SLR 083: Giving Thanks!

Simple Life Reboot

Giving Grandma a hug at graduation

“There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.” – O. Henry

I give thanks to God and Country, for without God, I would have no life, and without America, I would have no liberty.



Consider for a moment the absence of America from the world. How thankful I am for a nation that secures our liberty. The idea that a human being should be left alone by its government to live his or her life is not an unreasonable expectation, but it is a condition that is less common in the world than it should be.

“Thanksgiving, our eminent moral holiday, doesn’t have much for children. At its heart are conversation, food, drink, and fellowship – all perks of adulthood.” – Rosecrans Baldwin


I also give thanks for America’s Veterans, who serve honorably every day to protect us, our nation and its sovereignty, its sacred honor, its right to exist peaceably. Without the daily commitment and sacrifice by our Veterans, our nation would not long endure.

…and to GOD

And consider for a moment the absence of God from our lives, from the world, and you realize the utter darkness within which all suffering in this life would endure.

* * *
On September 28, 1863, a 74-year old magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.”

Shortly thereafter, on October 3rd, 1863, the President declared a Proclamation of Thanksgiving, a small portion of which reads as follows:

A Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

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SLR 082: Life Is Not A Race!

Simple Life Reboot“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” – Saint Augustine

When it comes to our work, there is nothing wrong with hustle.  I believe that highly productive people are to be admired.  When it comes to life in general, however, it is of great value to yourself, and to others, to establish a more relaxed, consistent rhythm.

Life is not a race!

But still…

When I stand in line at the grocery store, I choose the shortest line.  After I have chosen it, I still look at how fast the other lines are moving in relation to my own. I become unhappy if the longer line next to my own moves faster?


When I’m driving on the Interstate, I automatically pass the next vehicle ahead of me, and feel a sense of satisfaction once I’ve gone by, believing I will beat them to where they are going, even though they started out three hours before me and have a hundred miles further to go.

We live in a world that is competitive, but I think at times I lose perspective on when and where I need to be competitive.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt

In any endeavor outside an actual race, where all participants begin on an equal footing, it is folly to compare your position at any given time to that of others.  Trying to measure success or standing based on the success or standing of others is a mistake, and here is why.

Comparing one human being to another can never be remotely accurate due to the fundamental truth of how unique each of us are.  When it comes to things like motivation, innate ability in a given area, personal determination, where we started out in “the race”, how far we have come, or even the definition of success, measurement becomes meaningless.

“Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.” – C. S. Lewis

I think Joshua Becker said it best in his blog post, “A Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others,” when he spoke of the “infinite number of categories upon which we can compare ourselves and an almost infinite number of people to compare ourselves to.”  Indeed, where does it end, once we begin comparing “the worst we know of ourselves to the best we presume about others”?

Let’s be competitive in our work, but gracious in our living.

If you enter an actual race, race to win!  But as for life, let us not be fooled by the appearance of success, or trip over the folly of comparisons.  We are each unique in who and where we are in life.  Celebrate the effort made by others, as you continue along your own path.

And never forget…

“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” – Kevin Spacey


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SLR 081: Inspiring Snapshots of Simplicity

Simple Life Reboot“Tell your story.” – Joshua Becker,  Becoming Minimalist, speaking at  SimpleREV 2014

There is something beautiful about hearing a person’s story that allows us to connect with both the individual and his or her experience.

Whether a person’s circumstances are dramatic or cumulative, the sharing of a struggle to overcome challenges has the extraordinary power to instruct and inspire.

Courtney Carver of  “Be More With Less” is a beautiful example.  In 2006, Courtney was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  When she learned that stress could complicate her symptoms, she began exploring ways to simplify.  In five short years,  she transformed her life.  Her inspiring story can be read in the March 2014 issue of “O” (Oprah Winfrey’s magazine).

For an account of hope and determination, Tico and Tina’s unflinching  “Messy Beginnings” is a must read.  Their ongoing 10+ year journey from drudgery to lives of purpose and passion is shared on their website “Make Room for Greatness” . Tico and Tina lay bare the challenges of supporting a young family while providing practical guidance on transitioning to creative and missional work. Their desire to help others is palpable.

Equally impactful is the story of Brooke McAlary of “Slow Your Home“.  Brooke was a high-strung perfectionist with clear expectations of what life should be. Her world was turned upside down when she and her husband were assaulted in separate incidents. Not long after the assaults,  she was overwhelmed by post-natal depression and anxiety.  Unable to function well,  she was forced to pare her life down to the essentials. As she recovered,  Brooke discovered a new way to live.  She now shares the joy of a simpler, slower life with the world.

A powerful example of intentionality is Christy King of “The Simple White Rabbit”.  Christy,  an accomplished attorney, author and life-long learner, had been intrigued by minimalism for years.  Until recently,  she believed she needed to defer desired changes until the children were grown or she retired.  A few years  ago,  she decided to begin making modest, incremental changes.  She discovered that even small changes produced significant gains.  She discovered more time and energy for family and friends, enjoyed healthier living and found new interests in additional activities.

This is just a handful of stories of the life-changing impact of simplicity and minimalism.  What is yours?

As Joshua Becker urged us all to do,  please tell your story.



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SLR 080: Create A Living Masterpiece With Intention

Simple Life Reboot“A great artist can paint a great picture on a small canvas.” – Charles Dudley Warner

What does your life canvas look like?

Are you filling up your canvas quickly, with an array of colors assembled as an afterthought, or are you painting with intention?

When we act with intention, we exhibit a higher purpose, but does this mean we automatically produce a beautiful canvas, a beautiful life?

The beauty of your life is not for me, or anyone else, to define. You are a beautiful creation just as you are, right now.  No addition or subtraction can make you any less remarkable.  But…

The Life You Create Is Up To You

By taking certain actions, we determine certain outcomes.

The part of our lives that creates the beautiful brush strokes comes about every day through the deep love and caring we exhibit for one another.

By listening, spending time with, and caring for others, about their loves, their concerns, their hopes, their fears, and their dreams, we carefully and lovingly apply the paint across our canvas, and encourage others in creating a beautiful canvas of their own.

“The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.” – Edward Munch

Make It A Beautiful Life

Place the colors lovingly on your canvas, with intention, and your painting will flourish before the eye in brilliant splendor.

Love and care for others, with intention, and in the end you will produce a masterpiece, unique and unparalleled in history.

“My philosophy is that I’m an artist.  I perform an art not with a paint brush or a camera.  I perform with bodily movement.  Instead of exhibiting my art in a museum or a book or on a canvas, I exhibit my art in front of the multitudes.” – Steve Prefontaine


If you enjoyed this post,  please see Beautiful By Design and Your Life Depends on Your Creativity.


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