More of this, please

One of my favorite & most loyal bring joy readers, Joya, once made a comment along the lines of–as she gets older, she just wants things to be more & more simple.

That’s stuck with me.

I think a sign of maturity & wisdom is learning this truth: an uncluttered, simple life, free of baggage (both material & otherwise) is happiness. 


As you know, we’re in this huge transition phase (you know I’m elbow deep in Life when things are quiet around here).

I’m undergoing quite a mindset makeover.

As we’re streamlining & downsizing our household, finances, & routines, it’s opening more time & space for some really awesome stuff.

Like spending more time with each other. Spending more time creating, rather than consuming.

I don’t race around the city, shuffling kids from activity to activity (why, here). I spend very little time in stores these days. With each bag of donated stuff to Goodwill, my house is cleaner, my mind is sharper.

By focusing on essentials, my life is gaining in sparkling simplicity.

And as a result, I’m seeing the world with fresh eyes.

I absolutely don’t want to waste another second on stupid or inconsequential stuff–worry/anxiety about looks/weight/what others think, catty gossip, & so many other things outside my circle of control.

I don’t want to spend my days buying stuff that only adds chaos & clutter to my life.

I don’t want minutes & hours to be sucked away on social media, mind numbing TV shows.

I want to live, really live Life, rather than watch or comment on others living it.

I want my life to be simple. 

I want know these people, to feel their breath on my neck, to see the laughter in their eyes when they tell me a joke. To be the one to scoop them up, to douse them in kisses & hugs while they’ll still let me.

The beautiful thing is, to do these things no money, no thing.

Just me & them, presence & time.

A note on these photos: All were taken by me in August 2014. It was torture. I don’t know if taking family pictures is ever fun, but when you’re trying to corral five young things, who don’t care about smiling & posing, it’s a tough crowd to work with. I took the photos using my Nikkon D3100 DSLR with a portrait lens.

A note on my kids: My kids range in age from 9 years to 10 months. Their names are, from oldest to youngest: Hyrum, Asher, Amalia, Salem, & Tyndale.


Other bring joy posts you might want to check out:


  1. Jeanette
    on October 31, 2014 at 11:51 am said:

    This post really resonated with me. Thank you for sharing. Like you I am paying down debt and trying to life a little more simply. I have always enjoyed shopping and since I am trying to spend less have been doing a lot less of it to keep me from temptation. My new guilty “shopping” pleasure is Pinterest where I pin pretty things I think I want to my delight but don’t actually spend any money. It seems to work for me for now which I am grateful because I am so tired of debt and just want to be free of it. Thanks again for such a great blog. 🙂

  2. Katie
    on October 30, 2014 at 10:38 pm said:

    Man, I like the idea of simplicity, I really do. I just don’t know how to mentally go for it and unplug from it all. Keep writing, you’re an inspiration.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 31, 2014 at 8:44 am said:

      For me, this journey started once I realized: 1) my time is a finite, precious commodity–I can do some pretty spectacular things, but only if I focus on what matters–it’s far too easy to get distracted with trivial, time-sucking activities that offer very little reward spiritually, emotionally, & even financially 2) my resources (ie. money) is also finite & precious–it’s much easier to save & spend less than it is to earn more (see point #1).

      Tightening our budget (YNAB has been a godsend in this regard) & switching our mindset from a consumer/entitlement (but, I *deserve* this!) approach to a creative/contentment perspective has also helped us along the path of simplicity.

      To be clear, simplicity is not just “doing less” (although it can be that too), it’s about cutting out waste (time wasters, money wasters, emotional wasters). It’s about paring things down to mostly needs with a few wants. It’s about getting really good with discerning between good, better, & best. It’s about doing more good because you can spend quality time focusing on each task at hand, rather than spreading yourself thin trying to dozen or more things at once.

      Are you LDS? (I can’t remember.) There is a talk that has really helped me on this journey: The Choice Generation (from April 2014 General Conference). I especially like this part:

      “You are growing up with one of the greatest tools for good in the history of man: the Internet. With it comes an elaborate buffet of choices. The abundance of choice, however, carries with it an equal portion of accountability. It facilitates your access to both the very best and the very worst the world has to offer. With it you can accomplish great things in a short period of time, or you can get caught up in endless loops of triviality that waste your time and degrade your potential. With the click of a button, you can access whatever your heart desires. That’s the key—what does your heart desire? What do you gravitate toward? Where will your desires lead?”

      I also really appreciate D&C 58:26-28

      Like you, I have always been one who has “liked” the idea of simplicity, but being one that likes to be busy, to do a lot of things, I tend to be a little lost when it comes to this principle. But honestly, our renewed dedication to frugality & becoming debt-free has been THE instigator to greater simplicity in our lives.

      Lots more thoughts to come–thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, & so sincerely.

  3. Joya
    on October 30, 2014 at 9:27 pm said:

    ;0). Amen, sister. Amen. Beautiful photographs. Beautiful memories.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 31, 2014 at 8:53 am said:

      Thanks Joya, for being the inspiration behind this post! xo

  4. Kim M
    on October 30, 2014 at 7:12 pm said:

    I dont think I’ve seen Hyrum with a serious face before. He looks so grown! I adore you kids. Simple just works better. I like simple 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on October 31, 2014 at 8:57 am said:

      You’re right. I almost don’t like this picture because he looks WAY too old, & it reminds me in less than 10 years he’ll be gone & off doing his own things (a GOOD thing, but bittersweet nevertheless).

      “Simple just works better.” I couldn’t have said it better.

  5. Dana Hulme
    on October 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm said:

    Janae- you take the most wonderful photographs! You have such an eye. Helps to have such beautiful children; each one of them- their inner beauty seems to shine right through in their eyes and wide grins. I’m with Joya and you- the simpler we can make our lives, the better. It is hard though with so many activities the kids want to pursue- swimming, soccer, violin, basketball, and on and on. Okay, I’m the one who wants them to pursue violin! The rest is their idea, but you know what I mean. I want to give them every opportunity, but I also know that unplanned time at home is necessary and so appreciated by us all. I love keeping up with you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. D

    • Janae Wise
      on October 31, 2014 at 9:08 am said:

      Hiya there Dana! So nice to hear from you. Hope you’re doing well.

      “Janae- you take the most wonderful photographs! You have such an eye. Helps to have such beautiful children; each one of them- their inner beauty seems to shine right through in their eyes and wide grins.”
      Thank you, & thank you! I have a great camera, which I think deserves most of the credit. And my children are beautiful–I pinch myself that I am the blessed mama of five beautiful & smart & good children (though, trust me, they have their moments).

      “I want to give them every opportunity, but I also know that unplanned time at home is necessary and so appreciated by us all.” Such a balancing act! But what I’ve realized, is that one on one time talking, learning together, playing together is 1000% better than *any* music/sport/extracurricular lesson or activity I could pay for them to do (especially in the early formative years). And I’m with you on the musical instruments. For us, we’re having them start with piano & once there is a basic mastery of that, we can talk about other things. So many good things to choose from, but as with eating, even though we’re at a buffet of lots of delicious & good food, we don’t & shouldn’t eat it all, & especially not in one sitting!


  6. Jenny
    on October 30, 2014 at 2:34 pm said:

    I agree, Alanna, absolutely beautiful children and a lovely message.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 31, 2014 at 9:38 am said:

      Thanks Jenny!! xo

  7. Alanna
    on October 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm said:

    Good golly, you make gorgeous babies. Love this post.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 31, 2014 at 9:39 am said:

      “Good golly, you make gorgeous babies.”
      Thanks Alanna. Maybe this explains why I get so sick during my pregnancies 🙂