Want to Join Me for “A Year of Simple”?

I have no idea how my kids are getting so old when clearly, I am staying so young. (That sentence was obviously not written with a straight face, but with one beginning to show several laugh lines.)

Over the Christmas holiday, we were so blessed to spend a day with some of our former college friends. As if no time had passed since 1991, we laughed and shared memories and acted like we were twenty again. Then we looked across the room at all of our kids, and wondered how it came to be that we actually have a kid going to the same college we had gone to together just a few short years ago??

Y’all. I have an adult child. My other kids will also be adults the day after tomorrow. This is not new information. But sometimes the realization knocks me over the head. How did I get here? How did this happen?

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It is this realization – knowing that time flies and the years are short – that lands me in a place of wanting to get rid of everything that is not essential. If it’s not nailed down, out it goes. If it’s overwhelming, I’m off-loading. God has been calling me to simplify as never before.

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I’ve been making lists of what I feel is priority. It is surprisingly short.

  1. Love God
  2. Love my husband
  3. Love my kids
  4. Love myself
  5. Love my neighbor

While this sounds simple in and of itself, you and I both know how much all of that involves. There are so many essentials involved with loving all the people, and we all know the food doesn’t cook itself. My days are filled with:

  • Feeding my family well
  • Teaching and training our boys
  • Taking part in our boys’ outside activities
  • Caring for several people in our community and in our church family
  • Managing my home
  • Maintaining this website
  • Dozens of other tasks
  • Take a day of rest each week

It is these priorities along with these essentials that leave me a bit in a quandary. While the lists are short, they are very involved. How to juggle? How to manage? How to remain in a state of peace and joy while keeping top priorities and managing the essentials? God gave us 24 hours each day on purpose. But even while cutting out much during the past few years and saying no more than saying yes, I’m still overwhelmed much of the time. My conclusion is that there is no way to do life perfectly and also…

I must simplify as much as possible

My family and my ministries require much of my energy – much more, even, than when my kids were little. Saying “no” to all the good things that pull at me but aren’t God’s best for me is my only solution to receiving peace, especially as I have come to realize that God has not called me to do all and be all. All He asks of me is to seek Him. This is the only way His answers for my daily life become clear.

Thus, I am excited to explore the next few months of The Year of Simple. 

Join me?

Simple doesn’t give way to laziness. Simple means we’ll work smarter, not harder. Simple means we’ll seek to go about our days with God’s best in mind, cutting out all that hinders and everything that keeps us from looking up to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2). This will look different for each of us.

What I’m planning for a Year of Simple at Heavenly Homemakers is…

To encourage all of us care for our families in the simplest ways possible so we can keep our top priorities at the top. This will include:

  • More Simple Recipes – We’ve still gotta eat. We still want healthy meals. But let’s learn more about keeping it simple. (Simple Meals is one of the best ways to simplify our kitchen lives, hands down! Everyone should take part in this!)
  • Simple Kitchen and Homemaking Tips – I’ll continue to share ways of managing our homes by working smarter, not harder.
  • Simple Truths – God continues to reveal His perfect and simple Truth as I study and meditate on His Word. Lies fade as Truth overpowers. As God directs, I’ll share what I’m learning.
  • Simple Fun – But of course.

I don’t think it matters what season of life you are in. Whether you have no children, baby children, growing children, teenage children, adult children, a spouse, no spouse – no matter who you are and what your current time of life holds for you – we can all get so wrapped up in being so busy with all the busyness that we forget to take part in what is most important.

What if we all learn together how to let go of the non-essentials, to ask for help when we need it, and to walk in peace as we trust that God will provide everything we need?

Each time I think about how God can help me simplify, I feel great joy. I take in a deep breath. I see the lovely that is around me. Often the lovely is covered in a layer of dust and smells like sweaty socks. Lovely doesn’t mean perfect. Lovely means fully being in the moment to recognize that God’s mercies are new every morning and that He is at work in all things.

I look forward to spending 2017 with you. Join me in this Year of Simple!

What’s at least one way you seek to simplify your life this year?

