I’m excited to go home. In a couple of weeks, the kids and I will take off and head back to the desert where I grew up. It may sound strange, but I am looking forward to seeing lots of dirt, brush and ants. If I’m really lucky, maybe it will rain while I’m there and I’ll be able to figure out how to bottle that ‘desert rain’ smell and bring it back to Georgia.
I’ve had several homes since I’ve become an adult, in various states and even a different country, and while it is wonderful having a home that reflects who I am now, there is still nothing quite like going back to a childhood home filled with good memories of your formative years.
That being said, I’d like to let you in on a little secret, something I’ve been working on for a while now, and is still in progress. I’m writing a short book about my childhood, and how it helped shape me into who I am now, particularly in regards to simplicity.
It contains short stories, along with useful ideas and information to help transform your life into a more intentional and simple one.
In fact, I’m including a short excerpt of one of the chapters here for you to enjoy. It does not have a completion date as of yet, but I am hoping for within the year.
Sometimes You Just Have to Hold the Roof Down
(Do what is most important)
“Action expresses priorities.” -Mohatma Ghandi
For those who live in the western United States, you are probably familiar with the monsoon season. A grand and exciting yearly occurrence in my childhood filled with the most fantastic lightning and thunderstorms, 50-60 mph wind gusts, pouring rain and flash floods that filled our little valley with rivers of turbulent water and left us stranded either at home, or on the other side in the car for hours waiting for the water to become a trickling stream.
I remember one particular night when I was around 10 or 11 years old, we had a wind and rain storm that was not the worst in history, but bad enough that it started blowing up all the newly laid tar paper on top of the first story of our house, which was then our roof. My Dad, being the do-it-yourselfer that he was, climbed up on top of the roof to try and secure the tar paper before the wind could completely undo all his prior work.
He couldn’t hammer fast enough though, and realized he needed some heavy items to hold down the pieces until he could get to nailing each of them down. Inspiration struck. He had five children in the house weighing enough to hold down that paper for him. Up we all went onto the roof and at his insistence lay spread eagle across that tarpaper pressing it down with all the strength our arms and legs could muster.
I laid close to the edge of the roof with my arms and hands holding the paper down over the edge against the side of the house, scared to death that I was going to fall off, but doing my best to be brave. Looking back now, I’m sure it wasn’t nearly the life-threatening experience I had conjured up in my young mind, but back then I was holding down that tar paper with everything I had and hoping I’d end up alive when it was all over. I’m happy to report there were no casualties that day.
How does this relate to simple living? Simple. Sometimes you just have to do what’s most important and right in front of you, sometimes you have to save the roof, literally and figuratively. Life can get so busy and bring so much stress when we are trying to do too many things all at the same time. You may be working full-time, juggling children’s activities, volunteer work and overtime hours. You might be exhausted at the end of every day and just want to pick up some takeout for dinner and plop down on the couch for the rest of the night instead of going to the PTA or church group meeting.
Maybe your brain is on constant overload with texts, phone calls, requests from family and friends and a never-ending barrage of emails. You feel like you are being pelted with a constant rain of things to do, cleaning to be done, bosses to please; and to top that off a wind storm that is so fierce and full of cultural expectations about work, parenting, financial status, vacation getaways and weekly Zumba classes, you feel like you are being blown away and who knows where you will land.
You need to focus on holding the roof down, or in other words, focus on what is most important.