Saturday, June 4, 2011

Some days I'd like to be Amish

Don't get me wrong.  I don't want to romanticize a challenging way of life and I certainly love my modern conveniences like electricity, cars, washing machines, and zippers.  But it would filter out so many of the distractions and so much of the clutter that I feel the need to address in my life.  It is so hard to live "intentionally" with littles.  It's so tough to appreciate the small joys in life after a soaking wet potty-training preschooler snuggles up to you at 3:30 in the morning.  It's nearly impossible to find peace when shouting to get feet off the table or to stop jumping on the couch or to stop jumping on your brother or to stop throwing food because the first 87 billion times you said it it went unheard.  There are a lot of distractions from focusing on what, at the risk of sounding lame, really matters.  There is a lot of clutter in life and it isn't all stuff.  

So in search of peace, joy, and the like I started a blog.  And I love writing it and the responses I get and the ideas and encouragement I find in other's blogs.  Now, before you start thinking to yourself "Pot, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, Kettle" for taking on a whole new distraction, hear me out.  Or I guess it should be read me out.  What I'm hoping for here is a spot to point out (to myself when necessary) the good in life.  And for a place to sort out my thoughts and plans.  And maybe even a little accountability for seeing those plans through.  I don't want to miss the forest for the trees, so to speak.  Or the trees for the forest.  Or the whole kit-in-caboodle for the chaos. 

My first plan of attack is the stuff.  It's the most obvious and it honestly gives me stress.  I always had to have a clean desk to start my work in school.  Then again, that just might have been procrastination...  But the orderliness of everything having a place and everything in its place really appeals to me.  So I'm attempting to weed out the things we don't need to keep and find homes for the things that it is important for us to keep out.  Speaking of which, any opinions on holding onto clothes that aren't current with one's lifestyle or size?  I have a couple nice suits from back in the day when I worked in the consignment shop and picked up for $5 each but when am I going to wear them?  And would the skirts even stay remotely close to where they belong at this point? 

In Simplicity Parenting the author, Kim John Payne, also suggests simplifying your routine/ schedule and the input your children are exposed to from the adult world.  Both of these are a much bigger challenge.  We don't keep a "normal" work week.  The four-on- five-off 12 hours shifts schedule is sweet for travel and grocery shopping but the effect it has on the boys is rough.  Once we get into a rhythm it's shot.  Not just our schedule of days either.  It messes up our daily routine too whether Daddy is home or not or if he's sleeping.  Hence my goal of planning activities for the boys.  It's an attempt to keep them busy but also to stabilize our days a little bit. 

As to input from the adult world it is amazing what a 3 year old picks up on.  I have seriously asked him "how do you know Spiderman?"  Because I cannot explain it.  Watching him pouring over the toy pages in the weekly sales fliers and parenting magazines with obscene numbers of ads grosses me out in a way.  There really are a disgusting number of ads in parenting mags.  I counted them in the June issue of Parenting - Early Years and there were 136!  On 104 pages!  I have to ask myself why am I bringing that into our house?  (Because it was a fundraiser for the preschool and I got 2 years for $22, but still.)  So next up will be trying to put a lid on the ads the boys can get their hands on by putting away the magazines and going through the weekly grocery fliers after they are in bed.  Sure, they'll still see stuff and want stuff but they don't need to be surrounded by it. 

I have a lot of work ahead of me in my quest for peace and simplicity.  But usually at the right times inspiration and encouragement comes along.  Just in the last week, since I posted about seeking simplicity, two of the blogs I love had posts that really spoke to where I am and where I want to strive for.  And no, it isn't really to be Amish.  But there are Amish characteristics that I would like to have in my life.

And maybe I've read a few too many Beverly Lewis novels.  :) 

In case you're interested, the first blog post was Kate Wicker's comments on how different her to-do list was on vacation and that the laundry really will always be there and the second was Elizabeth Foss' timely post on grace, gentleness, and how to approach the never-ending to-do list.  I've joked for a long time that the Holy Spirit pushes me around but it's kinda true.  And I am so thankful to be able to recognize the inspiration. 


lommiles said...

When I think of peace, I think of the movie Twister - the segment where Jo and Bill are hanging upside down in the center of the twister. Honest! Analogy is everything here: they are held by a leather (truth) belt that is fastened to the deep well, the water of life. They are safe in the eye of the storm. Catherine of Sienna(?) talks about having a prayer cell in her soul - a place of peace and prayer that remains in the midst of everything else going on around her.

Anonymous said...

I am a "stuff-attacker," too. :)

As far as out-of-season / not-at-this-point-in-my-life clothes: I have an armoire I found on Craigslist that I keep maternity clothes and out-of-season things in and some under-the-bed storage bins as well. (Actually, this reminds me that I need to go through some of those bins for a little purge.)

Also (I know this is getting long) I really like what lommiles says about Catherine of Sienna having a prayer cell in her soul. It reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila, who talks about finding God in the garden of your soul to find peace - I've found this a great point to meditate on when everything else seems chaotic.

Hope that doesn't sound officious. I think a lot about these things, too, and your post articulated how I feel very well. :)