Comments

  1. Amy says

    I started simplifying my life 13 years ago. It was the best decision that I made. Even though I’ve been on this journey for 13 years now I can always find something to simplify in my life. A few weeks ago I decided this year to work on simplifying my digital life. I’ve been tracking my internet usage for a while now. Lets just say I’ve been spending far too much time in the digital world for too long.

    I quit all social networks, after the year I’ll reassess. I’ve limited the blogs that I have in my reader to 11, three of them are family members blogs that rarely update. I have been spending more time reading with the children, playing video games with them too! I’ve been journaling regularly by hand. The oldest will be 17 soon and the little ones will soon by 8 and 6.

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  2. Jessica says

    Yes please! Lol :) All I am trying to do this year is de-clutter! This will help simplify life so much because I will actually be able to find things in our house. :) We have five (soon to be six in March!) children from 10 years to 22 months and the amount of STUFF in our small house (less than 800 sq ft.) is so overwhelming. Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. And yes, a LOT of the clutter is mine. I can admit it and own it :) I have been trying to de-clutter for a while, but again, have really felt a push to since this summer. It is slow, it is a process, but I will get there eventually. I have really been appreciating your simple recipes (as has my family!) so very much, Laura. They have been such a time saver and a blessing to me. I eagerly look forward to each new one! :) God Bless!

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    Molly Reply:

    Congratulations on your upcoming baby! I got to hold a friend’s two-week-old little baby this week (I brought hot chocolate and mango-coconut cake in exchange), and he was PRECIOUS! Such tiny little fingernails and such cute little cheeks!

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    Jessica Reply:

    Thank you! We are looking forward to the impending arrival with a lot of joy :) I love newborns and babies in general, they are so precious! Children are precious at any age of course but there is something about newborns :) Sounds like you made a very fair trade with your friend, lol.

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  3. Molly says

    Last night we had nachos for dinner. :-) I had debate practice and a bunch of other stuff going on (a much busier afternoon than is typical for me), and simple dinner needed to happen. Enter canned refried beans (with pretty good ingredients), salsa, and cheese. Add tortillas and chips to serve and broccoli on the side with oranges for dessert.

    Also, roasted veggies. We’ve been eating lots of those. YUM. Brussels sprouts for my husband, carrots for me.

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  4. Karen says

    I am so in with this. I learned a phrase from a friend this past summer: “If I were to move, what would I not want to pack and move with me?” I have a lot of “stuff” that I don’t want to move, starting with every year of school work/papers from my boys homeschooling. Do you know how much that is? I started going through it last fall and got through 5 years of the first one. My goal is to see our basement in “open house” condition, even though we are not moving for at least a year or more – unless God says otherwise. That’s just one more reason for me to simplify – so I can be free to do whatever He calls me to do. Thanks Laura!

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  5. Faith Dossett says

    Simplify our house by losing a clot of clutter. My husband likes to “collect” and we’ve just about filled up two houses with his “collections.” I have some things (about which I’m very sentimental) and will keep at all costs (maybe 2 boxes total), but I have many items that I could purge, also. I look forward to reading your “simple” posts!! I’ve been a fan of yours for several years now and enjoy your blog so much —

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  6. Kimberly Toti says

    Our family has been on this journey for a year now, ever since I lost both my parents , who died way too young. That ‘ s when Gods bush came. We started by getting ride of anything we didnt need , including cable t.v. We watch movies Saturday night. Nothing but Church and fellowship on Sundays. We devided the kids outside activites up , so that half the year two kids have activites and then the other half the other two have their time. This way were not out everynight.This last year has been a time of grieving but also a blessing to us as now out time is more special .

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  7. Kimberly Toti says

    So sorry for all the spelling mistakes in my first message, I wrote it though tears. I can not wait to see whats a head in your blog to help with simplifing my families life.
    Thank you for your lovely blog post!

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  8. Pamela says

    I’m noticing a theme of de-cluttering, which is something I need to make a huge priority this year; I am also sentimental and have a hard time getting rid of things. Last year my word was “utilize,” and this year it is “dedicate.” Thanks to Laura and all for helping us see the need to simplify and seek God’s priorities for our lives. Merry 12th Day of Christmas (Epiphany) and Happy New Year!

