Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

One Thing Principle: Use What You Have

One Thing Principle: Use What You Have
In thinking about the One Thing Principle, I recalled my experience as a missionary in Morocco.

Missionaries come from the first world, but many of them live in the second or third world. In other words, they know what they’re missing.

What that means is that they cherish any little token of home that they can’t run down to the local shop to buy.

So for instance, when someone sends a can of oatmeal, that baby is meted out in teaspoons to be sure none is wasted. You won’t find left over oatmeal sitting in a pan congealing until it’s scooped into the garbage pail at the end of the day. By golly, that oatmeal will be eaten right away or stirred into oatmeal bread dough to be eaten later.

Likewise, a few tubes of fabric paint will be used until they are dried up and rinsed out with water for the final residue of color.

Books in English are passed around through the “missionary lending library” (meaning traveling missionaries will schlep books in their bags from city to city via the “missionary trade route” to be sure that everyone gets a chance to read the great books that they can’t get in their towns).

One Thing Principle: Use What You Have

How does all this apply to the One Thing Principle?

What I discovered on the field is that we milked “one thing” for all of its value. We didn’t simply taste it and rush off to the next thing. One of my missionary friends shared with me that she used one book of crafts for six months with her kids. They did every single project in the book. That was the only book they had! Have you ever done that?

Think about how much fun it would be to actually use the books we already own, to follow each page and not flit away to the next idea before thoroughly enjoying the one in front of us?

If we have a problem in America, it’s that we have an abundance of good ideas and materials clamoring for our attention all the time. That means we never quite delve all the way into what we already have.

So for the next few months, think like a missionary. What Brave Writer-y thing have you already got in your home that you can thoroughly use up before moving on to the next thing?

My suggestion: Do that!

P.S. The One Thing Principle is a great remedy for times of overwhelm as well, as explained in this broadcast

Decluttering the Mind

Becoming Minimalist quote to craft the life you want

I spent an afternoon reordering the basement. We threw away huge black bags of accumulated junk, stored loose toys in large bins, hauled white bags of give aways to the back of my van, and moved furniture around to make more space.

My daughter is moving into our old office (the one Jon and I have shared since we moved here) because there is just not enough space for two females in the same bedroom. Her younger sister is rejoicing since she is the neat freak of the two. Jon will install his computer upstairs for now, and I will work at a table in what we call our “art room” (former dining room hung with all my favorite art prints).

As we threw things away, I noticed that I created more than physical space for things. Even my mind became clearer, freer. I could imagine possibilities for the spaces as they became empty of miscellaneous papers, books, chipped plates, old paint cans, dress up clothes, and puzzle pieces.

Sometimes in our rush to plan for the school year, we work in a cluttered mental space. We have lots of voices telling us what to do that will be more, better, and different with our kids. Those ideas pile up like so many old books. Bits and pieces of good ideas are scattered across the floors of our imaginations. We stand in the middle and feel helpless to pick between them.

Decluttering the Mind

Declutter your mind this week.

Go back to a few principles and then discard the clutter of what other people are doing.

  • Live a writing lifestyle, not a curricula.
  • Listen to your children.
  • Read good books.
  • Don’t give up. Whatever you do counts.
  • Enjoy writing. If it causes pain, stop.
  • Spend more time with your kids and less time online talking about them. (Ouch – I can benefit from this one right about now!)
  • Offer your children beautiful ideas so that they have something to dream about.
  • Joy is the best teacher so foster a joyful home.
  • Drink tea and eat cookies every week.

Keep reading for more encouragement for simplifying and the One Thing Principle.