Sunshine & Simplicity
This mama needs sunshine & simplicity. This past weekend I was reminded how much I missed the sun. This has by far been the coldest, rainiest winter Southern California has had in years. As the coldness is slowly drifting away and the sun is making its way back, I am remembering my love for the sun and summer and the beach. When the seasons shift, I can really feel it in the air. It is a subtle change, but I can almost always sense it and the shifting seasons always brings me joy. Even though I experienced that season just a year ago, I so quickly forget the joys found in it. I become excited for change in weather, clothes, and activities. This year, I am even more grateful for sunny days since they have been so few.
I am learning more and more that what makes me happiest is often involved around two things: sun and simplicity. If we aim to incorporate simple things with sunshine, it is likely everyone will be happier because of it. Last weekend when we were in San Diego, we had three meals out. Two of the three were at nicer restaurants. The other one was at a deli in San Clemente called Billy’s. Of these three dining experiences, the most enjoyable was at Billy’s, where we ordered veggie sandwiches on squaw bread and sat outside at a table. It was quiet, peaceful, simple. And it was one of our very favorite moments of our weekend. When we were reflecting on our little trip on the drive home, both Lance and I talked about how Billy’s was memorable. Isn’t that funny how that works? The most unplanned and simplest part of our entire weekend was the part of the trip that produced the most joy. I was not stressed about Hudson making a mess or noise. I was not worried if we were disturbing other people. I was at peace because we were at Billy’s and we were outside and we had veggie sandwiches and Hudson happily threw puffs everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice restaurant, but there is something to the simple plans, the simple food, and the sunshine that has a way of leaving an impression that the fanciest restaurant just can’t touch.
I was again reminded of this truth when Lance and I had date night this past Saturday. While we typically drive to a relatively nicer restaurant for dates, we chose to do the very opposite and it was one of my very favorite dates in a while. Instead of drive, we rode bikes from my parents’ house to the strand. It was bright and sunny and lots of people were out. It felt like summer. It felt like freedom. I love Hudson to pieces of course, but it felt so fun to ride bikes with my husband and for just a couple hours not worry about diapers or a runny nose. We rode and talked and laughed. The second plan to our date was to be spontaneous in choosing a place to eat. This defies every part of our normal character and routine. But it felt fun to not have a plan, until we realized we are not very good at being spontaneous. We walked from overpriced restaurant to the next and read fancy menus, but none of them stood out to us. We kept walking until I suggested we just get Lemonade and bring it down to the beach. And this is exactly what we did. And it was perfect. We sat by a volleyball court and sipped lemonade, ate poke and curried cauliflower and talked about our weekly rose-bud-thorns of the week. We did not need cloth tablecloths or overpriced food or waiters or glassed waters. It turns out those things just don’t matter that much to us. What actually makes a date is the words exchanged, the setting sun, and the twinkle I can see in my husband’s eyes when he looks at me. Simplicity. It is easy to run towards the extravagant, the fancy, the over-planned. You have to really be intentional about living simply at times, especially with the type of culture we are living in. The culture that tells us to consume, consume, consume. Especially on special occasions, like date nights and birthdays, it is easy to fall into the trap of over-elaborate and fancy, but if you can take the simple route, there is something so sweet about it. Simplicity + sunshine. Good things come from these two. Even better things come from these two when they are centered around Jesus. That is the key of the entire equation. Whether we are at a fancy Italian restaurant or picnicking at the beach, if our hearts are not centered around Jesus and His love, the experience will end flatly. We need simple things and the sun, but above all else we need The Son.
So, next time you are left wondering how to fill your day, I have a few suggestions. I would start with Jesus. What is he putting on your heart? I would start with prayer. What do you have to say to Him? Then I would add some simple things and sunshine. I would go outside. I would grab a book and read outside in the warmth of the sun. I would eat hummus straight out of the container. I would slice fruit. I would call a friend. I have a strong tendency to overcomplicate, over-plan, overspend. I believe the lies that more is better. That a higher price tag is better. That the more crammed into one day must mean more was accomplished. I am finally learning that this is simply not true. Veggie sandwiches eaten in the quiet, cool shade of Billy’s deli beats fancy pasta and stuffy restaurants any day.