As last night was quickly approaching I was getting kind of nervous about my new endeavor. After all, there was so much that I had to do! (As if that's different from any other day?) But I decided that I was going to do this, so that was it, it must be at least attempted! My kids had a late night on Friday talking to dad, were up early Saturday, and didn't take quiet time, so they all crashed around 5:30. There was still some light coming into their room so I was able to read scriptures to them without too much eye strain and without having to light a candle. Then my evening really began:
Knowing that I had only so many daylight hours proved to be a HUGE blessing to me! I absolutely recommend you give this experiment a try in your own home. It's amazing how your priorities and desires get a good shake down when there's literally a tangible deterrent to trying to run faster than you should. For me, I knew that I had to make laundry soap. So, to avoid having to do that by candlelight, which would be doable but not ideal, I had to not waste any daylight and get right to it! I didn't have the greatest visibility because my kitchen gets darker before the rest of the house, but I got it finished and had a greater sense of accomplishment then I ever had before. From there I looked at my clothes drying racks that I really wanted to put together, but then I had to tell myself that in order to do that I would be taking time away from getting my candles situated and night lights in before dark and as I wouldn't be doing laundry today (Sunday) it could wait. After getting all of my new light sources in place I needed to feed the baby who was now awake for some odd reason. Then after getting him to bed I went to my own room, lit some tea lights in little metal lanterns I bought at Ikea a few years ago (I'm sure I never thought at the time I'd be using them like this!), and opened a book of essays by Wallace Stegner on the West. I was so relaxed! And I know why...
I literally thought to myself this morning that there are so many illnesses that could probably be reversed just by more and better sleep. Disagree with me if you will, but as I know there are many mom's reading this who are like me.... how many nights do you/have you stayed up into the wee wee hours of the morning doing something?? Be it household work, reading, a craft project, whatever! There's always something that must be done. I'm am absolutely guilty of this as I can't tell you how many hours of sleep I've foregone in order to get something finished. (Waking up with babies is totally different). Anyway, I know that bodies don't run well on inadequate nutrition and lack of movement and I'm pretty good about humoring those, but I also know that bodies need rest just as well and I'm pretty bad at following that need. There's so much to do after all! The moral of this paragraph? Bodies shut down, get sick, or attack themselves when they're not taken care of correctly, and inadequate sleep (yah, sleep, as in when our bodies get the chance to recuperate?) is absolutely going to take us down that road.
I laid in bed last night ready to sleep hours earlier than ever before. The only reason I didn't do so right away is that I had to wait for it to get a little bit darker so that the chickens would be "ready for bed" and I could go out and shut the door to their coop. From there I came in and was able to just relax and fall asleep! There was no to do list running through my head, there were no options to "go and get one more thing done," it was night and I was ready to retire. This has never happened! I always go to bed with regrets. Last night I had a concrete knowledge that there was nothing I could do until morning and I was able to let everything go! This is why I recommend this experiment for you. I know you're like me. I know there are nights when you're so tired but you find yourself in front of one screen or another telling yourself you're tired, but you spend hours doing what is sometimes kind of useful (reading through inspiring blogs etc.), but you're nowhere near recharged in the morning.... and this vicious cycle continues... and finds ice cream and cookies for companions.... and a favorite show... and a new project.... you know what I'm saying :-).
I've also gained an appreciation for the light that I never had before. There are only so many daylight hours and how you use them absolutely matters when all you have is a meager amount of light after the sun has gone to bed. In only using candle light the idea that God rested on the 7th day came to mind. My eyes have been more open to the fact that we can only do so much, and if God rested, so can I! Not only that, but he wants me to! I need to work harder during the day on needful things, and then retire at night just as the sun/Son retires.
So, the blessing I've found is multiple fold as I've learned to appreciate what I have, to cherish my body's needs, and to ultimately say goodbye to things that didn't need to be in my life because I literally don't have the time for them anymore!
A few things:
-You'll be amazed at how many times you unconsciously want to "flip a switch." I had to get my laundry stuff from the garage (which was pitch black dark) and had to catch myself. Same thing with my laundry room, but what was funny about that particular room is that I could actually see reasonably as it was, but I'm so used to adding even more light that I just automatically reach for the switch. I'll be happy to break that habit and even to see the financial savings from not being so dependent on adding light to places unnecessarily.
-The nightlights I picked up are from Walmart. Here they were about $3.50 for 2 and are a green/blue flat screen surface. They're put out by GE and are called Electroluminescent Night Lights. They were a great find and worked wonderfully! From the package: "This energy-efficient, electroluminescent nightlight operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using just pennies worth of electricity per year! The technology uses a lighting material that is cool to the touch, and there are no bulbs to replace. It provides a bright and uniform light across its entire surface and is easy on the eyes."
-I'm looking into more lighting options. My ultimate desire is to get beeswax... from my research that's the best candle to burn, but I'm still looking into pricing. We looked around the internet a lot last year but again... something about nausea and moving kept us from getting as serious as we wanted to. I LOVE the West Ladies that put out "how to" movies through Franklin Springs Media called "Homestead Blessings." Their candle-making episode inspired us and I highly recommend it! The candles I'll be making this week are soy... I'll look into the toxicity of those. I also want to get kerosene lamps because they give more light, don't melt and I think they'd be great as the winter approaches and we're looking to be up a little bit longer then sunset (within reason of course.) That coupled with the fireplace, some cold nights, reading as a family, hot chocolate, soups, warm baked goods.... are you catching the vision! I'm excited. However, as the husband has been out of town he's not quite so sold on my visions, but he'll get there when he sees it in action! Who wouldn't want a candle lit dinner every night and kids in bed when the sun goes down?