simplifying

66 articles in category simplifying / Subscribe
IMGP6815

IMGP6815

We’ve had a stretch of wintry days here and it’s been a lovely time of cozying in.

IMGP6819

The boys have delighted in the morning frost, freezing rain, and ice treasures.

IMGP6836

There have been a host of simple meals made on the wood stove.

IMGP6841

School books have flown freely with little boys filling their minds with information and questions alike.

IMGP6850

Of course the warm tea to fill bellies is always a plus. And so are those rubber band wrists.

IMGP6855

A rooster made his way to the chopping block to become a couple of wonderful meals. And those sweet potatoes have been eaten every single day.

IMGP6862

And one little lady has watched the digging and the concrete and the construction underway here. More on that soon.

Here’s wishing you and yours a cozy and blessed Thanksgiving.

IMGP6640

IMGP6640

The day began like many others – a fire in the wood stove, fried eggs for us, greens shake for him. We talk, he takes his first dose of supplements, and hands me mine because “We can’t both be down.”

And he’s right. After many mid-mornings of dragging myself from chore to chore I am so, so grateful for energy this morning. I wash dishes, I stoke the wood stove, I cook a big pot of chili for lunch. Elijah washes up some of our sweet potatoes and we roast them in the oven.

Abram does the very important job of making blanket houses with Annabelle, who could spend her whole day with this littlest big brother of hers.

IMGP6543

And then I hurry. Frantically change out of work clothes, finish up lunch, pack a couple of bags, and make sure to give the boys a list of chores to do while Daddy’s resting. I am going to have a much-needed work day, the first real one in months, and they need to clean and sweep and spread mulch and try to let Daddy rest.

Because today he just needs rest. All of those other things he wants to do… he just can’t. He needs rest.

So I leave him to the bed, the boys to their chores, and Annabelle and I head to the sweet, willing baby-sitter. She has no idea how much this helps. Quiet for him and checking off the list for me.

IMGP6636

And then it’s sitting down for five hours trying to catch up on the everything I was supposed to be doing for the past two months. And the Lord grants yet another mercy – plenty of energy and plenty of things checked off the list. By five I am aching for home and this family of ours.

When I hit that dirt road and park outside of the barbed wire fence I am met by little men, telling me of their day and their incessant hunger. And he is standing, at the sink no less, washing up some dishes. You all know what a sweet sight that is, but just seeing him out of bed is even sweeter.

IMGP6553

And there’s leftover chili and potatoes to fill bellies. But soon thereafter he is down again, exhausted, and in under the covers before the children. He needs rest.

And then the boys show their tired cranky sides and it seemed time for them too. Hugs and kisses and potty and blankets. I sit down to do a bit of reading and Annabelle climbs into my lap and before I know it, she’s snoozing too. And wow, is it peaceful. I can barely get around the crib to tuck her in safely. This sweet, kicking babe sure is growing.

I pull the light string with its familiar chu-chin and this family of mine is already asleep – cozy, comfy, and breathing rhythmically. I put the chili away, and check the weather. I make a fire to have some embers burning when we need to make one in the middle of the night.

IMGP6628

I lay down, read for a bit, and reflect on this day while the newest little one kicks and jabs. This ordinary day is not that different from any other – hugs and no-nos and I’m hungry. Kitchens and laundry lines and computers. How are you feeling and I need to rest and it’s okay, lay down. Pink kitty pajamas and will you read to me and everyone else is sleeping.

And there is peace.

And there is grace.

And there is oh so much to be thankful for.

024

024

I recently received a hand-written letter from a dear friend we had to say good-bye to when we moved to the south. We met at the farmers market, of course, and bonded over her handmade soaps and the need for keeping my baby’s skin free from the nasty stuff in store-bought soap.

This letter was filled with the exciting goings on on their own homestead. The chicken coop and the garden. Hanging clothes on the clothesline and the personal benefits she has gained through this whole process.

It sat me straight up and smacked me in the face. It made me realize, sadly, that I had lost focus.

march 27 2013 008

When we first arrived on these two acres we were focused on living simply. Specifically, we had a desire to realize fully and truly that there is very little we actually need in this life in order to simply live.

We had just sold nearly half of everything we owned, packed the family and all of our belongings in a minivan and small trailer and headed south to start a new life, in a way.

But, over these past 1.5 years, things got away from me. It has just been too easy to continue to try to apply the modern industrialized mindset to an off-grid agrarian life. Things here can be hard and when things get hard we often slip back into the desire for the old and familiar.

I’d been feeling this for quite some time, though I couldn’t put my finger on it, and, frankly, it has been making me anxious.

IMGP4844

Our meals started out as the absolute bare necessities. That has transformed into the more than occasional fun meal involving much more than we can grow here, or manage to clean up after.

My collection of jars and bottles and kitchen equipment is overwhelming our tiny corner allotted to food preparation.

Cabinets are over-flowing with childrens’ clothing when they really only need a few pairs each of work and dress clothes.

Sure, our home is small, but perhaps what we are trying to cram into it is just too big.

I can simplify food preparation, the stuff in our home, the clothing we wear. I can’t pare down the number of children we have, their basic needs, or the needs of our family, our community, and our home.

IMGP4298

I am so grateful for this wake up call. Downsizing has always brought me a sense of relief. Part of that is probably because I am wholly incapable of managing many areas of life with any sort of organization.

The other aspect of downsizing that has always appealed to me is the routine that seems to come out of it. When you can cook and eat anything you want, wear one of ten different outfits, or go here or there whenever you wish; life becomes utterly and disgustingly complicated and chaotic.

I kind of hate that.

And so I find that in paring down our belongings, and maybe more importantly our options, a basic and simple rhythm of meals and laundry and home care evolves. And out of that came a focus on more important priorities.

It seems we had achieved some semblance of that when we first moved to this land, in the hopes of pursuing a simple life close to the land.

I think I’d like to get back to that now.