Why I Stopped Using My Dishwasher

Does the thought of not using a dishwasher cause panic? Do you think it’s impossible? Hear me out… We have a perfectly good, working dishwasher in our kitchen. It sits empty. I no longer use it. And get this: I don’t want to use it. Some time last year, our dishwasher got clogged. It just needed a good cleaning, but in the meantime, I started to do the dishes by hand. While I started off griping about it, I ended up stumbling across a number of unexpected benefits: It saves time – Can washing by hand really be faster than using the dishwasher? In most cases, I believe the answer to be ‘yes’. By the time I rinse, load and unload the dishwasher, I’ve handled each dish or glass twice. When I wash by hand, I also handle each one twice – once to wash, once to dry. The difference is, it’s done all at once. I don’t have to wait for a two-hour wash cycle and then go back into the kitchen to finish the job. It promotes slowing down – Doing the dishes is an intentional task. But when you do them by hand, you have a few moments to slow down and, if your sink is in front of a window, enjoy the scenery. I also do a lot of thinking and relaxing during this time. It’s good for bonding – My daughter helps me do the evening dishes. I’m amazed at the pleasant, and sometimes deep, conversations we’ve had during this time. In fact, she’s also grown to enjoy it and often grabs the dish towel...
What’s At The Heart of Minimalism?

What’s At The Heart of Minimalism?

In a follow-up to yesterday’s post ‘4 Common Myths of Minimalism‘, we’re exploring the true nature of minimalism. We talked about the amount of stuff you can own, the colour of minimalism and what you can buy. But these are really just the surface features of minimalism. So what is truly at the heart of living simply? It’s About Value – Minimalism is more than just decluttering and owning less. It’s about assessing your life. What do you value most? Why? What’s truly in your heart? It’s About More Time – Clearing out the clutter in your home is one thing – clearing out the clutter in your life is another. What’s more important? Bringing work home or playing with your children? Missing the gym one morning or connecting with an old friend? Slowing down helps you takes stock of what’s really important and adjust your schedule accordingly. Then when you do schedule something, you value its importance and live more fully in the moment. It’s About More God – Less distractions and more time allow you to focus more on God. The rushing through five dutiful minutes of reading the Bible and prayer in the morning changes into more heartfelt, dedicated God-time that continues throughout the day. Removing the clutter from your heart gives Him more space to move in your life. And most of all, minimalism can help you give up your own control and let God lead instead. Then you also have the time and ability to follow His direction – wherever that may lead. It’s About Being Unselfish – Living with less helps you see...
4 Common Myths of Minimalism

4 Common Myths of Minimalism

Since embracing minimalism, I’ve encountered more than one person who believes minimalism is something it’s not.  Today, we’re going to dispel four of those myths. I can’t own anything – Minimalism isn’t about giving away everything and living with one bowl and one outfit (although there are people that do that). It’s more of an individual decision. It’s living with what you need and keeping what you love. It’s breaking a habit of self-entitlement and excessive spending. It’s placing thoughtful value on certain things in your life and removing the excess. Only you can decide how much that entails. Everything will be white – Although I do find that when you search pictures of minimalist décor, you find a surplus of bare white rooms with a few pieces of white furniture, that’s not really what minimalism is. If you like white rooms with white furniture, then yes – that’s what it is for you. But if you like colour and you love your display of antiques, then that’s okay too. It’s personal preference. I can’t buy things – While living simply is bound to curb your spending, it doesn’t mean you can never buy things again. It does, however, cause you to make more thoughtful purchases. There’s enlightenment through deciding what is most important. What do you really need? What do you really like? There’s no big shopping sprees on your credit card where you buy everything because it’s on sale. There are planned purchases that you save for and end up loving because of the consideration behind it. I have found this makes shopping more enjoyable. Minimalism is...
3 Ways Minimalism Is Good For Your Soul

3 Ways Minimalism Is Good For Your Soul

Less stuff. Less TV. Less distractions. Less clutter. Less, less, less! How can less give you more? Since beginning my journey in minimalism a year ago, I’ve been finding out the answer to that question. Here are just three ways I’ve discovered that minimalizing is good for your soul: 1. A decluttered home brings a decluttered mind – A home that isn’t full of stuff brings peace. Less house cleaning. Better finances. Less things competing for your attention around. It gives you room to breathe. 2. Simplifying means evaluating – Minimalism forces you to take a good look at what is really important – stuff, time, people, work, God. It helps you become more thoughtful about why you have certain things and why you do certain things, and prioritize accordingly. 3. Minimalism brings you closer to God – As the old quote says, “When you come to the place God is all you have, you realize God is all you need.” And although  I certainly haven’t minimized down to nothing, removing the distractions and needless things from my life has caused me to look deep down into my soul and examine what lingers there. Instead of turning on the television to ‘veg out’, I spend time reflecting. Instead of playing computer games, I spend time reading the Bible. I’ve been facing what’s truly in my heart and walking taller and stronger because of it.   As Joshua Becker posts on Becoming Minimalist, there are many other benefits of minimalism. If you haven’t yet, I would encourage you to step out and try minimalism for...
7 Ways To Stop Time From Flying By

7 Ways To Stop Time From Flying By

Time flies. Kids grow up so quickly. Summer vacation went by fast. We’ve all felt it. We’ve all uttered the phrases. But is it true? How can time seem to go faster as you get older, when 24 hours is the same today as it was 50 years ago? Here are 7 ways to help time slow down: 1. Stop wishing for the next big thing – Many hours are lost because we’re plodding ahead, counting down the days until the next vacation, until Christmas, until the kids are out of the house, until retirement. When we’re constantly thinking of what’s ahead, we miss what’s in the ‘now’. 2. Focus – Part of the reason time flies is because we are split into so many different directions. We live in an age where we are bombarded with constant interruption. Telephones, texts, e-mails, advertisements – a bazillion things vie for our attention. The more we can learn to set aside interruptions and focus on the task at hand, the more productive we will be in life. This includes work, rest, family time and God time. When you are supposed to be there for something, really make an effort to be there with your whole mind, body and spirit. 3. Start the day right – I’m a firm believer that how you spend the first hour after you wake sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you’re rushed and busy – the rest of your day will follow suit. Likewise if you’re relaxed and focussed. 4. Guard your tongue – Words bring life. If you’re constantly talking about...
The Morning Secret That Can Change Your Whole Life

The Morning Secret That Can Change Your Whole Life

What does your typical day yield for you? Stress? Anxiety? Lack of motivation? Procrastination? I think most of us suffer from all of the above, but our hearts long to have a day filled with peace, joy and the ability to focus and work efficiently. So what’s the secret? How do you transition from chaos to serenity? The answer is simpler than you may think… Yesterday, I had the privilege of hearing a speaker from Gospel for Asia at a church I’ve never attended before. I’d been looking forward to this event all week. Unfortunately, Husband and I woke late. I rushed to shower, rushed to get dressed, rushed through breakfast and scrambled into the car. Then we sped down the highway to get to the service on time. And the anxiety set in. My heart was beating harder than it should have. The fast images of trees and cars passing by the windshield hurt my eyes and added to the panic. Upon arriving at the church, we entered the dark sanctuary with the first song already playing. The stage was lit with blue lights reflecting off squares of white boards and the music was a full-on band with electric guitars and loud drums. I’m not opposed to full-band style worship – but at that moment, my anxiety continued to build. I had to look away from the stage as the lights and busy atmosphere added to my distress. The music pounded in my head and I was not able to worship. And I spent the rest of the day trying to bring the anxiety down and fighting off...