Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Longing for Simplicity

It has been a recurring desire in my heart and mind to seek simplicity. I long for life to slow down and be more simple and yet it seems to elude me. I'm not even sure what in my life can be changed to create more simplicity.

Some of this is because of the season of life I am in right now - three young children who seem to have an absolutely endless supply of energy don't leave much room for a simplified life. Yet, I still long for it.

Now, I know that simplicity means different things to different people. Simplicity to some means spending less or doing less, using less or going less.

I think that simplicity in my life means peacefulness and moments of beauty and quiet. It is being satisfied and energized in the little everyday things of life and making these moments beautiful and memorable.

Can't I create moments of simplicity in my life even in my current season? I do hope so...

While Emily was at VBS recently, Rachel wanted to swim and it seemed like an ideal time to create a simple moment. I grabbed some freshly cut flowers, a cup of icy cold water and a well loved book on simplicity.


I put my feet up and got all comfy and then the whining started. She's done already? How can it be? I was looking forward to a few peaceful moments of rejuvenating my heart and spirit.

The beauty and the simplicity were there visibly - but not physically, mentally or emotionally.

Obviously God had other plans for me that morning - yet the question persists ~ how can I cultivate a simplified and beautiful life in my current season. Embracing all that this season offers and all the challenges that come with it - but still seeking to teach my children how to slow down, lower the volume and let peace and simplicity come in to our hearts.

I'm not interested in reducing the amount of time I spend with my family or in cultivating beautiful, special memories in our times together. I want life to feel less frantic, less busy, less obligatory. More thoughts coming on this soon...

I'd love to hear your constructive thoughts!

51 comments:

Rachael in NZ said...

Hi Monica,

I totally understand what you mean about craving simplicity! Sometimes I wish we were the Ingalls family out on the Prairie!
For me simplicity often means limiting activities outside the home (other than church involvement - and even that can get out of control!). Children don't need lots of outside activities and it can create a lot of stress for the family.
Still loving your blog, thanks for the inspiration :-)

Mary Ann said...

Can't wait to hear more of your thoughts on this!

Our life has been way too hectic recently. I'm ready to slow down!

Lisa said...

Monica,

I have been thinking about this great post all morning. It is so frustrating when I plan a fun art project for my kids, and I have this vision of a perfect family moment. Sometimes the kids just are not wanting to do things the way I envisioned. That being said, I LOVE being with my family more than anything. However, life just is not made by our plans. Our Father has brought to me to my knees many days when He shows me His plan is better. My number one thing for living simply is staying at home more followed by having less stuff. Peacefulness is not often easy to find on many homeschooling days where I feel like I go from kid to kid all day long. There is so much joy to be found in our ordinary days, but sometimes it is not until later that I realize it. Thanks for your thoughts today.

Blessings,
Lisa

milissa said...

Girl I hear ya. We are at different places in life...I am a professional woman with no littles...and I long for simplicity too. In some ways, I think technology is fantastic but in many ways I think it just complicates things. In the age of internet and cell phones we are too available to the working world. It causes too much stress and yet it is a fact of our time. I could leave my job and find another, but unfortunately, they are all like this. (Or so I hear from all my working friends.) I look forward to hearing your ideas and you bet if it's something I can adapt to my life, I'll try it!

Christy said...

Right there with you. I have two older children and an almost 5 month old...I have been trying to get up early to have a quiet devotion time. Sometimes it happens sometimes it doesn't. I am not a go with the flow kinda person but I'm working on it. Blessings to you as you seek His peace for you and your family.

Christy said...

I had to chuckle when I read "lower the volume". It is something I hear myself say constantly throughout the day. I definitely feel like I'm in the same boat as you. I'm tired of the chaos, I want simple. Sometimes I truly believe children these days are over stimulated. We recently went on a camping trip for 2 days and did not bring one toy. Our boys have never played so good for so long without fighting! I was amazed to see the behavioural change in them when things were simple, nature and a tent.

Leanne said...

