Plain Life, Real and Imagined

I do get the occasional hostile comment here or on facebook about faux-Amish, Amish-wannabe, or how tiresome I am about Plain dress and life. Or that I am sanctimonious and attention-seeking in the way I dress and live.

That may be. Well, no, I mean, that isn’t it at all.

This is what people think Plain life is:

You Know

When I was a 30ish widow with young children, yes, I would have liked for Harrison Ford to show up to rescue me. But I wasn’t Plain-living then. My husband and I had planned on selling the Bethesda condo and building a little log or timberframe house out in the countryside of Virginia, or up North in Maine, but his sudden death following cancer surgery turned all of that upside down. I went on to finish university instead.

We dress the way we do and live the way we do for two reasons: It keeps us honest in our journey with God, and it is practical. I can sew our clothes (except his jeans – they are cheap enough from the thrift store). We can raise our own food and be less dependent on the market. We can live on less money (a necessity right now.)We have lots of time to be together, which is so important to us. Every day  is a gift from God when I can spend it with my husband. I almost lost him two years ago, and I treasure the time God gives us.

This is the reality of our Plain life.

spring view from the croft

Lots of rain this spring, but that’s a good view, isn’t it? Isolated, peaceful, and (could be) productive.

And what we look like (photo by Kendra)

 We aren’t Harrison and Kelly.


9 thoughts on “Plain Life, Real and Imagined

  1. I appreciated this post. I actually have a strong distaste for the fictionalized view of Plain life (the Amish novels and such). Being “plain” in life and dress has nothing to do with fantasy and romance and everything to do with following God in simple faith.

  2. Thank you Magdalena for trying to make clear why many of us are trying to live plain (in our own way). You have a gift with words. It is appreciated.

  3. We aren’t Harrison and Kelly either. We are sometimes, by small children, mistaken for a certain Mr. Claus and his wife. Our life is seriously unglamorous, but I think we make up for that with affection and the downright goofiness of living with semi-civilized 4 legged and winged ceatures.

    ❤ to you two!

  4. “It keeps us honest in our journey with God”
    I love that. Your Plain is beautiful. It think it is also a dream, and quite a romantic one – in that it fires your imagination and gives expression to your aspirations. It is something similar to lighting a candle for a prayer. But as well as having a quality of romance about it (which is beautiful), it is as you said, also practical. May God bless you and keep you both.

    • The sink of dirty dishes and the mud-laden floors are far from romantic and beautiful today! I have wanted my life to be like haiku – stripped of flourishes and metaphors.

  5. I just love your journey to Plain living: very much the journey I had to follow. I too came from the Northeastern, Mid Atlantic states and I know what life there is like. I read your Quaker friend’s blog who lives in DC and it must be very hard to live Plain in such an atmosphere such as that city exudes. Mostly the reason I trekked out West: for the simpler life.

  6. I could not have said it better my dear! We are who we are and we do not look for attention or approval from others. I am so much happier in my Christian walk living and dressing as I do now than I ever was before!

  7. Hello! I just recently came across your blog and I LOVE it :). I’m new to the plain-living lifestyle, it mostly came from my long-time interest in the Mennonites, and since I’m finally getting the chance to attend and join a Mennonite Church, I’m taking up my goal of the plain and modest look :). It’s not something hard for me to do thankfully, but I feel absolutely compelled to live that lifestyle.

    I’m only 20 y/o too, so I feel I should live out Gods will for my life now, lest I regret it later…. Anyways, I am curious if you might have any tips for me on how to best practice plain-dress?

    I am a guy, and my biggest problem is really finding any shirts to be honest. I like Oxford style long sleeve shirts, but I can’t find ones with a 36/37 arm length anywhere. And any other tips I would much appreciate!

    • Ty, your only option is custom-sewn! You can learn to sew shirts yourself (my father sews – its OK) but you can also find someone in your Mennonite community that will sew for you, I’m sure. I’d suggest you go with your seamstress to a fabric store, pick out a suitable pattern, and have her help you select the fabrics, Blue, white and tan shirting fabrics always look nice. If you buy the pattern and can get good fabrics on sale, then it will save money on having them sewn for you. Her rate will depend on how much time a shirt takes her.

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