Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rhythm of a homemaker

 Sometimes as spiritual creatures on this human journey we tend to forget that the world around us though it seems like chaos has a pattern to it; a rhythm if you will. Sometimes in our daily lives we can feel it and it comforts us and other times the rhythm is not seen because it is to far away(like a weekly rhythm instead of daily.) I think that puts us off balance a bit. I do much better when the day flows. Now you may say how boring but trust me when I tell you I like to be spontaneous and would have done just fine as a traveling gypsy. Just as in nature the day unfolds itself for you if you are watching. As my husband says we have a short list of things that need to get done by a certain time but really many days the work that needs to be done reveals itself.
    Why do we want rhythm?
I love reading about monks and their daily practices... very ritual and simple. When we start to make good habits they are a positive daily ritual. They become part of who we are, where God has us planted at this moment in this season. If we have good habits they nourish us just like when He tells us to hide His word in our hearts. We have to read it over and over in order to memorize it. I didn't realize this until we had moved. At our old home I had a organized system, habits, daily routines that were comforting. You don't realize how comforting they are until they are not there. My first week here I panicked because I felt like I was on vacation but would have no where to return to. It would have been easy if all I owned was in a backpack that I could take anywhere. All in my little world would stay the same while I lived in the world around me(I purposefully do this when we go camping... par down to my most important items to function). So when we moved to such a different lifestyle the seasons now mean so much more.... the day set itself up for me with how things unroll with the day. The feeding of animals, picking of nuts or fruit, our homeschool, feeding of my family, the sweeping of the kitchen floor daily, etc.
    How do we get this rhythm?
I think I really started to see the connections when I started to garden but it then really stuck when we started eating only in season. After a few years you feel the rhythm of seasons. Then as you put some of these treasures away for winter you start to feel the rhythm of the months. Then as we remove clutter from our lives to be present in the daily doings we feel the rhythm of the day. I don't often plan menus because the food tells me what I am cooking that week. I have simple recipes that can be modified with what ingredients are on hand(I will share them in a future post). Simplifying life comes naturally and not something you have to read about in a book or on a blog. Cleaning took some work for me to make that more of a habit but my chores started to fall on certain days of the week and I went with that.
    Why do we long for simplicity(rhythm)?
Because we ARE spiritual beings in these temporary human bodies. I have found that in season foods are not just comforting but also nourishing with the right nutrients that we need for that season and that climate in which we live. If you lived in a different climate you would have different in season food that would do the same. Example: in a PA summer we have a lot of heavy water fruits in the hottest months that help us replenish what we have lost in sweating. As the seasons change our bodies adjust... like feeling more of a sense of hibernating under a warm quilt in winter or staying up later to look at the stars and fireflies in summer. Now this rhythm is not to just make our day easier for us but it also builds memories. Somewhere along the way as a young person I started to long for something and didn't know why or what until I moved in with my grandparents. They knew the value of this rhythm. We created in different seasons, planted, harvested, cooked and preserved in their right times. After years the memories were such a part of me as I will never forget them. Picking peaches and apples with my grandfather and cooking seasonal meals with my grandmother. These memories did not happen with great fanfare or with a heavy price but became something I so looked forward to each year. Warm and comforting. As I listened to stories my grandparents told about how life was for my great-grandparents it occurred to me that they didn't have modern technology or lots of books but they were taught how to do most of what they did by their parents in their daily lives without much struggle in the learning. When I see woman who live almost effortlessly with homeschooling, cleaning, gardening, canning, sewing, etc. whatever it is they are doing most times it is because they were taught by their mother or grandmother. For us these days if we weren't brought up that way it becomes harder to make these daily things a habit until we have done them for years.
    What is rhythm?
I guess it seems funny to put this last but I wanted you to think about it along the way and then I would make the statement to sum it up. Rhythm is living deliberately feeding the habits that help us to accomplish the tasks that we have before us in this season of our lives. A comfort, a inner awareness of what comes next in the day. It is good for the soul, the memories made, the children, the day.
    You will have days when God is growing you and things will feel chaotic but I promise you that these days of rhythm will help you to weather them much better.

Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Oh, I could go on here but I will leave you with one last thought for now.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

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