The Simple Life

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Leonardo da Vinci

People often live well beyond their means. It seems the bigger the better. The more they get the more they want. With the current downfall of the economy, I’ve witnessed many simplify their lives.

I’ve probably told you before that I come from humble means. My parents are simple, no fuss folks. My father built them a simple cedar home, nothing fancy, but he built it with his own hands and no mortgage. How many of us can say that? As it suited his needs, but maybe not the desire of someone much wealthier, he named his home “Poor Man’s Paradise”. He did not actually use the term “paradise” to mean heaven, though it is his heaven, but because he loves paradise trees. He planted them throughout his property and surrounding his home. Paradise trees grow to form a sort of canopy that provides shade.

My father has various birdhouses set up throughout his property. He has a large feeder outside of their kitchen window. My parents enjoy watching the different birds and listening to their songs. One year they had hundreds of gold finches travel through. It was a most beautiful sight to behold the massive sunniness around the feeder and throughout the yard.

Birds are uncomplicated creatures. They demand very little. In fact, they seem to make do with what they have where they are at the moment. They take ordinary objects and weave them into nests. A bird decided that here right on the rafter (underneath the roof) of the house was a perfect spot for a nest.

The intent of our visit was a family cookout. My parents had not opened their grill for over two years…since the last time we cooked out there.

Apparently, the birds knew it was vacant. Like I said, they make do with what is available. I find it rather ingenius.

Needless to say, we did not use that grill. Dirt Man wasn’t involved in Scouting for nothing…he came prepared…he had packed our grill for the trip.

I’m not positive what type of bird laid these eggs. I had guessed a wren, and I think Dirt Man told me a sparrow. At any rate, I guess they can expect to hear a few cheeps along with the serenades soon! Did you know that the male sparrow can sing up to five songs a minute? They teach their songs to the younger birds.

We can learn a lot from our bird friends. We can take what we know and teach it to others. We can try to make do with the things we have…use parts of things  together to make new items (recycle), and give what we don’t use to others who will use them. We can sing about the joys in our hearts and spread it to others. (Since I can’t carry a tune, I’ll keep you joyful by keeping my song in my heart.) The most important lesson is that it doesn’t take embellishments to live a life of value. It is not the job of someone else to make us happy. If we depend on material things to make us happy, we miss out on much in life. We can find happiness right now. Where we are. With what we have. Happiness is inside each of us…it’s up to us to reach inside and pull it out.

44 thoughts on “The Simple Life

  1. Great post. Make do with what we have. I like that. I was raised that way too, and know how. It’s sad how few in the next generation don’t. Maybe if we write about the Olden Ways, our stories will serve as guidebooks.

    Wonderful shot of the eggs. I’d love to hear those cheeps and songs mixing together.

    • I’ve only recently started writing some of those stories down…hopefully one day my own children or theirs’ will appreciate knowing aboout those days. How I wish I had stories about my ancestors. I have many in memory from my father that I also need to pen. Never seems to be enough time….

  2. Oh what joy in discovering the nest inside the grill.. wonderful pics too. I collect nests well I should say they collect me, the last one came to me when I was racking up leaves in the back yard and a strong wind picked up and an OLD nest came flying out of the tree and hit me on the head, hopefully I assume they survived and fly away to make there own nest when time.
    Your father was lucky to have the skills -ability and land to pursue his dream, a wonderful story – have a good week end,


    • I have a few empty nests in my yard right now. It amazes me to see the materials to make them…not always just leaves, twigs, and feathers, but many human discards like yarn etc… Hope your weekend is fabulous!

  3. Oh, what a faaaaaaaaaaaabulous post, Suzi!

    And I soooooo agree with you…….

    “The most important lesson is that it doesn’t take embellishments to live a life of value.”

    I find that the more simple I live, the more I can enjoy my life.

    ” We can find happiness right now. Where we are. With what we have. Happiness is inside each of us…it’s up to us to reach inside and pull it out. ”

    You said it!

    Beautiful photos! LOVE the one of the eggs!

    Your father truly DOES live in paradise!

    Thank you for sharing the value in living simplistically.

    Have a beautiful weekend!


