Simplify, simplify.

I have struggled to make a first post to this blog; how can one posting sum up all that Adam and I want to share with the world? How could it encapsulate all that we are working for? I spent the last week mulling over these thoughts in the small moments of life, when washing dishes or on long car rides between relatives’ homes (on the holiday drive). What I realized, part way through, was that the answer was in front of me all along: simplicity.

The root word, simple is in our blog’s name, so that is a fitting place to start. As we said before, Adam and I both started our journeys toward better stewardship individually, and there is always one thought, one quote that I return to when I am trying to further myself along this path:

Our life is frittered away by detail…Simplify, simplify.

Henry David Thoreau wrote these words, and a great many other on the same topic that I wrestle with now. When I read this quote, I think about all the ways I spend my life, which tends to be played out through my choices in time, money, and other avenues. Living simply has a multitude of impacts that are hard to see before you’ve begun, though they are quite rewarding once your journey is on its way.

The first step in living a more simple stewardship of our lives (outside of food and growing it-which is our foremost love, perhaps), Adam and I took to the simplification of our belongings. The first attempt at this was a minor failure as we both had very different opinons on what we could give up from our home. Married only a year at that point, we were young (still are) and without large incomes. Giving up material things can appear to be a sort of risk. Indeed, our greatest disagreement over parting with the things in our posession was the “but what if we need this?” argument.

For example, one of the first places we attempted to cut down on material items was in our kitchen. We gave away two glass pie dishes, several stirring/serving spoons, 9×13 pans, among other things. All of these items we had twice the amount we have now, and yet, for almost every single thing, one of us asked “but what if we need this?” We certainly do not need four pie dishes, 10+ spoons, etc in our house, but the uncertainty that something would break, or there would be an event where we would need them, lingered over us. Still, we gave the items away on good faith, and have not missed them since.

After our first eventful process of trying to part with our belongings, Adam and I have found it easier each time we practice simplifying our life. About once a month now for the last half of a year we fill a box, backpack, or whatever else we have with items we do not need and donate them to thrift stores or wherever else they can best be reused. Now it is a challenge for us to stand in one room of our little home and search the corners for things we do not use and will not miss.

I have not missed a single thing I’ve given away, and in return I’ve recieved much more than I expected. With less things, cleaning takes less time, there is less clutter in our house, and there are less material goods for us to be distracted by. We now evaluate our purchases by a rule of “do we truly need this or will it bring us contentment in a meaningful way?” If the answer is no to either of these questions, then we do not need that thing in our life.

Our days make up our lives, and as we move forward, I find myself happier with less material things. It leaves me more free to pursue passions of mine, build greater relationships, and do well the work that I am meant to do. So friends, let us not let our lives be frittered away by detail, and instead choose to simplify, simplify.

 

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The Get-to-know-you bit

Hey everyone, Adam and Jenn here. We hope you’ll join us on our journey as we seek to become simple world stewards. You’re probably wondering how we got here. Well, we both grew up in the Wisconsin countryside, helping our parents through gardening, raising animals, and other various “country” activities. This time helped instill a deep love of the land that would later shape our lives. Moving onto college, we met in an Environmental Studies 101 course, and from there, began the journey towards realizing that our very separate, individual dreams actually paired together in an encouraging and beautiful way. Fancy that. So, post-college, we married, and have been doing the marriage thing for about 1 1/2 years now. We’ve used this time to dream together about how we can change the world, and we’re now settling on the desire to live and eat simply, and help others do the same.

The things you’ll find in this blog reflect our passions. Adam in particular cares about cheese, cooking, local food, upcycling (in a very raw form), and sustainability in the terms of everyday energy usage. Jenn, on the other hand, cares about food (in the growing sense more than the cooking sense), native landscaping, reducing chemical usage in everyday life, and sustainability in the sense of passing on knowledge to the next generation.

So there you have it, we’re just simple people sharing our life story.