Monthly Archives: September 2015

“So, how did that pod dressing thing go?”

IMG_0789So, this summer was my first attempt at pod dressing. Pod dressing is paring down your clothing to 38 (or so) pieces. This includes pairs of shoes, tops and bottoms but not scarves, jewelry or bags. I did this for 4 months with the same pieces (more or less, see below).

Here is what I loved:

Each morning was so much easier. I had pulled my pod clothing together in one area of my closet and so finding it and seeing what was there was so much easier. Looking through only 30 pieces of clothing led to a less stressful morning.

I learned to mix and match better. I tend to match things – (you know, the blue skirt with a blue top) – but pod dressing showed me that the grey top (or the black top) worked just as well. And while not everything could be interchanged, more could be interchanged than I would have ever paired on my own.

IMG_0574I learned to love white. I tend to wear darker colors but a white peasant top and a white jean jacket were part of the pod. Wearing white made me feel more upbeat, look more upbeat and people responded positivity to my wearing white by asking if I was just back from vacation!  White worked with my coloring and never knew that.

What was a challenge:

In the first month I put a hole in my beloved black skirt. I have had this skirt since 2013 and it was a regular staple of my week. Sadly, when I was traveling I tried to iron it and put a whole in it the size of my fist! I did replace it so I wasn’t down a piece but ended up purchasing a skirt that was blue and white instead. I found I could make due with the other black skirts I had.

Not shopping: I became aware of how often I shop for clothing. With the pod my commitment was not to buy clothing until I was working on the fall pod and that was hard. It was especially hard with vacation in August and my usual pattern of picking up a couple new things for travel.

Shoes: I still have no idea what I am doing with shoes. Two of the pairs I picked (red heels, black flats) basically wore out over the four months. They were old when I began the summer pod and became more shabby during the summer. I never wore the polka dot shoes and the new black flats I bought never did become comfortable. I will need to work on shoe choices for next pod.

Did I cheat on my pod? Yes, a bit. For example:

I did buy a new outfit but did not put it in my summer pod. The plan was it would be great on vacation.  But once I tried it on at home, it looked terrible it. It was also pink (skirt and top) and so it really didn’t go with anything else in the pod. That added to my ease in not adding it to the pod.

My last cheat related to my laziness – a couple times I was behind on laundry and pulled a shirt from another part of the closet.


Overall, I realize this is a powerful strategy in my lightweight and low maintenance lifestyle.

What’s next? I am working on my fall pod and will post on that shortly.



Simple Summer Dinner Church (1)

The dinner was simple, just three homemade salads –a green salad, a pasta salad, and a watermelon/bacon salad. The tables were set outdoors in the garden with simple lights strung overhead. Those who gathered were a mix of folks from churches, the neighborhood and Facebook connections.  This is Simple Summer Dinner Church.

Simple Summer Dinner Church is a five-week experiment. As I write this, we just completed week four.  The experiment grows out of my curiosity – could church happen around a table in a garden? Would people come? Would they share? Would they be willing to pray and break bread? Would they find it brought them closer to God? Would it be life-giving to the hosts (me and my husband, Jeff) and not just “one more thing to do.”

I am interested in new forms of church. Not because I don’t value old forms but more because it seems possible that the new forms might reach new people.


I am also curious if this kind of church (around a table with food, conversation, prayer and communion) might be a faithful expression for those who are feeling a tug toward something different in their spiritual lives.

The “something different” might be…

  • A space to be fed. Its natural to link food and conversation and it is part of the ancient church. It feels right to do church around a table while we eat and drink together.
  • A place where there is more community and less hierarchy. While a great sermon and amazing music matter on Sunday mornings, what matters at dinner church is everyone has a place to eat and share.
  • A gathering that is more relational, slower, more able to just be. I love having time just to listen to people – there is no rush to “get to what is next,”  – instead there is time to hear one another, the sounds around us, and God speaking into our lives.

