Friday, April 08, 2016

Simple Living Challenge

For some time I have been reading a blog by Jenn (  She hostesses several reading memes such as Musing Mondays, Teaser Tuesday and Friday Finds.  I have participated in all of the memes at one time or another and found them to be fun, informative and intellectual.  A few months back Jenn decided she wanted to take her blog in another direction but didn't want to abandon her dedicated followers so she split the blog into two separate blogs -- A Daily Rhythm and Books and a Beat.  I still follow both.

In the last few days Jenn has been moving toward a new concentration in her blog A Daily Rhythm and has introduced a challenge called Simple Living Challenge.  When I read her post about this challenge the concept rang such a bell for me that I was immediately taken in wanted to participate.

For the last couple of years I have been looking for something different in my life.  A different way to "be".  I didn't know how to express it but Jenn has done a wonderful job of putting my thoughts into her words.  I have explored "minimalism" and while I think it is great, in a way, I can't only have 33 pieces of clothing and two plates.  I have explored all the ecological pathways to a cleaner/healthier home while saving the planet.  I do try but I am getting older and there are just some things I have to do to save my sanity and my energy -- like run the clothes dryer.  All of these ideas that I have been trying on have their good points -- great points -- actually but it isn't a one size fits all sort of thing.

Jenn's idea does work for everybody because you examine your needs and desires (not using any other parameter than your own) and you make your plan.  She lists her needs and desires and outlines her approach and has created the blog challenge to keep herself accountable.  Her approach involves faith and spirituality which I personally believe has to be the basis for everything we do.  She also embraces the teachings of Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, authors of "Intuitive Eating" and Judy and Arthur Halliday authors of "Thin Within".  She is looking at ways to attack the chores she doesn't enjoy doing and being able to have time for the things she does enjoy doing.

So, while I have learned to fold my underwear correctly and find joy in the things around me thanks to Marie Kondo, I am looking for something else and I think Jenn may have hit on it.  In a way, I feel like it is returning to life in another time -- more like my youth.  Jenn is eons younger than I am so she probably doesn't see it but her proposal is more like life was when I was growing up -- women had a simpler life back then and what Jenn is proposing is very reminiscent of that.  The difference is back then it was just life, now it is intentional.

So, I am setting my goals now for what are my immediate life needs and desires and my long term goals.

The Word  I have always been a church going believer but I have never been strong in Bible reading.  My goal is to begin my day in the Word and prayer.  I know it will set the tone for my day.

Peace  I yearn for a more peaceful existence.  I remember growing up when there was no technology and television was a novelty not a necessity.  I remember waking up to the breeze blowing through the organdy criss-cross curtains and hearing the birds chirp.  It was peaceful.  I want to feel that feeling again therefore, the television will remain off except for the couple of shows that we watch and the computer time will be limited.  I don't have a smart phone that has become like another appendage so that isn't a problem.

Food I have a weight problem.  I have had one for a very long time.  I have accepted that I come from a long line of family members who were not particularly small.  However, I believe that Americans have developed such an unhealthy attitude toward food that almost everybody could be classified as having an eating disorder.  I remember my pediatrician telling my mother that my diet should consist of all things in moderation.  He never said only eat plants or never eat eggs or anything sweet is taboo.  He said all things in moderation.  Of course, fast food wasn't readily available back then, either. The question has come up recently whether the food was better in that era than now, safer so to speak, and while my daughter thinks it was I am not so sure.  Remember, we were the generation that had DDT sprayed liberally in the streets to combat polio.  So, in all honesty, I can't say that farming practices back in the 50's were any safer.  But, my goal is to have a healthy diet that includes all things in moderation (except milk -- can't do milk anymore) with an eye to the healthiest, whole organic foods I can afford. I will eat three meals a day and try to not eat in between meals.  I will no longer try to keep a food diary.  It is boring and only makes me grumpy and I think it leads to bad eating habits.  My mother never kept a food diary but she did eat intuitively -- if she ate potatoes at a meal she never ate bread -- that sort of thing.

