We Don’t Always Need “More” to Make a Difference

posted by Andrea | 06/12/2017
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Last week, I shared a bit more about my work-from-home journey, and how fulfilling it has been for me to pursue a passion, earn extra income for my family, and stay at home with my kids (you all know how much of a homebody I am anyway!)

I love my current job and honestly can’t picture myself doing anything differently at this point in my life.

HOWEVER, over the past 10+ year of working from home and running my own business, there have been times when I’ve struggled with feeling like I need and want MORE — more success, more influence, more income, more clients, more advertisers, more readers, more subscribers, more followers, more comments, more resources, more tools, more posts, more pictures, more videos, more, more, more!

It’s human nature, I suppose — however, I am beyond-thankful I was eventually able to see past the “always wanting more” phase of running my business in time to realize that I really love NOT having “more” of many of the things I rattled off above.

I love that I have a fiercely loyal (but not overly-huge) group of readers.

You all are amazing!

I know so many of you by name (or by email address), I have regular conversations with hundreds of you via email and Facebook, I am able to respond to almost all your comments and questions personally, and I’ve even met many of you in real life (a few of which are actually really great friends to me now!)

I actually almost enjoy when someone pops in just to criticize or be negative because so many of you rally to my defense before I even have a chance to comment back.

You have been such a great community of support, encouragement, and wisdom for me over the years — you have offered endless parenting support, fabulous product recommendations, so many great laughs, and you’ve been constant “cheerleaders” for Dave and for myself, as we raise our children, renovate our home, and strive to simplify our lives!

Believe it or not, I actually get emails from readers who have met and befriended other readers based on comment threads started on my Facebook page or in blog comments. It’s SO fun — and something that probably wouldn’t be possible if I had millions of readers.

I love that I thoroughly enjoy what I do instead of stressing over continual growth.

There are many people in this world who simply work for a paycheck — and I completely respect that. However, this knowledge helps me to appreciate the fact that both Dave and I are SO fortunate to earn an income doing something we actually enjoy doing.

Granted, we could both most likely make quite a bit MORE money doing another type of job; but as many of you know, enjoying what you do everyday is worth quite a bit — more than money can buy, that’s for sure!

If I were obsessed with more growth, I know I would eventually burn out (especially at this point in my life with 3 young children and being pregnant). Instead, I can enjoy the writing process, share some (hopefully) helpful tips and ideas, earn an income, and continue living and enjoying the rest of my life as well.

I love that I can spend minimal time and effort working.

In the beginning, I put in countless hours upon hours getting my business and website up and running. They were long tiring days, weeks, months, and even years — but I am definitely enjoying the “fruits” of all that labor now.

Yes, I could keep putting in more and more and more time, but I truly love that I can spend a minimal amount of time and effort to keep my blog and my business humming along in “maintenance mode” (as I call it).

Eventually, there may be a time when I want to put more work and effort into building a fancier, bigger, better web presence, offering more materials, selling products, and getting more involved with social media… but not now!

I love that I have great relationships with advertisers and sponsors.

Obviously more income is always appealing (I can’t lie!). However, I’m so grateful I have always been very selective with the different companies, products, advertisers, and sponsors I’ve chosen to work with over the years.

I have built great partnerships and done repeat business with the same companies over and over and over again — which should say something for my own character and the integrity of these businesses.

I have turned down tens of thousands of dollars, fabulous products and prizes, amazing (free) vacation opportunities, book contracts, and more — simply because I didn’t feel confident or comfortable promoting that brand or working with that company. This was REALLY hard to do at times, but I believe that by sticking to my gut and not always wanting “more”, I have been able to build great relationships with the companies I do work with — and hopefully gain more respect from all of you as well.

I love that I have made a difference in so many lives – even without being “more”.

It is deeply humbling, gratifying, and even overwhelming to open my email to an inbox full of stories, thoughts, insights, (and a lot of questions!) from people I’ve never met before.

The majority of these emails share stories about how one of my blog posts, or something I shared on Facebook, impacted them, changed them for the better, helped them overcome an obstacle in their life, improved their home, benefited their family, helped someone they knew, etc. etc.

And then there are ALLLLLLLL the questions — don’t worry, I really love your questions! 🙂

Most of these emails start out by saying, “I know you have such a full schedule and probably won’t have even time to read or respond to this… but I consider you knowledgeable on ____________ and am wondering if you could help me with my problem…” 

The readers are usually shocked beyond shocked when I respond (normally within 24 hours) and thrilled to have an outsider’s perspective on their issues.

I’m sure my advice is not always helpful, but so often, I know most people just want someone to listen… preferably someone who they don’t see every day or know “in real life”. I am their person to vent to, to bounce ideas off of, to tell their exciting pregnancy news when they are only 5 weeks along and can’t tell anyone else, and to share their sorrow when they can’t cry to anyone else.

