Simple On Purpose: Simple Living Resources

I am a person who requires inspiration to take on any sort of life change… although I suppose my inspiration for living with less came from my frustration of wading through my excess.  The first step I took was to chuck stuff out!  Once the initial rush of momentum ran out I needed to refuel and this is how I did it.

I read minimalist blogs…

Tico and Tina have a huge list of minimalist articles on their blog Make Room for Greatness.  Seriously everything from what’s holding you back to what you need to give up on. 

Becoming Minimalist is blog that doesn’t just give you a list of tips, but opens up the story to the bigger picture of how much sweeter life can be when we are no weighed down with so much luggage to carry around.  

I just love Tsh’s website The Art of Simple.  Again this is not just a how to for getting rid of clutter, but a collection of habits and strategies to help along the journey.

There is a feature on the Miss Minimalist blog called Real Life Minimalists.  It’s so good to scroll through and read other people’s stories.  There is strength in knowing you are not alone. 

I read books…

Tsh Oxenreider has written two books that were very influential in how I am walking through this lifestyle change. One Bite at a Time is a fantastically practical guide to conquering one small life change at a time.  Notes From a Blue Bike is full of heart warming thought on living intentionally and the pursuit of simple.  I recommend buying both.

Clutter Free with Kids by Joshua Becker was a huge game changer for me… it really hit home that I wanted my kids to know a home of imagination and time spent on being together doing the things we love… not a house piled with toys and gadgets.  I wanted them to grow up learning intention and making sound choices about purchases and this book confirmed all of those ideas and helped me put them into practice. 

I found a challenge…

There are a lot of good ones out there… 

Project 333 is a challenge to create a capsule wardrobe out of 33 clothing items or less and maintain it for 3 months. 

This 30-day minimalist challenge from Into Mind  looks like it will be very encouraging to participate in. It doesn’t just deal with cleaning out closets and dealing with your physical junk… the daily suggestions are mostly about doing things that are good for your peace of mind and I could totally use a little sanity here.

What are your favorite simple living resources?  

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Posted in Minimalism, simple living, Simple on Purpose, Tsh Oxenreider | Leave a comment

Simple on Purpose: Myths About Simple Living

One of the things that scared me about simple living and minimalism at first was that it would mean huge sacrifice and feeling like I was lacking.  In case you have those same fears let me dispel some of the myths surrounding this lifestyle change for you.

Myth #1 You won’t have what You need when You need it. 

The Truth:
First you need to discover the difference between needs and wants.  I get it!  We are creatures of comfort.  Sometimes a want feels like a serious need.  Do I want to have the perfect wool coat to wear with my little black dress to the once a year Christmas party I attend?  Absolutely!  But reality is I have a perfectly fine ski jacket and really my outer wear will only be seen briefly when I arrive and when I leave so I can be perfectly content with it and I only need one warm coat.
Second surely you won’t purge anything you use on a regular basis.  If you are a smoothie nut… keep your blender and that specific long handled spoon that reaches all the way to the bottom of your blender to scrape out the delicious drips that linger down there. 
Third anything you don’t have that you absolutely genuinely can’t make do without can probably be picked up in a thrift store fairly easily.  In fact Tsh Oxenreider has a mind blowing post about using a thrift store as a storage unit it’s quite brilliant.

Myth #2 You’ll feel like you’re lacking

The Truth:
I used to have an enormous wardrobe.  I mean spilling out of drawers, covering the floor, couldn’t find a thing I wanted to wear because I couldn’t find a thing anyway.  And every single item I owned was cheap.  I bought it because it was on clearance, or a screaming thrift store deal, or because someone else was eyeing it up at a garage sale so I had to have it!  It didn’t matter that the shirt was high visibility yellow… it only cost $2!
Since I’ve moved on to a capsule wardrobe of 33 items or less I get to be much more intentional about my purchases and choose quality items that are better made and have a better fit.  I still buy the things I want on sale sometimes, but it’s because I have waited for it to be on sale, not because I walked in to the store and it just happened to spot it on the clearance rack.  I’ll write more about capsule wardrobes in another post.
Now that I love everything I wear I do not miss any of my old cheap outfits.  

Myth #3 You won’t fit in with your friends anymore.

