I have been married for 34 for years to my amazing husband and best friend, Randy Alward and am the mother of three grown sons and two daughter-in-laws.

The Simple Life

The Simple Life

Simplicity is not about deprivation.

Simplicity is about greater appreciation for things that really matter.

Have you noticed how the world wants us to buy into the idea that more is better?

Randy and I went to see a superhero action movie the other night and as we munched on our delicious buttery popcorn, (because popcorn is a big reason we go to the movies), we watched a movie unfold with at least 10 different story lines – one plot after another, each more complex than the next.  Don’t get me wrong, the action scenes in the movie were absolutely stunning, but no amount of high tech graphics and nail-biting suspense could make up for the absence of the simplicity of the human story.  We looked at each other in the middle of the movie and whispered, “They’re trying way too hard.” 

Arguably, the best moment of the movie was when Superman went back to his childhood home and connected with Lois Lane and his sweet mother.  He was close to tears (yes, Superman almost cried) as he hugged Lois and his Mom; he was obviously glad to be home with his family and we could finally relate with his humanity.  The whole theater collectively sighed.     

We are hungry for simplicity.  We live in a world of super-sizing everything, including movie plots, thinking that will make us happier.  Maybe if we add more fries, maybe if we add more plots to the story, maybe if we accumulate more chase scenes or broadcast the nightly news with more sensational headlines. Or, if we get one more pair of shoes or a new car, we’ll feel better.  Or add more hot yoga classes or dinner dates to our schedules, we will keep up with the Jones’.  (My guess is the Jones’ are as stressed out as we are.) 

More, more and more.

Somehow, we have bought into the idea that the more we have, the better we will feel.  I truly believe that at our core we crave simplicity.  There’s a reason that Google is such an enormous part of everyone’s life – it is incredibly simple to use – instant and easy access.  And my niece just opened a new organic smoothie and juice bar (Check out Local Roots Juice Co) She bottles delicious organic cold-pressed juice with a total of 5 (or less) ingredients – listed neatly on the bottle.  And best of all, we’ve actually heard of the ingredients.  Delicious and simple.

Hopefully, all of us got to enjoy Thanksgiving last week – it’s such a cool part of our nation’s history.  It’s a holiday that is a reminder for each of us to stop and appreciate all the blessings in our lives.  And all of us have so many.  For me, I am choosing to be thankful for every new day that I have to become a clear thinker, a selective shopper, a thoughtful eater, a peaceful wife, mother and friend, and simply a child of God.

I share more in my new book, but when we take steps to reduce the unnecessary stuff, the excess in every part of our lives, we can start to experience peace, gratitude, and bonus:  feel organized.  It’s powerful. 

Life is not about accumulating more stuff.  It’s about understanding how to keep the things that work and make sense in our life – whether it’s that perfect sweater or a favorite pair of jeans, the best skin care that works for you, the go-to healthy breakfast that gives you power for the day ahead or even the best books that inspire you. 

It’s about learning to be ruthless with what we allow in our lives.

Earlier this year, I stopped at 7-Eleven to buy a bottle of water and some mints.  As I was standing in line, I noticed that the Lottery was huge – over $300 million.  It was my turn at the cash register and as I paid for my items, I asked the clerk for a few tickets.  “I might as well try my luck, huh?”

He smiled at me. “It’s over $300 million dollars now”.  Then he shook his head, “You know, I don’t want any of that money”.

 At that point, he had my full attention, “What do you mean?”

“What would I do with it?” he asked, “The simple life is the best life, don’t you think?”

I swallowed and nodded.  I walked out to my car feeling silly for spending money on a notion that my life would be better if I had more.  The cheerful clerk was right. 

The simple life is the best life.  I want to learn to get rid of the unnecessary and appreciate what works.  It’s that simple.

CJ Alward

This is an excerpt from Chapter 9 of my new book to be released in 2018! 🙌🏻


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