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I come from a family where working hard is a virtue. A real compliment for anyone of any age in my vast extended family was “He [or she] is a real worker.”

As I’ve gone through life, I’ve learned that outside my close-knit family of Bavarian heritage and my faith home with the Quakers, most people don’t use that phrase nor seek it out. I’ve learned that it’s fine to work hard, but don’t do it as a badge of honor nor foist one’s personal standards of workmanship on others.

All that said, with the holidays approaching, it’s hard for me to check out of the Task At Hand mode and switch to a different gear that might, for example, mean spending hours hanging out with my daughter, reading a good book after she has gone to bed, or my favorite leisurely activity on my own: cleaning!

I once trained to become a monk, and I have always loved living with very little. Is it any wonder at all that I’m a true fan of the tiny house movement that has inspired many a television series and provided couple time for my husband and me as we take the shows in on the multi-purpose futon in our multi-purpose family room?!

Of course raising a small child means I need to be very careful when I embark on my little cleaning and paring down sprees. I try to limit myself to my few areas in our home although this morning I glanced longingly at the piles of T-shirts in my husband’s man cave, dreaming of reducing the volume by one half.

For me our home in Hawaii is one of the nicest places I’ve ever lived even if the neighbor’s dog bit me the other day. When last month a friend noted how clean our tiny home was, I had to stop my chest from swelling too much. I took it in and smiled, but I won’t wear the compliment as a badge of honor!