Category: Minimalism (page 1 of 3)

It is Possible to Live TOO Small

If you have read many of my blog posts, you may already know that I really like the idea of minimalism and its benefits. I believe in living small, and I try to keep my life relatively simple. However, the last five years have taught me that it is possible to live TOO small. Sometimes, less is NOT more.

I’ve been pretty introverted around here. Despite the MANY blessings and exciting events in the last year, I really struggled with anxiety and depression. I’m not a stranger to those things, but I think they got the best of me, because I thought I had grown beyond their clutches. True to my nature, I withdrew from writing, because I want to be a source of encouragement, and I just wasn’t a wellspring of positivity. I considered being vulnerable and talking about the ways I was hurting, but the words just wouldn’t come. I was stuck. And then I felt guilty and like a failure. It was a spiral, but I’m not sure I was even fully aware of it.

When we moved into our new home in April, I felt a very sudden loosening of those chains. Our new house, which I believe was an absolute gift being held for us by God, is a lot more airy and open. The four years prior, we’d lived intentionally very small so that we could pay off some of our debts and pursue the life we wanted for our kids and us. We learned and relearned that we really do need a lot less than we think. But those small spaces became even smaller when we added another sweet baby to the family. Her person and her belongings tipped the scales of what could comfortably fit in the space that we’d chosen. Daily, I was overwhelmed and even completely overcome by the clutter around me. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t purge and organize enough to really make it work. I’ll never forget tripping over laundry baskets to cook dinner and wash dishes. Just the basic functions of a stay-at-home-mama were extremely tedious.

Living small wasn’t serving us, so its very purpose was defeated.

Our new home, with the same amount of possessions as our apartment, now gives us the space we need to breathe. SPACE is a good thing. We still live small, but we can stretch out and live more fully. I can be hospitable in ways I never could before. I can live and work in close proximity to my children and not feel smothered. The possessions that enrich our lives have their own places and can be stored out of site, which creates an environment that is less visually stimulating. In short, this home is peaceful, and for that, I thank God continually.

We were able to host both sides of our family for Hosanna’s first birthday! 

More than necessary cabinet space is great for little explorers to play and hide!

We have time and space for blanket forts!

These quiet moments with my babies make life so sweet.

A yard of our own means we get to own pets. Meet Harold “Harry” Super Cat Dummel!

I realize that moving into a larger space isn’t always an option (it wasn’t for us for many years), but our situation is indicative of our need for space in many ways. We need space to think, to breathe, to grow. That doesn’t always mean physical space. We need to keep space in our schedules for Sabbath rest, for connection with the people in our lives, for communion with God. Are we tripping over the laundry baskets of life on our way to eating spiritual and emotional food? Laundry and serving and paying bills are all necessary parts of life, but when they begin to crowd out the peaceful moments that keep us going, we are bound to shut down.

Whether it’s my upbringing by two very hard workers or my type A personality, I’m a person obsessed with productivity. Learning to juggle two kids and a house that refused to stay clean got the very best of me in every way. I worked constantly and forgot to take time to breathe and fill up in my own unique ways. I pushed away my husband and kids in the name of cleaning and seeking spatial peace that wasn’t to be found. Thankfully, hard lessons can be learned, and I’m beginning to once again care for my family and myself the way that I should, which means a whole lot more than physical work. The depression and anxiety are mostly at bay. Intentional time spent building my relationship with my husband, my babies, and my Savior are all keys to emotional strength and well-being.

If your life is so busy that you don’t have space to breathe deeply, please take a Sabbath rest. It is possible to live TOO small. You can live with too little physical AND emotional space for a healthy lifestyle. Moving into a larger, more open home was extremely helpful to me, but depression and anxiety are imminent if I don’t follow God’s way, which includes hard, meaningful work, but also deliberate rest.

Sharing the Love

One thing I love about the internet is all the people who are joining in conversations and sharing each other’s ideas. It’s a way to encourage your friends far and wide, to learn new things, and to be challenged to grow. So here’s to sharing the love!

