Jenny Mustard


Do you know Jenny Mustard?  She’s so much fun! I love watching her videos about minimalism on YouTube.

I don’t know Jenny personally, of course, and my life is nothing like hers but somehow I sense she has a good heart in that healthy body she’s currently walking around Germany.  She hails from Sweden.

Jenny is a vegan, as is her husband, David.  I’d like to head in the vegan direction, but I have a long way to go before I can say I’m meat and dairy-free.  I am working on being more natural and homemade, and whole foods in my kitchen, though.

I made homemade no knead artisan bread this week, and it was sooo, sooo yummy!  Nothing like the wonder bread that I am forced to buy when shopping my regular super markets in NEPA.  I’m planning a whole grain version of the no knead bread this weekend.  I hate to knead yeast breads, and I love the holes that fill the chewy slices when no kneading is done before the baking begins.  Really chewy and wonderful!!

Today, I decided to share one of Jenny’s vlogs here, so that you can know her too.

Again, I love her heart!  Enjoy!!


My Fast Fifteen on the Virtues of Minimalism

Five things I love about minimalism…

I spend less money, because I buy less stuff.

When I do buy, I buy quality, because I don’t want to always be having to re-buy stuff.

I don’t have to run through the house picking up stuff in order to make our home “presentable” when company calls to say they’re coming over.

I don’t step on stray items left on the floor in the dark of night anymore.

I get to reclaim the time I used to spend cleaning and instead invest it in other, more joyful pursuits.

Five things I no longer struggle with after discovering minimalism…

Indecision. My choices are now limited and I love it!

Noisy thinking. Now, I have new methods for quieting the noise in my head surrounding home management and the organization of my life.

Clutter everywhere.  Everything having its own home in our house means there is no clutter, only well-organized spaces at home.

Not being able to find what I want.  See no. 3 above.

A workable plan for keeping my home environment under control and eeking out time for my passions, which include loving on people, writing, and pondering the meaning of life, the universe, and everything.  By the way, the answer to that one is 42.

Five reasons why minimalism is the right choice for me…

Perfectionistic tendencies I had have been quieted as I quit forcing myself to constantly arrange and rearrange things to my current liking.

I love a clean space and minimalism gives me that in spades.

There are no rules for how to do this, so my way is the right way every time.

When I have too many choices I freeze up. Now that my choices are limited I find I feel freer than ever.

I no longer feel I need to spend my hard-earned money on junk and regret it later.  Through minimalism, I’m able to buy high end items without regret because I know they will serve our family for decades and never go out of style.  I always wanted to shop this way, and did sometimes, but often felt I couldn’t justify the price tag on good quality items when cheaper versions were available.  Now, because I’m not freely spending all the time, I have the reserves necessary to judiciously spend and spend well when something new is needed.  I love the feeling of a good pair of shoes, good furniture that will last for decades, and good quality foods bought without angst.

There you go! My Fast Fifteen reasons for loving minimalism and embracing it today.

What are you doing lately to live a simpler life?  Do you have a Fast Fifteen reasons for loving the way you’re living today? What are they?

Transformation Tuesday

Transformation is not for the faint-of-heart, this I can say with certainty.  Bending steel takes strength. Likewise, bending the will takes determination and grit.


A changed life manifests itself in a lot of different ways.  I have observed that change taking form in these ways…

Purposeful renewal and altercation

Disease and rehabilitation

Death and beginning again

Physical, Spiritual, and Emotional shifts

Digitally and Vocationally

A FEW CHANGES            

This past week mister and me wrangled with several changes across various platforms. Among them, these:

We hosted two wee ones for four days.  It was both heavenly and taxing.  Any shift in our routine affects our sleep and living habits, of course, and for me more than he, but him too.  We were paid for our troubles with hugs, kisses, and smiles that would melt your heart, so the trade off was worth what we forfeited to make it happen. We came away from our weekend feeling joyful, after changing our quiet home for the hustle and bustle little boys always bring in their wake.

Our daughter-in-law lost her grandmother this week, to a stroke.  A shift in family dynamics is inevitable when death occurs, and those left behind are powerless to do anything about it, but adjust.  Death is no defender of the status quo.  It comes, it changes things forever, and it leaves us with dim memories to satisfy our longing.

Two of our three vehicles are now out of commission.  The third is hanging on by a thread.  We joke about our house being the last stop for cars before the junk yard, because we squeeze every ounce of usable energy out of them. We literally drive them into the ground (or at least pieces of them).  If there is one area where we are extremely frugal, it is with our automobile purchases.  Coming from a farming community, I learned as a child to fix what you have until you can’t any more, then borrow the neighbors.  I think there might be a new car purchase in our future, like it or not.