Thrift store shopping and yard sales are 2 of my favorite ways to spend time with friends, but what’s the fun in that if you don’t need to buy anything and you won’t want to bring home a bunch of stuff to re-clutter your house?  Here are 2 ways I tackled this fear:
  1. I still shop.  I love to wander around looking at other people’s junk.  The difference is I have a purpose in mind.  For instance, at the moment I am on the hunt for a teapot.  I have recently started to enjoy drinking tea with my family and it would be a whole lot easier if I could just make 1 pot rather than brewing each individual cup.  So when I go out treasure hunting I have a specific treasure in mind.
  2. We find other things to do… There are pubs and coffee shops to chat in.  I’ve taken in more than a few concerts and plays since I’ve started this minimalism gig.  And if you’re really stuck for something to do there’s always (gasp) physical exercise.  Go for a hike, take up kayaking, or join a class together. 

If you’re worried that you won’t be keeping up with trends in your group of pals… don’t worry about it… good friends just won’t care what you wear.  Well unless you break out the booty shorts and crop tops.  I say purge those.

What am I missing?  What fears are you holding you back from taking the plunge?  What questions do you have? 


Posted in Art of Simple, Minimalism, myths, Simple on Purpose | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Anita!

Snuggle selfie!

About 9 years ago my close friends Anita was pulled through the front door of a little house, with a white picket fence and a red door, by a stark raving mad, lunatic of a postpartum woman.  The poor crazy lady was babbling, caveman style “You breastfeed!  You help me!” and leading the way to a tiny bedroom that belonged to her infant son. Thankfully Anita obliged, because that desperate new mom was me, and bonding over booby milk is how our friendship was born. 

Soon enough our relationship became more than friends.  It became one of chosen family.  I don’t toss around the word sister carelessly, so when I say that we have formed a sisterhood, it’s a really big deal.  I love Anita so much that thinking about it fills me up so full I often have to let some leak out through my tear ducts. 

Anita taught me that just because we have a fight, it doesn’t mean we give up.  She has been my support in trials and held me as I cried.  

My 3 children are blessed to call her Auntie and she loves on them like a pro. (Maybe with a bit too much candy but I am willing to overlook that). 

It’s because of Anita’s adventurous spirit that I am a braver mom, wife, and human than I ever was before (seriously I was afraid of driving through the drive thru way back when).  She showed me how to be spontaneous (sometimes calling with an idea at the crack of dawn… ok ok more like 8am, but still).   

Anita inspires me to be generous.  I’ve been with her when she has paid for the person behind us in the Starbuck drive thru.  It doesn’t matter if that person is ordering a single coffee or taking 7 back to the office for their co-workers… it’s on her. 
I’ve seen her dig through her grocery bags to offer panhandlers something to eat.
She has given away Coach purses and overnight hotel stays to people she thought could use some kindness.
photo 1 (93)

Because of her habit of generosity I am honoring Anita’s birthday by decorating a tree with coffee cozies that I made. The sign in the picture frame reads:

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How to Prevent a Mommy Tantrum

Child!  Why must you do so many things that stress me out?  When will you understand that I NEED silence?  Please please let your food go from the bowl to your mouth without spilling for just one meal time today!  

I can feel the pressure building inside of me.  I’m trying to breath deep.  I’ve been successful at holding it together up ’til now… what’s a few more hours?  

I’ll go to Pinterest… there’s bound to be some inspirational quote or blog post on how to not lose your shit on your children.  Seriously kid!  Stop asking me for a story!  Can’t you see I’m trying to self improve here!  More deep breathing… this time with my eyes closed.  All of those bloggy, Pinterest moms already have it all together anyway.  What would they know about wanting to vaporize your children for just an hour of peace?

I know!  I’ll get proactive… It must be the clutter driving me crazy… not my children.  Small victories… the counter is cleared and wiped, the dishwasher unloaded and then loaded again… What the heck!  What in the world made you think it was a good idea to take the clean spoons I just put away and scoop dirt out of the plants on to the shag area rug.  Really kid… you just aren’t quite understanding the gravity of the situation here are you?  


I should call someone.  Except that would mean admitting that I feel like I am on the verge of being a bad mom.  It means losing my pride.  It means exposing my most vulnerable place.  Plus who has the time to hear my miseries.  I’ll just sit here and wallow in being afraid and make up excuses, and telling myself lies. 

There is a truth though, the truth is I want to be told “You are not alone.”  Not so I can continue along the same life sucking path. Not so I can feel like I have permission to actually explode.  Because this is not every day… And the guilt that comes after a mommy tantrum is way worse than trying to clean potting soil out of the carpet. Maybe the next sentence can be “Have courage friend, I’ll pray for you and then you can try again.”  Then I will gain strength, and head back to the trenches with a little healing, and try to do better.