  • Deep Roots at Home is another blogger that gives me a lot of encouragement, and I hope to follow in her footsteps of standing for the truth, as well as encouraging other women. Her willingness to be authentic and vulnerable to share Christ’s message is so inspiring.
  • Despite my desire for a peaceful environment, I still find myself buying “stuff and things” that end up cluttering our home and stealing our peace…this article confirmed my suspicions that we as a generation are not struggling because of a failing economy, but because of a drive for more material possesions.
  • Have you been on Etsy? If not, you should check it out. This particular shop, Mama Bear Baby Wear, is special to me, not only because the products are excellent, but also because the owner is an inspiration to me. Despite losing her husband in a car accident, she is supporting her children through her work as a counselor and seamstress. She homeschools her children and specializes in attachment therapy, two things very dear to me. If you want to make your home more eco-friendly, please consider buying from Amy!
  • Have you used Shutterfly? I got some prints made for my Etsy shop, and they came today. Getting that orange envelope in the mail was exciting. I’m really happy with the quality. I ordered two sets of prints. One in gloss finish, and one in matte. I think the matte finish is best for the cards I’m making. You can get 50 free 4×6 prints if you sign up today.Shutterfly Prints (1)
  • When Dustin and I lived in Ohio, we became friends with two of the most reverent Christians I’ve ever met. Kevan and Lindsay Duke are a beautiful couple, and they have such integrity in ministry. There were, and continue to be, a great encouragement to me. Kevan’s latest blog post reminds me that no matter what havoc is created in our country, God’s Kingdom will always stand. Kevan and Lindsay also make beautiful home decor. Check out their Facebook page, Stuff We Make: Decor by the Dukes.

Thanks for stopping by Milly Becoming Wilder. Will you pass this along? Please Share the Love!

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Goals for May 2015

Recap of April Goals

1. Continue making Bible study a higher priority < This is still a work in progress. Quite frankly, my schedule is entirely too full. It’s not an excuse, but it is proof that you can be too busy.

2. Pray and commune with God like it’s not a chore

3. Less screen time for Josiah

4. Visit a “Senior Saint” at least twice

5. Look through and organize home decorations, and get rid of anything we don’t intend to use (If I keep listing it, it’ll happen eventually, right?) < That’s hilarious.

6. Continue to improve the look and usability of millybecomingwilder.com < I’m still working on it, but for someone who doesn’t do coding, nor has the funds to pay someone to do coding, I think/hope it’s coming along.

7. Work diligently on Income Tax and Excel classes. < With the support of my wonderful husband, mother, family, coworkers, and friends, I got certified in Microsoft Excel, and I’m almost finished with Income Tax. That’s something to celebrate!!!

Goals for May 2015

Honestly, I hadn’t even looked back at my April goals until this evening. What a crazy month. I wasn’t too disappointed, though. Despite the chaos, I managed to do some good things. Here are my goals for May…

1.  Finish Income Tax class on a positive note.

2.  Continue to grow in Spiritual Disciplines.

3.  Slow my life back down after my classes are over.

4. Go to MANY garage sales, because they make me insanely happy. So many unique finds! Side note: I picked out a cuter outfit for going to garage sales tomorrow than I wore to work today. I might have a problem.

5. Celebrate Cinco De Mayo with my guys. We love Mexican food and festivities, even though we are the whitest people on the block.

6. Play “The Minimalist Game”…This is a challenge for me and anyone reading to cut down on the excess material possessions that steal our space and our peace. Want to know more? Read this!

I met “The Minimalists” last year at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati. They are not Christians, but what they’ve learned and are now teaching others is so full of truth and in line with Christ’s teachings on money and materialism. Luke 12:15 says, “Then he said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'” I shared that verse with them and thanked them for their message. I hope they accept Christ as their Savior some day. Their joy is contagious, they are full of love, and they speak their message boldly…they’d make amazing ministers!

The Minimalists and Me

7. Celebrate 7 years of marriage! We will also be celebrating a successful year of marriage after separation, which is beautiful and blessed and totally the handiwork of God. Praise Him!

Dustin and Me

May 2015 is a pretty exciting time for us. Our marriage is growing stronger everyday, and as of May 31, I will be working part-time, so I can spend more time loving on my family. If someone would have told me my life could be this beautiful 18 months ago, I would have turned around and walked away. Never in my dreams, or even in my prayers, could I have imagined what God would do with our family. The glory is all His. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Things 2014 Taught Me

2014 was a year of learning. The best ones always are. Some of the lessons were new, and some were strong reminders. Without further ado and in no particular order, here are the things 2014 taught me…

  • I can survive winter without being completely bummed the whole time. Get out of the house and keep moving, even if it means wearing extra layers and braving time among sick people…it’s worth the risk.

  • Stress over illness can be more harmful than illness itself.

  • Communication is critically important in relationships, and that is not as simple as it sounds. Keep talking to each other, even when it hurts.

  • We can survive far more than we can imagine, but only when we rely on more than ourselves. My own strength, Dustin’s and my strength together, your strength, isn’t enough to brave the trials of this life. And that’s okay.

  • Humility goes a LONG way. It is one of the most important elements in a healthy relationship.

  • Marriage can survive a separation.

