almost Amish {what do you think?}



If you would have told me a year ago that I would be entirely enticed by the idea of simple living, I might have rolled my eyes.
Any time I heard people talk about the "simple lifestyle", I felt like it was a bit of a gimmick.

What I mean by this is, I observe many people describing themselves as simple, classic, minimalists, but they are completely married to their iPhones, utterly attached at the hip to their online presence and have a closet that is the size of my living room.
It made no sense to me and seemed to be more of a catch-all phrase when people wanted to describe their style as chic and modern, rather then describing a way of life.  I really think people misunderstand the phrase.
It just wasn't the essence of simple.
Maybe it annoyed me because I desired a simpler life but I wasn't willing to really give things up to pursue it.  Maybe I would have rolled my eyes because I wanted it but didn't want it bad enough to stop the hamster cycle I was on.

Once I started making sacrifices in my personal life and also as it pertains to my online "social" media...I began to find the allure and amazing benefits of a simpler life.


And the more I am learning.  And the more I am absorbing.

As I'm doing this, I'm starting to see how I {and others} are tricked into the exact opposite type of lifestyle.  Everyone is tired ALL. THE. TIME and so frazzled that they have literally no time to enjoy the benefits and blessings around them.  I would go so far as to say that people are wasting their life chasing something, rather then enjoying the right now.  Even people who want to enjoy the right now are booked so far in advance, you can't get in a date.
And if you don't want to book up your calendar, but have a few free nights a week, you are weird for that.  It seems that people are tired from all of the amazing things they are trying to move towards and they aren't even enjoying LIFE in front of them.  It's all about what is next and not the now.
All about the new and not the present.  All about next, newest, best, most expensive, finest, coolest.
Does anyone else feel we are living the exact opposite of how we should?  Or maybe the opposite of what is best for our mental, spiritual and emotional well being?

Oddly, the second I stripped away things and started focusing on relationships, passions and family, I found a new peace.
A peace that comes from being me and not being for everyone else, but Christ.
I don't mean that to sound like I have it all figured out, I just want to share it with you because I truly believe I may have wasted several years doing things that I didn't even REALLY want to do.  Becaise I'm not sure I REALLY knew who I was.  Because I never REALLY gave myself time to figure it out.

Because there was no time.
Because nothing is simple anymore.  I wasn't simple.
I was hurried, busy, consumed {not by bad things, either}, living out loud, tired, committed, full.

Nothing was simple.
But it can be.
And I'm finding it.
And it's much more of what I would like life to be.
Much more of what our family desires, I feel.
Even if it's counter-culture.

But I still have to learn more.  I want to learn more and I wanted to know if you do too?

When I found this book...I knew I needed to read it.

From the back cover:
Have you ever stopped to think, Maybe the Amish are on to something?

Something is wrong—terribly wrong—about the way we spend our time. We Tweet while we work, text while we drive, and basically stare at our computer screens until we fall into bed at night. We are plugged in 24/7! And it’s not just us. Our kids spend one hundred times more hours staring at a screen each week than they do playing outside—and we wonder why so many children are being treated for ADHD, depression, and obesity-related ailments.

It’s time to simplify our lives—to slow down, make faith and family the focal point, and recapture the lost art of simple living. And what group has kept simplicity, family, and faith at the center of all they say and do better than the Amish?

Building on the core principles of Amish life, Nancy Sleeth explains how making conscious choices to limit (and in some cases, eliminate) technology’s hold on our lives and get back to the basics can help us lead calmer, more focused, less harried lives, resulting in stronger, deeper relationships with our families, friends, and God. 


***

I was wondering if you guys wanted to read along with me?  It's about $10.00 on Amazon, but I think it will be worth it, simply to gain some insight and wisdom into this topic.
Let me know and perhaps I'll start sharing my thoughts, once a week?  Or perhaps you would come share your thoughts? {I would like that}.

Happy Monday!

50 comments:

  1. thanks so much for sharing about this book! you're right, things CAN be simple. it's a little thing, but when i disabled my facebook account last year, i had no real time frame in mind... but i have no interest (for now) in going back, because my mind feels so much more PEACEFUL without it! information overload is no good. but it takes discipline and conscious decisions to rid our lives of all the noise. but you're right, there IS peace to be found!! i'm checking out this book right now!!

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    1. I'm so glad you joining in and reading!
      I had a similar experience with FaceBook. I deleted my account back in February (along with my twitter) and have been rather surprised by the amount of feedback I have received, to the tune of, "where did you go? you fell off the face of the earth!"
      When those things are said, I realize that our idea of communication and "keeping up" with people too convenient. There's really no work to it and while that can be great, it has also taken much of the effort out of real communication.
      People stare at their phones to se updates on acquaintances or business topics, while there are real people sitting in front of them. {I've done this, sadly}.

      Sigh.

