What Does Simple Mean?

What does it mean? The “simple” life?

I’ve been using that term for years. If you know me, or have sat beside me at a dinner party, or made conversation with me in the grocery store line, or if you’ve been reading this blog, well, you know that’s what I say. “I’m after the simple life.” 
Yes, yes, but truth be told, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I don’t even know what that means.
Can you enlighten me? I’m asking you, dear readers, the experts, the ones who know this stuff so well. Y’all have done it, or are doing it, or are dreaming about it. Tell me.
What is the “simple” life to you?
I thought about all of this as I worked with the grapes.

The grapes I brought home from our mountain farm.
The grapes that are growing up the middle of a Hemlock tree in the sideyard that will soon die (as it is being attacked by those aphids that are killing all the Hemlocks.)
The grapes that we just about broke our necks picking.

The grapes with the skins that had to be removed.

The grapes that then had to be seeded.

And then cooked.



And processed.

And made into jelly.

And I thought: making grape jelly is definitely not simple.
And I thought further: this whole “simple” life dream I’ve been talking about for so long doesn’t seem so simple either.
Right now it seems pretty darn complicated. And full of the unknown. As in, I have no idea what I’m doing. Tell me, is the “simple” life really simple? Or is it mis-named?
I think too much. Believe me, I know that. All airy-fairy when I’m in my non-professional hat.
See this? It’s a dandelion (or some such) seed caught in a spider’s web. For some reason, I feel like that today.

It’s like all that stuff we do when we are young because we don’t know any better; we don’t have any idea what we’re really getting into. We don’t know how tough it is. We just do it. Because it sounds good at the time.
It’s like waiting for that “perfect” time to have children. There’s never a perfect time. It you wait for that, then you’ve waited too long. Won’t happen.
Maybe my husband hit the nail on the head some years ago when I was talking on and on about the “simple” life. He said “I think you just want to live in the ’60’s in Mayberry. That’s not possible.”
Maybe. When I think of the “simple” life, that’s really what I think of.
That and my Grandma living on a farm and growing her own food, raising chickens and cows. Shelling peas on the rocking chair on the front porch. Making biscuits. Always made time for visitors. No rush, rush, rush. She always looked good too. Dress. Lipstick. Earrings.
It seems so complicated to me now. I mean, in terms of simplicity….The “simple life” doesn’t seem so “simple.”
It seems really tough. Like. You know. I like indoor plumbing. And this computer. And high heels.
I’m thinking maybe I’m using the wrong term. Maybe it is the “country” life I dream of?
So help. What is the “simple” life? And is it really “simple”?

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, Rebekah, the City Farmgirl

  1. HeartFelt says:

    Simple is to rise above the pressures of our consumerism-rooted society and take the time to enjoy the things that are nearest and dearest to you. Enjoying the things money cannot buy. The cost-free pleasures. Taking the time every day to dance. To dance with life. Hug your children, gaze up at clouds, daydream. Tell those around you how much you love them, and mean it with all your heart. 

  2. Marlene says:

    This is a really great question. I have lots of ideas and tidbits to throw in. But I’m getting dinner ready. And I’ve had a sip or two of wine, already. So I will look forward to reading other comments, and contributing my own.

    Tomorrow. No wait, Wednesday. Tomorrow, a great friend and I are going to explore an historical farm in our area. A day of gossip, love, hiking, farm-fresh produce, and Victorian-era gardens. And wine, maybe.

    Now, that’s one example of the simple life. Taking time for it.

  3. michele says:

    You’re doing it girl.
    Simple means making that jelly so you know where the grapes came from and what is in the jelly and you can smugly realize that you are not putting money in some multinational food giant’s pocket by making your own.
    And, this winter, when you make your morning toast, you can just reach into the pantry and pull out a jar of your own yummy homemade jelly.
    No trip to the store for you

  4. Sylvia says:

    As long as we realize simple doesn’t equal easy, then what is simple is what we do with love and because we want too. Like making jelly or canning our own produce from our garden or knitting a sweater where the yarn alone costs more than it would to go buy a sweater. It’s doing the things we love to do for our family and friends with our own hands. Putting a bit of ourselves into every project.