  • Not everyone is going to be happy when you succeed. Sometimes your success will hurt another person, because they don’t understand how you have what they don’t. Because of that, you might feel guilty about the happiness in your life.

  • You shouldn’t be ashamed at how far you’ve come or how much the LORD has given you. Walk in humility and gratitude, and recognize that not everyone is where you are in their journey.

  • You should give more grace than you think people deserve. That’s one way to be like Jesus.

  • Not everyone is in the same place in their spiritual walk, but that doesn’t mean they love Jesus any more or less. Everyone is learning.

  • Good girlfriends are precious gems.

  • Life is best lived when you choose to be grateful for the unexpected. And there will always be unexpected things. Don’t hold too tightly to your own plans, because God’s plans are always better.

  • You cannot just show up and expect everything to fall into place. You have to work hard and then work harder. Life will not hand you success.

  • Two tall adults and one little boy can live a very joyful life in a 500-600 square foot second floor apartment…even if those two adults hit their heads on the surprisingly low ceilings and door frames.

  • You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do.

  • Going to school gets harder with age and more responsibility, but you appreciate it more.

  • There is a much greater sense of accomplishment when you pay for things with cash, especially if that means waiting a long time to get them.

  • Sometimes dreams coming true looks a lot more like hard work, sweat, and tears. Also, you rarely feel the way you expect to when things happen, for the good or the bad, but it’s so much better to take chances than to sit back and always wonder what could have been.

  • You don’t have to be a slave to debt. Whether you are just starting out or starting over, you can have freedom. Again, that means working hard and sacrificing.

  • Judging between right and wrong is far different from being judgmental. The first seeks to be right in the eyes of a Holy God. The latter places oneself in the throne of God, and pride certainly leads to a fall. And oh, how far I’ve fallen.

  • Potty-training is rough.

  • Your children will become just like you. Be someone you’d want them to become.

  • If you have a will as strong as an ox, you’d better gear up to raise a strong-willed child. No joke.

  • I married an incredibly patient and loving man.

  • Time alone is good for personal reflection and growth, but should not be a constant in your life.

  • If you seek opportunities, you will find them, especially opportunities to serve others. There is need all around you.

  • Cliches exist for a reason. It really is more blessed to give than to receive.

  • You can allow people to make you feel bad for just about anything, but don’t. Once upon a time, I let someone make me feel like less of a mother because I only have one child instead of many. How silly.

  • You can be miserable doing something you love, and you can be happy doing something you don’t. A lot depends on your attitude and the people around you.

  • Painting murals makes me very happy.

  • You cannot do everything, so ask the LORD to guide you in how you spend your time. And on that note, you can’t go wrong spending time with Him.

  • Prayer is the most powerful tool a person can use. Miracles happen when you hand control over to the LORD. He can heal hearts and repair relationships. He can and will do far more than you could ever ask or imagine.

  • I firmly believe the entire Bible, but sometimes God uses life to highlight verses in our hearts. If I could use a verse to describe this year, I think Ephesians 3:14-21 would be fitting…

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

#30Before30 Strikes Again!

This morning I got to mark off another box on my #30Before30 list!

#14 WE PAID OFF A CREDIT CARD! WOOHOO!

Paid

One of our biggest goals is to become debt free, so that we can have freedom to follow wherever God decides to lead us without financial burdens weighing us down. That being said, we haven’t had a lot of success in this department in the past, because…well frankly, it all comes down to discipline and sacrifice. We are striving to better steward the money God gives us. It is all His, and we want to use it for His glory!

When I opened my list to mark off #14, I got to mark off another box that I accomplished earlier this month. Two in one month! Living it up!

#15 Take Josiah horseback riding!

We got to accomplish this one while we were on vacation in Tennessee with the Dummel Family. We stayed in a gorgeous cabin in the mountains, and one day we made our way to Deer Farm Riding Stables in Pigeon Forge. We road a horse called “Squirrel” who was very well trained and calm. The tour guide was amazing with kids, despite being quite young. I was very impressed, and although Josiah was scared at first, he kept saying, “This is fun, Mommy!” I loved every minute of it.

Josiah and Momma Riding Galahad

Not to be all sappy, but this was so meaningful for me.

One of the biggest elements of my story is overcoming fear.

When I was 12, I road a horse that scared the living day lights out of me. It probably wasn’t that traumatizing in real life, but I was a scared kid, and for years I refused to even go near a horse. When I decided it was time to face my many fears in this life, I knew I had to take Josiah horseback riding someday. I hope this experience showed him that it’s okay to take risks, because you give God more opportunities to bless you. And what a blessing it was! Thank You, Jesus!

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