My favorite books have usually centered around living a quiet life at home. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Grace Livingston Hill, Grace Richmond, Sydney Taylor (author of the All-of-a-Kind Family books) and Maud Heart Lovelace (author of the Betsy-Tacy books) all write stories about home life and the relationships of the home. While the characters may go here and there at times, most of the story revolves around the home.
While some people read to escape to places and people and events they can never experience in real life, I read to be encouraged and strengthened in my desire for a cozy, homey life.
Our Idea of a Quiet Life
David and I live a pretty quiet life. We live this way by choice. We thoroughly enjoy being at home. Our idea of a good time is sitting together in our wingback chairs, a candle and small lamp lit between us, watching something we love and own on DVD while eating a warm homemade meal that consists of some kind of comfort food such as soup. We follow that with a good cup of coffee and something sweet. (The only thing missing is a crackling fire in a fireplace. It is my prayer that God will allow us that little dream in our next home.) It truly doesn’t take a whole lot to make us happy.
I’ve been thinking about this as it relates to Caroline. She has lived a pretty quiet existence so far. I remember one time when I was in my third trimester, we stopped to have lunch after a doctor’s appointment that ran long. It was very busy and LOUD. Did she ever bounce around in there! Caroline was so accustomed to our quiet home with quiet music, quiet voices, etc. that being someplace so loud really agitated her. Even now when we absolutely have to take her to the mall or the store, we try to go at a slow time so it will be relatively quiet and not quite so overwhelming.
The Challenges of Living a Quiet Life
But that’s one of the cons of living a quiet life – you are slowly resensitized to noise and motion. It is difficult to go out among the hustle and bustle. Being with a larger group of people where it is noisy confusion can be overwhelming.
We’ve experienced this by staying home and then going to a busy mall. We’ve experienced this at the movies. We’ve experienced it at parties. On the expressway. We’ve experienced it by going to a quiet cottage up north for a week and then driving home to the city. Because we are not desensitized to the noise and speed of life in our culture, we notice it very quickly when we are put in those kinds of situations. And not only do we notice it, we also have to find ways to cope with it because it is not our natural way of living.
One of the other “downsides” to living a quiet life is that it is often misunderstood. People think that you are selfish, that you don’t care about (insert whatever it is here), or that you are just, well, weird. I struggle with knowing people judge us because we don’t go here and there.
A Quiet Life For Baby
Especially now with Caroline, we are even more selective about when and where we go. She can generally miss one nap and do okay. But if she misses two in a day, she’s an unhappy little girl. For that reason, we have chosen to adjust our plans to her needs. For example, we attend the morning service at church right now, but that is it. (This choice is also influenced by our view that Sunday is a day of rest, but that’s another post.) Someday she may be able to better cope with a busier Sunday, but right now she’s only sixteen weeks old (today!) and we’re making this choice in her best interest.
In fact, I would guess one of the reasons Caroline is such a happy and easygoing baby is perhaps because she’s lived such a quiet life both in the womb and in our home. She isn’t overstimulated (except when Daddy gets too excited when playing with her!). She doesn’t have to cope with constant change, lots of people, and too much stimuli. She can just enjoy being a baby.
I struggle with the idea that we somehow need to “desensitize” Caroline so she can cope with living in our culture. I’ve said before on my blog that I don’t want her to grow up naïve to the point that it is used against her and to her harm, but nor am I in any hurry for her to be five going on twelve. I anticipate it will be a struggle for David and me to find the balance between getting her out and about in the world and giving her the joy of a peaceful, quiet and – may I dare say it – idyllic childhood.
I enjoy the solitude with loved ones, as well. I love sitting near our fireplace (yes, we have one)with my husband and listening to a favorite Cd of “Secret Garden” or “Enya.” It is the perfect way to end the day.
I would be very interested in a post about rest on Sunday.
I agree with you 100%. We have always tried to live a quiet life here. Now, as my children are older, we are out and about more (they are 12, 18, 20) but when they were younger we were home.
I wrote a post about this very thing! http://servinghimathome.blogspot.com/2006/10/simple-life.html
BTW, the picture of Caroline is so, so cute!!!!!
Quiet is good! I grew up in a city, live in a village and work in a hospital…..so I have periods of peace and of noise…..but always busyness! Daniel has timeat home but also time with others at churchor when visiting.We went to a breast feeding support class, a 0-12 months new mum group, and mums and toddlers at various times. He loves the outdoors, and likesbeing in company. I think that Caroline will let you know how she feels as she grows, but there is no rush.
I totally understand when you talk about quiet life, and being rattled by noise. My house is NOT quiet, I have three boys. But I work in an office all day by myself, it is just me. And sometimes I don’t even turn the radio on. I enjoy my job, and sometimes it is the quiet of the office that allows me to keep my sanity. But when I pick the boys up from school, I to adjust to the noise again. I have to say I am more sensitive to noise then my husband is and I think it is because I an in silence for most of the day (6 hours).
I find at home I have to find a secluded place sometimes just to collect my thoughts. I completely understand this post.
This was my dream too.
When we remodeled in the summer of 2005, my hubby bought me an electric fireplace. It’s the size of a real one, with a mantel, and this particular model has small shelves on each side for books. It’s in the living room next to my recliner. I have a small table between it and my chair, and this is where I read and play on my laptop. It has made all the difference in the world to me. The flames look real and the heat coming out is so yummy in this room with a cathedral ceiling-hard to keep warm in winter.