In our Ladies Bible Study we've been studying Beth Moore's- Jesus, the One and Only. I have been learning so much about my external wants... The number one lesson being--they are not satisfying. And more importantly, they are NOT to be satisfying. The only real satisfaction and true sense of peace comes from yielding and abandoning my life to Jesus... we've als been learning that the abandoned life will carry complications and burdens and probably won't feel simple...and yet He can still satisfy us if we let Him...and He WANTS too...
I think its easy as busy, busy moms to believe one thing will give us comfort and rest, when in fact, it may be something else entirely different.
I pray that you find the refreshment you need in the most perfect Refresher! I know that I am just learning to. (what's funny about this post...is my 2 year old has interrupted me 3 times-- so he can WATCH DIFFERENT THINGS ON TV-- so, I'm already trying to find peace at 7:40 am est!)God is GOOD!

patty w said...

I know what you mean.

I'm afraid to say that once they get older and even more involved in school and school activities...it goes even faster and can become even more hectic and hurried. My kids are 10 and 13 and they know I have to have a little "me" time..even just to go downstairs and make a card.

We do limit the number of activites the kids are involved in. They do NOT need to do every sport or whatever. One of my favorites times of the day is right now, early morning , kids sleeping, neighborhood quiet !

Sarah said...

For me, I have found a degree of simplicity in my life by learning to say "no." In limiting my commitments, I find myself less stressed. Probably because every time I do take on a commitment or project, it has to be perfect for me to be satisfied. :) The less I take on such things, or remind myself that it is ok to contribute in smaller ways, the more freedom I have to pace myself in my day and have those simple little moments you described.

Anonymous said...

I'm anxious to hear others thoughts on achieving this at this season in life. I too have three littles, and this very morning I was pondering what we should do. We have family scattered in 3 different areas of the country, and everyone is divided. Both mine and my husband's parents are divorced and traveling to see all of them in and of itself is not simple. I stumbled upon this verse one day, and I thought, this sure makes it simple, but surely it doesn't mean for us to forsake our relationships with our families?
"Do not forsake your own friend or your father's friend nor go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity; for better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away."

Proverbs 27:10 NKJV
I long for the simplicity in that, but I have failed to come up w/what seems a good answer. I hope that someone will shed some light on that, as well as finding simplicity in everyday life.

Sarah said...

Oh, Monica. I hear ya girl! I have two littles ages 2 and 1. Often I am at my wits end by the close of the day! I stuggle for the want of the very things you were mentioning. Looking forward to hearing the rest of your thoughts on this topic. For me, I just TRY and relish any of the quiet moments there are throughout the day. also, enjoying some of the simple joys like just sitting in the grace and playing with the kids, or teaching my 2 yr. old how to play hopscotch!
We just have to look for the little moments. Life is not a perfect storybook!

Hattie said...

Ahhhhhhh, Something we all long for in our life.....Simplicity. I enjoy your blog very much. I am at a different stage (older) in my life. And life is a little more simple now. Looking forward to your thoughts in future posts.
Hattie Tennessee

Wendi said...

It seems there are many of us longing for a little simplicity in our lives.

I sometimes feel like I am on a merry go round that keeps going faster and faster and leaves a huge mess in the wake. I am finding that we are hardly home due to birthday parties, weddings and such. The more I am away from home the more the clutter and disorganization seems to grow. I find that the more clutter and disorganization there is at home the less I want to be there. It is a cycle that just breaks my spirit.

I declined a few invites for this month so we would have a weekend at home. I so need to sit on the back porch with a good book and a glass of tea. Just relax, watch my little one play and my hubby putter around the garage and yard.

I know that one weekend at home will recharge me but not take care of the deeper desire for a simple life.

Looking forward to hearing the step you try to reach the simple life.

Anonymous said...

Simple, peaceful moments most often just happen on their own without our planning. In fact, our planning is often the very thing that prevents simplicity and peace. The thing to do is to keep your heart attuned to when those moments happen on their own and stop trying to orchestrate them. It's like trying to hold water in your hand~the harder you try, the more it slips through your fingers. Slow down and just *be* and let life unfold sometimes. This is something I've learned after almost 20 years of motherhood.

womanofthehouse

angela said...

