Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Amish Comparisons (not for the faint of heart)

I did finally get to sleep last night ... this morning actually ... after taking some sleeping medication.  It strikes me as more than a bit odd that I have been so exhausted the past few weeks that I have slept 8-9 hours a night & then 2-4 hours in a nap or two during the day, yet all day yesterday, all last night, & all day today I can't sleep.  I didn't do much of anything today except feel tired.  When I couldn't nap I decided to continue reading a book I started reading during my brief hospital stay 2 weeks or so ago ... a book about Amish life called Plain & Simple.

The woman who wrote this book, Sue Bender, actually went to live with Amish families for a while.  She took stock of her own life, observed theirs, & apparently came away having learned something meaningful.  I have no idea what that thing is at this time since I haven't yet finished the book.

Many times when people talk about the "good" in Amish life there is always at least one person who seems to be bent on pointing out that there is no way that any of us would really give up our lives to become Amish.  This always irks me a bit.  They point out the hard work involved (cleaning the house, cooking the meals, tending the garden).  So?  They point out having to live without "comforts" like TV, computers, & automobiles.  So?  There are numerous things one would have to "give up" to become Amish but I believe that the life you would receive in return for doing so would be a great treasure.  I think it would be, if I may use this as an example, like the "hidden treasure" Jesus talks about in Matthew 13.  A man found a hidden treasure in a field.  When he found it, he hid it again & then in his joy went & sold all he had & bought the field.

Ms. Bender writes about living with her first Amish family & how she watched the women in this family ...

 "...marveling at their ability to be relaxed as they worked & to stay focused on one thing at a time."  

"No one was rushed." 

"The women moved through the day unhurried.  There was no rushing to finish [one thing] so they could get on to the 'important things.'  For them, it was all important." 

I think a lot of us have trouble staying focused on one thing at a time.  I know that I will be performing one task but thinking about several others that need to be done when that task is completed.  Once in a while I find myself feeling content & at peace.  I have to confess that those times tend to be few & far between.  

When I decided to take a break from reading I went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea.  I glanced into my diningroom & thought it wasn't any wonder why feeling peace & contentment is so rare for me!  To relax as I work & stay focused on one thing?  To not feel rushed?

Following are a few photos of my diningroom exactly as it has been looking for the past several weeks/months.  These photos, if nothing else, will make you feel proud of your own home.

Photo #1 - dining table & hutch

On this dining table are the following ... 2 magazines I haven't read yet, several magazines I have read but as yet haven't decided to keep or toss,  numerous doctor/medication receipts that I need to submit to insurance, a map for plodding our course to Pennsylvania & Maine next month, the beginning of my ornament exchange project, 2 ornament/bowl filler patterns I have traced out to start making, CCS stuff that needs to be put away someplace, a list of CCS design ideas, note paper to put back where it belongs, a list of people to call (plumber, gutter repair man), my camera with pictures to download, & of course my laptop.

Note the stuff lying on the hutch, in particular the brown envelopes at the one edge.  This is mail that is postmarked July 8 & July 11.  It's been lying there all this time without being opened.  There are more CCS supplies that need to be put who-knows-where & the dolls I got from Olde Lady Morgan that I took a photo of to share with you & there they've been sitting ever since.  There at the far right of the photo you can see the trencher I worked so hard to try to clean several weeks ago but haven't oiled yet.

Photo #2 - candy & other sweets

When I started my diet however many weeks ago it was ... 12 I think? ... I pulled these goodies out of the pantry to send to my aunt who has a sweet tooth.  They have been sitting here all this time.

Photo #3 - more of the table, more of the hutch, & a corner of the room

I've already inventoried the hutch & the table but what's in the corner?  A bag of CCS supplies purchased a few weeks ago that ... yes ... needs to be put away someplace, magazines (some looked at, some not), a pail & mystery item I bought before Memorial Day waiting to be put someplace, a pitcher that needs to be placed inside that little door you see in the hutch to the left (under the unopened mail), more items purchased from Olde Lady Morgan that need to be put someplace, diet food my doctor in Tennessee insisted I purchase but I never had any intention of using, & another view of the large trencher.

Photo #4 - another view of the corner

Another view of this particular corner showing a box of items earmarked for a yard sale which has been there for about a month now.

Photo #5 - soft drinks & dowels

A pastor who was very kind to us when we first moved here ... a man who truly tries to live as Jesus lived ... loves a particular soft drink you can only find in Tennessee.  In March (yes, March) when I went to Knoxville to see my doctor I asked him if he would like me to bring some of these soft drinks back for him.  He said sure!  I did ... & here they've sat for the past 5 months.  I've emailed him a couple times to tell him I still had them & would stop by the church to drop them off as soon as I could.  I feel so bad that they are still here.  There is a crock with the rolling pins in it & also in it you will see some dowels.  I bought these last month to make little "stops" for the gutter drains so they wouldn't blow into the landscaped areas during storms.

Okay ... there are several reasons why things are this bad (my whacked-out hormones not being the least of them) ... but is it any wonder I am not at peace?  Is it any wonder I am not content?  Is it any wonder I can't relax?  Is it any wonder I can't focus on just one thing?  Is it any wonder I feel rushed?  Who can be calm in these surroundings?  And this is just the diningroom!  

Believe it or not, I used to be a very organized person.  If anyone from my past were to see my house like this, they wouldn't believe it.  

I'm not showing all these photos & giving you an inventory of what they show for any particular reason other than to say that this is why I am missing the calmness, peace, & contentment that the Amish have.  You don't have to be Amish to have calmness, peace, & contentment in your life ... but you do need to view things a bit differently.  You do need to stop thinking about the multitude of things you have to do & take things just one step at a time.  As I mentioned on Sunday when quoting Joyce Meyer, "enjoy where you are at on the way to where you are going."

Maybe tomorrow, if I'm not too tired, I'll put that pitcher in the hutch & maybe open that mail   : )   


Trace4J said...

Praying for His Peace for you friend!
Right where you are at.
Lovin all those whisk brooms and rolling pins.
Hugs Trace

renee said...

I don't know if I can achieve that either, I strive to. I wish I knew how to organize, I am just doing the best I can. The dolly on the chair is one I sent you, she looks cute there.
I hope that you can find the calm you are looking for. I did send Amy a voucher. LOL!
Hang in there.

Raspberry Lane Primitives said...

Hi Shirlee...Thanks for stopping by...I live in upstate NY...between Buffalo and Rochester, NY...kinda cold but not so bad in the spring, summer and fall. No tornados, earthquakes or hurricanes here...well maybe an occasional teeny tiny tornado once a year or so which pulls up trees.
patti ;)