How Can I Lead A Simple Life?

SOMETHING ABOUT NOTHING published in the Albert Lea Tribune and Courier Sentinel week of  January 11, 2016 ©Julie Seedorf

 

As much as I dislike routines, I have one routine in the morning that centers me for the day. I sit down in the quiet of the morning, journal, write in my gratitude journal and take time for inspiration from a book and author who might inspire me to live my life better.

This morning one sentence from Joyce Meyer’s book “Seven Things That Steal Your

Joy,” popped out and hit me straight between the eyes. The sentence was this: “Keep it simple.” Joyce Meyer’s section this day was devoted to having guests over. She described the way we try and make everything so perfect we don’t enjoy the time with our guests. We worry about the state of our house, our food, our appearance and whether we might measure up to our guests standards.

The reason these words stood out to me was because I had those very worries the day before. It is our turn to host our monthly Bible study or book group. We are trying to find a time when it works for all of us to get together. It happens to fall on a day later in the month when I will be out of town for a few days, coming home the very afternoon we are going to entertain the group. I said we would make it work. In the back of my mind I already began to be stressed. I knew I needed to clean before I left, but I also have my shysters who occasionally get into mischief while I am gone, and there is no guarantee I would not have a few remnants from their mischief to clean up when I came home.

Food was another issue. The hosting home provides the main meal and everyone else brings something to add to the meal. All my friends are great cooks and we usually have something delicious, homemade and wonderful. Would I be able to do that in the time I had after I got home? One of my friends offered to bring the main meal, but I felt that wasn’t fair.

Do any of you stress about company? I never used to. The reading in my morning devotion reminded me of our first married years. We started out in a rented house, with secondhand rented furniture, and I decorated using what we had. It was homey and comfy and I loved my home. It felt like home. I didn’t hesitate to invite people over and friends dropped in unannounced. It was a simple time in our lives. We were starting to build a life, and we didn’t have a lot of stuff. Since our friends were in the same position, their houses matched mine.

The years have passed and our lifestyles have changed. Some of our friends are the same friends, and we have met new ones along the way. Our lifestyle change has also included houses. Many of my friends have beautiful new modern houses with manicured yards, and the homes are tastefully decorated. They are beautiful. We always feel welcome in their homes.

I too, have a nice older home. I too try and stay up-to-date with my decorating and make sure it looks great when people are over. Thus, my anxiety when I have company because I want to measure up. I want to make it clear, my friends do not make me feel I have to do this. It has come with the territory of society, growing older, a change of lifestyle and possibly media. And perhaps my own insecurity about the rough edges showing up in my older home.

I have seen the criticism in our newspapers and media judging those whose homes are old and need some repair. But perhaps the people that live in these houses have simply found the secret to contentment because they live life without the trappings we all fall into. I used to feel contentment at living in an old home the first years of my marriage until I believed I needed to keep up with what society bellowed to me. My most comfortable and peaceful place in my life was my grandma’s old house, with the floor furnace, plastic drapes and an old cook stove in the kitchen. It was simplicity.

Joyce Meyer talks about the simplicity of fellowship. How often on the spur of the moment do we invite people over for a BBQ even if all we have is hot dogs and potato chips? How often do we ask people to drop in without calling? Our door used to always be open to drop-ins in our earlier married years. Now, the doorbell is silent unless we invite someone in, and we don’t do that anymore spontaneously because we might not be ready for company.

We have made the simple act of friendship and fellowship complicated. I miss the days when my walls were covered with old signs, and we sat on the floor around an old trunk and sipped coffee or had a drink of wine, and I didn’t care if the bed wasn’t made or there were dishes in the sink. Neither did my company and we enjoyed our conversation and our time together.

I miss the times when we would say, “Stay for supper. I don’t know what we’re having. t might be peanut butter sandwiches.” It didn’t matter, and we had fun anyway. I enjoyed my company without worrying about all the trappings. I have forgotten to keep it simple and because of that my home has become more quiet and silent.

I miss the days when I didn’t care what was on my walls or the condition my furniture was in or the fact that my food was simple. And it is no one’s fault but mine that I bought into the hype. My friends don’t make me feel this way, I take ownership for those feelings.

In my old age I have finally come to realize I feel more comfortable in old homes. I feel more comfortable visiting where a home feels lived in and used. And that statement takes me to having company. I am grateful for my devotion this morning that reminded me of what is important when visiting with friends. From now on out, I am going to keep it simple. Let the dust accumulate while I’m gone, the shysters make their mischief and the food be simple. What is most important is the conversation and sharing that will happen at my table.