I understand where you are coming from. I can remember stopping in to visit an Amish friend and she was napping in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. I thought how can this be? She has 7 children under the age of 8, and her work is done manually-not with dishwashers, washing machines etc. Her house was clean and her children well behaved. She got up and sat and visited with me, without seeming to have an endless amount of work that I was keeping her from. I thought about this later, and realized that the things she didn't have were allowing so much more time and simplicity. I have a great many thoughts on this matter. Too many for this comment. For me simplicity means both less & more. Less stuff around to clutter up my life. Less time spent doing necessary work, like lawn mowing. Less feelings of obligations. More time to spend visiting and enjoying the company of others. More time to learn new things, like sewing. More time helping others. Some days I just want to get rid of all the access, let ½ the lawn go to tall grass, freckled with wildflowers and relax on the porch with the love of my life.
For me it is not about planning or creating special moments, but rather about savoring every moment.

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

Hi Monica,
You and I are on the same wavelength with this. It is something that has been on my mind and heart and prayers for quite a while now. As a mother of three, 12, 14, and 16 I'm finding my life growing ever more complex, just the opposite direction I wish to go. My only solutions thus far are to first continue praying and striving to have Bible time in the morning before the family is up. The second solution that helps me so much is to do my best to maintain my household routine. It's on days that my routine goes out the window that I feel frustrated and generally a busy, rushed feeling. My motto for 2009 has been, "keep ahead of the game". This means planning ahead with as much as I can. Meal planning, planning errands, planning ahead for vacation and weekend trips, anything I can do ahead of time, I try to do so. These things give me a feeling of more simplicity and peace.
I have been seriously trying to curb things coming into our house. Everything we bring into our homes needs to be maintained in some way, from our vehicles, to our appliances, toys, even nick-nacks need to be dusted. The less we have, the less there is to keep up with. I'm looking forward to reading more posts about this topic.
Blessings,
Nancy

Jason and Danielle said...

I strive for this as well and find it is challenging. My hubby is deployed and I have two little ones. I will say I started that thankful journal you talked about and it has helped me have a more peaceful morning before my kiddos get up. Now for the being able to slow down a little bit so things aren't hectic well please tell me if you figure out any ideas cause I am still praying about an answer to that one:>

Agnes said...

well Monica, I would like to know how we do that - not so hectic life. I am a working mom with 3 little ones and it is more than hard, sometimes I wish I could stay at home to enjoy the children more... but sometimes they drive me crazy fighting constantly and giving that sense of hecticness...
Life is way more crazy since we live in a high tech world, where being 1st, being the fastest, being the best, being the number 1 is a priority. You have to et the kids in whatever sport or they will not make it in college. They need to perform so high so be able to succeed.
And look at us women in this world. we are supposed to be super woman all the time... if not we feel guilty... how do you do that?
How can we live in this crazy world and how can we raise children in this crazy world???

Katy said...

I find simplicity in just enjoying my family. (although the whining and arguments grate on me as well)...maybe God wants you (and me as well) to find the simplicity in our lives as is. Like, laughing with the kids and such....for example..maybe instead of sitting down to read for a peaceful time...maybe sitting by the pool with your little and splashing or tossing a ball would be better....catching fireflies etc. I know you have fun with your kiddos and do such a wonderful job with them...but maybe finding simplicity doesn't mean finding a peaceful place for it...but realizing you have that in the sweetness of your children...?

I dunno..just some thoughts. I kinda rambled. Maybe it makes no sense at all. :) I hear ya though!

Stephanie said...

I'd like to encourage you in that as your kids get older moments like the one you described will get better. They will play longer. I often sit outside with my kids after dinner while they play and get almost a whole chapter of a book read. When my kids where younger, I just had nap/quiet time. And even that may or may not have worked.

But it's a trade off...when they get older, I may have more moments to myself, but they need me less. I know that is the idea, but I don't know if I like it.

Michelle said...

Even though my kids are older (8 and 6), I often feel the same way. No sooner are they happily riding bikes and I'm happily reading a book on the back step, then they start arguing, or someone scrapes a knee, or they are hungry for a snack....