  5. Cherie says:

    This is a great question. I think we long for a time and place that seems simpler to us but might have been difficult. We spend so much time these days trying to keep all the balls in the air. Maybe the simple life is focusing on the activity at hand. Your grandmother shelling peas on the porch for example. Did she spend time thinking about getting your dad to his soccer game or what she was going to wear to her husbands office party or how many spreadsheets she had to fill in before her boss was happy? Maybe it was the ability to just sit, rock and enjoy the afternoon – still accomplishing something but not rush, rush, rush.

    Just a thought….

  6. joyce says:

    Simple life. To me it means doing what you really love to do around the house. Growing a vegetable garden, freezing and sharing-I havent’ started canning yet. Having venison in your freezer and making your own deer jerky. Having chickens run to the gate when they see you coming because they hope for some interesting food (I havent’ figured out how to tame them yet.) Taking those new tote bags that are sold for $1 and paintng them and embroidering them with a friend’s hobbys and interests in mind and giving on no special occasion.
    But how can this work for you in your city? Container gardens, buying fresh eggs from somewhere, and finding your favorite homey craft and doing it. Knitting on a cold winter’s night and then wrapping a new scarf around your neck and wearing it outside with the pride that you did it yourself! I am glad you got the make the jelly! It will be a great memeory and yummy for a long time.

  7. Angela says:

    For some reason, this post made me cry. I feel like that seed caught in the spider web too. I have potential, but I’m caught. Debt. Thank you for your words. I don’t live the simple life, but am working to. By simple I mean back to the basics. Let’s hope we find a way to do it.

  8. mary piontek says:

    Simple. I love that word too. I have to all around my house on rustic signs on the walls. To remind myself….. but your right what it is?? I got chickens this past year…. because even though I am in an "urban" area I wanted to have a bit of the "simple life" and you know what… it wasn’t simple. No, there was a coop to buy, and chicks to raise, then feed to select…. then I had to fight my city( so far the farmgirl in me has been victorious!)….. but now its all calmed down a bit… I think I see what the "simple" life is……..its going out to the coop in the morning to fetch the first egg…. or watching the chickens scratching in the dirt. Somehow the plain things in life are often overlooked, yet they are the things that bring us the most joy. Being able to see the awesome in the ordinary is the first step to living the "simple life" : )

  9. Marcia says:

    SIMPLE~~Easy to understand, deal with, use, not elaborate or artificial, not ornate or luxurious, unaffected, unassuming, not complex or complicated, mere, bare, sincere, innocent, common or ordinary, plain, unpretentious, humble, lowly, and more~~YIKES!!!~~American College Dictionary~~~~~No where did it say that hard work was not needed~~~~However, we have the fruit of our labor~~~~~Continue on!!

  10. Nancy says:

    According to Websters Dictionary one definition of Simple is:
    "of humble origin or modest position". Based on that,I think you are on the right path for "simple". I admire your energy in blending all the parts of your life, but I wonder … you said "the grapes I brought from our mountain farm" I’m guessing if you had done the whole grape, jelly, process in your "simple life" you wouldn’t have thought it was sooooo labor intensive, because your busy city life wouldn’t have been making you feel like you had sooo much More to be done. Just keep "smelling the roses" whenever you can! You’re Doing Great!

  11. mellee says:

    My simple life involves one minus all the "trappings" we so aspired to back in ’80’s. Back then, is was all about more; more money, and all the things that went with it. Your neighbor got a big house, you got a bigger one with a pool. Your buddy got a boat, you bought a yaght. And oh, the cars. Car salesmen should have stood outside of the carpool line and just handed out their cards with all the volvos, beemers, mercedes, and the occasional jaguar thrown in for good measure. It was about dressing your best, even if you are working in a garden. That pretty much sums up the whole grand time; appearances were everything. No matter that you were into hock up to your eyeballs or weren’t even happy for that matter. Then in the late ’90’s I started reading about this movement to simplify your life. I really liked what I was reading! It reminded me of my childhood and that things had been so much better then. So I have really been making it my goal in life to get back to that simplier time. Was it work? Sure, but it was a good kind of work. This fall I will be moving, with my city family, back to the country that I grew up. I am so looking foward to the chicken coop I am going to build, and the milk cow I plan to put up in our old barn. This spring there won’t be a little city garden; I am going whole hog into the gardening! There will sacrifices and more work, but boy, I can’t wait!

