The Harkey Blog

Friday, March 24, 2006

What has happened to me?

I once was a post-er of great frequency
At times with some profundity
On returning from the country of Turkey
I wrote with much loquacity
Has time got the best of me?
Am I more interested in photography?
Am I incapable of telling thee?
Or have I become plain lazy?

A few parting shots from Lost Valley for you...


Rose Verbena

Middle Eden Falls


  • Your pretty Verdana...
    and lovely Bloodroot
    Must smell of such beauty
    unlike Justins toots.

    The water fall breath taking
    and graceful indeed
    I'm bored at work now
    A long vacation I need.

    By Blogger Shelli, at 9:29 AM  

  • Very nice...

    By Blogger Brett, at 10:40 AM  

  • Very Yoda-ish, Shelli! Nicely done! And not too shabby on your poem, Brett.

    I'd lean more toward: I used to be a tech junky, now all I do is take pictures of flowers and quote poetry. Sounds like you've been listening to too much Elton John

    By Blogger Nelson, at 6:40 PM  

  • It's been 10 days...I still wouldn't call your blogging "frequent".

    By Blogger Jacqueline, at 12:05 PM  

  • You've got to re-read the first line of the poem.

    I said I "used to" be a post-er of great frequency.

    I never claimed that I am now a frequent post-er.

    By Blogger Brett, at 12:08 PM  

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Monday, March 13, 2006

The Simple Life

At David's request, I will share a few of my thoughts on the Simple Life

When I think of the Simple Life, I am aiming for a life that is unencumbered. I don't want to be overwhelmed, bogged down, stressed out, mad and unhappy because of things in my life that are optional, i.e. things that are under my control. (I'm under no illusion that I can eliminate trials or hardship from my life.) There are things that I CAN and should do something about as a good steward of my life and my resources. Some of the things that I can manage in order to achieve a more unencumbered, simple life include: television and media input, busy schedules, sleep schedules, how much we accumulate, if we use or abuse debt, when I run errands, where I shop, social committments, multitasking, family dinner times, etc.

I first began to long for a simple life about 2 years ago, and I have been refining my habits and trying new approaches since then. Here are some things that I have decided.

1. An overly busy life is stressful for me and my family. Why jam-pack my life full of committments and make myself miserable trying to juggle them all? One or two things done well and enjoyed are much more valuable than filling every day with endless activity.
2. It's rarely worth the stress to run errands on Saturdays. Additionally, it is rarely worth the stress to shop at the Supercenter. Every time I go there, I feel like cussing when I leave.
3. Family meals shared at home around the kitchen table are extremely valuable and will continue to be a key component of our family life.
4. For me, multitasking is not a productive use of my time. Other than reading while I am feeding Amelia, I am trying to avoid multitasking. I don't watch TV while I make the grocery list. I am working to eliminate making phone calls in the car. I don't answer my phone when I am in the middle of something that is important (especially time with my family).
5. I can only do so much. I need to be okay with that.
6. Leisure is not a waste of time. Reading good books, spending time enjoying God's creation and being creative are worthwhile pursuits.
7. In general, television is not a worthwhile use of my time. I would rather get caught up in a good book.
8. I have what I need. I rarely need more stuff. I am okay with not wearing the latest fashion.(I'd better be since I get new clothing at a rate of once every couple of years.)
9. Having more stuff makes life more complicated.
10. Technology is a blessing AND A CURSE! (But I still enjoy my iPod.
11.Having a simple life usually involves eliminating some things (or at least making some choices not to add things). As I continue to desire and work toward simplicity, I ask myself, "Does this thing, activity or pursuit enrich my life?" If not, I probably need to eliminate it.

There is so much more I could ramble about, but I'll call it quits now. Part of my new Simple Life involves trying to get to bed at a decent hour.