That said, things are so much more simple now that I don't have anyone in diapers or nursing or needing help getting dressed! I'm in the "mother of bigger kids" season of life, and I'm finding it easier than the "mother of toddlers" season of life. I know that God is probably giving me this period of relative rest to gear up for the "mother of teenagers" season! ;)

I don't really have any advice for you, other than "this too shall pass," and to enjoy even the moments of hurrying and scurrying, as they end all too soon! I think you have a good handle on this already, but it helps when I limit our outings when I'm feeling stressed, as well. As kids grow, they do need more time out and about, but with younger ones, it is possible to simply enjoy your home and backyard with them a majority of the time. :)

Annie said...

I agree so much with what others have already said - so I'll not repeat them. I'm at your stage - a son, 5, and a daughter, 3. They are very precocious and keep me constantly on my toes. We've moved twice in the last 2 years, and even after 18 months here, I can't get everything unpacked (too much *stuff*), get a solid routine (too many ideas) or get us rooted (too scattered and procrastinating). Knowing my weaknesses doesn't seem to help much. I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts. Though I don't comment often, I do feel as though we are kindred spirits - I even spent most of 6 years in SC!

Blessings and peace as you pray through this...

All things bright and beautiful... said...

I used to have indoor and outdoor baskets with a few things each child could play with independently with me just sitting alongside. I also had towel and clothes to hand outside for after the paddling pool so the children could bring me their clothes to help with drying & dressing and then we continued playing outdoors.
I often had a drink & snack ready too that the children could easily manage- so I could extend that little bit of quiet time with a follow on activity and a snack.

We stayed home a lot - they played in the garden rather than the park - as trundling them all in & out of the car was so much hassle and petrol money saved went on small crafting treats when we did the grocery shop together.

Bevy said...

I am chuckling (to myself) as I read. I am so right there with you on this one. Right now, my two little ones are napping (at the same time, for once)...A prime time to slow down and enjoy some Bevy (simplicty) time...I have sewing, some gardening- I should be cleaning- things that I think about doing in and during the moments when they're hungry, whining, fussing, wanting to play and what am I doing?? Sitting here at the computer, reading your post and all of the many comments - feeling encouraged that I am not alone in this... this opportunity of Mothering. I need to remember and I agree with the mentioned, over and over, thought-phrase of "it's just a season". I've been really convicted to just pray for more "simple contentment" in my life. Excuse me while I go wipe my tears... thanks for this post today.

Bevy said...

Oh, and I also wanted to mention the Zinnias are absolutely the most beautiful (simple) flower in all of God's Creation. They totally speak volumes. I'm so enjoying yours because my didn't do very well this year (from seeds)and I'm very sad about that. I hope they come around... I found one bloom so far.

Anonymous said...

Keep trying, Honey. Those peaceful moments will eventually come your way. I think you're doing a great job already, of simplifying your life, as much as you can.

Love you, Grandma

Becky said...

I have found it helpful to be sure to reserve at least a half an hour of nap/quiet time to simply sit and read, read blogs, etc. I generally don't even type. I only read. This has made a big difference to me. I know those times are valuable for the opportunity to "catch up" but somehow the house hasn't fallen into squalor yet. I also have found it very helpful for my husband to come home between 4 and 4:30. I'm not sure how viable that is for you but I am completely willing to get up early if it means he can come home then. It doesn't seem to matter what I do or when my day has started, by 4 pm the children are sick of me, I'm sick of them, and they are sick of each other. Having a pinch hitter then, is a lifesaver. Finally, it seems like I get more tranquility in my life the better rested I am. I've noticed feeling very harried and stressed lately and am tasking myself (and have enlisted my husband to pull me from projects by 8 pm) to get to bed at least 1 hour early every night for a week. It already seems to be helping.

All that said, I was longing for exactly the same thing this morning!

mary bailey said...

It doesn't change as they get older! I have one child who is 10-years-old and things are still noisy and busy and chaotic.

At the risk of sounding lazy and messy, which I worry about all the time, I let things go around the house. Instead of frantically cleaning up the kitchen after supper, I leave the dishes and we all sprawl out for a game or movie or a good read-aloud.

Yesterday, my son wanted me to be out in the yard with him, watching him race down his slip-n-slide. I just quit doing the task at hand and went outdoors to sit and relax and watch him. It meant that my husband ended up preparing supper but that was OK.

