My name is Melissa and I have been married to a wonderful guy named Albert for a little over six years. We call good old North East Pennsylvania our home. We are self-employed, owning a small cleaning company and praise God for the opportunity to own and operate our own business. God has blessed us in countless ways – mostly to be called His own children. We are thankful and grateful for our local church family as well. We are honored to be members with and serve with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are so thankful for the love and support of our families. Their praise and constant encouragement are such a gift. Without them we would not be the people we are today and we recognize all of the time and love that they have invested into us.

My husband Albert is a dedicated outdoors-man. He loves to be in the woods, camping, chopping wood, building with his hands, and has recently ventured into antique furniture refinishing. I love to create (sewing, crafts, art, photography), write, cook, bake, and read. Together we love to hike and backpack, be out in our garden, historical reenact with the Goschenhoppen Historians, go to the shooting range, hone our photography skills, canoe, eat good food, be with family and friends, and travel.

This blog, meaningfully titled “Restoring Simplicity,” is an effort to share our life, ideas, and to encourage others toward a more natural and simple way of living. This is a loaded statement…..within these parameters we will be sharing thoughts and ideas in several different areas:

Gardening- My memories of gardening begin very early. My Mom and Dad have always had a vegetable garden and flower beds around the house. I remember fondly times planting our veggie garden with my Dad the backyard. We would carefully use a rake handle to make straight rows. That rocky Pennsylvania soil always grew the biggest carrots…but maybe that was because I was little then. Historical gardening has also been a large influence and awakened a love of heirloom plants and techniques. Early on, my dear Mom, always finding educational activities for us kids to be involved in, found a 4-H club called the “green-thumbers.” This group maintained an 18th century kitchen garden at a local historical site. It began a wonderful relationship with history and gardening for me.

So, as you see gardening is part of who I am. Here at Restoring Simplicity, I hope to share some of the historical methods of planting as well as the methods we use in our own garden. So we will strive to share the happenings in our garden: our successes, our failures, and information on how we go about gardening. We choose to garden in a pesticide-free (organic) and nourished soil manner – believing that this is the absolute best way to get quality, nutrient -dense foods into our diet. And added benefits are being more self-sufficient (therefore consuming less), spending less on produce, and knowing exactly what is in the food we are eating. And let me tell you, there is nothing better than sitting down to a meal that consists of items picked only moments earlier from your very own backyard. And more recently we have implemented lasagna gardening and wood-chip gardening into our repertoire!

Cooking – Implementing and creating nourishing, healthy meals has definitely been a journey for us. In the beginning of our marriage we ate a typical SAD (standard American diet). Trying to live on a budget also aided in our very conventional eating habits. But through the help of a dear friend, some inspiring literature (Nourishing Traditions, Essential Eating, and faithful real-food bloggers), and a background of good old-fashioned home cooking (thanks Mom and Dad!), we have transitioned into a much cleaner, nutrient-dense diet. Each day we are learning more and hope to share our discoveries here: recipes, food preparation methods, the garden to table transition, and simple ways to get back to basics and feel better. In doing this we hope to fuel ourselves properly, taking care of the bodies that God has given us in order to better serve Him in the tasks He has set before us.

Creating – I love to create things. Seeing a project come together right before my eyes is very inspiring…whether it be sewing, drawing, taking pictures, making a craft, decorating my home, etc. So here I will share what I do!

Natural Home care – Within this life transition to being more eco-friendly, we have not only changed out eating habits, but our living habits as well. From being more conscious about reusing and recycling, to attempting to consume less, using non-toxic solutions for cleaning, to finding natural and safe ways to do home maintenance, we are attempting to simplify and create a healthy living space. We will be sharing some of our methods here as well.

Natural Body Care- My wild journey to being “green” actually began with natural body products! After learning of the dangers of aluminum in conventional anti-antiperspirants, finding a natural deodorant that worked was my first big challenge. And let me tell you I wanted to give up a few times….but after a few weeks of uncertainty and a few smelly days, I began to find solutions that worked and was encouraged to make other changes in the world of personal care. The Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database really aided me I understanding the dangers of chemicals in body care products. Now you must realize that this was quite a transition for me being that I owned almost every scent of body wash out there! But alas I am at ease when I reach for a bar of soap that I know is made of all natural, organic ingredients and I can confidently use it and be sure that it won’t have a negative effect. Here I will share what we have discovered about the dangers of conventional cleansers and lotions and hope to share natural body care solutions.

Outdoor activities/exercise – Albert and I love to be and outdoors enjoying God’s creation. There is nothing like enjoying a mountain view with the breeze blowing in your hair! Whenever we have a fabulous adventure that may encourage some one else to lead a lifestyle of health, we will write about it and give you the info on what we did and where. Exercise is a vital part to living a healthy lifestyle. God has given us only one body and we need to honor Him in the way we take care of it and yes…this includes sweating a little….or a lot! But what a better way to do this than out enjoying His creation!

Photography – I have always loved art, but I think my love of photography began when I took a course at my local community college. Since then I have loved to capture life in photos. Thankfully, so does Albert…so we both can appreciate this together.

These are just a few areas that we are involved in at the moment….and I hope the list grows! So join us in learning together how to implement some of these things into real-life. Always know that there is an aspect that we like to remember with this whole “natural living” thing– SIMPLICITY. Our culture thrives on noise, stress, rushing, complicated systems, media craziness, television that is geared to shorten attention spans, and a general feeling of unrest. We feel like there is a better more peaceful way to exist than in this fury. Granted, we all have to work and operate in our given culture and we definitely know what it like to be in the “grind,” but each day we are trying to make small changes toward a more simple and basic, yet not at all boring, daily life.