Leaving Nashville

Dearest Nashville

The time has come for us to say goodbye.  You’ve been good to me the last four years and I feel a twinge of sadness that we are parting ways. 

I will miss . . .

Hot, sunny summers

Your greenways and trails

Live music playing at every restaurant

The Farmers who have fed me

Driving across the bridge over Percy Priest Lake

The lovely people I’ve gotten to know

12 South and its fun places to eat

Hanging out with Bob, Judi, Kayli, Poli, and Durango





I will not miss . . .

Your traffic jams

Hurtling across five lanes of traffic on I-40 to get on 440

The way you shut down when it might snow

The variety and size of your insects

Being here has been good for me.  Even though moving here on my own was a major Naked on the Tundra decision, I’ve learned a lot about myself, what I want from life, and had the opportunity to meet so many great people. 

And so I’m leaving, going on to the next thing, a new Naked on the Tundra adventure.  Thank you for everything, Nashville!  Don’t be surprised if I’m back again before too long for a visit!

Weekend Listening

It’s Friday night and I should be doing something really exciting, but I’m not.  After playing ball with Hannah after work, doing dishes, and cleaning up the kitchen, I’m pretty much ready to call it a day.  Even though I still really look forward to Friday and am typically in a great mood all day, it’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to go out and do anything on a Friday night. 

So what do I do when I spend so much time at home?  Lately I’ve been listening to two different podcasts.  The first is from The Minimalists, Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.  Josh and Ryan take questions from postcards, posts on social media, and on their voicemail, and cover a variety of topics from decluttering to education to relationships.  What I enjoy about their show, aside from their humor, is that they help me to examine not just the stuff in my life, but every aspect of my life.  They’ve taught me to ask whether the things I own, the way I spend my time, and the people I have around me add value to my life.  When I look at life through that lens, I’m much more conscious about what I buy and bring into my home, what fills up my day, and whether the people in my life are healthy or toxic. 

The other is Budgets and Cents, by Cait Flanders of Blonde on a Budget and Carrie Smith at Careful Cents.  Cait started her blog after deciding to go on a year long shopping ban.  What’s pretty amazing is that on her one year anniversary, instead of going crazy and spending all kinds of money to make up for that year of deprivation, she decided to go another year.  The side benefit of all that ‘suffering’ is that she’s been able to freelance and be her own boss, travel to all kinds of places, and save a ton of money.  When I heard she was partnering with someone to do a podcast, I just had to check it out.  What I enjoy about Cait and Carrie’s podcast is that they are so honest – they are not afraid to talk about what made them change their lifestyle.

If you’re buried in snow, stuck inside because of rain, or need something to listen to while you’re outside taking a walk or a jog, I wholeheartedly recommend listening to both of these.

If you’re interested in the saga of my kitchen, this is what I came home to yesterday.

Drying Machine

It was really loud, but it did suck some of the water out of the room because there were a few inches in a bucket when I woke up.  It was gone when I came home tonight.  No word on when the hole in the ceiling might be fixed, but I’m sure it will happen soon.  Soon. 

The Art of Simple, The Non-Consumer Advocate, and Hands Free Mama

Fall Reads

After being out of town this week and spending the day catching up on laundry, errands, and work, my brain has requested a holiday so instead of sharing stuff I’ve been thinking about, I am sharing some of my favorite bloggers. 

All three of these women are interesting, funny, and say things that get me at my core. If you’ve got a few minutes to relax today, I encourage you to check out what they have to say.

Tsh Oxenreider: The Art of Simple

Tsh is the author of Notes from a Blue Bike, One Bite at a Time, andOrganized Simplicity. She also records a podcast called The Simple Show, which was a New & Noteworthy podcast in iTunes.

The Art of Simple has been mentioned on Apartment Therapy, HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens, Food Network, CNBC, CNN, NPR, Parents magazine, Real Simple magazine, and more. Tsh is also an advocate for Compassion International, is a contributor at (in)courage, and has spoken at various events around the world. But she’d still rather be snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef with her kids or puttering around her own backyard with a beer in hand.