I don't think I'll ever find that perfect balance. Each age and stage brings different challenges. When I went to bed last night, I can honestly say I was as exhausted as I used to be when my son was a toddler!

Good discussion you've started here. I'm interested in reading everyonen's responses.

Becky said...

Hi Monica.

I've often wondered how we, as bloggers, contribute to the "lack" of simplicity in our own lives. Have we started viewing life as a 'post'? Do we take what could be a quiet, peaceful moment and have to grab the camera to take a picture so that we have a photo to go on our blogs later?

Sometimes I think we may fill our minds with so much clutter ("I've got to remember to blog this" or "Oh, I wanted to read what so-and-so had to say about XYZ") that we miss out on the simple moments. They are there, we just aren't capturing them.

What Shannon, from Rocks in my Dryer said, rings true to me:
"...one of the most convicting realizations I've come to is that blogging may just fuel in us (and by "us", of course, I mean "me") a need to articulate everything. I wonder sometimes if our culture is veering away from the very fine art of simply keeping some things to ourselves. Sometimes the best words are the ones we don't say."

Just my two cents, of course!

Ginger said...

I wish! It's impossible for me with my job.

Growing up in the '70s, I used to wish I was either in the era of "Little House" or "The Waltons". I loved those shows and still do.

Jessica said...

I'm feeling the same thing. I crave for slower days where the phone isn't ringing, the kids aren't fighting, the laundry doesn't have to be folded because we're not going on another trip, etc. My body is just tired and my spirit has been following suit. I pray that God will calm our lives so that we can daily make time to seek Him out.

Anonymous said...

Monica,

One of the most beautiful books I have ever read (when my children were younger) is "Mitten Strings For God". I know you will love it. I gave a copy to my niece when she was in your "stage" of life and she has thanked me many times for that gift. Blessings from a 21 year Mommy.

Queenmothermamaw said...

Dear Monica, I have been following your blog for a little while now and have been amazed at how you arrange yours and your families time. Here is my story. I'm 71. The mother of 6 children, I worked the entire time they were growing up. 12 grandchildren. I used to be so tired all the time and dragging around and thinking I'll be so glad when they grow up. Well they are grown up now. My husband and I are both retired we enjoy being together but he does his hobby and I do mind. Some days the phone never rings. 8 of the grands are adults and busy too. On weekends they are all camping, going to the lake, on a trip somewhere. One daughter has a houseboat for 6 years we have been on it one time. It is used for entertaining their business contacts. My life is simple now. Too simple. I am learning to be involved in art, sewing again, cooking and just being thankful. But all in all. I would give anything to have my babies back again. When our children were little we were at one or the other grandparents every weekend. Now all their weekends are with friends. Blessings
QMM

Josie said...

Oh how I've felt the same. Lately I've been thinking about this because it feels as though I'm finding a little more peace. And that surprises me.
Many here have mentioned the Ingalls family, and I've certainly fantasized about that era too. But lately I'm wondering if I've idealized many of those iconic homemakers. Would they say they felt some sense of simplicity or peacefulness?
I know I've set myself up for failure with my lofty goals of simple living. And so I'm trying to take it as it comes and make use of stolen moments. When I notice that immediate needs are met and there seems to be harmony among the troops, I take those few minutes to do something I enjoy. I might pick up my Bible or crochet a little bit. Sometimes I just sit quietly and listen to the sounds of my house. And sometimes it really is only 5 minutes.
I didn't intend to get so wordy...you've touched on a topic that has been on my mind lately. And right now, in these summer weeks it seems that going with the flow seems to be what is working. I hope you find some tricks to help you feel like things are getting simpler. I truly enjoy your writing and start my day here almost every day. I have no doubt you are a wonderful mom. Be patient with yourself, it will fall into place.

Zebu said...

Monica,

I am wondering if this desire is put into us by God. I have heard MANY people say this over the past few months. It seems that we are ALL in a great need for a more simplistic life.

