Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Inner Views of Evelyn Rennich

"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."
Ephesians 5:15,16
(NIV)

In our ongoing quest to minimize and simplify our lives,
I am always on the lookout for those who will encourage and keep us inspired 
on our journey.
My goal, when trying to seek out this encouragement,
is to not only to find those of like mind as far as the desire to live minimally,
but also who are Christians and whose motives for minimal living are driven by a passion to better serve Jesus Christ.

One of the first minimalism blogs I came to follow and appreciate was Becoming Minimalist,
written by Joshua Becker.
Joshua, who is also a dedicated Christian and pastor, 
was the very first person I interviewed for our new "Inner Views" endeavor,
and you can read that interview here.

At some point in time, while reading Joshua's blog,
I was introduced to yet another blog that talks about minimalism.
When I checked it out, I was thrilled to find out that the writer of the blog is also a Christian and a wife and mother.
I immediately began following her blog and have gleaned so much wisdom from her testimony and experiences.
I know you will, too.

I introduce to you, grace-clinger, mother of four, and Smallish blogger,
Evelyn Rennich.


The 
of
Evelyn Rennich.

Cheryl:  Please tell us about yourself, Evelyn!

Evelyn:  I'm a Colorado girl, happily married to a great man and mother of four young kiddos. I love hiking and coffee.

Cheryl:  I would love to know about your Christian testimony. When did you become a Christian? Were you raised in a Christian home? What life events led up to your decision to follow Christ? How has that life choice affected your life since then?

Evelyn:  I was raised in a very happy, functional Christian home.  I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life at the age of 5, but my personal relationship with Him didn't begin until middle school. It was at that point that I learned that Christianity is a personal, intimate walk with the God of the universe.  My spiritual life has been characterized by a gradual deepening ever since.

Cheryl:  The name of your blog is “Smallish”. Can you explain what prompted the name?

Evelyn:  We were living in a very small apartment --450 sq. ft-- with two young boys, when I began Smallish.  We were just beginning to realize the benefits of living in a small place, and it all seemed to fit; this idea of living small, not just in physical space, but with smaller means (we are a one-income family), and with a small footprint on earth.  "Smallish" is our way of communicating our desire to live responsibly, joyfully.

Cheryl:  What inspired you to start blogging, and how has your blog enriched your life and journey towards minimalism?

Evelyn:  In the fall of 2012 we were excited to move out of the teeny apartment we called "the Shoebox" and "get on with normal life" in the 1,300 sq. ft. home we owned.  I realized over the course of the summer that there was much I would miss about living in the small apartment and also was surprised to learn that I had a regret-- that I had not blogged about all we had learned and our journey of living in a little home.  I started blogging just months before we were planning to move out.  Wouldn't you know it, God had other plans.  We ended up living in our "Shoebox" apartment for three more years before God decided that season was over. Smallish is a sort of souvenir that grew up with us. :)

Cheryl:  What does minimalism look like in your home?

Evelyn:  Minimalism, to us, is limiting possessions, certainly, for we see giant blessing in fewer belongings, but it is so much more.  Living intentionally with less is a holistic endeavor.  It positively affects nearly every area of our lives.

We are a family of 6, so minimalism in the strict, least-amount-of-belongings doesn't quite fit us. However, I am constantly purging physical things that we don't use or need.  In nearly every area of home or heart, I seek to "find the minimum level" of what I can live with.  Most days, the things we own still seems like too much, but this whole minimalism thing is a journey. :)  Minimalism also means we are committed to living slowly--not filling our schedules up with too many activities.  It means we'd like to live with minimal impact on the earth, which is also an area I feel like we have to get better at.
http://www.smallishblog.com/2015/10/08/what-minimalism-looks-like-for-us/

Cheryl:  What are the causes that are closest to your heart?

Evelyn:  I care deeply about salvation in Jesus Christ for a lost world, care for children, and about justice issues such as poverty/trafficking.

