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Simple Gifts

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‘Tis the gift to be simple,
’tis the gift to be free,
’tis the gift to come down
where we ought to be,
and when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained
to bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
to turn, turn, will be our delight
till by turning, turning we come round right. 
 by Elder Joseph Brackett



Blessings for a happy Thanksgiving,



I stumbled across this jewel of a publication earlier in the month and its simplicity of design and content was stirring. Kinfolk magazine is about the beauty of gatherings. From moments of solitude to intimate gatherings and group celebrations.

It was something I just had to share with you as we approach, to me, one of the most beautiful days of the year. Thanksgiving. A celebration of the simple, most basic and essential blessings mankind can enjoy. Food, family and fellowship.  It is a celebration of our roots and all the Lord has given.
I hope you enjoy reading through it as much as I did. May it inspire you to have others into your home, something we often do to little of.

I had three chairs in my house: one for solitude, 
two for friendship, three for society.

 — Henry David Thoreau, Walden —

Simply Grateful


Since my husband has gone back to work, I have had to simplify my life. 
It’s a must to be organized! I have to streamline and multitask. I am constantly learning new ways to cook, clean and schedule more efficiently. I am purging the house of unwanted clutter room by room and seeking a “less is more” kind of life.

Those who will benefit are my children. More quality time with Mommy equals more peace and tranquillity in their lives and mine. Each week I try to make sure to incorporate craft time and exercise into at least one or two nights. 
Since Avery has started school, time at night is limited to homework, the family meal and the nightly bedtime routine. For that reason, I was seeing a need for a little educational fun in our routine and I am trying to squeeze a family bonding activity in there as much as I can.

This is a perfect example of a simple and educational family activity! My friend Stacie, a former school teacher, told me about a blog she wrote last year on a “Gratitude Tree.” I looked it up the next day and loved what she did. I appreciate the simplicity of the project rooted in one of the most valuable attributes a person can display, gratitude. I hope our family will benefit this month from thinking daily about life’s blessings, large or small.

Simply grateful this month for all the Lord has given.



Rural Soul

Photo Courtesy
I’m a Southerner, an Okie, a Colorado mountain man’s daughter. A farm girl in a city girl’s body. I long for the lonely sound of wind through the pines. I marvel at the endless prairie skies, and my soul is stirred by waving fields of wheat. I believe pie binds, chocolate heals, casseroles comfort and biscuits are the way to a man’s heart. Sentiment is essential, the new always leads back to the old and God is over all.

I belong nowhere and everywhere all at once. I am God’s child and my life is His mission.

No, I did not grow up on a farm. In fact, I grew up in a mid-sized Colorado suburb, only having lived out in the country in a “mini-ranch” subdivision towards the end of middle school . By all reasoning, most would call me a suburban youth. While not a city girl one could not really call me a country girl either.

Facts withstanding, I am a tried and true country girl at heart. I always have been. My soul has always been restless. It doesn’t belong in the city, it belongs under Gods big sky, where people give you the shirt off their back, friends gather to quilt, the country fair is the highlight of the summer and you greet the Lord when you step outside each day. The dirt runs through your fingers, you watch your food grow and you make the lovely out of what is available. It is where I am at home. Is it where I live? No, but it is where I dream of living one day.

Perhaps it is because it is in my roots. It’s in my blood. My father’s cousin still owns the family farm along the Ohio River Valley in Southern Illinois. There was always something stirring about visiting the old farm house his mother and her 12 brothers and sisters grew up in. Lillian Childers, my father’s mother, was known all around for not putting up with any bull. That is, any literal bull! 

Then there was my mother’s father, born and raised on a farm in south-central Kentucky along the Green River. Although Grandad left those rural roots to attend college after World War II, he could make anything grow. I remember watching my brother follow him through the rows as he plowed and prepped his garden on those muggy Kentucky summer days.

Whatever the reason might be, this city livin’ girl has a dream. A dream of moving back home. Back home to the country.
To the rural. To the quaint and simple.
Photo courtesy

Two years ago that dream seemed impossible. Today it seems closer because I chose imperfection over perfection. You see, I was waiting for the perfect time to start my side business. Ever since my wedding day, almost ten years ago, I had longed to use my talents as a graphic designer to create lovely, personal and unique wedding stationery. I kept waiting for my husband to find that magical job that would allow me to quit and focus on the perfect launch of an exciting new endeavor. Life had other plans.

Year after year and prayer after prayer, that “magical” moment in time never came. Eight years later I had two kids, a husband who couldn’t find work in a down economy and a job that could barely cover the bills. I tried always to be grateful, for in many ways we were so blessed. Our children were beautiful, healthy and a delight, we had a roof over our heads and each other. But I still felt the need to ask God “Why?”  I will be honest. I was bitter. I was angry. I felt trapped by circumstances out of our control. God often seemed far away, obscured by life’s sometimes suffocating obstacles. I didn’t understand, but I had to believe He was there waiting for me.

Top Photo Courtesy Clayton Austin Photography

As always the Lord works in ways we do not understand. No, there wasn’t an “aha” moment where the clouds broke and the sunbeams shown down from heaven. But there was this crazy desperate sense of necessity to create a door through which I could walk. Through which all these talents the Lord had blessed me with could be freed. This drive came from that which I despised: the difficulties life’s circumstances had dealt our small family.

Over the last two years there have been great highs and low lows, but there is a freedom and a creative outlet that has renewed my faith in God’s time and a confidence in who He has made me. I see Him at work in my garden growing things in me that I did not know were there. I am now the proud owner of The Blu Sash and the joys and heartaches of running your own business. I also still work full-time, having recently been promoted, while my husband has found work outside his field and we are continually blessed by the gift of our children.
Life isn’t easy, but it’s a blessing. There is no perfect except what is found in the Lord’s creation and purpose. Both the sunshine and the rain bring forth a garden which will nourish you and those around you. Perhaps that is why I love to be near God’s country. It is there that I am the closest to being who he made me to be. Unobscured by the concrete walls of those things that do not matter, you grow.

Bloom where you are planted, you rural soul.
Many Blessings, Donia Simmons

All Hallows Eve

“Nothing that is complete breathes.”

— Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

Yes, I know… it’s been awhile. Perfection has scared me away from blogging this year. I have grand ideas and if I can’t execute them perfectly, then I don’t blog at all.

In this crazy thing called life, I am learning to let go of the need for perfection in some areas so that I can actually live. Yes, I know its a novel idea, but I often have to remind myself what this life is really all about. It’s more important that I celebrate the season in fun ways with my children then having the perfect blog replete with Halloween printables from The Blu Sash and the perfect party table photo shoot.

And so it is. All Hallows Eve in all its sweet and lovely imperfection. At least it is to me. When I look at these grainy iPhone photos I see Avery and I sprinkling glitter on the black branches, we are writing silly messages and drawing Jack-o-lanterns on our chalkboard bottles. West and I are hanging cloth ghosts with hand drawn faces from our ghost tree. We are eating our dinner by the glow of pumpkin light.

The fear that I might wake up one day and regret what I didn’t do with my children far out weighs the fear of imperfection.

I would rather be an imperfect mother than a perfect designer any day!

Bat Garland, a simple & fun craft.

The Simmons Family Ghost Tree
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