Category: Parenting

May 28

What You Wish For

There are times in my house–quiet times–when you wouldn’t know we had any pets at all…unless you looked around, that is. Dogs seem to be dozing all over the place (often with our lone cat somewhere in their midst). Don’t even get me started on the other evidence: fur.

At other times, even if you closed your eyes, there’d be no mistaking that there are more than a couple of dogs here. They burst into activity and seem to be everywhere at once, wrestling and chasing one another, barking or play-growling, hunting down and dismembering unsuspecting chew toys.

Here’s a little clip of most of them, doing a bit of their doggy thing.

Today, during one such moment of canine chaos, I thought, I feel like I’m living in the middle of a wolf pack. The thought, in turn, struck a memory: I once wished for this.

Years ago, I’d read about a couple who lived in a national park somewhere, surrounded by nothing but woods and wildness. They were there to study the wolves, and could sometimes even watch the pack’s interactions through the windows of their home. How peaceful, I’d thought. I could do that. Part of me–most of me–could really love that life.

Image via pixabay/Der_Windsurfer

Another time, I’d read an article about a family who’d adopted a great big bunch of kids–all colors and creeds, ages and sizes. That, too, I felt I could love. I’ve discussed adoption with my husband many times over the years, and at one point, “the more, the merrier” sounded really, really good. I’m someone who enjoys quiet and craves solitary moments, someone who loves a tidy, clean house–not that I remember how it feels to have such a house–but I was willing to trade those preferences in return for so much giving and receiving of love. I wanted to expand our family by opening it to those who didn’t have one. I wanted to love multitudes.

Image via pixabay/Theo_Q (image is cropped)

The funny thing is, I feel like the universe has granted me those wishes in a roundabout way. Sure, they’ve been altered, but still…

I have my wolf pack. Not only can I watch their wild play through the windows, but they also carry it indoors, often right up onto and across my lap. True, only one of them can really qualify as lap-dog sized, but on the upside, there’s no such thing as catching a chill when you’re resting in this house–not with a dog curled up in front of your chest, another behind your legs, maybe one nestled by your feet, possibly another perched along the top of the couch, and the fifth and final (and largest) lying on the floor next to you. It can get pretty cozy, living inside a wolf pack, but that’s not so bad.

I have my adopted family, too. Our dogs certainly don’t qualify as children, yet we’ve taken those who were without families and we’ve opened our home and hearts to them. Not that I wouldn’t love to welcome a child or two (maybe more?) into our family–if I had the money and the time and the sanity to spare–but the older I get, the more I have to acknowledge that ship has most likely sailed. Yet we love our dogs and you’d better believe they give that love right back, with some to spare.

There are definitely times when I fantasize about having only one or two pets (not that I’d trade any of ours for anything). Days when I’ve just finished sweeping or vacuuming and already there are little wisps of fur floating toward the floor. Moments when I panic. So. Many. Dogs. What have I done? It can be a little too much of a good thing, but in my defense (probably my only defense), it’s hard to say no to kids and puppies, especially when you love them both. Regardless, I asked for this…in some way or another…and the universe saw fit to give it to me.

There’s a Buddhist quote that says, “Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought.” (From The Dhammapada; for the complete quote, visit: King’s Lynn Triratna Buddhists: Dharma Quote of the Week.) Though this quote has much more depth of meaning than what I’m discussing here, I feel the two ideas are related. If you think a certain way, your mind begins to focus in that direction. Your perspective will be affected, your choices will align with your beliefs, and the course of your life may become deeply altered over time. I think of this, in very basic terms, like driving a car: if you turn your head one way or the other, there’s a pretty good chance your steering wheel will follow.

The moral of my post? You know it already: watch what you wish for (because you just might get it).

Is there anything in your life that could make you think, I wished for this? How do you feel about it? Was this something you simply wanted, or was there some part of it you truly needed? Are you on the right road, or Is it time to straighten the steering wheel?

Apr 25

Parenting with More…of Less

Generation after generation, parents have set out to give their kids more than they had. So why do I feel the constant desire to give my kids less?

On the surface, it might sound like a simple case of bad parenting, and I definitely have had (and will have) my share of parenting fails. I think I’ll be able to chalk this one up to a win, though, and I’m sure others feel similarly.

