Saturday, March 23, 2013

almost amish. {a book review}.

happy saturday, friends.

it's raining here. it's one of those days that i want to stay inside & lay around all day long. 

but i need to work. and i'm trying to get motivated. so.... my "sort of" working is this. sharing a little book that i'm reading. 

one woman's quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life
by nancy sleeth

why i picked up this book:

i think i saw this book on pinterest a few weeks ago and was imediately drawn to the cover. isn't it pretty??? and, of course, the title.

in the recent months {maybe year?} i've longed in my heart for a simpler & slower life. maybe it's only because our life seemed to turn from slow & comfortable to fast & furious overnight and i'm still getting used to it. maybe it's because i long to sit and spend time with my littles more. and sit down to eat instead of standing at the kitchen counter scarfing down my food. maybe it's just because i feel like no one is ever present anymore. we're attached to our phones and computers all day. {myself included.}

in fact, last night, we went out to a family dinner - to chili's. yummmmm. and as we were leaving we saw 6 teenage {or maybe preteen?} girls waiting for a table. they were huddled onto the small bench that was the waiting area - and every one of them was looking at their phone. every. single. one. 

i was annoyed. and don't get me wrong, i love me some instagram. i love what facebook has done to build my business. i love being able to communicate with my hubby when we're living apart. technology is SO good. 

but not when we can't be present in the very moment we're living in. you are out to dinner with five friends and you're {presumably} talking to your other friends. or finding out what other people are doing via facebook. most likely it gives you more chance to gossip {did you see that maggie was on a date with luke tonight?}    


being present is half my own battle every day. i want to teach my kids to be present. with me & my hubby. with our family. in the moment. i want to slow down & read books more. and bake & eat better. i want to enjoy life. and live radically for Him. so, i bought this book.

sidenote: i really wanted to buy jen hatmaker's 7, but i've been avoiding it like the plague for the last year. i know myself & i know that i will not be able to read something like that without wanting to change something & i just didn't want to be ready for that. 

so i ended up here. maybe a softer version? i don't know. you decide. 

chapter 1
amish principle: homes are simple, uncluttered & clean; the outside reflects the inside

okay, first of all, can i just say if my house was clean, maybe we'd be having a different conversation?

 with two littles & a dog.... and a husband that leaves a trail, unbeknownst to him, wherever he goes... it's hard to keep my house even remotely clean. or picked up, for that matter. add to that the fact that i'm not naturally picked up & organized and we've got ourselves a natural disaster in my house 95% of the time.

i have gotten a lot better at having the kids pick up after themselves before they move on to another toy. that helps tremendously. and we almost never leave the house until the toys are picked up. it's hard - and sometimes this doesn't happen - but i try. this helps manage the cleanliness a lot. 

she talks about the uncluttered homes of the amish. and how more things bring more distractions. while i totally agree with this concept, it also makes me kind of sad to think of a vanilla house with no decoration.  i hope that doesn't offend anyone, because if you can do it, more power to you. i just like to be surrounded by things that i find pretty. wow. i guess that might be her point.

surrounded by things. hmmm....

nonetheless, the things i'm surrounded by are mostly homemade craft projects. or have sentimental value. pictures of my family. vintage items we've collected. 

and as of right now they're staying. but who knows, that can change. 

"{the amish} do not call attention to themselves with falshy technology, decorating, or clothes.}

hmmmm. she might be onto something here. i do not want my home to "call attention" to myself. i do, however, want it to be comfortable & cozy for my family.  i want my kids to long to be home when they're away - even at grandparent's houses. i want the hubbs to think about home & think of a restful and cozy place. where it always smells good & he finds a lot of peace. 

what is the balance? 

i have yet to figure that out. have you?

she talks about hospitality. and how the kitchen should be the heart of your home. and oh, how i agree with this. the stumbling block for me is time. again with the slower pace. 

"no one knows whether the fish that fed five thousand were broiled, baked, or ffired; what we do know is that the spirit of generosityand the miracle of faith ensured that there was plenty for all".

in other words, you don't have to be the best cook in town to offer hospitality to others. it's the heart that is the issue. 

sidenote: if you're looking for a good read on hospitality, check out edie's ebook. it's awesome.    

she talks about fashion and shopping in this chapter too, although nothing truthfully stood out to me on this subject. the basic concept is the same as in the homes. drawing attention to yourself is undesirable & filling up your clothes with stuff you don't wear is wasteful. 

and yes i believe both of these things to be true. and with a daughter to raise in this crazy world, i have often contemplated what this medium is. i want to teach my daughter to be modest, yes. but i also don't want her to to wear old raggedy clothes in the efforts to not draw attention to herself. i don't know. i just think there is a really hard line here. it all goes back to the heart, in my opinion. all of it. 

on being somewhat of a hoarder: "if someone else can use it now, why should we store it for someday?"   

i think this really spoke to me. 

as we prepare to move sometime in the future, i think about packing up our house and all of the unnecessary and unused stuff lying around. i don't need more than one set of dishes. i really don't. i could pretend that i do - and that i'll have different dinner parties that require different dishes - but, if i'm being real, i only need one. so.... since i've started collecting fiestaware in the last two years, maybe i could donate the red plates i got when we first got married? what about those old towels that are just cluttering our linen closet that never ever get used - unless we're cleaning up a mess? should i keep them all or should i just keep two or so? you know - for the messes?

what about all of those beauty products that i don't use? i want to use them, but i just don't. i want to keep it simple, so why don't i donate/throw away/give away/sell what we don't use?

it's really got me thinking. again - with the stuff. i've heard the rules of keeping stuff in your house - you should only keep it if it's functional, you find it beautiful, or it has sentimental value. if i evaluated stuff by those rules, i'd be getting rid of a lot of stuff in my house. would you?

so far, i'm not hooked, but i'll definitely keep reading. i like the concept - but i was maybe hoping for more scripture infused in there. i'll keep you all up to date!

join me in reading, will you? maybe we can find the happy medium together?    


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