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    2. so true. i got a lot of that feedback too. isn't it funny?? i realized VERY quickly that by not being on facebook, i would be "missing out" on some things, so to speak. i would likely be the last to hear about something (or so it seemed). i might feel a little more disconnected from friends i don't see that often. so many events and things are organized through facebook, so that can be inconvenient for me, being the odd person out. i made a conscious decision that i was okay with those things. i love what you said about real communication. my advice to anyone wanting to simplify would be, just try it! do what i did, just disable the account for a bit! i found i enjoyed being unplugged and disconnected. :)

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    3. Yes. I had to give up some things that made my life easier-like connecting for events or promoting my blog/ETSY shop. It was very nice to be able to discuss with people on FB. In the end though, it saves me minutes and hours each day. Even just the scrolling through to see what's new...has been replaced.

      I do want to point out that this post and book reading isn't solely about FB and Twitter and how they are evil. My three best girlfriends have FB accounts and barely use them and enjoy having them, when they do use them. I just wasn't able to manage all of it and manage it well. I found myself getting lost in the world of blog promotion/shop promotion and then also keeping up with everyone.
      For some people, they are able to see it for what it was and once I did, I realized it wasn't for me.

      In the end, I hope this book will really point out ways we can even greater simplify our life, besides the popular "I deleted my FB account". I want to get down and dirty simple....

      Does that make sense?

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    4. YES! amen. facebook/twitter/whatever is not the problem. i am. :)

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  2. I think life in the South is just as you describe your wish for your life...simple, slow, unhurried. We enjoy the day and see what comes. California doesn't set the standard for the world. :) My best friend lives in L.A. and loves when she comes home to the slower paced life that is here. You don't have to become Amish..just move to Virginia. xo

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    1. I think you're right that it does have to do with demographics, quite a bit.
      I have no question that living in So Cal shapes much of what I do and WHY I do it {or at least it has in the past}.
      It's hard to live anywhere in So Cal and not be immersed in full blown suburbia.
      Trying to escape from that paradigm {if only a little}.

      And like I've said...if I move, we can become neighbors, yes?

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  3. I am in Arkansas and even here in Hillbilly Land people don't talk...I mean talk like eye to eye conversation..one is talking while the other one looks at thier iphone.
    I am one parent in my church that gets praised by the older generation for making my child bring quiet toys to play with not plugging up the iphone to make her sit and watch youtube and be quiet. How will they ever learn? Thier little minds are going all the time!! Hello ADHD!!
    I will definately get this book and read with you! I can't leave without saying that I am guilty of all these things...but God open my eyes one day and I have had to make a conscious decision to watch myself. Limit my facebook to "good" friends...set a timer when I am looking something up because it is easy to get lost in the internet.

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    1. The kid aspect is something I have struggled with too.
      Since I enjoy watching the news/checking my phone etc etc, my kids will too and I want more for them, quite honestly.

      Good point!
      Glad you are reading along!

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  4. I will definitely be reading along this is something I've been wresting/struggling with for the past couple years!

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    1. Oh, I'm so excited you are joining, Kara!

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    2. I've been wanting to do some kind of book club/reading a book with friends for a long time. Excited!

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  5. i've seen this book floating around the web lately. living simply is the key to happy...i think anyway. i'd love to read along.

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    1. I'm so glad you are joining, Kelly.
      There's a reason it's catching on, online....you're on to something!

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  6. You should also check out the book "7" by Jen Hatmaker. It's about her journey to simplify, so each month (for 7 months) she chooses a category (food, clothing, etc.) and chooses 7 items for the entire month. I'm only a couple chapters in, but it's very interesting!

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    1. I read that book and it was CONVICTING. I kept waiting for the "out" so I wouldn't have to commit the same way she did. And while I didn't feel the need to go to some of the same extremes as she did, I appreciate each of them and respected her level of commitment.
      It made me think, long and hard.

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  7. I love this and am super excited about it. We've been trying to make this work in SoCal for awhile and it is TOUGH! Some days we just pack it up and go to the beach just to find some quiet, family centered time. People think I'm nuts because I knit and sew and all that stuff but I think we have lost those skills and the fulfillment that comes from that kind of productivity. Well, there's lots more to say but for now, I look forward to exploring this more and I'll pick up the book!

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    1. Well, I don't think you're nuts, so you've got me ;)
      Glad you're joining in!

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  8. I'm in! You inspired and encouraged me to write this (http://firmlyheld.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/on-simplicity/) this morning.

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    1. Hi there!
      I'm so glad that you are joining and thank you for writing that post and forwarding it to me! I'm so glad this challenge is meeting you where you are at and it looks like it is all coming together at the perfect timing {the Lords}. I can't wait to hear what happens next, in your life!

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  9. your blog seems to speak to me more and more! i don't have a facebook account or a smart phone and i rarely look at my twitter account, but i still feel like i waste plenty of time on pinterest or in blogland. i live in a small town in kansas, but like others have said, i still feel like everyone is plugged in to something ALL the time. i don't think that's what life is about. i want to be present in the "real world" - interact with and teach my children, have true friendships and have a great marriage! i will definitely look at getting this book - or see if i can get it through the library! :)

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    1. I guess that is just reality.
      I almost SCREAMED the other day when I was in the middle of a sentence with someone and they pulled out their cell phone and started scrolling through their email. I got that she was busy but OH MY WORD, it made me step back and desire to call each and every person I've done that too and apologize, personally!