  • Two things you mention I can definitely relate to. The first is media input; that fact is that I spend way too much time blogging these days. I need to introduce limits to that in my life. Back in seminary I took a class that required a week-long media fast. It was a wonderful experience. Perhaps I should do that more regularly.

    Second, I think your take on the supercenter experience is universal. We hate shopping at Wal-Mart: it's noisy, ugly, busy, and it takes forever to check out. It invariably stresses me out to be there. Just recently I've started campaigning that we shop at Marvins instead. The prices are a bit higher, but at least I get to save my soul.

    Now that I think about it, I can also identify with your take on cell phone use. Sometimes while walking on campus I'm amazed at how many students are talking on their mobiles while going between class. And I wonder, why can't they just enjoy a few moments of silence? But in reality I'm the same way. I use the phone when I'm in the car, at the grocery store, walking to the car from class, ad nauseum. I don't like feeling that attached to that little device.

    Last month we saw the movie, End of the Spear, and I was amazed at how these indigenous people were able to survive for so long, with so little by way of modern technology and such. Yet surely their lives contained a certain measure of happiness and satisfaction, despite these rather glaring "deficiencies."

    Anyways, my thought is that we tend to think of our modern conveniences and technologies as intrinsically necessary for basic human living; and yet the reality is that many of them actually tend to complicate our lives. It is ironic, actually: the very device that is meant to free us turns out to enslave us in the end.

    I'm very attracted to the idea of the simple life. A while back I started reading the book, In Praise of Slowness, and it struck a deep chord with me. I think the difficulty, however, is determining how to put these kinds of convictions into action. Your thoughts, Elise, provide some encouragement to me to that end.

    By Blogger David, at 8:59 AM  

  • AMEN to this post!!

    i HATE a busy life. i don't like a lot on my plate. i don't like having so much "stuff" either. after moving, i was totally bummed about all the junk we accumulate. but then i started sorting and i think, "well, we will need this stuff for when we go hiking or camping or something, . ..and then we will need this stuff for our trips to canada . .and then we will need this for . . " . . .blah blah blah. .

    i did however immediately label a box for the thrift store and am still throwing stuff in there. and i am also learning that "it's okay" to throw stuff away.

    By Blogger shauna, at 9:03 AM  

  • Okay - here is the 3rd AMEN to your post! Especially to the accumulation of "stuff, junk, crap". Why is it that we are obsessed with getting more and more stuff?!?!?! And to the Supercenter comment. I hate that place and it gives me CART RAGE every time I am in there. NEVER shop from the 5 - 6:30 pm timeframe either. It's insanity!!!

    I know that stress is a part of life but when it is self imposed - it's our own fault!

    Maybe we should have a big church garage sale and give the money to the Greenhouse! Whadda ya think? ;-)

    By Blogger RockinMominAr, at 12:24 PM  

  • Thanks, friends, for your thoughts. They are encouraging to me.

    As far as "de-stuffing" goes, I am on-board with that, too. I have incorporated some ideas that I found through She encourages a 15-minute decluttering every day. I wish I could say that I do decluttering that often, but any decluttering is better than none at all, right.

    Right now, I have several bags in my garage of decluttered stuff. They will eventually go to a good cause, but for now at least they are out of the way and not cluttering my life. Stuff complicates life! If it's not useful or beautiful, then I need to get rid of it. And Shauna hit on something. . .the "I might need it" factor. I think we need to keep that in check. If we've really used something in the past year, then we should probably keep it, but otherwise, will it ever get used? Even as I write this comment, I am thinking of some things that need to go into the give away pile.

    I'm all about a Grove garage sale for any good cause if God calls someone to organize it.

    By Blogger Elise, at 3:44 PM  

  • I totally agree with you all. There are so many things in my life that are completely superfluous. Like the way magazines pile up, or how I have to store things that I'll never use again. I see organization as a weakness of mine, but I also know how much more peaceful my life is when I am organized. Elise, you're right. Some things I can't eliminate (like unending dishes and laundry, spending 8 hours a day at work, etc), but there are things I can do to eliminate the clutter (stuff, time, noise, finances, etc.). I am getting better at throwing things away, creating a system for things I have to keep, and doing things to destress myself, like read or find quiet. I hope to see more and more progress in this area of my life as time goes by.

