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.