On living simply...

Jon and I sat down and talked about what we wanted for 2018, and amongst many hopes, dreams, and prayers, a few keywords resounded: simplicity and rest. 

I want this year to be a year where I don’t get caught up in the game of comparison, but instead, rest in the truths Jesus tells me and focus on what I love and care about. No more getting caught up in what OTHER people care about, or what OTHERS think should matter. 

This year, we are focusing our eyes on what matters to us and living simply. I am choosing to REST in the peace of Christ, like David describes in Psalm 23. (1-3, 6)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

God, you are my shepherd and provider, I don't need a single thing! What would it be like if we actually lived like that? I want to live this year in those lush meadows of peace. And gain focus on my life and dreams by letting Him guide me in the right direction.

Minimalism is such a funny word and has so many different connotations that come along with it. There is an extreme view where someone might picture a home with nothing in it other than the absolute essentials. There is a view where perhaps someone might envision people living in tiny homes. However, one of my favorite podcasts describes it (in my opinion) perfectly and she says minimalism, or living simply, is more about living a life that is simply: you. It's about learning what to say yes to, what to say no to, and having confidence in who you are and what you're about. 

I've been thinking about this so much lately and this primarily started because we spent the first 8 months of Brighton's life living in a small, 800 sq foot 1-bedroom apartment. We were forced into "minimalism" by necessity. We shared one tiny closet between the three of us, and had no spare room for the swings, the bouncers, and the toys, let alone an actual crib! When the nesting set in, I was throwing away everything. I realized I could no longer deal with the clutter and anything that didn't have a "space" needed to go. I started clearing out my closet and getting rid of things I didn't truly love so I could invest in staple pieces I did love and would last me longer. I felt free! 

So, as I've been thinking more about this "simple living" life, I am trying to find new ways to incorporate it more often. It's not just about "stuff". What I'm learning is that it's truly about knowing what's important to you. One host of the podcast suggested asking yourself "is it useful" and "is it beautiful"? If you can't say yes to one of those things, toss it! What is useful and beautiful to each person will be unique. For some people, the collection of antiques is a passion and their cabinets may be full of crystal treasures for the eye to behold. For me, I am loving simple. And I want this to pour into every aspect of my life, not just with possessions.  

To be honest, a lot of this has continued to stem out of necessity, but I don't mind because it has been so freeing, But, if I'm continuing to be honest, there are many days where it's difficult to remain proud and confident in my "simple living" mentality. Everyone is in the hustle; get a bigger house, get more clothes, new trends, new toys, better car, new hair ... it is just so exhausting and darnet, sometimes so enticing. It's difficult to not get swept away in it all because the reality is that none of it is inherently wrong.

But what Jon and I continue to find ourselves discussing is that we never want to overextend ourselves just to achieve what's "bigger" or what's "next". We want our lives to be full of margin so that we can enjoy the little things in life and be generous as often as possible. 

Living in a small apartment is a big source of insecurity for me. To me, at this point in my life, we should be able to afford more, have a real house, and at least have a guest bedroom and a yard for a dog. But the reality is, we live in southern California and our life looks different than that. I am someone who always dreamed of having the home where people would come all the time. Where I would have people over for dinner regularly. For 5 years, I let my insecurity of living in a small apartment stop me from doing what I love. I have let the lie that I need to have a bigger home dictate how I interact with my community. 

But moving forward, I want to remove the pressure of "society" to have more. I'm not going to apologize anymore for living in a small apartment. I love that our place is small and I love that I don't have more house to clean than I can handle on my own. Do I want a home someday with a yard? Yes of course, but I prefer cozy and quaint to large, unmanageable, and debt-ridden. I don't want to have to hire a maid in order to know that the dust isn't piling up in the hidden corners of rooms we never use.

I love that Brighton doesn't have a closet full of toys. I love that she needs to be creative with what she has and learn to go outside, rely on books, and the Tupperware that we have in the bottom drawer. 

I'm not going to feel sorry anymore that I don't go shopping all the time to stay on top of the trends. It's too exhausting to keep up anyway and most of the time I'm lucky if I make it out of the house long enough to have anyone to impress. 

I want 2018 to be a year of focus and simple living. A year where I learn to say "no" to things so I can say "yes" to the right things. A year where we put down our phones more often to take in the sounds, the sights, the smells around us and not worry about it making a moment in my Instastory. A year where we quit worrying about what everyone else is doing and be proud of where we are at and the process we are going through. A year where we decide we don't need more "stuff", but make more moments. 

So, here's to: 

More books, less screens

More simplicity, less stuff

More freedom, less fear

More presence, less comparision

More quality, less quantity

La Buona Tavola

Well, I finally did it. Looking back on 2015, the thing I wanted to accomplish the most was my cookbook and I did it. I waited until the last possible minute, but it got done. I spent so much time toiling over the photos and design, wanting to have this perfectly Kinfolk-esque cookbook to blow people's minds and at the end of the day I just had to realize that I really wasn't doing this to make some sort of hipster statement. This was for Nonna. More than anything, it was about sharing her legacy. She could've cared less about how something like a cookbook looked. Most of her recipes were hand written and stapled into a folder.

So, I got to it. It was so fun to give to family and friends for Christmas and to hear how excited everyone was to have her recipes in hand.

Anyone is welcome to have one, they are indeed for sale! Purchase here: La Buona Tavola.

So it's January 2 and I have a big year ahead of me. I'm about one month into my new job, baby #1 coming in June and Jon is continuing to push Brave Aesthetics forward. We ended 2015 and began 2016 in Ensenada with some of our closest friends. It was a blast. Literally. Neighbors shooting fireworks all night. Jon and I are so blessed by our community. I could probably write about it forever, but I won't. You're welcome. 

For now I'll just say, I really do hope to be on here more to document pregnancy and the life of Baby Allen! May this year be full of blessings for all. 

Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.