Simplicity is a Worthy Pursuit

Simplicity is a slow journey toward less. Each year, I examine my life. I evaluate, ask questions and then scale back.  I have been pursuing contentment and it has settled down in my soul like a sunken treasure…nestling in deeper with each passing year.

Restlessness has been bridled and subdued. Quiet- my one word for 2018, lives.

Still, I have a long way to go on my journey. The road stretches out before me. But today, in this moment, I stop to reflect on how far I’ve come.

I’m home more. I’m at peace here. In the past, I would race around town to multiple stories on multiple days. But for years now, I only go to one store, just once a week.  Many people are amazed by this. Once or twice a month I go to Target or shopping anywhere else.  I can wait for the things I want or I can go without.

It’s restlessness, more than need, that instigates the shopping and driving around. I battled restlessness straight on.  I trimmed back a little at a time and leaned into Jesus.  At first,  those slow, empty moments made my soul panic. Sometimes I gave into the fear and became busy but more and more I leaned into peace and sat in the quiet space. There, I became accustomed to what I was longing for: rest, stillness and tranquility.

I’m thankful for the progress and onward I strive….for less.

Overwhelmed Over Summer Break

Years ago, I was an accomplished person. I made highest marks in bio chemistry and graduated Cum Laude. I’ve traveled the world, been the head of organizations, planned conferences and spoke in front of thousands of people…but I CANNOT organize my five children.  They totally have the upper-hand.

They are zoo animals who escaped and took up residence in my home. It’s as peaceful as baboons and lions living together.  Throw in a rhinoceros and we are getting close to the chaos level. They stamped through the house, turn the furniture upside down, break everything and fight with each other non-stop. Last night, I caught my son pounding a screw into a nice piece of furniture with a golf club!

They are voracious consumers of food, leaving crackers, popcorn, gum and popsicle sticks all over the floor.  It’s sticky and crunchy everywhere you walk. (I do have rules; like only eat at the kitchen table.). These creatures are absolute tornados of destruction and there isn’t a moment of peace until they have passed out at night, (usually about 5 minutes before my bedtime.)

It’s the second day of school and it will take me a month, probably six weeks of cleaning all day to rectify the disaster left behind over the summer break.  Five kids home all day, all summer, inside (115 degrees outside), living creatively. Nothing in my life before kids prepared me for this…except maybe the week I spent in the clean-up efforts of Hurricane Katrina.

Every vehicle, bedroom, bathroom and corner of our yard has trash, broken toys, rotting food and clutter. Just today I found several slices of dried out pepperoni pizza sitting in the backseat of my SUV. What??!!
Instead of holding the pizza box in route from Papa Johns to my house, someone decided to open it up, take out a couple slices and leave them sitting in the back seat. I don’t understand how their brains work. The pizza was discovered three DAYS later when I was looking for a missing shoe. I found the shoe, in fact, I found five shoes accompanied by an explosion of crackers, Taco Bell wrappers, water bottles, and someone must have had a cold because there were more tissues than a human could possibly use piled in the backseat.

Yesterday, I entered the boy’s bathroom to discover they had decided it would be fun to pee in a bucket instead of the toilet.  The stench was unbearable. I ran out and slammed the door behind me. It’s still sitting there and being used by my four-year-old while I write this.
Of course, my cleaning productivity is at an all-time low. Instead of hustling around and cleaning up the aftermath, I make myself another cup of coffee and push the books and magnetic blocks to the side of the couch so I can sit down and wonder how my life has been reduced to this.

Downsizing

1.  Less pillows on my bed

2.  No preschool/ no double drop

3.  No bunny

4.  No lizards

5.  Good-bye chickens

6.  Less pillows on the couch

7.  Less cleaning- more mess

8.  Less toys

9.  Less clothes

10.  Less purchasing

I’m taking these intentional steps…and they are not all easy ones to take.  I’m saying yes to downsizing, knowing I’ll have a little time and a little space open up in my life.  Already, I can breath easier.