The Simpleness of Simplicity

I tend to overthink.

Huge shocker, I know.

I’m most aware of this tendency of mine during key moments of my day. Getting dressed, figuring out weekly meal plans, and when faced with life-altering decisions. Hello homeschooling, cross-country moves and leggings as pants.

Is it possible though that it’s bigger than this? That the inclination to overthink and over prepare permeates my entire day?

I’m currently at the lake as I write this. Seated on an old weathered table perched atop a sloping stretch of green. My eyes are occasionally moving from my phone to the two little girls wading in the cold waters of a northern Maine lake on an early June day.

Our day started as any typical Sunday. We woke up not long after the sun and prepared for an amazing morning of worship. Naturally this included me spending a ridiculous amount of time before the mirror.

We did the obligatory grocery store run after excusing ourselves from engaging conversations with friends following the service. Even started our Sunday dinner in the slow cooker for when we returned from the lake.

Ahh the lake! One of my most favorite places to be here in the summer months. Just a few miles from our home it’s perfect for whiling away the time. Such a simple thing and yet how many times do I waste those precious hours with preparation? From the gathering of supplies to the ordeal of dressing appropriately, the seemingly easy task of enjoying simplicity is quickly mired in a web of complications.

But not today. No, there was no time for that. With obligations looming there was no time to make things complicated. We just threw on our sandals and went.

As I sit here watching these two little girls in shorts wade the water in their search for shells and other such treasures I can’t help but miss those days. Days of simply being simple. Days filled with half thoughts and notions. Enjoying life simply as it is.

I want to be simple too. So in the spirit of simplicity, I’m going to end this post and simply push publish. There will be mistakes and inconsistencies I’m sure, but I hope you’ll overlook them and appreciate this entry for what it is.

KISSing Christmas

 

IMG_0753

I hear sleigh bells as I gaze upon page after glossy page of dreamy winter wonderlands framed by festive windows; the quintessential wreath hanging from a velvet red ribbon. I can smell the glazed ham and pumpkin pie as I click my way through the houseware sections online.  As I gaze upon the festive homes filled with merriment on my Pinterest boards, my heart cries yes as my wallet whimpers out a mournful no, please no, for the love of all things holy, no. 

My wallet is very articulate.

It’s no secret that November and December are a retailers dream.  From small independent mom and pop stores to the big box giants, everyone’s clamoring for a piece of that pie- and I’m not talking that sweet potato one in an adorable pie plate from Amazon.  And they’ll play dirty to come out on top. They are relentless in their pursuit.  They sell dreams of Christmas perfection.  They dazzle us with daydreams of gathering around a fire (below a perfectly decorated mantle), everyone in matching pajamas that cost more than my electric bill (family of six, remember?), eating sweet treats on plates shaped like gingerbread cookies.

They had my number and man did they call me. It was like I was on speed- dial.

Window displays of days gone by would lure me in, promising holiday perfection.   Seasonal music filled my ears as I happily shelled out dollars and coins.  I’d dance with the sugar plum fairies while pushing my cart full of Yuletide booty towards my car; humming along with the radio station as I unloaded my new purchases and began to decorate my home.

When the holiday high finally faded, I’d sit on my couch, surrounded by tinsel and scraps of wrapping paper and try to remember what happened.  And when I’d finally look up from my cup of cocoa and really look at our bank account, the merry music would be replaced by a musical score worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

And the worst part? My home wouldn’t have even gotten close to those decieving, perfect pictures of Merry Bliss. Not only would I feel stupid, but I’d also feel like a complete failure.   I’d realize I had been bamboozled.  Beguiled.  And completely missed out on the simple joy of just being.

It was a cycle.  A vicious cycle dressed up in an ugly sweater and a hideous pair of socks.  You know, the ones your grandmother got you every year.

IMG_0769

This ugly sweater picture is brought to you by a lack of shame and my husband’s sewing skills.

Not anymore.

Each year we seem to be stepping back more and more from the hype of the holidays.  We don’t need the latest and greatest decorations to have an amazing Christmas.  We just need each other.

Yes, I still love to decorate for the holidays. I ooh and aah over the plethora of pretty things.  I love things. I’m not ashamed.  I am most definitely not a minimalist.  I like stuff.  If that makes me materialistic, then fine. I admit it. But as I mentioned in my previous post- I’m not rolling around in a pile of money. No dinero.  At least when it comes to buying things I don’t really need.  And no, I don’t need the stack of coffee cups that look like a snowman.  I just want them. So I’m a broke practical materialistic mama.

So, how do I stay true to myself, get that satisfaction of finding little treasures for my home, and decorating to my hearts content without ringing in the new year with buyers remorse?

I kiss Christmas.

Keep ISimple, Sweetheart. (No need for name calling.)

1. Start with what I have.  I lug it all into the house and take stock of everything.  Then I make a list.  Anything broken that needs replaced?  Anything missing?  Is there anything I truly need that I haven’t bought yet?

This year it’s: One more stocking because I lost one of them and a new tree skirt.  A few more ornaments. And that’s it.

IMG_0704

2. Shop my house. Any non holiday items that I can use?

The answer is a huge resounding yes.

Glass bell jars.  White pitchers, platters, and bowls. Candle pedestals. Even tin cans that I cleaned out and use as vases from time to time.  Any and all of these look amazing with a bit of seasonal floral and branches, pine cones and even loose ornaments.

IMG_0768

3. Focus on one room and let it just flow from there.

I no longer try to decorate my entire downstairs.  It’s impossible, and costly.  And I value my sanity.  So the bulk of our decorating goes on in whatever room holds our Christmas tree.  Our family room.  The bathroom, front room, dining room and kitchen will get little touches that tie them all to the main focal point- the family room.

4. Perspective and purpose. We take our sweet time and remind ourselves not to sweat the small stuff.  In the end, does it really matter? No. What matters is that we lived well and loved often. Besides, I’m pretty sure Jesus is still going to love me, even if my silverware is mismatched and I only own one tablecloth. I’m just saying. I mean, he is the King of Kings and he was born in a manger……

10858561_10152704314553813_1781498245673165516_n

Christmas 2014

Until next time, comment below!  What’s your favorite Christmas song? When do you start decorating for Christmas? Any family traditions? I look forward to hearing from you!