To think that my not-overly-huge blog, without all the fancy resources, bells, and whistles could be helpful to so many others is the daily dose of motivation I need to keep writing day after day.

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Sometimes, I feel like I can’t even put my thoughts and feelings for my blog into words — and then other days (like today) I can gush on and on for 1400+ words!

I’m sure there will always be times when I consider what it would be like to have or be “more”, but I also know I don’t NEED “more” to make a difference.

So I guess I should thank all of YOU for making the past several years so enjoyable for me. Thanks so much for all your comments, emails, and words of affirmation and encouragement. I might not be known anywhere outside of my family, friends, and my little blogging community, but I’m OK with that!

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I’d also like to encourage those of you who have ever thought of starting a business, starting a charity or nonprofit organization, or starting any sort of community organization to take action!

I would have NEVER dreamed that 10 years after starting my little organizing business I would be working from home with baby #4 on the way, interacting with fellow simple-living-enthusiasts from all over the world — but wow! — it’s sure been a fun journey!

You might not think your own thoughts or ideas could really amount to anything, but you never know whose life you could touch or how you might make a difference!

And for those of you who have absolutely ZERO desire to “start” anything or be/have “more” of anything, please don’t underestimate the power you have to make a difference within your family, friends, neighbors, and community.

Even something as simple as a kind word, a well-time meal, an encouraging email or card, or a listening ear could make a huge difference in someone’s life.

You don’t always need more to make a difference!

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50 comments

  1. Adri

    06/14/2017

    You run a tidy, streamlined blog that doesn’t feel like fluff…I’m always inspired or encouraged after reading your ideas and stories. Thank you for staying true to yourself.

    [Reply]

  2. Jennifer

    06/13/2017

    We often underestimate ourselves, our own value, and the value of those “little things”. Thanks for so many reminders and great posts!

    [Reply]

  3. Mary in Maryland

    06/13/2017

    My motto is, “More than enough is too much.”

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    that’s a good motto!

    [Reply]

  4. Catherine

    06/12/2017

    Thank you for another great post!! 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. Tara

    06/12/2017

    I could echo so many of these comments Andrea. I too have been touched over and over by your blog. The influence you’ve had on my life, mental health, home and family is plainly visible to me. We’ve emailed and you’ve been a wonderful encouragement to me. Your blog is such a special thing. It feels weird to say, but this virtual space is a major comfort to me. I come here even on my toughest days knowing I’ll find good humor, good sense, faith, structure and reliability. Your priorities resonate with mine except that you’re not a perfectionist. You’ve been so instrumental in my slow and steady recovery from perfectionism. I love that you expect your readers to be actual humans, have limitations and for kids to be kids.

    Coming here gives me very much the same warm fuzzy feeling I got as a child when Mister Roger’s Neighborhood would come on. Even new information or a call to change feels like an old comforting friend when it comes from a steady source of kindness and honesty. Thanks for being that kind of influence and for putting out that kind of content. So many of us are so very grateful and thankful for you.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Tara 🙂
    We’re still enjoying the dress up clothes over here too — they are a HUUUUUGE hit! Even Simon sports the dance outfits every now and then!

    [Reply]

    Tara Reply:

    Haha! So glad! J’s little brother rocked those outfits sometimes too! He especially loved the dress up heels. Nothing clippity-clops like a good dress up shoe.

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  6. Stephanie

    06/12/2017

    Your post is quite timely for me and is helping reinforce a decision I need to make. I’ve been battling with ‘more’ the past couple of years and a year ago took the plunge and left a very lucrative to take a step back and focus on what I believe are the ‘right things’. I now have great job, the right pay and benefits, satisfying work, and the balance between work and home. Since I was over quality, they are tapping me on the shoulder to do and be more (bigger title and pay). It’s the wrong hamster wheel for me right. Thanks for the reminder.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ah yes — the companies who always have opportunities to work your way up the ladder. It some ways, it’s awesome that they want to promote you, but in other ways, it might not be what you need right now.

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  7. Maria

    06/12/2017

    Your blog is definitely #1 on my list! I can’t start my day on a positive note without reading your blog first.

    I completely agree with your statement that “you don’t always need more to make a difference.” It’s really the simple, everyday kind deeds that really make a difference in someone’s life – for both the doer and the receiver. It feels so great when you do something to cheer up or help someone who is going through a difficult time.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Maria!