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  9. Jamie Baker says

    Laura, I am a few years further down the road than you, and continue to feel the call of “simplify” resonating in my spirit. As God takes us deeper into our journey with Him, He wants to increase more and more.
    This last fall, God called my husband and I into full time ministry with Time To Revive, out of Dallas, TX. It is more important than ever before for us to find our lives in simplicity as we will be mobile a good deal of the time, bringing revival to churches and cities across Ohio, and the nation. Our passion and desire come from Him, so He will guide the process of eliminating everything from our lives that would hinder or distract, in order to have the best things; those things that will carry into eternity.
    If you are interested in seeing what this ministry is about, you can check it out at: timetorevive.com Also, you can view reviveoh,com which is the Ohio part of Time to Revive. Indeed, God is preparing His people, to pour out His Spirit, and I want to be right where He is moving……
    Jamie

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  10. says

    Hello Laura, I have loved you, your family, and you blog for I don’t know how long. I am older, with GRANDchildren the age of your children. Looking to downsize, which means moving. I know I fit in the category of needing to “simplify”. I have already started decluttering, but sometimes get stuck. So count me in. I really need all the help I can get.

    Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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  11. Heather says

    I crave simplicity. I think this will be the year I simplify by getting rid of STUFF. I’ve started with my wardrobe already – I now have 2 empty drawers in my dresser! Looking forward to seeing more posts on simplifying here!

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  12. says

    We went through the de-cluttering process last year and it was hard, exhausting and wonderful all at the same time. We took 8 truckloads of things to our local Goodwill. I think our family alone has stocked their entire store for at least a year. HaHa! It is hard work but definitely worth it. I can breathe now. We now have the saying in our house, “something comes in, then something has to go out”. No exceptions. Blessings to all of you going through this process.

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  13. Phyllis says

    January always finds me getting more organized, culling what household items are no longer needed and being more diligent in God’s Word. Thanks for this post! I’m with you! I want Him to show me ways to simplify! ????

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  14. says

    I agree with making things simple! That’s something I’ve been working towards for a few years now. I have done a bit of de-cluttering, but have a LOT more to go. I also wish to become more diligent about doing simple things to take better care of myself and my family, like getting more rest. Seems simple enough, yet I’ve struggled with getting to bed at a decent time all my life.

    My Mom is 73 now and has been sharing with me recently how much her priorities are changing at this age. She no longer wants to hold on to unnecessary “stuff”. She has always been good at letting things go (unlike myself who has been learning for years to not place so much sentimental value on physical items), yet has felt inspired to purge and simplify anew.

    My word for this year seems to be “cherish”. I think that simplifying life will allow me to cherish so much more!

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  15. mrs.p says

    Great timing. I was in my pantry about a week ago. Looking around and thought. This year we will be simplifying. Didn’t think much about it and I work and life happens. Finally, I got some free time and came here. Great idea.

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  16. Shelby says

    I’m with you! I am currently in a decluttering phase of simplifying. I took a challenge to get rid of 2017 items in 2017, so we have a large piece of graph paper with that many squares on it and each person is helping to fill the squares with his or her own color. I can’t wait to see it full of color!!

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    AnnMarie Reply:

    OOOO, I like that idea. I wish I had thought of that/saw that sooner. My girls cleaned out their closet and have a whole large trash bag of stuff for their smaller cousins. That would have filled a bunch of squares!

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  17. AnnMarie says

    Count me and my family in! On New Year’s weekend, my husband made the kids and I watch “Minimalism” on Netflix. It was interesting. My husband has been asking for something like this for a long time. In the world of opposites, I like to hang onto things and he tosses them out. I have always felt that I need these things, but really I don’t. What is hard for me to do now is let him help me pass my stuff onto somewhere else! I still feel as though all of my things are a part of me, and by getting rid of them, I am getting tossed aside too. So, Lord help me! Amen.

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