Photo credit: http://triblocal.com
Here's a little known fact about me: I learned to cook on a wood-burning stove, the one above actually. It was a privilege of my homeschooling that two days of every month, I volunteered at a local historical reenactment farm. That's right. Two days of every month in high school, I donned 1890s dresses and aprons, baked for the farm hands, and gave house tours. And I loved it. And I learned so much.
I learned that whipping egg whites by hand is painful... seriously painful. I learned that it's just as important to admit what you don't know as to answer the questions that you do know (insert countless embarrassing moments here). I learned that you really shouldn't put the cornbread in the oven until it is hot...really. I learned that chickens can be mean... and stupid; but I also learned to soak up moments.
Soak up that perfect day of mending on the porch (mending badly, I might add) while the rain pours outside. Soak up that beautiful green outside and let the fresh air fill your soul. Absorb those teachable moments and give thanks for gracious teachers. Crave learning... and simplicity.
This may seem obvious, but when you are dealing with hot fires, giant animals, and tools that are now considered weapons, you learn to keep things simple. Keep clutter at a minimum. Don't store things too long. They won't last. Keep what is useful or beautiful. Pass on the rest. Maybe that's one of the reasons I am who I am today.
Simplicity inspires me. One summer in high school we visited a Shaker Museum, and I fell in love. No, not with the religious practices or societal rules, but with their simplicity.
Photo credit: http://www.dancohen.orgFor the most part, they kept everything off of the floor. They found ways to make the things in their lives as useful as possible. They kept walls bare of pictures but full of wooden pegs for storage of everything from clothing to chairs. And their world was completely devoid of clutter.
Photo credit: Photograph courtesy of Shaker Museum and Library
Please don't misunderstand me. I have no plans to give up my dishwasher, my stand mixer, or my laptop. I'm not selling all of my children's toys (although, now that you mention it...never mind.) or moving into a 600 sq. ft. cabin. What I am saying is that simplicity excites me, and those years of living out the past taught me a lot about what is truly necessary. Without the litter to distract me, I can see the eternal. The beautiful. The soul-enriching. When my sight is not blinded by colors, decorations, and trinkets, my eyes are drawn to the pure light pouring in a window, the fresh white of a new snow, and the rich laughs of my babies. Thus begins my spring.
Tsh Oxenreider is beginning her spring cleaning series in which each week for four weeks, she approaches a different space in her house with a giant cardboard box marked "give" and a desire for simplicity. This year her kids' room is up first. Though we may not get through each room in her timing, I'm definitely on board for a few more blank spaces in my life. A few more places where my eyes are drawn to glory and beauty rather than material possessions. And, frankly, it would be a whole lot easier to get some things done if I didn't have to wade through the junk to get to the things I actually use. Amen?
Most of all, I want to soak up this spring. I want to splash in the puddles with my boys. I want to discover the daffodil blooms through the eyes of my baby. I want to rejoice once again that my Savior lives and revel in the glory that is Easter. Removing the clutter is just a part of tearing down the barriers, getting rid of the distractions that steal my attention away from the beautiful. So my eyes are turned upon Jesus. And even though it's snowing outside right now, I wish you a happy springtime, full of His wonderful face and infinite grace. What a gift!