      Here's to going against the flow!

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  10. I know I have said this before but I have never been one to go away every day to do coffee:) I love being home keeping the house clean the wash up to date taking care of my Al and just not rushing here and there and everywhere. I feel it is good for the kids to have a routine and in bed on time. Well I guess having eight kids I just wanted to enjoy them as much as I could before they grew up and they are growing waaaay to fast. Now that my baby is 8 I still love being home and love when the kids have no school. I think our kids are so addicted to those cell phones and tv and such our little ones do not know how to play outside. Love this post!!

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    1. I hear ya, sister friend.
      You don't see kids playing in the street anymore, do you? It's sad, but it's the new normal.

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    2. I took my little ones to the pizza place with the toys and two little boys were talking to the daddy but he was so busy texting he did not even hear them. Sooo sad.
      I love to see my kids go off to the woods to build forts and climb trees so much better than those hand held games or tv!!!

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  11. Ordered the book and am in!! Reminds me of that book we read for book club years ago...Better Off, I think it was? Let me know what I need to read and by when!

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    1. You were the first person I thought of, when I saw the book.
      I knew you'd be on board.

      And I thought of that other book too-that was a good one, I thought. Even if no one else in our group liked it ;)

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    2. You're right April. I think the 3 of us were the only ones that thought it was cool. Oh well.
      We're just ahead of the times, right?

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  12. YES!! YES!! YES!! (says me who had to "book" our get together MONTHS out)
    it's time.......let the amish guide us.....

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    1. SO glad you're on board, friend! Love you, even if I have to wait to see you-you're worth it!

      And that last line made me laugh and then wake up my baby....
      "Let the Amish guide us..."

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  13. i am so tickled you stopped by 'my dear watson' and left such a lovely comment. i actually added you to my google reader earlier today {your blog is really fantastic!} and i was very pleased to "meet" you. =)

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    1. Huzzah! I love meeting new people online and your blog grabbed me! Welcome and can't wait to get to know you better.

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  14. Just went over and ordered it. Looking forward to reading along with everyone.

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    1. Wonderful! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and wisdom on the subject!

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  15. I would love to read this book with you, Rachel!

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    1. HUZZAH! I'm so glad you are joining us! And I really can't wait to see what you think. I've already started and it is already different then what I was expecting, which is always good for me. I think it is going to really push me towards simplicity in my consumerism {especially as it deals with food, waste around the house and ideals that I haven't even given a thought towards, in regards to energy savings etc}.
      I can't wait!

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  16. I left a comment last night but I dont see it. Anyway, I am so in and so excited to learn more! Should have my book in a few days!

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    1. That's so weird-I don't see it. Hmmmm...

      At any rate, I'm so glad you are joining us and reading along!

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  17. Hi! I've been following your blog for sometime now and am just now commenting. Heh. Anywho, I got the book yesterday to read along with you. Our little family has been striving for simplicity over the past year without much guidance so the title of the book instantly caught my eye when this post came up!

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    1. Well, hello! I love when readers comment so we are able to get to know one another!
      I'm glad you're reading along and look forward to hearing what you think!

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  18. Oh I am in! Since moving to North Dakota from Seattle this year I feel like I can breathe again. Im usually "plugged in" because I can sometimes feel isolated out here without friends yet. However, the "keeping up with the Joneses" feeling that is no longer consuming me has given me a taste of that simple life I do yearn for. Can't wait to read this!!!

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    1. I'm so glad your in, friend! And I'm sorry you feel isolated, at times. Be reassured that it isn't just because you're far away. Plenty of people, myself included, have felt isolated, even though we are 10 minutes away from friends/ family!

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  19. Hi Rachel,, I'm going to join in, as well. I read a book called Simplicity Parenting a couple of years ago, and it really helped me to focus the anxiety I was feeling about how our kids are exposed to all sorts of stimuli that we didn't have growing up. It feels so good to slow down and limit clutter (virtual & tangible), but with the constant barrage of "busy" swirling around us, it would be reinvigorating to to gather some new ideas and inspiration from a book & a little community. :) I don't have a blog or anything, but I love to knit, bake bread, garden, and get messy with my girls! I'll look for your future posts about the book, and thanks for the idea. :)

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    1. I'm SO SO excited, Kris! Yay!
      And from the sounds of it, I think you and I would get along great! I don't knit, but I love to garden!

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  20. And I shall be the lone male voice.

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    1. And this just made my morning.
      Can't wait to hear what you think, Russell!

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  21. I ran into the library today to pick up a book on hold and glanced at the new section and there was that Amish book I remembered crossing on Pinterest recently. I grabbed it and came home to remember where I'd seen it from specifically - it was you! :) I would love to join you all as we read the book! A quiet life is something I'm after constantly and feel so weird for it in today's world of schedules and 24/7 technology.

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    1. Laura,
      I'm so glad you found this blog and glad you are joining us {and found me again after you found the book at the library!}! I really look forward to hearing your perspective!

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