Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. Book Review {Chapter Four and Five}

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Please join us, as we read Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth.  You can read my review of Chapter One, here and also read the equally compelling comments from fellow readers.  Each week, on Monday, we will review two chapters.  Join us!

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There was so much about the these two chapters that I appreciated.  I won't bore you by dissecting each chapter, piece by piece.  I know you read it as well and I'm sure you were impacted.  Perhaps in the same way as I and perhaps differently.

What did you think of these chapters? Did you glean as much as I did?
I really enjoyed the subject matter and felt in tune with what was being shared.

In the fourth chapter, I felt compelled to agree when Sleeth, on the importance of nature.  One of the hardest thing for me, living in "suburbia" is the lack of nature.  We aren't surrounded by it, no matter how we may try and convince ourselves that we are.  We have to drive to experience it and this is hard for me.  How we personally have chosen to solve this is by creating nature, at our home. Our backyard is our oasis.  Our project, if you will.  We open the back door slider and get lost. We take care of what we do have.  Herbs, veggies and plants. It's the space we have and we spend hours back there. Subsequently, we spend most of our days, in the grass and soil.  We sit under the sun and bake in the heat. Ironically, when we spend time outside, we forget about the problems of this world, the ills that we perceive are around us or the seemingly important issues, at hand.

It's no wonder that nature was what God began with.  It's peaceful.  It's real. It's sustainable.  It's beautiful.  It's real.

In the fifth chapter, I felt more convicted about what I have been feeling for months.  Mabye years, without knowing it.

Simplicity is attainable. Simplicity is Godly.  Simplicity is a choice.
In this particular chapter, the concept that really resonated with me was the following:
The more you have, the more you have to work for it.

Of course, things aren't wrong. Having things isn't wrong either, but when we begin thinking we need things, that is where the hard work comes in.  When we need to have our kids in three activities each....when we need to have two new cars.....when our kids need the newest clothes....when we need to visit the latest attraction....have the newest home or the nicest ammenities in said house.  Our wardrobe must be up to date and our style needs constant renewal.  This is when physical and emotional dependency on things becomes dangerous and exhausting.

It becomes costly and thus the cycle begins.  Working for things and working to make things happen.  We accept this paradigm because it's cultures way but is it the way we want?  Do we want to constantly have our spouse working, so we can pay for the bigger house?  Afford the larger car to escort us to and from a million things?  Provide us the means by which to have the newest and most "relevant" clothing, education and resources?

It's easy to get trapped but I believe it's just as easy to set ourselves apart.
For me, the first step was sitting down and realizing what things I am doing, simply because I think I "have to".  Eliminating those things, even when difficult, provided freedom {not to mention space in my calendar}.
It's easy to get trapped, thinking we have to conform to what everyone around us is doing.
It's more rewarding to go our own way. Investigate what we think the Lord would desire.
And travel towards that final goal.

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What did you gather, from these chapters? I would love to hear.


4 comments:

  1. Completely agree with the chapter on nature. I planted to mums yesterday and it made me want to be a master gardener. Ha! I'm joking but also not. I can't wait to have a massive garden and spend my days nurturing it.
    I have a feeling it will also take away the desire to fill my time with other 'stuff'.

    I love that simplicity is a choice. No matter what our environment. Like with our spending, we are choosing to only take on activities that are going to build relationships, with not letting it consume our life. Though we risk being 'different' then everyone else around us, I'm starting to think that's not such a bad thing after all.

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  2. I think what stands out to me most is "scripture tells us to live in the world, not of it." We have a choice to make daily to step back and simplify and find peace and contentment in what we have versus what we want. I am notorious for getting rid of things we don't love:in our physical environment as well as in our personal life. Activities and commitments have been downsized in the past year and a half because I was tired of running around and rushing through life. These chapters make me appreciate those changes we have already made and encourage me to continue seeking simplicity in all facets of of our life. . .

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  3. I loved these two chapters. I think it is because they fall in line with what we are already trying to do(in part) in the new missional church plant I am involved in. As for nature, we have already started a community garden(as a group)this year and regularly walk our own neighborhoods picking up trash and praying over them. I think you hit it exactly when you talked about doing the best with what you were given. We live in town on an OK sized lot but there will be no huge gardens planted or large chicken coops built here. Instead, like you, we are trying to do our best by keeping it simple.
    As for simplicity, I need to work on our schedules a bit. As my girls get older they need to pick one thing they love and stick with that. It is just so hard if they haven't tried something to know if they like it. But I agree, I am not ok with running around from activity to activity. It takes away from what is really important, like time spent as a family.
    Also, I would like to add that purging is my therapy. It really is. Sometimes I get carried away though. :(
    I felt very encouraged and inspired even further by reading these 2 chapters. We are already in the middle of a life style change around here in many ways. Living missionally requires a more simple life-style where there is room to be able to be a disciple of God in our own community.
    I hope this makes sense. My longest comment ever.

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  4. So far, I have really appreciated her thoughts on nature. I have felt for most of my life that Christians maybe don't put enough emphasis on conservation...that is to say that it is often viewed as an idea for liberals or hippies. I think our generation has revisited the call to stewardship in seeing what has become of our neglect and I love this development. There are so many simple things we can do to care for the planet and teach our children to notice nature and to pay attention to our world. She shared a lot of good reminders and ideas on the subject and I have a renewed passion for my garden and our feather collection and nature journals.
    The simplicity idea is timely for me, too. I have been trying to keep it simple and have found a new contentment in my tiny home, small yard, and 12 year old car. I can clean my house in a day and when it starts to feel tight, we get rid of stuff. I have been purging my kids' toys and books and love what she said about holding on to our stuff when someone with less could be using it. (ahem...convicted). By living in a small humble place, I have more time to be present without the help of a housekeeper and that is a gift of tremendous worth. I have struggled with coveting other people's houses and their ownership of the latest and greatest...honestly, Pinterest is equal parts creative inspiration and covetous for me so I've limited my time there too. Some of this comes easily to me and some of it is very challenging but I am so happy to be caught up in this book and reading along with you!

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