7 Quick Takes (Vol. 11)

This was the format I needed today. Thanks Jen!


Today I had an intense and meaningful conversation with two other moms while our children danced together in Ballet class.  One of the moms was going (as I was) to the ice park after the lesson, and she commented that we could renew the conversation once we got there.

“I don’t know,” I said. “It’s sort of exhausting.” She agreed and we parted.

I felt the need to check back in later and verify she understood what I meant.  At the ice rink I asked if my observation was offensive and she said, “No, I knew exactly what you meant and didn’t think of it again.”

Ah, the delight of having an equally introverted and honest friend.


I’ve been seeing a lot about “branding” lately, and it’s got me thinking again about my name, my domain/blog’s name and my “identity” on-line. The name “Untangling Tales” seems to have a lot of potential, and I have these vague ideas in my mind about the Ta of tales getting wrapped around the ta of Untangling…

And then I ask myself, What’s the point? and return to my regularly-scheduled diligence.


A month ago when I started packing to move God-know-where, I asked the Twitterverse for advice on how to thin my stuff.

I got advice on packing, which, while relevant, was not what I was seeking.

What I most wanted was How do I choose what stuff to keep and what to get rid of. Because, God knows, something’s got to go! I mean, I can live this way, but how can I *move* with all of it?

The answer came when I was forced to pare my kitchen down.

Jay had suggested I make a menu of 16 meals or so, and leave out the elements of those.

A very sensible, reasonable suggestion but I ended up not needing, because instead I went through the ingredients, herbs and spices on “instinct” and removed most everything I didn’t use without a recipe.

For dishes I left out everything I was constantly (re) washing, and therefore using.

And that looks like it is the key to everything: not just use but continual, frequent, and varied use. This is the kind of packing you don’t have to have your laundry done to do.

I’ll be verifying this tomorrow when the children are off on their all-afternoon playdate. ;)


On Saturday, the day after my kitchen discovery, I visited my favorite bookstore’s 50%-off everything day. I managed to come home with only five books, and one of those was It’s All Too Much.

In my desire for how-to-thin (my stuff) I imagined there must be a resource out there *somewhere* but had no Idea how to find it. So God gave it to me: a delightfully specific provision I didn’t even know how to look for.

Reminds me of the kinds of gifts my dad gave when I was growing up: I used to describe his gifts as “the thing I never knew I always wanted.”


One of the points the book’s author makes is that a lot of stuff-collecting is preparing for the future, and while this is not a problem in itself, the time required to manage too much of it can steal from your “now.”

I’ve been thinking of this for a month or two, and was already troubled by it, bothered by the idea that I spent more time acquiring and organizing to “be ready” but didn’t really have a structure to decide which part was the “too much” part. Because, I really do believe some of this is basic prudence.


The question that provided clarity was this: What does your ideal life look like?

One of my theories about why romances are so popular has to do with my guess that finding/choosing a life-partner is the last time anyone (or maybe it’s just Christians) are actively encouraged to think of themselves.
Think about it: “Are you happy?” “Make a list” “Know what you *won’t* settle for!” “Does he treat you right?” are common questions until one is married. Afterward (again for Christians in particular), you just deal. Why remind someone their life’s not perfect? And if it is, who wants to know? {grumblegrumble}

I agree with the author’s opinion that an important part of building a new life (with more life and less STUFF) is envisioning what you’d like it to look like– the kind of future you want, how you want to spend your time– so that your choices move you purposefully toward that goal, rather than vaguely hoping you’ll end up there.

So far my new-home list has two things (beyond the obvious): a well-trained dog, and a home that hosts well.

I want meaningful conversation in my home– I imagine hosting things like The Truth Project or the Crown Biblical Financial Study. And more even than that I want my kids to think of home as the place you bring people to get to know them better. I want them to be proud of their home and in the habit of opening it and seeing it opened.

It’s the model I had, and I want to perpetuate it.


I have a newborn in my hands.

Not literally, it is actually a relationship, but it seems lain in my arms fully formed, in all its wobbly-headed glory. And I am in heart-fluttering awe at the responsibility and beauty of it all.

For more 7 Quick Takes visit Jen’s Conversion Diary

Other 7 Quick Takes on Untangling Tales

2 thoughts on “7 Quick Takes (Vol. 11)

  1. I love that book, It’s All Too Much. I read a couple of years ago, right after the death of my mother in law. It was very helpful as my father in law was cleaning out “stuff.” My mother in law did not throw anything out, ever. My father in law was very hesitant to get rid of “her” things. So we took box after box he passed on to us, and then sorted accordingly. Without the help of the book, we may have been tempted to keep things just because she had kept them. Instead we were able to assign value to the things we kept and blessed others with the things we gave away.

  2. On #3:

    Randy Alcorn’s advice that inspired me today:

    “Everything material we have, including money, is either a tool or an idol. If we fail to use it as a tool for God’s intended purposes, it mutates into an idol. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Timothy 6:10”

    I thought if I looked at everything in this manner, I’d be able to clutter down this Spring! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *