The More of Less

minimalist, minimalism, more, less, spaciousness, white space, content

I dream of white spaces.

Imagine a home of simplicity, with bright white walls, clean lines, comfy furniture, and a few vibrant green houseplants. Imagine clear counters, one or two beautiful pieces of art, and sun filled rooms. That’s my dream home.

When setting goals, we’re often encouraged to imagine what it would be like to have already achieved that goal. When we visualize the end result, it gives us focus for what direction we need to move in.  Is each new step taking you toward or away from your desired result?  Having clarity on the goal becomes the best guide.

How would your life be better with less?

I had bought into consumerism. Even though I tried to convince myself it wasn’t true.

I didn’t spend copious amounts of money on shoes, purses, or designer clothes. I was thrifty and hated to pay full price for anything. Yet, when I looked around my house, I could see all the things I had acquired because I thought it would make me feel better.

Books that would make me smarter, even though I couldn’t possibly read everything on my shelves. Wall decor with inspirational sayings to help me feel at peace with my circumstances. Dishes that were never used because they were rare, making me feel like I had something that few other people owned.

All things.  Things with no real purpose. But things that I had somehow entangled my emotions in.

With an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobia in my own home, a visualization of my dream home, and a burning question, “How would my life be better with less?” I set out to make a change.

The Game.

The Minimalists have a game they play to help people ease into minimalism.  It starts at the beginning of a month and on the first day, the participant gets rid of 1 item. On the second day, the participant gets rid of 2 items and so on through the month. By the end of the month, nearly 500 items have been removed from the home.

That sounded good to me, but I wanted to jump in with both feet. So I did the challenge backwards. On day one, I got rid of 31 items. On day two, I got rid of 30 items and so on.

The challenge was freeing. It was hard. And it was strangely emotional.

Emotional Baggage

I found I could justify keeping just about everything. Which is what I had been doing all along. There were feelings of guilt, anxiety, and loss along the way.

  • I felt guilty about getting rid of things that were barely used or gifts that didn’t fit in my dream home.
  • I felt anxiety over wondering if I’d regret getting rid of some things or wondering if I’d ever need it again.
  • And mostly, I felt a great loss over my identity that I’d wrapped up in those things.

Most of the items were donated to the local thrift shop. Some items went into the trash. And a few went into the attic until I could decide if I really wanted to let go and sell them.

At the end of the challenge, I felt lighter and more spacious. The house looked tidier. And the process of decluttering things was only just beginning, as my eye had been trained to pick out things that didn’t serve a purpose or add value.

The More of Less

The funny thing about this process is, as I’m clearing out more spaces in my home, I’m discovering that I am living in my dream home. Even if the architecture, building materials, or structure aren’t exactly what I would chose.

However, I am uncovering bright white walls, clearing counters, and letting the sunshine in. I can relax and enjoy the few pieces of art that are really meaningful and get value from the items that are used in daily tasks.

Perhaps your goals of living a more meaningful and contented life aren’t so distant.  Perhaps they’re buried under the clutter you’ve been sitting in for so long.  Maybe all it takes is removing the useless to find the valuable.

I challenge you to find out.

Miranda Signature

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The Duty of an Artist

America Martin, artist, duty, create, hope, light, art, dream

The life of an artist is often romanticized but the truth is that it’s full of uncertainties and doubts.  Sometimes we wonder about purpose.  Sometimes we doubt the direction the creative path is taking.  Sometimes we ask, “What’s the point?”  Sometimes we wonder if it’s worth it or if anyone cares.

While reading the autumn addition of Where Women Create (a beautiful magazine about and for artists), I read a quote by artist America Martin that struck me with such truth that I had to read it again and again.  And I wanted to share it with you.

She said,

Being able to live as a working artist is my most significant personal achievement, but “success” and “disappointment” are what I call “outside terms,” which cannot be let into the arena of being an artist. Those words represent intentions that mar and are counter to the true purpose of being an artist. For any true love there is neither success nor disappointment.  When you really love something, I believe there is only duty.  The artist’s duty is to make his or her art, to do it any way he or she can, small or large scale.  When you do what you love most, it is like a small light of hope for other hearts; it creates encouragement.  It creates a community, a tribe of others who dare to dream.

Wow.  The truth in those words took my breath away.

