SLR 088: The 7 Deadly Sins and Simplicity

simplelifereboot.comDaily we stand against the tide, the relentless negative forces of human nature that work to bring us down.  The challenge to be better, and do better, is never ending, and ever present, in each of our lives.

How do the 7 deadly sins; wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony, play against the simplicity lifestyle?  Does living with simplicity make it easier, or harder, to keep these hosts of misery at bay?

1. WRATH

The simplicity movement is all about ridding ourselves of life’s clutter to make room for that which matters most.  Whether that clutter comes in the form of debt, or a junk pile blocking access to the backyard, it’s all about zeroing in on those things that are getting in the way, the things that are keeping us from living the life we should be living.

When we proactively scan our environment for what needs to be removed, or what needs to change, we take control of the things we can control by engaging in an intentional editing process.

The Editing Process

Years ago, at a time when I owned and operated a couple of restaurants, I faced mounting insurance costs due to a funding crisis in our state’s worker’s compensation system.  Many businesses, including my own, had been thrown into a high risk insurance pool, causing costs to triple.  I decided to not let my frustration and “anger” keep me from doing what was within my control.  By focusing on the essentials and ridding our operations of lesser practices, we moved to a higher level of operation and received an award for having the best improved worker-safety record in the state.

Through the process, I learned that in order to move from “wrath” to a place where one can make needed changes, the following “get” steps are necessary:

1) “Get over” any sense of “unfairness” and focus all energy on the solution;
2) “Get creative” in developing strategies to achieve the desired result; and
3) “Get on” with taking needed action.

Humility is in order here, since nobody can control all circumstances.  But we can control the degree to which we take action to cause or prevent things from blocking access to our goals and a better life.

The 1st deadly sin, Wrath, is an emotion that is impossible to sustain when we accept responsibility for our actions.  Since anger most often arises from feeling a loss of personal control and power, taking action is the antidote, but only if we remain humble, and remember that there is a higher power than what we, alone, possess.

Action and Humility

When we combine acts of intentional living and personal humility, we are rewarded with a clearer perspective of purpose, which is to love and care for others.

Acting with intention, a cornerstone of the simplicity lifestyle, de-fangs the ugly wrath-monster that lurks inside us all.

2. GREED

The more we become focused on the essentials, the things that truly enrich our lives, the more we discover that the material acquisitions and status symbols we once chased after shrink in comparison to the more important things, like relationships.

As we practice intentional living, and move away from the need to acquire, we realize that it is our actions and relationships that define us, not the things we own.  It’s so true, that service, contentment and gratitude abound in relationships, not in stuff.

Greed and simplicity exist on opposite ends of the life-behaviors spectrum.  When we actively seek one, we adversely impact the other.

3. SLOTH

There are no lazy people pursuing the simplicity lifestyle. Simplicity requires intention, action, and follow-through.  Simplicity folks are not lounging back letting important work go undone.  If and when we lounge, it is not to avoid work, but to celebrate the work that has been done by enjoying a still moment, a quiet reflection, a shared meal, and a simple conversation.

4. PRIDE

Having suffered this particular deadly sin my entire life, I can tell you that having a high opinion of yourself can be damaging when it is not also coupled with a recognition of your deep personal flaws.
We human beings are laughably prideful.  I say laughably, because it becomes comical, in a tragic sense, to imagine an emotion that serves us less authentically, or causes more damage.

Over time we can become impressed with ourselves, so much so that we actually ignore reality.
When was the last time you changed your mind about something you once knew to be true?  Think about it – if everything we believe to be true is actually true, we would be truth machines, walking around absorbing the world in perfect order, with perfect memories, and perfect understanding.  Since none of us is perfect, then our perceptions must at some level be flawed.

But….

…it is interesting that when we make up our minds about something, not only do we establish our perceptions as permanent reality, we immediately begin setting up roadblocks to challenge any future change to those perceptions.  Our willingness to accept new evidence, and change our minds, diminishes over time. In fact, the longer we hold our beliefs, the less flexible we become.

Our attitudes and perceptions could be described as a wagon wheel that has slipped into a rut.  Once there, it fits comfortably into its little niche, and turns happily along.   It takes significantly less effort to stay with the usual, than to try out new, bumpy ground.

