Sunday, September 23, 2018

Pre-holiday minimalist mindset gut check...

I ended up bringing just a few simple fall touches in, after my recent post.  It feels just right, and not overdone in the least. Wanting that feeling, opposed to the fall craziness I see everywhere, was making me pause. I love that I had to stop and really think about it all before purchasing anything and dragging it home, which is a change I am really embracing these days. And thank you for all the sweet and encouraging comments you guys have been leaving on these posts!  They mean so much to me. 

I've been sharing about becoming minimalist, and how it's changing my life,  and somehow this post feels right in keeping with those thoughts. At least to my way of thinking.  Mainly because if we don't intentionally plan to set out and make changes, we do things the same old way by default.  When you begin making any changes, they force you to evaluate other areas and for me, the holidays are creeping up and I have a whole list of changes I want to make and see made!  I wrote a lifeline blog series, all through last year's holiday season, called "CALM Christmas" and I still go back and read those words sometimes.  They saw me through and pointed the way out of the hole that holidays tend to become!  Last year's holidays were a bit of a challenge for me, for obvious reasons... my daddy had died in October and grief was very fresh.  I found myself taking on EVERY ONE'S happiness as my own personal mission. (Have you ever done this? I'm a people pleaser by nature and I have to fight that like crazy naturally!) I'd no sooner set that self-appointed responsibility back down and remind myself that it wasn't my job, then I would pick it right back up again, and completely ignore my own advice. I'd walk away saddled with everyone's changeable emotions, their every expression and it all felt so heavy I could barely move. 

So, this post is really two parts as I work through and remind my own self of these things.  For the first part... this gut check question literally became my personal shield- "Is this MY problem to solve?"  I had to ask myself  those words, about a million times, especially last December... Most of the time "it" wasn't actually my problem.  If someone's attitude was off... not my problem, even if they had an attitude because of an unmet expectation I was somehow connected with, or something I did or didn't do, or some such. I had to realize that 1.) I will not please everyone no matter how hard I try and because I knew that my intentions are good, I can honestly let myself off the hook here, and 2.) people have control over their own attitudes no matter how I am doing, just like I have to control mine, no matter how others are behaving.  Recognizing that, rather than turning everything back on our own selves is key.  Sadly, I worked my butt off trying to keep all the attitudes around me, all GOOD, and in the end it affected me so much that I struggled to keep my own attitudes afloat.  I had become more of a reflection of those around me, rather than a reflection of Jesus and the reason we were celebrating all of these holidays with family gatherings in the first place.  I had to redirect and re-center my heart again and again as a work in progress.  

For the second part, I began asking myself "Why are we doing this?" What I meant by this question, was to ask and ascertain, whether we were doing something because it was a tradition or because we always did things a certain way... or did we do them because they meant something to us and directed our family and holiday mentalities the way we wanted them to go?  Hint, the wrong answer is, "It won't feel like (insert holiday) if we don't have (insert whatever food, activity, gift, décor, etc.)." 

 I had an epiphany on July 4th this past year.  We were driving home from our very favorite family place in all the world, and it was just us, the Brodeur four pack... and holidays came up. Both my kids started chatting about what they did and didn't like about the holidays and somehow, among many other ah-ha topics, it came out that none of us really liked turkey!  In fact, nobody liked leftovers and one person literally hated the food.  We kind of got to laughing and asking each other why we carry on every holiday the same way... when none of us are crazy about it!?  Suddenly I said, "Hey we can change it... what would EVERYONE like instead?" Immediately they all asked for the same food that they love, a specific activity that has meaning, and that was that.  We decided to change all of it.  It was freeing! Others might be put off by it, but this is my little family and we decided as a group, to make the changes we wanted for our futures! 

What thinking like a minimalist helps, is to begin truly thinking about the whys behind things.  Why we have this, why we keep this, why we use this, etc.  It applies to our mindsets in other areas besides our homes, and possessions, and if we do something without a good reason, we should pause and think about it.  If it doesn't make us our best version of ourselves, improve our quality of life, buoy us to better serve others (especially our family) or propel us to a more lovely way of living or being, it very well could be trapping us in bad habits, mindsets or baggage.

 I could seriously go on and on, but this is something I'm chewing on at present.  My heart is a deep well with what minimalism can and is doing for those who embrace it.  In a world where more is sought, less is appreciated and savored and I don't think that makes anyone truly happy. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts on this.  I know we're a ways away from the holiday season, but it comes a lot faster than we typically realize and I want the right heart going into the months, October through January.  How about you? 


  1. Lovely :) I find myself longing for a simpler home. When I am in such a busy time as now, with any free time I choose to read instead of putting the time into clearing out the stress-inducing clutter. Your home photos are a rest for my eyes! Thanks for sharing them. (P.S. can I ask where you get your beautiful white pencils? I love a good pencil!)

  2. Amen Sasha! My sister & I embrace becoming minimalist and last Christmas I finally said let's stop the gifts. It felt kind of strange because that's what we've done for years but it was so freeing. After the holidays we got together for lunch instead. I'm trying to live what I believe, some days are easier than others. There is no good reason to spend hundreds of dollars on one meal that is consumed in 20 minutes. So glad you found out no one likes turkey before you bought another one. Have a blessed week!

  3. We are flying out to Southern California to visit my in-laws this Thanksgiving, so nothing will be the same for us, and I'm kinda excited about it. It will be so good for my family, and especially my children. I know it's crazy, but I've already started thinking about not getting a big tree for Christmas, just a smaller one, and maybe just do lights with no ornaments. Just simple....Thanks for a great and eye opening post!!

  4. I love your way of thimking, can so relate, and need the reminders. We started Thanksgiving at a local restaurant years ago when our oldest daughter (now 33) was a freshman in college. She had asked if some friends could come for the holiday and we just decided to eat out. We all enjoyed it so much more than turkey at home, it has become our new tradition. We come home for homemade pie and ice cream, although there have been a couple of busy years I even bought the pies at our local Village Inn. It helps to talk with family and make changes when it's better for the family.

  5. I would love to see your kids rooms and how you organize and what it looks like on an ordinary day.

  6. Another great post, Sasha. The holidays can be so fraught with expectations (premeditated disappointments) and taking time to discuss what best serves you & your house is such a good idea. I honestly love the sides far more than the turkey/ham/roast beef and someday hope to get rid of them all together. ;) We're trying something new this year & after the Thanksgiving family dinner we're headed downtown so we'll be there for the parade. Seemed like a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season and was a great reason not to host (something I don't enjoy as much anymore.) I'll make up some of our favorite side dishes to eat over the weekend and call it good enough. We're all more excited than we have been in ages for the weekend. Redirect and recenter are fantastic reminders.

  7. Sasha - I am absolutely LOVING all your posts on being a minimalist. Have you considered writing a book? I would LOVE to have all this information in a book!!!! We are empty nesters and are planning on downsizing and building a house next year, so I am trying to gather all the information I can get. Thank you for sharing :-) Karen -