Hello and happy Sunday! Hope you're having a great one.
I've got a list of a few things I did this week in my effort to adopt a life style that is more in keeping with the concept of voluntary simplicity:
(1) I learned some lessons from my child about the real point of sports. My younger daughter is adopted, and though we share no DNA, she has somehow inherited my complete ineptitude for anything involving the throwing/hitting/catching of balls. But I like her to get exercise and learn about team work, so at my encouragement, she agreed to participate in a recreational volleyball league this fall.
She and I practice most week days for 30+ minutes, but she doesn't seem to make much (if any) progress. I have not mentioned this, but she has noticed it and it has frustrated her a bit. This past weekend was her team's first game. It was very close and it came down to the last few plays. Ironically, these involved some failed attempts by my daughter to serve and return the other team's serve. She was not phased. I'm not sure that she even realizes that one could accurately characterize her as having lost the game for her team. Her coaches were so gracious and encouraging. On the way home, she was glowing. She talked about how much she enjoyed the game. She said she wanted to play volleyball again next season. Later she added that when she grows up she wants to be a volleyball coach. How great is that?!
Over the weekend, a lot of my friends on social media were posting about how their kids had scored touchdowns or goals, and their kids' teams had won games. I was tempted to post something along the lines of: "My daughter caused her volleyball team to lose their first game, but she had a great time, everyone was supportive and she wants to play more. Life is great!" I didn't want to seem like I was putting down the parents who rightfully get excited about their kids' accomplishments. But my daughter reminded me that the accomplishments are not what are most important. This isn't the Soviet Union. Trying your best and having fun is the point of sports.
(2) Girls movie night! One evening, I spontaneously decided to make it a chick flick night. My husband was working and I told my daughters I had a great film for us to watch about a princess who goes on a vacation. I explained it that way instead of focusing on the fact that the film was about 50 years old and in black/white. The film was Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. We watched it and had a blast. My kids loved it! Yeah!!
(3) Celebrated the Life of St. Francis and Appreciated Our Doggies. My husband and I deeply admire St. Francis of Assisi. We named one of our children after the saint. Francis renounced worldly possessions to commune with nature and serve the poor. I'll blog more about him some time, but for now just know that Francis is the patron saint of animals, but might also be considered the patron saint of voluntary simplicity!
Our church has an annual Blessing of the Animals service, which is a little chaotic but lovely. It took place this weekend, and my daughters and I took our doggies to be blessed and to love on them. It is a wonderful service and is a great time to reflect on what an amazing blessing animals are to us. Our doggies are both "rescued" and aren't anything fancy. But they are very sweet and we love them very much. They bring so much to our lives.
(4) Kept the Windows Open and the A/C Off All Week. It is still pretty hot in our neck of the woods, but mercifully the hottest weather has finally broken. Having the windows open in the evening, night and morning feels FABULOUS! It is just delicious and makes me almost giddy.
The afternoons are a tad warm, but we've kept the windows open anyhow. There are a bunch of benefits to this. We save lots of money on our electric bill. We are less cut off from nature, more in tune to what is going on in creation.
And I'm trying to live a less luxurious lifestyle. Not because I'm a sadist or anything. But I aspire to one day do some missionary work. I honestly don't know if I'd ever have it in me to do that, I'm rather a wimp. But I figure that if I'm ever going to try, I need to cut back on my luxuries and live more like I would if I were in an underdeveloped community.
Moreover, cutting back on luxuries like a/c also helps me better empathize and identify those who have no choice but to go without such things. And then when we do experience such luxuries, we're more grateful. I had to get in my car the other day after a rather toasty afternoon in the house. It felt almost decadent to have that blast of cold air from the air vent!
(5) Served Left-Overs to Our Brunch Guests. I like to entertain because I enjoy people. I like having friends over, but I'm no Martha Stewart. I don't have a wide culinary repertoire or a lot of patience to spend lots of time on cooking. So, recently as we've been entertaining, I've tried to just make a couple simple dishes. No need to put on airs. And today, we had some friends over, one of the dishes I served was actually just a left-over squash-tomato dish. Our friends loved it, it fit in well with everything else, and we had a great time. One less thing to have to worry about to have some pre-made food to serve.