Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: recommendations

Link Roundup: Fall Minimalism Edition

Happy fall, y’all!

This week has been a week. Not a terrible week, but not a great one, either. It started out great with a super-productive Monday, but on Monday night our refrigerator started making unhealthy noises and, sure enough, by Tuesday morning everything had begun to melt and thaw. So that was tons of fun to deal with. I also had a lot of freelance writing that I needed to clear off my plate, and I’ve been feeling pretty run down all week, to boot. I kept telling myself that it was just allergies and that I just needed to press on, but today I’m throwing in the towel and admitting that I’m actually sick.

It’s not all as bad as it sounds, though. For one thing, seeing as how we’re renters now, this refrigerator thing is just a minor annoyance rather than the full-blown crisis it would have been when we were homeowners. And we still have our old fridge in storage downstairs, which we were already using for overflow (our apartment fridge was pretty small), so we just had to tote all our food down there. The replacement fridge won’t arrive for another two weeks, and having to run up and down the stairs all the time to get our food is less than convenient, but I’m just thankful that that’s the biggest thing we’ve got to worry about in this situation.

At any rate, I had a thoughtful post all planned out for this week, but here are some links relating to minimalism and simple living instead, because keeping it simple is all I’ve got the energy for.

The Minimalists are giving away two of their books, including Everything That Remainswhich has been on my wish list since I watched their documentary earlier this year. Click here and scroll down a bit for details on how to download free PDF versions of the books. It’s easy and doesn’t even require signing up for anything. (PS – that Amazon link is an affiliate link. If you decide to buy a Kindle version or a hard copy of that book, if you get it through that link, I’ll get a small commission that will go toward supporting this site, and you’ll get my gratitude as well as a great book.)

A new phase of Project 333 begins in October, and I’m hopping on the train–or trying to board, at any rate. If you don’t know what that is, the short version is that it’s a capsule wardrobe challenge in which you try to live with just 33 pieces (including shoes, jewelry and accessories; workout clothes, lounging-around-the-house clothes, sleepwear and underwear don’t count) for three months. I spent this morning cleaning out my closet and figuring out my fall capsule wardrobe and managed to get it down to 42 items, but I’ve still got a week left to decide what else to eliminate.

This is a good post by Joshua Becker examining whether a good criteria for deciding what to keep or discard from your life is whether or not it “sparks joy.” I have thoughts and opinions about his thoughts and opinions regarding the Konmari method, and that was originally going to comprise this week’s post. But I couldn’t muster the energy to write about it coherently, which is why now you’re getting links. But his post is worth a read.

Finally, you probably already know about Emily P. Freeman’s new podcast, The Next Right Thing, but I thought I should mention it just in case you missed it. This short podcast — each episode is only about 15 to 20 minutes long — is meant to help “create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love,” and it’s so, so encouraging and inspiring. If you struggle with overwhelm and decision paralysis, this, my friend, is the podcast for you.

Do you have any relevant links or recommendations you’d like to share? Be sure to leave them in the comments! And let me know if you want to tackle Project 333 with me, too. Meanwhile, I’m going to spend the weekend with my feet up, reading and watching Netflix in between naps and drinking copious amounts of Throat Coat tea.

 

 

The Essentials of Essentialism

Recently, I joined the launch teams for two upcoming books–one by Jess Connely and one by Holley Gerth. I will talk about each of those books in future posts–two different posts, because it wouldn’t be fair to make them share–but today I want to talk about the fact that guys, I signed up to two different launch teams!

That’s a big deal, and here’s why: until recently, I would have seen the invitation to apply and thought to myself, “Wow, I wish I could do that, but there’s no way. I’m just too busy,” and let the opportunity pass me by. But this time I was able to respond to each invitation with a resounding YES without any hesitation or guilt.

So what’s changed?

The short version is, I’ve stopped giving so much of my time and capacity to unnecessary things. I’ve been working on not only clearing the physical clutter from my life, but also the mental and emotional clutter. And that has left me with more time and energy for things that really matter to me, things I really want to do, like getting to say yes to reading advance copies of books from amazing authors and helping to publicize them.

This is a shift that’s been happening in my life for a while now–for at least the past year–and this summer I’m starting to see a lot of fruit from my efforts to pare down my life to what’s essential. And now I want to tell you about some books that helped me get here.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown – This is the essential book on essentialism, which, in a nut shell, is the discipline of saying no to the things that aren’t actually important and get in the way of your goals so that you can say yes to the things that actually matter. The book deep dives into what that looks like and also how it can make your life both saner and more productive–like how not being pulled in a million different directions actually makes it easier to focus on the important tasks–as well as how to discern what is actually important from what isn’t and how to say no when it’s not. It comes down to understanding that everything is a trade off. Every time we choose to give our time or energy to something, we’re choosing to ignore something else. And if we don’t consciously decide which things to say yes or no to, other people will decide for us.