My rehab for the back/leg is producing some good results. When I rose this morning, it was without pain!  In fact, I didn’t have much pain until about 2:30pm today.  There have been other days when I held off taking pain meds, but felt pain all day.  Today, the pain didn’t start until early afternoon.  Hoorah, progress!  A much-needed change in my physical status.


I don’t have pictures to share regarding my minimalism project today, but will post them tomorrow as if they were posted today.  My project this past week was to paint the metal bed frame we have in our guest room and begin de-cluttering that room and getting rid of superfluous items that have collected there.  This will be a work-in-process for a few weeks, since I have to think about what will replace the shelving units we presently have in this room and figure out what to do with all the bedding I purchased because we had extended family come to stay with us one time and I didn’t have enough sheets and blankets to go around.  That has never happened again, and it was probably nine years ago now that it did happen.  Time to get rid of all those extras that we don’t need, don’t use, and don’t want to store anymore.  Someone will be blessed to have them, but I just want them gone.

When the kiddos were down this week it felt good to have more open space to spread out.  The uncluttered counter tops were filled quickly enough by them, but when they left, so left the clutter.  We are now back to clean lines and easy cleaning.  I am loving this newly evolving minimalist life!

What changes have you seen taking shape in your life recently?  Are you happy or sad about them?


Transformer Tuesday

Transformation can be tough. Ask anyone whose ever tried to be someone else, or change vocations, or continue to keep their marriage strong, or break a nasty habit.

My goal this year:   To quit copying the behaviors and customs of this world, while cooperating in a process that will change not only the way I act, but the way I think.  There are three important components to this transforming process, for me:  spiritual, emotional, and relational.   My faith that transformation will occur is based on my strong desire to further develop  as a person, my rock hard belief in the power of habit formation, and my confidence that as I become a more willing participant in God’s plan for my life good things will come of it.

Partnerships are always good business!

Today, I want to write about THREE current projects underway in my life. The first addresses my ongoing attempts at living a simpler life, ie: minimalism. The second includes my efforts to step back from previous commitments, to pursue a more balanced life. The third is about The Healing Journey, a 7 month commitment I made that I am hoping will equip me to lead others to greater victory in their lives. I want to help them get un-stuck. First, though, I have to figure out how to do that for me.


This past weekend’s de-cluttering, donating, and doing-it-up-right project included tackling the long ignored and dreaded pile of paperwork that has been haunting  our home.

First, the TJ Maxx bag of doom…


That bag, no kidding, weighs about 20 lbs, or so it seems.  It is HUGE and it was overflowing.  Note: Hope Word-WAS!  The bag wasn’t all there was to tackle. Oh, no!  There was also this…


That’s about six months of neglected mail shoved in there.  Oh, and that stack below the mail holder–that’s overflow and “stuff” the mister has collected, but neglected to put away.  We apparently decided to weigh it down (read: hold it in place so it doesn’t go all over the floor), with his Bible.  :/

But wait, we still aren’t done.  There was also this!  A basket full of books, cords, cleaner attachments and maps and tourist pamphlets from a vacation we took three years ago.  Yep, we kept it all. Why? Who knows!


This is what we had to deal with once all the hidey-holes were cleared and the phone directory drawer was emptied.  This table is approximately six feet long, and the stack was four inches high!


Here’s a close up view of my mess.


And this…this is the ONE container that was left after I had sorted through that mess piece by piece and separated the “important” papers that remained from the sentiments (card, notes, and pictures the kids have drawn).


All those papers on the right are owner manuals we might need to reference and important retirement paperwork relative to mister’s now-lifelong vacation.

This is the ever-growing stack of books I have decided need to find a new home.  If you see anything you’d like, let me know. We can work out a way to get them to you.  All I ask if that you pay the postage.  Those that remain after gifting some to friends will be donated to area churches, libraries and finally, Good Will.



While de-cluttering my home has been a practice in pleasure for me, trimming personal time commitments has brought the most peace.  I recently stepped down from teaching, something I have enjoyed for decades.  Doing research, building a lesson plan, and delivering my findings to grateful “students” has been a passion of mine for longer than I can remember, but this past year it has been plain hard.  Inspiration had waned, and I have become increasingly convinced that I was headed in the wrong direction.  The research no longer held my attention. The class time experience equally fell short. Pretty soon I was resenting the study I needed to put in to feel properly prepared to teach.  Eventually, I realized that it was time to quit.  It was hard to walk away from something that others say I do well, but I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. The lessons didn’t matter as much to me. The flame had nearly been extinguished.

What I have discovered as a result of giving up something that had grown increasingly trying was that I gained extra hours in my week that could be used to bake bread, read, enjoy luxuriously long conversations with family and friends, and escape the criticisms of people who don’t do what I do, but think it comes easily.  Everyone’s a critic, but criticism is not why I stopped teaching. It was just time.

