Time for Slow. Time for Simple.

We could all use a little big dose of slow and simple.

Recently, I was sitting outside my son’s basketball practice reading and enjoying a new book. I overheard two parents reconnecting after being away for the summer. “How was your summer?” The woman asked politely. “It was great, but went by so fast! How was yours?” The man inquired. “Oh my gosh, so fast. I think it was the fastest summer ever and I was not ready for school to start.” She replied.

I sighed deeply in empathy for I have also experienced just how fast life goes by. On the other hand I also felt grateful for Our Simple Summer that rolled by at a sweet pace; something I know was very intentional on my part.

As I lamented over the “too fast” culture we live in, I continued to notice scenarios before me as parents zipped in and out of the parking lot, some dropping kids off and some picking kids up.

  • One mom talked aggressively on her phone as her son climbed in the car and they drove away. Been there.
  • A father was urging his son to hurry up and tie his shoes to get into practice. Been there.
  • Another woman pulled into a spot, tapped her fingers impatiently while watching the school door. After about 15 seconds she jumped out and ran into the school to retrieve her son. Been there too.

After many layers of simplifying our stuff, our time and our lives, my family’s approach looks very different than what I witnessed. We leave the house with more than enough time to get there. Our phones are put away so that we can be present with each other to talk, sing and laugh all the way. We arrive early giving us a bit more time to connect. As my son hops joyfully out of the car and saunters into the gym, I push the driver’s seat back, kick my feet out the window and dive into a book.

This particular day I was reading a fantastic book called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed and was on chapter 8, Work: The Benefits of Working Less Hard. Over the last 6 months my soul has been begging me to bring my work life into alignment with our minimalist energy. The combination of this book, a couple of months of summer sweetness and experiencing the fast-paced madness of my fellow humans, has created a great urgency in me to make this happen right away.

Barely making it through the day over-stressed, overly disconnected, under-nourished and under-inspired is certainly NOT the kind of life I want to live. How about you?

With lots of love,

Find your JOY this Summer.

What is it you most WANT this summer? Do that.

“I am flying through the tops of the trees, held snugly by the padded bench and metal bar of the lift as it takes me up the mountainside. I inhale sweet high mountain air and look in awe at the majesty all around me. Wow, this is summer at it’s best. I am at the Sundance Resort in Utah only 50 minutes from my front door. And yet I have never done this!! Why did it take a dear friend’s visit to get me up here? Why have I never explored it on my own? I am opening to more adventure in my life this summer. And I am amazed at what is right around the corner.” Marla Dee

Jinny Ditzler of Best Year Yet wrote this lovely article titled “Want to Make This Summer the One You Finally Enjoy?” and we just had to share it with you.

…So here we are again in the first days of this blessed season. This year I’m determined to make the most of it. Here are last summer’s unkept promises, but this year these and more will happen because I’m going to stick my neck out and promise to give you a full report after it’s over.

  • Sit in my favorite garden chair and read every day, even if only for a bit.
  • Take a whole day to go for a hike in the mountains.
  • Once a week make a big cup of coffee, go to the park, and gaze at the sky.
  • Invite more people to enjoy simple meals by our pool.

But it’s not easy. Last Tuesday after a long weekend in Aspen to celebrate our 35th anniversary, I awoke filled with energy and happy to tackle my pile of tasks. Later feeling proud after a productive day, I found Tim swimming laps in the pool. I said, Well, somebody has the right idea ~ good for you! ~ but thought to myself, What’s wrong with this picture?

Instead of integrating the relaxation, blessings and love of the weekend into my first day back (as he had done) I spent most of the day at my desk, yet again intent on getting as much done as possible. In spite of the fact that one of my three Best Year Yet Guidelines this year is Enjoy life.

Summer is the most enlivening time, isn’t it? It’s so natural to want to slow down, contemplate, meditate, read, walk ~ and enjoy ourselves.

Let’s make the most of this time of renewal as the benefits are many:

  • Greater sense of inner calm
  • Increased fitness as we go outside and move
  • More clarity as we expand our horizons in these warmer, longer days
  • Time to read, think, learn and inspire
  • Peace that comes from enjoying each moment

Next Steps

  1. Make a list of your summer promises.
  2. Choose someone you’ll be accountable to.
  3. Add one summer enjoyment action to your To Do List every day.


Above all I recommend that if you haven’t ever made a Best Year Yet® plan…

Marla Dee in the mountains of Utah

Marla Dee loving this summer in the mountains of Utah

Visit original blog post.

