So often, I find myself thinking of times in history as simpler times. And, in some ways - this doesn't fully make sense since we have so many things now that help make our lives easier. We have grocery stores, appliances, running water, electricity and efficient transportation.
However, it seems like our lives now are more complicated than ever. What is it about a past time that draws me to its simplicity? Yes, it is easy to create an idealistic past - but, I think some of our perceptions are realistic.
Life was lived with far less opportunity and far less distractions. Families worked much harder, yet were content with far less than what we consider a bare minimum today.
To me, this kind of simplicity holds such a purity that almost feels reverent. There were not myriads of things pulling families away from home or time together.
And, home is the one place we can really develop our own definition of simplicity and what it means in our daily lives. I think simplifying means many different things to each of us.
I have mentioned this book before, but it is my very favorite on this topic of living simply. Because, this book captures exactly what simplicity means to me and what I desire.
Simpler Times by Thomas Kinkade
"When we come back to things that really matter, then peace begins to settle into our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest floor. And somewhere deep down inside we know that simpler times are better times." ~ quoted from back cover
While we were away, my aunt gave me a quilt that my great-great-grandma made. As I looked at and admired this treasure, it struck me as a picture of living simply. This quilt was likely made from clothes that were no longer wearable or scraps of fabric left from something else or a bag of flour. Today, we are inundated with choices and opportunities. Instead of cutting up our worn out clothes to make quilts - how many of us spend hours debating over what fabric we will choose or how many fabric stores do we visit? How much of our time, energy and money does this consume? Does this seem like simplifying?
A quote from the inside cover:
"Picture a place where you're yearning to be. A place where work, home, and play are properly balanced, where people exist peaceably, where relationships flourish. A place where there's time for what's really important. Picture life the way you're hungry to live it, in your deepest heart of hearts. Picture simpler times."I don't know what that does to you - but it really tugs at the inner longings of my heart and the way I desire to live and shape my home. What does it bring to your mind?
When I began looking at the paintings in this book again recently, I realized that there was something in common about where I always picture myself in the paintings. I picture myself inside one of the cozy homes with delicious and inviting light exuding from the windows. My "simpler times" revolve around being at home rather than pulled in many directions.
"It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest and living close to nature." ~ Laura Ingalls WilderSo, how do you choose to live in simpler times? Here are a few thoughts shared in the book:
* create a refuge - a place within your home that is your favorite spot or that refreshes your spirit. My spot is sitting on our bed during nap time looking out at our flowers and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
* "... avoid spending sizable chunks of our lives simply moving from one place to another."
- walk or bike to errands
- "... turn necessary chores into family outings ..." ~ I pull my girls out to the mail box sometimes in the wagon rather than just walking down the driveway - it turns it into sort of an outing.
* limit or avoid television
* learn to say no without guilt - even to good things. "what a surge of energy when we realize that saying no is really a way of saying yes to all we really care about."
* "Most of us are so accustomed to over stimulation that peace feels strange to us, it makes us nervous. Simplicity can be an acquired taste, especially in a society that revels in complexity." Before I was married and became a mom, I was very comfortable with solitude. Now, I find that I am often so busy out of necessity - that when I do have quiet time, I sort of stumble around wondering how to use it.
* "It's true in painting, and it's true in life. How things look depends on the way you see them." Perspective.
* Glowing windows - more here.
Now, I'm curious - what describes a simpler time to you? Do you have a spot within your home that is refreshing to you?