I Woke Up 50


What just happened? I woke up and I’m 50.

Nine months ago we moved. Not too far away, but into a house less than half the size of the other. I handed each kid a bin (no lid) and said, “this is the amount of stuff you can take.”

Oh, the thought that went into every single item.

The kids’ rooms are very small. 8×10 maybe, and have no closets. A queen bed, a small chifforobe (this word always screams To Kill a Mockingbird to me), and some fairy lights for Bella.  So if it can’t fit in the bin, it can’t fit in the room.

The whole house is this way. Very limited storage, and one place of shelving for display. That’s it.

This has made us into reluctant minimalists. Well, let me rephrase, it’s made THEM into reluctant minimalists. It’s fulfilled a longtime dream of mine to become one. However, I did not have that type of brute discipline before. But now I must.

Every single thing that comes into my house must have a place first. There’s no more “oh I love this! I’ll FIND a place for it!”.


There are no places left.

If something comes in, something must go out. We work on “replacing” instead of adding. When you came here, you had three pairs of jeans in your bin. You grew two inches? Donate those, get three more, but do not shove the short ones in the back of the drawer. There is no room for stuffing things. Remove, or don’t acquire. That’s how it works. Oh, and it does work.

What does this have to do with turning 50?

Time is limited. I just moved into a smaller life space.

Tick tock.

This isn’t depressing. This is amazing. It is again, forced minimalism. I can see a little more clearly that time isn’t endless, as I once thought it was. There’s not so much of it that I can be frivolous. I cannot. If something comes in, something goes out.

Everything must go through a filter. What are my goals? My purpose? My giftings I want to pursue? What artistic attempts do I want to check out before I… uh… check out?

What if I say yes to something that doesn’t fulfill one of these goals? If I bring something in, what will go?

Yes to ____, no to family.

Yes to ____, no to creativity.

Yes to ____, no to LoveManifest.

Yes to ____, no to writing.

Yes to ____, no to ____.

What if I say no?

No to ____, yes to finishing that book.

No to ____, yes to writing a new song.

No to ____, yes to time with friends.

No to ____, yes to taking the puppy to training classes.

No to ____, yes to quiet time with God.

No to ____, yes to learning to fish with Vik.

No to ____, yes to finally learning to cook something GREAT.

No to ____, yes to creative collaboration.

No to ____, yes to learning a new instrument.

No to something old and tired, yes to something new and full of adventure.

What am I willing to give up in exchange for a yes?

Yeses are so important. I want to say yes a lot. I just want to say yes to the right things. Yeses that were meant for my yes. People, animals, writing, singing, playing, seeking God in his creation, laughing, doing this last high school year with the twins really, really well, and ultimately, just being present in all of these things. Being present in the life God gave me to savor.

There is a limited amount of space, and today I was handed a new bin. A little smaller than the last one, but it’s empty. By the end of this weekend, it will have my priorities inside.

So here’s to Part Two: Chapter 1

I’ve got the colored pencils out, and things are about to get interesting.

Love, Val




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