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A Simple Life 
by Jim Hohnberger

This is an excerpt from Jim's newest book "Come to the Quiet". This is a wonderful read.
Before moving to the mountains, we lived on forty beautiful acres in Wisconsin, and behind our large log home we had a bird feeder at the edge of the woods. Like most bird feeders, it seemed to appeal to the squirrels as much as the birds, and they visited it several times a day. I enjoyed watching them almost as much as I did watching the birds, and I noticed that each squirrel had his own personality and held a different spot in the squirrel pecking order. I watched with interest in the spring as the new crop of babies joined the squirrels and found their place in squirrel society.
One year there was a little squirrel born who had a rough time of it. The poor little guy tried to get to the feeder, but the other squirrels would chase him away with murder in their eyes. They wouldn't tolerate him within fifty yards of the feeder, and the only reason I ever came up with was that through some genetic fluke he was an albino squirrel. At last he gave up trying to live in the community that rejected him, and I found him living way back in the woods by himself.
It's sad, but human society, friendships, even families are not all that different. It seems that for many people the most serious offense you can commit is simply to be different from everyone else. The world has developed standards of normal behaviors that are based not on logic or reason but on simple herd mentality. If everyone else does it, it must be right. One of my friends in medicine tells his patients, when addressing the cardiac risk factors in their blood work, "Yes, Mr. Johnson, your levels are within normal limits . . . " and oh, how the patient smiles until he continues " . . . normal, that is, in a country where it is normal to die of Heart Disease."
That, my friends, is our problem. We live in a country where the accepted and normal lifestyle, if followed will normally result in death from lifestyle diseases. The average American is so pressured and stressed that free time has become a luxury they feel they can no longer afford. And we are not the only ones. As I travel the globe, I find the same thing is increasingly true everywhere. More and more demands on our time and our children's time rob us of the rest and the peace, not only in the lives of the adults but in whole families. To live at such a pace is harmful physically, but even worse is the inevitable spiritual death that comes from neglect. It is simply impossible to live the way most of us are living and have either time or inclination to seek after God and develop a relationship with Him sufficient for salvation.
I know, for I tried that life and find God at the same time, and let me assure you, if anyone could have done it, I would have achieved it. I am a hard worker and am disciplined and organized. Surely I would have a better chance than most, and all I found was bitter failure! At last Sally and I decided enough was enough. We would be albino squirrels, and we would live the life God intended for us to live, regardless of public opinion! 
Let me share what we did and what some others have done. I am not dogmatic, nor do I want everyone to do things my way. My intent is to share what has worked and allow you, the reader, to adapt the principles I share to your own situation under the guidance and leadership of God, not Jim Hohnberger. We are all different individuals, and thankfully we have an individual God, not a "one size fits all." He adapts His ideals and plans for the individual, allowing us to become the very best we can be. So how did we start? 
I believe most of us take a twenty-four hour day and try to decide what we can possibly eliminate from it to slow down and simplify our lives. Unfortunately, this method doesn't work real well for most of us because most everything we do each day seems like a priority or we wouldn't waste our time on it. Sally and I decided to schedule our days around what we want to achieve, and then add the extras, and when the schedule was full, it was full. We had to discard those items for which we had not time left. 
We wrote down our priorities:
1. Developing a walk with God that was real, vibrant, and effective and lasted all day.
While most of us would want this as our foremost goal, the time demands will vary from person to person. . . . Regardless of how much time you spend in devotions, if you are not getting connected to God, the time is worthless. Connection is the key that unlocks the secret of the Christian life.

2. Working toward a marriage that had real spark and love while eliminating the hurtful patterns of behavior we had fallen into. Relationships take time, and outside of your relationship with God, no other relationship has as much potential to influence your happiness and your salvation as your marriage does. Time invested here pays tremendous dividends and should be considered, in my humble opinion, more important than other work. If you call me at noon, you will get my answering machine because my girl and I are out in the swing visiting. Just the simple act of letting the machine get the call tells your partner they are more important than work.

3. Creating a family that really works, meaning a home where all members are bound tightly by love; an orderly home; and a place where the children and parents are learning self-control. Closely related to this is the time spent as a family. Few things send a stronger message to me about a family than to call and be told, "Sorry, Jim, we will have to call you back. It's family time!" Family time is not just recreation though; it is taking the time to do the type of training that helps eliminate the need for discipline.
4. A lifestyle that allows time to think and act intellectually without the push, rush and hurry that mark so many poor decisions. We all have exactly the same amount of time in a day, and it is perhaps our most precious commodity. Like a high-pressure salesman, the devil tries to arrange circumstances so that the time available to contemplate the choices before us is as short as possible. The effect is that even choices that are seemingly small and insignificant can have major consequences. . . . .
5. Income adequate to meet family needs. The notion of wresting a living from the land is romantic, and oh, so very appealing for those who want to get from the system, but it is also very unlikely to come true. No matter how efficient the household, there are still things one needs a cash income to obtain. We must understand that the money in our pockets was traded to us for our time. If we are trying to redeem time for other purposes, then we must examine carefully just how much work is needed. While work should not rule us, we should also provide for ourselves, except under unusual circumstances. Christians should not expect either the government or the church to support them simply because they choose not to work. . . . .

6. Time for Social interaction with others. The human being came from his Creator with social needs, and these need a place in our schedules. The amount of interaction need not be large, but there should some consistent contact with others. This not only provides enjoyment, but it helps us stay intellectually stimulated, not stale and closed minded. 
You can see examples of how our schedule took shape in my book Empowered Living. But many people have said, "OK, Hohnberger, you lived this lifestyle under unusual circumstances, and we already know you made it work for your family, but what about us? We live in the real world. Does this work when it hits reality face to face? What about busy professionals, working moms, or single mothers?" It's a fair question, isn't it? 
In Jim's new book - he finishes this chapter with details of families and how they handled "Coming to the Quiet" for themselves. Must reading!!!


    To order Jim's book "Come to the Quiet"  click here!!


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