Friday, August 10, 2007

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Yes, I didn't blog on Wednesday. I didn't want to steal Jodi's thunder. Admit it, you enjoyed looking at baby pictures and didn't even miss me.

I planted a garden this year like I do almost every year. My springtime enthusiasm always seems to get me into summer trouble. I filled the plot with plants. I even put some pumpkins outside the fence.

We had a dry June, so I never got enough grass clippings gathered to mulch the walkways. I wasn't home most of July, and now the weeds have the upper hand. Between weeds, a vining blackberry bush, and too many squash bushes, my garden plot is a veritable jungle.

I always think I'm going to simplify or downsize my yard work, but I tend to let my enthusiasm run wild, not counting the real time and effort involved.

I'm a "yes" person. If someone asks me to do something, I try to make a way to fit it in. So, I find myself often overloaded in this life, taking on more projects for family, church, women's missions, my job, personal hobbies, and so on than I can easily manage. And on a day like today, I sit back and lament about being caught up in the American epidemic of busyness. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Could that be why many tourists and readers are fascinated by the Amish way of life? It appears to be a slower, more simplistic lifestyle. A drive through their quiet farm country can help a modern Englisher stop and catch her breath. (I'm contemplating a drive through Holmes County tomorrow.) I'm sure, though, that even the Amish have things that add stress to their days.

Has your life been infected by the plague of busyness? Let me tell you, Satan loves to keep us so busy working for good things like family and church that our spiritual lives dry up. Can we take the challenge to work on simplifying our lifestyles and saying "no" to those things that, even though good and worthy, only steal life from our spirit? Can we stop the rat race that leads us to dead ends and farther from our Father God?

I welcome any tips for simplifying life that anyone has.



The Write Life said...


I think a too busy lifestyle here in Florida is exactly what makes me suddenly long to move back to the Heartland, to southern Missouri. No matter how much I try to de-schedule our lives here, things just keep coming up.

I'm learning to say no to activities better, but it seems when I do, something else creeps in to take that extra time. It's an ongoing battle.

I'm also learning to schedule the priorities first, writing, homeschooling, and (ick!) cleaning, and then we schedule family time, too. If there's room left in our schedule, we can add other activities. It's working slowly, but it's a constant battle.


Rhonda said...

Good topic, Becky. I'm a fly lady nut! I have a schedule for just about everything including fun. Last night I was talking to a friend about the schedule and realized that it can all be done, if I stay on the schedule and not add more to it. Right now things are very workable for me. I just have to remember to only take on what I can handle.

Lisa Harris said...

This is a topic I've been thinking about a lot about lately. As a mother and writer it seems that the work is never done. Computers, fast food, and even cars allow us to do more, making our already hectic lives even more hectic.

Living in Africa, I see people sitting along the side of the road taking the time to chat to friends. They aren't in a hurry to get anywhere. They walk where they want to go,(which means they are expected to go to less places), and they take time to get to know the people in their community. I need to learn from them.

Like the Amish world, I think people are craving a simpler time, and enjoy losing themselves in a book that slows them down.

For me, it means saying no, which can be so tough. I'm not superwoman, but that's okay! When I put God and family first in my life, I know that the rest will fall into place.

Some things that help me? Weekly menus, a calender to organize deadlines and all that has to be done, and sceduled down time.



Darlene said...


You've touched a hot button with this topic!

My family recently joined a new church. With it comes the excitement of all their ministries. Monday night ladies' Bible study? Sign me up. Wednesday night choir? Add it to my list. Friday night missions meeting? Wow, that sounds interesting.

Thank God, He stopped me before I overcommitted. Every extra commitment takes away from my primary callings: time with my Savior; my family; 32 hours a week in the secular workforce; and writing. God has also gifted me to teach and if that need arises, I will answer the call.

Know what God has for you to do, and try to make decisions accordingly. As a wise mentor once told me, a need does not constitute a call.


The Write Life said...

You know, Becky, I was thinking about your comments on the Amish and their way of life drawing us in for the simplicity of it. I love this type of story and I know others do, too, since they're so popular right now.

I was analyzing this, because I was thinking "simpler" translated to "easier" and I'm thinking their life is HARD! But I realized, their life is hard, but it's so full of family and community. We're losing that in our society. I think that's part of what is causing our busy-ness.

