Tag Archive | simplicity


Jizo 9[Today is halfway through National Novel Writing Month! So hopefully I’m near or have surpassed the 25,000-word mark at this point on my novel. As I’ve explained before, I’ve prewritten my blogs during November so as to focus on my writing.]

Thanksgiving is just around the corner so I wanted to tell how we approach the holiday.  I didn’t used to care for Thanksgiving that much; the holiday always felt over-stuffed with food, people, and television – more excess than enjoyment. Our efforts to have a more relaxed holiday have become a lot easier since we started hosting the Thanksgiving feast ourselves, with a much lower-key festivity focused just on our own family. Our morning typically starts out with the children going outside to find the perfect Thanksgiving branch. We set this upright in a vase weighted with stones and marbles and then settle in to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, with construction paper, scissors, and thread at hand.

Each of us cuts leaf shapes out of the construction paper and writes on each leaf things for which we are grateful: each other, the food we will share, the house we live in, the love and peace we know, our good health. We use thread and tape to attach the leaves to the Thanksgiving branch. Casually, we begin preparing our food; since we have a completely vegetarian feast and separate out the bulk of the desserts for the following day, there is no need to rise early for frantic cooking. Continue reading


Jizo 17[Happy November! It’s the first day of National Novel Writing Month, popularly referred to as NaNoWriMo. As I plan to participate in the awesome craziness of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, I have prewritten my blogs for November and loaded them to automatically post on the appropriate days. So they are not as immediately relevant to my life as prior blogs have been; however, they are just as true reflections. Enjoy and if you’re a fellow Wrimo – happy noveling!]

With the arrival of colder weather and the typical interpretation of Thanksgiving and Christmas as feasts, November always seems to me to begin a winter season that resolves around food. Therefore I will be diverging this month from the spiritual into some discussions about food. Of course, everything is interconnected, so there is actually a great deal of the spiritual in food.

One of my favorite cookbooks is More-with-Less. It is not a fancy cookbook; it’s certainly not as exciting as any of those written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. But when our kids move out, I will be giving each of them their very own copy of the More-with-Less Cookbook, something my son has already asked for because he’s leaned to do a lot of cooking from that unassuming little book, filled with Mennonite simplicity and big-family efficiency. The book offers more than just a wonderful homemade alternative to Bisquick, which can be used to make the very best pancakes and biscuits, more than just filling casseroles and stews. It contains quite a lot of thought-provoking text about how we can make our diets more reflective of the world reality, which is that most people live in state of not having enough to meet their needs. Its sister books, Extending the Table and Simply in Season, continue that conversation with advice on how we can bend our diets to match the realities of the natural cycle, rather than bending the entire world to meet our every culinary whim. Continue reading