Simplicity Is A Choice

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Guest post by Joy Vanderley ~ homesteader, homeschool mama, and hot tea connoisseur

 

 

I think my ideas of the ‘Simple Life’ go back to my childhood delight in the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I love those books!  They are filled with the beauty and delight in the simple things in life and the central characters are family members living, working and loving one another.

The hard part comes when you realize that a simple life doesn’t occur randomly or suddenly.

It’s a CHOICE that takes EFFORT.

Strangely, living the simple life requires more work.  It’s completely counter cultural.  In the busy pace of the twenty-first century I find people question why I make my own bread, grow a garden and preserve vegetables, make maple syrup (now THAT’S time consuming!) and home school my children.  To some, who are looking to make life easier, my choices are impractical and unreasonable.

The simple answer is to say that I’m not trying to live an EASIER life, just a simpler one, with a different focus.  How can I teach my children to make hard choices because they are the right choices, if I don’t live it myself? 

Our family’s health is important to me, more so since my father died last year of colon cancer.  That event birthed in me a passion to ensure that we do everything possible to prevent this most preventable of diseases. Honestly, I don’t care if my kids can’t have “special treats” because I know that teaching them to read labels and make healthy eating choices right now will cause them to reap the rewards of good health all their lives.

The ability to live frugally, even making for more work on the weekends, when most of our friends are “playing” is still worth it to me.  I am teaching my kids to live within their means, make sacrifices and WORK!  So many of us complain about how busy we are by all this extra work, but so does everyone else I know, no matter how “Simple” their life appears.

I found an essay by Laura Ingalls Wilder on this very subject, published in January of 1924.  “We are so overwhelmed with things these days that our lives are all, more or less, cluttered.  I believe it is this, rather than a shortness of time, that gives us that feeling of hurry and almost of helplessness.  Everyone is hurrying and usually just a little late….and anyone you meet will tell you there is no time for anything anymore.”  source

I admit I choked on my swallow of Earl Gray tea.  This is the same thing we still struggle with today.  Truly, “there is nothing new under the sun!”  Here is Laura’s advice: “To simplify our lives as much as possible, to overcome that feeling of haste by remembering that there are just as many hours in the day as ever, and that there is time enough for the things that matter if time is rightly used.” source

Mankind was designed to work and although many modern conveniences make things so much easier for us, there is always work to do.  It’s time to realize that we will always be busyI would rather be busy than do nothing of importance. Now it’s just a matter of using my time rightly.

Here are some ways in which I have simplified my life:

  •  I don’t allow my kids more than one (or two, if it’s convenient) outside activities each and I try to keep them on the same day and preferably in the same vicinity.  This saves me driving time, gas, SANITY and assures that we are home where our priority lies.
  • I buy bread in the summer when it’s too hot to bake.
  • I cut down on entertaining.  We were having people over at least twice a week.  It was making me crazy and grumpy.
  • I also cut down on play dates for my kids. Now we have one a month during the school year.
  • I try to appreciate that time with my children is flying.  No need to rush them out of the home.  I want to enjoy them. 

 

Simplicity is attainable, but it is a hard choice to make…
What have you been doing in your own life to simplify? 
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This post is linked to Your Green Resource at Sorta Crunchy, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Mentoring Mama’s Monday Link Up at Simply Living For Him, Better Mom’s Monday Link Up at The Better Mom, Sunday School Blog Carnival at The Butter Believer, Seasonal Celebrations at The Natural Mother’s Network,  Welcome Home Link Up at Raising Arrows, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly The Kitchen Kop, WLWW Link Up Party at Women Living Well
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12 Responses to “Simplicity Is A Choice”
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  1. It’s so funny to picture her writing that in 1924, it so easily fits in with the world today! Things change, and yet they remain forever the same! 🙂

  2. I really enjoy reading how you simplify you life. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Funny – I’m in the middle of reading the Little House books! Well, listening to them on CD. We’re moving soon so I’ve been spending a lot of time packing boxes and they’re great entertainment. Like you, I’m so impressed by how happy everyone is with their simple lives. They are so grateful for things that we all take for granted now, like vegetables, bed frames and glass windows. It’s refreshing to take a trip to our pre-consumerist past.

  4. I really enjoy reading about how you simplify your life. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. This post really resonates with me. So many of my friends ask me how I have the time to lead the life I do and quite honestly, it’s because I make the time to do it. Simple living is most certainly a choice!

  6. Joy

    I appreciate your kind comments and the resonance this theme is producing in so many of us who long for simpler lives and times. Truth is just truth, no matter the time period! Our choices in time management now are having a ripple effect and I sincerely hope and pray that they are positive because our choices affect so many!

  7. Great post! I, too , love Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I long for the simple life and am striving for it. Thank you for sharing your insights and what you do to make your life simpler.

  8. I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was young for the same reasons. I’ll never forget how delighted the girls were to receive an orange and a candy cane as their Christmas gifts and that they played with a blown-up dried animal stomach as a ball. I have always been drawn to simplicity, even as a child, and I agree with you that simpler is often not easier. It feels like swimming upstream. I plan to adopt your ideas, some of which we do already, but I can use all the support I can get in trying to simplify our lives. Thank you for this wonderful post!

  9. Great post! Learning to simplify our lives is probably one of the biggest struggles in our culture today – especially in the church. Thanks for sharing it.

    Found your post on The Better Mom link-up. I would love for you to join my Tuesday link-up Loving Our Children.

  10. Loved this post and read it at just the right time – feeling a little burned out this morning with a feisty two year old and a 6 week old; this was an AWESOME reminder of WHY I do things the way I do and how important our lifestyle is to me. “The simple answer is to say that I’m not trying to live an EASIER life, just a simpler one, with a different focus.” YES!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this with us on Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration and best wishes for a very Happy Easter!
    Warmly, Rebecca x