When the Amish DO have an event, they all go together. They don't have all the committees and separate things that divide us from each other.

So, I think I miss that sense of community they have and that's what draws me to their stories. Everything is done as a family or as a community.


Mary Connealy said...

Wow, Becky, nice picture of dirt and you killing a flower. Way better than the baby. :)
I've been trying to just say no for a few years now and I may have succeeded almost too well. It seems like now, I work and go home and write.
That's about it.
My husband and I live very quietly and our social life revolves around seeing our grown children, which, there are four, that can keep us pretty busy.
At some point I suppose I got a reputation(assuming I HAVE a reputation and anyone even has noticed) for saying 'no' which can be translated cruelly as 'lacking a spirit of generosity'
I sometimes wonder if I've gone too far saying no. But I like it.

Lynette Sowell said...

Becky, I would have GLADLY sent you some of our Texas rain ealrier this spring and summer. I actually attempted a porch garden this year--three tomato plants, a chili pepper plant, and some fresh herbs.

I've heard someone say we should start asking the Lord, "What do YOU want me to do today?" But there are so many things we can do for Him.

I bought myself a planner (gulp), and I've started listing things I MUST do every day--for my family, for writing projects, for church activities. I've also started saying "no" more. I know that there are many things God's enabled me to do, but He's given others those same abilities as well. So instead of jumping in, I'm trying to say, "How about so-and-so instead?" or not saying anything at all. :)

I've realized my planner will free me because *I* say what's going to happen (with God's okay). It's not my schedule dominating me. It's me trying to be a better steward of my time. I struggle with this a lot, feeling sometimes like I spend more time putting out fires than getting anything done. :)

Becky said...

Well, I didn't make it to Amish Country this weekend. I was too busy and too tired. LOL

Rhonda, Fly Lady sounds like a good tool, but I couldn't schedule every minute of my day. I bulk at that idea as a loss of freedom.

Paige and Lisa, those are good thoughts. Community and family bonds are so important and have vertually been lost in most areas.

Darlene, I think too often my strong ability to see a need and see a "fix" has made me feel that I hav e to do it. I have trouble understanding people who can't see and won't do.

Mary, I understand the feeling that others don't appreciate when you say no, especially when we've been known to help in the past. Christians don't help each other in the area of over busy-ness when we make people feel guilty for not being involved in every church activity and so on.

Lynette, I've bought so many calenders and planners and can never keep them up. I live by scrap paper lists most days.


Mary Connealy said...

I'm not sure what Flylady is, I'll go look it up.
BUT for being organized...I EXPECT, yes PLAN to forget things and so I have learned coping devices with that in mind.
The thing that's really working well is; I have created my own Yahoo Group with only ME as a member. I only use the calendar, why would I post messages??? and I post appointments and commitments and have my yahoo group automatically email me.

Payroll is due.
Book manuscript is due.
Dentist appointment.
Bridal Shower.
Chat at 7 pm central time on
Birthdays to remember
You Don't Get Columbus Day Off. (I keep forgetting this one)

It really works. And, depending on what it is, I give myself a two week notice or a two day notice, then send a second email on the actual day.
I have four main email addresses so I have FOUR members of my group and each address gets a notice which is like getting poked again and again and again and again.

Becky said...

Mary, sounds like you are using Yahoo Groups like you could use Microsoft Outlook. Interesting.

Lynette Sowell said...

Oh, a scrap paper list works. As long as it doesn't get lost and everything on the list gets crossed off. So far today I have *nearly* everything done I have listed. A couple of writing-related things to do later after work and supper. But most certainly do-able.

I'm thinking now maybe our lists get too long and we think we can get more done than we really can. OR, if we don't have every moment planned/scheduled, we're slacking. I realized once those 2 things are attended do, I don't *have* any more items for today. This is very freeing! (instead of flitting from thing to thing as I think of them, and writing things down and forgetting where I put the list. LOL)

Debby said...

I can completely relate to being too busy! Downsizing my task list is a challenge, but I've been working on it lately, and I think once I get the hang of it, life will be sweeter. Although it's hard for a "yes" person to say no, that's the only way we can enjoy the Lord's blessings as fully as He wants us to. This is definitely a work-in-progress for me. I tried the Fly Lady for about a month several years ago. The only thing I've kept up with is scouring the sink before bedtime. It is kind of nice to wake up to a shiny sink.