The Family In Focus

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Simple Life Reboot posts will happily resume January 15th, 2015.

As Sheryl and I focus on our family over the next few weeks, we sincerely wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

SLR 085: Topics to Avoid at Christmas

simple life reboot christmasThis Christmas, when you gather with family and friends, remember that it is not about pretense or appearance.  Love everyone as they are, just as you are loved by God, who came among us to make things right.

Focus on the needs of others.  Give your loved ones what they need from you, – a hug, an affirmation that they are doing well, your attention, an encouraging nod.

There is usually plenty to talk about when family and friends get together to celebrate Christmas, but try to AVOID these topics to assure everyone enjoys a peaceful and relaxing day.


Seriously, Christmas is not about religion. It’s about the birth of the Savior for those who believe, and for those who do not, it’s about peace, love, and kinship among family and friends.  Do not compare your religious views with those of your guests.


Relationships are more important than who is right or wrong in their politics.  Keep your socioeconomic political philosophy to yourself this visit.  You will astound everyone with your gracious good humor.

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Sheryl and I would like to wish everyone this holiday season a peaceful Merry Christmas!

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Originally posted on

SLR 084: The Hidden Gift

simple life reboot“The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sheryl and I love Christmas.

For those of us who have discovered the value of the simple and minimalist lifestyle, the gift-giving portion of the holiday has become less important…to a degree.  The concept of gift-giving is beautiful, but for many at Christmas time it has become more about the gift and less about the giving.

But there is a gift that can be given that is unique, and can fulfill a heartfelt need in the person receiving it.

The Gift

The gift is love, but amazingly, expressing that love may be harder than we think.  In fact, the love we intend to express may actually remain hidden from view, until we begin to understand what it is our loved one needs from us to feel loved.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages“, what makes one person feel loved is not necessarily the same thing that makes another person feel loved.  I find this concept – how love is perceived – to be fascinating, because it defines love from the receiving end, rather than the giving end.  Love is not a monolithic, well-defined, unchanging emotion that pours forth to be absorbed and appreciated equally by anyone in its wake.  Love occurs when the receiver feels understood and affirmed, based upon actions the giver of love has intentionally taken.

Dr. Chapman discovered over years of relationship counseling, that the things people complained about in their relationships, the things they felt they were not getting, basically fell into one of five categories.  Dr. Chapman named these categories…

The Five Love Languages

1)  Words of Affirmation
2)  Acts of Service
3)  Receiving Gifts
4)  Quality Time
5)  Physical Touch

What is your primary love language?

We each have a primary love language.  Perhaps you feel most loved when you receive words of affirmation, or when a loved one takes care of the chores without being prodded, like mowing the lawn or doing the dishes.  Maybe you feel most loved when gifts are given, or when your loved one takes the time to spend quality moments with you.  Perhaps it is a tender touch that best expresses love and caring toward you.

What is the primary love language of your loved one?

Whatever your primary love language, it is perhaps more important to know the primary love language of the person you intend to express love to, so that you better understand what they need from you in order to feel loved and cared for?

So, the hidden gift is that thing you can give to another, that makes them feel loved.

Do you know the primary love language of your loved ones, what they need from you to feel loved and cared for?

This Christmas, consider giving the hidden gift, the one that surpasses all other gifts, because this one lasts a life time, and makes everything else we do make sense.

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Originally posted on