Things that I grew up with stay with me. You start a certain way, and then you spend your whole life trying to find a certain simplicity that you had. It’s less about staying in childhood than keeping a certain spirit of seeing things in a different way.

 

It’s A Blooming Christmas!

SOMETHING ABOUT NOTHING COLUMN Week of December 21, 2015growth

My Christmas cactus is blooming. It always amazes me in the cycle of life that a plant knows when to bloom every year.

My Christmas cactus has a history. It was part of my life for as long as I can remember, first at my Grandma Krock’s and then at my mother’s home. This cactus has lived longer than my years.

My mother put the cactus outside in the summer so it could enjoy the warmth of the sun and the summer days. When fall arrived the cactus was put in the dark basement and brought upstairs in November. Every year the cactus with its pink blooms sat beside the Christmas tree at my grandmother’s and then my mother’s home.

In my mother’s later years, instead of a Christmas tree, the large cactus was used as her tree and she would adorn it with small bows, bringing more of the season to the cactus, already beautiful blooming blossoms. The living cactus was an important part of her life.

My mom had a green thumb. I have a brown thumb. When my mom entered the nursing home it was February. I forgot about the cactus in her basement for many, many months. I ignored the living plant in her home. A living entity needs love and care to survive and this cactus, after months of neglect, showed its will to live. When I found it, a few leaves were struggling to survive.

I mourned that I had let die something that obviously represented life in our family and had meaning to my mother. It wasn’t just a Christmas cactus, but always a part of my mother’s life from the time she was small. It was rooted in our tradition and it seemed that with my mother’s life failing, I was losing the tradition or our Christmas cactus along with my mother. The Christmas cactus held tradition and memories.

As much as many of us fight to live, my mom’s Christmas cactus did too. In spite of my brown thumb, the Christmas cactus again started to grow leaves after my mother died. The beautiful cactus decided to bloom once again at Christmas time. I give it no special treatment except to smile at it each day. It doesn’t see the dark basement and it doesn’t change its spot on the windowsill, yet it lives, blooms and blossoms. I have to believe my mother is tending it from above.

For me, as I view my beautiful old Christmas cactus this season, I feel hope. Once again it has grown big and strong and has weathered the storms of neglect. I feel the glowing memories in my heart of the many years of family Christmases, of my youth, of what seems like simpler times and my heart stirs with love at the memories. Its beauty, a reminder that there is always new growth in life if we nurture and care for the gifts of life seen and unseen that we have been given. Out of struggle for survival, comes growth.

My wish for you this Christmas is peace and love in the simple things of the season and in the recesses of your hearts. My wish for you is a glimmer of hope and new growth through your struggles throughout the year. May you bloom where you are planted, watered often with encouragement and love, and may your roots be strong to survive the dry, desert moments of your life. May you blossom and bloom this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

Mish Mash Wednesday! Sales, Books and Thank You.

I also write on the Cozy Cat Chronicles Blog. Check in to see the book sales some of our authors have and also what they are up to. Comment on this post and I will choose one person randomly to give away a free audiobook of Granny Snows A Sneak. You may gift it to someone. Meanwhile Granny Skewers A Scoundrel is on sale for .99. Share, share and share. And sign up on my website at Julie Seedorf for my new newsletter coming soon. I will also choose randomly one newsletter participant on that site to receive an audiobook of Granny Skewers A Scoundrel.

The Cozy Cat Chronicles

Photo from ClaraDon Flickr Photo from ClaraDon Flickr

Today is a day to give thanks to our Veterans. We here at The Cozy Cat Chronicles would like to say thank you to all those that served and sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for us each day so that we can have the freedom we do today.

We don’t have a guest post today so this is our chance to highlight some of the things going in the lives of the Cozy Cat Chronicles authors.

Scent of a SwindleAuthor Joyce Oroz has a new book released by Cozy Cat Press. It is called Scent of a $windle. Visit Joyce Blog or pick up a copy on Amazon.

GrannySkewers

Julie Seedorf has her book Granny Skewers A Scoundrel on sale for .99 until November 28.

mise_Diane Weiner has Murder Is Elementary  on sale for .99.

Cold_Case_ConundrumStop in to Sharon Rose Mierke’s Blog and see what she is up to…

View original post 307 more words