It was under $1,000 and worth every penny for the heat and ambiance. 🙂
I saw this one in a furniture store in town but I’m sure you could find them online. The only drawback would be the shipping costs.
Anyway, you may have to save up but you don’t necessarily have to be without a “fireplace” anymore. An electric fireplace never occured to me until I actually saw one.
In our next home I would like a real fireplace but we’ll always have this one and can move it to any room.
Ah, the copy and paste didn’t go through. I was commenting on your desire for a fireplace.
If people think you are “weird” now, just wait until she gets a little older and you either homeschool her, or won’t let her do what her peers do.:)
We lead a quiet life and one worked around Ben’s naps and feedings, too. It just makes life easier(and more enjoyable). The only problem I’ve encountered and maybe it will improve as Ben ages involves church nursery. We have no family or friends around and I’m home all day everyday with no car and neighbors who’d rather not be bothered, so church nursery is the only social interaction my little one gets. He’s done very well the past few Sundays and really enjoyed his time with the other little ones, but last Sunday, the nursery volunteer(one he’s never been around) cranked up the Veggie Tunes and was dancing around. Ben was scared and overwhelmed. I really think it was all the chaos — something he’s not used to at all.
I just had to comment about the books you love! I received the whole Little House Series for Christmas this year and a few years ago I asked my beloved to complete the All Of a Kind of a Family series for me – so I had the complete set of it! I just recently finished the LHOTP series and I have read the AOKOAF series several times since receiving the complete set! I have the feel that things at Aspen Trail Hill and A Gracious Home are pretty similar!
I think we have similar ideas when it comes to what makes us the happiest. Also, I have noticed that Selena (4 1/2 months) really struggles when we go out in noisy environments. I guess, like Caroline, she is used to a quiet and peaceful existence. I hadn’t thought about it before, but she probably does feel overstimulated at times. Thanks for the post.
Thanks for this post! I, too, am never happier than when I am at home. I love a cozy evening cuddled under a blanket with my hubby, drinking tea and reading or watching a movie. I love the peace and comfort of home.
I too am a homebody. I’ve worked very hard to make our home a haven, a place where we want to be. I confess, I do shelter my children and they aren’t allowed to do most of the things their peers are. The world rushes them along too fast. At this point, they prefer the comforts of home as well.
I am certain that the environment that you describe will bring out the best in your precious Caroline. As for socialising, you and her will find the balance in time, by selecting the people and especially the families that you as well as she associates with.
Oh Sallie, I so agree. I grew up with a lot of noise, my father was a pastor and there was always people around. You would think a pastors house would be serene and quiet but it is really the total opposite!
In my younger years I rebelled and was quite the partier, but now that I have heard the calling I love to sit at home with my new baby and keep things quiet and peacful. I also agree with working around the baby’s schedule, the children our are future!
Don’t worry one bit about how people view you. Just do what is best for Caroline, David, and yourself. I’m a homebody and have taken a lot of heat for keeping my daughters at home except for a very few things every now and then. But I have found that they are very content here at home. I may be wrong, but I believe it’s because I have not taught them that the only way to be happy is to be going, going, going. I get a lot of compliments on my daughters’ behavior, which means so much to me after being told that my girls were going to grow up with issues. They are not weirdos and they are not naive. But they have pure minds and that’s what is very important to me. I’m very content being a homebody too and not stressed out like I see a lot of folks.
I totally agree with you that Sundays are a day of rest too and that most of the time there is just too much activity on Sundays. I am in a position where I do go back on Sunday nights at this time, but in my heart of hearts, I believe that Sundays ought to be much more restful.
One of the things I regret is pushing myself to be at church right after my babies where born, even with c-sections and not getting to sleep at night until 5:00 a.m. nearly every single day. I did it because it was expected of me and that’s what the “faithful” church members did.:(
Your blog redecorating is already looking beautiful. I really, really want to redo mine very soon!
I’ve been thinking about this post all day, and after what happened tonight I was glad to have read it. My kids went to a birthday party tonight. I stuck around a few minutes visiting with the adults and then I planned to leave and pick them up when it was over. The party was Survivor themed and the games were loud and energetic. Three of my kids were having a blast, but five minutes into it one of them came to me in tears and said, “It’s too loud! Can we just go home?”
Now a lot of people would say there’s something wrong with his “social skills.” Why? I can’t think of one ADULT who enjoys loud kids’ birthday parties. why are kids expected to like them? And between you and me, I was actually relieved to go home, eat pizza and watch Star Wars with my child instead of joining the large party at the Japenese Steakhouse that I was supposed to go to tonight. Ssh, don’t tell anyone! 🙂
All that to say, it was good to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thanks for writing this!
What a beautiful blogsite you have, very peaceful!
I must say that my husband and I enjoy a quiet life much as you’ve described yourself. We enjoy it this way and find we’re more able to appreciate the things of God in solitude. There is quite a difference in the sound of our children’s laughter to our ears when there isn’t the hustle and bustle and background noise to drown it out.
Continue to enjoy each day together!
Wow! I was so encouraged just by reading all these comments. I need to read them all again and just enjoy all the wonderful thoughts shared!
Jeana – I’m so glad this was the right post at the right time for the right person. That is the whole reason I blog – to see God use me in that way. What a blessing! Thank you for sharing your story!