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  8. Francie

    06/12/2017

    Love this post. I truly appreciate your words and wisdom. This is to another 10+ years! http://www.supersimpleways.com

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  9. Shan

    06/12/2017

    Dear Andrea, So nice to know how much you appreciate your followers!! You’re genuine, down-to-earth, diligent, consistent, always evaluating and simplifying/improving, in your writing, your homemaking, in how you run your business, and most of all in your role and mother and wife. I love hearing from you and appreciate all these thoughts from your heart!! God bless you!
    Shan

    [Reply]

  10. Karen Miller

    06/12/2017

    I hate to bother you but my chocolate banana muffins that I believe I got a recipe from your site didn’t turn out right, do you think I could get the recipe again so maybe I could figure out how I went wrong? thanks, Karen

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    here you go Karen: http://andreadekker.com/protein-packed-banana-muffins/
    And just an FYI, you can type almost anything into the search bar on my site and it will probably pop up for you 🙂

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  11. Julia

    06/12/2017

    I know a lot of others have already said this, but I have to agree that your blog is special because you keep it real. I really appreciate that you stay true to your priorities and don’t try to have a bunch of unnecessary “fluff” that so many other blogs end up having. I even love that all your pictures are taken with your phone! It feels more personal and like I’m catching up with a friend. I’ve used so many of your tips and tried several recipes which are now some of my favorites. So you have definitely made a difference in my life and I always look forward to your new posts. Have a wonderful day! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Julia! and yes, all my pictures are from my phone (I don’t even have a “real” camera anymore!)

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    Jenny Reply:

    I agree! I love and appreciate the blog as it is. Seems that others get tired or bored and only post occasionally after a while, and even more annoyingly, many seem to turn into a big ad for cleaning products and such with little other content, and while I understand, I don’t have time for that so I unsubscribe. Thanks for your consistency and yes, diligence, and for the variety while not skipping basics. In other words, I’m a big fan!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Jenny!!

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    MC Reply:

    Any you keep it real without being cuckoo!

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  12. Kiersten

    06/12/2017

    This was really good. I’ve been reading your blog for years but hardly comment. This one hit home for me though. I’m a stay at home mom with three little ones which love doing, but lately have been feeling like I should be doing more though I can’t imagine how I would. I would think, look at all Andrea is able to do and still be home with her kids. But we are all different and what I can handle isn’t the same as you or any one else. And that’s ok, this just might not be my time for ‘more’, especially since I don’t see how I could do it without sacrificing the precious time I have with my kids. Anyway, thank you for your wonderful insights and perspectives.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kiersten!
    And if it makes you feel any better, I’ve OFTEN thought “how does that mom have so much time for volunteer work?” or “how does that blogger have enough time/energy to write as many posts and do as many videos as she does?”

    I think it’s human nature to look at what other people are doing and automatically assume it’s more than what we’re doing — when it reality, it’s just different.

    [Reply]

  13. Debbie

    06/12/2017

    I so appreciate you and your blog because you and your family are so down-to-earth and “normal”. I think what I mean is that majority of the population can relate to your lifestyle and the simplicity of how you live your life. You have something about you, even when I hear your voice on some videos, that says “I’m smart, confident, disciplined, hard-working, and my strength comes from the Lord.” You come across as all this to me but I also feel you’re quite humble. You don’t advertise items that are ridiculously priced and would make anyone think twice or three times before buying it. I pray that you will continue to know how helpful your blog is to your followers and future followers, and that someday when the timing is right it will be as big or even bigger than you’ve ever dreamed of.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Debbie — this is such a nice comment, so encouraging! I appreciated your LOOOOOOONG time readership and all your wonderful comments!

    [Reply]

  14. Verna

    06/12/2017

    Andrea….
    Your blog was one of the first blogs I followed and, like you, I’m a Michigan girl, a homemaker, a mom, and my favorite place is home! I also love being organized. I’ve loved reading your blog and watching your family grow. I do appreciate you and your blog!
    Blessings!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah for fellow Michiganders!! Sounds like we have a lot in common! Thanks for your encouragement today!

    [Reply]

  15. KAREN SUNSTEIN

    06/12/2017

    Andrea, I so enjoy reading your blog daily. I love the perspective you have on many different topics. I think I have commented before that I am glad you are not doing “more” with your blog right now because they lose their focus. Yours is my favorite.

    [Reply]

  16. Michelle

    06/12/2017

    Thank you, Andrea for doing everything you do for us EXACTLY the way you do it. Thank you, also, for making a difference in our lives. We appreciate you as much as you appreciate us.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michelle 🙂

    [Reply]

  17. Virginia

    06/12/2017

    Andrea, I am just about old enough to be your grandma, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading your daily posts. I want to tell you how good it is to see a young family with their priorities set straight. Your continued “what works for us now” and your overall satisfaction with
    your life is a timeless message that we all need to hear. Years ago when I was caught up with working full time and trying to raise a family, I came across the following and I have never forgotten it. I would like to share:

    I WAS DYING

    First I was dying to finish high school and start college.
    And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
    And then I was dying to get married and have a family.
    And then I was dying for my kids to get old enough to go to school so I could go back to work.
    And then I was dying to retire.
    And now, I really am dying……and I realize that I never really lived.