By Charles Ellis Johnson – Harold B. Lee Library Special Collections, Public Domain,

To clarify how this less thing works, think: less busy-ness, less unnecessary technology, less consumerism, less time indoors, less stress…. (I could add “fewer possessions, fewer distractions,” etc., but then I’d have to mess with my “less” theme, so….)

In having less, kids also get more: more free time, more outdoor activities, more bonding with family and friends, more healthful living, more imagination and creativity, more appreciation for life’s basic pleasures, more peace….

Childhood, for me, had some definite highlights. Generally, the simple things were what I treasured most and still remember best: exploring woods and fields and farms with friends, climbing trees, riding bikes, writing, drawing, painting, spending quality time with family and pets.

By State Library of Queensland, Australia [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

I can’t help feeling we were onto something in those long-ago days of my youth, you know, back in the 1900s. I like to think of it as hands-on living.

This, then, is what I want for my kids: I want more…of less. I want them to be plugged into their lives, rather than plugged into electronics and disconnected from real living.

How do I hope to achieve this? (On a wing and a prayer?) The general idea is to stick with a back to basics theme. In terms of specifics, well, I’m still working on those. For now, I’m focusing on the following hopes and goals, some of which are already in the works:

(To simplify, I’ve grouped the details into broad categories.)

Image via Unsplash/Redd Angelo

The Minimal the Better (<–click for more on minimalism)

Minimalism can involve decluttering life on multiple levels–from physical items to activities/habits that use up time and energy.

*Clear out unnecessary belongings–donate!

*Buy less (e.g. instead of owning massive amounts of clothing, focus on fewer, more versatile items; for people who have young children, point out to them that one or two stuffed animals are easier to love and tote around than a dozen)

*Encourage (aka demand) less screen time–this was so much easier when my kids were little!

*Choose activities more carefully–weed out unnecessary distractions and use free time better (e.g. instead of an expensive indoor activity, go for a walk together at a state/national park. Add a dog, a camera, and/or a picnic lunch and it qualifies as a bona fide event, without too much fuss)

By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

Self-sufficient? Naturally

Self-sufficiency can happen as an individual or on a larger scale.

*Individual self-sufficiency–encourage kids to do more for themselves. It may take longer in the beginning, but it will help them gain confidence and skills along the way and, eventually, might free up some time for the adults. (I did say “might.”)

(*Sidenote: I remember standing inside a store years ago, waiting for one of my sons to tie his shoe. I used it as a momentary reprieve–a chance to catch my breath before he was up and active again–but a woman beside me apparently found the whole experience exasperating. “I don’t know how you can do that,” she said to me, as he tried and tried again. “I’d just have to jump in and do it for him.” I smiled at her, still happy with my choice. If I took over for him this time and the next (and the next) how would he ever learn? By the way, I’ve definitely lacked patience as a parent–and as a human, in general–but sometimes I think I got it right.)

*Self-sufficiency on a bigger scale–in desiring to live more independently as a family, it will be important to work in harmony with the natural world. We hope to:

*Grow more of our own food–veggies, herbs, fruits, berries (*Another aside: we’ve already planted two fruit trees in honor of lost loved ones–a Grandma Hon Tree and a Grandy Tree. I think they’d approve, especially when their trees are in bloom.)

*Make more food from scratch–the closer you stay to nature, the better = great rule of thumb, when it comes to food

*Use natural remedies and preventative treatments to help improve our health–including herbs and common lawn weeds (<click to see that post)

*Make our own soaps and other personal products from natural ingredients (such as I’ve demonstrated on my little YouTube channel–* here*)

*Continue with our chicken keeping (love those girls!)

By Kheel Center – Flickr Adults and three young children make artificial flowers around a table at
home., CC BY 2.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=20256953

Put ’em to work

*Show kids the value of hard work–not only general yard work, housework, pet care, but also projects–currently, the boys are helping my husband put up a fenced area behind the house for the dogs (YouTube video on that soon to come)

*Add to our DIY lifestyle–this helps ease the strain on our budget, while showing the kids we’re capable of a lot, if we are willing to learn. For example, I started cutting everyone’s hair years ago (bit of a rough start, but I think I’ve got the hang of it. They might beg to differ.) Also, my “To be painted” list has quite a few rooms on it, so I’d like to start teaching the kids how to help me

