Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Lessons from Norway: The Simple Life

One of the things I love about Norway is the opportunity to stop and reflect. One month really does give you the opportunity to totally switch off and reprioritise... and stopping and reflecting is something I'm not very good at doing. Life here can be a bit of a whirlwind, and so often I feel like I wish I could have more of the simple life I so love when I'm there - no internet, no mobile phone, stunning views out my window, time to read, time to appreciate just being together as a little family, time to spend with your head in the Bible and soak up truths; really soak them... opportunities to be creative and give my children the freedom to enjoy the great outdoors without panicking about where they are, or what they're doing or who they're with.

Time to be. To breathe. To pray. To be thankful. To savour.

I love the homemade nature of Norwegian rural life - bread straight out of the oven, juice from apples grown on the farm, homemade jam, fresh-picked cherries and raspberries, wood burning in the stove that you chopped on your own land and flowers that you picked along the roadside...

Community is close-knit and daily... everyone knows everything about everyone... but when someone's in trouble... everyone is there to help out. Somehow we've lost that sense of community here in the suburbs. It's so easy to be invisible, to be unknown, to close up your castle and keep yourself to yourself. And when you're in trouble? You're stuck.

And the nature? No need to troop out with the kids to the local swimming pool when you have a fjord outside your door, no need for playgrounds when there are trees to climb, no need for train rides when there are boats to row...

It sounds ideal, doesn't it? And it is. And its perfect and its wonderful.

But in reality? Life is not always easy and idyllic for those who live there... the apple juice doesn't just appear on the table, the wood doesn't just end up in the pile, the boats have to be maintained and communication via internet and mobile phone is a normal part of everyday life.

It's just that for us, when we're there... it is an opportunity to appreciate stepping out of our busy lives and switching off and appreciating the simple life.

And so this coming school year I'm going to try and be a little bit more proactive about getting back to basics with my girls. We're going to try and be outdoors more, we're going to try and cut back on the screens, and that means I may not make it here every single day. And I'm learning that's OK.

Because really. Life is beautiful when you have a moment to stop and appreciate it. I've been learning that these last 18 months. That even when you are going through the most unimaginable heartache, there is always beauty to be found. There is always beauty in the truth of the Gospel. Always. But there is beauty around too. When you make time to actually look at what is going on around you, you can't help but be thankful, and wonder why on earth the Creator would bother with someone as little and insignificant as you. And when you're living in a crazy, busy whirlwind, you don't have time to stop and see that.

And this year I want to see it. Just a little bit more.


  1. I love this Claire. These are some lessons that I've learnt over the summer too and I've enjoyed having the time and space to just 'be' and not feel under pressure to write on my blog in a routined way either. Now we just need to keep reminding ourselves! x

    1. Absolutely! Thinking you should hold me accountable Suzanne!

  2. Absolutely agree, I feel inspired to do similar myself after having a crazy time so far this year. Also, you have definitely sold Norway to me...it sounds like the ideal place to step away from the every day!!

  3. This is a beautifully written post Claire. I have been on a journey to simplicity for a number of years now. It is a challenge at times, but so worth it. I have found Courtney Carver's blog "Be More With Less" really helpful.

  4. You have sold Norway to me for sure. I definitely feel this way too Claire, and have learned the same this summer. There is always beauty to be found indeed!!! Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. It's my first week back in the UK and my one year blog birthday so it's very busy busy in the LTM household. I am hosting giveaways everyday this week so a bit behind on commenting. So sorry. #sharewithme


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