Finding My Way Back to Simple

wooden path through field

I long for a simple life. Really, I do.

And I get frustrated because that clutter-free life seems to elude me.

But it wasn’t always this way.

In my early years as an only child, I had hours and hours to read and create and discover.

When I was a young woman living on my own, I worked long, stressful shifts in a hospital, but I only worked 12 nights a month (full time!). I had a lot of free time, which I spent studying my Bible, writing, visiting friends, traveling, playing guitar, taking walks, going to concerts, lying on a blanket in the spring sun gazing up at the sky, and whatever else I felt like doing. And I didn’t feel guilty for any of it.

When my husband and I were newlyweds, we lived quite simply. The hours we weren’t working were filled with fun, relaxation, and travel. We didn’t have a lot of stuff (no basement full of junk!) so cleaning and de-cluttering was a breeze.

Even when our children were very young, life was simple. Yes, we had more clothes and toys to shuffle around, but our days had a pattern and rhythm that included only the essentials. That’s all we had time and strength to get done.

Then I started homeschooling and life became quite a bit more complicated. The house was littered with curriculum, experiments, sports paraphernalia, art projects, and costumes. My mind was littered with lesson plans, juggling our extremely busy calendar, my responsibilities at co-op, and the other nine million things mothers, wives, and homemakers have to handle. It seemed like every moment of the day was scheduled and we lived out of our car more than our house. (And people think homeschoolers aren’t socialized???).

Add to that teaching classes, freelance writing, editing, consulting, and public speaking. And the schedule got more cluttered, as did the house, and my mind. At times it was nearly unbearable. Yet, I trudged on because I convinced myself that this was really living.

Then technology took off like a rocket and I thought I’d never see the simple life again. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, smart phones, smart TVs. Stuff needed to be backed up, defragged, rebooted, protected, and updated constantly.

Now, here I am today an empty-nester. My house is littered with more junk than I’ve had in most years previously. (How did that happen?) I have so much variety that I have a hard time choosing even what to do with my life. I have time stretching out before me, but it seems to fill up with meaningless tasks as the days slip by so quickly. And now it’s my mind that needs to be defragged! The focus I once had is hard to come by anymore.

And I long for those simple days again.

I long to find my way back to a time when l worked hard and played hard and lived well.

As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

So I’m headed back to simple.

I’m not sure I fully know the way (and I’m not going to program a GPS to direct me!).

But I’m going to start by shushing the “shoulds” and the “musts” and the “ought tos” and the “have tos.”

I’m going to listen, really listen, to what my heart is telling me to do.

I’m going to take one simple step at a time.

Will you join me?

 

 

 

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The Winter of My Soul

the winter of my soul

Long time, no words.

Though I haven’t written here in too long, I’ve definitely not forgotten this blog.

In fact, I’ve “thought” many posts, but never written them.

In a way, I’ve been like a dormant tree in winter. I still have life in me, but not much to show for it on the outside.

I’ve spent my winter wrestling and quieting and wrestling more and quieting again.

I’ve wrestled with the sin that so easily besets.

I’ve wrestled with insecurity.

I’ve wrestled with the unknown of this empty nest season where I now find myself. I thought it would look so different from what it does and I thought I’d be much more certain of what I’m supposed to do with my life.

I’ve wrestled with relationships with family and friends, as well as the loss of some family members.

And I’ve most definitely wrestled with this blog and all the other writing that I do, and with thoughts that I don’t really have anything worthwhile to say.

But I’ve also spent my winter enjoying quietness.

I’ve been quiet before the Lord, enjoying daily fellowship with Him in the mornings.

I’ve learned the quiet grace that meets us in the hard. . . and the lonely. . . and the unknown.

I’ve learned the quietness of receiving uncrowded days from the Lord and being okay to relax, to take a nap, to enjoy the simple things in life.

I’ve come to know the quiet forgiveness He offers when I fail, and slowly tiny step by tiny step, I’m learning to forgive myself when I utterly blow it.

And I’ve come to understand the beauty of a quiet life. I listen more (and better I hope!). I notice more, like the red cardinal on the barren winter tree, the hum of the furnace, the subtle social nuances that reveal what people really feel.

So, I find myself wanting different things for me, for this blog.

Things will be changing here.

I can’t tell you exactly how, though regular blog posts will definitely be part of the change.

Some posts will be deleted too.

I think what I really want is simple, unhindered words to flow.

And on that note, I invite you to read my revised “about” page.

It’s my start of something new.

 

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