Love on summer. Love on your life.

Marla, Kate & Team

Summer is here. Have a lazy weekend!

Give yourself permission to let it ALL go!

We just love and appreciate our systems that walk us through simply and joyfully getting things done. However, sometimes it is most supportive to just walk away from the lists, the projects, the events, the people, the decisions, ALL of it, and have no plan at all.

Lay around and do nothing. Have a TV marathon. Read an entire book. Take a drive into the mountains. Sit on the porch andClear & SIMPLE, Lazy Weekend, Woman laying in grass take in the loveliness around you. Sleep late. All the while releasing the guilt that typically creeps in and tells us we aren’t doing enough.

Courtney Carver of Be More with Less offers this dialogue to address those icky feelings…

“When guilt creeps in and tells you to do more, take a deep breath and say, ‘Guilt … I appreciate your input, but my heart wants what my heart wants, and it doesn’t want to clean, shop, catch up, or keep up. My heart wants a rest. My heart wants to smile.’ “

Read more in her blog post, Permission for a Guilt-free, Lazy Weekend.

Here’s to doing what makes our heart sing this weekend. – Marla, Kate & Team


Slow Down for Summer

Summer can be a time to slow down rather than speed up!

Summer is a sweet time. We often feel the tug to be a kid again on summer vacation, free from life’s responsibilities. And yet the summer can get crazy and even busier than the rest of the year. So how do we slow down and take in the sweetness of this summer?

Renee is a constant source of inspiration for us. Her blog below offers simple truth on how to slow down and love your summer, whatever stage of life you are.

One of my touchstones for gauging how fast–or slow–I’m living, is noticing if I have a vase of fresh herbs and flowers on my desk. When I’m living the life I desire, I create the time to meander in my garden and pick colorful, fragrant flowers and plants to enjoy in my office.

What’s your touchstone that lets you know you’re moving at a speed that feels just right for you? A signal that tells you you’re living joyfully and in alignment with what matters most?

For the last 16 years I’ve been self-employed. And it took me more than half of that time to figure out that I get to choose the speed at which I live, work and play.

When I finally “got this,” I realized … summer is an especially sacred time for me. It’s a time when I crave–and need–to slow way down. To embrace expanses of unscheduled time, to enjoy spontaneity, adventure, more time in nature and less time online. As delicious to me as homemade peach ice cream–I lap up spaciousness and big open creative windows where I get to sit with ideas, meditate on my life purpose and personal hopes and visions, integrate all I’ve learned from the past six months, explore new ways of being and reconnect with soulful friends for long hikes and late night swims in spring-fed waters. Summer is when I re-calibrate and am reminded of who I am and what I love.

Continue reading on her blog…

This is the 3rd year that we are really practicing slowing down during the summer. We hope you find the joy and peace in doing so yourself. – Marla, Kate & Team

Clear & SIMPLE, Renee Trudeau

Tip #7 for a Fabulous Summer!

Say hello to the new school year after fully saying goodbye the last one!

If you missed Our Top Tips for Summer, make sure you check it out! For this post, we’d like to focus on and expand on just one tip.

During the last weeks of summer many of us are trying to pack in as much play time as possible. Why not also schedule some meaningful time for you and your child(ren) to reminisce about last year and how much has changed all while getting organized?

7. Organizing Last Years School Papers can be FUN– Make a date with your child to spend an afternoon to go through all of the papers you saved from the last school year. Use STACKS (Sort, Toss, Assign, Contain, Keep it up, & Simplify) to make organizing the papers FUN! Lay them all out on the dining room table or the floor and sort into simple piles such as art, writing, homework, and friend stuff. Enjoy reliving the last year. Toss the easy stuff and then keep the treasures. Next simply three hole punch them, put in a fun binder and place them in your child’s bedroom for easy enjoyment anytime!

Clear & SIMPLE, School Papers

This is a project many moms always have on their on-going project list. Unfortunately it is one that often stays on that list and never gets done. When you schedule the time to do it, involve your child and make the process fun, everyone wins! You’ll be so relieved and grateful to have it checked off your list and actually be able to enjoy looking at all of those papers.

Extra TIP – Choose a container or drawer now for next year’s school papers to make it easy to keep the back pack cleared out.

Click here for a beautiful, downloadable and printable copy of our Systems Cards for an outline of S.T.A.C.K.S…© and feel free to share with everyone!

Squeezing out every last drop of summer energy,

Marla, Kate & Team



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