Simple [Sim-puhl]

Simple [Sim-puhl]
1. easy to understand, deal with, use, etc.
2. not elaborate or artificial; plain
3. not ornate or luxurious; unadorned

Monday, April 2, 2012

Finding a Way to Simplify

Last year a talk was giving in the April General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints by Elder M. Russell Ballard admonishing us to simplify our lives so we can dedicate them to the service of the Lord. There were many wonderful talks given that day, but this one found special place in my heart. I have been reading Walden written by Henry David Thoreau and feeling a clarity about the freedom one can retain by living simply. The words of Elder Ballard found harmony with the lessons I had been learning from the written word of Thoreau and resounded in my heart a desire to enjoy a more simple life. The question is "how?"We have been warned of the constricting conditions of debt for decades now, but it seems in order for a person to live a normal life these days, or even just survive, one must assume a certain amount of debt. And that debt limits our options.
So how do I gain control of my life again? I have to pay off my debt ,and with limited resources that becomes a very real challenge.
The only answer is to simplify my lifestyle. I don't need trendy clothes to look my best and that means I don't need to spend my precious time at the mall every week. I don't need to eat at fancy restaurants to be well-nourished and cultured. I don't need to own the latest CDs, Movies and Magazines to be modern. I don't need different makeup for every day of the week. I don't need expensive hair treatments to look well groomed. And, I don't need to fill every spare moment of everyday with entertainment, which sometimes seems to take over some of my house-work time and family-time and worship-time.
As I simplify my life I know I will become more and more free. Elder Ballard said, "Against this beautiful backdrop of spring and its symbolism of hope, there is a world of uncertainty, complexity, and confusion. The demands of everyday life—education, jobs, raising children, Church administration and callings, worldly activities, and even the pain and sorrow of unexpected illness and tragedy—can wear us down. How can we free ourselves from this tangled web of challenges and uncertainties to find peace of mind and happiness?...Brothers and sisters, the gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, no matter how much we try to make it complicated. We should strive to keep our lives similarly simple, unencumbered by extraneous influences, focused on those things that matter most....
The Savior spoke of this principle when He answered the Pharisee who asked, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
“This is the first and great commandment.
“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:36–40)....
It is only when we love God and Christ with all of our hearts, souls, and minds that we are able to share this love with our neighbors through acts of kindness and service—the way that the Savior would love and serve all of us if He were among us today."
I have been studying the lives of women from the 1950's, when men were men and women were women- I heard it put. Life seemed to be so much clearer then and I wondered how those women worked so hard and still had time to do their hair and makeup, and act happy all the time for their husbands. I admire the strength of a woman who can work hard all day to keep a house without many of our modern day conveniences and is still self-less enough to put on her best face for her children and husband's well-being and be happy for the simple joys in life they bring. It is enough, dispite what the modern TV shows, magazines and the business women may say. I am happiest when I have spent the more part of my energy in the day improving the life of my family and showing kindness to others. It is the little things that count the most. A thoughtfully prepared breakfast, a shining clean bathroom, a smile met at the door...
My goal is to find little ways to simplify my life; so I will have more time and more freedom to contemplate the more important things in life, and to serve the Lord and my family more diligently. (So we can be happier.)
No resolution works without a plan so, here is my plan..
I am going to find ways to not spend money by:
1. Eating more meals at home. I will learn to shop only for groceries that I know we will eat immediately if they will not keep for months. I will also learn to prepare more simple meals that do not require hours of preparation and unusual ingredients.
2. Learn how to keep and plant a vegetable garden to supplement our food source and provide a more nutritious diet.
3. I will moderate my hobbies and interests, so I will not make unnecessary purchases that add up to large amounts of money, and sit untouched for several months at a time. (These are good things but do require moderation.)
4. Be more industrious. Instead of indulging the inclination that I am too tired from my job to do housework, exercise, or cut my husbands hair; I will cowgirl up and busy myself with important activities to better my family's quality of life and rest my pocketbook.
5. I will spend more time studying the gospel instead of studying possessions I don't have.

I have created this blog to share my adventures, progress, successes and learning experiences with those who share my vision and take an interest in my endeavors. I hope it will be of some use to someone somewhere, or at least serve as a reminder to myself of what I am trying to accomplish. Thank you to whomever may be reading this. I appreciate your support and interest.

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