It has been ages since I have blogged. We had a health crisis in the fall and it has taken a bit of time for us to get through the crisis and return to normal life. Wholesome living remains one of our family’s goals . We have not made any major changes to our wholesome living principles in some time. For the most part, we have been content with the foods we decided to eat (and not eat), products we use and the way we have decided to do things in our home. However, there is always room for improvement. In this instance that improvement can be summed up in one word: Simplify.
To live simply is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned in the past few years, and one that I continue to learn with each passing day. With less things comes less stress, at least for me. Simplification does not always mean having less stuff. It may mean simplifying the way we do things or the way we organize our lives. The Amish have always fascinated me. I admire and am inspired by their choice to live simply. What is so interesting to me is, in many cases, they do not believe that modern conveniences are inherently evil. Instead, many believe that most modern conveniences will speed up life to a pace where the most valuable tenets and moments of life will be overlooked and/or not appreciated or cultivated.
Often it seems as if we are all racing to accomplish our goals as efficiently as possible all the while attempting to acquire the biggest and best toys. In such a culture, to live simply seems to be a foreign and, at times, repulsive idea. Why would a person spend forty-five minutes hanging clothes on a clothes line when it takes only five minutes to toss them in a dryer? Why would a person hang out with someone in person to find out how his/her friend is doing, when Facebook is only a few clicks away?
I am finding there is such beauty and serenity in taking the simpler path in just about every area of life. I am also finding that it can be healthier. Hanging clothes on a clothes line provides sunshine and exercise for my children and I. Things like bleach, fabric softener and anti-wrinkle sprays do not need to be used either. It is a blessing to do work outdoors and watch my girls giggle, laugh and run in the grass around me.
Cooking from scratch reduces cluttering up my shopping cart, refrigerator, and freezer with quick-fix, processed meals. By not keeping processed foods in our home (for the most part), it reduces the health risks that come along with eating those types of foods. Cooking from scratch also provides a bonding experience, as cooking in our home is a family activity. I always feel a sense of satisfaction when I open my fridge at the end of the week just before I go out to grocery shop and realize we did indeed eat all the groceries we bought from the store or market.
I am always battling to reduce the number of clothes in our home. This helps keep laundry manageable and rooms cleaner (fewer clothes equals fewer items for toddlers to pull out of drawers and scatter throughout the house). I always feel such as sense of satisfaction when I reduce the number of clothes we have and donate them to people in need. I have to admit, I was pleased when I packed for a three-week long trip and was able to fit enough clothes for three of us in one suitcase. Having fewer clothes also helps reduce mental clutter as there are fewer outfits to choose from when deciding what to wear. Less time is spent pondering what to wear and/or trying to figure out what child needs what type of clothes for each new season or growth spurt. If each person is limited to only a few outfits, then it becomes a lot easier to identify who needs what.
There are so many areas of our lives where we could simplify in one way or another. This is the first of a few posts on the topic that I hope you will enjoy. I have found when I simplify and de-clutter life as much as I can, it helps clear my mind as well. I just feel better. I feel less bogged down and more willing and eager to spend time on the things that truly matter in life: my relationship with the Lord and my relationship with all those around me.