“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.”
~ The Biblical Prophet Jeremiah
Generation Z, Generation AO (aka…”Always On”), or Net Generation.
These are terms that define the current generation.
They’re always “on.” They are hyper-connected…most don’t even remember a time without advanced communication and media technology. Texting, googling, YouTube’ing it’s what they know — it’s what they do.
What happened to a simple time and place?
How did we become so at risk for losing the life and skills of sustainability?
A Simple Time and Place
Can we go back?
I believe the answer is yes! But in order for this to happen I agree with what Shannon Hayes says in her life-changing book, Radical Homemakers, that we must realize…
“Home is where the great change will begin. It is not where it ends.”
So what does that look like practically in our daily lives…in each of our homes? Here are a few tips that have helped me:
1. De-clutter. A clean, organized, and well-managed home brings peace. But it’s not just about keeping the “stuff” clean and organized. No! It’s about simplifying…reducing the amount of stuff we have in our homes and reducing the amount of stuff that we buy to fill our homes. Clutter breeds chaos.
2. Spend less. The first step toward spending less is learning to re-define our understanding of the word “enough.” We must re-define what is and is not a necessity. In fact, did you know that if we have $20 in our pocket, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our back, a roof overhead, and place to sleep, we are richer than 75% of the people in the world!
3. Save More. Just as re-defining our necessities will help us to spend less…naturally we see that this principle will also help us to save more. Don’t live within your means…live below them. And by that I mean, save more than you spend. Cut up the credit cards, start living with a budget, move into a smaller home (or rent something smaller and cheaper), sell a car,…
4. Un-Plug. Now…you all know that I am a huge fan of the Internet — through it I earn my livelihood. However, I’m continuously working toward a healthier relationship with technology. I want to see it as a tool, not a master. Choosing a day — or even specific times during my day — to disconnect and un-plug has helped significantly. I love the heart behind the author of Unplugged Sunday and if you ever get the itch to read more on the subject…I highly recommended reading: The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale.
5. Get outdoors. This one comes easy for me! You see…I was raised with a deep respect for the creation surrounding us and have therefore always loved nature. In fact, some of my closest friends may even consider me an overly enthusiastic outdoors person. I believe the Earth is our playground — containing the entirety of items necessary for our existence and entertainment. We’re not a family that spends time or money on super expensive entertainment, travel, and/or recreational activities. Why should anyone!?! It’s simply a matter of getting outdoors and enjoying what has been freely given to us!
6. Keep it small and local. I’ve developed a saying for myself when it comes to earning an income, “I want to make a living, not a killing.” Repeating this to myself daily helps to keep me sane! So many burdens of our daily lives are lifted as we seek to lead simpler lives. Please don’t miss understand, I strive to do everything with excellence and to do it well. But whether it be through friendships, church, neighbors, activities for the children, my business, or our food that comes from local farm co-ops…I find freedom in keeping it small and local.
7. Live in community. Having a close group of family and friends almost seems foreign for a lot of us. But those who experience the benefits of living in community with others understand the support that comes from having each other. You see, we were never intended to live this life alone. In fact, fierce independence often comes with a pretty high price tag and requires so much of our time. Bring back a simple time and place by:
- supporting your friends
- getting to know your neighbors
- passing on your knowledge of the “old ways” to the younger generation
- organizing a carpool with other parent’s to-and-from school
- sharing a meal with family and/or friends
8. Identify true security. As I understand it, security is an illusion…but it feels real only because so many people agree to abide by its terms. Perhaps it has been the mere pursuit of security — whether it be physical, emotional, or financial — that has led us so far away from a life of simplicity. Believe me when I say that no amount of food storage, no level of higher education, and certainly no amount of income can provide security. True security isn’t something you have, it’s something you are. Who you are is the only thing that can’t be taken away. The real issue of security comes down to what we put our faith and trust in — and once that has been identified, the road to simple living becomes a bit clearer.
