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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Simplify by Carolyn J. Rasmus

Here’s a refreshing view on getting you life together. I’ve read tons of books on organizing and simplifying my life, both general and from an LDS perspective; but, Simplify: A guide to Caring for the Soul by Carolyn J. Rasmus is the first I’ve read and enjoyed that actually looked at life from this view point.

Basically, Carolyn Rasmus takes the approach that all things should focus on the care and keeping of the soul: if we focus our “simplification” efforts on our spirit first, other areas will fall in place when we’re paying attention to what our spirit really needs. It’s down to earth, practical, and doesn’t mention storage buckets, color coordinating your linen closet, or organizing your food storage any where. This book focuses on the word simplify itself—turning it into an acronym for “a guide to caring for the soul”.

Here are the chapter titles as they outline the acronym:





Let go




Not the types of things you expected to see in an organization book, is it? Well, maybe a little, but Ms. Rasmus’ approach is not harsh, unrealistic, or preachy. She clearly lets you see her own short-comings. (I, personally, am glad I’m not the only one who has yelled at the answering machine because the requests it has recorded are beyond my human capacities.) But she also fills your heart with inspiration and encouragement for becoming the type of person our Father in Heaven intended each of us to be. Simplify asks you to look at your life in terms of what really matters first, then put everything in order according to the priorities you and God have created together.

Simplify takes a serious look at how our personal spirituality affects all aspects of our lives and tries to identify the “most needful things” that Christ has asked us to focus on as we try to become like Him. It could seem very overwhelming in nature, but I didn’t find it as such. Ms. Rasmus fills Simplify with personal examples, scriptures, and quotes that leave you in quiet thought not discouragement. In fact, she pleads with the reader not to see her words as “one more thing” on a never ending to-do list for perfection. She means it for an as-needed guide to simplicity that will lead us to open our hearts and minds to the promptings of the Spirit so that the Lord can guide us in pruning and letting go of all the extra stuff that has found a place in our lives but not necessarily in our heart of hearts.

She also gives very doable suggestions for ways to get started with the messages presented in each chapter. They are not insurmountable; most of them require us to take a few moments and a quiet spot to think about the direction of our life, looking for small course alterations that are within our reach. This constant reminder for a little peaceful introspection is worth the price of the book. It’s what Simplify is all about: letting in the Spirit and the peace He brings and letting go of whatever else we can.

I found many messages I could take to heart, and I’ll be anxious to see what effect they can create on my own life.

Considering the spirit I felt while I was reading it, I know there is much that was meant for me. Perhaps it contains things you need as well. Give it a shot the next time you’re looking for help and encouragement to simplify your life.

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1 comment:

Hmachine said...

I read this book a couple of months ago. I really enjoyed it. I found it insightful and I was able to pick a few things out to help me in simplifying. I listened to her at time out for Women and really enjoyed her also. I appreciate people that are down to earth about things and not into the 'super mom' trip. :)