I am very honored this week to have a guest writer. Amber Halliburton, Ed.D the mother of a beautiful son and daughter shares her story with us of how and why she has chosen to live a simpler or minimalistic style of life.
On the morning of August 13, 2014, my husband and I awoke early, cleaned the house a bit and cherished a little time together. At the time we were parents of a 2 year old and a 5 month old. It was a rarity with our jobs and babies we had a spare moment. That afternoon my life changed. My husband was killed in a work related accident. The months that followed were filled with insecurities and over compensation for my little ones. I bought a lot of new stuff. I needed to change my physical world. I didn't need or want it to represent my previous life; it simply hurt too much. A new rug here, a new picture there-all to change the feel of our home. Far from a hoarder, possibly the opposite, I bought more than needed. Since his death, I finished my doctorate in education, quit a great, stable job as a behaviour specialist and opened an art studio. My life was changing and we were settling in. Purchases were still a comfort and not intentional or purposeful.
Fast forward to Christmas 2016. I'd read the books about minimalism, watched the documentaries and read plenty of articles. I knew that I wanted our stuff to be purposeful and important. I wanted us, my then 2 and 4 year olds, to make conscious choices about the items that infiltrated their space. We began slowly letting go of items. Items would inhabit our home because we chose them. They would not belong simply because of impulse buying, random hand me downs or over-indulging. We had small meeting, conquering one drawer at a time. Filling one defined space at a time with items they felt they wanted. I purposely kept items that they may want to remember their father, even if they don't realize it now.
We've begun a newfound awareness of how we spend, what we spend our money on and why we choose those items. Gone are the days of a choice item each time we go to the store. We are embracing experiences and calculated purchases. My children are far from lacking. We are simply more aware of our purchases.
Less truly is more. What I've found is that my children did not boycott this new found approach. I've watched imaginations grow without boundary. We've freed physical space to let imaginations grow. They play uninhibited. Clean-up is doable even at their ages, now 5 and 3. Their rooms are manageable. They no longer see the mound of toys as unapproachable. Before, they would look at their toys and feel overwhelmed.
They are creating more. They are cooking more with me. They are putting their clothes away, as now they fit in the drawer. They have fewer items, but better access. They are dressing themselves more, finding joy in making choices. They are helping pack snacks and get ready for our "adventures". Moreover, because I have less stress and work to do in the house, I'm more present with them. I work crazy hours, but I'm able to focus more on them and less on the stress of home. We still have crazy days when the dishes are piled up, the clothes cover the floor and the toys are left out. We're a work in progress. However, now we have an end goal.
We're getting there. One piece at a time. One piece lighter. One piece freer. One more moment present with my loves.
Amber Halliburton, Ed.D
Amber Founded Sunshine Courage Quilts last fall to Provide Quilts for families and children of North Carolina's Fallen Firefighters. They will be presenting 30 quilts this May.
Ambers Studio Me, You and Some glue which she opened October, 2015
please click here to check out her page at www.meyouandsomeglue.com
My wife and I feel so blessed to have had the chance to get to know Amber, she is such an inspiration to us. Although we have not met in person yet, we plan on taking a trip to see her and her shop in the near future. I really hope that you have enjoyed her and her daughters story.
Our next guest writer will be Jeremy from the site Think Travel Lift Grow. Jeremy is a minimalist traveller who has spent the last year living on only what fits into a single bag. Jeremy is a great example of one of the different types of minimalist that can be found in our last post Minimalism: What Type Of Minimalist Am I ?, Click here to check it out. minimalism-what-type-of-minimalist-am-i.html
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Join me on my journey into minimalism and healthy living.