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My Word for 2014: Simplify

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 Word and Image

Are you one to make New Year’s Resolutions? Do you end up breaking them by the end of the first month? First week? First day?

I don’t make resolutions anymore. Instead I chose my word for 2013: simplify. This word will help guide my goals and life for this year.

Mary Carver wrote the following on (in)courage in explaining the One Word movement.

Choose just one word. 

One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.  

It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it, your one word will shape not only your year, but also you. It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps.  

Discover the big impact one word can make.   

One word. 365 days. A changed life.

 A close up of a flower

I have a friend who has faced downsizing from a 3800 sq. ft. home to an 800 sq. ft. condo because of a financial disaster. I’ve watched her spend months making decisions on what to keep and let go of. Heart wrenching decisions but freeing because the “stuff” is not as important as she imagined.

As I’ve tried to be a friend and help in any way possible during this difficult time I’ve realized that I don’t want to be tied to my “stuff” either. I don’t want it to rule me but rather find its proper place in my life and heart.

As I was tasked with selling my parents home when they went from there to full nursing care overnight practically, I had to make decisions on every belonging from 60 years of marriage and those months were overwhelming to me. It was a difficult time in their life and mine.

One trip to my attic and storage building and I knew what my word for 2014 would be.


I am quite content with my smallish home and thrifted DIY decor. I love our projects and want to make our home work for us and be beautiful as well, just without spending much money.

I want to find ways to incorporate (and continue to discover) my signature style, but with less “stuff.”

I want to keep my husband busy with projects because his honey do list just keeps getting longer!

I want the possessions I keep in my home to have purpose and meaning, not just take up space. 

I want to leave my family a legacy of memories and days spent living life together.

So what does that mean for the blog this year?

With my convictions to simplify my life I already have a few projects in the works:

Reorganize my craft room. When I first shared all the details here I didn’t know how much my life would change when this blog turned into a full time commitment while still homeschooling my two youngest children. The space no longer works well for me and needs some TLC and organization.

Totally redo our master bedroom (which is small like most of the rest of the house) on a small budget. This room has not had any attention paid to it in years! That’s why I’ve never shown it to you here on the blog. I commit to showing the real before and after if you promise not to judge!

Build a deck on the front of house (I know, I know. It’s just a little project. Not.) This may be a project that is contracted out, but you know my DIY hubby will tell you all about the need to know details. We’ve started the process by having 2 enormous trees removed.

Figure out my business/office workspace (which happens to be in the den). I have no vision for this so I hope to share some of the process going from ugly to beautiful and functional (always inexpensively).

On the personal side, I want to share more of our adoption story,  the struggles and joys of parenting adult children and the amazing work God has done in my husband’s heart which has felt like a second honeymoon! I simply want to be more transparent.

What would you like to see more of? I’d love to know what you enjoy about my blog and any questions you want answered. Pretty please?

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  1. Be careful with this word. I have found whatever word I pick, this is where I am challenged during the year. Simplify was my word last year. I ended up planning a wedding in 5 months, getting married, breaking my ankle on the honeymoon, and moving. This year I am hoping that “organize” will be a safer word.

    1. I love your comment, Meagan. It’s kind of like asking God for patience because then you will have opportunities to practice! You sound like you’re ready for the new year to be different than the last! I can totally understand that. Organize is a great word, too!

    2. Your wise comment from a few years back brought me a smile. Some years ago I started insisting I “needed a break.” Yep, I got 4 breaks: 3 broken vertebrae and a fractured wrist that had to be plated, from a bad fall. Choose our words carefully.

      1. Hi, Lauren. Oh, my! You certainly didn’t need that kind of break! I find I have to be careful with the word I choose each year and allow God to guide me. This year He led me to believe, but I thought it was cute I was getting a “two-fer” believe and be. Well, I’ve many health unknowns and continue to struggle and God’s lesson to me is to “be,” one He continues to try and teach me through the years! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have been simplifying and purging possessions for several months now. Through each move we have made, I have gotten rid of “stuff”, and then I started my blog. Oh boy, did I find “projects” to do, or what. Not anymore! I’m taking my blog along a different route now. I’m going minimalist, and sharing my path along the way. That, in itself, seems to be giving me enough to blog about these days. We think we need a lot of “stuff”. However, there is quite a difference between what we “need” and what we “want”! I’m looking forward to seeing what this year brings for you!

    1. Hey, Sue! Minimalist sounds very appealing, but I think I’m somewhere in between hoarder and minimalist! But I’m with you on only having things that we will really honestly use. Good luck with your blog journey!

  3. I thought of “simplify,” but felt that “purge” was more appropriate–getting rid of the things that are not working for me, and keeping only what does–not just “stuff” but also pounds, activities, obligations, etc. If it doesn’t pass the “worthwhile” test, it goes. Looking forward to your journey!

    1. Hi, there, Kirby! Purge is a great word, especially applying to everything else as well. I love throwing pounds, activities and obligations in there, too. Ouch. I’m right there with you, though. You can help hold me accountable, k?

  4. My word is focus. There are so many things to attend to I get scattered. This year I’m going to pare down everything to what is most important and stick with that and get rid of things that aren’t necessary. Wish me luck!

    1. Diana, you will have to tell me more about yourself. You’ve been such a faithful reader and commenter, as well as encourager for me!

      I love the word focus and totally can relate to the distractions. I know the internet is a big one, and yet I fall prey to it when I least expect it. I think priority is a word I need to remember, too. Blessings to both of us on our journey!

  5. Hi Marty,
    Simplify is what I’m trying to do too. And we’ve faced a similar situation to yours and your parents. Here it was my MIL who was 97, lived in senior housing, a widow since 1990. My husband is an only child so we had a lot to go through and not a lot of time, those apartments are in high demand. It’s amazing what she had in those 4 big closets!! Hubs is having a hard time with all this so it’s fallen largely to me. Furniture is mostly in storage, but oh, so much stuff has been here. We also are parenting an adult child (28) with autism. Going to a meeting about addressing needs at 1:00 PM today.

    1. Janet, I’m so sorry for all the difficulties you’re experiencing. I can certainly relate. The decisions and responsibilities can be overwhelming. I homeschooled through all the difficult years we experienced, both with our adopted children and my parents aging process. Blessings to you today!

  6. Love this Marty! Catching up on all your posts and this was one of my favorites! As Ashley from the Handmade Home said….less is the new more. 🙂

    Happy day to you!

    1. Hey, Karianne. You know you’re such a sweetheart to take the time to comment and encourage. I’m looking to get back to my roots of sharing my heart and not just my projects! I’d love if you had time to read this post: https://www.martysmusings.net/2014/01/mandisa-overcomer-2.html It felt so good to incorporate everything I’ve learned about telling a story with pictures and my heart. Thank you for encouraging so many of us! You’re the best! Marty

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