11/16/2008

Simplify

My thoughts right now are focused on the art of simplicity. As I head into a rather busy time of year, I'm craving a simple approach to tasks, relationships, gifting, working, healthfulness, and so forth. I will be running several posts on this topic and I hope that you'll each chime in with your thoughts and ideas, too. Some preliminary thoughts below...

Simple Food:
-Our annual holiday party will be potluck this year. To reduce the stress on me (and John) to cook a large meal by ourselves. I want to have the time to enjoy my friends instead of fussing in the kitchen.

-Muffins. Having them on hand makes great snacks, tea treats, breakfasts, and desserts. CatGirl has a favorite healthy recipe that she can make herself. But if you have a recipe to share, I'd love to feature it on the blog!

-CSA Veggie Box. Thanks to the efforts of a friend we get a weekly veggie box delivery each Wednesday (fresh-picked from a farm that's just around the corner). Dinner on Wed, Thurs, and even through the weekend is determined by whatever foods are included in our delivery. I've found that soups, strata or quiche, and veggie pizza are wonderful ways to use this produce.

Simple Health:

-Exercise. I've been working out every morning for the past several weeks, with simple cardio or dumbbell exercises and yoga. My body is feeling better everyday even though some mornings it's very difficult to get up extra early for a workout.

-Taking Vitamins.'Nuff said there :)

Simple Holidays:
-Immediate Family. Rather than gift-giving, we are making memories by traveling together this year over the holiday season. We'll be going to Washington D.C. and New York City. We can't wait to share those places with our children!

-Extended Family. I will attempt home-made gifts again this year as I did last year. But this is all contingent on my wrists' continued healing. If I can't make gifts then I will purchase them from etsy crafters rather than buying from a large retailer.

Simple Faith:
-Quakers. My commitment to Friends continues as I have taken on some responsibilities in our Meeting. Yet I still aim to balance my activities with the needs of my family and my need to meditate alone and/or to spend time in my garden (my most sacred space).

-Ministry. I recently read a Quaker tract about Worship-sharing (being led to speak in Meeting). It suggested that some Friends feel the call to vocal ministry while others find that outlet through writing. I rarely speak in Meeting because I crave silence. But I feel that my blogging is my forum of ministry--it's where I can best share thoughts and insights. However I am continuing to seek a balance between my 'virtual' communities and my 'real-life' ones. Recently I've decided to spend more time off-line and I've dropped many blogs from my GoogleReader.

Simple Consumption:
-FreecycleIrvine. I continue to moderate our local Freecycle group because this feels like a good way to facilitate the sharing of goods and to reduce landfill waste.

-Reuse. I am not as good as I could be at reusing household items. Because we live in such a small space, I feel I can't stockpile items for later re-use. I am trying to do better at this, as I can. For example, I just learned that the farmer that we buy eggs from will let us bring back our carton and he will re-fill it rather than giving us a new one each week.

-Purchases. There are several companies that I like to patronize because I appreciate the quality of their goods. Lately I've found nearly-daily notices from these companies about sales, reduced shipping prices, etc. I've decided to create a filter for all of these emails so I will no longer see them in my inbox and be tempted to order items that I don't yet need.

5 comments:

debra said...

Simple gifts are the best, I think.
We are doing a benefit,Cups of Kindness, at our gallery for the local Foodbank. Over 50 artists are donating their work. So when people buy art as gifts, they are giving twice, as well as feeding their spirits.

Vajra said...

Jana, this is truly a ministry. This entry in particular has given me much food for thought.
Thank you.

Erin G. said...

I love this entry. Please keep writing about simplicity throughout the holiday season! What a great haven that would be for those of us who read regularly...to come here amidst the craziness of life to admire a beautiful picture and a wonderful thought, quote, or story from you!

Mother Earth aka Karen Hanrahan said...

YOu might truly enjoy this muffin recipe:

http://bestwellnessconsultant.com/2008/11/08/gingerbread-muffins-walnut-grove-farm-best-of-mother-earth.aspx

[kɹeɪ̯ɡ̊] said...

My favourite muffins are orange cranberry with orange supremes, fresh orange juice, and whole fresh cranberries (not the sweetened dried kind).

Yum.

I love your desire to simplify the holiday season, and most of all I think your idea to go on holiday with the family instead of presents is a marvellous idea.