After her guest post yesterday it seemed obvious that I needed to “sit down” for a few minutes and talk to Nina Nelson about her thoughts. I wanted to find out about her own inspiration, her current book, and her take on how to treat a man (salacious, right?) Read on….
Tiny r(E)volution: You spoke yesterday about decluttering and how to manage the amount of “stuff” a family can collect once children are introduced. What else do you see as a major stumbling block for families in regards to keeping clutter down and living a more minimalistic life?
Nina Nelson: My biggest stumbling block was keeping stuff out of my house. After my initial decluttering session, I noticed that I needed to declutter again a few months later. I think that’s natural as you become less attached to your possessions, but I was getting rid of stuff that wasn’t even in the house on the first go-round.
I was still shopping and it needed to stop. But first, I had to figure out why I was shopping (I was kinda bored and didn’t know what else to do with my time) and address that. All of the clutter was just a symptom. I think the biggest challenge was realizing that and taking steps to fix the problem.
TR: Let’s talk about your site for a minute. When I first came across Shalom Mama I was really impressed with the transparency of your posts. You talk about difficult times in your marriage, your struggle with your own health and weight, your search for community, etc. Why so transparent? Who do you hope is reading your blog and what do you hope they are gaining from it?
NN: I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I’m “really honest” – in a bad way. I sometimes make people uncomfortable with how open I’m willing to be. But I like being authentic. A few years ago, I got fed up with being phony, always saying that I was fine and trying to act like I had it all together. It was just too exhausting.
So I started writing and sharing my story. I knew that there were others out there like me, who wanted to connect with people who were real about their lives. I also hoped that sharing my story, the challenges I’ve overcome, would help someone else in that situation. I’m so encouraged when people tell me that something they read on my blog has helped there marriage or improved their health.
TR: And now a book. I could easily copy/paste the blurb of your latest project. I would rather hear what you have to say about it. So tell us, if you will…tell us about the book.
NN: Over the last few years, I’ve experienced so many changes in my life. I went from a very medical viewpoint (I was always going to the doctor and getting some kind of prescription) to a holistic, natural approach to health. I started looking at my body as a whole, instead of several systems working independently of each other.
Diet became the biggest focus as I worked to improve my health. I learned that so much can be prevented by eating a nourishing, whole foods diet and I began transitioning to one. Combined with simple, 10-minute workouts, I started to lose weight and have more energy.
As I became more aware of what my body needed, I also noticed that I had been ignoring critical aspects like getting plenty of rest, taking time for myself and staying connected to God throughout the day.
My book started as a short herbal reference for a local class I taught. As I wrote it, I realized that what I was writing was more like a minimalist herbalism book – how to use the smallest amount of herbs possible. I think a light bulb went off over my head at that moment. I thought about all of the other health books I’ve read (so, so many) and couldn’t remember one that had blended natural health, simplicity and frugality.
The frugal books I’d read were great, but the ideas for grocery shopping were a bit unhealthy. As cheap as pasta is, I can’t eat it (stinkin’ food allergies) and I just couldn’t get behind buying a bunch of processed food, no matter how little it costs.
Natural health books had a plethora of information, but they usually required so much stuff. The recommended tools and ingredients were expensive. And as I bought everything that they recommended, I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I had.
So I started to simplify. I waded through the information, incorporating bits and pieces into my life. And soon, I realized that I could have a pretty healthy lifestyle without spending a lot of money on stuff I didn’t need. This is the book I wish I’d had a few years ago.
TR: Once folks read the book will they suddenly know how to be a better parent, how to use homeopathy to heal their families, how to find God in all things, etc?
NN: Once people read my book they’ll know how to make health simpler and less expensive. And not just physical health; you’ve got to nurture your soul, too.
I included a lot of the tips I’ve learned over the past few years to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle easier and faster:
- How to simplify your grocery list
- Where to shop
- How to meal plan
- How to create a simple herbal medicine cabinet
- Simple Herbal recipes
- A full-body 15-minute workout
- Tips for getting more rest
- How to keep faith simple
TR: And last but not least. One of my favorite posts of yours is “How to Make Your Husband Feel Like a King.” Why is that so important? How does that play into a simple natural lifestyle?
NN: One of the best things that ever happened to our marriage was when I realized that I needed to serve my husband. Not because I felt obligated to or I thought that he was better than me, but because I needed to keep pursuing him. I had such a great time wooing him when we were dating and first married, but somewhere along the line, it had stopped.
It made a world of difference in our marriage. Once I became more intentional about treating him like a king, he started to reciprocate. There was no nagging on my part (in spite of myself, I’m sure) and he just started to pursue me back. He made me feel like a queen.
This stemmed from being more intentional about our finances as we worked hard to get out of debt. That intentionality steeped over into everything else. My health. My parenting. My marriage. One thing leads to another.
Amidst all of this, I discovered minimalism and realized that all of this could be done simply. I wooed my husband with simple acts of genuine love and transformed my health with simple practices. A life well-lived doesn’t have to be complicated.
You can read more about Nina and more from Nina by visiting her popular blog Shalom Mama. You can also find her on Twitter at @shalommama. Her book entitled Simple Natural Health can also be purchased on her website. Come back Monday for a chance to win your own copy of the book!