Friday, November 9, 2007

On living simply

At the park today I noticed an attractive young family. The mother was stylishly dressed with an attractive coat and scarf. She was perfectly coiffed with a cute short hair-do. Her kids were adorable--the toddler boy riding a fun retro tricycle and the baby packed into the coolest stroller ever.

When I looked down at myself, I realized I had carrot spit-up down the front of my shirt and my stretched out yoga pants. I contemplated my face free of any make-up and my ponytail with the strands of hair being held in by at least 10 bobby pins, and I sighed. I thought to myself, "Self, when I grow up I want to be like that mom."

About five minutes later, I heard the mom yelling at her toddler in not a very nice way. Even though she had a most impressive British accent, it didn't cover the frustration she was taking out on her little boy.

So I said to myself, "Self, maybe I should rethink that goal."

I've been thinking about priorities a lot lately. About how some of mine are good, and some of them are kind of messed. I've thought a lot about a poem that my mom gave to me several years ago:

"To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable,
and wealthy, not rich;

to study hard, think quietly,
talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds,
to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely,
await occasions, hurry never.

In a word, to let the spiritual,
unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.

This is to be my symphony."

--William Henry Channing

Sometimes I have to re-read this poem to be reminded how I want to shape my character. I've got a lot to work on.

Lindsay is crying. Time to go work on some priorities.


lou said...

I was zipping through blogs before starting off to work today. I'm in my torn jeans (my work apron will cover) and old sweat shirt from KATY's elementary school. I should wash my hair, but I don't really have time (and it's not Really that bad)-
Sometimes I think I should try to do better too. Then I realize I'm just who I am, stringy hair and wrinkled sweats. My kids are happy and healthy. I try to keep that as my priority. Oh, and my husband adores me in-or out of those torn jeans.
You are such a great mom-and wife and homemaker and RS sister. Don't grow up too much, ok?

Papa D said...

Great quote. It reminds me of a popular poem that my mother quoted often and we have framed:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'til tomorrow,
For babies grow up we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Patty said...

Thank you for sharing that poem. I gave up a long time ago on trying to look like one of those "perfect" people (I don't have much style sense so it was useless) but it took me much longer to really accept who I am and understand that I don't have to look like the world's version of the perfect woman. (Anyone who watches any tv knows what I'm talking about!!)
I think most of the sisters have the right priorities in their lives... God,families, children, husbands and faith come first. If the rest of the world finds that to be peculiar- that's a good thing! Be proud of it! We wouldn't trade you for anyone else, and neither would your family. You're perfect just the way you are!

Dory said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is good to keep things in the right perspective. I always thought I would never "let myself go". I have good days and bad, mostly bad as far as fashion goes. I think you are right, it's about priorities, I let myself go because my children come first and it doesn't leave much time for me. I just try to pamper myself from time to time and it makes it all better. Wow, I'm rambling, Sorry.

Leslie said...

I love you, and I honestly have always thought you look beautiful. You are an amazing woman, and if I grow up to be just like you, my kids will be pretty darn lucky. Otherwise, I guess there's always therapy for them. (ha, ha)

Leslie said...

I'm not sure that came across right. What I meant was: if I don't succeed in becoming as great as you THEN my kids can get therapy.

Mama D said...

Loved the poem!

What a great reminder about priorities. More doesn't always mean better. I need to consider my own life, and how I can "live simply."

Thanks for sharing. You are a wonderful person, comfy yoga pants and all! :]

carrie said...

i love that really gets to the core of what should be important, of goals that are really of worth.

and i agree with are a very pretty woman, even on a bad day.

i chuckle and cringe when i look at pictures of me when katie was little. katie always looked cute as a button and i looked a little on the frumpy side...but that's okay. i had my priorities straight and at least i was usually comfortable. i've reached that stage in life where comfort definately overides fashion and motherhood helped me to get to that point. ;)

Poulsen Family said...

I'm reading this in my workout everyday attire, sometimes I do shower and do my hair...sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks James. I'm glad you shared that poem. I need to post it on my wall. Love ya! -Paige