Living Deliberately – Voluntary Simplicity

by Tammy Taylor

It’s all the rage now:  Voluntary Simplicity.  I guess it means different things to different people.  To me it means living more deliberately but it doesn’t involve deprivation or sacrifice, it simply means shunning things in my life that don’t add any value.  Voluntary simplicity is often a higher-labor yet slower-paced life, one that bids you to stop and smell the roses.

Voluntary Simplicity Means Slowing Down & Living In The Moment.  Enjoy Your Days!  #TaylorMadeRanch

It’s often softer on the earth which is very important to me.  It’s also often less expensive so it’s good for the budget as well.  But for me the most important aspect is that it’s good for my spirit. Voluntary simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creativity. The term itself is a little misleading since a “simple” life is seldom if ever a life with less effort.  For instance it’s acting on voluntary simplicity to hang my laundry under that blazingly-blue Texas sky instead of quickly stuffing clothes into an electric dryer.  It’s voluntary simplicity to work the beds, plant, weed and harvest fresh veggies from my own garden instead of grabbing whatever is offered at the store as I’m walking down the produce aisle.  It’s a lifestyle that’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly a good fit for me!

Voluntary Simplicity Means Slowing Down & Living In The Moment.  Enjoy Your Days!  #TaylorMadeRanch

I don’t know what lead me to the voluntary-simplicity lifestyle, although even as a youngster I had an old-fashioned spirit. But as I moved to my own home and began my own life I got caught-up in the swirl of life.  As a young adult with small children, a full-time job and the homeowner excitement that comes with that period of my life, I was having fun playing grownup and just maintaining my life but it was a very day-to-day existence.  Every day was much the same as the day before and I was clawing all week for those precious few weekend hours when I could slow things down awhile. I longed for a life that was deeper in meaning.

Since starting on this voluntary simplicity journey over two decades ago my life has become significantly more meaningful.  Instead of getting that rush from buying that new whatsit from the most fashionable stores, I get that same charge by sitting on our back porch with my Love in our older wooden rockers, glasses of wine in hand, and watching together as that brilliant sun sinks into the western sky behind the old barn that speaks to my heart.

Voluntary Simplicity Means Slowing Down & Living In The Moment.  Enjoy Your Days!  #TaylorMadeRanch

I plan to keep expanding my reach for self sufficiency as time passes, it’s something that’s become a fun hobby for me.  It satisfies the crunchy-green me as well as the old-time soul I’ve always had.  What’s next?  Time will tell!

Live simply my friends!

~TMR~

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96 thoughts on “Living Deliberately – Voluntary Simplicity

  1. Pat

    Oh! Bravo! I’m clapping my hands…I loved this post. You put it so eloquently…exactly how I feel. I love this **** Voluntary simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creativity**** I get so jazzed to take something ugly, used up, small and insignificant… and turning it into to something of beauty, something useful again–saving the seeds to dry on a piece of newspaper to be sown later gets the wheels of my mind going. When I plant that rooted sweet potato— I’m thinking of all the ways, I want to eat SWEET POTATOES later on… Great post. Hope you had cool temps today in your part of Texas. We had 78° and drizzle all day!!! I was thankful to turn off the A/C and eat outside on the porch. :) ~ Pat

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Pat – I love that – I feel the same. I think more & more people are starting to realize that the consumer treadmill isn’t the answer. Temps in our part of Texas were shockingly cool! As RancherMan & I sat outside watching the sunset last night, we had to come in early as even wearing a sweater it was uncomfortably cool. In *JULY*! IN TEXAS! Wow. About 1′ of rain last night, praying for more! Hope you’re getting the wet stuff as well. ~TMR~

      Reply
  2. Heather

    I love to read stories like this! About 5 years ago, right around the time I had my first baby, I started to really look at the way food was produced. It was alarming to see how things have changed, and that I was so accepting of it, even though my mom had a huge garden when I was growing up. The food was the trigger for me, and then it just became a spiral of other things that I could do to live more intentionally. It is amazing to see the changes we have made in just a few short years, and also how far we still want to go. But, it is an exciting journey! I’m glad that you still find joy in it!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Heather, you and I are on the same page here. The drive for more natural food was the trigger for me as well, then it naturally lead to other things such as cleaners, toiletries, household items, etc.. Now it’s a very fun hobby for me to provide more & more for my family. ~TMR~

      Reply
  3. Candy C.

