I had been living overseas for only four months when I was diagnosed with depression. It was a bad case, too — my family and I had just moved to our new home in the Middle East when my psychologist recommended me finding some one-on-one help in the most convenient location possible.
In this case, that was in Thailand. 4,700 miles away.
We packed a suitcase each, the three of us (and oh yes, I was 14 weeks pregnant when we left), and stayed in a furnished home for two months while I got on meds and met with a counselor three times per week. And slowly but surely, I got a little better.
During one of our last sessions, my counselor suggested that I find a creative outlet in our Middle Eastern home. “What do you like to do?” he asked. I like to read and write, I like to decorate, I like to sew, I replied. “You need to find a way to do those things. It’ll make you feel more normal.”
I thought about that for a minute. I knew he was right. If I could do just one thing for fun, and do it well, I think life could be a bit more pleasant. But what on earth could I do? I liked his idea, but I wasn’t sure how realistic it was.
My husband, Kyle, said, “Why don’t you start a blog? You like to write.” Now, I was already blogging, but it was a small, family update-type blog — one mostly for the grandparents to get updates about the kids. Nothing remarkable.
I shrugged my shoulders and moved on mentally to something else. To me, exercising my creativity felt like another bandaid for a war wound. It might make me feel a tiny bit better, but it wouldn’t go far with long-term healing.
Fast forward about five months. We had been back in the Middle East for awhile, and I was doing better. My second child, Reed, was newly born, and we were finding our groove with cross-cultural life. But I still had an itch to create, and one afternoon, I remembered Kyle’s off-handed comment.
I bought the domain name SimpleMom.net with no plan whatsoever, and life really hasn’t been the same since.
My heart was about simplifying — my time, my home and possessions, and my money — so that the things that really mattered could shine through. I was learning this daily, living in a slower-paced culture and free from my home culture’s temptations. So this is what I wrote about on the blog in the beginning. Still do, mostly, now that I think of it.
About a year into the blog, a publisher sent me an email and asked if I was interested in writing a how-to book based on the things I was learning (and then sharing) on the blog. Seeing how “Get a book published” has been on my bucket list since junior high, I don’t have to tell you how many seconds it took for me to respond to her email.
I will anyway. It was about 18 seconds.
Boring details pushed aside, I was given about eight months to write 16 chapters of Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living. The irony was thick as I wrote about organizing your home amidst a messy desk, and for those intense months, I hired a college student to help me out with the kids a few mornings per week.
But I wrote it. I turned it in. And about six months later, it came to me in the mail here in the States, packaged outwardly in a padded manila envelope, and inwardly with a hard cover and an ISBN number.
The classy photo I posted on Facebook when I received my first copy.
To say this was God’s doing is the understatement of the year. It was His orchestral genius that gifted me this platform to share what I’m so passionate about — making your home and family life simple and organized, so that you’re free to pursue that which you’re made to do.
Organized Simplicity‘s the name, and yes, it’s about getting organized and simplifying things. But really, it’s about being intentional. Intentional living — making your life on purpose — is what revs my juices, what gets me up in the morning.
And if making your home a smidge more clutter-free frees you to find your purpose in life and manage your family with passion, then by golly, the book has done its job.
This week, I’ll share a bit more about me, why it’s good to let go of perfection (coming from a recovering perfectionist!), and pass along a free PDF of discussion questions for using the book in your book club.
Is there anything else about me you’d like to know?
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