Friday, March 7, 2008
The Simple Life
There are certain people in my life whose homes radiate beauty, warmth, calm, peace....Whenever I visit them, I come home more motivated to care for my family and create the same in our house. I'm thinking in particular of my sister, Lucinda, and a friend of mine, Karen.
Lately my book bag from the library has consisted of decorating, organization and frugal type books. They really all tell me the same thing- get yourself organized. There are various methods and tips which are all helpful, but seem impossible to keep up long term. And when I consider all the components (7 children) that make up my life, these programs seem even more implausible.
Being frugal was something that I once perfected out of sheer necessity. When we were first married I was in my last year of nursing school and Sean was in grad school. He worked at the university and I as the biscuit maker at McDonald's at 4:30 am. We brought in just over $300 a month. Being frugal wasn't an option. We wanted to eat, so we learned quickly. I'd say it was wonderful and we were very content.
Over time I had gotten away from it, but this year I've set some frugal goals. However, being frugal does not make one's life simple I've discovered. It takes some planning and I get a lot of pleasure from saving money for our family, but it doesn't equate to a peaceful home.
People assume that I must be organized because of the sheer number of children that we have and the fact that I homeschool. I strive and succeed sometimes. And other times it is apparent that I am not. There is a system in place and it works as well as it can at this point.
Reflecting on all of this, I realized that the simple life that I admire in others has more to do with what they don't have than what they do. Both Lucinda and Karen work hard to keep the "stuff" out of their home. Not to say that their homes are barren caves, but they are not stepping over "stuff" to get to what they need. They really are grateful for what God has provided and walk close with Him. They've learned to trust instead of hold onto the things of the world tightly. Striving for frugality can sometimes cause me to live with closed hands rather than open ones, to keep instead of give.
Lucinda and Karen are both very creative in gardening, cooking and decorating due in part to the fact that they have time. They both regularly invite others over because they have a ready home. They both have energy to serve others in times of need because their own homes are already in order.
Gardening, cooking and decorating are not my priorities, but a joyful, inviting, clean home is. So as I continue to be frugal out of necessity, I will be working hard these next few weeks on getting rid of those things that are cluttering our lives and causing frustration. I will be organizing, but not organizing "stuff". Maybe I'll even find a few hidden treasures. And then there will be some serious Spring cleaning going on around here!
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. -1 Thessalonians 4:11-12