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Simple reality

I hear their rumblings above me, thumping around in that loft-space, and those boy voices in various depths volleying back and forth, jabbing and jousting, because, brothers.

There are, most likely, balled-up socks behind the bathroom door right about now. Most likely, the clean clothes I handed over this morning have been quick-folded (read: lumped up) by at least a portion of those boys and shoved into a random drawer-crate under the bed – whichever one is least full.

I call up the stairs, reminding them to tidy the loft before bed. We’ll see in the morning. Will it be my tidy (corners, too) or their tidy (corners, optional)? (For the record, one boy’s bunk area & desk are pretty much always tidy, even corners. Must not lump him into a lot where he doesn’t belong).

Downstairs, there are dust bunnies and paw prints and bills to pay. Outside there are weeds to pull (hello dandelion explosion of epic proportion). I should go ahead and mention the long-past-due photo albums and the disastrous heap of a recipe file that hides in the big lidded basket on the kitchen floor, too. Let’s just get it all out there.

Timelines and deadlines; story lines and grocery lines. Good decisions, bad decisions, and I don’t even want to make a decision.

And so life goes in the little house. There are times the five of us are laughing around the table, and there are times the five of us are lurching around the next corner. Pretty much like you, I imagine.

I wanted you to know all this. Wanted you to see that our lives here are not endless days of bliss. Yes, there have been amazing rewards to this life we’ve chosen, and the benefits we’ve gained have infinite value. We would choose this again in a moment. But it’s not perfect. Challenges haven’t passed us by just because we’re inspired by a philosophy of simplicity.

Whether you live in a large house or a small one, whether you have many possessions or few, there will always be both parts of life – the happy & the hard.


Here’s the beautiful thing: maybe when the tangible parts of our lives have been simplified, we’re better able to handle the challenging, intangible parts. Maybe freedom in one area allows us to be available to engage in meaningful ways in others. Maybe we can walk with deeper strength through difficulty because we no longer have the drain of superfluous demands.

It’s liberating, really, when we realize that we’ve got the ability to choose, no matter our circumstances, just where our attention and energy will be placed. That’s a privilege, and I suppose a responsibility, too.

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Sarah Westphal

    Loved this Carmella! Just the thing I needed to read this morning.
    Isn’t it ongoing? The must-do, have to-do, should-do, want to-do? The line has to be drawn somewhere or else all you’d be…is doing.
    Simplicity is definitely a journey worth pursuing. Just last weekend I decided to reduce our towels and face cloths like you and what a weight lifted! Now less laundry and more time to focus on bill paying…
    Take care,

    • Carmella

      We ARE always doing, aren’t we? It’s the WHAT I’m doing that I want to be life-giving. I’m a student of this daily.

  2. kariane

    “Because, Brothers.” This made me laugh. That little quote can explain a lot in my house too. 🙂

    • MIchelle

      Hehe, indeed. Because, brothers.

    • Carmella

      Oh, yes these brothers, they’re a world of wonder, aren’t they?

    • Becky

      Because brothers, a perfect explanation for my house too.

  3. Shannon @ GrowingSlower

    So beautifully written! This sounds so much like my simple-is-not-ever-simple life! 🙂

  4. Abbie

    Good reminder, my attention and energy (and time and money) are mine to place. I want to focus on placing them in light of eternity. Thank you.

    • Carmella

      So do I, Abbie! Part of why I write is to help myself remember these things.

  5. Liesl

    Balled up socks and dirt undies in the corners here. Because brothers and also because boys – sigh.

  6. diane

    “When the tangible parts of our lives are simplified we are better able to handle the challenging, intangible parts” Yes….yes. Love this whole post so much.

    • Carmella

      It’s all such an interesting path to navigate, isn’t it – the tangible, the intangible and how we handle all of it? Your words are so kind. Thank you!

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