What are some of the ways you are trying to return to simple time and place?
tonopah rob says
I just flew back from Pennsylvania. What an amazing trip. I was able to visit one Mennonite farmer. His farm was impressive. The Amish and myself have nearly the same belief system regarding the reverence for the land and spirituality. Once I left PA and drove to DE, MD, NJ and the DC area farmers are not who they say they are and it was very disturbing. I believe in making money but not by deceiving customers. I hope all is well with you and the girls. You are very much missed around here, by everyone. Best wishes to you and how impressive was the gymnastic team, London Gold!! Tonopah Rob
Luitha Tamaya says
Beautifull put, thank you 🙂
Just what I needed to hear today, especially the bit about security being about who I am, rather than what I have. Switched off my laptop now – tech free meals are the first step to my better relationship with technology!
Lisa Lynn says
I grew up on a farm and learned a simple way of life from early on. We raised our own beef and pork and dabbled with chickens and ducks. I remember learning to care for animals, cook meals, plant and care for a veggie garden, and help with canning and freezing food from the time I was big enough to help.
These ways are still with me, even though we only have 1 acre. I still have a garden that produces more food that we can use fresh. I freeze or can whatever we can’t use right away. Or i give it to friends and neighbors. I raise chickens for eggs and meat. This year I am raising my own turkeys for the first time.
My husband and I homeschool our son and have a great bunch of friends who we gather with to share this experience. Now our 16 year old is taking college classes, playing guitar, bass and drums with friends who are also musicians…and is doing great! He has learned from early on how to be respectful and self confident. He also is very aware of social justice, animal rights and living lightly on this planet 🙂
I wouldn’t trade a simpler way of life for the world! But I must admit, I do like the internet and my laptop 🙂
Andrea, thank you, thank you for this post. You uplifted my day–particularly by #8. What a great point!
Just what I have been thinking about this week as I have been on a big clutter purge in my basement. My husbands business is struggling and financially things are tough. But I have my garden and chickens and cows to help elIminate most of a grocery bill. Security is something I have been pondering lately, thanks for shedding some light. I am guilty of sleeping with my iPhone and need to learn to not let technology control me. Thanks for another great post!
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.” I think we have all misunderstood the passage. Ask yourselves what was the purpose of a prophet? What was his message to the people? What was the old godly way? It was the first five books of the Scriptures. God’s Words and commandments. He told us how to walk and if we walked in His ways we would find rest. His rest for our souls. That being said, we should not rely on technology, but use it in a pinch. Remember all things come from YHWH. ( Our God’s name)
michele preston says
At the end of Sept I will be going back to totally off grid…no electricity, no propane, no frig or freezer & so on….I will be living for a year on a 167 acre farm on the off grid side so I can cross the road to the main farm for getting water in jugs, I will have a woodstove I am bringing with me as at 53 I do not want to try cooking outside in 20 inches of snow in the winter….I have lived this way before in my younger days & never thought about it being hard….yes with age it will be different but I am so looking forward to it……I am in the middle of preparing dried soup mixes, ect to take with me for the winter….I will be putting in 2 large gardens for when the friends eventually retire here so will have fresh vegs in the summer next year…..the hardest part is what is really important to take..ie clothes..no ballroom dresses needed…lol….I am building a solar oven & a solar food dryer with removable legs that fit inside the driers when not in use…….They will be small enough & light enough for me to carry where I need them…..For me its thinking like you do when you rough camp but on a longer time frame…….plus I will be without a car so I have to be able to figure a years worth of foods dried or canned that can get me thur until the gardens are producing…….What basic needs I need such as toilet paper, soap ect…the soap I make myself with an old 1860’s recipe so I will be good there…the main things are what I will need for the chickens I am taking with me…their feeds/treats & winter foods seem to be the biggest part of this….M’
I’m in awe as I read about your way of life. I am striving to one day be able to do the same
WOW! I long for that way of life, and would love to pick your brain a bit regarding the soap if you have a little spare time; I’m gathering supplies to make my first ever batch of soap, and am curious about the old recipe you use – are you willing to share it?
michele preston says
Tiffany I would love to be of any help to you on making soap…just email me at
theoldbatzfarm & gmail.com ….tell me what kind of soap your going to make first so I can see what you are interested in doing ok…also tell me what you would eventually like to be able to do in soaps………this way I don’t do things over your head or your not ready for …have a great day…M’
Peg Crawford says
I am in awe of anyone that can truly live off grid. I am very slowly converting back to the simpler way of life but am not very knowledgeable about it all. Just slowly learning. Congrats to anyone who does it.
