You've heard it. I've heard it. But at this moment, I'm hell bent on keeping it the reality: Keeping it simple.
Culture is already swimming with holiday ideas and trinkets to fill up our time and empty our wallets. This is the time of year when I try and make a point to tuck away into my little farm hole where no one can find me and distract me from the pure magic that is advent.
Besides the fact that the daylight only lasts for 4 hours, or so it seems, it's a pretty wonderful time – no?
To make it all the more magical, we brought home a new puppy a few weeks back. Rex, ‘king' of the farm, is now happily acclimated to life on The Elliott Homestead in all it's madness and glory. He's found a permanent spot on the new front porch where he can rest and keep watch over the animals and the children. If even the slightest commotion is detected, such as when the neighbor orchardist began to blow out his sprinkler lines, Rex will face the ‘danger' and begin to furociously protect that which is his – his family – us.
And for a teeny little puppy, that's pretty wonderful to see.
The snow has yet to fly, though temperatures keep reminding us that it's close, so there are a few jewels in the garden that continue to bless us. Mint and lavender are still welcomed additions to baked goods – and if nothing else – look beautiful in vases on the kitchen counter. The egg production has slowed down considerably, but that's to be expected. We'll have spring omelettes soon enough.
Part of keeping it simple, this time of year, means intentionally focusing on what we have. Not what we want. Giving gifts is a wonderful blessing and is certainly a fun way to spend a morning, but we are continuing our keeping is simple plan of: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.
It makes it joyful and simple to buy gifts for the littles. They know what to expect and we know what we're on the hunt for instead of buy all the things! mode.
We keep the same plan with each other, and truth be told, this is the first year I feel really excited about the gifts I have in store for that beautiful husband of mine.
You've heard me say it – he's a much better gift giver than I because we, by nature, gift in different ways. I prefer practical gifts. He prefers novelty gifts. We spent a few years buying each other what we would want if we were that person instead of actually thinking about what they would want. Since we came to this realization years ago, it's been hard for me to adapt to thinking like the ‘ol Stu man. But this year, maybe – just maybe, I'll get close.
Keeping it simple also reminds me to appreciate this ‘ol farm. This time last year, we were waist deep in snow, trying to pack up our rental home, and crossing our fingers that the sale of the homestead didn't totally fall through and leave us homeless.
Last winter sucked. Last winter was a season of our lives I hope to never revisit.
Because we're here. And now, this is our home. And this year, we get to have a proper Christmas tree, garlands around our fireplace, and peace in knowing our animals are safe, warm, and tucked in cozy for the cold months ahead.
And speaking of cold months ahead – wouldn't you agree that now is the perfect time to hatch a few dozen chicks?
Well… never mind on that then.
Keeping it simple means fueling the fire of inspiration and falling in love with the life that we've built. It doesn't need to be anything other than what it is. It's messy, good Lord, it's so messy. And it's frustrating. And it's sloppy. But that doesn't mean I can't spend time continuing to fall in love with Mother Goose and Matilda, two new geese that were just rehomed to our flock.
Is it a flock of geese?
Gather of geese?
I can't remember. So many animal terms… such limited brain space…
With the HUGE release of Family Table this past fall (snag an extra copy for Christmas here!) and the anticipated release of Welcome To The Farm in the spring, it's certainly been a year of projects – of building – of release. And now, if only for a moment, I'm allowing this season to fill my cup.
Keeping it simple doesn't mean the work stops. It means I'm intentional about eliminating the cheap… the disposable… the commercial. It means that I'm intentional about giving thanks, so many thanks, to the one who provides us with every breath, every moment, and every detail.