Living Lightly

Susan Vogt on living more simply but abundantly

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First of all: I’m NOT Anti-Christmas. As both a religious holy day and secular holiday, I think it holds meaning by honoring our humanity and promoting generosity and peace. This is good. But what about all those Christmas do-dads that often decorate our homes. I don’t mean candles, lights, nativity scenes, Christmas trees, stockings, etc. […]

Recently we were visiting our son and his wife in Washington, DC. It was trash day and I looked out at the street lined with identical green garbage cans issued by the city. It was a strange sight to me. They all seemed so tiny by Midwest standards. I checked and each can was 32 […]

I’m a big TIME person. I like to be on time, multitask, and not waste time. I love the timing of good music and dancing. I also love the season of Advent which pulls me out of ordinary time and into the “time of waiting.” It’s hard for me to wait and that’s why Advent […]

I just changed my FB, Twitter, and blog photo at the urging of several people who are more “hip” than I am. This has prompted me to ponder who I really am. My values and personality have stayed pretty consistent over the long haul, but I’m talking more about the superficial way that I present […]

My garden didn’t do too well this year EXCEPT for zinnias. Maybe it’s my reward for not getting upset in June when the visiting cyclists’ sag wagon ran over some of them. Anyway,  they resurrected and I’ve been taking flowers as host gifts and many other occasions for the past month. Obviously I still have […]

In my never ending effort to both simplify my life and still keep up with the Joneses, I’ve started an open Facebook group called Living Lightly and Tweet on this theme @Vogt_Susan. On the one hand I’m still trying to give things away and unclutter my life, but on the other hand I’m trying to […]

You may remember that several months ago I got a new computer and blogged about Letting Go of the Familiar. At that time I put off cleaning up the convoluted way my files were organized thinking I had enough to do just to learn Windows 7 and Microsoft 10. The day of reckoning came, however, […]

About 10 years ago we offered a friend a place to live during the week while he commuted from his home in Louisville to teach classes at a local university in northern Kentucky. Isaac was an easy guest. He often cooked, brought international friends to visit through the exchange programs he organized, and even bought […]

  To balance my last blog about giving our car away (and deciding whether ecology trumps saving money), I thought I’d turn to chocolate. One of our sons gave me a delightful Christmas gift of a box of chocolates delivered once a month. Unfortunately, the third and final installment came right as Lent was starting […]

Our car is in hospice. (We recently took a 900 mile trip in our 200,000+ mile car and it blew one of its four cylinders.) We know it’s terminal but we’re trying to keep it comfortable and not use extraordinary means to keep it alive (like an engine transfusion). We’re only using it for short, […]

Since I’m almost done with the year I decided to search through a few “hidden places” that I missed during my earlier sweeps. This mostly meant going into dirty places (like the furnace room), looking behind things (like dressers) and under things (like beds). I uncovered a lot of miscellaneous items, some not worth counting. […]

I’ve been thinking about death lately. Maybe it’s because friends are helping their parents make decisions about moving out of the homestead and into assisted living. Others are settling estates. The result is that people my age are sorting through stuff of elderly relatives. (I hope our own kids appreciate that I’m saving them a […]

As the months roll on, I’ve gotten quite a few messages on this blog, through e-mail, and in person that others have caught the “giving away” bug. They might have caught it from me or it might have just been the right time in their life to let go of more stuff. If I have […]

Sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously. During this year of giving things away, I have at times felt guilty, generous, virtuous, prideful, satisfied, and perplexed. I knew I was taking things a little too far when I asked myself: If giving away my cold or a smile would count, or If running out of […]

So let’s talk about recycling. Now that I’ve faced the demon of recycling electronics, what about all the more normal recycling we do. You know – the paper, glass, plastic, and cans. Recycling these things doesn’t feel as virtuous as giving a needy family clothes, dishes, or toys. Technically, it’s not really giving something away […]

…When you’re too good at hiding things. I store things so well and compactly that when I found and extracted the 300 National Geographics from their nest in an unused stairwell, I also found old history books, children’s Bible stories, children’s record albums, a cutting board, tailor’s board, kites, campaign signs, and a slide presentation […]

I’d like to discuss the finer points of getting rid of vs. saving boxes. Recently my husband retired from serving 12 years on the Covington School Board. That meant we could finally turn in 10 large “banker boxes” (equivalent to three file cabinets) of School Board files for shredding then recycling. This left several glorious […]

…dust. One of the unintended side effects of pruning my books is that I now have some empty spaces on the first bookcase. I blew a lot of dust off the books I’m giving away, but now I realize that there was a value to having all the books crammed together – the dust was […]

…charitable fundraising. With the Christmas spirit rising and the tax write-off deadline looming, generous and astute people are considering making monetary donations to charitable causes. If you’ve ever given to anything (and I hope you have) the downside of that gift is that we are both on mailing lists for worthy causes. The worthy causes […]

Although I try to reserve the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas as an Advent time of preparation and waiting, I know the rest of the world considers this the “Christmas shopping season.” I will spare you my rant about over-consuming at Christmas since you can read my spiritual and practical philosophy on the Advent/Christmas […]