Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Extraordinary Power of Less

My husband and I had a little date this past Friday night.  So, of course, we got ice cream and headed to Half-Price Books.  We occasionally cross paths once we get there between the Religion and Parenting sections for me and the Military History section for him.  (You probably don't want dating advice from us). 

I found a few prizes, but couldn't wait to sink my teeth into one in particular, Simplicity Parenting - Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne, M.Ed.  I'm a little over halfway through and have found him to beautifully explain many things I've come to believe (mostly unconciously) over time. So far, the gist is this:

~We are "building families on the four pillars of 'too much':  too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too fast."

~As our family's architects, "we need to add a little more space and grace, a little less speed and clutter to our children's lives."

~"Relationships are forged in pauses...the ordinary incidental moments that have extraordinary cumulative power."

He seems to answer, in depth, what Thomas Merton eloquently states in Seven Storey Mountain on this same topic:

We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.

I am motivated!!  I am going through every room in my house and trying to cut the "stuff" in half:  clothes, books, toys, etc... and am having a garage sale on Saturday (for those who don't think less is more ;).  I am also changing the toys that are available and in-plain-sight for my kiddos:  out with sensory overload, in with dominos, magnets, building sets, Legos, etc...

There are a lot of other discussions and things pondered in this book, like rhythm, schedules, and environment. He is very funny, too.  I highly encourage you to read this book if you still have kids at home!  I can't wait to finish it. 

Dear Lord, Thank you for people who can explain things that we inherently know, but can't explain.  Thank you for confirmation that life should be more "being" than "doing".  Thank you for your grace.  Help me extend it to others, most especially my children.  Please help me give my children the gift of myself, so that I may not be tempted to "fill in" with other things.  Dear Mary, help me to be the Mother that you are.  Amen.


  1. Heidi, I wanted to take the time to thank you for sharing your walk with Jesus and things He has revealed to you. I pray, God willing, that I am starting to come out of what could quite possibly have been the most difficult year of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally, and unfortunately spiritually. Oh, the graces have been there in abundance, I know, but ihaven't felt them and my root sin is sensuality, so you see part of the problem.

    Anyway, reading your posts has reminded me of the many things Jesus has revealed to me over the years, but I had forgotten over the past year of difficulty. It encourages me to read this post, for example,where Jesus is teaching you that less is more and I can say, " yes, Jesus, I remember when you taught me about simplicity.". Or the one where you struggle with, "is it for Jesus or is it for me and how I feel? That was a good one and I have been there more times than I could count. Or the one where Jesus speaks to your heart about how the "busy"ness and abundance of activities. Jesus told me very clearly that my scheduling and abundance of activities and things (including my being involved in too many church activities) was my way of escaping from my duties of my vocation of motherhood and being present to my boys, who need their mother, not activities. It was like a reality slap in the face for me and was the beginning of our discernment to homeschool.

    Anyway, I have been meaning to comment for some time. Actually, I did comment back on one of the first posts, but it never showed up. I'm sure I messed something up.


    1. Wow, Erin. I'm sorry it has been a difficult year in all areas for you. No doubt, you would also say there has been much growth, too (probably more in the root dept. (less visible) and less in the flower dept. (more visible). You are clearly still striving to know Him and talk to Him and the more you know you need Him, the better off you are! (Although our feelings can confuse us on this one, because it feels better to be self-reliant). Thank you for letting me know my blog has positively impacted you! It is just the encouragement I need during this summer time where many things seem to dry up with the heat! Peace and Love, Heidi