Friday, 25 July 2008

The Simple Life

‘Tis a gift to be simple,
‘Tis a gift to be free,
‘Tis a gift to come down
Where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves
In the place that’s right
‘Twill be in the valley
Of love and delight.
~Nineteenth Century Shaker hymn

There used to be a show on the television called “The Simple Life.” It was about two rich girls moving to the middle of the sticks in the middle of nowhere and their struggle to get along without all the things they were used to in life. They got into all kinds of scrapes and I think they were miserable all the time and really kind of nasty, looking down their noses at simple people and country ways, elevating themselves in their minds to something better than where they found themselves and who they found themselves with. Some people called it entertainment. I just thought it was stupid and very sad.

The other night Todd and I were sitting there watching one of our favourite shows that we have on DVD. “The Waltons.” He looked at me and he said, “If you could trade your life right now and go back and live in that house, with that family, in that time, would you?” That question really made me think. Who wouldn’t want to live in a simpler time, when all you had to think about was whether the chickens laid any eggs last night and what to cook for breakfast, and the rest of the day unfolded itself in the gentle ease of whatever happened next . . .

Who, today, doesn’t yearn for a simpler life? But what is it we are hankering for? To give everything we have up, and move into a log cabin somewhere in the wilds of Cornwall? We find ourselves living busier and busier lives. Time seems to pass by far too quickly. Todd always jokes and says it’s a wonder that our faces aren’t all warped from the “G-force” of it all passing by so quickly! It seems the week has hardly begun before it is Saturday again and we are staring Sunday in the face, and we wonder where the week has gone. I think if we only made a few changes in our lives we could transform all of that, and it starts with something as fundamental as the simple pleasure of concentrating on one task at a time. Time can indeed stand still, and it starts with the importance of living and appreciating each moment for what it is, therein lies the secret to having and living a simpler life.

If we could take stock of our lives and be grateful for all that we have and let that gratefulness begin to transform our lives I think our lives will naturally evolve into simpler lives. In appreciating how much we have already, we can feel the urge to get rid of all the clutter in our lives, and to get back to basics and discover the things that truly make us happy. We can begin to realize the things in life that are truly important, and those things have nothing to do with new carpets or furniture, or attending the ladies club, or driving the kids to the mall. Perhaps better choices such as cleaning the carpets you already have and buying some chair covers and some pretty new cushions for the couch you already have could be a part of simplifying your life?

Some people think that simplicity means doing without. In all actuality simplicity as a conscious life choice can help illuminate our life from within. It helps us appreciate all the blessings in life that are ours already and liberates our spirits from the bondage and burden of excess and extravagance. It can help lift ordinary moments, dreary lives and inanimate objects from the mundane to the transcendent. Simply put, less can and will become more.

There is nothing more beautiful than a simple jug full of wildflowers sitting in the middle of your kitchen table, while the glow of sunlight streaming in through the windows gives the room a feeling of peace and comfort, and of home. When we concentrate on the simple things of life, the simple pleasures . . . we can calm our frazzled and weary minds and find the place our souls ought to be. Lets embrace the simplicity of each day and take the gifts it offers, and stop looking for something out there beyond our own reach. Lets be content with the place that’s already ours. Living a simple life has nothing to do with living in a certain house, in a certain time, or with a “Walton” like family . . . it is searching our hearts for the place that’s right for each of us and accepting the simple gifts life offers us each and every day of our lives. Its not about having what you want in life so much as it’s about wanting what you already have . . .

We had some sun yesterday, and some rain and some wind. It was really a mixed bag. I had a yearning for some burgers for our supper, but because of all the wind and uncertainty of the weather I cooked them indoors instead of out on the barbecue like I wanted to. Burgers is comfort food . . .

*Tasty Cheese and Bacon Burgers*
Serves 4

Delicious and moist beef burgers topped with a mixture of three lovely cheeses and sitting on a bed of shaved onions, lettuce, tomatoes and crisp bacon … what more could a person want in life?