*Have them brainstorm with us on future projects or current problems–this shows the kids they’re really part of the team, plus they have some great things to contribute

*Encourage creative pursuits (paints, paper, pens, cardboard, wood, hammer, nails, etc.–simple tools can spark all kinds of endeavors)

*Help them help others–from raising money for a child-driven charity, Our Children Making Change, to assisting the runners at Philadelphia’s annual Broad Street Run, to fostering puppies from the rescue where I volunteer (Greenmore Farm Animal Rescue), the kids have experienced how good it feels to offer someone a helping hand

Public Domain, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=268522

Become a Model

In addition to working with our kids on the activities I’ve mentioned above, parents can think about our own behavior as modeling. Some examples:

*If we want our kids to value long-term achievements over short-term pleasures, we can let them see how we work toward goals and, when met with challenges, how we adapt and persevere

*If we want our kids to be aware of society’s focus on consumerism, materialism, and other “surface” living, we can talk with them about things like need vs. want and how consumer-driven lifestyles can be damaging to us and the environment

*If we’d like kids to understand the value of learning, we can put down our smart phones or tablets and pick up a book, build/repair something, or start another kind of project

(*hint: our kids won’t be the only ones who benefit when we choose well)


Turns out I’ve listed a lot for a post on “less.” Granted, I may have overcomplicated things, but a list like this should only serve as a reference, anyhow. I find that when we set our sights on choosing a “back to basics” life, things begin to fall into place naturally.

I know I’m not the only one who feels less really can be more, so I’d love to hear how others are giving their kids (or themselves) more from less. Do you agree that a simpler life can help nurture healthier bodies, as well as happier hearts and minds?

Feb 17

Can’t Stop on a Hill

“Can’t stop on a hill!” I can’t tell you how many times those words have been spoken in my household–always in a Southern accent, mind you–because this is how they were originally stated.

The quote’s origin? Several years ago, my family (immediate and extended) took a trip to North Carolina’s Outer Banks. There, my sister’s family and my mangy lot visited Corolla Beach to see the wild horses, a herd of free-roaming Colonial Spanish Mustangs. We were lucky enough to find a small family group–complete with foal–leaving the seaside at dusk to head back to their home behind the dunes. We followed on foot up a gradual incline–keeping our distance, as recommended (for their safety and ours).

The horses had just rounded the dunes and we’d turned back to allow them their privacy, when a car came racing toward us, curving widely enough around the dunes that we had to snatch up my young daughter to keep her from being run over. The car’s windows were down and as the couple’s car passed just beside us, churning up the sand, I snapped out of my shock long enough to tell them to slow down. The wife (baby perched on her lap in the front seat, no less) called out, “Can’t stop on a hill!” and off they went.

Yeah, we were kinda pissed. My husband, sister, and I took turns leveling insults at the now-absent couple–not only for nearly running over our kids so their car wouldn’t get stuck in the sand, but also for being stupid enough to drive with a baby in the front seat–yet all the while, we were sharing how grateful we were that no one was physically harmed.

One of us repeated the woman’s words, accent and all, and our family’s quote was born.

Though we most definitely started out mocking the woman for what she’d said, because…duh, woman, over the years, her words have become something of a mantra. When things get tough, someone comes out with, “Can’t stop on a hill.” Everyone chuckles and remembers the evening in Corolla, but then we take the words to heart.

It’s no mystery that everyone–every single one of us–goes through times when it feels like we’re climbing a hill. Sometimes, that hill is a welcome challenge, something to be celebrated; others, the hill seems so steep, we might as well be belly down, clawing at roots and rocks, searching for holds for our hands and feet. That’s okay, right? Progress is progress, even if it’s a slow, wobbly crawl. It’s when you freeze up, panic, that your feet start to slip.

Recently, and for whatever reason, I stopped my slow crawl. I guess I got nervous and looked down at the metaphorical ground far below. I took a tumble.

Image via pixabay/heliofil

It was kind of a chicken-and-egg scenario–a downward spiral of stress, insomnia, Fibro flare (complete with widespread pain and–worse–intense fatigue, brain fog, dizziness), and yes, some depression. It’s hard to know which issues began the cycle, but they all seemed to feed each other. Not fun, but also not the point of my post.

