Simplicity

Bottom Shelf Books

I originally shared this post on Facebook in January, before starting this blog. But recently, when my husband built us a new set of bookshelves to hold our nearly countless number of books, I thought back to this day. In light of the new bookshelves, and in light of the upcoming used book sale here in Waco, I thought it apropos to share it again, and to reflect on it a bit.

Here it is:

At our house, we have top shelf books and bottom shelf books. Of course, it is virtually impossible to keep ANY books on the bottom shelf, so instead we have a big cardboard box (now three of them, actually) that holds the books that would go on the bottom shelf in an ideal world. The difference between them? The top shelf books are those that are brand new, in great condition, possibly fragile—sometimes it’s just because they are my favorite stories and I don’t want the books to get ruined because the kids are playing with them too roughly.

But, over the holiday season, we’ve accumulated probably fifty new books, at least. And, as you might guess, that has led to a space problem—specifically, a book storage problem. So I had to shuffle some things around and, in the process, reevaluate some of those “top shelf” books. The final result has been that, as of today, we have a LOT more bottom shelf books. And the kids—Tijge especially—have been having a blast reading and playing with them. And so what if they end up literally loving them to pieces? We can always get new ones if we need to.

It got me thinking. How much stuff do we all have sitting on a top shelf or in a drawer somewhere, waiting to be used on some unforeseen special occasion that never seems to arrive? If all of that stuff can’t be used to bring and share joy, then what is it good for? So I say use it—use all of those things you’ve been waiting to use. Wear your nice clothes. Dry off with the decorative towels. Eat Hamburger Helper off of the good china on a Monday night. Burn a candle for no reason. Try out some of the recipes from those 18 cookbooks that are just collecting dust on the shelf. Whatever it is for you, just do it. Don’t wait to live your life. Enjoy it!

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If the Bra Doesn’t Fit…

Back in the early days of women’s liberation, they used to have a saying: “If the bra fits, burn it!” Well, nowadays, at least when it comes to MY wardrobe, I wouldn’t dare burn a bra that actually FIT! They’re too hard to come by. By the same token, though, I’ve ended up holding onto several ill-fitting bras. (I know that’s too much information for some of you, but I’ll bet that even more of you can relate to exactly what I’m talking about.)

 But, having just gotten a new armoire, and wanting to start fresh, I came up with a new motto: “If the bra doesn’t fit, throw it out!” Why hold onto something that doesn’t serve its intended purpose?

 It also dawned on me that this is an age-old problem. Paul even talked about it—yes, the Apostle Paul. No, he didn’t include undergarments in his discussion of women’s adornments, but what he did do was call all Christians to “throw off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” He meant that we should get rid of those things that don’t serve a purpose; or that keep us from fulfilling OUR intended purpose. That could be anything that wastes space, time, or potential, or that stunts our relationships. A few examples, also courtesy of the Apostle Paul, can be found in Colossians 3:8, where he exhorts us to put aside “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech.” In Ephesians 4:31, he warns us to “get rid all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander…” Ephesians 4:29 cautions us against unwholesome talk, and Ephesians 5:4 condemns obscenity, foolish talk, and coarse joking.

 Any of those sound familiar? Any of them hanging around your life like an ill-fitting bra? Throw them out. Or, if you’re feeling particularly liberated, go ahead and burn them!