5 Ways to Apply a Simple Life Principle and Keep Learning

There is nothing in the world worse than personal and spiritual stagnation. One way to combat this is to apply a Simple Life Principle – to continue learning and growing, whether physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

To quit growing means that we are dead, or in the process of dying, whether literally or figuratively. That is a thought that I just can’t stand to consider.

Here on the farm, I am forced so many times to apply the simple life principle of learning something new – whether dealing with livestock that is having health issues, a garden that just won’t produce well, or tackling the constant litany of repairs and how to do them right. And then, Nature gives you another little shove.

a snow covered entrance to a small farm

Simple Life Principle #1 – Stormy Weather is Perfect for Learning

Recently, we had some unusual snowy winter weather. It caused roads to ice over, powerlines to break, and loss of power. Although we took care of feeding and caring for animals, there wasn’t much else we could do.

Even though we operated under generator power, we still minimized the electrical item we used to prevent an overload.

And since we were stuck inside for several days, I tried to find ways to apply the Simple Life Principle by either learning or growing. As adverse as I am to cleaning house, I can only do so much housework before I go crazy. Instead of looking at this situation with a grumpy attitude, I chose to see it as a challenge to learn something new.

a learn to lucet book, crochet hooks, crocheted pot scrubbers to reflect the simple life principle of lerning something new

As I am the one who usually has several creative irons in the same fire, I am always applying the Simple Life Principle and trying to either learn something new or improve my skill levels. There is usually a project on my floor loom, my spinning wheel is always close at hand, and I am now curious to try another new to me craft – rug hooking.

I also have other craft projects sitting close by, from knitting and crochet to Embroidery and more. There is usually a Bible study I am working on, so boredom won’t come into the picture very quickly.

a cookbook opened to a recipe, measuring cups adn spoons

Simple Life Principle #2 – Tackling Boredom

When I hear people talk about being bored, it makes me wonder. For a few hours, or even a day, boredom isn’t such a bad thing. It’s an opportunity to rest your weary bones and rejuvenate your mental health.

Longer than that, though, I can only wonder just how much laziness is involved. If you are bored for any length of time, maybe it’s time to stretch your wings.

We as humans should constantly be applying the simple life principle of learning something new. It is how we grow and make a better life for ourselves.

As with a child, when his body starts stretching in an upward growth pattern, you will most definitely experience some growing pains. You may also stir up some mental dust bunnies by stretching your mind.

There will be uncertainty. Mistakes. Failures. And plenty of returns to the instruction page. But when the dust settles, you will be able to add to your life’s resume in a positive manner.

Simple Life Principle #3 -Ask Yourself ‘What’ should I be Learning?

Not sure how to apply the Simple Life principle to learn something new? The first question you should ask yourself is, what interests you? For the cook/baker/chef, go ahead and tackle that new recipe you have been wanting to try. Or, either learn to make bread or expand your knowledge and adding sourdough versions.

I spent several weeks housesitting years ago, and had to stay in residence. I had always wanted to learn how to make a soufflé. So I tackled it. 12 dozen eggs later, I finally made one that didn’t fall, and that I couldn’t use as building material.

Would I ever do it again? Only if someone extremely special to me asked. And I don’t think Jesus cares if I make Him a soufflé or not.

Melrose Plantation - a white two story plantation home with upper and lower porches

Are you interested in history? A great way to apply the Simple Life Principle is by taking a tour through your local museum. Choose one venue and go to the library and read everything you can find about the subject.

Look for local groups or people who would have knowledge. Ask them if they would be willing to talk to you or become your mentor.  If they say ‘yes’, then bake (or buy) some cookies and head over to a prearranged meeting place. (It isn’t wise to meet strangers in their home or yours. Choose a public location for at least the first meeting, and until you are absolutely sure of your safety.)

We have wonderful plantation homes within an hour’s drive, and I can’t tell you how many times I have visited them. It’s where I learned the history of The Stranger’s Room, and find that aspect of our Southern Plantations absolutely fascinating.

a 4-shaft weaving loom with a red and white checked dish towel warped and being woven

It was on one of these Plantation tours that my love for fiber arts ignited. The Weaving Room at Melrose holds an old loom and a massive ‘walking’ wheel. This was definitely a case of love at first sight.

Since then, my heart has stretched to include most fiber arts, and I am still learning how to knit and crochet. Do you love the feel of yarn or fiber running through your fingers? Find a pair of knitting needles, a bit of yarn, and get clicking.

Got a new Bible study? This is a perfect time to do more than a surface reading. You can really dig deep, and research a bit more than normal. Go past the study – check on the study guide, read the explanations, follow up on the other referenced verses.

a basket filled with needle felting yarn, boards, book and other supplies

Simple Life Principle #4 – Learn a New Skill or Improve One You Already Have

The Country Boy considers himself a wood butcher, not a carpenter. But his desire for perfection makes him an ideal candidate for building some of my crazy projects. With each one, he learns a little more, and uses that knowledge to apply to the next one.

Right now, he is fighting, trying to get out of building me yet another loom – but since I love learning and really want that loom, I will ‘gently’ keep encouraging him until I get my way!

Still, by being out there with him, I am applying the Simple Life Principle and learning another new skill, as well as learning how to handle various tools. I now know ten different uses for pliers, hammers, wrenches and grinders, so be afraid. Be very afraid of a Farm Wife bearing tools!

Speaking of which, when you want to apply the Simple Life Principle of learning something new, ask yourself, “What do I depend on my spouse to do, that I can’t do for myself?” I have an independent streak a mile wide, so if something comes up that I have to have the Country Boy do, then I go with him, pay close attention, and then work towards being able to do it myself.

Except for today. Our generator just quit, and I’d rather not get in his way so we can have some semblance of power while the electric company works to restore it. But after the rain….

a red tool box filled with wrenches, hammers, screw drivers and other tools

Simple Life Principle #5 – The Mother of Invention

Necessity is truly the mother of invention, so on one of those rainy days, apply the Simple Life Principle by looking around the house and see what needs fixing or changing. Then look around to see what you have that can do the job.

If it’s a loose plug, take the time to figure out how to turn off the power before repairing it. Then get a book that shows you step by step how to do it.

Do your cabinets need organizing? Find baskets that will fit to store the small stuff, and jars with lids to store the dry goods. Get some chalkboard paint and design labels on them. Not only will your cabinets be clean, but they will also look fashionably fun.

a hexagon, triangle, and square pin looms with scissors, and a box of yarn

Don’t Stop Learning

No matter what you choose to do, just keep applying the Simple Life Principle. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop growing. Don’t allow the excuse of age, lack of income, or too much television to get in your way.

Take a leap of faith in yourself; make room for mistakes; and get busy. And if you will excuse me, I have a loom to build. Much to the chagrin of the Country Boy, but he already knows he lives with a very determined woman!

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.


  1. Awesome and inspiring, Julie!!!
    As always….☺️

    1. Thanks, Mom! I miss you. Next time you are here, make plans to stop by the farm. I would love a good visit!!!!

  2. Julie, you never cease to amaze and inspire! Thank you for this excellent essay. I, too, enjoy having several creative irons in the fire all at once. I just need to make sure I finish these projects. Love ya–stay high and dry!

    1. Thanks, Jen! The problem is actually completing all those projects. But we at least have fun in the attempt. We miss you too. Don’t forget – our door is always open for you!

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