Image via pixabay/pexels

The point is, although I rolled and bumped my way down this steep slope until I hit the bottom, bruised and dazed, there’s only one thing I could do: start climbing again. Sure, it’s hard to get going again, but staying stuck at the bottom isn’t really an option–at least not for long.

I don’t know if there is an actual top to the hill, but it’s the climb that we should be proud of, anyway–the trying, the stumbling, the trying again. Eventually, the slope will lessen and a plateau will be reached–somewhere that will provide a beautiful view, a place where we can look back on our journey and be satisfied with our perseverance. There will be other climbs, but hopefully we will be stronger when we face them.

Image via Unsplash/Jonathan Bean

It seems natural that the words spoken by that woman have become one of my family’s mantras. Granted, you weren’t there, dodging cars in the sand with us, but I’m sure you can appreciate the meaning she never intended.

Yes, life is full of struggles–they’re part of the climb. Even so, you can’t stop on a hill.

Image via pixabay/tpsdave

Jul 25

The Noble Act of the Dumpster Dive

Think about it, just for a moment. Dumpster diving probably doesn’t conjure up pretty images for most of us. Not for me, either.

The other morning, though, I was needing a little self-TLC, feeling tired and a bit lost, so of course I found myself on youtube, looking up videos of Nigerian Dwarf Goats. What else, right? I watched a few and then I came across a video of a single mom, raising her kids on a farm and supplementing their lifestyle with dumpster diving. Since dumpsters don’t sound like pleasant places to dive, I opted instead for another video of bouncing (literally) baby goats. But that mom and her children and their dumpster trips were still there, along the side of the screen, waiting patiently with all their viewing potential.

jlwaswilson pixabay

Image via pixabay/jlwaswilson

Hmm, baby goats? Dumpsters? Baby goats? Dumpsters?

Okay, I’ll bite, I thought. So, I watched, ready to cover my eyes if the woman started sifting among messy, smelly dumpsters. Instead, what I found was a sweet young mom, raising her family on a farm in the midwest, spending her day feeding chickens and ducks with the help of her kids, going over homeschool lessons, pushing them on swings and sharing quiet laughter. It all looked pretty peaceful, to be honest. Sure, there were piles of clothing on her furniture and clutter in the corners of her rooms. She’s a single parent of four. I’m a co-parent of three and there are days when I wonder what the Health Department would have to say about our house. Still, she had yet to take her viewers on a dumpster tour, so I wasn’t sold on anything.

I didn’t have to wait for long. The woman broached the topic by mentioning she’d recently picked up some coffee from a dumpster, saying the package had been resting on the top–sealed, uncontaminated. Still, my stomach waited, threatening to turn. I don’t drink coffee (caffeine doesn’t like me), so this remained safely-distant territory.

Glen Carrie

Image via pixabay/Glen Carrie

No coffee for me. Definitely no dumpster coffee for me.

Cue the next scene: the woman parked beside a dumpster outside of a craft store, pulled out one of those long, reachy, grabby things (sorry–dysnomia moment), and got to work. Instead of extracting an item that looked like it was ready to crawl from a lagoon, she pulled out package after package of…craft supplies, each one perfectly sealed and clean as could be. On another stop, she found brand-new toys and, later, games, and books. All these items–the ones she plucked from the dumpsters–were fine. Better than fine. If someone had put them back on the racks inside the store, I suppose anyone would have bought them. Instead, for whatever reason, these items had been tossed into a dumpster and were destined for a landfill.

I started thinking: if I were in this woman’s shoes (she also found a pair of unused shoes in her size, by the way), would I do this? Well, maybe I’d cross state lines first, but…. Really, though, who am I to judge her? Pride is stupid. It’s useless. So, what is this woman doing? She’s going around pride. She’s doing the best she can for her family, simple as that.

