An old Shaker hymn, particularly popular at this time of year, says, “T’is a gift to be simple, t’is a gift to be free.” These are words my family and I live by—not because of any political or idealistic mindset so much as because it’s how we like to live. Most of our countrymen and women strive daily to “make a life,” rushing off to jobs outside of the home, spending the majority of their time and effort scrambling for more dollars to create “security,” to buy more, better, newer goods, to rise, to succeed, to win.
We take a very different view, and live a different life. Here on our homestead, we live very simply.
Simple living, for us, means doing without a lot of things that most Americans feel are essential to quality of life. It means finding pleasure and goodness in the everyday, the humble, the unostentatious. Sure, we have many luxuries, many modern conveniences, and a fair few unnecessary toys by world standards—we make no attempt to be paragons in this regard! We just seem to be a lot happier with much less than most Americans have, or want.
One answer to that question is simplicity. We try to live simply, and can perhaps provide examples to others by sharing how we do it.
You’ll find many posts on this theme here on the Zeiger Family Homestead blog. For a few examples, see Simple Pleasures: Writing With a Fountain Pen, and especially The Key to Simple Living: Appreciating the Present. There’s a whole section on it in my latest book, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm.
To be honest, it’s actually a little late to make this statement of philosophy, if you will, but it had to be said eventually.
We will no doubt return to this theme often in future posts, focusing on the simple gifts, those aspects of life that we take pleasure in, and why.