Cheryl:  How do you allow a mindset of minimalism to set the course of your Christmas spending, and what does Christmas day look like in your home? And favorite Christmas traditions you would like to share?

Evelyn:  We don't buy many presents for our kids, and we usually make something for other family and friends.  Our children receive wonderful gifts from family members, so my husband and I keep presents small and practical.  This year we bought our older 3 snow shovels because we knew we'd gain many hours of quiet and energy-exertion outside through the winter. ;)
Christmas day is a slow celebration including the reading of Scripture, giving gifts and giving thanks, grazing on good food, and enjoying family.


http://www.smallishblog.com/2013/12/16/three-christmas-traditions-for-joyful-holiday/

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you, specifically, at this season of life?

Evelyn:  What a sweet question!  As much as I love blogging and learning to live minimally or "green", raising four young children and supporting my husband is my primary calling in this season.  It is not a glamorous job, but I am keenly aware that if I don't invest my best in these years of building my marriage and setting foundations for my children, then I will have failed at my biggest tasking.  I would appreciate prayer that I can keep my priorities in order and serve my family each day with the joyful intention that translates Jesus' love into action.

Thank you so much for your heart and calling to share and minister, Cheryl!


And, thank YOU, dear Evelyn, for being willing to share your heart and thoughts with us here!
I love hearing from those of like mind, who are setting their focus on things eternal,
rather than the accumulation of things that are of this world.
Evelyn brings out some wonderful points in the two post links she has included above.
I hope you will take the time to click on the links and read her words of wisdom
and that you will consider subscribing to her blog, "Smallish"!

To read previous
 click the links below.

The Inner Views of Joshua Becker
 The Inner Views of Lisa Newton
The Inner Views of Dr. Alveda King
The Inner Views of Jen Avellaneda
The Inner Views of Tonya Shellnutt
The Inner Views of Karen Del Tatto

40 comments:

  1. Praying as requested for Evelyn and you and yours.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you so much, Victor! God bless you abundantly!

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  2. Hi Cheryl and Evelyn! Reading about your first home, I was amazed that you lived so happily in small quarters, especially with children. There must have been oceans of things you learned about yourself, and your family living three more years in that space.
    I love your description of Christmas day. Reading Scripture and spending time with your family...sounds heavenly! It's a pleasure to meet you Evelyn!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you ever so much for stopping by, dear Ceil! So thankful for your sweet comments and encouragement. :) God bless you in a big way!

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    2. Hi Ceil, YES we truly did learn a lot about ourselves but more importantly God. He is so good, and He always has what is best for us in mind! Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Beautiful testimony and story! Thanks for sharing Evelyn!

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet visit, Caroline! God bless you with a wonderful day!

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    2. Thank you, Caroline! ... your blog is darling! :)

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  4. Keeping priorities in line is important when raising your children. My husband and I started our married life in a one room with a wall bed and small kitchenette. I loved that you could stand in one place and touch everything in the kitchen. We shared a bath with another apartment. After two months we were able to move to a small apartment and it seemed spacious to us. Thank you Cheryl and Evelyn for this awesome interview and for sharing it with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Wow, that is a tiny house/apartment you are speaking of! But, love grows best in little houses, right? I love that song! Thank you for your visit and for sharing your words of wisdom with us here, dear Hazel!

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    2. What wonderful memories! We have a wall bed and absolutely love it. ;) Small spaces certainly force you to appreciate every. single.square. inch. right? :) Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Dear Cheryl, thank you for this precious introduction to another amazing blogger whose desire is to please Jesus and live simply! I dearly love your Inner View interviews, and getting a peek into the lives of others that you have come to know! Such a real blessing and joy to be following you along in this wonderful journey of discovery!

    Dear Evelyn, it was wonderful to meet you, and hear your story! It is always a challenge with young children to live in a small space, but it can be done, and joyfully too! I will certainly be praying for you that the Lord will continue to bless you mightily in all your endeavors to live great and simply for Him!

