Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Simplicity in Small Living

Being a woman is difficult, especially in today's world.
I feel it shouldn't be, but the expectations on women today are so very many!
We have choices and voices today, which is good, but we also have so much on our shoulders.

My facebook feed is plastered with other women and their 24-hour lives.
Many of them are happy with it, and I laud them for it.
But, I can't keep up.

I can't do motherhood, homeschooling, career, side hustle, fitness, lessons, vacations, PTO, church ministry, etc etc etc....

As my head spins just writing that list, I look to the side and see my grandmother.
She kept her life simple.
She happily cared for home and family, went to church on Sunday, and didn't bog her days down with activity after activity.

Her home wasn't filled with stuff.
Holidays weren't grand affairs, one right after another.
Once the grandchildren came, she did Christmas Eve and Easter.
Everything else was off her plate.

She gave herself time to rest.
To sit still and enjoy the day.
To look out the window.
Or place a phone call to someone without feeling rushed to get off to do the next thing.
She had time to take long walks to stay healthy.
She had order to her life.
Simple, basic order.
She still does in her golden years.

That is what I am seeking.
And when I establish that simplicity and smallness in my life, I will see how I am doing and whether or not I can add something to it.

I may never do a paint and sip.
But, perhaps I can invite someone over for tea.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Simplicity in Friends

There is something I need to confess where I am prideful and at fault.
I'm a snob.
I don't mean to be.
I don't want to be.
But I certainly can be.

I want to be BFFs with certain crowds.
I want to be part of a clique or a tribe.
You know, have my posse I hang out with and make other lonely women jealous.
Lonely women like me.
The ones who never seem to fit in to the latest groupie, the latest mommy fad, the latest women's ministry hype....

All that has lead me to is lonely.
And missing out on happy times with those who are my friends, who stick by me through thick and thin, who love me for me and all my stupidity and quirks.
But, they aren't the clique.
And I want the clique.
God doesn't want me in the clique.
He wants to set me free.
He wants me to be a friend.

So, I am done with snobbery.
I am done with envy.
I am done with lonely and all those negative feelings that clutter up my mind and heart because I am not friends with certain people I esteem.

I am returning to the simplicity of just being a friend.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Simplicity in Self-Grace

I used to pride myself on how much I could accomplish in one day.
I was going to be the mom who did it all.
And for a little while I was doing pretty well.

Then, I became ill.

One of those strange, undiagnosed illnesses women get and doctors scratch their heads over.
Is she really sick?  Is she just a busy mom?  Is it all in her head?
Likely, it is the result of years of high stress and hormone changes.

Now, where I had days of immense productivity, I have days of inactivity.
My brain and my body just won't cooperate and I need rest.
Peace, quiet.

In those moments, on those days, I need to give myself grace.
I cannot do it all.
Sometimes, I can't handle someone's postings on facebook and I have to block or delete them.
It's ok.
Sometimes, dinner is very simple.
It's still ok.
Many times we eat on paper plates so I have fewer dishes to wash.
I cringe because it is wasteful, but it is ok.
Sometimes, we just have days where it doesn't all work out.  It doesn't all come together.
Sometimes, we have do-over days, and throw-in-the-towel days.
We need time to rest and time to heal.
We need to throw off expectations and impressions and just be real.

For me, that is giving myself the grace to be ok with living small and simple.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Simplicity in Speech

My grandmother never yells.
Oh, there were very rare occasions when she raised her voice or got upset, but I don't recall ever hearing her yell.
She has a quietude about her, yet she speaks clearly and people listen.

I am the queen of the kingdoms of mumbling and yelling.
I will avoid eye-contact and a concise, committed answer.
Or I will bellow my demands like a drill sergeant.

I'll stress out and become moody when I really want to say no, but don't.
My grandmother knows her limits.
She says no.
And if she says yes, she doesn't act put-upon.
She accepts her yes.

Yelling, mumbling, and uncommitted answers are stress-inducing, not simple.

There was a time conversation was taught.  Speech was emphasized.  And clarity of thought was treasured.
As the Bible says, Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

Other simplicity of speech rules could include:

1. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything.
2. Keep your opinions to yourself (you don't need to challenge everyone to see it your way).
3. Choose your words wisely rather than emotionally.
5.  Be confident in what you say.
6. Talk to a child face to face.  Get up and approach that child. (I am so bad about yelling across the house).
7.  Learn the art of small talk. (Try Emily Post Etiquette)

We live in a world where people demand to be heard and that their opinions, their cussing, their right or wrongness be heard loudly and frequently.  We have lost the art of conversation.  We have lost the art of public speaking, debate, small talk, and polite society etiquette.  We have lost the art of training up our children in the way that they should go, which includes speaking to them in a way that conveys love and authority, direction and clarity.

