5 Fun Ways for Families To Serve Together

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Did you know that making an impact in the lives of other people can be fun?  Often we think that to make a significant impact we must do something on a grand scale or commit a bunch of time and resources to a cause to be effective.

But often some of the greatest impact we can make is in the little day to day things we do, such as helping a neighbor or serving a few hours a week at a shelter or our local hospital.

Impact is impact.  It simply takes making up your mind to live with an impact mindset and then opening your eyes to the opportunities around you.

I love being able to serve in various way, but I especially love when we can serve as a family.  Sometimes it can be difficult to find those opportunities for the whole family to serve, but they are out there.


Here are a couple ways our family serves together:

  1. 5k walk/run events – These are always a fun event for our family.  Since not all of us love to run, we look for the run/walk options so that we can all participate.  The key is to participate in the races where they are supporting and raising funds for a organization that is serving others .  Here are a few our family has participated in:  Wounded Warrior’s, our local Stride For Life event, Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler and other local races for various groups.
  2. Food Bank – When our girls were in middle school we started serving at our area food bank.  I honestly wish I had started sooner with them because it has been such a blessing in our lives.   We help with packing grocery bags and then return the next day to distribute it to the families that have come to pick up food.  I love interacting with the families and having the chance to bless them during their season of struggle just like others blessed us many years ago when we were struggling.  It’s amazing what a friendly voice and warm smile will do to lift your spirits.
  3. Soup Kitchen’s & Homeless Shelters – This year at Thanksgiving and Christmas our family is taking a few days to help serve meals at our local shelter.  A few weeks ago our local shelter put out the word that they were needing help to serve the Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to the shelter residents.  Immediately I thought “What a wonderful way to serve and give back to our community” – so I picked up the phone and signed us up.  Since then, we have had two other families commit to joining us that day.
  4. habitat for humanityHabitat For Humanity Builds –  Habitat for Humanity is a wonderful organization that is meeting real needs in the communities they are based in.  When I was in high school I had several opportunities to help with constructing habitat homes.  The most memorable one for me was when a group from my high school went down to Florida and helped with a week long blitz build.  It was an amazing experience – not only because of the opportunity to see these houses go up, but to meet and work alongside the families these homes would bless.  Head to Habitat’s website and search for a Habitat Affiliate near you.
  5. Local Non-Profits – In almost area there are local non-profits working hard to make a difference in their community.  Whether it’s feeding people, raising money for families battling cancer or providing Kid Care bags to public school children – there is always somewhere that you can find to serve.

What other fun ways has your family found to serve those around you?  Share in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.  Together we can make a difference.  Together we can make an impact that will change someone’s world.


Keeping It Simple,





Are You A Stuff Manager?

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A couple weeks ago I posted this quote to the Simplified Life Facebook page.  Lots of folks agreed and even shared it to their own pages.  Some left comments, but a comment from my cousin caught my attention.  She said – “I’m SO done being a stuff manager.”

And I loved that comment because I think it is so true.  Many of us live our lives being managers of stuff. For some of us it feels like its become its own full time job.

Being a Stuff Manager is stealing the very life from us.

  1. It keeps us from spending time with family and friends.
  2. It robs us of needed time for ourselves to unwind, be refreshed and rejuvenated.
  3. It keeps us from serving and living the life we truly want.

Instead of adding joy, it steals it from our lives and instead ushers in frustration and stress over having to keep up with it all.

So how do you know you’re a stuff manager?  And how do you get free of this self-imposed role? Here are a few things to consider. Read more

Take 15 Minutes

Take 15 minutes

WELCOME!  I am so glad you are here.  Every Wednesday I will be sharing (1) tip to inspire you in leading a simpler life.  It won’t be anything hard or something I haven’t tried myself.  Living a simple life is a conscious choice made up of small steps every day.  So here is our small step for today.

Week #18 – Take 15 Minutes

Remember. Small Steps.  When I first started simplifying our home it was hard to know where to start.  I already knew the areas that needed immediate attention, but, as a whole, it was overwhelming.  So I picked one spot. One place to start and I committed to working on it for at least 15 minutes each day.  While the process could be slow at times, over the course of a few weeks it made a huge difference.  The cool part? Each time I finished an area – no matter how small – it fueled me for tackling the next spot.  So pick one. Just one. And get started.  Maybe it’s the junk drawer; maybe it’s your laundry room or your coat closet.  The point is to start. You can do this! I know you can!    Read more

Returning To Live In Your Parents’ Basement…at 38

Returning ToLive In Your Parents Basement Simplified

You know, I didn’t actually dream of living in my parents basement at the age of 38.  We’ve all heard the jokes of the kids, now adults, who never leave the nest.  But what about those of us who leave the nest, are gone for 20 years and then return?

I will interject at this point that this arrangement is only temporary for our family.  It’s actually part of a larger plan, which is still unfolding.

The funny part is the look on people’s faces when I tell them where we’re living.  I can’t decide if it’s the look of pity or surprise, that fleets quickly across their face, that is most humorous.  Maybe it’s the hesitating questions that follow: Read more

Can You Live a Simplified life and Still Be a Prepper?

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It’s a question I hear more and more these days.  Can you live a Simplified Life and still be a Prepper?

My simple answer: Yes.

By definition, according to Wikipedia: Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle. These may include reducing one’s possessions, generally referred to as Minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency, for example.”

By definition, according to Wikipedia:Preparedness refers to a very concrete research based set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters. These actions can include both physical preparations (such as emergency supplies depots, adapting buildings to survive earthquakes and so on) and trainings for emergency action.”

For our family, living a simplified life and being prepared for emergencies and possible disasters ( weather related or not) is not mutually exclusive but rather a lifestyle that can go hand in hand, if you choose too.

Read more