I'm often asked how to start living life more simply. My answer is to concentrate on whatever your energy is spent on right now - so if you're actively engaged in paying down debt, develop more ways to save money and continue to reduce your debt. If you're an avid gardener, work out what you can grow in your own back yard, save money by doing it and provide fresh organic food for your table. If you've got sensitive skin or illness in your family, start by making some of your own cleansers and laundry products. If you're over worked and stressed out, start by slowing down and developing routines.
We'd already paid off our debt when we discovered the wonderful world of simplicity but I had two teenagers at home so my focus was on providing home cooked meals of good variety, taste and quality. Home cooking led me to move my shopping from the supermarket to the wider community, save money, grow more of my own food, menu plan and learn some traditional skills that I'd not thought about before. I also rediscovered that home cooking presented the splendid repetitive ritual of meal times at the kitchen table. Meals shared with loved ones provides a much needed focus every day that also gives us a reason to sit and talk. Food binds us together, it provides many opportunities for hospitality and generosity, it teaches us about gratitude and daily chores and it comes to symbolise what is good about what we do.
I have about 30 home cooked main meals that I can produce without a recipe. Most of them are ordinary and simple and just the thing to keep us warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. When I was developing my repertoire I thought my meals were just a collection from all over the place. Now I know they're my family's recipes, handled down to me via my mother and father's home cooking, and given to them by their mothers and grandmothers. It is only now that I realise they're mainly Irish and Swedish and a true reflection of both my grandmothers' heritage.