1 pound of ground beef
1 clove garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
8 slices streaky bacon
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
4 slices medium cheddar cheese
4 TBS mayonnaise
1 medium onion, peeled and shaved
Lettuce leaves
1 large tomato, sliced thinly
4 large buns, sliced in half and toasted

Combine the blue cheese and the cream cheese in a small bowl, mixing them together well. Set aside.

Mix together the ground beef, garlic and a little salt and pepper. Shape into 4 round patties. Let sit for a few minutes for the flavours to melt together while you slice the onions and tomatoes.
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Fry the bacon slices in the heated skillet until they are crisp. Remove to paper towelling to drain some of the fat off. Keep them warm while you are cooking the burgers. Cook the burgers in the pan drippings, browning them well on each side until they are done the way you prefer them. Once they are cooked, top each with ¼ of the blue cheese mixture, with a slice of cheddar on top.

Spread the mayonnaise onto the bottom half of each bun, top with two slices of the bacon, and divide the onions, lettuce and tomatoes equally amongst them, laying them on top of the bacon. When the cheese has melted a bit on the burgers, carefully place one on top of each dressed bun bottom, and cover with the top halves of the buns. Serve.


  1. This is a simple life indeed. what a beautiful poetry.

  2. A lovely post and burger Marie!

  3. A woman after my own heart! I love simple things. To me sitting a home with a good book or an old show is infintely better than any club or other such entertainment. Those burgers look lush! Much love- Raquel XO

  4. That Shaker hymn is one of my favorites...And are you familiar with the American composer Aron Copland's arrangement of the piece? It's beautiful...And so is this post about life and time. A big part of me has always felt I've been born at the wrong time, that somehow I don't really fit into this modern life. So I try to live as simply and simplified as possible. But in all I am just glad to be alive right here, right now! I just showed DH your burger...he's drooling--LOL! LOVE YOU HEAPS!! OXOXOX

  5. the simple life. ahhh, i remember it well(the tv show that is). those girls were so stupid- i pitied them even though they were rich. they didn't have the common sense that most people have, people that have actually lived normal lives where you actually have to lift a finger to do something.
    i love simplicity too. my home is very simply decorated, not any clutter, i don't like to overschedule myself, i stop and take the time to "smell the roses" so to speak. i like to keep my life as simple as i can.

  6. Hello again,
    We are settled in at Lynell's new home now. We have kids sleeping all over the floors... family everywhere. What fun. Soon we will return to our big empty house and I will miss the sweet voices and activities that surround me right now. Simple things really are the best. I agree with your post today wholeheartedly.

    I just slipped away from the family for a minute to drop by Oak Cottage and give you a hug. I've had a shower and cleaned up from our days on the river so I can do that now. Have a great day. ((((hugs))))

  7. Dear Marie, really are you rest and relax??? I hope,
    Is a so beatiful post adn a YUMMY burger I have to told here we dont lunch yet (14:00PM) so me and the childs are waiting by a corn pie at the oven, mmm when I saw your yummy pictures I really feel hungry, a hug, Gloria

  8. Yum! I can always count on you to find something tempting for my palate! Yes, the simple life for me!

  9. I know you are away on holiday so I was surprised to see posts. YOu are too amazing Marie! I have some basil growing in a pot so I need to make pesto. I'll try the recipe you gave us. Hope you're enjoying the Lake District. I think that's where you said you were. HUgs, Rhondi

  10. sometimes the old times aren't always the best times ~ I'm happy where I am lol ~ Hugz, Teresa

  11. I love hamburgers. Espeicially bacon cheeseburgers. I love bacon cheeseburgers. (drooling)

  12. marie cheeseburgers are my weakness! i love them!! marie i have given you an award, come see!

  13. Really nice post today, Marie. I love that Shaker song too. Scott would drool over that burger - yum. Are you back from vacation?


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