I am not a single parent of four, but I do know something about having to struggle with finances. So many of us do, don’t we? Times are tough and people’s salaries aren’t necessarily keeping up with the demands. My husband is talented at what he does, but his paycheck doesn’t always reflect this as much as we might wish. I, on the other hand, have gone from being a stay-at-home mom for a decade and a half, to working 30 hours a week and writing on the side, to dealing with health issues that have me home again and looking for a work-from-home situation, which hasn’t shown itself on the map yet. So, yes, we are financially stressed and, no, I don’t usually treat my kids to many extras, unless it’s to celebrate a birthday or a holiday or an end-of-year reward for good grades. That said, my kids are fine. They’re happy and healthy and I couldn’t be more grateful. They understand there are limits to the things we can afford, but not to love.Ben Kerckx

Image via pixabay/Ben Kerckx

Love? Priceless

I have to confess, since watching a couple of these videos, I haven’t dived into any dumpsters. Yet, this woman still has me thinking. There are ways to provide for ourselves and our families outside of what might be considered the norm. Should there be shame in that? I’ve been trying to shift my family’s lifestyle into a homesteading one–keeping chickens, growing our own herbs and vegetables, making soaps and other personal care items. I began it to help us live a healthier lifestyle, but I love the self-sufficiency of it just as much. Dumpster diving doesn’t completely jibe with my view, since I’m trying to streamline our lifestyle, minimalizing things we have around the house and don’t need, but then again, what if a dumpster somewhere contains a nice, clean, unbroken version of something we DO need? If you never seek, how can you find? Reduce,reuse, recycle, dive? Maybe that ought to be the new-and-improved way to provide for your family, while *bonus* helping to protect the environment?

Brooklyn Morgan

Image via pixabay/Brooklyn Morgan

Reduce, reuse, recycle, DIVE?

All I can say, is after watching that mom doing the best she could to make her family’s life better, working within what was available to her, I didn’t feel the least bit judgy. I felt ashamed, in fact, of the way I’d reacted when I first saw the headline to her video. Eww, dumpsters had changed to something else. This woman had shared a glimpse of her life and, afterward, I wanted to shake her gloved hand, maybe even peek with her into the next dumpster she visited.

So, I did something–took a very, very small step. I clicked “Subscribe.” Like I said, it’s not much. Maybe, though, it’s a move toward something bigger, a change in perspective. I just can’t help thinking there might be some important lessons to be learned from a woman who is noble enough do dive into dumpsters for the sake of her loved ones.


Jun 14

The Parent Files: Parenthood Bloopers

Today, I’m delving into one of my areas of expertise: parenthood bloopers.

Come on, admit it.  If you’re a parent, aunt/uncle, babysitter, etc., you’ve been there, haven’t you?  I sure have.

Here are some of my many, many blooper moments as a parent:


Drew Hays

Image via Unsplash/Drew Hays

I’ll start with my oldest child.  When he was a toddler, he used to walk around singing the lyrics to one of his favorite songs.  No “I’m a Little Teapot” for him, though.  Our little guy could barely talk, but it didn’t stop him from belting out, “Rox–anne, you don’t have to turn on the red light…”  Maybe it wasn’t the optimal choice of music to share with him, but Sting would be so proud.


Later, when my oldest was maybe four or five years old, he was playing outside with some neighborhood friends.  Apparently, everyone was hot and thirsty, so being the nice host that he was, he went into our garage to get some drinks from the fridge.  We must have been out of juice boxes, because the next thing we knew, he was handing out a round of beers.


Both my older and younger sons were active as little ones; I used to say during my older son’s toddlerhood that he only stopped moving when he was asleep.  His younger brother was, instead, notorious for climbing.  I once left him playing with some toys on the floor of our dining room, while I dashed into the kitchen.  I was gone for a only a minute or so, but I came back to find he’d vanished.  His toys were there, but he sure wasn’t.  I ran around the main floor of our house, calling his name, and when I made it back to where I’d started, a little voice greeted me, saying, “I up here, Mommmy.”  There he was, at eye level, sitting on the top shelf of our baker’s rack.  


This same son (my second) once got his head stuck between the “bars” along the back of our old rattan sofa.  I was on the phone with a friend and he was sitting right next to me–one minute he was playing with the cushions; the next, he’d pushed his head through the frame.  I nearly had to turn the sofa upside down to get him out.  Did I mention I found my first gray hair shortly after he learned to crawl?

Brian Mann

Image via Unsplash/Brian Mann


Turns out girls aren’t any easier.  Years ago, I was again on the phone (I really didn’t talk on the phone that much), when a police officer showed up at my door.  He told me someone from my home had called 9-1-1.  I was so embarrassed and couldn’t understand what had happened, since my one-year old daughter and I were the only ones there.  That was when I remembered having pulled the phone from my daughter’s pudgy little hands before I’d called my friend.  Guess who’d made her very first phone call?  

