Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Her eyesight is almost gone. Her body shifted and twisted by age. Each month seems to bring  more physical road blocks and further fatigue.

I stand in the kitchen scrubbing specks of dried food off of her salt shaker.

I wipe and scrub and listen.

In the other room there is a soft, high little girl voice mingling with a slower, steady, elderly woman’s voice.

They’re playing babies.

Every other Friday my daughter packs a bag full of her little miniature baby dolls and we head to Wanda’s house.

“What’s your baby’s name?” Wanda inquires


“Al? Isn’t that a boys name?”

“No, Alice,” my daughter speaks just slightly louder.

“Well, I guess if you want, Al can be a girls name.”

I walk by, smile at my daughter, and we both giggle.





The conversation blooms from there with escapades to the grocery store and dollies that Wanda insists need clothing. And comments interjected at random; “What! You be careful you can’t toss your baby around like that. You’ll hurt her!”

As I clean the kitchen I look at the old brown sink with hard water stains and rust. There’s no water softener to lessen the effects of hard country well water. It builds up leaving its trace every point where water touches.

No water softener is just part of her era.

Simplicity and tenacity.

Staring at her sink brings memories of her stories.

When she was newly married and for years after, she lived upstairs in her mother-in-laws house.  She wasn’t allowed to use her mother-in-laws kitchen and so she would cook meals on a hot plate in the upstairs of that old farm house. Tough times.

No children ever graced her home and I know that was heart ache for her.  She has a mother’s heart.

In the 1960’s she weathered a nasty tornado all by herself.  With nowhere to go she chose to hide under the kitchen table. When it was all over all that remained of her house was the kitchen table she was clinging to. The house I clean now is a result of that destructive storm, small and modest ranch, replacing farm house.

Perfect for the years that followed.

As I clean her house I am struck by the sparseness of her belongings.  Wanda hasn’t amassed material goods.  Her lifestyle has always been simple.

It is uncluttered by society’s cry for MORE.

I yearn to learn that more and more. My heart cries out for simplicity. And little by little my hands are putting items in deep boxes and closing the lids. It’s long past time to de-clutter. Little by little my heart is learning to de-clutter from all that I keep shoved in there. What truly is important to hide there? Where are my priorities? What is God calling me to? Little by little my mind is clearing. I know He is calling me. I know what He desires of me if only I am willing to de-clutter, to shove out the unnecessary.

It’s time.

Time to take the time.

Time to focus on the simplistic.

Time to rejoice in the Lord.

Time to fully enjoy my family.

Time to take time to smile, laugh, and enjoy.

Time to take the lessons I’ve learned from an older generation and live to the fullest; with little material wealth, my family close to my heart, and God at the head of all I say, do, and believe.


  1. You write so beautifully! Love this, love Wanda!

  2. Jen,
    I haven't been here in awhile, I'm so sorry. I so identify with you here. God has been dealing with me for the last couple of years of simplifying and it feels like. . .freedom! THe important things feel more important now and feel more real with the clutter of things going away. I wish I had learned this years ago! But better now than never:)

  3. Simplifying is so important, especially in a culture so about excess. As I was reading this post I was hoping there would be a picture of Wanda. Although, I don't know. The picture I have of her in my mind is pretty neat ;)

  4. Such a good post about simplifying in our homes and in our hearts. Love this little tribute to Wanda and about simplicity!

  5. I smiled about the Al-Alice misunderstanding. That's like talking to my grandmother. Every single sentence needs repeating at least twice. Who is Wanda? A neighbor?

  6. I read this post when you first wrote it and am only getting around to commenting now my friend. It is beautiful. How precious that you are taking this time to spend with such a sweet lady. Your girl will only benefit from it, and Wanda is greatly blessed, I am sure! :) And yes...there is something to be said for simplicity of life and heart...yes!! Thank you, Jenn, for sharing...it's a blessing.

    Love to you!

  7. As we start to pack up our lives and start new in a smaller house, it forces me to see what is important and what isn't. It is the perfect opportunity to simply simplify.

    Continued prayers!


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