Simplifying with JOY


As the new year starts and we take on 2015 with eagerness, I am thinking about what I am reading and what I am planning for the coming year. Living on a farm in the Midwest, we have cold and snow. We have time to think and plan this time of year. I also make the time to read. I seem to gravitate toward books that pertain to what I want to accomplish. (Okay, sometimes I read just for pleasure…) Right now I am reading

So, what do I want to gain from all this insightful reading? I hope to reduce the STUFF in our home. I would like to rid us of things we do not USE or LOVE.What a concept! Looking around my desk right now, I have items ON MY DESK that I might use, might read, might refer to, might want. You get the picture. I often don’t use, read, refer to or even want the items in the future. Why keep them? Somewhere deep inside I have a strong feeling of warning, that I am guessing came from the generation which lived through the Great Depression: We have to keep THIS because we don’t know if we will be able to get something like it in the future, OR the parts for THIS could be used for something else in the future! Eek! This is a terrible concept to live under because it makes us so owned by our stuff. I am cleaning, organizing, moving, storing, reorganizing…on and on. I doubt that the Lord appreciates things or the time I spend “messing” with them. I want to free myself and my home of these items that we will never miss.

Let me be honest here, though. As I was reading through minimalist websites and looking at pictures on Pinterest, I had some realizations.

1. I am NEVER going to have a house that looks like those pictures.

2. I do not want my HOME to look like those pictures. We have a home and not just a house. Many of those pictures appear stark, sterile, and sadly “un-homely.” I want my boys to have a comfortable home and a warm home full of color, fun, crafting, learning, and love. I do not want bare rooms, but I do want less of what we do not really need or want. I desire to have organized and orderly rooms. Everyone thinks more clearly and is more creative here in clutter-free spaces. Since we home school, we also need the order for us to be able to learn and study.

Going back to having a home full of color, fun, crafting, learning, and love connects to Ms. DeFeo’s book. I am always looking for ways to add virtues to our home, but mostly, I want to hear more laughter, feel more joy.  Lately, I have been smiling more at my boys.  It caught one son by such surprise that he actually looked behind himself to see where I was looking.  Another day, another son asked “What?” when I smiled at him.  This is a sad realization for my Momma heart: they do not see me smile at them enough.  So, I have been smiling more and making things a little more fun. I am implementing little ideas from the book, too. I hope to get some joke books at the library and add in more giggles (even some guffaws) to our home. Adding in the fun is so important, but I think I get so stuck on doing life and getting all the boxes checked off my list that I forget to LIVE life. I added joy to our Bible time before school, looking up verses & talking about ways to inject more JOY into our daily lives. I only have a few years (though some days it feels more like centuries!) to be with my boys: loving, living, laughing, and sharing joy. So very soon they will move on and more out, and this Mom does not want to look back on these precious years with regret!

January starts the month of focusing on JOY for us, just like the Courtney DeFeo’s book suggests, and this month we will begin to reduce items in our house.  A couple of days ago, I went through my closet and removed ten items (Yes 10! Ten things just taking up space that were not really my color or no longer my style.) I want to keep doing this purging. We are going through toy boxes next week. If we don’t use it or love it, it needs a new home.

I have no misconceptions that either of these goals are obtainable in only one month, but these are long overdue and we have to start somewhere.  I will try to update you from time to time.

How about you? Do you have plans for the new year? I would love to hear about what you are working on this year.

Remember, no matter what you are doing to Love Your Boys!


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