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The Simplicity of Simplifying

By Susie Cortright

They say your home is a reflection of you - of what's really going on inside. If that's the case, I'm a mess from the '70s in bad need of a facelift.

I believe in the power of a soulful home. A home that tells a story. A home in which each item is placed therein with a conscious decision regarding its loveliness.

But, in truth, home décor must not be anywhere near the top of my priority list because it's been five years and I'm still walking across my cherry red checkered carpet, still cooking on my avocado stove, still staring at my speckled ceiling tiles reminiscent of grade school.

Now our home, while a touch outdated, doesn't lack soul. With two small children (and one on the way), two self-employed adults and their offices, the family dog, and whatever neighborhood animals are visiting, we have enough soul for a home three times this size. And that's what really bothers some friends and family.

Just about everyone tells us we need more space. They tell us this all the time. Some of them seem very concerned. And so my husband (who makes his living building very large homes for people) has been sitting at his drafting table trying to figure out how best to increase our living space.

He likes to sit in his still, quiet corner of the attic-turned-office after the rest of the house is dark. He likes to draw different designs, and he has come up with some gems. But there's always a problem. They all require cutting down one of the towering Engelman Spruce on the side of our home.

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Now, I know this may sound strange, but with the wildfires ripping through Colorado, it has crossed my mind that if my home and land burned I would miss my trees more than my house. Houses can be rebuilt. Trees like these come from God.

So one night, not so long ago, we were sitting around trying to decide whether the addition would go on the side or around the back. How it would affect the storybook-cottage look of the front of our home. How it would obstruct our views from various windows.

And Ty made the controversial declaration that maybe we shouldn't do anything at all. Maybe we should keep the soul contained just as it is: as a tight embrace.

I nearly fell over myself with relief as I avowed that, beyond carpet and curtains, I don't want to change this house at all. Maybe, as our children are young, they'll enjoy falling asleep to the sound of their parents' laughter spilling in from the next room. Maybe they'll enjoy always knowing in an instant who's home and who's not. Maybe they'll enjoy the Thoughtful Spot they'll create among the still-standing Engelman Spruce outside. Maybe a small home isn't a sacrifice. Maybe it's a blessing.

So there isn't going to be a second mortgage. Just a simple, soulful home for a family that aspires to be the same.

Creating a simpler life can be surprisingly simple. It starts with questioning those things we've taken as truths for so long. That a large home is better than a small home. That more work is better than good work. That more stuff is better than less stuff.

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singing gaily that came at my call--
Give me them,--and the peace of mind dearer than all!

--John Howard Payne, "Home Sweet Home," 
from the Opera of Clari, the Maid of Milan

© Susie Michelle Cortright
Susie Cortright is the founder of and Momscape's Scrapbooking Playground - Join her scrapbooking club here: or learn more about starting your own scrapbooking business on Susie's team.

Read more articles by Susie Michelle Cortright.


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