  12. Dianne says:

    I think I found the "simple" life last summer. Hubbee and I rented a little cottage on one of the Finger Lakes. It was VERY small but yet had everything we could want really. Clean,neat and tidy. No clutter. I "loved" it. I have the big house with all the "things" but I would trade it all tomorrow for the little cottage.

  13. Kymm says:

    Simple is simply cutting out the crap. Sorry for the bluntness, but hon, you really are overthinking this.

    The last time I traveled, I experienced a delay of several hours, during which time my worldly goods were reduced to what I had with me–a backpack with my "survival basics" of water, an apple, some knitting, my book, a few travel essentials (clean socks and unders always go with me in my carry on!) and my purse. The purse was overkill. Everything I really needed or wanted was in that backpack. That’s simple. You decide what is essential and get rid of the overkill. My simple may look radically different from yours, but the great thing is, we each get to define it for ourselves.

  14. Gabrielle Chilton says:

    I think the simple life is individual to each of us. However, my idea of the simple life is, no matter where you live in this world you live in the "moment". Not easy or always possible but do able. Living the simple life is doing what love at your leisure. Not sweating the small stuff. Having your bills paid and only having the bills that are essential to sustaining a simple life. Like the creature comforts, home mortgage paid off or nearly( yes it is do able),utilities to run your house hold. Good Friends that enjoy being around. A dog or two. I life well spent.

  15. Shery says:

    Dear Rebekah, I’m so glad you fearlessly addressed this topic! I feel kinda guilty every time I read "simplifying" success stories. I’m a "simplify" LOSER. The word "simplify" is all around us…in sayings we read everywhere these days, its a trendy buzzword thing and you also see it applied to all kinds of home decor items etc. I don’t find it in MY life though. There is nothing simple about living a full life (in my opinion)and thats what I want…not a simple life. Your Grandma didn’t have a simplified life either from the sounds of it…(to my way of thinking anyway). But, I do think there’s something our Grandmas knew that helps a person deal peacefully with the noisy, busy life.

    I don’t want to succumb to "Life" crowding me into a corner so that I lose my peace. THAT is what I believe the secret weapon is. Organize the "busy" and then keep it from springing a leak. Not easy, but do-able. Oh sure, there are days when it’ll get away from you, but you just take a broom and beat it back into into submission…rather than let it do that to YOU.

    I’m 54 and maybe by the time I’m 80 I’ll have mastered the method. I can’t seem to say No to things that maybe I should, so I’m always caught in "too many irons in the fire". You’re husband is right. You don’t really get to win the war on busy, you just get to organize your choices and MAKE things a little less crowded in your little corner of a very busy world. And, every morning brings a whole new list of things to deal with. Anxiety is the real enemy and his hideout is within. Deal with that nasty little nemesis and "Simplify" becomes a whole lot simpler.
    ~ shery jespersen

  16. Shery Jespersen says:

    OH…just one more thing. I giggled with you on the Grapes thing. Just last night, my husband and I washed and bagged 15 1/2 pounds of grapes! I do not want to deal with them right now…nor the 13 pounds of Nanking cherries I picked a month ago that are sleeping in the freezer. My mama said, "I don’t know that you can freeze grapes though." Crud! But, I went to the internet and did a quick search…Lo & behold, you CAN. YES! That simplified my life a lot. Never underestimate the power of procrastination. It can cause problems, yes, but SOMEtimes it answers the need. When our weather winters up, my jelly/jam projects will get done. Today, it is clean the barn and my folk’s flower beds out. Onward and upward. Thanks again for making me feel a whole lot better about being a simplifying loser. I needed it :o) Shery J

  17. Kay says:

    Michele took the words out of my mouth…when I can my zucchini relish every summer or hang the clothes on the line, it isn’t easier, just better. I believe it is a state
    of mind.

