Suitcases and Simplicity

Suitcases and Simplicity // Darcy of Message in a Mason Jar

Today's post is written by Darcy of Message in a Mason Jar. I'm introducing you to some of my online favorites while I take a bit of a maternity leave. I love Darcy's heart for adventure and her captivating writing style. Enjoy!


I’m giving my favorite sandals one last hurrah in this city. I jog to make up for the time we lost on passing up the right street. We’ve had three conversations in the locals’ iffy English and my pretty much non-existent French. My husband slings a heavy duffel over his shoulder. I roll a small suitcase down the sidewalk and try to keep it from capsizing as it bounces over the cracks in the concrete.

There are these moments in life that teach you how to live with less.

This zooming down wrong streets and then hopefully right ones in an unfamiliar city full of zig-zagging walkways and transportation routes on our way to the airport to make our international flight...this is one of those moments. Any more luggage in our grasp and we are likely to miss the bus at Vidollet and even the flight home from Geneva.

The light luggage is good for our hurried exit, but the simplicity has worked well for the stay here too. I’ve brought seven outfits and three pairs of shoes (one dressy, one for walking, and my oh-so-versatile sandals) to wear for for kicking around town and for interviewing key humanitarian leaders during our stay in Europe. No standing in front of the closet vexing over having a whole lot of clothes yet nothing to wear. My choices are ready-made, leaving me plenty of time for the things I’m here to do. Something tells me I could whittle my whole closet back home down to this collection and be just fine...or even better off.

On our first night, our hunt for an affordable dinner place landed us on the lakefront at a little gazebo-shaped outdoor cafe. I bit into slices of turkey, ham, Gruyere, hardboiled egg, lettuce and tomato layered on the perfect French bread. I filled my stomach and my senses altogether on the simple meal and the scenery. On another night, we had another lesson in living with less as we spent three times the money for half the pasta we’d get at a restaurant back home. Yet we left feeling satisfied, rather than overfed and ready to roll out of the place.

Food is not just for eliminating physical hunger. When we experiment with having less on our plates and palates, we find a new appreciation for what's in front of us. I love what Mireille Guiliano writes about the importance of investing in small portions of good food in her book French Women Don’t Get Fat (quoted in Tsh Oxendreider’s Notes from a Blue Bike):
“The value of good chocolate holds steady...When you come to recognize the potential for taste pleasure and psychic relief, you will understand that it’s worth the investment. Fortunately, with good chocolate you don’t need--and should not want--pounds of it for pleasure.”
Like her, I find the more sparing the supply of a particular delicacy (and the more I resist temptation to overdose on the pleasure), the sweeter the taste.

We check in and scoot into the airport security line just in time. I look for one last chance at wifi, but it’s playing games with me. Without an international plan, I’ve kept my phone on airplane mode when out and about away from the hotel’s free internet access. My device has become just a camera in hand instead of a global positioning system, encyclopedia and conversational tool. With less to do with the electronics, I feel my attention span stretching and my old sense of adventure sending me out, potential energy turning kinetic.

My feet ache no matter which of my three pairs of shoes are on them, and I take that as a good sign. On the flight, I open a book and read for eight hours, interrupted only by an occasional nodding off. My mind untangles as I follow the line of the single narrative instead of jumping from wall to wall in virtual world. In the forced simplicity, I remember that there are some things worse than jet lag, namely feet that are too idle and minds that never rest.

What are some moments in life that have shown you how to live with less? Share in the comments below.


darcywiley2014biopicsmall  Darcy Wiley is a writer married to a literary agent, a world-traveler turned stay-at-home mom (who recently turned back into a world-traveler!!!), and a blogger capturing everyday mercies and wide-eyed wonder at Message in a Mason Jar. With a background in teaching and mentoring, a Bachelor’s Degree in creative writing, and a role as assistant for her husband’s agency, she helps writers find their stories, get them on paper and share them with the right readership. She also leads an online writing group, The Story Circle, with (in)couragers. Connect with Darcy via her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

Growing Simply with Purpose Where You Are

Growing Simply with Purpose Where You Are

Today's post is from Krystle of Where the Green Things Grow. I'm introducing you to some of my online favorites while I take a bit of a maternity leave. Krystle's focus on green, simple, natural resonates with me and the photos she shares are a refreshing inspiration. Enjoy!

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ― Martin Luther
Life doesn't begin once we reach a desired destination or achieve all our goals. Life is about journey and growth, learning contentment and flourishing wherever planted. It is about germinating internally as well as externally; developing roots. Our roots, however, should not be so deep where we are presently that we can't be transplanted and learn to thrive elsewhere.

feeding growth

All growth starts with proper nourishment (Psalm 34:8). It is possible to develop and produce fruit without continuous exposure to optimal nutrients. That fruit may even look good on the exterior, but it will taste terrible. So will our lives be if we do not enrich and feed it with inspiration.

I'm sure I am not the only one who has ever bought into a delicious-looking tomato or peach at the grocery store only to become disappointed once it is brought home and tasted. People, like fruit, need the right components to cultivate full and beautiful lives. We don't need things to be perfect to be happy and fulfilled, we just need to be sustained by the living Word.

my journey

I haven't often taken the traditional route. I would much rather be in the garden with dirt under my nails than soaking at a spa. I've never owned a television, and I'd prefer an intentional tiny home over a mansion. My husband and I have chosen a simple life, and have had some crazy adventures living in our debt-free fixer and raising two little girls. I've learned over these years that less is more, and that the important things already surround me.

My experiences have brought me to a place of continual letting go and simplifying. Releasing my grasp on some of those things that consume rather than produce growth, to then enable myself to embrace the things that are worth holding on to. Yet, somehow, it is easy to become absorbed in a season of life. While raising little ones, trying to develop a home-based business, and working endlessly on our goal of achieving our own homestead, I can tend to focus too much on the light at the end and miss all the beautiful growth in this current phase. My garden is a continual reminder to me of allowing myself to live presently while planting seeds for tomorrow.

Feed the areas in your life that you want to grow, and learn contentment in each season. Get inspired and hungry for the good stuff.


for more from krystle:
blog | Where the Green Things Grow
twitter | @krystlereeves
instagram | @krystlereeves

Meet The Simple City Life

Christine of The Simple City Life

Today's post is from Christine of The Simple City Life. I'm introducing you to some of my online favorites while I take a bit of a maternity leave. I am in love with Christine's beautiful handlettering (that you can buy in her shop) and her simple yet pretty and thrifty style that shines through her blog. Enjoy!


Hi! Christine here!

I am a Chicago girl with a passion for keeping it simple here in the big city. There really is no other place I'd rather be. My hubby and I are awaiting the arrival of a sweet baby boy due in August and we cannot wait to kiss his squishy little face!

For the past eight years, I've had the privilege of walking alongside college men and women over at DePaul University and for the past year and a half I've been blogging over at The Simple City Life. Not too long ago I also started a hand-lettering business on Etsy called The Simple City Shop.

Being able to dig deep into students' hearts over at DePaul, sharing the depths of my heart (and everything in between) on my blog, and being able to be creative over at my shop are what make my heart beat. I finally feel like I'm finding my niche and it has been an exciting adventure!

I would love for you to join with me in this adventure called life!


for more from christine:
blog | The Simple City Life
shop | The Simply City Shop

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