As a result of trimming back on activities that were not all that joyful anymore, I have begun to dream again and my intuition seems to have gotten a kick-start.  I’m writing fiction again, experiencing the wildest and wackiest dreams during my sleep hours, and feeling more relaxed than I have in a long, long time.


Last night we began this intensive study (no, I’m not leading it).  I think THJ is going to challenge me emotionally, spiritually, and relationally!  Woohoo!  It involves group study, individual study and practice, and group discussion–all things I love!  It promises to push me in areas where I’d rather not be pushed, but also claims to bring a new peace  and sense of authenticity to my life.  Most thrilling of all is the sense I have that through this study I will be introduced once again to the Lori that transforms her world, instead of being conformed to the dictates of others.  I can’t wait to see her rise from the ashes.  She’s been gone too long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is your wildest hope for yourself in one year, five years, or ten years from now?  When you are emotionally, spiritually, or relationally challenged, where do you turn for help? 





End of September Goals

TGT mast head

Have you ever tried to tackle two really big projects at once?  Yeah, disaster.  Neither of them gets done well, and you walk away feeling like a cheat to either one or the other, maybe both.  That’s how I felt this week as I tried to balance three projects at one time.

  • Three Chiro appointments, each one involving some degree of pain; more after the fact.
  • Three Goals, one of which included following Chiro instructions to the letter.
  • De-cluttering my living space/life, and learning more about minimalism (also a TGT goal).

When I look over this list, just typed, I’m thinking, “Give yourself a break, Lori. You’ve hit 2 of your 3 goals with your weekly projects.  You’re doing okay.”


1 Pursue a path of recovery with the new chiropractor, doing all he asks me to do in order to help myself in the most effective and efficient way.

2  Continue to learn new methods for paring down, in order to minimize my propensity for indecision.

3  Eat as cleanly as I can, incorporating as many veggies as I can and as much water as I can into my Action Plan for the week.


I’m happy to report that I was able to achieve stellar results with both Goal No. 1 and Goal No. 2!!!  I have done everything the new doc has asked me to do regarding my back.  I have iced it through the day at the office, and I have continued to ice it at night, at home, while relaxing. This is what he asked me to do, while he does other things.  Yay, SUCCESS!!!

I have also continued to learn new methods for paring down and tackling deadly indecision.  I’ve made several decisions this past week, all of them involving de-cluttering practices and reading about minimalism, in order to have a better understanding of what I’m doing with this experiment.

I have enjoyed reading the blog a commenter suggested last week.   I started reading with Julie’s December 2014 postings, since here 2015 posts are those that deal with a simpler life, the project that has most piqued my interest this summer.


Goal No. 3 has also been on my mind this week and I have taken action to achieve it.  Last night, I made a pan of baked oatmeal, my first in a while, and all week long I have been concentrating on getting more veggies into my body.  My body, as always, has responded nicely to the veggie buffet and the whole grain additions to my diet.  Why do I ever leave this kind of eating?  Who knows?  I have also made it my goal to drink more water.  GOAL NO. 3-A WIN!!!


On my way to achieving my goals, I finished up a few projects which just happened to include sorting through the many cook books in my cupboard and donating a few of them before throwing away a bunch of loose recipe sheets I had printed off the internet.  I never used any of them and they fell out of the cupboard every time I reached for one of my regular cook books, so out they went.  I’m going to write about that more on Tuesday of next week, but for now I thought I would share a few shots of my clean space and those cook books I love so much.

Here is what the cupboard now looks like, decidedly less cluttered after the culling.


And here is a shot of those cookbooks I love and use all the time.


That Better Homes and Gardens, yeah, I have had that a long time…

Look at that cover. Well worn! Tattered and Stained! Yuck!


I need to clean this baby.  It has been splattered on for decades without a good shower.  Look at these graphics and design/fashion suggestions from the book. Ha!  Certainly not today’s everything white minimalistic look.


Look at that copyright date.


Just keepin’ it real, folks.  I have used this cook book again and again, and really, all the time. I have a new BHAG cook book, but it’s not the same.  Many of the old recipes aren’t there.


Last grimy picture, of my gram’s Chocolate Mayo Cake handwritten on an index card years ago—always a crowd pleaser and it contains no milk, so works perfectly for my nephew, who is allergic. Also, a typed and printed sheet for School Boy Jumbles, a sugar cookie recipe—the BEST soft sugar cookie recipe in the world!!  No competition here!  Hands down, the B.E.S.T.  I don’t eat many of these nowadays, but once in a while, when the occasion warrants and there will be plenty of folks around to gobble these up, I do make them. They are out of this world delicious!  Really good comfort food!