Sherry L says
Thank-you for a wonderful post. I struggle almost daily trying to wean my husband from so much “stuff”! It is a worthy goal. thanks again for the motivation sherry leary
I have lived most of my life in the country. Raised my children on homemade, home birthed, nursed & homeschooled( for awhile, then an alternate school), raising animals and our own food.
I still live in the wilderness, off grid, with solar power and grow my own food and trade for organic meat and honey. I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Life is good, peaceful and simple ( :
We’re in transition moving from an older home in the city to ten acres in the country. We’ve downsized our home a bit and are building as simply and inexpensively as we can. We won’t have as much storage/closet space and are using that as incentive to declutter and keep it simple. We are working to start a large garden so we can provide the majority of our food and looking for ways to earn a living from the land so that my husband no longer has to travel every other week and work over time. I don’t consider ourselves to be “techy” people. We don’t have a tv, and we both still have out dated cell phones. I do though love my laptop and my online community. I struggle to find balance there.
I just returned from a trip to Belize to participate in a teacher training conference for the Belizean teachers. We stayed in the jungle in an off grid facility. The cooks prepared every single meal from scratch with local ingredients. Lots of chicken, beans, rice, corn tortillas, bread, veggies and wonderful fruit and juices. We were welcomed into several homes in the small villages where folks live very humbly (we might say primitively). We were offered homemade tortillas, fresh coconut water and plantain chips and we visited and shared stories of our families and communities. Family, church and school are the central aspects of the community. Only about 30 vehicles in a community of a 1000 people, most folks walked or rode the bus. Only 11% of the people in the country have access to the internet–and those live in the city not the villages. The folks work hard for very little money, yet they are happy. Returning to the US and thinking about the “things” I strive for, has been an eye opener. I have made a stop at the crossroads, I will apply the old ways and walk in it and find rest for my soul. Simply relying on God, caring for others, simplifying our lives, earning money to share, not hoarding for ourselves. Life can be much simpler and purposeful. 🙂
Brilliant post! We are in the midst of a big declutter effort here and it is liberating. Finding our voice within our possessions and home has been challenging in the past, but we are emerging with a goal of simplicity and being ourselves. Thanks for some more good motivation.
Your post and all of the comments really made me think. I do often think that our “stuff” gets in the way of our being content and happy. It is important to step back away from society’s pull and understand what is really beneficial and meaningful.
Holly @ Whole Sweet Home says
Great advice! I love living more simply than we used to live!
mitzi champion says
Wow this post could not have come at a better time. I’ve just spent the last two days with a uhaul dejunking the house, making trips to Goodwill and to the landfill. This morning, on the way to work I called and cancelled my FIOS TV and phone, but kept the internet…baby steps…
I love this! The big one for me is to declutter – what a great feeling to not have all that “stuff”. Of course… this is a work in progress (need to tackle the basement!). I think it also helps to determine what is a “need” and a “want”.
Unplug???? Do you that the elementary schools around me are no longer teaching cursive writing because they say everything is done by computers these days so there is no longer a need for it. My question is don’t they still need to sign checks and contracts?
I love the outdoors. Just came back from a mini vacation of camping, ziplining and rapelling. Wish I could do it every day—then I could also lose weight!!
BTW–misunderstand is one word, not two as you wrote in #6.
John Fisher says
One of the biggest keys to being successful at being frugal is not only to spend less money, but to earn more money. There are mutitudes of businesses that you can start without any financial risk, that you can operate from home if you have a computer, and use social media to grow your business. As a matter of fact, you could have a global business in a short amount of time, if you apply the correct principals.