Exercise  I will be working toward at least 30 minutes of dedicated exercise a day and I will wear my pedometer to get an idea of how active I am in general.  I have a Jawbone fitness tracker but it gets in my way so I don't wear it anymore.  It is hard to wash dishes with it on and if I take it off I forget to put it back.  So, it is more of a liability than an asset.

Chores  I have been working on this for a while now.  I don't like housework but apparently nobody but me is going to do it so......I have developed a plan that works for me.  It is a little helter skelter so I am going to try to make a more designated plan but this is what I am doing now.  I tire easily so doing "big" things just isn't easy for me anymore. I do laundry every day.  They are small loads which I am sure is really lousy for the planet but it is better for me -- selfish thing that I am.  I have an HE machine and I make my own laundry soap so that should account for something.  I start out the day putting in a load of laundry, drying it and putting it away.  An empty laundry hamper is very gratifying to me! I try to keep the kitchen clean as I go.  I like to start out the day with a clean sink, empty dishwasher and empty dish drainer.  As the day progresses I will either wash the dishes by hand or put them in the dishwasher.  My husband hasn't gotten the hang of this yet and I am still finding bowls sitting on the counter but he is a good man so I will forgive him and put them in the dishwasher myself but it is a never ending battle since he retired.  Just sayin'.  I have found that running the swiffer over the furniture or swiffering the floors on a daily basis goes a long way to keeping the housework to a minimum and it really only takes a few minutes.  It takes longer to complain about it and avoid it than it does to actually do it.  Can you eat off my floors? I wouldn't recommend it but I am getting to the point that I don't have to go into a panic if somebody drops by for a chat that my house should be on an episode of "The Hoarders".

Meal Planning I took home economics in junior high school.  I had this dreadful little teacher named Mrs. Chappell.  I thought she had to be at least ten years older than God.  My MOTHER had her at the same school for goodness sakes! She had to be ancient.  Truth is, I have done a genealogical search for her and when I had her she wasn't old at all, in her 40's.  Whatever.  I remember that class very well and I remember her teaching us to meal plan.  She must not have ever changed her ways because what she taught was exactly how my mother did it and how I find myself thinking when I try to plan.  The idea was a meat, a starch, two veg or a veg and a salad, fruit, bread and a beverage.  This is how I still plan my meals although we don't eat nearly that much food.  Maybe we should.  If we did maybe my husband wouldn't be back in the kitchen a half hour after dinner looking for something to eat! In any event, I can't menu plan.  It doesn't work for me because whatever I plan for, say, Monday I can guarantee you that when Monday comes I won't want that.  So, I try to buy enough meat for a week, have enough starches on hand and enough vegetables to make meals for a week.  I went to the store yesterday to buy food for a week and see what I could do.  We went out to dinner, which we do on a regular basis, but I have enough food for several meals and we are going to see how it goes.  We will be eating at home tonight.  The problem I have with food is that my husband doesn't like my cooking.  I am not kidding.  He really doesn't.  I like plain food.  I don't like it messed around with.  I am not a "sauce" person and he absolutely hates casseroles.  So, I am all about boiled potatoes and steamed veg.  I love it.  He doesn't.  It is difficult.  So, I am trying this new idea that since he is the restaurant lover -- we will do his way a couple of days a week and my way the rest of the week.  Sounds fair, right?

clothing I am devising a 'uniform' -- I will get back to you on this but it reminds me of Flylady -- getting dressed to the shoes.  

So, all of this culminates in Saturday being the day of accountability. Jenn intends to blog about her Simple Life Challenge on Saturdays and I intend to join her.  I doubt mine will be as wordy as this post has been -- just a brief overview of the week -- honestly abounding -- to see if I have met my goals.

If you would like to join just visit Jenn at to see what she has going on.  She is a lovely young woman with a strong faith and a good attitude.  I enjoy her blogs and I would recommend them to anybody.

So, until tomorrow --