Your art matters.  It matters to you first, but it matters to those around you who have a dream, even if you don’t know it.  They have a passion.  They have a desire.  They have a longing that is yet unfulfilled.  And they see you doing what you love.  You are an artist because you create art.  Without art, the light of who you are fades.  The artist is nothing without her art.

Your art is beautiful.  But what’s more beautiful is the beauty of a realized artist.  You have no idea who you are inspiring.  No matter what your perceived level of success is in the business of art, you have a duty to continue.  Full time, part time.  Large scale, small scale.  You and your art, your persistence and your perseverance may be the thread of hope on which someone else’s dream hangs.  You become his or her motivation and inspiration.  You. The artist.

Don’t stop.  Don’t waver.  Don’t doubt.  You have a duty to create.

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Celebrate Today Because You Can

9/11, September 11, twin towers, New York City, Celebrate, Remember, Reflect

9/11, September 11, twin towers, New York City, Celebrate, Remember, ReflectToday is a day to reflect, remember, and celebrate.

Remember

14 years ago, cowards flew planes into the twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania, killing thousands of people and changing millions of lives forever.

It was a day that caused everyone in the nation to stop and take inventory of their lives.  We rallied together to search, support, and pray.  Most of us will never forget.  We won’t forget where we were when we heard the news.  We won’t forget the images of desperate jumpers, crumbling towers, and ashen faces.  We won’t forget the fear, anger, and confusion.

My children won’t remember, though.  I was 6 months pregnant with my oldest child when the towers fell.  I wondered what kind of world I was bringing him into.  If our nation would recover.  What the future would look like.

My kids have no memories of a calamity before their time.  But it’s important to them to know the history, that seems like yesterday to some of us.

We teach our children about 9/11.  We have remembrance books, newspaper clippings, and they’ve seen video clips.  We teach them that lives matter. We must pray for those who hate, help those who hurt, and support those who protect.  It’s not the color of the skin that divides, but the condition of the heart.

Reflect

In light of the solemnity of the anniversary of 9/11, this day also marks the 100th post on Coffee & Confidence.  It’s a small achievement but a reason to celebrate nonetheless. It will only happen once and never be repeated again.

When you’re headed toward a big goal, it’s important to celebrate every little step along the way.  It helps you to make landmarks along the way that you can look back and measure how far you’ve come.

Sometimes the weight of a big goal keeps you bogged down.  You’ve got your chin down and your shoulder to the wheel, grinding away and working hard.   One foot in front of the other is all you focus on.  Often, you don’t realize just how far you’ve come until you look up and see the starting line getting farther away and the dream getting closer.

Take time regularly to look back and see how far you’ve come.  Take all the experiences you’ve had and invest them into your future.

Celebrate

Today is also my husband’s birthday.  We will celebrate with some cards, gifts, and going to dinner with family.  Birthdays are great times for celebration.  So is every other day.

I want to appreciate and celebrate the people who make my life so great everyday.  I want to remember all the good times we’ve had, reflect on the hard times, and celebrate the possibilities ahead.  I want to be thankful for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.  Like my family, my community, my country.

Every day you have is full of possibilities, wonders, and treasures. Don’t miss them.

Make every day a celebration.

A celebration of lives.  A celebration of memories.  A celebration of little victories and milestones.  While you’re hustling on your dreams, look up and appreciate what you have and how far you’ve come.  Take time to be thankful for the opportunities you have and the people you share them with.

Every day you’re still breathing is a gift. 

What are you celebrating now?  Are you surprised by how far you’ve come without realizing it?  I’d love for you to share your little victories in the comments


Interested in some more encouragement and inspiration? Join my email list and get a letter from me every month!

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Do You Know the Authentic You?

truth, dream, should, do, authentic, honest, love

truth, dream, should, do, authentic, honest, love

Truth be told

If you wrote down all the things you love to do, how would it compare to what you are doing now?  Go ahead and write down your “love” list.  Seriously.  I’ll wait.

Assuming you really wrote your list down, let’s test your honesty.  What things weren’t on the list and it surprised you?  What things did you put on the list because you SHOULD love it?  What things didn’t you write down but you really wanted to?

All too often we get hung up on what we think we should be doing instead of doing the things that we really should be doing.  We neglect the things that we were created to do, to do the things that we think others would expect us to do.

