Next month this blog will be four years old.
I remember lying in bed, unable to sleep, trying to come up with a name for this space. I wanted something that would convey where I was in my life at the time: a slightly overwhelmed mother of a somewhat neurotic child, wife to an overstressed man. We were staring into the abyss of a 3000 mile move back home with the hopes of spending some precious time with my husband’s weakening father. The sailing, it was not smooth.
We had each other.
In more ways than it was bad my life was good. The trick was to take the time to notice.
I challenged myself to see the joy, and when that failed, to see at least the humor, in my daily doings and write them. When I write my thoughts, they grow from abstract to concrete, from puppet to real boy. They live.
The challenge was then, and still is, to find that sweet spot. To seek out and hold the simple joys in the midst of life’s chaos.
It came to me that sleepless night, the name I was seeking: Frantically Simple.
And so we moved home. We settled into our new, old lives. We renewed old friendships and spent time with family. Walt and I decided that a Newt might be happier if she were homeschooled. We got a dog. I wrote. Sometimes people would mention to me that my life looked so easy. I only had one child, after all, and I seemed to have it all together.
I didn’t see what they saw. My life was happy, yes, because I chose to make it so, but not easy. I felt like a hummingbird, frantically beating its wings. No one could see how much effort it took to fly…
I adopted a new tag-line: It only looks easy.
Walt’s dad died. I grew to love my mother-in-law. The economy dived and took with it a large portion of our income. Newt gained confidence and most of her anxieties disappeared. We experienced the love of learning together. I lost my best friend. My husband and I grew closer than we had felt in years. Our dog died. We got a puppy.
It’s still hard.
I’m still choosing to be happy.
I don’t feel like that hummingbird anymore. I don’t know if my life looks easy to others or not. Frankly, I don’t care what it looks like: I know what it is.
I have a new tag-line: I meant to do that.
These days, I realize that it not enough to merely notice those moments that give joy and meaning to my life, I must create them.
It may sound like an oxymoron, but creating a life of simplicity is hard work.
It takes effort to prepare a healthy meal, to create a space where your family has time to gather around the table and be nourished in body and spirit.
It takes effort to be present in your children’s education, whether by homeschooling or by volunteering in the classroom and the PTA.
It takes effort to turn off the noise, to close the laptop and to become still enough to hear God.
Simplicity is hard work, sometimes even frantically so.
I’m grateful to you, my readers, new and old. Thank you for being here with me, for reading and commenting as I talk endlessly about myself. I have made several real friendships through this space, and I look forward to many more in the years to come. You inspire me.