A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman – I first read this book last year, and at the

time I devoured it as quickly as I could. I’ve been re-reading it this summer, and this time I’m taking my time with it, sitting with it and taking time to slowly process each new idea. Overall, this is a book about uncovering the art we were each uniquely designed to make with our lives in order to bring glory to our Maker. But there is a section on putting first things first that made me realize I’ve been giving priority to second things. There’s a quote from C.S. Lewis about this in the book and I’m going to go ahead and share it here:

Put first things first and we get second things thrown in; put second things first and we lose both first and second things.

I know when I let secondary things take over, I end up too tired and burned out to do anything. But when I put what really matters first–give it the first of my time, energy and focus–I not only have enough capacity left over for whichever secondary things are actually needed, but also better perspective to discern whether they are indeed actually needed.

Which brings us to…

The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine – I just read this one last weekend. This is a book for anyone still struggling to answer the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a helpful guide for those struggling to settle on one career or vocation because you have so many different passions and interests. Maybe you’re like me. I’ve always known I wanted to be a novelist. I know I will always be a novelist. But I don’t and have never only wanted to be a novelist–I have at times also wanted to be a web designer, a graphic designer, a freelance writer, a professional crafter, an editor, a musician, a psychologist, a nutritionist, a marketing professional, a career academic, a college professor, and probably some other things I’m forgetting. And I have actually been (and still am) some of those things at times.

This book gives practical advise on how to not only identify and narrow down which passions actually fit into your life in the current season you’re in, but also how to organize your life to make room for them. But one exercise I found particularly helpful was one that involved writing down everything currently on my plate that’s demanding my time and attention and identifying which of those things help to further my goals and which actually serve to further the goals of others, even if it’s just perceived goals, even if the “others” in question is just the mean boss in your own head. In other words, which tasks are done solely to please other people, and what needs to happen for me to stop giving my energy to those things?

One thing that stood out on my list was book marketing tasks that I don’t enjoy and that don’t actually do anything to help me connect with readers and sell books. I’ve been doing them solely to please my publisher, or because authors are “supposed to” do these things. So I’m just not doing them anymore. That alone has freed up a ton of time and energy that I can devote to things that matter–like saying yes to book launch team invitations and reading books that can help make all our lives more enjoyable and sane. 😉

What about you guys? What are you saying no to so that you can say yes to what matters? And have you read any life-changing–or just super-useful–books lately? Let’s chat in the comments! ♥

Busy week. So have some links.

This is a hectic week. In addition to a full freelance workload, I’ve got to company-clean in preparation for entertaining my mom on Friday, and hormones and lack of sleep are making me scattered and bad at managing things.

So in lieu of blog posts written by yours truly this week, here instead is some recommended reading:

Delilah S. Dawson: 25 Writing Hacks From A Hack Writer – this is a bit long and, being that it’s a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s blog, it’s laced with profanity. But it has broader application than just writing–it’s really about how to hack your life to chase your dream–so if you can get past those two things, it’s definitely worth the read.

Arting Hard Like An Artful [MoFo]: 25 Ways To Be A Bad-Ass Maker Who Makes Bad-Ass Stuff – this is sort of a companion piece to the first article. Being that it’s written by Chuck himself and I even had to censor the title, it should be apparent that the same caveats apply.

Want to Be a “Success”? Learn to Be an Outlaster – Motivated yet? Well then, here’s a whole six-pack of motivation from Kristen Lamb — and with zero cussin’!

Give Me Gratitude or Give Me Debt – A great post to read if you feel envy and dissatisfaction creeping into your life. Or if you just like to dance in the kitchen.

Manners for Gentlemen – It’s not often that I recommend poetry — okay, more like never — but this is just lovely and you should read it.

Free! Awesome! Fiction! Cornucopia!

I’ve got several short stories by awesome authors open in my browser, some of which have been sitting there for weeks waiting for George R. R. Martin to give me back my brain so I can make time to read other people’s stuff for a change (yesterday I finally finished Storm of Swords and started Feast for Crows, so I’m over the halfway mark; meanwhile, husband is reading Dance With Dragons and managing to neither gloat (…much) nor spoil me).

I have actually read two of them, so let’s start with those:

The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

A Sudden Absence of Bees by Nick Mamatas (aka )

The others are all by Catherynne M. Valente (aka ) and I haven’t read them yet mainly because her writing is so rich and I’m saving them for a rainy afternoon when I can curl up with them along with my knitting and a cup of tea:

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland — For a Little While

The Wolves of Brooklyn

White Lines on a Green Field

None of these are indie. They’re just awesome.

Oh, and there’s also this, which is not a short story, but is making me giggle endlessly today (via dooce).

And now I can close some tabs.