Katy Wolk-Stanley: The Non-Consumer Advocate

My name is Katy Wolk-Stanley and I am the “Non-Consumer Advocate.” By this I mean that I am here to help people learn to live on less, and to do so in a way that lessens their environmental impact. I define myself not by my purchases, but by my goals and actions. I am a library patron, leftovers technician, Goodwill enthusiast, utility bill scholar, labor and delivery nurse, laundry hanger-upper, mother and citizen.

I don’t buy anything new. I have decided to challenge myself with being part of “The Compact,” which is a movement of people all over the world who are choosing to think outside of the “big box” and buy nothing new. This does not mean that I am filling my house with lots of used stuff, it has mostly meant that I am buying very little at all. I do have a few personal exceptions to the compact though.

I am also an advocate to help people learn to live on as little income as possible. Whether this means being able to sock away massive savings, or simply to have the freedom to work in a fulfilling but low paying  job. By making a choice to live this way, I have been able to work only part time for years as a labor and delivery RN, even when my husband was in school full time.

Since starting with “The Compact” in January 2007 I have worked very hard to de-clutter my house and this has very much helped me see how the mass of objects weighs a person down. Is my house clutter free now? Umm . . . . Not quite, but I no longer spend such a huge amount of time keeping the house up. Having friends and family over (or even houseguests) is no longer the anxiety producing event that it once was.

My journey to live well on less and to not buy new is far from over. I am constantly learning new ways to support my goals. I look forward to sharing my insights and foibles with you. I also look forward to hearing ideas and inspiration from my readers.

Rachel Macy Stafford:  Hands Free Mama

Hello. I’m Rachel. To know me is to know my personal list of what really matters

*My daughters matter. My older daughter is 11. She is my brown-eyed girl with an enormous heart. I learned what matters in life by watching her walk right up to the suffering and extend her hand. “Because when you have the important things in life—like love, faith, and family—there is nothing you own that you can’t give away.” I penned those words by watching my older daughter live. My younger daughter is 8. She is my Noticer. She remembers where I parked the car and often leads me by the hand to the right spot. She notices friends’ new hairstyles and gorgeous sunsets before anyone else. She looks for the child struggling to sharpen his pencil or the one who’s off in the corner alone. She hops right up to offer her assistance. That’s probably what I love most about her noticing gift—she doesn’t just notice things, she notices emotion. Her way of life inspired these words: “We are all just waiting for someone to notice—notice our pain, notice our scars, notice our fear, notice our joy, notice our triumphs, notice our courage. And the one who notices is a rare and beautiful gift.”

 *My husband matters. He provides me with the grace and love that I freely give others, but often neglect to give myself. His love constantly reminds me of the beauty inside me.  I am certain that his love has added an extra ten years to my life.

*Writing matters. My second grade teacher, Ms. Paluska, led me into the world of writing and it has been home to me ever since. Writing for others is my joy. My favorite gift to give someone is a note or a poem that highlights the best qualities about that person. I am humbled (and touched) when someone tells me they have saved every note that I have ever written them.

*Teaching matters. Before I was a mom, I was a teacher to special education students. I can still remember all their names and wish I could see how each one turned out. I love sharing information in creative and inspiring ways to those who want to receive it.

*Encouraging others matters, probably because so many people have encouraged me in my life. I remember the name of every person who encouraged me to publish my works so that as many people as possible could read my words.

*Recognizing angels matters. I strive to notice the angels that come into my life when I need them, and then later telling them about it. Every single day, I want to be somebody’s angel.

*Faith matters. I have faith that there is plan for my life. In this case, I believe that God chose me to have a revelation about how I want to spend my days here on this earth.  And it is because of my faith that I understand why God chose me. I was chosen to tell this story because of what really matters to me. Being a mother, a wife, a writer, a teacher, and an encourager has prepared me to show others how to let go of their own daily distractions and grasp what really matters.  Maybe through this blog, I can even become somebody’s angel.

Which brings me to my last and most recent item that really matters to me…

*Being Hands Free matters.  Before, I was holding on to the wrong things and missing out on life.  Finally, I am holding on to what matters, and it has given my life new meaning. Come on and join me; grasp what really matters to you and then start living.