  18. Cori says:

    Simple means less ingredients to me. So to live simply you take a lot of "stuff" out of your life. Less ingredients. Less to dust, less to clean, less running around to do, less worrying(such as having bills paid), more enjoyment in what you do have and only doing those things that are enjoyable. Now I know certain things have to be done that you might not enjoy so much but keeping those things to a minimum and rewarding yourself when you accomplish them. That’s living simply to me.

  19. carol branum says:

    Hi Rebecca,To me it means not being so worldly.When I was a little girl we went to church and people were so different back then,but think about it,those older people did not have or grown up with television ect.We used to use the word "WORLDLY"at church,no one today even knows what I am talking about when I say the word "worldly."Quite frankly I go home after a church service today feeling a little upset…cell phones ring,and peoples conversations and even the preacher is discussing something of this world.I am not there to hear about the latest football game or what was on Sienfield last night,or to hear the preacher say he went to the comic book store.Sometimes I just go home in discuss.When I was a child,I am 53 years old,peoples conversatations we about nature.Life was calm,we shared our homes with good home grown fresh food,and our homes were for entertainment,the church was not a basketball court or resturant.Life was just different,we did not need to go to prom in a 3 thousand dollor dress,our moms sewed our dresses,we didn,t need cable tv.We did not see the latest movie,and resturant were a treat,candy and oranges in our stocking at xmas was a treat.Going to town was a treat.I never left the farm at all all summer,we swam in the creek or pond.That my dear is the "Simple Life"The work was hard,but people were to tired to mess up their marriages.To tired to go to town and charge up a credit card that they can,t pay for.They did not live beyond their means.Ok enough ranting,have a great day!carol Branum,Lamar Mo.themofarmersdaughter.blogspot.com

  20. Simple means that you can pronounce all the ingredients in what you eat, and better if you know the farmer who grew the ingredients or grew some yourself. Simple means that you know you don’t need a factory to have jelly, because you can do it yourself. Think about it, what’s easier, DIY jelly or building a jelly factory? I raise my own chickens and butcher a few ourselves in the back yard. It’s not easy, but I don’t need that perdue factory with their conveyer belts and bleach. That’s what simple means, it means not being afraid of inconvience. I do prefer the term "Quaint" because "simple" gets confused with "easy" so often.

  21. Neeter says:

    Thanks to all for posting, I have been asking this same question lately, I do remember things being more "simple" when I was growing up. We didn’t have modern conveniences, no disposable diapers, no microwave, no washer or dryer, no cell phones, no cable tv, and a few times no running water. We have so many conveniences these days to "save us time & work", to make our lives easier, but life gets more & more hectic often with no end in sight because we continue to cram as much into a day as we can. We need take action and make decisions to pare things down to a reasonable level. I tried to be superwoman for so many years, the do-it-all, have-it-all mentality, well sometimes it backfires, affects your health and mental wellness. I really appreciate everyones thoughts here, very helpful and insightful. I have stacks of books I want to read, sewing projects I would love to make some progress on but there is just not enough time or energy to do it all. Well, we can’t go back in time, we can only go forward, and the reality is like my mom always said " You make your bed, so now you have to sleep in it" Does anyone else have good old fashioned common sense sayings they heard when they were growing up ? Times were so hard, but I do miss it, our family was close-knit. I remember my mom hanging clothes on the line in freezing weather until her hands would bleed, there was no such thing as dining out, everything was made from scratch and she canned and froze everything she possibly could to feed her six kids. We wore hand-me-downs and patched up clothes. I guess I have felt the need to "never be poor again" so over-acheivement became a way of life.