Ok, so we need to tackle that. And, how will we do it? We have gone over how our lives are caotic; now let us discuss solutions to those problems. We can give one idea at a time, then the next poster will do the same, etc. we can return and repost but only one idea at a time. We don’t want to complicate our trying to be simplistic do we? ;)
Now then, my first idea is this:

Make it MANDATORY one half of an hour EVERY day JUST FOR YOU. A full hour is better, but half will suffice. This means that someone else needs to watch the kids, they go down for a nap, or you put the children in front of a movie with snacks and explicit instructions that mommy is NOT to be bothered for ANYTHING short of a broken limb or house fire. I used a “Time Out” door hanger for my times alone signifying to the children that I was not to be bothered.

Now, it may take a few times to get the idea through to them, but gentle explaining, help from older children, and telling them ahead of time what will be happening from now on should work.

Ok…The next idea?

Catherine said...

Monica,
My children are much the same age as yours, and I have found the past f5 years (almost) a whirlwind - increasing with each child. It struck me recently as I was reading "Little House in the Big Woods " that we often confuse that kind of life - seclusion, less things - as the simple one. And in many ways it was - we fill our lives with so many things. But the simple truth of the matter is that in times past, "leisure" and simplicity were never the goal as we expect them to be today. Women worked hard just to subsist! Even their sewing was not considered leisure, but necessity. I think of sewing as the dream thing I always want to get to - quite a shift in thinking.
I find much truth in the maxim that "in acceptance lieth peace". There is not really very much reprieve at all when there are three under five making so many (and exhaustingly, so *physical*) demands on your time. I'm with you - I'm not sure what the answer is, but I must say have found some comfort in reminding myself that I am given this season by God. Accepting that is a great blessing and joy.
Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I'm sure they have echoed in many female hearts!

thehomespunheart said...

Thanks for sharing all the great ideas here!

I want to make sure that I didn't come across as saying I wish I didn't have young children or that I could have lots of time to myself.

Yes, moments to myself - but I am not wishing them away by any means. I'm not in a hurry for them to grow up and do want to enjoy this season I'm in.

I also think that what Josie said rings true - I have idolized the homemakers of the past when I have so many things today that do simplify my life - washing machine, oven, fridge, dishwasher, car, etc...

Staying home more, limiting outside activities, these are the things that ring true to my desire for simplicity. Choosing not to add extra things that could be left out.

Thanks for the great discussion!

Bonnie said...

Hi Monica!
I just wanted to share that I often find my moments of simplicity and quiet while I'm actually working. Just now, I came in from hanging out a load of laundry. I LOVE being outdoors in the early morning, whether it be weeding the garden, hanging out clothes, or spending a few minutes with the Lord out on the porch, I feel quieted, and refreshed.
Some days it's just being able to walk out to the mailbox or hiding in the bathroom for a few minutes with a magazine once B.'s home.
Another way (for me) is just enjoying the noise of life while I'm going about my day. The littles singing and playing together, the baby talking to herself in her own little language.
I (and I'm sure many other moms), envsioned the perfection of home life long before the babies came, one in which everyone got along all the time, the house was immaculately clean, and there was always plenty of time to get everything done. I don't recall thinking of dirty diapers, crumbs, bickering, and recipes that didn't turn out.
It's taken awhile, but I am finally learning to relax (a bit- I hate having my plans changed!), and readjust from my ideal to the reality- that children do things like children because THEY ARE CHILDREN! ( I have 9 brothers and sisters, and that still came as a surprise to me).
Anyway, just a few of my jumbled up thoughts on the matter- I'm off for my coffee and quiet time on the porch.

Mom said...

You've obviously struck a chord with your readers! I didn't read all of the comments -- but in skimming some of them, I notice that the Little House books and the Ingalls family are mentioned several times. I wonder if Ma Ingalls would think of her life as "simple" -- I'm sure she worked very hard. I wonder what she would think of my life? I've been fascinated with the Little House books for many years -- one thing I've often wondered was how they could get along with so few trips to the store!

I always loved Ma Ingalls' time management system:
Wash on Monday
Iron on Tuesday
Mend on Wednesday
Churn on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday

Obviously, this system wouldn't work for me -- I don't churn butter every week! But I love the order and simplicity of this list.

I also love the way that she made celebrations of life -- remember green pumpkin pie and the way she served a treat of canned peaches on their first night in the Surveyors House? (You are good at that, too!)