    Lovely post! Nobody ever said simplicity was the ‘easy’ way but it certainly is the most soul-satisfying way for me! :)

    Reply
  4. Lori

    Living simply is not depriving yourself or your family. How many times have I said that to people I know! Before we had all of these modern conveniences, we didn’t feel deprived, and now that we have them, we all fully know we can survive without them, just as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did. I know people who say they couldn’t live without a dishwasher. I have NEVER used one in my 43 years on this planet, and I don’t need it. I think part of it is just. pure. laziness.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Lori – I think you may be right. Although I’m not against convenience, it seems more & more the driving force these days. I’m not judging – to each their own, but I’m loving a more deliberate life! ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. victoria witte

        That convenience thing is a real vicious circle. We have all these things that “save time” but the time saved is often not used to slow down and refresh people. Instead they begin stuffing in more and more optional things which aren’t necessary for a reasonable life and which in the long run don’t provide rest or satisfaction. It’s as if people get so accustomed to running around in a frenzy that just sitting down, resting, reading, talking with others, contemplating,——- being truly leisurely—–seems to them to be a waste of time. Victoria in Indiana

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

          Well-said, Victoria. Oftentimes frazzled folks are using those convenience items so they have more time to sit in front of the TV. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think TV is bad in & of itself, but in my opinion far too over-utilized. I used to think the frazzled lifestyle was just the way it was when you grew into an adult – I was so pleased to find out it didn’t have to be that way! ~TMR~

          Reply
  5. Sparkling74

    Love seeing your clothes hanging on the line. It’s my favorite chore in my fairly simple life. Love your post!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Hanging the clothes on the line is my favorite chore as well! I don’t see it as a chore at all, it’s very calming for me. ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh Tessa, that’s awesome – thanks for sharing on FB! I think more & more people are feeling the tug toward simplicity, and what an exciting thing that is! ~TMR~

      Reply
  6. Andrea

    What a beautiful post! I love (and share) your philosophies. I believe living simply will help you live well. It took me a long time to turn away from the normal ways of society and reject consumerism, but it was a liberating experience! Thanks for sharing on Natural Living Monday!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Andrea, I’m glad it’s not just me that took time to turn away from the consumerism lifestyle Why did it take me so long – it’s WONDERFUL! I think in my mind I was afraid it would be a life of deprivation but it’s quite the opposite – my life is more full now than it’s ever been. ~TMR~

      Reply
  7. Carol

    Today is my first visit having found you via Our Home Away From Home. I like your mantra of “living deliberately”. We have tried to live simply for quite a few years and now that I am retired, I am determined to be better. I talked at dinner tonight about starting to compost and hope to plant vegetables next year when I clear a spot. I have a long way to go, but I know we can simplify.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Carol, retirement offers so many more ways to simplify your life so you may be pleasantly surprised that one thing easily leads to another. If you’re looking to start a compost I wrote about the procedure here —> http://bit.ly/TMR-Composting It will give you an idea of the basic procedure. It’s easy – go for it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  8. Heidi

    I loved your article. It describes the way we live our life and why. There is no deprivation here. We are all better for doing a little work along the way. It becomes enjoyable.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Heidi. I found that at least for me, the ‘work’ I was doing for this voluntary simplicity lifestyle was taking the place of completely wasted time, like sitting in front of the TV (which I think I did way too much of back in the day) I’ve replaced sitting in front of the TV for actually LIVING my life, and I love it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Heather Kallimani

    I love that you said “even as a youngster I had an old-fashioned spirit”. Me too! And now that I’m older, I get to live the old-fashioned-ness that I have wanted! It gives me so much satisfaction at the end of the day. I couldn’t ask for anything more! And I am hoping to instill that in my own kids. Anyway, great post! Totally agree! :)

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Heather – it’s good when we can finally come full circle to live the life we dreamed we could. ~TMR~

