How to Live a Simpler Life | Guest Post by Melissa K. Norris

I’m excited to introduce you to Melissa K. Norris, who is guest-posting today and will be on my radio show, Living Inspired, this Thursday!

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Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your to-do-list? Are you worried about all of the processed things going into your family’s food?

As a mom, wife, pharmacy technician, author, and speaker, I often feel like I’m working on a to-do-list that is written on a magical ream of paper that never ends. I can see it stretching into infinity, a giant white ribbon fluttering into the sky. But no matter how much ink fills it up, I made a vow not to sacrifice certain things.

I grew up growing a vegetable garden, canning, and with a mother who cooked from scratch. She used to hand-deliver homemade hamburgers and French fries in a paper bag to my friend and me so we could play like we were at McDonalds when I was little.

After I had a family of my own, I realized how important these traditions were and I wanted to carry them on. I see Jesus when I’m out in the garden, tending to the plants in the elements He created for both humans and vegetation need to flourish. When I’m elbow deep in flour and making my own bread, I remember what He said about yeast and being the salt of the earth.

5 tips for leading a simpler life:

1. Grow something. Not everyone has the ground or space for a full on vegetable garden. But everyone can grow a container garden. Herbs are great for the kitchen window or strawberries are perfect in a large pot on the back porch. Here’s my tutorial on how to plant strawberries with 5 tips for berry success.

2. Use heirloom seeds. There is nothing more simple than using seeds exactly as God created them. Heirloom seeds offer many qualities lost in hybrid or GMO seeds. Want to learn more about heirloom seeds, snag your FREE copy of my e-book, Heirloom Gardening Guide-Plant to Save Money.

3. Prepare one processed item from scratch. It can be overwhelming to toss all of your processed/store prepared items at once. Go over your families menu and replace the one processed item you eat the most of. For my family, that was bread. I haven’t purchased store bought bread in a year and a half. You can bake my no-knead bread in less than 5 minutes a day. I also use a sandwich loaf recipe and have 8 tips for perfect bread no matter what recipe you use.

4. Make your own green cleaning products. One of the easiest multi-purposes cleaners you can make is with vinegar and water. Put a ¼ cup of vinegar in a spray bottle and fill with water. Use it to wash windows (I couldn’t believe how streak-free they turned out) and to clean counter tops.

5. Read and pray outside. When weather permits, do your daily devotional and prayers outside. You won’t be distracted by the phone, computer, or television. Soak in the beauty of what the Father created for you.

What’s your favorite tip for living a simpler, faith-filled life?

Melissa K. Norris shares how to implement the best of a simpler time into reader’s busy lives and to see God in their everyday life. Through her novels and, Pioneering Today-Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way, she creates new traditions from old-time customs, preserving a lost heritage for her readers. She is a newspaper columnist, award-winning blogger, and radio show host. Her workshops include traditional bread making, canning, and heirloom gardening.

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  1. These are some great tips! One tip that I would like to share is to start a prayer journal. When you feel heavy with worries and concerns, go write it out on in the form of prayers in a journal. You can take your journal outside, too! 🙂

  2. I hear you! I am a wife, mom of two girls, work full-time for a Fortune 50 company, and write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired line…and I try to run a real-food, back to basics household. I love your tips! I have three others…

    1) Talk to your kids about real food and get them involved in the kitchen. My oldest kiddo doesn’t just know that sugar and fast food are sometimes foods, she knows why they have that designation and why they’re bad for us. She helps me in the kitchen and it provides practical reinforcement of how we eat.

    2) Give yourself some grace. We aim for 80/20 eating in this house. I admit it. I like going out to eat sometimes because I like not doing dishes. 🙂 When things are crazy, we probably get down to about 70/30. And if we have a 60/40 week, well, I still try not to sweat it. Life happens. And it makes me appreciate those home-cooked fresh meals that take a little more effort even more!

    3) Keep it simple. Real food doesn’t have to be real complicated. I can grill a chicken breast, saute some vegetables in the skillet, and pour a glass of farm-fresh milk in less than 15 minutes. It’s not elaborate. But it’s simple and and full of traditional nourishment. It doesn’t take much to get on the table or to get cleaned up. And everyone is happy with a tummy full of the real nutrients they need to be their best.

    • Kristen, I love your advice to give yourself grace. And my kids love to help in the kitchen and garden. It brings us closer together. Good for you for not letting a demanding job take away from the important things and your health.

  3. Hi Melissa!

    Thanks for the lovely tips! I especially liked the read and pray outside one. I already do this sometimes. It’s so refreshing to sit and enjoy God’s creation while you’re reading His word and talking to Him.

    Have a blessed day!


  4. Loved this post! We just sold our home in the suburbs and bought a 35 acre farm. Excited to begin growing our very own fruits and veggies and enjoying a simpler, less distracted life!

    • Christie, congrats!! I’d love to hear about your adventures in gardening and modern homesteading. I share frequent tips and we get into great discussions on my facebook page and website. Will you be raising any of your own livestock?

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