I am enjoying this. It feels real, healthy, doable, & life-giving. I am glad my friends who serve at churches on Sunday have come for their own spiritual life.  I am hopeful we will grow and come into our own identity

IMG_1096Here is what I am learning:

  • Getting the word out is a challenge. Because it is a new idea, it takes people hearing it several times till they become open to trying it out.
  • Figuring out the format was more stressful the first week but has become really natural as we have lived into it.
  • Making the food is part of my gift to the community. While I make the food, I think about the church and what sitting around a table means. Like preparing a sermon, preparing the food is getting ready for who will come.
  • Having people help get things ready (or taking the lead in cleaning up) makes for a better gathering – it moves people from spectators to participants and lets the gathering be lightweight and low maintenance for me and my husband.
  • Sitting around the table together is important – it builds community and real conversation. It is better not to get up and move for discussion but to stay together around the table.
  • Having time for silent prayer is meaningful. After we share our prayer requests we invite people to spend a couple minutes praying and then I offer a communal prayer. That silence lets us listen to the sounds of the night as we lift up what we have heard shared around the circle.

More to come –


Pod (Simple) Dressing

My mother is a clotheshorse. She has full closets and lots of choices. When she cleans her closet, I get her cast offs, so I too have full closets and lots of choices. And, like her, I enjoy finding that next “right” classic white tee-shirt.

But a couple months ago, I ran across a blog about capsule (I like the term “pod”) dressing. The concept is basically this:

38 pieces for 3 months – the exact number isn’t important (so it could be 35 or 40 instead of 38, 3 months or 4).

Pods include clothing and pairs of shoes but not jewelry, bags or scarves, work out or painting/gardening clothes.

This interested me but not because I want to wear less clothes, but because I wanted to wear MORE clothes. Honestly, I have been in a terrible, couple year rut, wearing the same things over and over again – most everything is black too.

Mornings were a sad time at my house because I felt overwhelmed as I looked into the full closet trying to decide what to wear. There was too many choices and since much of it (a) didn’t fit (b) was in bad shape (c) were not things I loved, the daily struggle around what to wear was not the way I wanted to start my day anymore.

So as with any new idea, I read the articles ( look here and here and here and here).

But I noticed that my pod would be substantial different.


  • I am a career woman.
  • I am not a size 6.
  • I have an artistic side so I like to have fun with my clothing.
  • I didn’t want to pick one color and buy around it because I wanted more color.
  • I wanted to spend less than it seems others do on this.
  • I can never figure out shoes…
  • But need to walk 8000 steps during the day.
  • I buy too many things I don’t love just because they fit.
  • I travel often (business and pleasure).

So where to begin?

I started with a couple basics – what I had that I already LOVED.  Here is my list (and a couple photos

Skirts: Black Skirts (3), Jean Skirt, Red Splash Skirt

Jackets/Sweaters: Black Striped Jacket, Blue/White/Black Sweater

Tops: 3 Black Shells, White Peasant Top, Beige Sweater Set (2 pieces), Johnny Waz Top

Dresses: Blue and White Polkadot Dress

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Interestingly, while I already had all of these clothes, many of them were so jammed in the closet that I seldom saw them!  This totaled 15 pieces.

Looking at these made me think about what was missing and I purchased a couple things to put the look together. I mostly wear skirts so I knew I need a couple new things (not black) and a couple jackets (cause the old ones don’t fit or are in bad shape).

Here is what I bought:

Jackets: White Jean Jacket, Blue Soft Jacket, Poppy Soft Jacket

Skirts: Blue Striped Skirt, Blue Hawaii Skirt, White Skirt, Brown/Black/White Skirt

Tops: Blue Shell, Red Shell, White Shell (sleeveless tee-shirts)

Dress: Blue and white dress

IMG_0789  IMG_0480

Finally, shoes:

Black Slip Ons, Preaching Shoes (small heals, black), Red Sandles, New Black Shoes

Brown Easy Spirit, Black Slip Ons, Brown Sandals.


So how did it go? Next week –