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Coming Clean

Dear Reader,

This is my last post. No snazzy picture. No clever quote. No tags.

Just me and my words.

Let me begin by saying that I am so grateful for all of you. Strangers, mostly. A few, distant friends through blog comments and emails – physical strangers nonetheless. Yet I am still grateful for you. Thank you for sharing this part of my journey.

You walked with me at a time when I really needed company. You shared words of encouragement. You helped me get more bold about putting myself out there. I had not realized just how fearful I had chosen to be before I started to post. I felt the need to express myself, but I held back some pretty important information. When I look back at my posts, I see just how guarded I was. How fearful, insecure, and cautious.

Before my thoughts became words, I anticipated negativity and criticism. So afraid that someone would see all the holes in my logic or disagree with my life choices. Someone I love very much helped me give this a name: Preemptive Defensiveness. In being guarded and fearful about what strangers might think about my life choices, I didn’t give them a chance to see me, my family, or my god. I didn’t give myself a chance to be open and honest with group of people I would probably never meet in person.  I wrote with chains I chose to wear.

This is how I’ve lived my life for over thirty years.

But lately, things have been different. Very different. So different that my path is brighter, my soul feels lighter, and my life in general feels more full of purpose than ever before.

I’m going to tell you two things without apologizing. Please don’t take this the wrong way but I don’t care what you think.

1) I have been in a committed relationship with a brilliant, beautiful man for over fifteen years. After all this time, I’m still crazy about him. I wake up every day profoundly grateful that we are still together after all these years. He is my rock. Our relationship is…legally (and culturally) complicated.

2) I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe in His message of love. I believe he was the son of God, that He came to fulfill his purpose, performed miracles, was crucified for his radical beliefs, and I honestly believe he rose again.

I’m taking baby steps on a path of unashamed personal truth. I tread carefully. When I put my foot down, I find firm ground beneath my feet, light on my once-dim path, and voices of love and acceptance. So I take more steps.

And this is where we part ways, friendly strangers. I’m headed somewhere. Call it a spirit quest. When I get there, I’ll have things to share. Stories to tell. Stories about telling my story. If you’d like me to give you a shout out from wherever it is I’m headed, just leave a comment with your email address. It won’t publish. Only I will see it and I promise to never share your email with anyone.

Thank you.

Love,

Ginny

PS I want to extend a special thanks to a group of women who have encouraged me along the way, took the time to leave the most comments (gotta love WordPress stats!), and inspired me with their writing:

Nancy, B, Kathy, Rose, Muhala, thank you. Thank you for being so supportive. You are beautiful beyond words. You are my favorite strangers. 🙂

 

 

 

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Not Today Boys

Not Today Boys

So there I was.
Standing on the edge.
Feet scuffling pebbles
into the abyss below.
One shift.
One tiny shift in weight
and I would fall.

My life is not a movie.
There would be no
superhero to catch me.
No resilient awning
to bounce me back.
Just the hard, cold surface
of rock bottom.

In a way,
it called to me.
So much easier to fall than to fight.
I could lose myself…
and gain nothing.

In the not too distant past,
I would have let myself slip;
welcoming the familiar
pain and self-satisfaction
of mini-martyrdom.
As if falling into self-pity
was somehow noble,
wise,
deserving.

But today,
I am different.
I step back,
hug myself,
thank God for all the good in my life,
and walk away from the edge.
As my heart proudly whispers
“Not today boys.
Not today…”

This is a part of my “I can write/post whatever I want” freedom. Self-pity is a pit. A deep, dark pit of unnecessary negativity. I don’t step away from the edge every time but it sure feels great when I do. Do you know this edge? Have you heard the endless echo of the rocks falling beneath you into the darkness? What did you do? What stories do you tell yourself to back away from it? What stories do you keep in your heart to keep away from the edge altogether?

I’m not asking because I’m trying to get you to leave a comment (and therefore make my blog look more appealing). Please leave one if you have something to offer. I’m new to this kind of self-awareness. I’m mostly just curious about how other people stay sane. 🙂

As always, I’m grateful for your time. I’m grateful that you read my words. Sincerely. Namaste, my friend.

Love and Light,

Ginny

Growing Pains

I cannot believe how difficult it is to actually write this. I’ve had a post screaming in my  head for days now. Like a loud, beautiful piece of music that won’t go away until I DO something about it. So here I am and you know what I hear in my head? Nothing. Silence.

Whatever. I’m doing this anyway.