      Reply
  10. Country Gal

    Hello from Ontario Canada . I understand what you mean about Living Deliberately – Voluntary Simplicity . I was raised on a farm and to got caught up in the whirlwind of life as I grew in to an adult and now am retired and living in a beautiful old farm house built in 1895 in a country valley village not far from the north shores of Lake Erie . This area is full of beautiful country side , Ports , farms and wonderful wild nature and some right in our own back yard ! I am slowly getting back into home grown and home made remembering how I was raise on the farm as a kid living off of the land ! Simple , yet calming and peaceful with the odd shaker upper every now and then . Hubs AKA Papa and I love the quiet simple at home life , with our girls Miggs our dog and Harley our cat and of course all the nature we have here . Nothing like sitting on the porch in our rockers just dreaming the day away ! Your blog is wonderful and right up my alley or rather country road hehe ! Thanks for sharing ! Have a good day !

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Country Gal, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It seems we are indeed of the same mind – the simple life suits me and I wonder why I didn’t get here sooner. Thanks for stopping by, country-Road friends are great, no? LOL. ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. Sandra

    Beautiful Pictures, I especially love the last one. I have a sign that says SIMPLIFY! I think I need that reminder often. Enjoyed your post!

    Reply
  12. daisy

    I echo your sentiments here. This life is not necessarily easier, but it is simpler and much more meaningful. Continued blessings…

    Reply
  13. Leah

    Thank you for linking this up to the Friday Follow Along. I really like it and have been working towards living simpler for awhile. One day I will get there!

    Reply
  14. Linda @ A La Carte

    So beautifully said!! I see myself attempting to live much simpler as I grow older. Thanks for sharing this at TTF this week. Linda

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Linda – it seems more & more people want off the status-quo treadmill! ~TMR~

      Reply
  15. Katie @ Nourishing Simplcity

    Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing with Natrual Living Monday! I hope you join us again! http://nourishingsimplicity.org/2013/07/natural-living-monday-35.html

    Reply
  16. Summers Acres

    I always enjoy your posts. A clothes line is on our “to-do” list. I haven’t had one in 18 years! Gorgeous sunset. Thanks for sharing! Please join us again Thursday at: The HomeAcre Hop ~Ann

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for your kind words. You might try a retractable clothes line like we have – we don’t have a permanent line with poles cemented into the ground, we simply hang the line, dry our clothes and remove the line. Easy-Peasy (and CHEAP!) ~TMR~

      Reply
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  18. Mary Jo Pehl

    One thing that’s cool about trying to use up everything in my fridge and shelves is that it gets me trying new recipes!

    Reply
  19. Leah

    I just wanted to let you know that this post will be featured tomorrow at the Friday Follow Along. Stop by to see us!

    Reply
  20. Monica

    Your post reads a little like poetry and is a gentle reminder to enjoy the simpler things in life. If you have time maybe you can link this to Family Fun Friday – I try to focus on enjoying time with loved ones and I think your post does that too. Monica http://happyandblessedhome.com/category/family-fun/

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Why thank you Monday, what a kind thing to say! I’ll hop over to Family Fun Friday… ;-) ~TMR~

      Reply
  21. Amy Schaffner

    Beautiful! You’re right, simplicity can be harder but so much more rewarding. I’m on my own journey to simplicity, I just wish I could do it on a farm like you! Amy

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL Amy, I hear ya! RancherMan and I started pursuing our dream of living on a ranch several years ago. In the meantime we bloomed where we were planted and slowed things down where we could. Even with the children and soccer practice, PTA meetings and full-time corporate careers there were places to simplify. Gardening was calming to me and preserving it’s produce spoke to my heart so those are primary places to focus on. It took several years to finally attain our dream of living this life but it’s everything we dreamed and more. Don’t stop dreaming and taking baby steps toward that dream – It WILL happen! ~TMR~

      Reply
  22. Jen Harris

    Love what you said about living simply not meaning deprivation, but creativity! After years of living in “survival mode” due to family crises, I’m making a real effort to add richness to our lives through creativity these days. Looking forward to exploring more of your blog…visiting from Family Fun Friday today. :)

