Living A Simple Life
By: Crystal Miller
Living the simple life is not always an easy task. In today's world of hustle, bustle and busy lives, the simple life can be hard to find. It seems that the home can often become a rest stop to refresh a moment and then move onto the next activity. Life can become too busy. Perhaps in your heart you would like life to be a little simpler. You would like time to just "stop and smell the roses" but can't quite figure out how to get to that point. Another down side to a life that is too busy is that I believe it can rob us of some of the greater joys of being a homemaker. I believe that as we live this "life in the fast lane" we can become discontent.
How does a busy life make us discontent you may ask? Well when life is too busy we find that that the home and family will suffer. Things in the home won't run as we would like them to. The house may be more chaotic then we would like, household tasks are not being attended to, meals may lack nutritional value, too much money is spent on convenience foods due to lack of time, laundry piles up, we may not be able to get to some of the projects we have been putting off, and so the list goes. So we end up feeling discontent because things are not as we would desire them to be. Our homes are not functioning as though we are in control of our domain.
So we set out to make some changes. We have an idea of what we might like our homes to be and begin to figure our ways to achieve this. As we desire to make changes we start looking for ways to make our lives easier. We think that easy and simple go hand-in-hand.
We have countless appliances that will do every task imaginable. We seek out the latest convenience foods so we can spend less time in the kitchen; we stream line so we can accomplish more and more each day. Not all of this is undesirable or without merit, but is this the answer to a simple life?
To me simplicity is not dinner from a box; it is a home cooked pot of soup and homemade bread. To me simplicity is not a cake mix, but a cake made from scratch with whole wheat flour I grind myself. To me simplicity is not permapress clothing but a little time at the ironing board to think, pray, and learn to be content with my role in life. To me simplicity is not always wanting more stuff, but learning how to enjoy and appreciate what I have. To me simplicity is not sticking a DVD in for the kids to keep them occupied; it is spending an afternoon in the garden working side-by-side with them. To me simplicity is not buying my milk from the grocery store, but milking my own goats. Simple living is not always easy living. Simple living, to me, is taking a slower walk in life and appreciating the things that go to making our lives as homemakers complete and fulfilling.
The satisfaction and joy we can get from so many homemaking tasks can easily be lost unless we intend in our heats to live a simple life. But a simple life can take more time. If we can't slow down enough to enjoy some of the basic fundamentals of homemaking then perhaps we are missing some of the very things that make a simple life an enjoyable life. A simple life is something one learns to love if it is a life that they desire to have.
Many simple living tasks have a multitude of blessing that go with them. When our dryer went out last summer we were learning how to enjoy the simple living task of hanging out laundry. We learned that sometimes working harder at a job has its own merits. I pointed out to my children that we saved money by not running the dryer and that in turn meant Dad's hard earned dollars could be put towards other needs in the family, we also learned that putting clothes on the line at 6:30 in the morning is a perfect time to enjoy the quiet sounds of summer on our homestead. There is a peace in this that is hard to find in the middle of the day. We also learned that sheets that have been drying in the sun have the best smell!
The kitchen seems to be another room that abounds with simple living tasks. I think food and preparation of meals is something very important to a family. It is easy to be frustrated at the time spent in the kitchen, however it is an opportunity to look beyond the mundane and see the bigger goal being accomplished when you spend time preparing home cooked meals for your family. The health benefits alone that are received from home cooking can give us as homemakers much satisfaction. I love knowing that I am feeding my husband and children good quality foods that will assist them in living a healthy life. There are also financial benefits from it. Every frugal meal that is cooked from scratch for my family means my husband does not have to be working for boxes of Hamburger Helper or packages of Rice-a-Roni or any other costly packaged convenience food.! These types of realizations can hopefully be positive reinforcements on the value of simple living. Most of all, when your family sits down to eat at the end of a long day who could deny the absolute joy of setting down to meal of homemade, made with love from the heart, food?
Living a simple life may require changes to the way we live. I don't have a busy life outside my home. I have it this way on purpose. I am happiest when my life is simple and serene. Well as serene as life gets with a houseful of children! ~smile~ I am the most content when I live a life in my home, doing the things that make my home run smooth and giving my family a quality of life that is fulfilling.
I am also passing on to my children the value of a simple life by my example. If I am always busy, busy I fear I may end up teaching them the message of discontentment. The message states that I can only be happy and satisfied if I am going and doing all the time. I have learned over the years that the two ways of life just do not mix. The dividing line for outside busyness and living a simple life at home will be drawn in a different place for each of us. I am not saying that all outside activity needs to stop, that would unrealistic. But rather when life has too much going on, it is impossible to live a simple life. I had to make very different choices in my life in order to achieve the goal of simple living. But I am more content and more satisfied today as a homemaker than every before.
I pray today that anyone desiring a simpler way of life will be able to achieve this and be able to find great joy in your life as a homemaker!
© 2005 Crystal Miller
Crystal Miller is a mother of 8 children and enjoys her God given role as wife, homemaker and mother! She has a homemaking and country living web site called The Family Homestead http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/ and has a free monthly newsletter called Homestead Happenings. You will find sign up information on her website.