When I started writing and posting on my blog last year, my intention was to build something from which I could eventually figure out a way to monetize. I was in love with the idea of minimalism. I read stories from other minimalists who made money from writing about getting rid of their junk and I thought “Hey, I can do that. I love writing and I love getting rid of stuff.” Instant, easy, awesomness, right?

The more I wrote, the more I wanted people to read (and like and comment on) what I wrote. I needed that daily dopamine fix. I sacrificed sleep and time with “real” people in my life to get that little rush of feel good. My WordPress app on my phone became my lifeline to how many people had actually read and decided to follow my blog. As the readership increased, so did the time I spent on my blog and reading other blogs.

Looking back I see it now: I had become a blog junkie.

Then something happened that I could never have predicted. Ever. In a million fear-filled years of my life.

First, I took this set of pictures for The Closet Countdown project:

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This is where my life ended and began with a rather innocent thought. Something deep inside me bubbled to the surface. Ancient. Powerful. Dangerous. Here goes…I thought that I actually looked pretty in these pictures. I felt pretty. For two whole seconds I tasted that freedom that only comes from self-love and fearless living. I even attempted to write about it here  in a post about the morning after The Closet Countdown ended. Then Nancy (please go check out her awesome blog My Year[s] of Sweat if you haven’t already) posted a comment pointing out how I had grown in confidence since I started my little experiment.

A perfect spiritual storm poured down. It broke me. And inside I began to walk a new road.

It was beautiful and horrible all at the same time. Beautiful because I needed to begin to learn to like myself. Horrible because I was so afraid…

Writing and posting and commenting and responding to comments began to seem distasteful in a way that I could not explain. So I gave myself permission to quit. I used my time to dig deep. To learn to say loving things to myself. To forgive. To dream. To love. I found so many beautiful things hiding under a lifetime of fear and self-loathing.

The result has been nothing short of amazing. I will tell you more about it. But not today. Maybe not even tomorrow. But I will. Not because I feel like I have to. But because I want to.

I make no promises about this blog . I can’t afford to right now. That means I may not even respond to your wonderful comments. I may not read or follow your blog – even if you read or follow mine. However, I do promise to send sunshine your way. I’m not doing this to make money. I’m doing this to increase the light in the world. Simple but true.

If you are still reading, I am most grateful. It is not quite the rush that it once was but it adds joy to my day to know that someone read and enjoyed what I wrote. I’m fascinated by the connection we make as writer to reader…

Here is my sunshine for you today:

I wish you warm, beautiful light. The kind that fills your heart and makes you want to make the world a better place. I wish this for you with my whole heart…

Love and Light,

Ginny

Sarong Series: Tied Long Skirt

20130905-054258.jpgIn my quest for simplicity, I have yet to find anything as versatile or vital to my minimalist style than a sarong. With a few simple changes, the sarong (also known as a pareo) adds color, personality, and perfect functionality to any woman’s wardrobe. Rarely do I ever leave the house without at least one tucked in my bag or draped as a scarf.

In the Sarong Series, we will explore some creative ways to wear what is essentially a large, lightweight, fringed piece of fabric.

Let’s begin with an easy and fun way to wear a sarong: The Tied Long Skirt. It looks great tied in the front and to the side. Personally, I prefer the side tie. It tends to stay “out of the way” while I go about my daily activities a little better than a knot tied in front. Though either way looks flattering on a female figure. 🙂 You will find instructions for both styles below.

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Average Sarong Size Measurements:
Width: Approx 46 inches (117 cm)
Length (including fringe): Approx 66 inches (168 cm)

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Step One:
Place sarong behind you while holding opposite corners on the longest side.

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Step Two:
Fold over body and connect to the side or the front.

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Step Three:
Tie the two ends together until sarong is secure against the body (waist or lower hip is fine).*

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*At this point, you may want to leave it with the ends hanging in a nice drape. Though it will be more secure if you continue on…

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Step Four:
Take the two ends and tie them again in the same place to secure position. Let ends fall in a nice drape at the newly formed knot.

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Step Five:
Saunter through your day in the cool comfort of a light but long skirt!

If you’d like to see some other examples of how I wear my sarong, please check out The Closet Countdown Page.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you found the Sarong Series: Tied Long Skirt easy to follow. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. I’m super happy to help!