    And...I completely identify with CART RAGE! Why do they have to make the aisles so small and the carts so big? Does anyone else remember the little carts that folded up with the flat basket? Sure, they were small, but they sure made "shopping traffic" more negotiable.

    By Blogger Virginia, at 9:25 AM  

  • ditto. although my task-master multi-tasking, stressther personality often likes to challenge my new simple right now at the office...i just tell myself to breathe..and go home. which is what i'm doing now. simple is good. you just know when you've had enough.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:18 PM  

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Reading List

As Brett can probably tell you, I have been reading like crazy lately. I have always enjoyed reading, but in recent years I always felt too busy to read. Well, now I have a newborn to feed, and reading is the perfect thing to do while feeding a little one. Here are a few of the titles I have been perusing:

The Memoirs of a Geisha (I can't put it down.)

The Well-Trained Mind

Knowing God

Managers of Their Homes

Honey for a Child's Heart

Living the Simple Life

In Praise of Slowness

Weight Loss that Lasts

The Total Money Makeover

By The Shores of Silver Lake


  • memoirs of a geisha is an awesome book..i cried at the end. i hope you didn't see the movie yet ...b/c the book is totally better!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:52 AM  

  • Elise,

    I would be interested to read your thoughts on what living the simple life looks like. Maybe this could be a future post for you.

    By Blogger David, at 11:29 AM  

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Early Mornings

This morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m., threw on some warm clothes, grabbed my camera bag & tripod and headed out the door to shoot some pictures. On the way out, I grabbed a Weinhard's Root Beer so I could wet my dry throat. As I was getting ready to turn out onto Township, I opened it and it spewed all over the place. Luckily, most of it went on the floor with a bit on my jeans and a bit on the steering wheel. I stopped by White Oak Station and grabbed a couple of napkins, then I was on my way.

My destination was Lake Fayetteville. I wanted to capture the sunrise color over the lake. Unfortunately there were no clouds in the sky, but I was already awake, so I thought I'd give it a go anyway. When I arrived, it was still dark, but there was just enough light for me to walk out on the dam and down to the shore. By the time I got set up, there was just beginning to be some color in the sky, so I started shooting. I'm pretty pleased with this shot:

Eventually, the color began to fade, so I packed up and headed back the car. As I was driving away, the sun finally began to rise so I stopped and watched it. It was huge as it came up above the horizon. It's amazing how fast the sun actually rises... it only took about 45 seconds from peeking up above the horizon to fully risen. Unfortunately, my camera was packed away by this time.

It was a photo day for me after all, so I decided to drive around a bit to look for something interesting to shoot. Unfortunately, I was so sleepy that I couldn't concentrate on looking for something to take pictures of. After about 30 minutes of just driving around like a zombie, I decided to head home to take a nap.

I got home around 8:00, talked to Elise and the girls for a while, then proceeded to sleep until about noon!

I went out later to run a bunch of errands and I wanted to shoot some pictures around Dickson Street - particularly the new Legacy Building that is being erected. Unfortunately, I didn't really get any shots that I liked because it is so congested down there that it's hard to get an interesting angle or composition.


  • that is a stunning image. truly.

    By Blogger shauna, at 10:32 AM  

  • Thank you, Shauna!

    By Blogger Brett, at 10:47 AM  

  • BEAUTIFUL!!! ...the sunset...not the fact that you spilled the worlds best root beer. Shame on you!

    By Blogger Shelli, at 11:35 AM  

  • We need to go shoot together some time. I am sure I could learn quite a bit from you.

    By Blogger jlo, at 11:16 PM  

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