Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Truth be told, this is "Early Monday Morning Tea". Hubby was using the computer during my prime pondering time yesterday to listen to a Bears game and then track his fantasy football statistics. He is playing against family this time as it is the week he and the world's best son-in-law face off. I hear it was tied the last time he checked.

I tried to write yesterday evening but the prose came off as a Dick and Jane primary reader so I gave up and finished White Christmas Pie. I'll write more about the book soon. I've been thinking a lot of the Amish lately. I guess partly because of books I've been reading and recipes I've been perusing... and rethinking through our trips to Shipshewana (Indiana) and Lancaster County (Pennsylvania) in late Spring.

Now, I'm not one to put them on a pedestal and say they are perfect, far from it. They are human and I'm sure in every family we will find the same sinful nature as we "English" show in our own homes. I'm certain we will meet people who are quite legalistic as well as the merciful. Just like in my own church. :)

But I still admire them. To choose a simple lifestyle in the age of computers, video games, twenty-four hour news channels, and FedEx shipping overnight... it takes courage and commitment. I love the way their very life is a daily reminder of their faith and the choices they have made.

I have a few pictures of Amish scenes hanging in my home. One is a print purchased by my husband long ago, a scene of an Amish barn raising. He liked it because of what it represents... unity, neighbors helping each other, fellowship, belonging... being God in the flesh for each other.

So, what does this mean to me in the midst of a somewhat normal 21st century life? Choices. What am I doing to make my life less chaotic, at least that part of my life in which I have some amount of control? I have no control over an economy falling apart, natural disasters, crime statistics, or living in a society that knows more about Paris Hilton than Jesus Christ.

If I choose a prime rib and champagne existence then I will have to do what is necessary to bring in enough income to live that life. If I decide that to be happy I must live in a house with 5,000 sq. ft. and vacation in Aruba each year... then I have to pay for it out of my time allotted each day.

Now some people are truly gifted from God with an abundance and that is not what I'm talking about and I think you can understand that. No... what I've come to realize (and remember I am a recovering Yuppie) is that we can choose a simple life and all that God provides for us as we do the work that is set before us without giving up family, friendships, community, and our time with Him. Without giving up what is truly living.

A couple of years after I left the corporate world, I realized that none of the projects I worked on... into the wee small hours of the morning at times... were in existence, anymore. At least not as when I worked on them. Some had morphed under another title but the world didn't fall apart when I left as I had been made to believe by the corporate culture in which I lived at the time.

We won't be making the choice to all dress alike and everyone live off the land. But there has to be at least one thing we can do this week to simplify our life in the long run and take us off the materialistic roller coaster ... purchase a little extra for the pantry, decide what is luxury and what is necessity, cook at home, strengthen a friendship, get to know a neighbor, watch less TV, throw away a catalog, spend less then we earn, start a scrapbook journal, ... ask God for wisdom.

Take care of each other, we're in for quite a ride but God is in control and we are in the palm of His hand.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

So many of us are going to have to change our lifestyles to weather the current crunch. I'm one of them and so I find your gentle teachings to be a big blessing. This is not the first time that such troubles have come to our country nor is it the first time I have seen great financial stress in my own life, but I can honestly say that the Lord has safely brought us through.

I love the simple lifestyle that the Amish live. Around here, it's the Shakers who live simply, but well. It is possible to live simply and live well, I believe. (And if I do not quite yet believe it, I hope fervently.)

charlotte said...

my heart sings right along with you brenda.
i teach a bible study and i presented to them that perhaps in the month of oct...just one measly month, they can give up going to coffee shops for coffee, especially if it is a daily coice that they make to head to a drive throw to pick up a cuppa java....
that is one way that i am choosing to live simply, by not buying into the system that we must have and cannot do with out certain things.
how crazy and gullable are we to allow advertisers swoon us over and become a debt ridden society!
i come from a mennonite heritage and i long to live a more simple life style, but that is easier said than done. i really enjoy your posts.

charlotte said...

sorry for the spelling mistakes, i am a lousy typist!!!!!

Bernideen said...

I really appreciate your thoughts and ideas!

Anonymous said...

There is a show on tonight about amish teenagers going wild at age 16. I'm not planning to watch it but I saw a similar show once. It's very strange to me that the amish keep such a tight control on their kids until they turn 16, but then turn them loose to "sow their wild oats" until they choose whether or not to stay in the amish faith. I delved into amish culture several years ago and didn't like what I learned-many of them aren't even saved. It was sad, having my bubble pop about "my" beloved amish. I do not rever them any longer.
p.s. Would you consider putting music on your blog that is instrumental or classical? I always have to mute my computer when I visit your blog, as I can't read and listen to singing at the same time!
I know....sad, isn't it?

diana said...

Brenda, I'm happy to finally get to post..for whatever reason never have..have been coming to your site since last year.. I especially love your ponderings on simple living, dealing with diabetes, living as a recovering yuppie, enjoying nature on someting as simple as the walk to the mail box and of course time spent with books, cats, and Starbucks. We are very different but have much in common. I'm diabetic-type 2 and struggling to lose weight but have been consistently ...slowly now for a couple of years(nearly 55 lbs). I too am a recovering corporate big wig yuppie..still work in the corporate world but more as a worker bee and satisfied with that. I get to work at home and steal minutes under my oak tree, reading , praying, watching squirrels chase each other and my beloved pets relax in the sun. Just wanted to say you have another kindred spirit here --in georgia. If there is anything I can do to give you info re diabetes let me know..i'm also a nurse cm.

Susan B said...

A very good post Brenda. I have admired the Amish lifestyle for many years. I think a simpler lifestyle is preferable. My husband and I are retired. Our life isn't too complicated, but there is always room to re-evaluate. Thank you.

Maggie Ann said...

Oh my, blogger just ate my comment! So, just a word to let you know I've come by. The Amish are truly remarkable but sinners that need to be we are. I just read two Wanda Brunstetter books (Going Home) and enjoyed them sooo much. I think their lifestyle must be very peaceful and then the novels, they seem to work from sun-up to sun-down. I would be worn to a nubbins.