    • Dirt Man took the pics of the eggs. I think we really are most happy living simply…we seem to complicate things when we get so engrossed in “things” rather than just living. Not to say that having things isn’t nice, just not necessary to happiness.

  4. You said it sister! And we don’t need the adornments or accutrements to be happy as long as we’ve got love and we had plenty of that growing up. And dodn’t worry about not being able to carry a tune (I think tha’s a family trail too, lol) You share with us your beautiful lyrics by way of your posts and your poetry and we can make up the tune in our own heads if need be. A simple tune of love and kindness. I am so proud to be your sister.

  5. Pingback: The Simple Life (via The Water Witch’s Daughter) « Change is Never Ending

  6. I enjoyed your post and your photos. The subject matter is so timely for today when many people are scaling down their lives to match their new economic circumstances. A simple life is better than one that drains away a family’s energy trying to keep it working. Blessings to you, Suzi…

  7. How cute!!! I just love bird nests. We had some on our patio two years in a row. Little things built a nest in our dog poop scooper. Ha! Like you said unused things.

    Love the message of resource and your dad’s paradise – ahhh, beautiful!!

  8. Your love of simple living comes across in many of your posts and I can really relate to it. I’m not much of a tchotchke collector and have packed up so many things over the years and given them to the church thrift shop. I’d rather have a pretty leaf or a jar of shells and sea glass collected on a wonderful holiday on my desk. Anything more than “enough” is too much for me.

    I loved the photos of the nests. One year we had a sparrow nest under the awning of our lower deck. We listened to them cheep away day and night, waiting to be fed. Eventually, all but one flew away. He sat in that nest so long, I swear we heard his voice change. We started to call him Baby Huey. Though I never saw him, I started imagining a 30-pound sparrow. And then, one day…silence. I wish I had seen him wedge himself out of that tiny nest. It must have been quite a sight.

    • I wish I could say that I have no weaknesses, but I’d be lying. I love things that belonged to people I loved…anything with emotional attachment. I told my mother recently that I could see myself as an old lady hoarder, not the kind that collect newspapers and such, but any item that someone wanted to ditch that had a story behind it, I’d want to guard for safekeeping! Everyday things, I don’t need a lot or the best…I like quality, but not into luxury.

    • I don’t need lots of fancy stuff, but I do find it difficult to let go of “things” that have emotional attachments for me…things that belonged to people I love or hold dear memories.

  9. I too admire the birds and their resourcefulness. Their singing fills my cold winter woods and the patience they demonstrate as they wait their turn at the feeder, even when there is a pesky squirrel sitting right in it with no plans to leave, is amazing.
    Birds only nest for a few weeks, most humans make nesting a major part of their life. For humans to live like birds is a very scary thing … it takes a lot of faith … more faith than I seem to have. I live simply, appreciate quality more than quantity … but, I need a nest … a place of security.
    Your post reminded me of:
    “Look at the birds int he sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?”Mt 6:24

    • Love that verse…there are so many bible verses about birds. I do admire their resourcefulness. I did not realize that the nests are used for such a short time. I assumed they still used them after the chicks had flown the coop. I, too, need the security of my nest. I don’t need much in it, but I still need my safety net.

  10. 😦 I typed a big long reply (you know me) and I got a 505 error.

    We have birds in our yard and I love to watch them. Sometimes we have blue jays visit. They will go through a pile of peanuts (picking up, shaking, putting it down) before the pick one. Makes me curious.

    Sometimes birds like the shiny stuff. I don’t know that they really need it, I think they just like the bling. 😉

    Dirt Man is awesome. Always be prepared!

  11. It’s true how us humans can be such hoarders and clutterers.
    I only tend to buy what i need when i need it.
    No sense in waste.
    That sounds like a really nice place to live

  12. How in the world are they getting in and out of that grill? There must be venting holes somewhere large enough for little birdie bodies. That’s really cute!!!

    It’ll be fun for your dad to see new babes emerging one day. 🙂

  13. You are absolutely correct – simplicity is the way to go. We don’t have the biggest house, most expensive cars, flat-screen TVs or video gaming systems. But we also don’t have maxed-out credit cards or lose sleep wondering if we can pay our bills. You can’t put a price on peace of mind.

    I love the pictures of the nest and eggs. I guess the grill will be out of commission for a bit longer!

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