Life’s Simple Pleasures

“Life simple pleasures are the best! All the little things that make you smile and glow…all the things you know”.
Alright, you caught me…this is the Van Camp’s Pork and Bean jingle from the 70’s. This song is memorable, but it is also so applicable to the topic of hobbies. Summer is the ideal time to think about starting a new pastime.

Perhaps you are like me and have spent hours contemplating various pastimes of which you could partake. In fact, I have made it a hobby considering the hobbies I could enjoy. You see, I am infatuated with the “idea” of having a hobby in much the same way I am infatuated with the “idea” of becoming a runner. There is something very romantic about the “idea” but, the thought of continuing it for a life span can also be burdensome. Not only must you continue this pursuit but in the end does it really benefit anyone? Is there any eternal value in what you are doing? You might think I suffer from paralysis by analysis but even Solomon, the wisest man ever, considered this question when he evaluated what was truly accomplished with his work.

Ecclesiastes 2:11“Yet, when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

In the past I had the mistaken impression that a hobby had to be a lifetime quest and that there needed to be a form of significance in it. But recently, I’ve developed a more liberating view of this pursuit of simple pleasures. Hobbies can be for a season, for a reason, or for sheer joy.

For A Season – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:”
Summertime on a farm offers ample opportunity for hard work, but also offers long hot afternoons to lazily wile away in the pursuit of a passion or whim. Hobbies in our family took many forms. I personally preferred to stay in the quiet cool of our 90 year old farm house. For a time I immersed myself in fashioning quilted wall hangings and can clearly remember the undeniable feeling of contentment and wholeness this pastime awarded me. I reveled in the splendor of the color pallet and textures of the material I crafted as it simultaneously complimented and played off each other. This was the first time I understood the concept of the joy being in the journey rather than the destination. This pastime eventually faded away however the lessons I learned from it remain.

For A Reason – Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

My three children have taught me a great deal about hobbies. Some pastimes were for a season but others were driven by a reason. Out of the latter came perfected skills and even home businesses. My daughter’s first hobby-turned-business was Scherenschnitte. Laura’s Lace was birthed out of a zeal for the German Folk art of snipping paper into various shapes and forms to create delicate pictures. She would sell these creations at various Homeschool Events across the state. The Milky Way Dairy was another brain child of Laura and was birthed from her 4H project of raising goats. The business plan consisted of breeding and milking goats and ultimately selling the milk.

One of the many favored pursuits of my sons Jacob and Joshua was raising rare breed chickens for 4H and this became a hobby that spanned many years. A booming egg selling business was one of the side benefits. Thankfully, for me, these simple pleasures were transient and they were long gone by the time my children grew up! But each hobby developed skills they carried into adulthood.

For Sheer Joy –Ecclesiastes 2:10b“…My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.”

To pursue a passion just because it gives you pleasure is one delight a hobby can offer. The most unusual hobby we experienced in our home was Jake’s preoccupation with all things Star Trek. This Sci-fi series surprisingly offered many opportunities to research and discuss various political philosophies as well as scientific possibilities. Another byproduct of this enthusiasm was The Star Trek Club. This club met over a span of 4 years. The members conducted monthly meetings, collected dues, organized events, and even wrote and performed plays for the parents. One young man was particularly skilled at woodworking. He developed a kit that closely resembled a “phaser” rifle. Jacob and he wrote assembly directions and began selling the kit on EBay. And to think, all of these learning opportunities were motivated by sheer joy!

Life simple pleasures are the best and the lazy days of summer are an ideal time to develop hobbies that might just turn into a lifetime skill… or not. Hobbies don’t have to be forever, they can be for a season, a reason or the sheer joy of it! I think Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 2:24 “A man (or woman) can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 

Now ladies, I would love to hear from you! What is your view on the pursuit of hobbies? Has anybody struggled like I have? What hobbies have enriched your life and afforded you great pleasure? How do you encourage the development of hobbies with your daughters?

by SHELLEY on JULY 22, 2010

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