Simplicity in the Workplace

God’s commands may not be easy, but they are simple and clear. It’s often humans who complicate the simplicity of such truths as “Love one another” and “Follow me.” When simplicity is at work in our lives, we likely see God at work in our lives more clearly, because we’ve created space to hear His voice and respond by faith. 

We’d love to see practical ideas for how people work on simplicity in the workplace, but they can take this any direction they like. Here at The High Calling, we engage with stories of people who are working through these issues on a daily basis. They don’t have to be tidy, but they do have to be real.



The High Calling threw down a Workplace Simplicity theme request - here’s my country girl whirl.


9531sdAs I’ve shared before, my family and I live a rather rustic lifestyle, what with our wood cookstove, laundry lines, clothes racks, dishwasher-less kitchen, and other labor intensive frugal ways, my workplace is fraught with all manner of mostly tedious toil. Even so, my work is my love put into action.

Here are two examples:

I don’t have to get up with my husband at 4am, but if I want to send him off with a hot breakfast, nutritious lunch, and a thermos full of cocoa or coffee, I do. I’ve been at it ever since we wed some twenty years ago. Honest to Pete, some bleary-eyed mornings I don’t even speak to the man until I hold open the door and say, “Good-bye. Have a great day. Did you remember to lock the pasture gate?”

In order to not only survive these mornings, but to thrive in the wobbly hours, preparation starts the night before, just after I hand wash the dinner dishes. I take out two thick slices of local-made, sweet artisan bread and wrap the frozen pieces in foil. I place this on top of the toaster I’ve set on the counter. I fill the water reservoir; grind the coffee or measure hot chili pepper chocolate powder. I make ready his lunch (cold stuff in the fridge and other stuff on the counter). So, when pre-dawn’s wake-up call catapults me from the covers, all I have to do is the same thing I did the morning before.

Flip a switch, drop the bread in slots, start the fire, slather toast with raw honey, wrap it in foil, pour hotness into a thermos, feed the dogs, remind the husband to take his clean socks out of his back pocket before he does chores, ya know, stuff like that. Workplace simplicity.

I dare not complain, because if I did my husband would tell me to stay in bed. He’s told me that he’d not get up with me if I worked outside the home and left at such freakish hours. That’s okay. He shows his love in other ways.

In addition to being a ruralized homemaker, I not only home educate my son, but I’ve been teaching two other kiddos this school year. All told, my teacherly duties have increased by about thirty hours per week. Three kids, three different grade levels, mixed genders, varying interests, lunches, more dishes, reading, writing (lots and lots of that), arithmetic, and playing; not to mention the emotional and spiritual needs.

Simplicity at the dining table classroom workplace involves unique and inventive ideas, shared resources, group projects, and individual lessons. Even though perfection isn’t the goal, learning how to learn is a key component. As is learning how to make do with what you have – so we find math tables in the backs of recipe books, spelling skills on the Scrabble board, parts of speech in Mad Lib booklets, and literature via audio books during lunch.

I do it because my family dared ask God to break our hearts for someone in our community.

He did. So we do.

Most people have twisted workplace simplicity to mean “easy-peasy” and “on-demand” and “free-time.” All of which are fanciful falsities for me. I work hard at the simplicity of the mundane because that’s how I love my people.


Lest I should be remiss, here’s the ultimate at-home workplace hint: If your day starts the night before, simplicity is a dish best served on a paper plate.



A Caffeinated Ode

Ode poetry sometimes sings the praises of the everyday. Write an ode about a favorite coffee or tea shop. What makes it yours? Write about the atmosphere, or the people who craft the beverages that make your day bright.

~ TweetSpeak Poetry serves up an ode to a coffee shop poetical prompt. You in?




Blue and white boxes of incense, two stacks of

books, several CDs, and some business cards, brochures,

pile on a re-purposed kitchen hutch, rough edges, painted

wood displays local wares.


Toast and coffee compete for space in the uppermost places of scent-thick air.


Spicy orange tea, stone-ground whole wheat, bagged

chips and canned drinks, organic, line the left side

shelf along the same wall as the couch,

leather and brown.


A duo tends the till, a wide, stainless galley kitchen, and a drive-thru window.


What’s that smell? my husband asks as we wait

for her to run the card. Driven by olfactory, I record,

and hold places, times. College I say. The food co-op; granola

girls with hairy legs and bare toes; brown farm eggs; hot drinks;

and garden foods.


Turkey with pickles times two, a veggie  sandwich, extra mustard. Coffee, black.


Bright light blinds - a stranger pullsblue mug

the cloth shades, casting rays slant

down. Patrons talk, read free

newspapers, some even hold hands.


Thick-cut, salty chips and sparkling raspberry juice make us drool – we call it dessert.


Thanks we say to the bearded man

behind the counter. My husband chews a toothpick,

our son burrows in a book, and outside, on the sunny

sidewalk I hold my coat in one hand and a

new box of incense in the other.





Just pray, please, for the family and friends of those who perished, as well as for those who have been unaccounted for, in the recent Oso, WA mudslide. The devastation is alarming and the loss is incomprehensible, even so, God is in it.

Someday God’s children will know the why’s and how’s, but for now, let us lean upon our collective faith, dip into His storehouse of love, and garner strength — storm all from our Heavenly Father’s outstretched and merciful hands.






Thank you kindly.




Table to Table

It’d been a long day but she moved easy from table to table, clearing other people’s dirty dishes and wiping the tabletops with cloth that had been soaked in bleach water. Even though she was in the middle of an uptown crowd of manicured people in linen suits and silk shirts, nobody noticed her.

Until now.

blue mugHer back was to him as she grabbed the last plate off of a nearby table. As the longhaired girl walked away, she hoisted the tray to chin-level, exposing her wrist as her shirtsleeve cuff slid down. When he saw the strange tattoo, he flinched, inhaled sharp, and knocked over his coffee cup, ruining his law school notes. The twenty-two year old man apologized to his study partners. Desperate to see her face, he looked up, but she was gone.


  1. Which character are you?
  2. Why?