  22. Debbie says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    Today, I’m right there with ya in that Dandelion seed caught in the web feeling…Personally, I think it has something to do with transitioning from late summer into a new season! I’m always a little blue to see summer end, but at the same time I adore September and I always have a big burst of energy right before the lights go down in late October…Nope, September is NEVER a simple month at our house. I am known to franticaly finish up projects and start new ones that I know won’t see fruition until spring. We begin a new " homeschooling year " at this time of yeartoo. This will be our tenth! We also help " tend " our elders on both sides and that’s not simple either, but it is rewarding…I always have the best feeling when I help someone else in kindness even if it means nothing got done at my house that day.
    I think I want what isn’t simple at all… a FULL life like Shery J. but with out the stress and anxiety! That being said, our family gets a real good taste of the simple life in our off-grid beach cottage each summer. There, life really is simple! No clutter, lighter clothes and temps sweep away heavier thoughts and those sudden chills that surprise us all in life. Yep, it’s in a summer cottage where I do simple the best!
    Now, about your grapes… You go girl! That wasn’t simple at all, but neither is anything that brings you a deep satisfaction. Maybe just daydreaming about a " simpler " life is stress reducing?

    Or, read a recent post on my blog titled An Honest to Goodness Cottage Kitchen where I prepared some " simple" recipes using Mary Jane’s Budget Mix… now, that was simple and delicious!

    When you figure out the secret to simple…let your farmgirl friends know about it!
    Thanks for making me REALLY think about what simple really is.


  23. The urgent can’t trump the important. I long for simplicity. And I am really making a go of it. But as a home educator of 4 children and being new to farming, I don’t get many quiet afternoons. So I do what I can to say no to good things to make way for the great. If at the end of the day, I have fed the humans and the animals, schooled the kids, communicated with my husband, loved the people in my life and taken some quiet time alone, then that’s a good day!

  24. Carol in NC says:

    I’ve been pondering this a lot. We just sold our farm and while part of me is sad, I find myself wondering what I want to really do. We office from our home and can go anywhere which can be exciting, but it makes it harder to come to a decision and not keep second guessing ourselves. I will not miss the weeds, the kudzu and honeysuckle battle, the dust of a dirt road, but I will miss my horse, the quiet, the cool air, the freedom and privacy of having room and space. I will certainly miss my elderly neighbor and her gardening advice!

    So it comes to this. For me, simplifying means realizing that I don’t have to do everything from scratch. I can go the the farmer’s market. I can buy honey, not grow the whole darn hive. I can buy great soap. If I want to ride I can use a lesson horse at the Biltmore. In my mind I would rather do it all myself but somehow finding contentment makes it just as real. Well, almost.

  25. Lynette says:

    I have been reading a book on simplicity and one of the quotes from G. K. Chesterton is:

    "There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less."

    This quote has not left my mind. Our culture demands almost an obsessive alliance with "stuff" to determine our worth. My goal is to desire less and not keep up with the demands of the culture. This truly is not always an easy thing, but for myself, a very worthwhile thing.

  26. Wendy says:

    My goal of achieving the "simple life" is one I work toward every day. And sometimes it is WORK. But I know it will be worth every effort. Tryng to convince my husband and teenage children, who love to aspire to the latest and greatest everything, is the biggest challenge of all. To me, simple means bringing your "wants" and "needs" closer together. I often ask my children when they bring up their latest "want", "But how much do you really ‘need’ it."
    I know that my grandparents worked extremely hard and faced monumental hardships, all the time praying for their children and grandchildren to have easier lives. Ironically, the "easier" lives have caused more stress due to overbooked schedules and mounting debt.
    I don’t want the lives my grandparents had, I do want their spirit, tenacity and good common sense. I want their willingness to help their neighbor and their ability to make the best of whatever situation comes along.
    I simply believe that this is a "want" that we all "need".

  27. Nicole White says:

    What is the simple life- that is a very personal question the answer will be different for each of us. Years ago I read the book “seven habits of highly effective people”. I was a young army wife with three children under the age of six just starting to home school. Now the oldest child is 22 and the youngest of five is 11, three are still at home, all have been home schooled. In the 23 years of marriage there have been 16 moves, some over oceans, some across country, two involving moving my father-in-law too (he provide the funding we did ALL the other work). Are these things simple- No. But, what I took from the book “seven habits” was the creation of a mission statement it is quite simple and has served me well all this time:


    Basics- is what I’m doing or including in my (our) life necessary or essential? Not just in the realm of food, shelter, clothing, BUT also art, laughter, fun, community, education, etc… Some days that is making our pizza from scratch, everyone pitching in on other days, because we’ve had music classes and sports games or a family hike, it means picking up the pizza from the restaurant. Some years it’s sending out personal family Christmas letters to all our friends, other years, like the year three close family members had cancer and one passed away, letters were sent in the spring.

