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Porch Ponderings: Perfectly Simple

In the past few weeks, there have been several instances where I realized the advantage of keeping things simple. In baking, in getting dressed, in arranging flowers. Quite often, simpler is better. I should probably share that simplicity is a little bit against my nature. Since I was a girl, I have appreciated opulence, extravagance, and all things over-the-top. Kind of like Anne Shirley and her incredible longing for a dress with puffed sleeves. (Read one of my favorite chapters of Anne of Green Gables here.) Luckily, I've outgrown my young phase of outright gaudiness, but the urge to make things elaborate is still there. When playing hymns, I always add arpeggios, turns and other embellishments. It almost pains me to play a song straight from the page. When baking a cake, it must be decorated to a certain level of presentability. Sometimes this involves diagrams and calculations.

This strong inclination to make things fancier often makes life harder. The more I embellish a song, the more chance there is of hitting a wrong note. The more decoration I add to a cake, the more time until my family can sit down and just enjoy eating it.

Warning: I'm going to slip into "Biology Major mode" for this next paragraph. Be prepared for snooze-inducing science talk. ;)

When planning a research experiment, scientists choose one variable that they want to study. For example, I studied how glucose (sugar) levels may affect the viability of brain cancer cells. The only thing I changed in that experiment was the amount of sugar the cells were exposed to. Ideally, everything else is kept consistent. If I had changed additional things, like incubation temperature, it would be hard to tell which variable was affecting the cells. More variables can lead to more error, and the results would become impossible to decipher. In short, it's important to keep the experimental conditions as simple as possible.

Simplicity is a buzz word for a reason. People "konmari" their closets, ruthlessly pitching items that do not spark joy. Minimalist vignettes of fiddleleaf figs are more liked than normal, cluttered surfaces could ever be. There's something about a clean palette that makes you breathe easier. Less is more, as they say.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo da Vinci

So in the interest of being more sophisticated, I'm trying to to embrace simplicity. Here's a short list of things that I find to be "perfectly simple."

  • 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies (recipe)

  • Blue jeans

  • A dirt path

  • "Lullaby" by Josh Groban (Listen here.)

  • Wild daisies

  • The Andy Griffith Show (or pick your favorite black-and-white show)

  • An orderly bookshelf

  • A black dress

  • Golden hour lighting

What are the simple things that you love? Please do share in the comments!

'Til next time,



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There is a lot to be said for simplicity! One of my daughters offered the good advice from a yoga teacher: just focus and do the thing. Great advice for me. Multi tasking is stressful. Keeping one's focus helps one see much more clearly. But, there is a place for frills, too. Hope you don't ever stop adding those extra touches when you play hymns! In fact, didn't many of the notable composers add ruffles, here and there?


Tina Johnson
Tina Johnson

Simple is my middle name! A lawn chair in the shade with only the birds for company. A hooded sweatshirt on a autumn walk. A hand written list of errands or groceries. Being the first person to put the knife in a fresh jar of peanut butter.

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