Posted in Loving Others, Mothering, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Thankful Thursday #30

Each Thursday write about what you are thankful for.  It can be a whole list of things or a post focused on the one things you are most thankful for that week. 

This week I’m thankful for:

Podcasts… I listen to them when I’m doing chores, when I’m driving, even when I’m in the bathtub.  My favorites are:

  • The Moth a collection of people telling very interesting stories.
  • The Robcast Rob Bell’s new podcast
  • Happier Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft giving tips on how to be happier and answering listener questions.
  • The Art of Simple Tsh Oxenreider and a guest have charming conversations about life and the ways they are making simpler choices. 
Jackson Pollock inspired artwork

New Art… New, one of a kind, cheery paintings. Created by the little finger that live here… they greatly improve the log wall don’t ya think?

Friends… The ones who send me pins of cute orthotic friendly shoes… the ones who are just a text away… and the ones who take risks with their vulnerability. Thank you for being in my monkey sphere. 

Yummy yummy taco

Taco Tuesday… Cheap tacos and that delicious red sauce from Senior Froggy’s.  Plus the company of my Craig.  Who could ask for anything more?

Daily Photos… Finding the little moments and capturing them. 

Coffee… Enough said.

Posted in Art, Art of Simple, coffee, Friends, podcast, tacos, Thankful Thursday | 2 Comments

Simple on Purpose: My Story

I  had a messy bedroom my entire youth.  Oh sure every once in a while I would be inspired to clean up all of my crap… cramming it into drawers and my closet, only to see it all toss itself on the floor and pile itself up on every flat surface it could find within a couple of days.

Then I became an adult and I soon had an entire house to fill up with “treasures”  and junk.  I would buy clothes that I loved… for a little while.  If it was cheap and on sale, the chances that it would end up belonging to me increased at least 75%… if it was free it was definitely coming home with me.  I loved yard sales and thrift stores and would spend weekends on “thrift” shopping sprees.  Adding to the heaps of stuff I already owned.

Side note: I still love yard sales and thrift stores, but I approach them with much more intention than I used to.

Unfortunately all of these prize possessions started to create more havoc than pleasure.  My cluttered house was a heavy burden.  My attitude was crumby.  I was stressed out.  My stuff was making me a basket case.

Thrift Store Treasures…

It took me stepping back and realizing that nothing I had ever purchased was helping me be a better mom, a more loving wife or a kinder person.  Not a single knickknack, piece of clothing or gadget made me a better human being.  In fact my serial consumerism was even making me a worse citizen to the earth.  My consumption of  cheap goods meant that I was exploiting people who worked in abhorrent situations. Think sweatshops and slavery.  And my habits were also causing more landfill waste.

I needed to change.  And that’s what I did.  Do I still have to stuff?  Yes.  Do I still love clothes and unique decor? You bet! Do I still have toys for my kids to play with?  Of course!  We are just more selective about the things we actually love, use and bring home. 
I want you to know that simplicity and minimalist living isn’t something that I’m naturally good at.  It takes intentional choice and a considerable amount of forethought. My ideas of living simple on purpose is going to look different than your ideas, my hope is that we will inspire each other.

Dear friend if you are surrounded by heaps of stuff, if your house seems to be closing in on you, I want you to know that you are not alone. If you are feeling shameful of your current house situation, take a deep breath, if you want to change that you can. If you are overwhelmed by all of the activities and events on your calendar, you can create more white space and freedom.

Stick around and we will journey into a less complicated lifestyle  that is much more in line with our individual purposes, together.

photo credit: New at Rikki’s Refuge Re-Tail 1/10/15 via photopin (license)

Posted in Minimalism, my story, Simple on Purpose | 1 Comment

How I’m Creating an Environment of Belonging

I’ve been on the road quite a bit over the last few day, and that has given me some multitasking moments to finish Daring Greatly by Brene` Brown …on audio book… Don’t worry, I am not so confident in my multitasking to think that I can read and drive at the same time.
Now I know I wrote about this same book last week, but it’s had quite an impact on me… and well it’s my blog and I’ll write about what I want to write about. 🙂

So Brene` and I have been travelling around together and she is making some phenomenal points about whole heartedness and being the adult that I want my children to grow up to be… and then she brings up the difference between fitting in and belonging.

