase you are audited later.

1.  Keep your itemized list, and maybe even a photo of the lot. You don't need to mail your list to the IRS,  but do save it for the recommended seven years.

2. A little trick, especially if you are doing your own taxes: don't use even numbers. If you estimate your donation to be worth $500, it might be a red flag for an audit, but $508 or $496 is more realistic.

3. If your total is over $250, you need to fill out Form 8283. Most tax services charge you based on the number of forms they submit for you. Make sure it is worth it before you agree to use your donation as a deduction. My accountant will flag situations like this and give me the option; if yours doesn't, find a new accountant ~ an honest one.

Giving to charity is definitely "giving that gives back." Find a cause you can get behind, take them your unloved (but still in good to excellent condition) items. They'll turn it to good (like food for the hungry) and you get a discount from the IRS! It's a win-win situation. ~ Plain & Simple As That

If you like this post, you may also enjoy:
How I Made Money From My Unwanted Stuff
Donate or Sell: How To Decide

29 January 2011

How I Made Money from My Unwanted Stuff

Ah... I did it!  I offloaded a bunch of baby stuff, and a few other unloved items that had been piling up.  I used to have an annual garage sale, but after figuring out it was more valuable to donate my clutter, I became an annual donator instead.  To understand how your donation turns into cash for you, read this post.  Remember, anytime you donate goods worth more than $500, you have to document it.  I'm hoping my list and photos are good enough.   I'll talk to the tax guy on Tuesday and let you know how it goes.

After cross referencing my list with the Salvation Army Valuation Guide (When using the guide, be sure to select the right geographic region), I'm estimating I should be able to deduct at least $900.  Our tax bracket dictates how much of that comes back to us in the form of a tax return.  I probably won't actually claim that much, but I have the documentation for it and pictures for it just incase.  Here's an itemized list of everything I donated today:

Clutter that Breeds

I have always been a master of keeping small spaces tidy, especially small, hidden spaces.  My junior high locker was purged at least weekly and kept incredibly neat.  It seems like I'm constantly checking Tiny's diaper bag and keeping it organized.  My super-cute-little-pencil-case-that-easily-jumps-from-diaper-bag-to-mama-purse is always clutter free.  Even my closet is relatively neat.  It's the vast expanses that throw me for a loop.

On the vast expanse of dining room table:  Junk mail, bills, and what-do-I-do-with-this-one papers seem to intermingle.  Then they breed like the gadzillion stray cats under Grandpa's porch until I don't know which ones to destroy and which to file.  Hence my "need to file" file pile.

My car (since having children): The car used to be a small space that was cleaned out frequently, but now I always have my hands full of baby when I come in the door.   I don't bring in the bits of straw wrappers, the tiny little socks (why won't she just keep them on???), the fuel receipts and random toys.  Tonight, I noticed Tiny's Gloworm on the floor board.  I'm pretty sure he's got Farmer Jed to keep him company and they have plenty of stale Cheerios and a flat Diet Coke to snack on if they decide to throw a party.

26 January 2011

A Blogger's Dream

I have this ongoing daydream where I go to an eclectic little tea house ('cause I don't drink coffee and hot chocolate is not near as cool).  I open up my shiny MacBook Air that Apple sent to me for free; and I stare at the opportunities that lie behind that blank screen for just a moment while I stir my tea.  Then I calmly start typing as eloquent words flow from my brain to my fingertips.

In mere moments, I hover my pointer over the "Publish" icon, sheepishly grin at the witty little post I just whipped out.  Then, with one finger, I tap the track pad button (for you PC people, that's the equivalent of a double click), and off it goes.  Ahhh yes... I sit back, take a sip of my still warm tea.  I gently put the screen down and gaze out the window enjoying the moment while millions of readers flock to my site to see what stroke of brilliance I have to share.

I'm famous, yet no one recognizes me in real life (However, the eclectic teenager working at the eclectic little tea shop knows my name because I am a regular).  My writings have made it possible for me to travel the world, yet I still wear faded jeans, a broken-in pair of Toms, and a long sleeve T-shirt that says, "Will Blog For Food."  People see me and think I'm a nerdy college kid (cursed with gray hair oddly enough), but really, I'm a genius 30-something retiree.

..... and it's back to reality.  ~ Plain & Simple As That

22 January 2011

Back to the Basics

This morning I went to an awesome workshop led by Lela Davidson.  Lela is an online genius!  Her experience and direction was just the boost I needed to refocus my blog.  Blogging Basics is a three hour workshop packed with resources, action plans & idea generating systems all aimed at increasing readership or just creating a more interesting space for your readers to come hang out.  There's nothing like spending time with other writers to encourage a writer, even if said writer is mostly just a wanna-be.