贝莉儿 NG

Image via Unsplash/贝莉儿 NG
Apparently, this little girl of ours had a thing for technology.  Within a few months of the 9-1-1 call, she was playing with our remote control (guess I hadn’t learned my lesson yet), so what did she do?  Ordered a *naughty* film via pay-per-view, right smack onto our television.  It was a little shocking to turn around and see that Sesame Street had become … something else entirely. I still don’t think the cable company believed me when I tried to explain who’d ordered the film. 


In kindergarten, my daughter repaid me for her earlier adventures by making me a beautiful Mother’s Day card.  On it, she’d written that my favorite food was macaroni and cheese (such a gourmet) and my favorite hobby?  Taking naps.  Almost earned a nomination for Mom of The Year, based on those credentials alone.


Try as you might, the chaos of family life really does get the better of you sometimes.  One day, during a particularly busy moment, I heard someone call out.  Since I was occupied with something, I handled it the way I usually did: held up my hand and said, “Okay, just a second.”  Took me a full minute to realize I was talking to the microwave.  It had beeped and I’d answered.

Krzysztof (Kriss) Szkurlatowski1

Image by (Kriss) Szkurlatowski


The kids are all older now, but parenting is still blooper-friendly.  This past year, while my family and I were staying at a hotel, I got up in the dark and walked straight into the corner of a wall.  Being ever ready to set an excellent example, I dropped the F bomb, loud and clear.  My 9-year old was so disappointed she could only shake her head at me, my thirteen-year old was completely embarrassed (either for me or by me, I’m still not sure which) and my 16-year old thought the whole thing was hilarious.


Still, one of most-notable parenthooding bloopers happened when the kids were younger: at a birthday party for one of my sons, I was trying to feed my infant daughter some pureed butternut squash.  She would often turn her head a few times before she’d finally take a taste and start eating.  This day was no different.  I was talking to family and friends, while my husband held our baby girl, so I could feed her.  After I finally got the first bite into her mouth, my husband started laughing and said, “Do you know what you just did?”  I didn’t, so he filled me in on it.  “You fed me,” he said.  “I kept trying to turn away, but I finally just gave up and ate the squash.”

By Totorosan1 - Own work, Public Domain, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=34481075

By Totorosan1 – Own work, Public Domain, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=34481075

Ah, the joys of parenting.  No one ever said it was easy!  I would love, love, love to hear I’m not alone in my bloopers!  Please feel free to comment and share away with any of your glorious parenting/aunt-or-uncling/babysitting/etc. hiccups!

Remember: “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ Charlie Chaplin

Feb 17

Why I Began My Journey to the Natural Kind of Life

This path first presented itself to me when my children were very young. I’d always loved the natural world and my favorite place to be was outdoors in the fresh air. Still, I thought little about our home’s indoor environment. That all changed the first time I read a list of the toxins people were being exposed to on a daily basis, even within the confines of their homes. Short of tearing down our house and building an eco-friendly structure from the ground up, I decided to start where I could.

Looking around me, I found it made little sense to chase germs from the nooks and crannies of my home with strong, chemical-laden cleaners. I stopped buying these products and switched to making my own cleaners with human-friendly ingredients like vinegar and water, baking soda, lemon juice, or castile soap. I’m still just as pleased with these non-toxic cleansing products today as I was back then. Eventually, I discovered even more complicated cleaners like laundry and dishwasher detergents could be replaced with friendlier substitutes. These, too, joined our household.  More recently, I’ve made the jump into creating personal care and beauty products from natural ingredients and am very excited about this new step.


I love that nearly all of my ingredients are safe enough to eat and even the ones which aren’t are still pure and non-toxic. If you think about it, our skin is our largest organ, so it makes sense that the products to be absorbed by it shouldn’t fill us with poisons.

Though I can’t erase the presence of toxins in my family’s environment, I can certainly limit them. It isn’t always easier to choose the natural alternative, but in my opinion the effort is worthwhile, if only in terms of the peace of mind it brings. Personally, I’m still learning everything I can about how to create a simpler, more natural life. I am grateful to others for sharing what they’ve discovered and I’m more than happy to pass along what I’ve learned.