During the month of October a half dozen or so persons met and talked about Happiness. The idea is that God created us to be happy, happy through at relationship with God. We were invited to challenge ourselves to take some steps to becoming happier. Among the ideas tossed around was removing oneself from temptations of materialism and strive for a simpler life.
That led to the question "What is a simple life?" We agreed that everyone probably had a slightly different idea of how to live life simply. I was motivated to review my own version of a simple life.
In ways I think I have chosen and in part successfully led a simple life. I find joy in the little bird that hums over a feeder sipping up sugar water. Through my childhood I only read about and saw pictures of humming birds. In Alaska never did I see one, even on trips to other parts of the globe. But when we settled in Oregon, they came to the window and ever since then they come daily. In recent years for some reason some have even graced our lives through the winter.
In May of 2014 just a month before our 45th anniversary of our wedding, we had a gathering in our yard inviting anyone and everyone who had a birthday that year. Ninety came. It was one of the happiest days of my life. One of the simple but lasting and most enjoyable gifts was a bird feeder. It was wood with plexiglass walls with a wide overhanging roof. Now I fill the feeder regularly as the birds, and an occasional chipmunk, empty by eating and spilling seeds. Many larger birds so appreciate the spillage as they feed off the ground when they don't fit on the feeder. Chickadees, juncos, jays, starlings feed the doves, quails and turkeys.
I believe that God led us to this home, a place where we labor to keep the weeds down and the flowers blooming. This home is a blessing with trees that touch the sky while others cool the ground with far-reaching branches. While the lawn is level and is the labyrinth moved into the native grasses, a hillside rises to one side and drops to the other. The dry ground nurtures fruit and nut trees and gardens of vegetables and flowers, while an unvisited space is filled with flowing water. After responding to God's call to reach out to the people of the world, this place energizes and relaxes our bodies, minds and souls.
God created this place and I have the privilege of sharing it. I hope that the house and other works of my hands don't overwhelm God's work but facilitates his calling to me. Now I return to using my hands with simple tools and God's materials to create joy for others.