But the problem with staying in the rut is that we are more likely to become complacent, smug, and self-satisfied.  We convince ourselves that what we know, and who we are, is accurate, made so by perfectly formed knowledge.  When presented with evidence to the contrary, it is not our own perceptions we question, but the validity of the source of the new evidence.

Even when we are clearly shown the better route, a route that gets us closer to the truth, it is too late for the prideful.  The prideful would rather reject a new and better approach than alter the long-established dogma they have embraced.

Simplicity Challenges the Norm

The simplicity philosophy caused me to rethink everything, but what first led me to even consider simplicity as an alternative to my long-established norm ?

Quite simply, my wagon wheel began crashing up against the rut wall enough times to make me finally question whether the rut was indeed a good fit.  The point is, once I was willing to drive out of the rut, what became clear to me was that the rut had kept me complacent way too long.

Once out of the rut, however, I began looking at the assumptions I had held over time.  My most fundamental beliefs about God were not shaken, but believing I had all the answers about life definitely were.

Simplicity celebrates life not within the context of the things we accumulate, which are temporary, but within the context of the relationships we foster, which last forever.

Simplicity does not kill pride, but it does dampen its harmful effects.  Recognition that we fall short, that we don’t deserve everything we might fancy, and that we will have to let go of things at times, is a humbling but affirming process.

5. LUST

Lust occurs when we allow our baser impulses to go unchecked.

Simplicity forces us to acknowledge our fallen nature, and to come face-to-face with urges that no amount of engine power, lipstick or home decor can paper over.

Each of us choose every day whether we practice habits that lead to a positive life, or habits that lead to a degradation of our life.  In the case of lust, relationships are damaged if not destroyed.

Lust relies upon imagination; the fantasy our mind creates of a pleasure we desire. Lust snowballs as we entertain the fantasy over time.  If we entertain the fantasy long enough, what we imagine we desire transforms into some form of action that is taken.  When we act on our lust, we relinquish self-control and enslave ourselves to our baser instincts.

The pleasure we experience from acting on lust is at best temporary.  In contrast, the damage done is likely permanent. Furthermore, we weaken the very self-control “muscle” that we need to overcome the other deadly sins.

In contrast to lust, simplicity helps us focus on activities that strengthen us  and reinforces the foundation upon which our moral selves flourish.

Lust and the Effect of Simplicity

1) Simplicity makes us re-evaluate the things that make us content;
2) Simplicity enables us to rethink what we desire;
3) Simplicity causes our desires to come into alignment with reality;
4) Simplicity makes us want to be less self-centered, and more charitable to others; and
5) Simplicity encourages us to deal with the true problems of life.

The simplicity lifestyle is more complimentary to our higher selves, as we become tempered by a deeper contemplation of what gives life meaning. (See e.g.:  The 4 Zones of Intention)

6. ENVY

It has been shown that the excitement we feel as we anticipate acquiring something we desire is much more intense than the satisfaction we feel after having acquired it.  In other words, once we have acquired the thing we desire, the increase in our happiness quotient is negligible.  We feel more pleasure from the anticipation, than from the acquisition, itself.

Perhaps the trick is to understand the impulse, and to overcome it by remaining focused on our long term goal.  Maybe you want to be out of debt, or to pay off a mortgage, to have funds to travel, to embark on a creative or educational endeavor; or to generously assist family members.

By focusing on the important things we want to accomplish, envy takes a back seat.

5 ways in which simplicity kills envy:

1)  When people are valued above things;
2)  When you are less likely to feel you are missing something you desire;
3)  When you are responsible for what you own;
4)  When you are not responsible for what others own; and
5)  When you value peace and contentment above fleeting acquisitions.

Having what we need in life is better than wanting what we do not have for all the wrong reasons.

7. GLUTTONY

There is no deadly sin that more represents the opposite of simplicity than gluttony.
Gluttony occurs when we consume beyond satiation, with little regard for the amount we are consuming or why we are consuming it.

The consuming occurs for the sake of the consumption itself, not to achieve anything more than the feeling of “taking in” or “using” the thing that we desire.

