Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Simple Life: A Work in Progress

Welcome to the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading read on at the bottom of this post by clicking the links to the other participants' posts.

When I ponder what "Simple Living" means to me, it's easy to come up with a list of ways in which I fail at truly embracing a simple life. When I think of the word "simple" the primary meaning that comes to mind is "without complication," and man, is life ever and always complicated!

I have a vision of my ideal simple life, and a lot of doubt that I'll ever fully realize that vision. It includes things like plenty of space for chickens to roam free and provide our eggs, a huge garden and fruit trees to provide all of our produce, a space devoted to canning and food preservation, goats to provide milk for making cheese and soap, plenty of time to sew our own clothing, to bake every loaf of bread from scratch, and to fully engage and teach my children.

Hey, I dream big, okay?

Back here on earth, I have a career that I value and that I'm not looking to give up. I have a house on modest lot in the city. I need permission from my neighbors (who I can often wave to in their kitchen when I am in mine) to have a few chickens. I have a small garden and a fear of canning. So while I'm a long way off from my idealized "simple life," I recognize the steps I've already taken, and those that I can continue to take, to make simplifying a journey rather than a destination.

First, I strive to maintain mindfulness with the values I embrace, many of which have led me to live more simply. In particular, my commitment to conservation and environmental responsibility have resulted in numerous changes that make life more simple, from breast feeding, to composting, to working to eliminate paper products from our daily life.

Second, I have made an effort to focus my time on energy on people and commitments that bring joy and passion to my life. I have learned to say "no" to avoid spreading myself too thin and to ensure that I have more time for the things in life that are most important to me.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, I have begun to truly build my "village," and have learned to reach out and ask for help when I need it. Seeking out and embracing like-minded friends and growing my relationships with my family has been invaluable in living more simply. I have friends I can count on to lend me a sewing machine, family I can count on to babysit (for free!) on short notice, friends who will trade me their canning knowledge for some baked goods, and so on.

Every year, I get a little bit closer to living as simply as I'd like to. There are setbacks and obstacles that pop up unexpectedly, but overall, I think I'm headed in the right direction!
Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Continue your reading by clicking the links of this month's posts on what simple living means to our participants. We hope you will join us next month, as we discuss new beginnings!

  • The Moments In Between - Amber from Heart Wanderings takes her yoga practice off the mat to focus on the ordinary moments which make mothering magical.
  • Simple living - what it looks like to me - Does simple living mean we have to be selfish? And what does selfish mean anyway? Mrs Green from Little Green Blog ponders in search of a more simple life...
  • A Simple Life is a Peaceful Life, For Me - Destany at They Are All of Me writes how simplicity is a very necessary part of her daily function and crucial for coping with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Getting Back to the Basics - Minimalism was the first step toward living simply for Momma Jorje. Now she's got big plans on getting back to the basics of living in order to live a simple, healthy, family-focused lifestyle.
  • Simplicity - What living simply means to sustainablemum and how it is woven into the fabric of daily life.
  • Simply Living - Sophelia of Sophelia's Adventures in Japan writes about her reluctance to tighten her budget after years of living in poverty, but also her anticipation of the pleasures of simplifying her daily life as she and her husband prepare to adopt a child in Japan. 
  • The Simple Life: A Work in Progress - Joella at Fine and Fair ponders her idealized vision of simple living and discusses the steps she's taking to get closer to it. 
  • Simple Living is Simply Living - At Living Peacefully with Children, Bart and Mandy hope to help their children focus on what is truly important by simply living.
  • Happiness, not Greatness - Lauren at Hobo Mama discovered that ambitions got in the way of simply being.
  • Shifting to Simplicity - At Authentic Parenting, Laura shares a couple of ways in which she tries to simplify her life.


  1. I like your dream. I confess I often fantasize about grabbing my family, heading for a stretch of uninvaded forest and living in a tree. So not practical or even involving the basics such as food supply. But I'm with you on the sentiment.
    I would love to start canning, too! I'm afraid of poisoning my family and of wasting jars and canning materials - or eating overly soggy vegetables. Good for you for working towards your dream, even if you don't feel that you will get there, you'll make your present state all the more rewarding for it!

  2. It is so important to find our own way of living that suits us and fits with our wants, need and abilities. Being able to trade skills is an important part of being in a community, we cannot be experts in everything!

  3. Your dream is very similar to mine. I want that homestead life for myself and my family. We aren't there yet, but by continuing to focus on what we want in life, we are a little closer all of the time. It isn't about the goal, it's about the journey!

  4. The village I think is one of the most important steps towards simplicity: real and profound connections is what feeds our soul... It's on my list too, but will have to wait until we're in an easier living situation

  5. building a supportive community is so important and in our isolated culture it's so easily overlooked. Simplicity is an interesting word and sometimes I get really stressed about it! It's because the idea of the orchards, chickens, homesteading etc (which I aspire to myself) can seem to MUCH to achieve. Yes there is simplicity, but there's also a hell of a lot of work involved - during harvest time you're at it all hours of all days, the chooks need regular care and feeding; no matter how YOU are feeling, the food needs cooking - you know what I mean? So although I'm right with you on dreaming big, we need to balance that with what is still simple enough for us to manage...
    Mrs Green @littlegreenblog

  6. So, rightly said. We have to find our own way of living in our daily hectic life.

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