• Finances,  Frugality,  Happiness

    The Diderot Effect

    The Diderot Effect has been used as a lesson against mindless consumerism since the minimalist movement began. The moral of the lesson is always the same: buying something nice will lead to us buying other nice things until we’re broke and miserable. I was right on board with that thought from the beginning. Why should we strive to buy better…

  • Happiness

    Grumpy Gus

    “Watch out,” my trainer whispered into my ear during my first day on the job. “The guy who just got in line is really mean. He’s made cashiers cry before.” I glanced up to see an older man with graying hair and a decidedly sour disposition, tapping his foot impatiently as he waited his turn. He loudly remarked that if…

  • Decluttering,  Happiness,  Minimalism

    Minimizing Relationship Stress

    It’s painful to watch friends self-destruct, to watch them slide down the slippery slope of insanity. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You’re unable to turn away. You reach out your hand, only to have it slapped away time and again. Either they realize they are slipping and don’t care, or they’re enjoying the ride. Regardless, you…

  • Happiness,  Uncategorized

    Notes to your Future Self

    Katie and I started a little tradition when we defrosted our refrigerator for the first time several years ago. We didn’t know how long it had been since we had defrosted it so sensing an opportunity we each wrote little notes to our future selves (Katie even left herself a gift) and stuck them in the back of the freezer…

  • Happiness,  Simplicity

    The Magic of Decision

    I’ve lived in this little house for close to seven years. In that time I’ve never gotten around to making the little touches that turn a house into a home. I didn’t see the point since I didn’t know how long I was going to live here. Was I going to upgrade to another house, move into an RV, or…

  • Happiness

    A Word on Coping

    There was a study done about drug addiction a few years back. Scientists took two rats. One was placed in a basic cage with no mental stimulation, while the other was placed in “rat heaven,” a cage filled with mazes and other things that the rat could use to keep occupied. Each rat had two water bottles. One bottle contained…

  • Happiness,  Success

    Fighting the Good Fight

    Life, no matter how you arrange it, is far from perfect. We all have things that we need to deal with. In my personal journey, I am dealing with a brain disease as a result of an injury I suffered some time ago. I have a choice: I can sit on my ass, whining and crying, or I can plow…

  • Happiness

    Gratitude List

    One thing that has really helped during my current challenges is keeping a gratitude list. Sometimes it is a mental list, other times it is a written list, and frequently it is a combination of the two. Here are a few things I am thankful for: We have a roof over our head with electric, water, and Internet. I have…

  • Happiness,  Housing,  Personal

    What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

    At first I was nervous when the water started rising. “What will I do if the house floods?” I worried. I don’t exactly have the resources to move and this is the cheapest place around. The fact that it was happening 20 years to the day that I was flooded out in 1997 made me nervous as well. Would it…

  • Happiness

    Happiness and Attitude

    Welcome to yet another Throwback Thursday post, courtesy of John Grebe, the awesome person who managed to save these posts. He recently published a thoughtful critique of the 100 Things Challenge that I highly recommend. This post was originally published on March 18, 2010. ~#~ “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything.  They just make the best…