STAND AGAINST THE TIDE

The 7 deadly sins are a form of self-idolatry, an ageless warning against the narcissism of the time.

Simplicity does not make me, or anyone else, immune from human failing.  I believe it does, however, change our focus, from needing more to needing less, to being truly grateful and content.

Simplicity makes it more likely that we will draw upon the deep well of life and find satisfaction in owning fewer things while giving more of ourselves away.

The Good News….

You can stop being controlled by negative things.  Assert yourself in a positive manner.  Do not look back and wish things had been different.  Do not regret what you cannot change, but also, do not let another day go by without making  changes you know you need to make.  Regretting and bemoaning the past is a waste of precious time.  Do not wallow in what you cannot change, but act on your future today.

Develop a plan, and take action now!   Your life depends upon it!

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This post was first published on SimpleLifeReboot.com.

SLR 087: The “Perspective” Benefit

Simple Life Reboot

Butchart Gardens Victoria, B.C.

Sheryl and I recently took a trip to Victoria, B.C., to wipe the cobwebs off our dashboard GPS map, and to fulfill one of the original intentions of our embracing simplicity almost two years ago, now.

For those who are not familiar with our story, it was that first trip down the California coastline back in May of 2013, that spurred the changes in our lives, the selling of our over-sized home, the elimination of 85 percent of our belongings, and the start of this blog, Simple Life Reboot, which has allowed us to share our decision, and our journey, with all of you.  (See, The Trip That Changed Everything)

The recent trip to Victoria included many of the same aspects of the California trip, minus the life-changing revelations.  Hanging out in Victoria did not bring about a sudden awareness that something needed to be changed in our lives, but rather helped confirm the changes that we’ve made, the simplicity lifestyle we have embraced, has been working.

The Necessary Ingredient

But there seems to be a specific ingredient that must be present in the extended trips we take (more than 3 days) for the full “perspective” benefit to be realized.  See if you can identify the common ingredient from the list below.

1)  Travel unfamiliar territory

2)  Stay overnight in an unfamiliar place

3)  Speak with many unfamiliar people

4)  See many unfamiliar things

5)  Hear many unfamiliar voices

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with returning to that familiar place that acts as a balm to your soul;  that cabin on the beach, that meandering river through the forest, or mountain trail that slips behind the waterfall.  Return there…and be soothed.  (see, Deep Living in a Shallow World)

But if you are in the mood for something new, experiencing unfamiliar territory does not so much soothe, as it informs.  It forces the brain to recalculate.  The internal map of ourselves automatically compares what it is presently experiencing to what it has just left behind.  The positive or negative aspect of the new experience is not so much the key ingredient, but that the experience is unfamiliar.

Certainly, traveling away from home for a time can be beneficial whether the destination is familiar or not, but for Sheryl and I, going someplace new is like being let out on recess, whereas the cabin on the beach feels more like God giving you a hug.

A Refreshed View of Your Life

If you desire to gain a refreshed view of your life, travel someplace unfamiliar for an extended stay, a place where all the blanks are not already filled in.  The brain will be forced to pay attention, and by being in the moment, attentive to your surroundings, you will re-discover the significance of the path from whence you came – aka “perspective”.

 

 

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

SLR 077: 7 Steps to Help a Loved One Embrace Change

Simple Life RebootOne of the most difficult questions we get is:

“What do I do when I want to make changes,  but my loved one does not?”

Whether the desired change is to rightsize, de-clutter, reduce activity  or financial overload or otherwise,  we generally encourage the inquiring party to make individual changes, and then wait patiently in the hope that demonstrated benefit will persuade the reluctant party to embrace mutual change at some point.

While we continue to recommend this approach,  we recognize that additional advice might be helpful, particularly when the “just-be-an-example” approach appears to be failing.

We have boiled our recommendations down to the following 7 points:

1. Maintain the relationship as the priority.  As a starting point, resolve that if a choice must be made,  your relationship with your loved one will always trump your desired life edits.  The greater purpose for the desired change should be to benefit the relationship.

