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Lessons from Joan: the joy of less

Lessons from Joan

How a gardener is pruning my heart

Joan and I often talked about books I was reading. She reads just One. She said it’s the only one she needs. She is probably right.

Joan is the epitome of minimalism.

She finds joy with less.


I lost everything I had in a flood in 2009 in Atlanta. Everything down to the electrical wires and drywall in the two story house. I had an “opportunity” to get rid of 6 full dumpsters worth of “stuff”.

Somehow over the last 9 years - I have not only found a way to replace many things - but I’ve found myself overwhelmed with too much stuff.

I loved reading Marie Kondo’s book but even as I wrote this I’m not sure where the book is amidst over 100 other books in my library now.

Less is more for Joan.

I always wanted to give her things to help make her gardening simpler. I had raised beds, regular beds, an aero garden and even an aquaponic fish tank garden. I filled spaces in and around the house to fill voids in my heart.

Joan simply was happy lining my flower beds with old newspaper, uses old garbage bags as weed cloth, and simple house scissors to trim my trees. She would drink all day from a 2 liter bottle, and used a recyclable bag to carry everything she needs - which is barely nothing.

She taught me lessons daily in our time together.

I watched her talking to my plants, giving them care, she walked with absolute intention with everything she was doing taking care of what nature has provided for our enjoyment and sustenance.

I asked Joan if she would help us with Vincent’s organization STEP Up to the Plate and she said - no! I was surprised because she loves gardening and taking care of my yard.

She said - “I choose how to invest every minute of my day. If I fill it with lots of things that take me away from where I have the most joy - then that is unhealthy for me. I take care of your yard because it brings me joy and quiet time to share with the Lord.”

Made sense.

She has found joy in less.

I had been hearing Joan and maybe not fully “listening” - I wanted the joy she had and yet would likely not trade my life for hers. For those of you who have been following - you read recently that Joan lived in her truck and was very happy and had joy and had “less” and was free.

I’ve been reading a book called The Joy of Less and it’s truly impactful that when you free your mind, heart, spirit, (and house) of distractions - it opens up room, gives you freedom, and breathing space. Sometimes we fill our houses (and hearts) with “stuff” we think we want - when all we really need is less. Funny how that works. I have a long way to go - but I’ve already been spending intentional time this year “spring cleaning” from the inside out and my clarity is already so much crisper.

Thank you Lord for Joan, for books, for enlightenment, for discernment and for less, and for providing for all of my needs abundantly more than I deserve or truly need. Amen

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