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s awesome Jen. Slowing down really helps you to focus on things that matter in your life, good for you for adding richness for you and your family. The effort won’t be wasted and you won’t be sorry! ~TMR~

      Reply
  23. Alison Bayne

    Seeing this testimonial to the good and simple life linked up at the Creative Home and Garden hop was heart-warming. Finding a kindred spirit is always great. We hope you’ll pull up a deckchair, link up your creative home-making and garden posts, and enjoy the sunshine with us every weekend at http://mumtopia.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-creative-home-and-garden-hop-2.html

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Allison, it’s always fun associating with kindred spirits – love it! Thank you for your kind words. ~TMR~

      Reply
  24. Amber

    Can I please add a link to this post from my blog? This really speaks to me and the life I’ve wanted to live for a while now! What a blessing. Thank you. Amber

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Amber, how thoughtful of you to ask. Adding the link for this post points back to my page so that would be awesome. Thank you! ~TMR~

      Reply
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  26. Shan

    What a wonderfully endearing post. I understand completely! A few years ago I was a full time working Mom caught up in all the worldly desires. If you had told me then that I would end up living in the country, making homemade EVERYTHING, line-drying clothes and home educating…I would have laughed you out of the room. Funny how God knows best and it takes us some time to figure all that out {or me anyway} Found you on ‘new life on a homestead’ blog hop blessings, Shan http://www.The-How-to-Guru.com

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Shan, Indeed! It seems like this voluntary simplicity thing just builds on itself and it’s WONDERFUL! ~TMR~

      Reply
  27. deborah

    There are times I want to just throw the laundry in the dryer, but it doesn’t take that long to pin it on the line and I enjoy seeing it flapping in the breeze. My one exception is when the Kansas wind is whooping hard! Then I don’t hang laundry. Not worth the struggle! :) I really liked your thought that “simple” doesn’t mean less effort.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for your comments Deborah. There are times I don’t hang laundry outside either such as ragweed season (currently in progress) We each have things we do that work for us and things we don’t do that just doesn’t seem like a good fit for our family. I think it’s all about moderation. Thanks so much for stopping by! ~TMR~

      Reply
  28. Barbara

    If I didn’t dislike FaceBook so much, I’d wish there was a “Like” button on this post. I think you and Rancherman are truly blessed. I enjoyed his post on electricity!

    Reply
  29. Barb @ A Life in Balance

    I definitely feel like I’m rushing too much and not relaxing and enjoying the moments. I love your emphasis on creativity because to me that’s what life is really about – approaching things with an open, creative mind willing to experience each moment as fully as possible. Thanks for linking up to Fabulously Frugal Thursday!

    Reply
  30. Carol Cook

    Simpler to my husband and me is living in a small cottage, buying only what we need, not watching television and enjoying each day on the beach. Now that I am retired we hope to grow some of our food in our tiny garden. I admire your life style because you are living life. Working all week at a job you don’t love only to have a few weekend hours is no life.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Carol – you’re right, if you’re not doing what you love for a living it’s time to take a good hard look at what your lifestyle is costing you not only financially but in terms of life enjoyment. If you’re having to work 50-hour weeks and travel away from your family often at a job you dislike so you can afford that large house or fancy car, what’s the real cost? ~TMR~

      Reply
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  34. Colleen Anderson

    This was a wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing it (and all the other great posts you linked up) with us on the Independence Days Challenge. I have chosen to feature this post this week! It will be highlighted on the blog tomorrow and I will give it a shout out via facebook tomorrow evening. Thanks again and hope to see you back this week!

