BOOK REVIEW: A SIMPLIFIED LIFE

Going back to working full-time with two children three and under has been a challenge to say the least. Our days start early, sometimes as early as 4 a.m. depending on which boy decides he wants to get up first. Many times my “work day” doesn’t come to a complete stop until I pull into my driveway usually around 6 p.m. after I sit in traffic for about 45 minutes. I don’t know if anyone did that math quick, but that’s on average a 14 hour day, not including dinner and bedtime.


It took me about a week to realize that something was going to have to give if we were going to keep up this lifestyle. I want to preface this by saying that I’m NOT complaining about this in the least. We all make choices and I love both of my jobs. I thrive working in higher education, especially in the digital realm, and I love my family more than anything. But, regardless how much I love both, it is a tiring lifestyle Monday through Friday.


This is when I decided that I needed to simplify, and I mean really simplify. My sweet sister-in-law bought me the book, “Grace not Perfection” (view review here), and that jump started my journey to simplifying my life as well as my families. The second tool in my toolbox was Emily Ley’s second book, “A Simplified Life.” It couldn’t be more obvious to me that I needed to read this book. I bought it immediately.


I have to say that I’m so glad that I did. Much like Emily’s life motto and values, her book is organized in a simplified fashion – 10 easy to follow chapters. Subject matter ranges from simplifying your space, to technology, to hospitality, to motherhood. Each chapter ends with five easy to implement tactics that many can do RIGHT NOW without waiting.


HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE TID-BITS THAT EMILY SHARES:

- Physical clutter is mental clutter. I couldn’t agree more! I hate when I feel like I have “junk” all over the place. It takes up space in our mind more than we even realize.

- Digital clutter is also mental clutter. Looking at your phone with a million notifications, useless apps, and scrolling through contacts you haven’t talked to in years, keeps you from connecting with the people that you’re really trying to find.

- Taking care of yourself matters first and foremost. Logically, I know that. I’m always reminded of what they tell us on the airplane, you must put your mask on before helping others, except practicing that in real life is always a bit more complicated. Emily gives some great tips on how to remove the “frazzle” and take care of yourself first.


- This is one of my favorite quotes from the book, “What a beautifully simple way to approach our faith life. Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God.” To me, this makes sense and makes living out our faith not a “to-do,” but is a representation on how we live.


I could continue on all of the wonderful nuggets of wisdom in Emily’s book, but to me the real power is all the tactical tips that Emily shares on finding the “margin” in life, so you can truly find joy and peace in all of life’s moments that really matter. I’ve personally implemented many of Emily’s tips from how I meal plan, to organizing my pantry, closet, and even my junk drawer. I highly recommend spending some time up front reading this, because it will honestly save you time in the long run.


I hope that I have inspired some of you to read this and maybe join me on this “simplified” journey of motherhood, or even just womanhood in general. I can’t seem to find a reason that I need or anyone for that matter needs 25 pairs of shoes. Think if you only had to look through eight of your favorites and knew right away which one to choose! You would be ahead of the game before stepping out the door.


Cheers! Jenna


THREE ITEMS I’M GRATEFUL FOR:

- A brand-new year. It’s never to late to start a new beginning.

- The in-between moments of life.

- Podcasts – they seriously save me on my commute to work

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