    Order- if I stick to the basics it is much easier to keep things in order and to manage time. Our home is by no means a showcase, we will let mopping the floor wait if it is a sunny day, we will shove things in the closet and call it good enough so we can visit with a friend or help a neighbor. But again this goes back to the basics- what is essential- the spotless floor or a romp outside with the kids before they have all moved on?

    Peace- when I stick to the basics and keep things in order we have peace- a calm feeling of contentment. Oh yes, we have days when the 90 lb dog is sick all over the carpet, the car won’t start and the 11 year old refuses to do his math but by the end of the day we can give hugs all around, take a deep breath and go forward.

  28. Carolina says:

    Don’t confuse simple with easy :-). Sometimes our lives are hectic, always running around, never seeming to get things done! And that is with all our "modern" conveniences! Imagine what it would be without cars, TV, cell phones, microwaves, automatic washing machines, automatic diswasher, vacuum cleaners, toasters……you get the idea. The simple life is going backe to what life was…living. Even a hundred years ago the city life was not as hectic as today, but work hours were horrid. Doctors were not as "specialized" as today, and the only need for plastic surgery was if you severly burned or disformed!
    I am not a city girl, never have been one, but I have lived in Los Angeles to go to school 🙁 When I left, I had to make choices, do I want the riches and all that goes with the high paying jobs but not live? Then again, I can go back to the simple life, where I raise my own food, make my tortillas, buy in bulk to save money, never see those premiere movies but wait til the library has them and see them at home? I chose the later. I must say, I have not missed not going out to the movies, or going to fancy restaurants. I love to sew, and I can work on my passion and be content with my simple life style and the joy I have living it. I must admit, in the city I had more material goods, but no time to enjoy them or my family. Life is so short, I decided that family was a priority.
    Strive for your simple life, and enjoy the life your in now. That is the only way you can say you can reach your goal of that simple life.

  29. Teresa says:

    A cozy, comfortable, uncluttered home…fresh flowers in an old crystal vase on the kitchen counter…a buttercream –scented candle burning…snuggling with my dog…reading a good book…writing in my journal…working on a quilt…enjoying a dinner out with friends…or a dinner at home with hubby…or sharing homemade ice cream with my nieces.
    Having the time to enjoy these activities is key for me. The gift of time is priceless. It meant sacrificing to attend graduate school so I could shift from one job with a horrendous commute (90 minutes each way) to a career I truly enjoy with the ability to work 15 minutes from home. It means living beneath my means, saving money and avoiding debt so I don’t spend precious time worrying (as much) about financial matters. Being careful with my money means I also have a little extra to enjoy bi-weekly maid service…again, the gift of time. Mom always told me having money gives one choices. She was so right.
    Simplicity also means knowing what you really want. While I adore wide open spaces and the great outdoors, I’m a city girl at heart (just not one as big as Atlanta). It made the decision to turn down the offer of land by the in-laws in the family compound a lot easier. I love visiting the rural area in which they live, but that’s not a lifestyle either my husband or I want.

  30. aurelie higgins says:

    When I was a child the milkman came to the door, the breadman twice a week and the produce truck on Satuday. Saturday morning meant catching up with the housework so that we all went to the grocery store in the afternoon. My mother stayed home and we came home from school for lunch, hot soup and a sandwich. We played outside summer and winter with not game boy, computor or cell phone. We ran the neighborhood and no one worried about perverts on every corner, although I am sure they were there, there were neighbors that looked out for us and let us know when we were up to no good. I did not know about sex until I was in high school and the racy TV show was Elvis on the Ed Sullivan show. Food was homecooked, because there were not the frozen foods we have now, our clothes fit in the closet because we only had a few outfits. The clothes were on the line and smelled good when you put them on and my mother had time to sit at the side fence and visit with the neighbor lady over a cup of coffee. I never knew her to be bored and if she was she walked to the library to get a good book. While I am sure that not everyone remembers such idealic pasts, I long for some sense of the lifestyle we had then, never much money but there were also no credit card bills. The advancements of today surely help the medical fields and science, but I am not sure that they have contributed to a happy lifestyle, just a more complicated one…with more to knwo, remember and understand. I have a friend that is Amish, her lifestyle is not easy and there is a lot of work to be done. But she is happy, contented and raising a good family. While I do not want to go back to no plumbing or hot water, to a horse to get to the other side of town, some of the self sufficient ideals that they have do indeed lead to a more simple life…I life I am very envious of. Pastor Lee higgins

  31. carolj says:

    Mayberry in the 1960’s is a great picture of the simple life. Everything seemed so clear in that series. Standards of decorum and morals and behavior were delineated. Men were leaders; women were feminine and strong. I think that’s why we long for that day.

    Today I think a simple life can be attained by finding "true north" on our moral compasses. Once we choose that path and trust God to guide and direct us all other priorities seem to line up. Yes, there will be bumps along the way, but we will be making decisions based on clear standards.

    As for making jelly or sewing an apron–not everything is as simple as it appears, but what joy and pleasure to have the finished project to keep or give away. There is a difference between "simple" and "easy."

  32. Debbie says:

    Funny you should ask. I just completed a survey from MaryJanes Farm regarding my choice of the next magazine cover. My first thought upon reviewing the 4 selections came quickly as I voted for number 1. Why? My first thought was WOW! the green of the Christmas tree was so vivid and for just a moment, it was as though I could bask in the smell of sweet pine that would envelop this tree as though it were dressed in the best of Christmas finery. Dangling with such grandeur precision, the lone hand crocheted snowflake seem to warmly invite me in to experience its icy chill and to fill my heart with warm fuzzy thoughts of the coming holidays.

    The magazine cover, while very simple, seem to speak volumes encouraging one to slow down, reflect and renew their appreciation for the simple things in life that more often than not turn out to be the finer things in life.

    To summarize, I would have to say, "Throughout the journey of life, it has been proven at least to me, that "Less while simple, is More." For that, I am very grateful.

    Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. I hope the next time you see a snowflake or take in the scent of Christmas, you too will have a better understanding of what it means to not only live but to enjoy the simple life.

    Farmgirl Sister 1185
    their appreciation for the simpler

  33. Colette says:

    I think for all of us the term "the simple life"has different meanings. For myself it is full, easy on the mind, fruitful to all of my senses,home made or made by a local, sometimes wild while other times peaceful and quiet but always filled with the glow of love from my family and friends. It’s a chance meeting with a person who wants to share just for the sake of sharing a good lesson or thought and in turn is open to my crazy musings!

  34. TJ says:

    For me, "simple" means not measuring myself against the rest of the world; being centered in God and at peace with my peeps! I’m a Retro Mom and cook and can and preserve and freeze and garden and knit and those sort of things… but my bigger desire is to provide, myself, with my own two hands, good food and loving kindness to my family.

    I don’t want things like homecooking to go the way of the typewriter!!!

  35. pam says:

    To me the simple life is paring down your life stuff, activities, even relationships down to what’s most important to me…sometimes giving up a good thing so I can have and the best thing for me at this time in my life…I love having a kitchen garden and canning and lots of flowers but this summer I gave that up because I knew I wouldn’t have time to really take care of it and I would be frustrated about it…I’m purging my stuff so I can spend less time taking care of it (cleaning and organizing) and let my Roomba do more of the work! I gave up my guest bed since I rarely have overnight guest and I’m using that space for a uncluttered relaxing exercise room I can use everyday…I love to read but realized my home just isn’t big enough to keep everyone I like so I donated some to my local library and some to Goodwill…I have some I will never part with and now I’m downloading books to a Kindle and I don’t have to stress about overloading my space with books…

  36. Kristy says:

    It’s not the simple life-it’s simply life. I think what we are really looking for are things we value, the things we will remember. Everything we make contributes to the quality of our life. It’s valuable. The challenge is to pick the things we will value most. What will you remember when you are old? The time you spent with and for the people you love. You will remember time you spent learning to do something you always wanted to try and also what works for you.