Where do we get these mixed messages?  I don’t really know but I have a hunch that it comes from comparing ourselves to others.

Imagine this scenario: Your friend is a health nut.  She runs every morning, eats clean, and takes bathroom selfies at the gym to show off her abs.  You… well, you know you should want to do all those things, (except for the bathroom selfies #enoughisenoughalready) but you just don’t get a high out of it like she does.  You’re conscious about what you eat.  You get outside and try your best to be active.  Do you love to exercise?  Be honest.  No.  So don’t tell yourself you love to exercise.  Instead, admit that you love to take walks outside in the evening but running a marathon is just not your thing.

Stop kidding yourself.  We’re so programmed to say we like something or “Mmm, It’s good,” when it’s not, so other people won’t know the truth.  The problem is that, eventually, you won’t know the truth either.


I heard a story of a wife who made her husband’s sandwich every morning before he went to work.  Every morning she put mustard on his sandwich.  For years.

Then one day his mother came to visit.  She made her son a sandwich and didn’t put mustard on it because “he doesn’t like mustard.”

Of course this led to a confrontation by his wife to find out if he did or didn’t like mustard.  He admitted that no, he really didn’t like mustard on his sandwich.  He thought that by saying nothing about it he was being supportive of his wife.  But she felt like he had been hiding his true feelings about mustard from her for years.


It’s a funny story, but it makes a point.  When you won’t admit that you dislike something in your life, you end up doing it for a long, long time.  You put on a happy face and try to do it willingly.  It creates a false impression on those around you.  And, you know what?  You can’t keep it up forever.  At some time it’ll come out.  Inevitably, it will hurt someone’s feelings and you’ll be caught in the middle.

So I’m challenging you to be honest with yourself and with those around you.  Stop saying yes to the things that don’t matter to you.  Instead, turn you efforts on the things that you really love to do. When you become the true, authentic YOU, then you are equipped to go make a difference in your world.

What did you learn about yourself as you wrote out your list?  Are you guilting yourself into some things?  Leave your comment here.

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Building Your Future One Brick at a Time

information, action, relationships, dream, wish, work, brick,

information, action, relationships, dream, wish, work, brick, It’s good to look to the future.  It’s coming sooner than you think.  If you don’t have a plan or something to aim for, you won’t end up where you want to be.  Zig Ziglar said,”If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it everytime.”

The opposite extreme is that some people have their head stuck in the clouds.  All they do is think of what they want to be, what they want to have, and what would make them happy.  But they neglect to take the steps to reach the dream. They are so focused on building the dream in their mind that they forget to gather the bricks they need now.

A goal without a plan is called a WISH.

Achieving success requires work and measurable goals.  Every action, lesson, and mistake is a building block.  When you ask questions and seek advice, you’re gathering bricks of knowledge.  Every time you discuss your goals and dreams with someone close to you, you are building your relationships stronger. You’re building your future one brick at a time.

Bricks you need to succeed.

1.  Action:

You need to be dedicated to the work.  It’s not always easy or convenient.  Your hustle and your determination are what’s going to propel you forward.  No motion is backward motion because time is passing by.  Be determined to take some action every day, even if it’s a small amount.  Move forward.

2.  Information:

You need the knowledge to make wise decisions along the way.  Don’t rush into something without knowing what to expect.  It’s too easy get distracted or hung up on trivial things just by having too little information.  Read the books and talk to people who are already succeeding in your dream.  They have the experience and knowledge to help you.

3. Relationships:

You might think you can make it on your own but it’s a lonely road.  Utilize the resources you have in the relationships close to you.  There’s a wealth of wisdom and alternate points of view that can give you insight that you might not get on your own.  Besides, if you travel alone, you’ll get there alone.  Don’t leave the people that mean the most to you behind.  Involve them in the dream.  It’s nicer when you have someone to walk with you.

If you don’t take the time NOW to start gathering your resources, you’re in for disappointment and frustration.  Someday, when you think you should be “arriving” at your final destination, you’ll find yourself miles off target.

Dream, yes.  But plan more.  Define your dream into actionable goals.  Seek out the information you’ll need before you rush into a decision.  Lean on your relationships.  You’ll want them with you to celebrate when reach your final destination.

How are you putting the work into your dream?  Where do you need to go to get the information you need to proceed?  Who have you invited to go with you? Reply in the comments. 

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