Monday, June 27, 2011

Simple isn't easy

I've been rolling a word around in my head since yesterday afternoon.


I don't think I'm the only one who has it on my mind. There are talk shows, magazines, countless articles...all dedicated to this notion of simplicity.

It started after a conversation with my neighbor about desiring to simplify things in our lives.

It's a buzzword. A trend. A fad?? But it reflects a desire, I think, but is anyone really certain what that desire is for??

Does it mean...being more organized? Because my Real Simple magazine has all kinds of ideas for how to organize my stuff. And I really like their ideas. They're cute, kitchsy, "use this for that!" little ideas...but when I organize my stuff, I still step back and have a lot of.....stuff. And I don't feel very simplified at all.

Does it mean....being "green?" Because yeah, it does do us a world of good to "greenify," but in doing so, you actually can create more work for yourself (organic gardening, making your own cleaning products, whatever). That doesn't feel all that simple.

Does it mean....being less involved? Less busy? Because that requires me to step down, say no, back out, whatever it takes to scrape stuff off my plate. And yeah, sometimes that goes over like a fart in church, depending on who you have to tell 'no.'

So what is this, this simple life of which we speak?? I'm really posing the question, not in a provocative, buy-my-book-and-I'll-tell-you-the-answer kind of way, but I really want to know: what do we mean when we say we want to live more simply?

Seems to me that anything simple requires at least some degree of sacrifice, and are we people who are willing to make those sacrifices? To let go of what owns us, whether it's our *stuff* or our habits or our need to be busy and feel fulfilled? The more I think about it, the more (to me, at least) I realize that a great deal of purging needs to occur - in my home, in my heart, maybe even in some of my relationships. But there's stuff I want to hang on to. Things, memories, bad habits, patterns...well then, simplifying doesn't sound so chic when you put it that way. Never mind. And have you noticed, in order to be so fashionably simple, you have to buy a lot of expensive stuff to look the part???

And simple should never be equated with easy, yet I wonder how often it is. Ask any Amish person. They work like we don't even know how to spell work, yet their lives are so....unfettered, at least not by the things that burden us. There's so much STUFF that is supposed to simplify our lives but we're slaves to them. Cell phones and laptops and texting and all these weird little things that are supposed to make things quick and easy and carefree....but I don't feel free when I have them. I feel stuffed. Like at Thanksgiving and you've gone over the edge. Just stuffed, the kind of stuffed that really makes me want to reverse the process and get. it. out. so I don't feel so weighed DOWN.

Simple. Simple?

I think our world is starting to realize we've gone overboard on a whole lot of stuff and it's not doing us a whole lot of good. The simple solution is to close Pandora's Box but you'll find it's not so easy.

Ask the rich man who asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus' answer was simple: get rid of everything you have, give it to those who need it, and follow me. Watch the slump of the man's shoulders as he walks away. The price was too great to pay. He treasured his stuff more than he treasured his soul.

I treasure my ______ more than I treasure my soul. More than I treasure my Savior. It's not. Easy.

So if you're in a pondering mood, let your mind marinate in this. What is required of me, of you, of anyone, to simplify? To strip out the buzzy-buzzword-ness of it, and actually ask, what needs to go? What's mastering me? What habits, thought patterns, whatever need to be severed at the root and pulled OUT in order to bring true freedom, simplicity, and perhaps even ease??

It's more complicated than it sounds, isn't it?? ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

I love to hate you

I love Facebook.

I hate Facebook!!

I love to hate Facebook.

Tell me that Facebook is not a love-hate relationship for you too. Seriously. It is the coolest and stupidest thing our culture has right now. It's like you can't help looking at all these mundane status updates, and at the same time I'd rather have a bear gnaw my face off because it's banal.

But rather than
get all huffy about it, I decided that this blog will be a list of pros and cons. It would fun to analyze every aspect of FB (because I really think it's such a fascinating and discouraging summation of our culture all at once) that I love and hate, but that would be time-consuming and ranty. So I'll just make a fun little list. Sometimes what's NOT said speaks volumes. Feel free to add what you would like to it.

Why I love Facebook
by Jenny Gouveia

I think Facebook is pretty neat for the following reasons...

1. Getting back in touch with people with whom you'd never otherwise be in touch.
2. Seeing pictures of other people's kids (though this can slide over to the 'con' list too if ya know what I mean)
3. Finding out someone's pregnant, when you wouldn't otherwise find out (see #1)
4. A quick way to find a babysitter, recommendation, tips and advice, etc.
5. Not having to memorize or otherwise cache everyone's email address
6. Networking
7. Families who live far from each other can kinda feel like they're a part of everyday life.

Well then. That was quite excellent.

And now for....

Why I Hate Facebook
by Jenny Gouveia

Facebook makes me want to chew broken glass for the following reasons...

