Live Simply, Give More, Expect Less

Today I spent a really cool day with my sister Fran.

It started off with coffee in (basically) our pyjamas after school drop off. What was meant to be a quick catch up, ended up in a whole day of being together! Grazing on food, weeding my winter lawn and folding my laundry. We haven’t done this in a while, so it felt so nice to have someone to keep me company and help me with daily chores. This is her thing, she finds joy in helping others, even though she has the same fate waiting for her at home. She is incredibly considerate and her love language is acts of service, her actions reminded me of today’s Saint and gave me inspiration for my Monday post.

Fran looked up at this beautiful hand lettering from the talented Joy Adan and said ‘that’s totally you!’

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Why yes, it is totally me! That’s why it’s one of the few decorating items in my house! I felt so proud that as my sister she recognised these qualities in me. What a compliment!

So here are three little tipiroonies for you today. I think the original quote is from Rita Zahara, and to be honest I don’t know what context she said it in, but here’s how I live by it.

  1. Simplify your life
  2. Give your time, treasure and talents
  3. Simplify your expectations.

Simplify your life. I don’t have it all sorted, let’s just start off with this, but I feel like I live quite simply. I started with five foot piles of laundry in every room, overstuffed drawers, clothes on the floor, unfolded clean laundry piles, laundry in the washing machine and laundry in storage. It’s safe to say laundry made me want to be a minimalist the most. But obviously it didn’t stop there. Mountains of dishes. Loads of makeup. Knick knacks in every drawer. Letters and piles of paperwork and junk mail on a counter top or stuffed in a drawer. Decorating items collecting dust. Toys, oh the toys! In every corner and stacked up high! I didn’t think I was a hoarder, but when I couldn’t keep up, I knew something had to change. To add to my desire to change, was that I was lazy. I can look at something and deem it too hard to tackle and procrastinate until I have a mental breakdown. It’s bad character to want to enjoy a clean house without putting in the work. I just didn’t have the discipline or felt that I had better things to do with my time than to clean, especially with four young children, so a clean house was a futile challenge. Since simplifying my household items, life has been easier to manage. I can enjoy a tidy home after about 10 to 30 minutes of cleaning because I have less stuff.

Give your time, treasure and talent. Again, I don’t have it all sorted, let’s just start off with this, but I feel like we (my husband and I) have created a life we want to live by giving. Previously, I never saw the merit in tithing (giving to the planned program at church) nor was I consistent with supporting any charity that I had been cornered into a direct debit with (sorry World Vision). I was definitely stingy with my time and would not easily lend a hand (I just sound like the best kind of person right now). I was always about how I can stretch a dollar so I can purchase the next thing, or so that I can pay off store credit or my credit card and I was always hiding behind the excuse that I had lots of mouths so my finances were too stretched and so was my time. My sister Rosina was always generous of her time, talent and treasure (so this lesson is courtesy of her, I have the best sisters by the way). Since simplifying my life, I have been able to clearly understand the merit in where finances should be invested. Being a practising Catholic the answer for us, is in the kingdom of God and in helping those less fortunate. Now, because my husband and I have decided to simplify our lives so we can live on one income and we can maximise time with our young children, we cannot give as much as we would like, but the good Lord knows that what we give, is more of a sacrifice, than the change we used to give when we were earning more money. This type of mentality, mortification has helped us form a generous nature. When we can’t give financially we give of our time or talent to church, to charity and to our loved ones.

Simplify your expectation. Now the reason, I don’t have it all sorted, is because I expect less of myself. I am a work in progress, we all are. If we don’t think we can improve than we are not growing. The difference is, I expect less of myself in the superficial dealings of life. I used to tried to keep up with the Jones’. I tried to keep up with society’s cookie cutter life plan. I tried to keep up with the seemingly perfect mums and dads at school. My husband said it loud and clear one year. The only person you need to impress, is God. This sounds a little general and cliche, perhaps against our nature to not want to compete, but it doesn’t get any simpler than this.

Minimalism has allowed me to expect more of my soul and expect less of the world. 

There is so much peace and freedom in having a life goal that is not focused on what we gain materially in this lifetime. So much of my own important work as a mother and a wife has been achieved by living simply, giving and expecting less and it reminds me of today’s Saint Salvius of Albi (9 September). He was originally a lawyer before entering the monastery, he enjoyed the hermit life but was appointed a Bishop and died caring for the sick during an epidemic. I imagine that he could have had a wonderful life otherwise, but he chose to live in the peace and freedom of having a goal for his soul. He lived with a simple goal and that made him a Saint.

I pray this little reflection brings a sense of peace that comes from being able to separate yourself a little farther from the world. Most importantly bring you closer to God Almighty (who is love).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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