Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Simplicity in Trying

Trying something new can be anything but simple.
Sometimes it takes everything we've got to try something.
But, there is a way to simplify trying.
Let go of the idea of failure.

I don't know where I picked this up from or how I got this in my head, but since childhood, I felt that if I wasn't good at something, I was a failure and somehow lost value, worthiness, or ability.
Consequently, I only really tried things I knew I where I could succeed.
Maybe it was because I preferred praise much more than the taunts of peers.

Trying something and finding out it isn't for you, it isn't what you thought it would be, it doesn't bring you the joy you hoped, it isn't a good fit for your life right now, or you really just aren't good at it and it is frustrating doesn't mean you failed.

You've actually moved forward!

I wanted to try raising goats.
A friend of mine kindly offered for me to care for two of her champion goats to try it out.  She even had goats lined up for me to purchase when I was ready.
I tried it, and decided it wasn't going to work out.
My health has been troubled.
My kids refused to drink the milk (which was a main reason I wanted them).
Sleeping in on the weekends is very important to me.
I felt like I failed, not only at goating, but I felt like I failed my friend who was so kind.
She reassured me that I didn't.
I felt like a failure before my husband, who wasn't too keen on me getting the goats, but agreed anyway so long as I did the work.
He never said, "I told you so."
I didn't fail.
I just found out it isn't a good fit for me now.

But, I learned new things.
I did the leg work to get the barn delivered.
I built the fencing, the milking station, the dividers.
I taught myself how to milk the goats.

I am better off now having tried than I was if I just didn't bother trying.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Simplicity in Hair

I will be heading to the hair salon, soon.
It is ready for a cut.

I keep it simple, though.
For fall and winter I like layers
By spring and summer the layers have grown out and are ready for easy up-dos.
August has me wearing a bun or a braid every day.
Simple, but done and nice.

Thankfully, a bun suits me.  Always has.

I do dye my hair now.
I keep that simple, too.
No expensive salon jobs.
Just boxes.

I stick to shades within my natural range so my roots aren't horrible.
In fall and winter I like a darker brown.
In spring, I go a little lighter.
By summer, I am a medium or dark strawberry blond.
It gives me variety without the expense, hassle, and upkeep.
Although, I prefer the darker brown.

Sometimes it is fun to experiment and sometimes I get a hold of some neat products for my hair to set and curl it, to try fancy things.
But, when simplicity is needed, which is most of the time, I can just sweep it up into a bun and look just as put together.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Simplicity in Shopping

Coupons, Ads, Apps, Rebates, Gift Cards, Sales
It was practically another job to figure out how to get as many groceries as possible for the lowest price.
It was fun for a while, but then it just became more complicated, stressful, and literally took up hours upon hours to get organized.
I may do it again, because sometimes the bargain hunt is fun.
But, for now I prefer simplicity.

My grandmother never worried about coupons.  Apps weren't even around and even today she doesn't use them.
She has her preferred brands and her weekly list.  She has her favorite stores, and her budget.

Now that my children are out of baby and toddler items and we've all settled into what our preferred foods and brands are, shopping is more simple.
Many times I can just run into Aldi and get what I need for the week.
To be honest, I was mostly disappointed when I did all the couponing and bargain match-ups.  Half the time the items were out, or the coupons weren't accepted, or the store had limits.  Many times I just ended up with items I didn't like, need, or use.  I just donated two bottles of shampoo because I got three for the price of one and I tried one bottle and hated it.  I have boxes of crackers I got cheap sitting in my cupboard uneaten because weren't not really a cracker-eating family.  Worst of all, I ended up blowing my budget every week!

I also simply don't have room for stock piles in my house.

So, I stick with what we know and love.
In doing so, little gets wasted, and I have even managed to stay below budget some weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Simplicity of Happiness

Isn't she beautiful?!

It seems almost everyone has it or has experienced it.
I acknowledge, hesitantly, that I struggle with it.
So many of us Westerners do.

But, why?

Studies point to so many things, and indeed many are suffering from chemical/hormonal issues, just as I did during my Post Partum Depression.

However, I think now, mine is more situational.

Again:  But, why?

Once again I look to my grandmother.  I won't say she never suffered from depression, but she does radiate and joy and peace in her life.
Because she is content.
She FINDS contentment.

She sees the beautiful day.
Her home is practically wallpapered with photographs of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
(I MUST get professional updated photos of my children, if not for any other reason than to give them to her.)
She smiles at her memories, and cherishes them.
She is happy have visitors and laughs at the antics of my children, while I turn red with embarrassment and try to scold them as nicely as possible in front of her.
She finds joy in her routine.
She finds joy in her Bible.
She finds joy in her prayer life.
She finds joy even in her sorrow for the loss of her beloved husband.
She finds joy in the morning.
She finds joy at night.
She finds joy in others' triumphs and accomplishments rather than envy and feelings of loss.
She finds joy in the good in others.
She finds joy in Christ Jesus.
She finds joy in her living and joy in her death.
"I'm ready to go," she chuckles, but is happy to remain her on earth while she must.  She's ready to go, but in no rush, either.
Because, she has joy.

I have gotten caught up in my own expectations.
I have allowed the over-sharing on social media to rob me of my joy and replace it with envy.
I have compared myself to others and found myself at a deficit.
I have given in to the pressures of the cultures around me, even within the church.

Therein lies the root of my depression.
The chaos of me.
When happiness is really just so simple.

Why do we Westerners with the ease of first world living at our fingertips scowl and frown when people in the third world countries smile for our cameras, beautiful, toothless, wrinkled, gaunt smiles of their hard lives etched deep into their bodies, yet JOY pours from their countenances.

We are a spoiled people and it is robbing us of our happiness.
Our wealth and expectations of wealth is our poverty.
I, for one, will no longer be that kind of poor.

Linked with:

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.