But I have also wondered how she dealt with the heart-sick feeling of leaving her loved ones behind when they left the Big Woods. Did she ever see them again? She couldn't fly across the country to visit or pick up the phone to call or send a quick e-mail to stay in touch.

Ma Ingalls was a remarkable woman and would likely be shocked that millions of people have read about and even envied her life. She was an inspirational pioneer woman -- and she made the best of her situation. I can't imagine (nor would I want to) living through some of the things she had to endure -- for example, how her skin must have crawled after helping Pa fight off grasshoppers. However, I can choose to follow some of her examples -- a home filled with love and music with a willingness to work hard.

Choosing to live a simple life may mean different things at different seasons of our lives -- there will come a day (sooner than you think!) that you can sit down without being interrupted by the needs of your sweet children. But in the meantime, keep on keeping on in your pursuit of bringing beauty and goodness into your life -- which they will remember for the rest of their lives!

Love and miss you, Mom

Anna said...

I've really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. The longing for simplicity obviously strikes a chord with a lot of us!

As several have mentioned, we're trying to limit outside activities, stay home, and plan ahead for meals better.

The other area (and this won't apply to everyone!) that I've seen a need to improve in is teaching and training my children to be cheerfully obedient, not to whine and complain, and to play without fighting. Those things can make a day without obligation still seem very stressful!

I'm looking forward to more posts on this topic, too!

Jodi-SugarPlumStitches.com said...

the longing for a more simplistic life has been at the forefront of my mind so much lately. I smiled and shook my head when i came across your blog post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful pictures!

it made me think of what the exact defination of "simplicity" is. I looked it up.

*the quality of being simple or uncompounded - i think that this might be what we all are looking for. a desire to weed out all the unnecessary clutter of things and activities that we have over running our lives. Time to breath and just enjoy my surroundings sounds wonderful.

part of the defination of "simplicity" that i read was this:

*ease: freedom from difficulty or hardship or effort.

Now that got me really to thinking. Thinking about our purpose in this life... here on this earth. We were told that this life would not be easy. I don't think that i would like it to be. What sense of accomplishment comes from that? For me, there aren't too many feelings that top the one that i get when i have accomplished something that was very hard for me. In that, we learn and grow & become more like our Heavenly Father.

Although i desire those quiet moments of peace and serenity & whole heartedly believe that they are important to my sanity!... I too, have to say how thankful i am that this life isn't always easy. I am thankful for the chances that i have to say... "I did it!!!" and be proud.
Sometimes just finding those moments of simplicity are those huge accomplishments! Ü

angie said...

I did not read all of your readers' comments, but I'm sure you will garnish much wisdom from them.
Honestly, I think you accomplished much more than you think in seizing the peaceful moment. You gathered some items of serenity (flowers, drink, book, chair), sat down with your legs outstretched, took pictures, and started to read a book. With 3 littles, that is quite an accomplishment. My children are 10and 6.5, I am just starting to be able to skim through a magazine while at the pool side.
Some suggestions: Tell your children that in order to make an activity (swimming for example) worthwhile, they must do it contentedly until the timer rings. After, suggest another outside activity that can take place near the pool. You can maintain your place of peacefulness and still watch over their activities.
Best wishes for a relaxing summer and cherish these fleeting moments!

Anonymous said...

I think this is how so many women feel and at different seasons of life. There are so many things to complicate life. It is a discipline to slow down and be "simple".
I have learned however, that simple isn't necessarily just a short "to do" list, less stuff, etc., it's a simple love relationship with Christ. Not just a devotion I have in the morning, but a communion with the living God all throughout the day as I clean, as I teach and correct, and as I do mundane work that no one seems to notice somedays. I think simplicity comes into our hearts when we relate spirit to spirit with Christ and let Him lead our day and not the demands of the day. I have found that when I communion with Him, things get done that need to get done becasue it was what the Father was doing that day. The results are eternal. (I'm preaching to myself here!)

debra said...

I found as my daughter got older (she is 7) things got busier. The one thing I would tell anyone with preschoolers is that if I had to do it all over again I would not put my daughter in activities as early as I did. We didn't do as much as others but once you get on that activity 'roller coaster' it's hard to get off (I am trying to do that now).