2. Identify loved one’s pain.  Many of us become so accustomed to bearing a burden that we fail to recognize that such even exists.  Be sure to identify what pain your loved one is experiencing that your desired changes will relieve.  Resistance may be lessened if changes are understood to be a mutual solution,  as opposed to a life change that is simply your personal preference.

3. Do NOT pressure loved one.  Resist the urge to pressure (or nag) your loved one into making changes s/he is not ready to make. Making significant life changes and edits is complex and often involves deeper issues of security and identity.  Attempting to coerce or shame a loved one into letting go of cherished items and/or activities will be counterproductive at best.

4. Maximize individual changes. Implement as many individually-impactful changes as possible. Such increases the likelihood that there will be measurable,  persuasive benefits that can be observed over a period of time by the reluctant party.

5. Use “Season in Life” as context for change.  Provide a new perspective on desired edits.  Change might be easier if it is understood as a natural transition or transfer as opposed to  “loss” or “letting go”  of something.   Examples might include donating outgrown baby clothes or selling an oversized empty-nesters’ house to a growing family so that such property can again be used and enjoyed as intended.

6.  Propose a trial period or game approach. Consider proposing a limited, no-commitment trial period.  An example would be Courtney Carver’s 3 month fashion challenge, Project 333.  Other approaches include permanently editing items such as playing the Minimalist’s game for a month,  or trying Simple Life Together’s year long “Edit and Forget It” challenge.

7. Inspire and encourage.  Keep two words in mind when trying to help a loved one with change.  To “inspire” is  to breathe life into someone.  To “encourage”  is to imbue with courage.  Recognize and celebrate how momentous even small changes can be in you and your loved one’s life.  Commit to serve, inspire, encourage and be a source of hope for a better future.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

 

 

SLR 067: An Interview with Mom

Simple Life RebootFar too often the journey to simplicity focuses on our own needs and desires. In an effort to share another perspective, Dave and I sat down for a candid talk with my mother, Carolyn.

Mom has had a front row seat on this roller coaster ride to greater margin.  Though not a “fan” of reducing possessions, she stood by us as we let go of 85% of our belongings. She not only opened her home,  she cheered us through some rough patches.

In this podcast,  Carolyn shares how our journey has affected our family.  She is our hero … and we wanted you to hear her words of wisdom.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

3 Surprising and Valuable Benefits of Digitizing Family Photo Albums

2014-05-21 11.10.03 The genesis of the project was practical and uninspired – but the outcome was akin to finding hidden treasure.

No Room For Albums

When we moved into our smaller space,  we simply did not have room for the family photo albums we had lovingly assembled over the years. We had no choice but to box them up and put them in an unfinished attic.

Concern About Loss

Although we had not looked at most of the albums for decades, it still felt wrong to put them in an inconvenient and somewhat unprotected space. Family photographs comprised the few sentimental items remaining after our mega-edit of over 80% of our possessions. Making the memory books inaccessible undercut the purpose for retaining them.

Resolve to Not  Get Used  to It

When I worked as a house cleaner, I was consistently surprised at how quickly people could tune-out glaring upkeep issues.  Needed work  became “invisible” if  it was left unattended for a certain period of time.

As we approached our first attic storage anniversary,  I knew we needed to take action or our albums and the need to protect them would be largely forgotten.

Process Easier Than Anticipated

Once started, the process of digitizing our family albums was much easier than anticipated.  While there are many wonderful tools and protocols,  we simply removed photos from albums and sorted them into batches such as “1980 Ranch”,  “2006 Graduation”,  “2009 Hawaii”, etc.   Placing the year in front of the batch description created an easy to follow chronology.  We then ran the batches through our ScanSnap scanner and uploaded the images to DropBox.  Such made the images accessible on all our devices and easy to share.  It was also a great comfort to have the images backed-up and significantly safer from loss.

Simple Life Reboot PostcardsFirst Surprise Benefit – Discovery of Hidden Love Letters
As I mentioned,  we had not opened most of the albums for decades. I had forgotten the numerous postcards we had included in the albums due to our family practice of purchasing extra postcards to supplement our rather deficient photographic skills.

