Monday, September 7, 2015

A Life of Simplicity

This blog has fallen back on my heart in an undeniable way. I am excited to write again. I hope you feel welcomed.

If there were ever a word to describe this season for our family it would be "simple", which is ironic since it's just about the most complicated year we've ever faced; not bad, just complicated. We're building our dream house, a 3,000 square foot modern farmhouse just north and a ferry ride away from our current city that will sit on an acre, with parents next door on 2.5 acres. Maybe I sound too casual about such a significant thing, but I assure you I'm not. We really can't understand why God has chosen to bless us with this wild gift, but He has, and we're choosing to accept the abundance with joy and thanks. A quote came across my Instagram recently that helped me reflect on my feelings about this:

"It's scary to allow life to be good, especially if you have been through a lot of hard. It's scary to let go of our worries and fears and resentments and anxieties and to celebrate the goodness that is now, that is here today. But if we believe abundance is a trick and the bad thing is just around the corner, then we will let the darkness win. Personally I want to offer myself permission to look for the light." Leeana Tankersley, Breathing Room

When I consider our new life I have a very strong and clear vision of what's to come, the most paramount being: simplicity. So what better time than now to start evaluating our life, family, and existence in light of this? The funny part about this is that I'm not sure by our modern culture's definition of the word that our life reflects simplicity.

What is simplicity to me? A simple life is quiet, yet full of the giggles and squeals of children. Simple means keeping a garden that is large enough to sustain our family through summer, and preserving the leftovers for winter. It means homeschooling our kids in a way that flows with our natural rhythm; no running around or rigid schedules to keep to. Simplicity is in the seasons and being aware of our natural surroundings; celebrating them in our learning, cooking, senses, and home decor. A simple family prioritizes sleep and sees it as sacred, eats nutrient dense and uncomplicated food, and uses the plants that are native to our area to support our bodies. A simple existence means we have time and space to listen to and commune with God, which I hope will reflect an attitude of grace in our home.

Simplicity looks like having time and flexibility to welcome expected and unexpected visitors into our home for physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment. And last, a simple life observes the natural world and embodies what it sees naturally occurring—peaceful rivers flowing freely and confidently, plants and animals working hard and then resting, mamas lovingly taking care of their children without complaint, the nourishing darkness of night, along with the brightness and hope that comes in the morning. Simplicity doesn't mean being free of hard work, quite the opposite, really. To me it means blocking out the distractions so I can be free to see what truly matters, like stewarding the earth God created in a way that is honoring to him and the generations that will follow me.

But first...we must build our house. I feel like the roller coaster of what's to come is just cranking it's way up a giant slope and about to launch us into a fury of loopdeloops, corkscrews, and sheer drop-offs. Nothing about building a house is simple, but I'm praying that God will show us how to live simply during this season of transition and hard work. Some practical things I've been implementing in the interim:

- Eating simple, nourishing foods like boiled meat and vegetables, bone broth and meat stock, fresh and dried herbs, and seasonal fresh produce, and completely avoiding sugar, grains, and gluten.
- Listening to and respecting my body (if I'm craving sweet, I eat whole sweet food; feeling tired, try to get rest; feeling incessantly hungry, eat lots of healthy fat). The same applies to the children.
- Getting adequate sleep and rest (which doesn't always happen with two children).
- Kindly saying "no" and not over-planning.
- I've filtered my Facebook so it only shows groups and pages that are interesting and helpful to me, along with a very small handful of immediate family and friends. Instagram is similar.
- I use Pinterest frequently to keep my ideas organized. I've recently begun to ruthlessly go through and delete irrelevant things. It makes finding something much simpler, and much less cluttered.
- We treat our home similarly; anything that doesn't benefit our immediate life gets given away.
- Practicing deep belly breathing.
- Keeping our garden going into the autumn. The kids and I all find joy and peace in caring for the garden.
- Celebrating the busy season by documenting it, practicing thankfulness, and dreaming of what our new house will be like (especially with the kids).

I look forward to sharing more about this journey toward chickens, goats, muddy boots, and simple days to come.