I’m going to keep my goals the same for yet another week.  Why mess with success, right?  Plus, these teeny, tiny goals are accomplishing great things at my house.  I’ll go with them another week and see where it leads.

What goals have you set for yourself this week?  Did you make sure to make them teeny, tiny and write them down?



Goal Settin’ Time!


As you might remember, I didn’t set goals last week because I was in too much pain.  Heck, I could barely think straight, let alone project into the future to determine what I wanted to DO next week to move my life forward.  When that much pain takes over, you can forgetaboutit as far as the goal setting goes.  It takes all my energy in those moments to show up for work, be half-way productive, and not crumble into a pile of despair on the floor and cry myself to sleep.  I kid you not!

Today, I feel better!  I don’t hurt as much.  I’m more optimistic.  Encouraged, even.

Today, I’m going to set some goals, but they won’t look like those I’ve set in the past.


I’m currently on a mission to de-clutter, clear away, donate and rid myself of those things that I see as bringing an imbalance to my life.  I have so much stuff!  I want it gone.  At least I want gone that part of my stuff that is not serving me or my healthy living objectives.

Living minimally, as I understand it, begins with the material stuff. As I’ve moved further into this movement, though, I’ve found a desire to rid myself of other stuff too.  Stuff like junk mail, projects that are not the least bit interesting to me, obligations that tie me down when I want to fly, and relationships that continually lack joy.  In actuality, I ‘ve been culling out those relationships for a while now, I just didn’t see that as minimalistic in nature.  Now I see the value of having less in my life, and I’m already seeing it help with my struggle with indecision.  The more I have, the less able I am to deal with it.

I don’t think that’s a problem for everyone, but it is for me.  I want less stuff. I want less choices.

I’ve even been thinking about how the concept of minimalism can be applied to my diet and the food I bring into the house.  Thinking…thinking…thinking.


All this thinking about minimalistic living has filtered down to my goal list.  What I’ll share with you this week is just the tip of the iceberg of the many goal lists I make in my head, on the job, and in my scheduling for outside interests each week.  I have many, many lists. I want less of them.  One way I have decided to minimize the stress and strain on my goal-listing self is to make a pledge this week to have less lists.


This week I’m going to try something different.  One list with three goals that should be easy to achieve, and leave me wiggle room.

1  Pursue a path of recovery with the new practitioner, doing all he asks me to do in order to help myself in the most effective and efficient way.

2  Continue to learn new methods for paring down, in order to minimize my propensity for indecision.

3  Eat as cleanly as I can, incorporating as many veggies as I can and as much water as I can into my Action Plan for the week.

These goals are wider in scope and allow me wiggle room I need to tackle the “stuff” that I think can bring balance back to my life, without making me list-crazy.  I’ll letcha know how it goes.

What goals do you have for yourself these days?  Are they wide and deep, or narrow and focused? 



Stuff, Be Gone!

000space minimalists-dont-do


Starting two weeks ago, I have begun the process of culling from the house on the hill anything that is not functional, does not make our lives easier, or is not a symbol of joy in our home.

Granted, I’m beginning with my own “sickness”, but Mr has caught my fever already. He went through his clothes drawers and closet space and donated several pairs of jeans to the cause; perfectly good shorts, but items he has never or rarely worn.  Woohoo!


I made a discovery of the weekend.  I found out that part of my reason for getting jammed up in life may be due to the fact that I have wayyyy too many choices with regards to almost every aspect of my life.

Too many dishes to store.

Too many socks in my drawer.

Too many knick, and knacks, and things.

Too many trappings and traps!

Too many!!!

What was suggested to me is that having all this stuff in my life makes it hard for me to choose which stuff I want to use and which stuff I don’t. and that dynamic creates a cloud of indecision that hangs over my head, threatening, threatening, threatening to turn into a nasty thunder storm with lightning bursts at any moment.

It makes me fearful…of what will happen when the next shoe drops. Anxious. Weak!

Why, weak?

Because I cannot make up my mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hate that about me, but I think there’s hope on the horizon. Already, I’m feeling better about my living space and my ability to decide what I want to eat, wear, clean, and complete with each passing day.

I may even get that chair done I started last summer once the junk is cleared away.



I want a life that is better, balanced, and joyful, and I think I might be able to have it once I get rid of all the dead weight surrounding me.  I’m at least willing to try.

I have five boxes of gently used toys, books, blankets, and shoes sitting in my  living room, ready to go to Good Will, and that, after I already packed up four garbage bags and donated them last week.  I feel good about this new adventure and I’m ready to share it with you, my bloggin’ buddies.

Stay tuned to see how I make out with this new CHOICE in life.

About this, I am not undecided!  Not in the least!!

Have you ever considered living a minimalist lifestyle?  What is your super power?