As I began removing postcards from the magnetic pages, I discovered most were not blank.  Rather,  much to my delight, we had  a huge cache of  long forgotten messages sent by beloved family members who have since passed.  These beautiful  messages shared tales of adventure and love.

Second Surprise Benefit-  Easy “Then-and-Now” Photos

With family images easily accessible on my iPhone,  we could now take time-lapse pictures with family members re-creating a scene from a photograph taken years earlier.  What fun!!

Third Surprise Benefit – Opportunity to Reach Out

As we assembled our new digital database of  family images, we came across images we knew others would want to see.   With a few clicks,  we were able to forward images that opened new lines of communication and allowed us to reconnect with loved ones.  In so doing,  we rediscovered why the images were so precious to us in the first place.  They preserved memories and created new opportunities to connect with our loved ones.  It was a legacy worth preserving,  cherishing… and sharing.

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We would love to hear how you save and share family images. Please let us know in the comments below.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

Restore Margin to Care for Others (and Yourself)

Simple Life Reboot MarginTo what extent are we willing to go into debt, make unfair demands on family and co-workers,  or compromise healthy habits,  in order to achieve objectives?

Is our standard of living too reliant upon our willingness to push ourselves to the limit?

Long Term Impact

We may view our pedal-to-the-metal approach as proof of a strong work ethic and ambition, but are we deceiving ourselves as to either the sustainability or desirability of this approach?   We may also be dodging some hard questions  –  such as:

“After meeting our daily quota, do we have anything left to share with others?”

Wise Warnings

Throughout history, faith traditions have urged restraint in the use of resources, cautioning against the utilization of all that is available.

From a risk management perspective, keeping a buffer between resources used and available resources makes perfect sense,  but margin has infinitely greater value as a necessary resource for the care of others.

This value is made clear in the Vayikra, aka Leviticus 19:9-10, which instructs landowners to leave an unharvested margin around their fields. Further,  the harvested areas are not to be stripped bare.  This timeless practice preserves a resource to be shared with those in need.

Margin Needed Today

Restoration of margin is needed more than ever today.  In our overloaded and hectic world, it is only in the margin that we can feel safe to consider the needs of others.  It is in this space that we may be generous with our time, talents and treasures.  For instance, it is only when we have some degree of white space and flex in our schedule that we can welcome a spontaneous and unhurried conversation with a child.  It is when we have a reserve of physical strength that we can help a friend move furniture at the end of a long work day.  And, it is when we have limited our expenditures that we can consider giving generously without reservation.

By reminding ourselves of the reason for margin, we are better able to commit to its maintenance.  The beautiful thing is that by restoring margin,  we are restored and are better able to help restore and love others.

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If you would like to read more on margin, please see ‘The Secret to Growing Margin“,  “5 Step Plan for Protecting New Margin“; and “Margin in Not Just for You“.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

The Trip that Changed Everything

Beach On Our Cali TripIt was the spring of 2013.

Driving south from Eugene, Oregon,  Sheryl and I wanted to stay with family the first evening in Santa Clara, California, and then begin what we hoped would be a little adventure trip.  The plan was to drive down the California coastline along Highway 1.  We would take our time, visit lots of new sites, and go as far south as Santa Barbara.

This was an area of California neither one of us had taken the time to see. It was full of scenic coastal towns and beautiful beaches. It was to be a week devoted to  spending  time together experiencing places yet undiscovered.

Generally, we knew the towns we wanted to visit, as well as the types of sites we wanted to see, like the old Spanish Missions.  We intentionally kept planning to a minimum, however, so as to be open to new adventures.

After starting out from Santa Clara, we drove west across the coastal range to Santa Cruz. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, taking in the sun and sites.  We devoured lunch in Capitola a few miles south, and then meandered along Highway 1 toward Carmel by the Sea.

We soon stumbled upon an out-of-the-way RV park a few miles south of Monterey.  Saddle Mountain RV park is tucked into the side of the green, forested hills of Carmel Valley.  It is perched halfway up the side of the hill in the trees, and affords MDX at SADDLE MOUNTAIN campgroundspectacular views of the valley.