    Anonymous

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is perfect Viginia (and SO true). Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

  18. Michelle

    06/12/2017

    Thank YOU for all of your encouragement over the years.

    [Reply]

  19. Lee Cockrum

    06/12/2017

    I totally agree with you about how the little things in life can touch someone’s life. Sometimes I think about famous people who have done “more”… And then I think about how they probably do not have some of the things I have… Because like you have said before, no one can have or do everything. So I am happy to do little things like make meals for my elderly neighbors, help them with insurance paperwork etc. I really love doing little tasks for the people I love.

    And I am so happy to read your blog everyday!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m sure your friends and neighbors greatly appreciate all those little things you do too!

    [Reply]

  20. Brenda

    06/12/2017

    Hi! I was drawn to your blog first because I live in northern Michigan and liked the fact that we are almost neighbors. However you quickly became my favorite site – thank you for sharing your family with all of us!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we are practically neighbors! thanks for your loyal readership!

    [Reply]

  21. Lynn

    06/12/2017

    Loved this post! I enjoy following you on your blog, your honesty and helpful tips. Thanks for this! Have a wonderful day!

    [Reply]

  22. Kristi Robertson

    06/12/2017

    Andrea….I stumbled upon your blog several years ago. I don’t comment often (though I have emailed you a couple of times) but wanted you to know that, after my bible, your blog is the first thing I read just about every morning. I look forward to it and love that I know it will be there waiting every day. Your consistency is one of the things I most appreciate, as I know how difficult consistency can be when you work from home with kids running about every day. As our lives have taken a major turn over the last 4 months, I have gone from running around crazy trying to keep up with three family businesses to now, just one of those three, that being the one that takes up the least amount of my time. I have had so many different emotions over these not bad, but sudden changes and have often felt like I was being lazy if I didn’t quickly jump into something else to occupy my time. It’s difficult, after 5+ years of running, to learn to be still again but you are so right. “More” is not always good. “More” has spilled over into so many areas that it has affected our health, our mental state, our finances, our relationships, etc. We could see it happening, but couldn’t figure out how to get off of the hamster wheel. Your post was timely for me this morning as it re-affirms that we are heading in the right direction; that by giving up “more” we will be able to experience “full”. Thanks for making a difference for ME today. 😉

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m guessing you have a personality a lot like mine (energizer bunny!) And yes, it’s very challenging to just slow down and not fill every second of time. I’ve learned this slowly over the past 5+ years (mainly since having children)!

    [Reply]

  23. JoAnn C.

    06/12/2017

    Such a great post today. You have touched my life in so many ways. I lost my sweet Mom three months ago, just a day before I read baby Dekker is on her way. I thought “I’ve got to go tell mom Andrea is expecting.” Sadly, I couldn’t. We would call you by your first name as if you were one of my nieces, one of Mom’s granddaughters.

    When I started reading this post today I thought you were getting ready to say good-bye to your blog, and as I read on I realized you’re staying here for a bit longer. Selfishly, I’m so pleased.

    Thank you so very much, Andrea, for sharing your family, wisdom and kindness throughout these years. You have made a difference. It has been an honor for me, (and Mom too), that you have shared parts your life with us.

    Blessings to you, Dave, Nora, Simon, James, and baby Dekker.

    JoAnn

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh wow — sorry to hear about your Mom, JoAnn!
    And yes, I’m definitely sticking around — hopefully for a while! I guess I didn’t realize how the wording of my post probably made it sound like I was quitting. Whops!

    Thanks for your loyal readership and your many encouraging words.

    [Reply]

  24. Chris

    06/12/2017

    Still my favorite blog (besides my church blog branham.org) 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’m happy to be #2 to your church blog 🙂

    [Reply]

  25. Reva

    06/12/2017

    Just heard this the other day and there is a lot of truth in it: We have “wants” and “needs” but we need to remember that we don’t always ‘need our wants’. Really enjoy your blog every morning! Thanks for sharing your life with us 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is great — thanks for sharing Reva!

    [Reply]

  26. Ann

    06/12/2017

    Loyal readers? You betcha! I read your blog EVERY. DAY.
    (M-F) even when we’re on vacation! I love your common sense & your truth about pleasing yourself, NOT everyone else! Of course, I also greatly appreciate your simple living & it helps me analyze what I could be doing in a simpler more efficient way!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Ann!

    [Reply]

  27. Linda M

    06/12/2017

    Andrea…your next to last sentence was so personal to me! I am retired and sometimes feel I need to be doing “bigger things”. But i do the everday “little things” regularly.. I once read that nothing is too small to make a difference. I try to remember that….and try to build in more little things.
    You are certainly wise for your age….and a real encourager for all who read your blog. I sure thank you and send a huge virtual hug!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Well I’m positive your “little things” are very meaningful to others — probably more than you’ll ever know!

    [Reply]