When I chose "simple" as my word for 2016, I thought I had given myself a pretty easy task. How hard could it be to simplify things? I chose simple because I have felt the desire to enjoy my life more, to be present more and to be more intentional. I feel like many days I'm waiting for the next project to complete, wishing for bedtimes, or hoping that tomorrow will be less hectic. As I take this month to take stock of how the previous six months of the year have gone, I've realized that simple got complicated.
First, let me start with social media. I love Instagram, and when I decided to embark on this journey of simple, I started to unfollow some accounts and follow others that were trying to live more intentionally and more simply. As I followed these people, I started to want to implement the simple things they were doing in their lives into our lives. The problem? Not everyone was doing everything....but I was...or at least I was trying to. I have been trying to implement a ton of new things into our lives this year in the hopes that it will "simplify" things in the long run. And, in the long run, these things might work. In the short-term? I'm anxious and stressed out because I have a bazillion uncompleted projects and I can't fit everything into my day.
The garden is the second source of discontent and stress this year. A good harvest seemed so much more important this year for a few reasons. First, I started my own seeds in February and I planted the whole garden by myself for the first time ever. Second, this is the second year of me staying home. Our garden last year, really helped us stay within budget on our groceries. And lastly, I need to lose another ten pounds to get back to pre-baby weight. Because of our limited grocery budget, I don't buy a ton of fresh produce at the store (Walmart). Plus, the produce at the grocery is shipped in from all over and I'm not a fan of that. I really have been putting my faith in having my own fresh produce from the garden supplemented with the farmers market to jumpstart us on a path to healthier eating.
But so far, the rabbits have eaten pretty much all of my kale, some of my purple carrot tops and a lot of my corn starts, and there is another critter eating my green and red peppers before they ripen. A lot of plants, like our tomatoes, were put out late because of our focus on the chickens and trying to make the chicken coop livable for them. The coop is still not complete, but we'll get to that in a minute. To top it all off, Mother Nature doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me at all. I've either had seeds and plants drowning in too much rain or seeds that never germinated because of the heat. This gardening season just doesn't seem to be working in our favor at all.
And the third thing that is causing stress is the chicken coop. My husband as built a beautiful chicken coop for me. It's pretty and functional. The man is using trigonometry to determine angles of the roof, etc.! Women, if your sons ever wonder if they'll use math in the future, tell them that if they plan on having wives, then yes, they will, especially if that wife has access to Pinterest. The problem is that between the rain and our busy schedule, the coop is taking much, much longer than either of us had anticipated. And it is taking much, much more money than either of us had anticipated. I'm not a person with much patience. I want things done and beautiful quickly, so it has been killing me that we have a construction zone on the property. But with the weather forecast of mostly rain for the next week, this doesn't look like it will get done anytime soon.
Why am I telling you all of this? Is it just to vent and whine? Well, yes and no. I have fallen into a bit of a "poor me" spiral, but I really do want to get out of it. No, I'm writing about all of this because I realize that we all have seasons where nothing seems to be going right for us, where things aren't turning out how we planned and hoped. Recently I was listening to an episode of The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey and she and her guest (I think it was Ashley Noelle...) were talking about how we, as women, need to speak truth into each other's lives. We need to stop hiding the imperfect and the sins. Perfectionism is my go-to defense mechanism because I rarely feel good enough. Trying to be perfect allows me to hide the authentic and real me.
I have wanted to portray the "perfect" simple this year. I wanted people to see my successes and not the failures. But as I look back on the previous six months and at what is going on inside myself, I'm realizing that my "failure" to embrace a truly simple 2016 isn't about all of the projects. It's about the state of my heart. I've been consumed with the the physical and outward appearance of simple. On my wall, I created a print with a quote that Rachel Nordgren shared during one of her Influence Network classes. It says, "The Christian discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward lifestyle," (Richard Foster). THAT! That is the simple 2016 I want to try to pursue the second half of this year. I will still try to simplify our stuff and I want to simplify my eating habits, but I will never be able to embrace simple without changing my heart.
If you would like a copy of the print I've made of this quote, sign up for my newsletter before Friday, July 8, 2016! I'm going to be sending it to subscribers in this weekend's newsletter. Plus, when you sign-up you'll also get my Food Lovers Devotional!