Thursday, September 15, 2011


I am really good at over-complicating things. (Don’t ask me how to run my own Blu-ray player even—I have to know what every button on the remote is for or I won’t use it. And I don’t. Because I lost the manual and there are too many options.)

But when life is simple—or rather when I take time to rejoice in simple things—I forget why I usually over-complicate my life. Dieter Uchtdorf, a man I admire, said, “There is beauty and clarity that comes from simplicity that we sometimes do not appreciate in our thirst for intricate solutions.”

Creative people love beauty but can get lost when they weave too many strands into a masterpiece. The beauty of simplicity is lost. I’ve found this out the hard way lately when deeply searching if a plot to a book is over-complicated. Pretty soon I see where I’ve dropped other threads because I was too busy weaving in another and things have become muddled, the colors unblended. (This is why I’m such an outliner usually. I don’t like to find these sections in my writing after I’ve written it so I combat it with plotting.) Now to blend the colors I’m doing a lot of frustrating rewriting. On the bright side, I’m learning a lot. They are such good lessons that perhaps some of them I’ll share on future posts. Perhaps….

But there are many simple things I’ve been able to rejoice in lately. I have also had a wonderful few months:
  • Planting a seed and watching it grow into a beautiful plant.
  • Watching thin, spindly growth sprout from a tree cutting, soon on its way to becoming taller than my house. (Imagine—something so fragile and small to something so huge!)
  • Watching how a simple loaf of bread can bring a smile to a friend’s face.
  • Discovering people I know helping other people with a humble meal when they hadn’t the physical means to feed their family that day.
  • Canning an over-abundance of produce to store for another day. (A new skill for Steve and me!)
  • Learning new skills.
  • Sharing a book I love with a friend I love.
  • Writing a new story.
  • Listening to my kids play uninterrupted.
  • Basking in the presence of women (like my mother) who know so much more than me.

And just to add another beautiful thought, I’ll include a piece that’s usually included in the Navajo (Dineh) Blessingway ceremony. (I found it researching for a novel. I love beauty of new research too!)

With beauty may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.

What an awesome prayer. I wish this for all of you!

Q4U: What simple things bring beauty to your life?


  1. That's a lovely prayer. I'll have to remember that one.

    Last night we had a lingering storm that sounded like it could be a big one, but it never quite reached us: low, rolling thunder, lightning that filled the sky, sporadic rain showers. It was nice just resting my elbows on the windowsill, listening and watching the storm decide where it wanted to go next.

  2. There is so much to learn from the simplest things in life. I watched the wind as it rustled through the leaves of the trees on my walk home from work last evening. The sound was so soothing. The sight amazing.

  3. My plants and my cat! Definitely simple in very complex ways!

    I loved the prayer - may you be surrounded by never ending beauty Jackee!!

    p.s. yay for canning things - I mean you do mean putting things in actual tin cans and sealing them right?

    Take care

  4. What a great list. I have found beauty in the reflection of the mountains in the pond and the lovely cooler weather and hugs from my kids...

  5. My children's smiles bring beauty to my life.

    And simplicity is beautiful.

    I won't talk about complexity of plot. *sigh* ;)

  6. I think kids help adults step back and smile at the simple things. I teach at a kindergarten class in the mornings, and their joy over every little thing is infectious!

  7. My children definitely and the smallest gesture on my part makes their day!

  8. Hi Jackee!
    That's a lovely prayer. I think I want to copy it down. Finding gems like that is the best part of research.

    I have the same problem-sorting through the multiple strands in my "masterpiece". And I share your joy in those simple things, especially canning this time of year.

    Thanks for an awesome post!

  9. I love simplifying. My novels always end up so complicated after the first draft (even with outlining!!!) but I love when I can find a way to simplify by combining two events or something like that.

    I love de-cluttering my spaces, too. And I love picking out simple little things in the world around me (like when I'm walking to work) that are easily overlooked but have their own beauty to add.

    Now if I could just learn to simplify my life a little more!

  10. I over-complicate stuff too, Jackee. I am champion at that. That prayer is awesome. I am going to copy it down.

    My Christopher brings me beauty. And my farm here. Tranquility. I love it! Most beautiful post.

  11. That was beautiful, Jackee!

    I agree there are so many simple things that are under appreciated... Just taking time to smell flowers when you go for a walk is one of my favorite simple pleasures. There's something very relaxing about stopping and breathing in the beauty of a flower.

  12. I have a good one: finally talking to a blogging friend on the phone!

  13. hi miss jackee! wow! that just a real nice post. for me just simple stuffs got lots of beauty. like i been watching a spider make its web by the door and the sound of walking on crunchy leaves watching a mamma coon with her 3 little kits. there so much stuff. for sure you gotta take time out to look.
    ...hugs from lenny