While that may sound complicated, it is actually a practice in simplicity.  Clarity is simplicity.  All else is confusion.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Finding My Simplicity

Do you know what I admire about my grandmother?
Her simplicity.

She doesn't hurry.
She isn't harried.
She has her routines, same as always over the decades.
She doesn't chase fads.
She doesn't worry about how she's doing compared to everyone else.
She just lives her life.
Her beautiful, graceful, simple life.

She raised her daughters simply, too.
She didn't helicopter, nor did she ignore.
She enjoyed.
She didn't feel pressured to do it all.
She did what she liked.
She kept house.
She read her Bible.
She watched her favorite TV shows.
She went for walks.
She welcomed grandchildren in for visits.
She went to church.
She went to Cape Cod for vacation nearly every year.

Her movements are thoughtful and graceful.  She is focused on the task at hand.
She is quiet, caring, but not overly worried or bothered.
She stays in bed when she needs to.
She gets up when she feels well enough.
No apologies.
No pretenses.
Just her.
I admire that.
I NEED that in my life right now.
That simplicity.

I come from a long line of beautiful Polish women who lived, and loved their simple lives.
Nothing fancy.
Nothing facebook brag-worthy.
Just clean, basic living.

We live in a world where everyone feels they need to prove they are exceptional.
They fill every moment of every day with to-do lists, work, lessons, tutoring, and any other way to get ahead in life.
And that's ok if that is what they want and enjoy!
I find it absolutely fascinating!
But, after years of trying to prove myself and my worth, I find myself looking back at my grandmother and admiring what she had and what she has in her golden years.

I'm ok with mediocre.
More than ok.  I LIKE it.

I am finding my simplicity.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

No Need for Exercise?!

Probably billions has been spent over the decades by women alone trying to keep their girlish figures.
While I am a bargain hunter, I would probably be embarrassed to know the amount of money I wasted spent on exercise junk.

I'm not against exercise or fitness or even the industry.
But, I keep hearing the voices of those influential women in my life.
"We never worried about exercising or getting in an hour at the gym every other day."
And yet, they stayed trim.

For me, to do a workout routine or video is the utmost in boredom and torture.  I hate most of them.  So, to simplify my life, I once again look to the past for my answer.

Women used to get enough exercise just in their daily lives.

Housework alone burned the bulk of their calories.
They walked more, too.
And went dancing.

Now, those are three things I like doing!
I like doing housework and I am sure I can put more caloric effort into it.
Spring is here and I am walking more.  I walk to pick the kids up at the bus stop down the road now.
And I do like dancing, though I don't get an opportunity to actually go out and dance.  I can put on some swingy music and dance about my kitchen, though.

I am keeping my weights, though.  Weights are important for women and the winters are long here.

I'm never going to have the rock hard abs and concave stomachs so popular now.  But, I can at least keep my vintage figure by living a vintage life

Just don't forget to stretch!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hanging Up the Phone

There are admirable women in my life.  Women who raised families the "old fashioned way" before technology was the rule.  Their homemaker examples and influence fashioned very strongly how I pictured my own homemaking lifestyle.

For me (yes, that is a disclaimer.  I am expressing that this is how I feel for myself.  I make no claims that every woman should be in line with this way of thinking.) that influence is stronger than just charming nostalgia.  For me, it honestly feels like wisdom I could follow to find my own homemaking peace of mind.

So, I am doing a little series on this blog.  I will be looking back at how my mother and grandmother and my neighbor and other such ladies kept their homes and families during the eras when homemaking was honored, cherished, and keeping the house was a serious career and daily routine rather than a hurried after thought.

They seemed more joyful and less stressed.
I feel harried almost all the time.
So, my little experiment is to look into the past aesthetics and practices I so admire and see if there is a key to homemaker peace for me.

Hanging Up the Phone

Growing up, my family had one rotary phone hanging on our kitchen wall.  It was yellow with a stretched out cord so my mother could carry on with her chores while she talked.
She was still tethered and limited, and phone calls could be costly, so often the phone was just "hung up."

Today, we have cell phones practically attached to our bodies.  It has become an absent-minded practice to pick it up for "just a quite check" and find that 15 minutes or more has passed.  I can easily waste HOURS-That's right, HOURS-just scrolling through and refreshing facebook.

I need to Hang Up the Phone!

Hubby purchased a charging station.  It largely goes unused.  It is easier to just plug the cell phone into the nearest outlet wherever I am and continue to use it.
I have decided to dust the old charging station off and use it to do the old fashioned practice of actually hanging up my phone.

I imagine I will get a lot more done and be a lot more efficient and peaceful and focused with my cell phone tucked into its home and away from my easy grasp.