So I guess the best way to begin is to get right to the point. They why behind it all. We were stressed. We were tired. We were over it, before we even knew what it was.
We have done a lot differently than many of our family & friends. I got married at 18 to my high school sweetheart, then waited 5 years to begin a family at the ripe old age of 23. We decided to begin fostering and ended up adopting our three amazing kids. Instant parents to three kids. Not for the faint of heart. Our family dynamics & extended family are delightfully complicated, but we rock it. We don’t hesitate to pile our kids in the car for a trip on a whim. We are a transracial family. We are a family of 5 living in 1500 square feet. You get it, we are doing many things “against the grain”.
What we were doing like so many was being BUSY. Chaotic. Burned Out. Working hard, playing hard. Having the kids in all the extracurriculars. We were chasing after the next thing, the next step. I read every book I could of how to do things “right” -parenting, finances, life, adoption, race, religion-you name it. I attended any meeting or event that I could. I found pride in being busy and involved. I often
felt feel guilty when people ask me to help with something and my answer is no (no matter how justified). I’m naturally a someone has to do it and I can kind of person. I was burning the candle at both ends. The term self care made me giggle. Who has time for that?!
Maybe a few years is just how long it takes to recover from the inevitable busyness that came with our life and the way we lived it. Maybe it was marrying early or being young parents with three littles. Maybe it was that we were parenting WHILE figuring ourselves out. Maybe I was just exhausted that every Target trip consisted of strangers saying “Wow, you have your hands full!” You know what was more full than my hands? My mind. My schedule. My to do list. I know this story would be more endearing if I said my heart, but I’m just a fan of keeping it real. LOVE my kids. Adore those
exhausting little cuties, but those first few years were hard. Did I mention instant parents to three at the age of 23?!
No matter what, 2016 is when it finally clicked. Something had to give. We were all frazzled, and in need of a hefty dose of peace and calm. Don’t get me wrong, we have amazing memories and had lots of fun. We also have a LOT of what we call “flying too close to the sun” moments. We wanted to do it all…and if I do it, I want to do it ALL THE WAY. All in. Then I came across this book, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest. The cover reads “Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living” and I immediately knew it was a must read. I purchased the audio book of course so I could listen while I did a million other things, and devoured it. This book changed so much for our family, but this was just the beginning of a journey to come.
I began to shift things to slow, intentional, simple. Our schedules, our meals, our home. I said no a lot more often. As Jen Hatmaker put it “any new yes I give right now means a no to my family and sanity” so I said “no” a lot more than I was comfortable with, but it was necessary. It.was.so.good. I put peace and family time before attending every event or making plans, even good ones. I made some rules about extracurricular activities and how much we committed to in our schedules. Little did I know my husband had also began his own journey of seeking the simple life and we were on the same page with shifting what we gave our time and “yeses” to. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t have it all figured out, we still have a lot to learn. We are on the right track for our family and our sanity though.
This doesn’t mean boring. This doesn’t mean we got rid of ALL our possesions. We just stopped keeping things out of nostalgia or guilt that aunt Gertrude may notice it’s missing. We stopped keeping things we MIGHT need that one time five years from now. We still have things, but they are things we love. We aren’t sacrificing. Quite the contrary, living simple means more free time, more peace, and more FUN. Living in a home that is easy to clean, where we can find our things, and that has a tiny mortgage means MORE. More travel, more adventure, and honestly more quality purchases when we do make them.
So this is our journey of moving from a fast paced and frantic life, to finding the joy in the simple things. Our family may be against the grain, but we are finding so much happiness and -dare I say- relaxation in the new simplified life we’re creating. I like to call us mediumists. No that isn’t a real word, yes I will use it anyway. We aren’t minimalists, and likely never will be. We do lean towards only having things that are purposeful & meaningful in our home and on our agenda. It seems that we are in the minority with wanting to simplify without the extreme. It’s been hard to find resources or community in the middle. The of avoiding excess and choas without what is often radically minimalist. This is how Simply Against the Grain began & I can’t wait to see where we go from here. I’d love to encourage others to journey towards a more simple, thoughtful, peaceful way of living. From our home, our recipes, and our parenting. We are living small, so we can live large. Simple home base means we can act on the wanderlust that lies in our family. Join me here to read more about the journey were on and the difference it’s making since we decided to just.slow.down.