Cheers,

G

Quest Recipe: Super Easy Salsa

130Amazing Ann’s Easy Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1 Can Ro-Tel Mexican Diced Tomatoes with Lime Juice and Cilantro (Drained)
  • 1 Can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic (Drained)
  • 1 Can Diced Mexican Style Tomatoes (Drained)
  • 1 Small Can Diced Green Chiles
  • 1/4 Regular White Onion
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove
  • 1 Cup Cilantro (no need to chop it up, just hack off a chunk from the bunch)

Instructions:

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend/process until the salsa looks the way you want it to look.  Add salt if you think you need to. I love salt and I don’t add it. But it’s your mouth. Your taste buds. You do whatever.

Pour into a bowl. Put some chips nearby. Watch it disappear. It’s even yummier when you heat it up. Warm salsa…yum!

Make sure to recycle your cans (or tins if you call them that).

Ginny’s Personal Notes: I would consider this salsa on the “Medium” side of spiciness. I like the kick. The more I seek and appreciate the minimalist lifestyle, the more I can appreciate recipes like this one. Simple yet amazing. Like life should be.

Many thanks to Ann (pictured above in the red top) for this recipe. She really is amazing…

If you try it, please let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Cheers to you and happy eating!

The Closet Countdown: Day 2

20130702-220937.jpgAs I reflect on the day, Slush in hand, I feel…peaceful, content, happy…

A rare cool front made a welcomed appearance in what is shaping up to be another brutal summer. Went for another walk/run. Spent a peaceful morning with my favorite man on the planet and a strong cup of coffee. I wore the same tank top from yesterday and thanks to the cool weather, I think it will make it another day. I ditched the leggings from yesterday and added an athletic skort for my slow run.

My black top (polyester/spandex blend) from yesterday went well with the skort and to prevent snags while doing various projects, I wore an old Starbucks apron. It’s a great, sturdy canvas and I choose it over my grandmother’s more delicate, pretty aprons almost every day. What a great way to preserve clothes.

On a podcast about minimalism, I heard a seasoned minimalist traveler say he would put his clothes on the shower floor to keep them fresh between washings. “Just stomp on them a bit while using soap/shampoo, give them a rinse, and hang them to dry.” I tried it about a year ago and found that my clothes did not dry very quickly. Earlier this year, I read a travel blog about how to hand wash. They said to roll the clothes in a towel and squish it. Then hang it to dry. That seemed to do the trick when I tried it and my clothes dried much faster. (please forgive me for not including links, I do not remember the sources at all)

So today, after a lot of hard work and sweat, I let my clothes take a shower with me. I’m trying to keep it simple so I just stomped, rinsed, rolled, and hung them to dry.

It’s only the second day of The Closet Countdown. The adventure in minimalism is still new and beautiful. I won’t promise that will post every day but I promise to try.

Thank you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my words. May you find something useful for your journey.  Cheers!

One Lovely Blog Award

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Rose at from2to3kids rocks. She nominated My Simplicity Quest for the One Lovely Blog Award. She really does rock. Her blog is a great collection of honest words in her ups and downs as a blooming, dedicated minimalist and in her efforts for baby #3. She’s funny and endearing. Even though I’m not a mama, we are on the same page on a lot of issues. I’m so grateful for the honor she has shown me (thank you Rose!!!!).

Because I’m a fairly new blogger and a curious soul, I did some research on the One Lovely Blog Award and I didn’t really find anything substantial (though I got to read some neat blogs who have received a nomination..). It looks like a structured opportunity to pay it forward. Love it. So, I’m in!

The RULES for accepting the award:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog(s).
  • Post the award image in your acceptance post.
  • List seven random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate others for the award and notify them on their blog.

My 7 random facts about Ginny:

1. Mornings are magic for me.
2. I’m intentionally optimistic.
3. When I was three-years-old, I could speak and understand English, Spanish, and Italian (we came back to The States when I was five and I now I only speak English).
4. I can eat a lot for my size. Seriously. I can really put it away. However, I’m a total lightweight when it comes to drinking. Go figure.
5. I love to encourage people.
6. I’m proud to be a Texan (most of us are).
7. My favorite Terry Pratchett books are Thud, Thief of Time, and Small Gods

All of my nominations are for blogs and writers who reach right in to who I am and encourage me to be a better person. I’ve found beauty and strength in their words and I’m grateful that they do what they do. I tried to write a description for each of them but I really want you to get the joy from clicking on the link and seeing their beauty for yourself. Please check out all of them. They are:

