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Archive for the ‘Reflections’ Category

Photo courtesy of makelessnoise on Flickr

The other night, as we were settling into bed, we turned out the light.  Just then, we noticed a faint glow coming from downstairs.  We had left a light on, and one of us would have to leave the warmth of bed to trudge back downstairs and turn it off.

It’s so easy to overlook one small light when all the other lights in the house are bright.  Our lives are like that, too.

If we’re ever going to see the light, we need to turn on the dark.

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{Smudgy Eyes}

It’s been a while since my last post.  I need to apologize to Jessica and also say “thank you” for carrying this blog over the past few weeks.  Life sure has been busy, in good ways — but busy.

As the year continues to roll through, our family is finding frustration in this challenge.  Can we stretch the rules a bit here?  Find a little wiggle room there?  The temptation to collect is strong; so much stronger than we realize.  And yet, at the very same time, on so many days, I just want to sell it all.  Everything.  Living only with the mere essentials, life would be lighter.  Easier.  Right?  In some ways, yes.  But honestly, I enjoy many things that bring simple joy.  Yet, Nothing New confronts me daily and asks, “Do you really love this?  Is it worth the real estate in your living space?  Does it bring happiness?”  As I type, my husband asks,  “How can people love a lamp or pillow?  That’s just stupid!”  Yes, so many commercials tell us that we should love our stuff.  I’m sure that I’ve loved a pillow somewhere in my life.  Love may be too strong of a word for something that can’t love you back.  Just a thought.

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day. It also would have been my Grandma Jo’s 85th birthday. Because she was born on St. Patrick’s day, we have always assumed that this automatically makes us Irish.

Every year, I make sure to wear green, and my outfit is not complete without my little shamrock pin, a gift from Grandma Jo. I honestly don’t remember when she gave it to me, but every year when I pin it to my shirt, I think about her.

It’s a cute, goofy little pin, and it’s not my usual style. But I know I could never get rid of it.

What is it that makes something sentimental? Why is it that, of all our possessions, there are a few that we hold onto not because of their intrinsic value, but because of the memories they evoke?

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When I was a kid, I was a really picky eater.  Mealtime became a battle of wills.  I’d stare down the portion of broccoli on my plate, certain it would make me physically ill if I ate it.

On many occasions my Dad would say to me, “Look, it’s not my favorite thing, but I’m eating it anyway.”  Oh, that used to drive me nuts!

But recently, the subtle brilliance of that statement hit me right between the eyes.

In our official Nothing New rules, health and beauty products like shampoo are allowable purchases.  But I knew that I had an entire storage bin filled with perfectly good products that have been sitting unused.

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in•spi•ra•tion noun

Webster dictionary defines inspiration as a) a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation b) the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions c) the act of influencing or suggesting opinions

Who inspires you? Why do we get inspired? I’ve been thinking about this word a lot in the past week. The Nothing New challenge has encouraged me to dig deeper into quotes that move me and people that make a difference. I love it when words touch me in such a way where I’m stirred into action.

As the world of blogging becomes more popular, I feel blessed to reap the rewards of another person’s “aha” moments. We share life together. While virtual life can never replace eye to eye connection for me, it does offer gifts beyond imagination. Yet, my heart has been heavy as I recently learned about a sweet friend (whom I’ve never met!) that suffered a major stroke last Monday. At the sweet age of 38, Joanne’s youngest daughter found her seizuring on the floor. It is day 12, and she still rests in a coma. For those of you that pray, please lift up this family. I’ve been taken back at how much I feel for their situation. As I continue to study simplicity, Joanne’s words have inspired and encouraged me for years.

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I feel like a fish out of water. Like a tourist in my own country. As our family no longer speaks the shopping language, we feel foreign to familiar surroundings. Personally, the thirst I often experience for bargain shopping was not on my palate this past week. Fear may be keeping me away from the stores, but I also feel a lack of desire already setting in. Though I still enjoy those things that bring beauty and function, my eyes are changing. Already. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. I guess I was ripe for this challenge.

Without shopping on our “to do” list, we faced lurking boredom straight in the face. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, it was quite fabulous. As a four month old, Emma is already teaching us so much. We desired to give her a wonderful first Christmas, one that if she had memory, she’d remember. I felt a deep amount of pressure on my chest to provide for her over this special season. When we met with our pediatrician earlier in December, I asked if she had any suggestions for age appropriate toys. You know, ones that will compliment her development and maybe even flip on the switch to her inner little Einstein. (Side note: I wonder if Einstein ever used Baby Einstein toys?) With pen and paper in hand, Dr. Cannon smiled and said, “Your face.” My face? Hmm, I wonder where I can buy one of those in time for Christmas? Simplicity rings true again.

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{Buying Real Joy}

“We don’t need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it.” ~Donald Horban

Do I have patience in my heart over material desires? What defines a need from a want? How do I take care of the things I already own? These and many other questions stir in my spirit as we step into the Nothing New challenge. What will I learn? What if I miss the point? What if I fail?

As I continue to study simplicity, this year will serve in helping our family discover those areas unresolved in our hearts in relation to consumerism. Why do I buy what I buy? Do I place too much value on items that come with a price tag? How have I fallen prey to marketing traps?

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