Jo ruminates. (again.)

Simplify

I see this declaration everywhere. Well in homes mostly, it seems to be the catch-phrase for all the women who are struggling in that everlasting conflict of priorities. I find it to be very meaningful advice. Each time I see it, I think “I want that in my house somewhere. I need to simplify.” Perhaps if there are fewer options, it would be less of a struggle. By reducing the items on the list, it becomes easier to manage the list. So I started to imagine my list. This was all a thought process, nothing was written but in my mind it looked like this:

Feeding the Children
Card Club
Reading books
Grocery shopping
Cleaning bathrooms
Balancing the budget
Going to the park

The list seemed to go on and on. This only validated my sentiment of resolution for simplicity. It was time to delete some items from the list. I started to think of which items I could delete…

thinking…

nothing.

I didn’t want to delete anything. I love blogging, I can’t sacrifice that. And Eli loves his music class at the library, that can’t go. Hmm. So where did that leave me? I thought I wanted to simplify my life but I’m not willing to surrender anything from my list. In fact, each day it seems that I only accumulate more items for my list. Preschool for Cameron, ballet classes for myself, more meals cooked from healthy foods.

Which brought me to my next thought process. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about simplifying our diets. By that I mean, eating more basic, local foods. Taking out all the processed foods with the ingredients I can’t pronounce. What a refreshing idea! So how do I get started? Cooking from “scratch”. Homemade bread. But wait, that isn’t making my life simpler. Making bread is time consuming.

And there I was, my mind all tied in knots. There was no resolution. I was lost and very confused. I started to think about the Amish. I used to think it was sort of arbitrary the way they chose the time period they chose to freeze their technological progression. Why then? But I’m starting to think that maybe that isn’t the point. At least for me, what I can learn from them has so much more to do with what they’ve done since they decided to halt their industrial evolution.

They get it.

They are the epitome of simplicity. There are no name brand clothes, there is no world wide web, there probably aren’t competitive sports to fill the afternoons and evenings both in participation and television viewing. They are able to really spend their time on the things that deep in my heart are really most important to me. Things like work, family, prayer.

But let’s be realistic… I’m not about to have Richard quit his job and move to Lancaster County. The reality is that I live in this world. There are advantages to things like athletics and internet. But I am at a loss as how to filter. How do I resist the forces that are pulling me in countless directions? I want my children to be well-rounded, but I want to eat dinner as a family every night. I want to develop new talents, but I want to spend quality time with my kids. I want to eat wholesome foods but I don’t have time to go to farmer’s markets every Saturday.

Can I have my cake and eat it too? Can I simplify? Do I have the self-discipline to relinquish the hobbies and pursuits Elder Oaks would only classify as “good” rather than “best”? I fear making changes and I realize I have a long way to go.

My highest esteem to the Amish. I admire and envy their sacrifice and I trust that Heaven rewards them.

8 thoughts on “Jo ruminates. (again.)

  1. I feel the same way as you. I feel as if I have a billion things to do and not enough time to do them. My house gets messier and messier as the days go on…and I can hardly stand it, before having a kid it was NEVER messy!But in the same breathe I have been trying to find new ways to teach Reagan things. Finding new places to take Reagan so we don’t get stuck in the same routine. Any suggestions on that?Hopefully there is a balance out there that will allow for both.

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  2. I used to tell people that if I wasn’t a mormon, I would want to be amish. For real…kudos to them. I’ve also realized that my list will always be large. I’ve decided the most important thing is ONE DAY AT A TIME. Some days I have tons of energy and I accomplish lots on my list. Other days I simply accomplish playing with Taylee on the floor. I think I’ve mostly come to terms with the fact that it’s ok. As long as the REALLY important stuff gets done. If I think of everything I want to accomplish next month, I get really overwhelmed…one day at a time.

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  3. Thanks for the great thoughts. You have such a way of putting into words the ideas that float around in my head but do not take on meaningful substance. I hope I can remember what is most important in my home!

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  4. I love to think of a two phrases and one thought when I try to tackle or wonder if I can handle just one more thing. 1. “I lovingly release that which I no longer require”. This helps keep me from aquiring too much stuff even if it is nice stuff and stops me from taking on tasks that maybe are really good but not for me. 2. “It is not my season for…” I learned this one from Wendy. When faced with something that I feel guilty about not doing or getting done I simply realize there is enough in my life and that task is not in my season to accomplish. — I also will look at my life and think of all the things I need to get done around my house and yet a child requires some attention. At that point I like to remind myself that if the Saviour came into my home at that instant would He look at the state of my home or the fact that I was taking care of a child of God. I think He is more happy with a happy family than a spotless home. So if the bathroom gets put off until another time or the floor doesn’t get vaccummed I forgive the folly and hope for a better time when all of that can be done.

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  5. AMEN!!.. Well put Jo. We definitely live in a fast paced technology world. We have all these fast paced helpers, like microwave, pre-cooked food (yuk), and yet we still have no extra time. I think it is what we are filling our time with that is important, and that is something I need to work on.

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  6. Ahh…the need to simplify. It’s a daunting task, isn’t it? Why does it have to be so hard to simplify? Why does it take more work (like the bread example)? Well, in the beginning it will take more work, but in the end I think the work/upkeep of our new routines and practicies would be minimal, I bet…or I hope. Good thoughts, as always!

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  7. Ruminate on my friend- honestly Jo, you are such a great writer. I loved reading your thoughts in this post and also the other comments from your friends. Side note, we may be coming to Boise for a couple weeks around Christmastime and would love to get together with you guys if you are around!

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