Welcome to Part 15 of my series on Living a Simple Life! Did you notice the new button? If you like it, feel free to copy it and put it on your blog- and let me know if you do, so I can visit your blog! (The code is on the right side of the page. To put it in your sidebar, just copy and paste it in as an HTML element.) I was able to create it last weekend while Calvin & Gen were out on a “Daddy date” to the zoo.
This week, I finished reading through one of my favorite books: Living A Beautiful Life, by Alexandra Stoddard. (I always enjoy seeing her work in “Victoria” magazine, as well.) Her writings always inspire me to evaluate the rituals in my life. (She encourages the reader to move past mere “routines,” and to establish rituals of beauty throughout one’s day.) Instead of regularly drudging through an unpleasant task, she suggests surrounding the moment with beauty, to make it a more pleasant ritual.
In caring for my family, home, and self, I have some rituals in place. I create rituals that assist me in blessing my family, strengthening my relationship with Christ, and to live a simple, joyful life. My established rituals also set an example for my daughter, as she begins to learn how to care for herself and a home.
A few months ago, I was blessed to hear local author Robin Jones Gunn speak to a group of women in our church (and what a joy it was to meet her and tell her how much I enjoy her Sisterchicks books!). During her encouragement to mothers, she shared of a ritual she established early on in her mothering.
With two little ones, she craved a quiet time with God. The children quickly learned that when Mommy was sitting her chair with her Bible and journal, with the special candle lit, that it was time for her to spend time alone with Jesus. Her children not only respected that time, but were able to witness a beautiful ritual of growing in a relationship with Christ. There was no drudgery in having a “required quiet time,” it was a treasured, beautiful moment with God, full of insight and rejuvenation.
For years, I avoided the “frustrating” task of meal planning. However, once I made it into a ritual, it has become something worthwhile and appreciated in our home. Every Sunday evening, after we return home with our beautiful new produce from the Farmer’s Market, I am inspired to plan nourishing, enjoyable meals for my family. I put on some pleasant music, and often enjoy a bit of dessert or berries served in a pretty bowl, while planning for the week. I enjoy creating a plan consisting of old favorites, and new recipes to taste. (I bookmark recipe ideas throughout the week, where I can easily browse through them on Sundays.)
As a side note, my final meal plan is not “set in stone,” and if it needs to be adjusted in the week due to schedules or ingredients, we certainly do so! We have reaped the benefits of being prepared for busy days, being able to eat with sometimes limited pantry resources, preparing for guests, and staying within our budget. Until I made this task into a planned, beautiful ritual, it did not get done.
In doing laundry, I have incorporated beauty through my favorite scents. I often add essential oils of lavender or tea tree to the wash water, and use a dryer sachet that I scent with essential lavender oil. This makes washing and folding much more pleasant! Again, I turn on some favorite music while hanging and folding laundry. Gen is already participating in putting away her diapers and clothes with little help.
One of my longest-standing rituals is a candle-lit, essential oil-scented evening bath once a week. You can read about this ritual, and the products I use in this post.
By establishing beautiful rituals, much clutter and frustration is eliminated. I, along with my family, can know what tasks to expect. A life of simplicity involves recognizing the beauty in serving and blessing my family and friends, while listening to God’s guidance. If I have rituals in place to help me throughout my week, I can focus more on others on a daily basis, instead of my own busyness. Do you have treasured rituals, or have hopes for new ones? I’d love to hear!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these Simple Living narratives so far! I love what you’re doing here! I’m kind of in the first of your stages. We’ve been married almost five years, bought after two years of marriage, are waiting for the blessing of kids, and have been working two jobs with two cars, until recently. My husband is currently unemployed, however, we did sell off both cars and bought one more reliable car for us to share. We look forward to him being able to find a full-time job that enables me to come home and raise a family.