Simple, natural, plain

This covered passage at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA, was a refreshing encounter with simplicity.  I took this photographed in August 2011, and looking at it, I can almost feel the soft breeze of Southern California.

This covered passage at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA, is a refreshing encounter with simplicity. Looking at this 2011 photo, I can almost feel the soft breeze of Southern California.

“Enjoy the simple, the natural and the plain. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work.”Benjamin Hoff

I love decoration.  From Baroque music to Victorian architecture to everyday frills and fancies, I am drawn to intricate patterns and abundant color.  I have to admit, though, that there is something very restful and soothing about simple design.  Our lives are so complex as to be overwhelming at times, and a clean, simple construction is a sensory antidote to the continual bombardment of stimuli.  Perhaps Hoff is onto something when he says our spontaneous thinking will be more effective when cleared of unnecessary distractions.

There are all kinds of ways to choose simplicity.  Instead of a packaged processed snack, try a piece of fruit, a boiled egg or a handful of nuts.  Drink chilled, purified water, and relish the way it quenches your thirst.  Try packing up some of your best-loved trinkets for a time; you’ll enjoy the cleared space, and when you get them out again, you will see them with fresh eyes.  Choose a worry-free hairdo or sensible, comfortable shoes.  Leave some wall space free of pictures. Listen to music produced by a single instrument, such as a piano, flute or harp.  Or sit outside and listen to the song of birds.

Today, I hope you will be calmed and refreshed by an encounter with something simple, natural, and plain.


  1. God Morning, BeLOVE Julia and family, SIMPLY beautiful.

    • Thank you Kate, I am always happy to hear from you. Today is very sunny and warm here; I hope you have a beautiful day as well.

      • I am back in NC and today was simply, sun-stunily beautiful also. Hope you and your family enjoyed this day at also. Was able to go to a service that was on fire with the Holy Spirit. From there i choose to go to Lowe’s and rescued some violas. Where i am receiving shelter; the landscape needed alittle color and this reduced viola [just root bound] provided a Joyful after noon – nothing better than being outside with the Master Gardener.

        • Kate, I agree – in fact today was so warm and pretty that I was really wishing I had some annuals to plant, but we’re supposed to have a low of 32 one day this week, so I suppose I’m still a bit early. I did take my geraniums and begonias outside for a few days in the sunny weather while we’ve got it. I bring them inside for the winter and then transplant them into the ground again in the spring.

  2. Thank you for the photo memory of the Reagan Library! Such memories are a treasure to me. Yes, nothing refreshes me more than the simple and plain…like the cool, clean water you mentioned.

    • Carla, I have visited several beautiful presidential libraries, but none is situated in as lovely a spot as the Reagan Library. No wonder he rode horses all the time! Reading about the water is making me thirsty for a nice tall glass. Thanks for visiting us here!

  3. Oh I love so many of you suggestions, especially just listening to the birds. We miss them in the winter here, so when a dozen sparrows flew into a tree a couple of days ago, we all ran to the window, Petals, Blossum and I. They chirped like mad and we all enjoyed it.

    • I think the sound of birds is so calming, especially when there’s a faint breeze and no other sounds. There is something about hearing a bird singing that makes me feel cheered and hopeful. One day I hope to learn the various calls and be able to know which birds I am listening to.

  4. I’m eating an apple as I write this, sipping on water in my uncle and aunt’s spacious yet simple home in Tierra Verde, Florida. I couldn’t agree more that simplicity promotes peace and sparks spontaneity.

    • It’s kind of magical, isn’t it, the way less is almost always more? The inside of my brain is so cluttered with stuff that I often crave spare rooms and silence. In our townhome, every time I have been tempted to put up another shelf or bookcase against a blank wall, I look at the blankness and realize I don’t want to give it up. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Sheila

    Julia, what a wonderful topic you have shared. Today was so beautiful here. It is so wonderful to experience spring,even as complex as it may be. That is a pleasant complex though. We spent the day outside, just “being”! I hope that you had a lovely day. Sheila

    • Sheila, we had a gorgeous day here too. I really enjoyed my walk. Spring may not be simple but it’s certainly natural! And can be enjoyed in small doses, or by doing nothing in particular, as you mention. This time of year does wonders for my mood. I’ve been praying for Bill to feel better, hope his chemo headache is all gone!

      • Sheila

        Julia,thank you for your prayers for Bill. His weekend seemed more restful. He loves to spend time in our motor home even if we’re not traveling in it. That is a rather simple lifestyle too, actually. Sheila

        • Yes, it is simple and whenever I’ve been inside one, I always marvel at how space-efficient these motor homes are. Simple sounds better than ever to me right now; my computer has gone out 😦 and I’m afraid I may have lost all my data – haven’t done a backup for more than a year! Meanwhile, I’m using a borrowed computer. If you don’t hear back from me promptly, you’ll know why! Thanks for visiting — I will keep you both in prayer.

  6. merry

    I enjoy early mornings, hearing the birds, as they begin singing and calling. One will call out, they others join in. God’s creation is wonderful. Julia, the photo is peaceful and uncluttered. And appeals to me. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much, I’m happy that you like it! Hearing the birds always adds instant joy to my day, but I think it was years before I really paid attention to them. Now I treasure their calls, as if they are inviting me to retreat for a few seconds to a world apart from all that worries me. I appreciate your visits here, and your comments!

  7. Fran Kettren

    My grandmother taught me the joy of a simple life. She lived in a 5 room home with my grandfather for 60 years. She never owned a food processor but made the best food in the world! The only running water was in the kitchen, however, she had the cleanest house on the ridge. She attended a 2 room church. When life becomes hectic and I am caught up in the world, I visualize her sitting on her porch listening to the birds and teaching us by example the importance of being still. Thank you Julia for sharing your thoughts! They always make me ponder the good! 🙂

    • Thanks Fran, it is so nice to see you here! I appreciate your sharing the story of your grandmother. She was one of a whole generation of people who worked hard to make our lives easier, and it’s important to remember their faithful and often amazingly efficient use of much scarcer resources than most of have today. Even with their hard work they did seem to understand how to be still in ways that elude us today. What a great example to keep in mind!

  8. bobmielke

    My first reaction to your photo of that long columned walkway is to think of a photo I took at the Portland Japanese Garden/ The Japanese are famous for their simplicity of design, especially with regard to architecture. To me, simple translates to peace, calm & tranquility. Thank you for posting. – Bob

    • I agree, the Japanese designs do evoke serenity. At the Philadelphia Museum of Art there are full scale exhibits of Japanese homes and gardens, perhaps my favorite part of the museum. I will probably include a photo I took there in a future post. Thanks so much for visiting us here!


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