Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Introducing a New Series: Plain and Simple!

Although I didn't know it, I started my new series a few weeks ago when I wrote about how much of a blessing it was to go from two cars down to only one vehicle in our family.

The conclusion from the above, of course, is that simplicity brings peace. We believe that getting rid of modern amenities (or our mounds of personal belongings) will make our lives miserable, but often they bring unexpected peace and joy.

And that got me thinking. Why is modern life described as hectic, frantic, rushed, over-busy, insane, crazy? Why do families no longer eat meals together, spend time together, or even know each other? Why do we live in a whirlwind of activity and constantly feel stressed and exhausted?

By all logic, it ought to be the opposite. After all, we have automatic and mechanical devices of every sort that are supposed to ease our burdens and take care of various jobs for us. Life is supposed to be easier in every way.

But it's not. 

Instead, we are more stressed-out, sleep-deprived, and exhausted than at any other time in the history of mankind, and it's only getting worse. We all know that.

On a personal level, I have made efforts to avoid over-commitments in our family. And although we do educate at home, I have only three children (and only one student at the moment). Our life is not that busy, by comparison.

But I still feel stressed. And hurried. And rushed. And constantly tired and over-committed. 

I want to stop that. Though I will always have more work than I can ever accomplish, I need more peaceful head-space. I need to rid myself of the mental, spiritual, and physical clutter that can wear me down, make me irritable and snappy, and deny me the peace I need.

And that's the purpose of this new series! This will not be an exhaustive or organized series - just a note-by-note writing down of the little things I learn along the way. Some of the things I have learned so far will seem a bit wacky, but I'm going to write them down anyway. I'm looking forward to sharing with you!

Part of what I share will stem from my ongoing study of the Amish culture. I am passionately fond of the Amish people, and I go through periodic spurts of studying their society, religion, and lifestyle. One of the things I note often about the Amish is their simpler and calmer way of life. Do they miss out on Facebook, the internet, and indoor electricity? Yup, but they kept the much more important things that our culture has jettisoned - deep and abiding faith, strong families, and tight-knit communities that support each other for life.

I'll be quoting from a couple of books on the Amish, among them:

I'll also quote from one of my favorite books, "The Handbook of Simple Living" by Lanet Lohrs. Though I disagree with many (most) of the spiritual tenets of this book, she has written one of the most complete and thorough guides to simple living, covering everything from dish-washing to housing choices.

I'd like to add an important note before I begin writing: This series is not intended to make anyone feel judged!
"She got rid of her automatic banana peeler, and I didn't! I know she's judging me!"
Yes, that is exactly not what I am trying to do! I am working on simplifying my life, and I'm going to share what I'm trying, and what is working for our family. But I am not expecting readers to go out and follow what I do! This is a discussion, a journey, and a process. It is not meant to make anyone feel badly, nor am I expecting everyone to try the same things I'm trying. Comprenden ustedes? 


I'm looking forward to sharing the journey!

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