How to Be Content on Your Birthday

four jars of contentment

Do you suffer from Birthday Letdown Syndrome? Your birthday is coming, and you have such high hopes that it will be all you wished for and more. Even if you’re not a big birthday person, I’ll bet you still have a few unspoken expectations for the day. All of that anticipation builds, and no matter how great the day is, it’s never quite how or what you expected. Then, the letdown comes. Dissatisfied and discontent, you turn the page, and[Read more]

Simplifying Summer

We are entering week two of summer vacation, and I have already had to run away from home once because the kids were driving me (and each other) crazy. Thank God I have a teenager who can cover for me in moments like these! Overall, though, it has been a good first week, and I am looking forward to what this summer will bring. Did you catch that? I don’t have this summer all planned out; I have left a[Read more]

Discover the Quiet Joy of January

(This piece was originally published in Cedarburg Bridge.) Stark, solemn trees stand sentinel along our streets.  The earth is barren, cold and hard beneath our feet.  In January, winter settles into our bones like a bear into his cave. Gone is the joyous ringing of bells, shining lights, and shimmering splendor of the holidays.  The explosion of fireworks ushering in the New Year fades and flickers into deep winter stillness. And yet, there is comfort in the slowing, as we[Read more]

Building a Blessings Budget

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 Last week, we attended family camp at Fort Wilderness.  Our speaker for the week was Pastor Brian Kluth, speaker and writer on generosity, God’s provision, and legacy living.  He spoke on many topics during the week that resonated with and challenged me, but there is one takeaway that I am especially excited[Read more]

How I’m Not Letting 10 lbs. Keep Me from Enjoying Summer

Summer weather has finally graced the northern tundra!  A couple of weeks ago, I eagerly pulled out my small bin of summer clothes, ready for my first day of wearing shorts.  I have a relatively limited wardrobe, so I was thankful to have inherited a few, timeless golf skorts from my aunt last year, which fit well and are very comfortable (no, I don’t play golf, but my fantasy self wishes I did).  I selected one and put it on,[Read more]

The Importance of “Us”: How to Find a Shared Hobby with Your Spouse (Part 1)

Over the years, I have conducted an informal poll of couples married ten years or more, asking the following question:  Do you and your spouse have any hobbies or interests that you enjoy doing together?  A handful of these couples have responded affirmatively, listing traveling, golfing, backpacking, and bird watching as some of their shared interests.  The majority, though, have looked at me blankly, as if the idea was completely foreign to them.  I find this concerning, because I believe[Read more]

26 Steps to Simplicity: Yes!

How often do you say “no” in a day?  If you’re a mom like me, too much.  My no’s often sound like, “In a little while,” “After I finish ____,” “Maybe later.” After eXamining your life yesterday, did you find that you have more free time on your hands because of simplifying?  If so, then it is time to start saying “Yes!” again. Contrary to popular thought, simplicity (or minimalism) isn’t about saying no to everything.  It’s about saying yes[Read more]

26 Steps to Simplicity: Work (A Story About Finding Work You Love to Do)

Do you love the work you do? Does it bring you joy? Or, do you live for the weekends, and wish you could be doing something else for those 40 hours each week? Last week, I attended my oldest son’s music ensemble performance. I sat next a couple I had never met, whose daughter was in the ensemble with my son. The wife and I struck up a conversation about our children and the school, and at some point I[Read more]

26 Steps to Simplicity: Summer (Top 20 List for Simple Summer Fun)

I know, we’ve barely stepped into spring, but summer is just around the corner, and if we don’t plan for it now, it will be here and gone before we know it.  Up here in the northern tundra, summer is our chance to cram every outdoor activity and social interaction we possibly can into 12 short weeks of warm weather.  As much as I want to keep things slow and simple, it is difficult to stem the tide of myriad[Read more]

26 Steps to Simplicity: No

Learning to say “no” is integral to the joyfully simple life.  We feel compelled to say “yes” by the fear of mising out (FOMO).  It holds us captive to our phones, as we scroll insatiably through our social media channels.  It sends us out to every social activity we’re invited to.  It keeps us spellbound in front of our TVs.  It demands that we fulfill every request and commitment thrown our way. As a result, our calendars are covered with[Read more]