Lately, my page has taken a more serious tone and I find myself journaling more about my spiritual musings than documenting my Plain Jane tendencies.  Blogging Basics helped me to declutter my mind, brainstorm a list of things I want to focus on, and hop onboard.  Hopefully, you'll start see the fruit of today's class here on "Plain & Simple As That" as I write more focused articles about living life without worrying about the Joneses.   I can't wait to get started on some of the ideas I wrote down today.  Maybe with all this inspiration, I'll start another blog.  If you ever get the chance to take one of Lela's courses, you'll walk away ready to get typing!  ~ Plain & Simple As That

17 January 2011

Why I Believe Jesus is God

Everyone knows that the earth rotates around the sun, but why do we believe this?  It's clear that the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west everyday.  I could easily stand in my front yard and argue the obvious fact that the sun is circling around the earth.  However, what seems obvious can be turned upside down by one elementary school teacher with a couple of coat hangers, some styrofoam balls and a light bulb.  Once the light is turned on and the balls are spinning, the earth's rotation won't be questioned again.  After seeing it in motion, I might even be able to explain it to someone else.

This is sorta' what I experienced in my spiritual walk a few years ago.  ~ I had always believed that Jesus was God.  There's God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit.  One God; three Persons. ~ The problem is, it isn't so obvious to others.  When my belief was challenged, I didn't have a fancy styrofoam model to explain it.  Out of frustration, and maybe even a little doubt, I delved into my Bible to find out what it really does say about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  Are they all really God?  Here's what I found:

  • Jesus quotes the commandments in Luke 4, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve."  If Jesus isn't God, then by his own definition accepting worship (such as He did in Matthew 2 when the wise men came to worship him at his birth, and later in John 9:38 after he heals a man) would have been considered blasphemy (a sin) and his death on the cross would therefore be meaningless.   
  • If Jesus isn't God, he couldn't forgive sins as seen in the account of the paralytic (Matthew 9).  Anytime Jesus forgave sins, He was displaying/claiming his diety ~ the religious leaders recognized this (read John 5:18).  
  • Isaiah 6-9 holds much prophecy about Jesus and specifically calls him "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
  • Jesus calls out who he is in the end of John chapter 8.  He even calls himself "I am" which is the name God told Moses to use when speaking to Pharaoh in Exodus chapter 3.
  • In Matthew, Jesus gives the great commission saying, "Go... baptizing them in the name (singular) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." If Father, Son and Holy Spirit were different gods, then the Bible would say, "Go... baptizing them in the names (plural) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."  
  • In the Creation story in Genesis, "Then God says, 'Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness...'" (it DOES NOT say, "Then the gods said... " NOR does it say, "Let me make man in my own image..") 
Jesus was there in the beginning.  He created the sun.  He set the planets into motion.  Then He came as a model to help explain it.  Check this out!  Psalm 23.  As you read this very well known piece of old testament scripture, take some time with these phrases: 
  • The Lord is my shepherd
  • He makes me lie down in green pastures
  • He leads me beside still waters
  • You prepare a table before me (a meal perhaps?)
  • my cup overflows (a meal with leftovers perhaps?) 
Now go to any one of the three accounts of Jesus feeding the 5000 (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44), and John 6:1-14)  See if Jesus isn't modeling. 
  • He is the shepherd (He refers to the people as sheep without a shepherd specifically in Mark 6:34)
  • He commands the people to sit on the green grass (all three accounts)
  • This takes place next to the water (all three accounts)
  • He prepares a meal for 5000 men (plus presumably some women and children) with five loaves of bread and 2 fish
  • There's enough leftovers to fill 12 baskets.
I see no distinction between the "Lord" of Psalm 23 and the "Lord" of any of the other Psalms.  If I say the Lord is my Shepherd, and Jesus is the good Shepherd (John 9), then it's obvious to me, Jesus is Lord and He is God.  I think I grew up believing that, but after digging in, now I can say that I know it.  ~ It's Plain & Simple as That.

08 January 2011

Bring the Word, Leave Your Tract Behind

This is a bit of a continuation from yesterday's post.  After I wrote down my thoughts about ending my weekly visits with my JW friends, I went to bed thinking about my exit strategy.  I don't want to end on a sour note, and I don't want to close the door completely.  If they are open to studying the Bible instead of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's supplemental material, I'm interested in continuing the relationship.

Each week, the Wednesday afternoon knock means it is time to get out the Watch Tower's "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" tract.  The conflicting logic in this particular publication frustrates me.  In one instance, they say that during creation, God "chose not to know" that man would sin.  When it comes to the theology of the Trinity, they say,

A Wasted Witness?

Dear Holy Spirit... I could use a little counseling here.  Would thou please confirmith my suspicions through the followers on my blog... or my facebook friends?  Okay, okay... I'll seek it in your Word.  But I'm a 21st century kinda girl.  So I'm still gonna blog it.  Amen.

As promised:

So, about 2 1/2 years ago, I was a new SAHM hanging out at the house barefoot, eating bon bons (or maybe it was M&Ms in my case), waiting for the Tot (then a teeny baby) to wake up from her second nap.  Alas, a knock at the door.

Thus began my relationship with "M"