Monday, July 15, 2013

On my Bookshelf: Simple Abundace, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

One of the books that has probably most influenced me since I've become an adult is Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  It was first published in 1995, which makes it almost twenty years old, but I think it's just as relevant today as it probably was back then.

My well worn, and well loved copy.

I remember when I started reading it, I had bought my first home a few years before that and had racked up some credit card debt at that time buying things on impulse that I didn't really need or even want once I got home, I was working at a job that I really hated, my two closest friends had moved away so that I had to drive nearly an hour to see either one, my husband had to have heart surgery, and I was just feeling totally weighed down and overwhelmed by life.  One of the ladies at church had decided to start a book group with this book over the Sunday school hour.  I joined, mainly because I liked the lady leading the study and I felt like I needed some socialization after the morale sapping work weeks.

This book is all about simplifying your life, realizing the difference between your needs and wants, and being happy and grateful for what you already have.  Each day has its own reading, only a page or two long.  It really changed my outlook.  I started spending my half hour lunch breaks at the nearby park eating lunch alone at a picnic table, or even in my car with the windows down, just reading a book, or listening to music.  I went through my clothes and parred down my huge wardrobe.  Being a bargain hunter, I had tons of clothes I had bought on clearance, or at Goodwill, but I didn't love most of it, and a lot of it rarely got worn.  Sarah's philosophy is that it's better to have a few outfits you love, made of quality materials than a bunch of things you really don't care for, but you bought them because they were cheap.  I've come to see this is true.  She also talks about the joy of decorating your home, getting order into your home and life, cooking and gardening, and searching for what we really want from life.  It really made me rethink a lot of things and remap what I was doing.  I started shopping less and spent more time reading books and growing flowers and keeping in touch with friends, and it really did make me feel more satisfied and happier with my life.  I still read it every year.  

You can find copies of Simple Abundance quite frequently at thrift stores, or on book swapping sites, and you can pick up a used copy on Amazon for less than $5.00.  Even though we're halfway through the year, it's not too late to start living a happier more fulfilled life, and this book gives you a great blueprint of how to do that. 

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