    Reply
  35. Erin Blegen

    Ahhh…what a breath of fresh air it is to read that there are others just like myself! I too, since a child, have longed for a life years before my own. When things WERE more simple- the world was more simple. And I too LOVE that you clarified that to live simply isn’t easier- it’s often harder. SO true! But doing things the hard way is good for the spirit, isn’t it? It makes you feel useful and good. And that you’re doing things the way we were intended to. Thanks so much for sharing, a truly enjoyable read :) (visiting from the Homestead Barn Hop) Erin http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.com

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thank you Erin – like you I’m happy to know there are others out there that feel like this. To be honest I see many people are wishing to get off that hamster wheel and slow things down a bit to enjoy life – I love to see that trend & I hope it continues! ~TMR~

      Reply
  36. Heather Jackson

    I love this post. It was all just spot on, and that sunset photo is simply breathtaking! I’m off to milk my cow now instead of running to the store, so I totally get where you are coming from! ;-)

    Reply
  37. Rhonda

    I love this post. It made me stop and take a deep breath. It is a great reminder for me to stay focused on my own progress in simplicity. My journey is complicated by my love of creating art projects, but I am slowly finding a balance by creating things from old objects and giving them a new purpose. I will follow your blog on bloglovin. Rhonda (http://feetgroundedontheearth.blogspot) Thanks again for writing such a motivational post.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s so awesome Rhonda. Sometimes we all need a gentle reminder to take a deep breath & refocus. Thanks so much for sharing! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Sometimes I get caught up in my old life of multitasking to get more & more done in shorter time. Nothing wrong with multitasking unless it pulls your focus away from living the life you want for yourself. ~TMR~

      Reply
  38. Dolly Sarrio

    I love how you put it because it is how I feel and live. It is not that we have to live this way it is the way we choose to live.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Dolly, I agree and less fluff & ‘life noise’ makes for a fuller life for us here on the ranch! ~TMR~

      Reply
  39. Nancy W

    I love our simple life! Much more satisfying. I am going to feature your post on the Thankful HomeAcre Hop tomorrow, it’s just such a good message for us all! Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing what you’ll be sharing tomorrow! – Nancy Thankful HomeAcre Hop

    Reply
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  43. Karen

    Beautifully expressed! We too, once lived similarly. Then a job loss, new job, move to the outskirts of a city changed it all. I am grateful for where we are now and enjoying the benefits of living where we do, but sometimes miss the quite stillness – watching the sun RISE over our barn, or set across the road behind a sea of green grass and trees; hanging our laundry and watching it flap in the wind; smelling the earthy goodness of the garden being turned open each spring and the dew sitting softly on the budding leaves of trees. Coming to your place is such a sweet reminder of that peaceful feeling. Thank you for sharing your life here!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Karen, and yes you’ve beautifully described the things I enjoy here. I believe the phrase “Bloom where you’re planted” and I’m sure you’re blooming beautifully right where you are. If country living is where your heart leads you in back to in the future then I’m sure you’ll be able to bloom again there as well. :) ~TMR~

      Reply
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  45. Olga Elder

    Bravo! Said so well. I hadn’t heard, “Voluntary Simplicity” as a movement, now I know were organized :) I will share, share, share. I recently wrote about gathering fire wood and how much more we appreciate heat for it. Being engaged in the process and not “ready made” helps us to appreciate and be grateful…the world needs more of that ;)

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Being engaged in the process feels pretty good, huh Olga? I’m right there with ya! ~TMR~

      Reply
  46. Cecilia

    I have to agree with all above…great post! I can’t remember when the need to get off the treadmill and slow down became a huge need for me but I remember the overwhelming desire to slow down and enjoy life. I have simplified as much as I can in the city and I’m looking forward to the day we move to our farm permanently. I too hang my clothes under the Texas sun and often wash my dishes by hand. I enjoy reading your blog!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Oh what a sweet thing to say Cecilia – thank you! I started the voluntary simplicity thing while living in a Dallas, Texas suburb while I was raising my kids. I’m blessed to live in the country now, but simple living is as natural for me as rain! ~TMR~

      Reply
  47. Krystyna @ Spring Mountain Living

    Thank you so much for linking up with us at our weekly From the Farm Blog Hop! Your post was an easy choice for my favorite this week! It’s wonderful to know that another person out there chooses to live this way, much like my family does. Don’t forget to come and grab your “Featured” button too!

    Reply
  48. Kara @ Home With Purpose

    I love your mindset! You summed it up perfectly: “Voluntary simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creativity.” I think deliberately simplifying is good for the soul. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made RanchTaylor-Made Ranch Post author

      I have to agree with your Kara, deliberately simplifying is good for the soul! ~TMR~

      Reply

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