    Much love to both of you today :)

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    1. Thank you, dear friend, for your sweet, encouraging comments. I am really enjoying doing the interviews! I LOVE talking to and interacting with people and learning more about their individual life stories...especially how they came to know Jesus and how He has changed their lives for the better! I so appreciate your support and kind words. God bless you abundantly!

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    2. Hello, Spicing Up Idaho! Nice to "meet" you too. Yes, we've found that small spaces with children are truly wells of joy, but like a well, sometimes you have to dig for it. ;) Thank you for your kind comment.

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  6. Thank you again Cheryl for hosting this insightful series and for your heart-felt questions.

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    1. God bless you, Evelyn! It is such a pleasure and joy to have your interview here!

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  7. Cheryl, I love getting to know new sisters-in-Christ...thank you for this wonderful introduction to Evelyn Rennich...many blessings to both of you!

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    1. Thank you so very much, Beth! So happy to see you were here today, as you are always such an encouragement! Many blessings back to you, too, and so happy to be able to introduce you to Evelyn!

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  8. I appreciate Evelyn's honest and wise assessment of what really matters in life. So easy to caught up in the rat race to accumulate possessions... only to find out the hard way that they end up owning you. God has a way of opening our eyes one way or another. Glad you two already have yours opened!

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    1. Only by the grace of our good God, Floyd. :) All praise goes to Him!

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    2. You are so right, Floyd...it is so easy to get caught up and lose our focus on the eternal. Evelyn is a shining example of what our priorities should look like. What a blessing she is! And, yes, to God be the glory!! Amen, and amen!! :)

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  9. Again, Cheryl, this is a most interesting series. You have brought such wonderful people, and wonderful testimonies and insights to us. "Inner Views" could be a book, you know?!

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Aww....you are so sweet, Sharon! That would be a wonderful blessing indeed. :) Who knows what the dear Lord has in store...His ways are always best! So thankful for your dear visit and consistent encouragement here. Sending you big hugs and many blessings!

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  10. Evelyn, I admire you. You stand behind your convictions and respect your husband, raise your kids with your values. My daughter is a minimalist. I am amazed at Christmastime with her family. Gifts can be piled under the tree and her seven year old is never anxious to hurry dinner and open them or disrespectful, happy to receive the smallest present. It's beautiful the way parents teach their children about what's really important in life. May God continue to bless you and your family.

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    1. Your daughter sounds like she's raising an amazing little girl! Thank you for your kind words.

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    2. I agree with both of you...Evelyn is a shining example to us all, and Mary, your daughter is doing an amazing job with her little girl. I would venture to say that her grandmother's sweet influence is being manifested in her behavior, too. :) Thank you for your kind words!

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  11. What a wonderful and inspiring interview! Thank you so much for sharing this. I enjoyed it so much!

    Blessings - Julie

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    1. Thank you Julie. All praise to God!

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    2. Thank you for stopping and reading, Julie! Sorry I am just now responding to your comment. :) Sending you love and hugs!

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  12. I love this post and it would do us all well to live with less. Living in two third world countries taught me I did not need all I thought I needed. In fact the "abundant" of stuff was a hindrance to our ministry. It also a hindrance to our Father. Great post.

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    1. What a wonderful perspective! Thank you for sharing Betty. I agree that we don't realize what a real block our stuff is until we begin to tear it away!

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    2. Wow, Betty! I LOVE the perspective you shared with us here. Your words are so true! God bless you, my friend.

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  13. Oh, Cheryl, what an inspiration interview! I've been so moved to purge myself and pare down on all we have, and I know that many things we don't use would certainly bless others. I've already done some and found great joy in seeing the love of what I've shared. Now I pray that God will give me the strength healthwise to continue to do more. Warm hugs, Cheryl

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    1. I pray the same Cheryl. Thank you for commenting!

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    2. Many hugs back to you, sweet friend! I trust you are moving along in your minimizing journey and that the dear Lord is sending the healing you need. Sending you love and hugs!

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