I have found this summer that it's been hard to keep the little one busy - she just blazes through activities. I still have 'quiet time' every day - it's good for both of us - she plays in her room & I usually sit in the living room & read.

The other thing I would suggest, and you may already do this, is that I try to have at least one day a week where we don't get in the car- maybe we'll go for a walk but we don't go out to activities or run errands.

I am always looking for ways to slow down, too. Thanks for reminding me...

LS said...

Thank you for your refreshing honesty. I can totally relate. I've been feeling like life is a zoo lately and so I made a huge effort this week to "close down the zoo" and have a simpler schedule only to realize simplicity still eludes me. As one commenter wrote, my body is absolutely weary and my soul isn't far behind. My 3 little kids 4 and under take soooo much out of me even if I just stay home and try to keep things simple that I find myself wrestling against this thought, EVERY SINGLE DAY, "I hate my life!!!!" By the end of tonight I wanted to sob my heart out as I surveyed a messy house, screaming kids who wouldn't go to bed after a long day, sewing projects I can't get to, books I don't have time to read, and lack of quiet and peace I so desperately crave. And worst of all, my own failures as a mom as I lost my temper with my kids yet again today and yelled in frustration. I fell desperately before God as a broken woman. I don't understand how this could be my dream job and yet be the hardest thing I've ever done at the same time!
I agree with Leanne that I think our desire for simplicity is a need for the Refresher and only He can bring us true simplicity. I also agree with Nancy that eliminating as much stuff as possible, planning ahead, and staying "ahead" of the game is the only way I see to survive this stage of life!

Angelia in Tx said...

I know God's word says seek peace and pursue it and I think that is what you do. I loved the fresh flowers, cozy chair and simple book you choose. Looking for a moment of peace is not wrong. I tend to desire more peace in all I am doing and in all moments as I raise my family. I know that I do and will have moments of needing refreshment and I feel I just need a peaceful breath so I can go on doing these blessings...and I think you feel like that too b/c you can tell you love your life and that you feel blessed. Thank you for sharing real life moments with us. Smiles, Angelia

...they call me mommy... said...

I totally understand, Monica!!! I love being in the midst of raising littles even though moments of quiet & simplicity are few & far between at times...I think you are doing a wonderful job of bringing love, simplicity, & joy into your own home from what I see here on your blog!

I really appreciate your Mom's comment!! Thanks, Monica's Mom!! :-)

Rose said...

I'm neither a mother or a wife, but I too feel the need for simplicity in my life. Right now, for me that means consuming less, being more mindful in the kitchen (for example, making stock from scraps).

I cherish the time to myself in the morning, drinking my coffee, saying a little prayer of thanks, and watching the early morning light. Pure simplicity!

Good post Monica!!

gail said...

great comments from your readers! i skimmed most of them. i have nothing original to add, except maybe that you are in that toddler/preschool season and it does get easier/different/better? my son is 11 and i do get more quiet moments now.

your mom and your grandmom who know you best had great posts too. read those over again.


blessings on you and your little family, monica!

Anonymous said...

I am a 60 year old and mother to 5
adult children. Symplicity in our home was mostly achieved by having a time set aside for quietness. We had our breakfast and outside time and chores and lunch and then we had quiet time. I put a quilt down on the floor and we read books for a while then the small kids took a nap and the older children could read a chapter book or draw or just rest. I tried to encourage poetry writing or journal writing as they grew older. Sometimes a picture or letter for grandma. The was not their choice...it was mandatory that they lay on that blanket for 2 hours. So after they got used to knowing that was how it was going to be. They looked forward to it.

Amy said...

I so crave this myself and I feel the same way about this. It is difficult to simplify, but I know it is so beneficial to me as a mother and me as a person.

This summer, I just sit outside with them and have been watching them play. They seem to appreciate my encouragement and I can enjoy some quiet time knitting and listening to their sweet voices. Anything I can do to sit in that chair or even sit on the pavement with them seems to help.

I find simplicity in summer, it is in the winter months that I lose my focus because I can't be outside.