Big Little Living

A conversation over coffee

The Snazzy Turtle

Lauren Sapala

Being Black and Minimalist

Quest Recipe: Easy Adult Slush

My Simplicity Quest is about enjoying the journey. Some of my experiments in minimalism take place in the kitchen. I prefer easy recipes that require few ingredients. My Easy Adult Slush has two ingredients, tastes amazing, and takes up very little space in a cooler. A girl has got to stay hydrated while moving in the direction of her dreams…

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Quest Recipe: Easy Adult Slush
Ingredients:

  • 1 plastic resealable container of frozen juice concentrate. Any flavor. (I use Welch’s brand.)
  • Alcohol of your choice. (I use tequila)

Instructions:

  1. Make the juice in a separate pitcher according to the instructions on the container. Save the plastic container (no need to rinse it out).
  2. Fill the plastic container two thirds full with the now-made juice.
  3. Fill the rest of the container with alcohol. I love tequila so that’s an automatic choice for me but vodka would work too (or rum or whatever you like).
  4. Reseal the container with the lid and place in the freezer for at least six hours (overnight is best).
  5. When you are in the mood for a cold slushy beverage, just pull out the container and mush it with your hands or spoon. Pour into a cute glass or just drink straight out of the container.
  6. (make sure to recycle the container when it’s time to get rid of it)

Notes:

I’m not usually a huge fan of plastic but in the summer, this recipe is my favorite way to have lake-appropriate beverages on hand. I’m not a huge fan of juice either, actually. But I am a huge fan of tequila and winding down on the weekends. I share the juice and keep the containers. I love how the alcohol keeps the juice from getting rock solid and easy to slush up. Super easy and delicious!

Cheers!

 

The Closet Countdown: T-4 Days

018The official blast off of The Closet Countdown is coming up fast. Now that I’ve dealt with some fear and frustration, I’m ready to think about other aspects of this experiment. I recently wrote about why I’m doing this whole minimalism thing and suddenly all my apprehension and worries faded back. The whole point of doing this minimalism thing is not to get in touch with my inner whiner. It’s to live a deeper life. So I might do some simplifying of my objectives and see if I can pick one goal to work on with all the time I’m buying for myself.

Random Thoughts on Day Four:

  • I’ve decided (thanks to a small patch of poison ivy on my leg) that I’m going to figure out how to keep a pair of pants for yard work. It will probably be my faithful pair of work overalls. Yes. Overalls. I’m just cool like that in the garden…
  • When I unpacked a box full of clothes I’d put up in a previous experiment, I found a few tops I wanted. Had to make some “tough” calls on what to put in the “unchosen” category considering I put tops on my number ten slot.
  • Summer and a love for the outdoors means sweat. Which means I might be doing laundry more often. Might have to experiment with some hand washing for fun.

That’s all for today. Thanks for stopping by!

Minimalist Closet Essentials: Merrell Emery Dress

“Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress.” – Coco Chanel

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This past Spring, Merrell introduced my second favorite dress: the Emery. I snapped one up as soon as soon as I saw it. While my Lily Sleeveless Dress is not as suitable for work, the Emery dress is. My old commute was almost two hours long and I spent a large part of my day indoors. That job actually gave me many opportunities to experiment with my wardrobe. I wanted to see if I could come up with something that would be suitable for both a meeting and a walk in the park. The Emery does that with understated sophistication and comfort.

It looks great with simple, black pumps or flats or another one of my favorites: my Merrell Tetra Launch Boots (keep an eye out for a post about those babies). When the stress of my job started to creep in on me, I would go to my car, grab my casual shoes, and head out to the surrounding area to just walk and clear my head. The Emery is made of a moisture-wicking material so I stayed cool and dry.

The top part fits like a cute, capped sleeved shirt and then the hem falls down almost to my knees in a flowy-ish A-line. Flattering without being too huggy and easy to move in. I would hike mountains in this dress. Might have to try that someday. 🙂

It’s another go-to item for work, play, and travel for the following reasons:

  • Flattering cut/style
  • Comfortable
  • Coordinates well with other articles of clothing
  • Easy to accessorize
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Easy to spot clean
  • Dries quickly
  • Looks great alone or with leggings
  • Opaque material (no need to wear a slip)
  • Versatile style
  • Wearable in all seasons
  • Durable
  • Excellent for travel

As always, thanks for your time. I promise to post more pictures of this dress and the different ways to wear it. While I’m a little conflicted about other items, the Emery is definitely one of the “chosen” for The Closet Countdown. Cheers!

If you’d like to see other pictures, you can check out the Merrell website and Zappos. I think Zappos has better pictures and better reviews.

Please read my Merrell disclaimer here.