A Facebook status she wrote in 2012 sums it up quite well… 12 year old wisdom on fitting-in vs. belonging: “If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, it’s fitting in.” Amen. 

I don’t often write about homeschooling on this blog… in fact I have a whole different blog for that… but I do write about mothering and sometimes the homeschool part of my parenting overflows.

One of the reasons I homeschool my children is because I want them to have the freedom to be who they want to be in a place where they feel like they belong no matter what.  I want them to be able to experiment with their mannerisms and tweak their personalities in a place where they feel safe to do so and are free from peer influence that may dictate that they experiment with other peoples behaviors, or be demoted to the bottom of the classroom pecking order.

The scary part is, after making a statement like that, I need to examine whether or not that is true in my home.

Ways I’m creating an environment of belonging well:

  • I have been exploring who I am and modelling growth and positive change for my kids. Since January I have completed the Upstream Field Guide, I have been working through The Grief Recovery Handbook with a friend, and I have sought out books like Daring Greatly.  All of these courses and books are adding awesomeness to the way I think and move through life, and hopefully showing my kids that we never stop growing. 
  • I’m empowering my kids to make their own choices. It’s taken me 30 some odd years to be able make solid decisions about opportunities that come my way.  And I’m still not that confident about the my final verdicts.  I am starting early with my kids and letting them decide about a lot of the events and classes available to them.  Not all of them though… because really I am still the mom.  
  • I try new things. On a recent trip to Vancouver I tried Ramen for the first time… did I love it? No… but how would I know unless I tried.  I didn’t make my kids try it.  They ate tried and true pasta and meat sauce, but they saw me try it and I hope they took notice.  I’ve also taken a mug making class which inspired my 2 oldest children to sign up for a 10 week pottery course.  We are working o being adventurous together.
  • I step back. Sometimes I have to hold my hands together to keep from “correcting” an art project. I have to close my lips about a “creative” outfit choice or hair style … but I do it.  I do it because this is their time to figure out what they like and hopefully they will have a strong sense of what it means to belong vs. fit in. 
  • I am available. As much as I step back, I am also there.  I am there to give guidance on a project.  I am there to hear the story of how so and so’s heart was broken by an unkind sibling.  I am there to join in the grief and joy of their childhood.
I will try embrace this silliness

Ways I could improve our environment to be have more belonging:

  • Embrace silly. I really struggle with silly.  The immature senses of humor of my 3, 6 and 9 year old children sometimes make me cringe, but if my goal is to allow my children to explore who they are in a loving and safe place… I need to get on board the funny ferry and laugh along.
  • Talk about it. Working toward greater belonging just might go unnoticed if I don’t actually inform the rest of my family of my goal… but telling people about your goal and then sometimes failing in front of them is a scary, vulnerable thing, which obviously makes it a conversation we need to have. 
  • Asking for help. I tell my kids all the time… bring me your books, just ask me for help… but I’m not a very good example of this.  I really don’t like to be the student and I am often stressed out to ask question to clarify things.  I don’t like to look or feel stupid.
Brene` has a printable on her site called The Whole Hearted Parenting Manifesto.  It’s a beautiful declaration of who I want to be as Hudson, Meadow and Delaney’s mother.  I have plans to print and frame it. 

Is your home a place of belonging or of fitting in?  What are you doing well?

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Posted in Brene Brown, Daring Greatly, Family, Mothering | Leave a comment

I’m a Good Mom… And So Are You

There I am newly minted mom,
 believing I was wise beyond my 23
years on the planet.
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I started out as Babywise mom, I don’t know if it was Gary Ezzo’s advice on scheduling a baby’s feeding and sleeping that made me feel like I knew 
what I was doing as a first time mom, or my own self inflated ego, but I was a know it all. I could tell you just exactly how to solve your child raising issues, because of course all babies are the same and all toddler behavior is completely manageable. If I wasn’t telling you how to parent to your face… I was probably telling someone else behind your back. I was wrong.

When baby number 2 came along I was still semi clinging to the Ezzo method, but I had also adopted a whatever works attitude. That baby slept in her swing for months, even though the book warned that she would never learn to fall asleep on her own if we did that. She did.

Fast forward five and a half years from the first baby’s arrival. Baby number 3 is born into the Scott family and I have tossed Babywise out the window. I have become a co-sleeping, baby wearing, feeding on demand mama. By the time that child became a two year old I had no certainties about how to navigate this mommy gig and resorted to chocolate and lattes to get me through the day and wine and snacks to unwind once my offspring were tucked in and drifting off to dream land. (Actually who am I kidding? I cracked that bottle as soon as Craig came through the door, home from work to be the responsible adult).