It proved to be the perfect little hideaway to relax and regroup before the next day’s adventures.   We decided to make the park our home base for a few days. We then explored the area, riding bikes in Seaside, hiking coastal trails south of Carmel, and driving up and down the coast to visit new sites each day.

At this point I need to rewind the story just a bit.  After leaving Eugene, Sheryl and I had begun listening to podcasts on the drive down.  We were soon in the midst of discussions about de-cluttering one’s life and living more intentionally. We listened to life-changing podcasts like “Simple Life Together” with Dan and Vanessa Hayes, and “This is Your Life” with Michael Hyatt.  We would both listen and discuss, listen some more and discuss some more.  Before long we realized we needed to make some big changes in our lives.

It’s funny how time, circumstances, and attitude, can come together and coalesce into something unexpected.  Much of the time we spent driving around that week was done while listening to the friendly,  encouraging voices of people  talking about editing out the meaningless, excess stuff in life, so that time and resources could be spent focusing on the things that really mattered, like faith, family, friends, and the experiences along the way like the journey Sheryl and I were on.

After arriving back in Eugene, we did not immediately decide to sell our large house  and embrace simplicity. However, the seed had been planted. The rest is our unfolding story.

My fondest memory of the trip?  Deciding to get out of our comfort zone. It was liberating to re-experience simple pleasures. We laughed at ourselves trying to camp in the back of our car.  We had to muffle our giggles as we would  struggle to get in and out of the side door from a prone position in order to plug the extension cord back into the outlet. Even battling the lumpy misshapen mattress was an exercise in creativity and overcoming.  Each trip to the bathroom in the dark was like being a junior explorer. We loved it!

We rediscovered that our fondest memories turn out to be life’s  simple times. You remember them with a smile, because the experience was shared with the person you love, engaged in a mutual adventure.

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Can you think of a time in your life when you suddenly saw things differently, because of a realization, or a change in circumstances, or because the time was simply right to move in a different direction?

We would love to hear about your  experience in our comments section.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

How to Tell People You Are Simplifying Your Life

Hawaii 2009 363“So, I heard you were downsizing.”

The question from a business acquaintance at a Chamber of Commerce event caught me off guard.

Gulp. I paused, desperate for a response which recast what sounded, at least to my ears, quite negative. I wanted to share the joyful, enriching and values-driven journey of simplifying my life and how it harmonized with my professional life.  Instead, I blurted out  “…kind of…” and scampered off feeling embarrassed and inadequate.

It was not my brightest moment.  I resolved to be better equipped the next time and gathered the following tips through trial and error:

1. Choose the Right Time and Location. Be thoughtful. Telling others while on a cruise, a shopping excursion or while opening Christmas presents may not be the best time to let people know you are simplifying.  Similarly, sharing a voluntary journey of simplicity and margin creation with someone who is struggling financially (and who had not asked for advice) may not be particularly considerate.

2. BRIEFLY Tell Your Story. While you may be passionate about the topic, limit yourself to just a few sentences.  Share what prompted you to simplify. For example:  “For years I have been filling my life with more and more stuff. Then I read/listened to _______ and started thinking about making changes. I resolved to let go of things and activities of lesser importance so as to make room for the precious ones in my life.” Pause.  If the listener does not ask a follow up question, leave it at that.

3. Discuss the Impact of Changes. Have an open and honest discussion with your loved ones regarding the impact your simplified life will have on them.  For instance, you might discuss your plan for editing possessions and your preference for shared experiences in lieu of physical gifts. If you move to a smaller space, reassure your loved ones of their place within the new space, and explain how you will accommodate visits and activities in new ways.  Also, reassure non-household members that this journey is unique to each individual, and that you do not wish to make them feel uncomfortable or pressured to make similar changes.

 

If this post was of interest – please see “But What Will People Think?”.

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How would you share a decision to simplify with others?   Please let us know in the comments below.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

5 Fabulous Reasons to Travel with Your Kids

Creating margin is crucial to having the necessary resources to do the things in life which are important to you.

East Coast 2008 139Over the past few years Sheryl and I wanted to share some experiences with our children before they began leaving the nest.  We decided to plan a few trips.  As it turns out, each of these trips  became a memorable experience, reminding us of some of the fabulous reasons we travel with our kids.

