preface: What’s a Quiet Life?

This blog is documentation of a treasure hunt I am embarking upon, alongside my husband.

What comprises a “quiet life”, or perhaps more significantly, what detracts from one?

We are starting an adventure, likely full of trial and error, undertaken with the intention of discovering and putting into practice the essential elements of a “quiet life”, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.

Along the way I would love to hear your questions, suggestions, and reflections. I will do my best to share any nuggets of wisdom we stumble upon.

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chapter 3: Beginning with the Word

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5, NIV

If I’m searching for simplicity, doesn’t it make sense to peel back the layers I have caked onto the core of life? How do I get back to the beginning? This verse from the gospel of John articulates the answer to my question so well.

I barrage myself with books, websites, podcasts, music, television…and more often than not, they are a distraction from the true Word.

In the past I have gravitated towards study guides when reading the Bible, but this year I have decided to read through the entirety of the Bible in a sort of “raw” way that I’ve never experienced before.

So far, when I make the time, it’s been refreshing. I’ve also picked up on many details I didn’t know about before in familiar Bible stories. My biggest struggle is consistency, but I’m working towards STARTING and FINISHING my day in God’s word.

Try it out:

I track my reading with one of the plans available through the Bible by Olive Tree app. Check them out and see if there’s one you’re interested in starting.

chapter 2: Active All Day

I spend most of my day seated, working in front of a computer. The majority of my physical activity happens after the work day is over, meaning that for the first 10+ hours of the day, I am basically sedentary….not good!

I have started using cumulative activity as a simple and quick way to incorporate “bonus” exercise into my day, and to keep me energized and moving all day long.

It’s amazing how fast these quick bouts of movement add up! Here’s what I did today:

8am – 8 Squats

9am – 9 Jumping Jacks

10am – 10 Burpees

11am – 11 Push-ups

12pm – 12 Mountain Climbers

1pm – 13 Bridges

2pm – 14 Plank Bird Dogs

3pm – 15 V-ups

4pm – 16 Superman Extensions

5pm – 17 Wide-legged Squats

In total, by the end of my work day I will have completed 125 reps! This activity isn’t intended to replace my usual workouts in the afternoon, but I’m amazed at the BIG energy boost I get from such a simple addition to my day.

Try it out:

Pick two or more bodyweight exercises, and rotate through them as the day progresses. Setting an hourly timer is a helpful reminder.

For a greater challenge, start earlier or finish later in the day.

How did you feel at the end of they day? Did you complete all sets?

chapter 1: Spending Money

If I was asked to identify the single most effective budgeting tactic we have used to curb excessive, non-essential spending in our family, it would be this:

Designated Spending Money. In CASH.

As part of our monthly budget, we allocate a specific amount of cash for each individual to use any way they want. The cash is not tracked after it is withdrawn it on the first day of the month. Once it’s gone, it’s gone until the next month arrives. Here are a few of the many benefits we’ve experienced:

  • Less guilt about spending on personal indulgences (for me, that’s a daily McCafe and a monthly Apple Music membership)
  • Less arguing as a couple about what is or isn’t a waste of money (your spending money = your decision)
  • Less worry about unintentional overspending (I used to just tap my credit card for a coffee…but by month’s end it always added up to a lot more spending than I had estimated)
  • Fewer receipts and transactions to review at the end of the month

There is a caveat to this tip – it will only pay off if the rest of your budget is well-defined. The spending money should be replacing categories – not supplementing them. Eliminating or reducing a non-essential category like “fast-food” is a good place to start.

Granted, it does require self-discipline to keep the plastic in my wallet once the cash runs out, but I know that at the end of the month there will be a little more green in the bank if I stick to my guns.

Try it out:

  1. Pick a non-essential item or category (“X”) that you like to spend money on.
  2. How much do you usually spend per month on “X”? Reduce your budgeted amount for the following month, and withdraw the amount in cash on the first day of the month.
  3. Resolve to only purchase “X” with your spending cash, then evaluate your success at the end of the month.

Tell me how it goes, and any helpful ideas you come up with!