Each of my little ones had a different mama, and even though I wouldn’t go back to or recommend some of those past parenting styles, I would say in every phase I was a good mom. In fact I am pretty sure that any mother practicing these or a number of other of parenting strategies that include love, caring and meeting their children’s needs are good moms.

Brene` Brown in her book Daring Greatly writes “You can’t claim to care about children if you’re shaming other parents for the choices they are making.”

Can I get an amen?!

 As a mom when I feel shamed and judged I am way less likely to be in prime nurturing mode with my children or my husband. Shame makes us more prone to isolation, which leads to feelings of inadequacy, bitterness and anger. Not a great place to be when your job is love and kindness.

Don’t do that to somebody’s kid. Chances are that unless you are witnessing abuse, that thing that other mom is doing, that you of course would never do, is probably not a make or break choice in their child’s life.  You think your friend’s kids watch too much T.V. Get over it. That other mom at the park who is feeding her preschooler a fast food lunch and is making you cringe at the unhealthiness of her choice. Get over it. I homeschool. Get over it. We don’t do team sports. Get over it. We’re all doing something that some other mom doesn’t agree with. Get over it.

In a stage of our lives when we already worry about whether or not we are screwing up our kids we certainly don’t need jack ass opinions about the decisions that go into our child raising efforts. A friendly word of encouragement or a compassionate ear can go a long way in making another parent’s child raising load seem lighter. When we feel like we are doing a good job the little things that can be blown out of proportion are better able to stay in their box of “it’s not a big deal.” and we can focus on the things that actually matter.

There’s no use crying over spilled coffee right?

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Posted in Brene Brown, Community, Loving Myself, Loving Others, Mothering | 13 Comments

Thankful Thursday #29

Welcome to Thankful Thursday!  Feel free to grab a button and link up your own Thankful Thursday list below.

Goats Milk Lattes

Goats Milk Lattes

This week I am thankful for:

Hudson plays so well with Delaney.

Big brothers who push little sisters on the swingHonestly I swear I sent that kid outside with a coat on… how she can play outside in that outfit and not freeze is a miracle.

Good friends who offer to babysit… So… If you hang out here quite a bit it may sound like we pawn our children off a little too often… Trust me we are a homeschool family… I am with my children far more than I am without them.  That being said, thank you Rob for taking on our trio of cutie pies so Craig and I could go see Two Pianos Four Hands on Saturday afternoon.

Oh the difference a little light can make.

Photo Walks… This week I have been heading out, often with little photographers in tow… to see my everyday neighborhood through fresh photography eyes.  The result is that  I have some delightful and fun photos of ordinary things.

What are you thankful for this week?

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Posted in big brothers, Friends, Photography, Thankful Thursday | Leave a comment

I Have a Confession…

Me looking foxy…

Dear Readers, 
I feel like I have a confession to make.  I write here about being real and authentic and yet I have been afraid to tell you something. *insert deep breath here.*

I wrote a post in back in July titled I’m Not Skinny Any More.  Here are a few of my words from then:

“… I’m much more pear shaped than I was then… but I’m also much more sure… sure that my worth is not wrapped up in my weight… sure that my friends are my friends because they think I’m kind and we have common interests… not because of the way my jeans fit… sure that my husband loves my body whether it’s a size 2 or a size 20. I’m not skinny anymore… and I’m OK with that.”  

Those words are still true, but I feel like I’ve left a part out.  In September I took a good look at my eating habits, you would be hard pressed to find a nutritious food plan that included 4 lattes a day and eating 2 dinners most nights.  I took a look at my lack of exercise routine, which is still somewhat lacking and will hopefully become a work in progress soon.  I took a look at my body and realized that I am OK with not being skinny, but I am not OK with being unhealthy.  

Using mostly smaller portions  and better food choices I have shed and kept off  25lbs since then  I’m happy with this weight.  I’m still not skinny, but my clothes fit better and I rarely have that stuffed to the rafters, Thanksgiving every day, feeling that is rather agonizing. 

I am in no way prescribing any sort of diet for anyone else.  I am not claiming that weight loss is an easy fix for anything except buttoning your jeans faster.  

My goal was never to be a size 2 again, and I’m not. I’m completely OK with that. 

I hope we can still be bloggy buddies.

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Posted in body image, health, Loving Myself, weight loss | 1 Comment