1. Bragbooking.
2. Vaguebooking.
3. Lacking discretion (WTMI about....everything....)
4. Still lacking discretion (husbands, brothers, pastors, etc are friends with you too...think hard before you post your teeny bikini shots)
5. Bragbooking
6. Updates on the very, very mundane
7. The drama
8. Our new cultural definition of "friends"
9. Bragbooking
10. Toeing confidentiality lines
11. Posting song lyrics that make zero sense to anyone but you

Let me tell you, this isn't *nearly* as fun as saying exactly what I think about each thing. This is an exercise in restraint.

I think FB dismays me more than anything. It's a sad testimony to what our world is becoming. The saddest status update a couple of weeks ago (I won't even share what it was, it's just too sick and sad) confirmed it: we're zoning out on how to appropriately relate to people. You have 400, 600, 1200 "friends" but when one person drops off for good, it doesn't even flash a blip on your radar. We want the world to know we finished three loads of laundry before 8am and already have a roast in the oven for dinner, but are blunted at our ability to just have a good and honest and open and real conversation with each other. We walk around fashionably aloof with iPod buds in our ears, but are screaming for attention on social media. Please see me! Hear me! I'm cool and witty and important! Do you ever have days where you think in terms of potential status updates? I do. Ugh.

Now's the part where I'm supposed to declare a Facebook fast or I'm closing my account. But I'm not. Facebook (Twitter, blogs, all of it) is a part of world that we need to learn to live with. It's something that can become just as tempting of an addiction as anything else that's addictive, and I continually have to practice taming the desires of the flesh and bring them under Christ's authority. And there are some really fun people whose status updates never fail to make my day. Whose kids' pictures I gobble up. That I want to keep track of because FB is a good finger on the pulse of their life at the moment and I want to know they're not spinning out of control. I want to know when my friend in California has her baby, want to see wedding pictures, scroll thru vacation pictures and laugh about how much someone's kids look JUST like they did in high school. I like the connection, don't get me wrong. But anything can be sooooo good one second and soooooo volatile the next. A "quick" check can become an abysmal waste of half a day.

There are households to manage, relationships to tend, and hedges of protection that have to be guarded. Facebook can make a fool of anyone.

So my love/hate relationship will continue, and I'm sure this isn't the last time I'll talk about it. And I feel stupid now because I'll link this blog post on FB!! but again, that's a whole lot easier than someone trying to remember what the web address is. *sigh*

I want to be a part of the culture...but I don't want it to be a part of me. Does that make sense? I want to influence but not be wholly influenced. In the world but not of it. Such a fine line to walk.

Is FB a struggle for you? Am I the only one who wants to throw my computer at the same time I want to look at it???

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Why the silence???

I know, I haven't blogged in over a month and that's just disastrous. I love to blog. And it just hasn't happened.

Because for one thing, the weather warms up and things get busy. A lame excuse, but it's not really an's just the truth.

But even bigger than that, blogging is a little bit of a tightrope for me. You see, there are a lot of blogs out there: "mommy" blogs, sarcastic and snarky blogs, boring and uneventful blogs, opinionated blogs...and, I'm just like, I dunno...I don't want to have a blog that's overly mommy. (BTW - there are some great mommy blogs out there, I'm not knocking them!) I could have a heyday being sarcastic and snarky, but I really try to avoid that (sometimes I let it slip out for laughs, but I do try to avoid it and err on the uplifting side instead). I try to tone down on being overly opinionated or soap-boxy. Sometimes I'd love to share something I'm fired up about spiritually but I don't want to be...what's the right this blog is a flannel board and my little flannel Jesus is stuck there just nice and so and I'm all perfect. Does that make any sense?? Sometimes I don't want to write something that might be misinterpreted or offend someone, even though that is never my intention. Never, ever do I wish to use this blog as a passive-aggressive outlet to try to drive out a message to someone I have in mind, hoping that they'll see it and get the point.

I don't want to come across as attention-seeking. Lord knows I'm not a fan of that.

So sometimes I just choose to keep my keyboard mouth shut. Some of it is insecurity (does anyone really care what I have to say anyway?). Some of it IS good old fear of man (I don't want to offend anyone...). Much of it is that I DO have a busy baby in the house. :) And sometimes there's something I'm struggling with and either it's not something I want to share with many people at the moment, or sadly enough, if I do share it, then I actually have to uphold my end of it and be accountable to, um, everyone.


Anyway...I do have things tumbling around in my head that I'd really like to write about...because really, this blog is my journal. It's what's going on in my life, my heart. And at the end of the day, no one has to read it. I choose to make it a public forum rather than password protect it, because who knows who might need to read what God has put on my heart to say, even one time. He works in mysterious ways, even in the blogosphere.

Some of the things on my mind lately:

Mommy guilt...
Being counter-cultural....
Being real......
Being frugal!!!........
My identity.......

.....and at some point (hopefully soon!) I'll process all of the above (and many more!) enough to put pen to paper. So don't give up!!! I shall write more soon. So stay tuned.

BTW - this is totally unrelated to anything having to do with...anything, really, but it made me laugh:

Picture me, sitting on the kitchen floor eating a bowl of popcorn, with this audience:

To my left

And to my right

Seriously, the look on Levi's face!!!! hahahahahaha!!!!