1)  To Learn Together

You will, of course, discover new facts about the places you visit, and about the events that took place there.  But more importantly, when you travel with your kids, you allow them to see you, the parent, in situations in which you are learning something new, as well.  The kids discover you do not know it all, and that you are not afraid to admit it.  They will love and respect you all the more for this.  And they will be excited at the prospect of you all being on this journey of discovery together.

Our east coast trip stands out as a East Coast 2008 119particularly wonderful adventure.   Beginning in Washington, D.C., we visited a number of buildings and monuments.  A few particularly memorable places included the Washington Monument, U.S. Capitol, and the Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Each day one of the kids would take their turn as tour guide, in charge of getting the group from our rental house in the D.C. suburbs, to the subway, and finally to the designated place we were visiting that day.

From Washington we drove to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, a 300-acre living history museum with hundreds of restored, reconstructed, and historically furnished buildings.

2)  To Play Together

After our time at Washington and Williamsburg, we drove  to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

East Coast 2008 303How often do you get to play alongside your kids, enjoy a fun-filled ride, go on a pretend-safari, or be entertained by amazingly tall furry creatures?  The kids, having appreciated our history tour the previous few days, were now ready for the big pay-off, five days at Disney World.  There is a joy and a wonderment you experience in this place that fulfills your highest expectations.

3)  To Dream Together

Traveling together affords you the opportunity to talk with your kids about things you never think about in everyday life, like outer space, for instance.

In between days at Disney World, we took in the NASA complex at Cape Canaveral.  We are all passionate believers in discovery and in our nation’s space program.East Coast 2008 406  To share our passion together, in this place, walking through the history of the program, standing next to these awesome machines and reading the stories of the people who were and are involved, was  inspirational.

There is no better place than NASA to evoke images of the future, and to carry on conversations about the hard work and courage that has gone into mankind’s endeavor to reach beyond earth’s environment.

4)  To Eat Together

It is such a basic activity. One East Coast 2008 217might ask, “why would eating together be on this list of fabulous reasons to travel together?”

The sad reality is that many families do not share mealtimes anymore.

Traveling allowed us to share a meal without interruption. Simple time together, enjoying the most basic things, sometimes, is all you need to be content.

5)  To Laugh Together

Laughter is so beneficial to our health.  Laughing with your kids is doubly good.  It not only smooths the rough spots,  it strengthens  our relationships.  Traveling, experiencing new places and people, seems to multiply the opportunities to find the lighter side of things.  When was the last time you and your kids laughed at the same thing, or at each other?Katie's East Coast 2008 020

We can take life pretty serious at times.  Life often deserves to be taken seriously, but without laughter to balance things out, the weighty issues of the day can become overwhelming.

Enjoy being silly together.  Show your kids you are not afraid to look and act foolish. They will probably appreciate your attempt at humor.  Even when you fail miserably, they will most likely fill in the awkward moments with some truly funny routines of their own.

Do not underestimate the enduring memories of traveling with your kids.  There is something for everyone out there.  When you experience the world together, you create a bond that you will enjoy for a lifetime.

 

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rediscover the Bedrock of Life

Katie's East Coast 2008 033Close relationships are the bedrock of life.  If you have them, nurture them, appreciate them, treasure every moment you have with the people in your life.

If you have lost touch with family, try to reconnect.  If you cannot reconnect, I hope you will consider reaching out to others near you who would benefit from having a friend.

Too many of us spend time alone, either because we are too busy to make the effort necessary to foster a relationship with others, or because being alone is simply what we have gotten used to.  Life is less complicated, and a whole lot easier, when other people are not mucking up our comfortable little nest we have managed to cobble together.

Hawaii 2009 493Simple Life Reboot is all about caring less about things and more about people.  At the end of our days, it will not be the items we own we will treasure, but the people we shared our life with, the experiences we had, the amazing sights, the humor, and the love.

Do not let any more time go to waste.  Connect with the people around you.  Start a conversation with three people in the next week you do not know.  You will be astonished to learn their story. Lives will be enriched, including your own, because you bothered to care.

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Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com