    You won’t remember all those trips to the grocery store for grape jelly and store bought bread.

    My dad really liked homemade bread. He compared recipes, tried variations, made bread, hotdog and hamburger buns, English muffins and pizza crusts. He justified this labor by saying with all his kid’s he couldn’t afford to buy bread at the store. He started his bread after church on Sunday, every week for about twenty years. When he was retired and we were grown he made bread and gave it away. (Dad found a tree with grapes, much like yours, when I was in fifth grade and he did make the jelly, but it wasn’t his thing. He only made jelly once.)

    We can only decide what is rewarding for ourselves.

  37. Linda says:

    Simple life = No cell phone, computer, TV. Having a garden and canning what you can’t use right away. Making little waste, and recycling what we cannot re use. Writing letters. Taking time to breath and not think of anything but your breath. Looking around you and appreciating what your senses tell you about what you see, hear, feel,and taste. Loving one’s self and all those around you. Reading, dancing, singing, walking, riding a bike, for entertainment. Loving what is.

  38. Dawn Gardner says:

    I love all the sights, sounds and smells of autumn!
    To me, the ‘simple life’ is turning off the tv, getting rid of the clutter in your home, opening the windows and turning off the a/c, packing a picnic lunch instead of ‘eating out’ and doing something nice for someone.
    All of these little things will make your life simpler yet fuller.

  39. Faith says:

    Simple means not worrying too much about things that don’t matter. Learning that things don’t really ever matter.

  40. Kitty says:

    I’ve always tried to live simply. Sometimes are easier than others. It is a conscious decision to do with less, to enjoy the moment more. I’ve found my life is richer living this way.

  41. Pam James says:

    I enjoy all the comments, I think the simple life is what our life experience brings us. We develop our sense of what simple is for each of us. I grew up on a Indian Reservation in eastern Washington. We had no running water or indoor plumbing, we grew our own garden, hunted and fished. I never knew I was poor until I grew up. I remember taking all our old clothes and sitting with my gram, mom, and aunties and making quilts. I, like everyone grew up, went to college,got a career, married had children and joined the rat race. For years I longed for the simple life of my childhood, Not easy,but simple. Then a year and a half ago, I lost my job. Going from financial security to poverty was quite an adjustment. It got me to thinking of my childhood and here’s the opportunity to go back to the simpler life. Now I’m sewing, gardening and budgeting like a mad woman. Simpler may not be as easy, it is healthier, less stressful and inspires creativity. Simple is what you make it and unarguably good for the soul. Keep up the great work! In Spirit, Pam James

  42. Elaine says:

    Thanks for the post!

  43. Vickie says:

    Seeking simplicity is one of those things where the journey is as important as the end. I’m still seeking, but making progress every single day. That’s what counts.

  44. Deborah Bessom says:

    I enjoyed reading your article, as well as all of the comments thus far. Like many of you, I work a full time job. My heart, however, is to be a full time home exec. My children are grown, which I thought would automatically give me more time. It didn’t exactly happen like that. When I do things that I love, like gardening, quilting, baking,etc., I have to be willing to set up and then clean up. Most of the time just the thought of this exhausts me after a long week of work, but I so enjoy it when I make the effort.
    I simplify my life by taking mini "vacations" of a cup of coffee with a good magazine, enjoying a hot bath (daily), studying God’s Word(also daily) (not in that order). I also keep a growing area of unwanted items to take to the thrift store (making sure that I get them there). I have decided that I no longer want to babysit all of that stuff.

  45. LieliapeK says:

    I am planning an eco-friendly baby shower for my sister, and, trying so hard to think of different things to do. Anyway…… I came up with a wishing well where each guest will be asked to bring one organic jar of baby food, but I don’t know how to present it in invitations or at the shower? I searched and searched the internet and could NOT find anything to help, hoping you ladies can!!!!!!

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