Trending

I have been noticing and reading about hygge.  It is trending in my web orbit on various sites.  As I read about it, I am not finding anything new to me.  The Danes are crediting with creating a way to survive the long, cold winters by doing certain things.

Here in Southeast Texas, long cold winters don’t happen.  However, we do have days strung together of damp, grey rain.  This morning is one.  Yesterday was one.

As long as I can remember, I have set myself to enjoy such days.  I have the curtain drawn back and the window open to hear the rain.  The lights are low.  A candle flickers.  My pillows are propping me up as I snuggle under my coverlets.  A cup of tea is steaming on the nightstand.  I have my journal at hand to scribble my thoughts.

I have spent time this morning thinking and planning.  Pondering where I want to go with the projects I am working through this month.  As an update, over the past week, I have hauled off some odds and ends to the charity shop.  I have added things to the costume box for our daughter’s theater.  I have dumped some projects.  I will be continuing to haul off the junk associated with those projects.

Additionally, I have determined to dump the mindset that tells me I must have everything on our place clean and orderly before I can actually feel happy, content or satisfied.  Several years ago, in an effort to fight off this very mindset, I wrote an exhaustive list of all the things necessary to achieve such a situation.  I actually included: no fire ants anywhere on the place.  We live on seven acres in Southeast Texas.  I included no fire ants.  Of course, it was one of those extreme exercises designed to show me how ridiculous are my thought processes.  In the quiet of this morning, I recalled that and laughed all over again.

What does that have to do with now?  I have some items on that very list that are not so ridiculous still holding sway over me.  I am determined to rewrite the tape that plays in my head.  “If this, then that” goes round and round.  If I could get this done, I could have that.  But, I am like the mule at the millstone going round in circles chasing the carrot that dangles on the line out in front of me.

Already I have significantly reduced the incoming flow of stuff.  I have unloaded things.  I am focusing on the things I really want to pursue.  Not pursuing them, yet. I am thinking about those things rather than the carrot dangling out there.

I am allowing myself to truly enjoy the art of doing nothing.  I am giving myself permission to be happy with being imperfect.  I am granting myself leave to embrace my oddities.  I was once described by a friend as one who marches to the beat of her own drummer.  I have tried so hard to seem normal.  To be less strange.  To not distance people with my weirdness.  I am giving myself permission to let it all go and see what stays.  See who stays.

This is a good trend to follow.  “To thine own self be true.”  What year did W.S. write that?  After 400 years, it is still a good trend to follow.

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Progress Report

I have made some progress. He helped me put together and set up bookcases to house my books and other items.  I love the way it turned out.  I have the rocking chair sitting at the bedroom window.  The view is of the woods at the south end of the house.  I get winter sun through this window.

I made my way through some areas of the washroom storage spaces. And I am pleased to report working through one kitchen cabinet.  I’m not sure how much actually went to the “out the door” pile. I did relieve some of the congestion in the space.

I am getting a clearer view of how I want the end result to turn out over all. I had cleared some areas in the washroom.  The next day, I went back because I had kept a couple of things that I really don’t want to keep.  They are now in the “out the door” pile.

I haven’t read the Konmari book. I have skimmed over blog posts and e-articles that discuss the ideas in the book.  At first, I was resistant to the concept.  And I did read an inquiry that asked how one is to manage something like a hammer or screwdriver type item.  It doesn’t “spark joy”, but it sure is useful to have around.  I suppose I would have to break down and read the book to see if that writer addresses mundane things or is she just discussing socks and how to fold tee shirts as has been related in above mentioned readings.

Somewhere along the line I have read some helpful things regarding this process on which I am working. One remark is about clutter being the result of indecision.  The idea for me at this point is simply to decide yes or no.  It is either definitely YES!! Or it is no.  There can be no maybe.  I confess I have never watched more than a few limited scenes of Star Wars.  I have heard Yoda get credit for a line that goes something like: do or do not.  There is no “try”.  I translated that to “yes” or “no”.  There is no maybe.  In this process, that means no more gray areas.  No more “we might need it later”.  Either I know we will use it and it is right to keep it or it goes away.

I will have some extra days at home next week. Those days should be the final push.  If I could complete this final process sooner than January 31, so much the better.  Then what will I do?  It will be time to dig deep and get serious about writing.  I will have to face the fear of feeling too deeply.  I will have to face the grief again.  I will have to face the demons that chase me through my dreams.  I have some special people waiting for a real story out of me.  I will have to face the possibility of them being disappointed in the story.  I will have to face the possibility of them not being disappointed in the story and pushing me to do more. To dig deeper. To pour out my soul onto the page.  To feel too deeply.  Am I brave enough to do it?

Let me get through January. In some ways, the task at hand is building my courage.  When I am able to put an object in a box to go away, I have to trust myself that it is the right decision.  February will know if I have been brave enough and bold enough.  If I have pushed my limits of comfort enough.  Everything is intertwined.  One thing builds on another.  If I can do this, I can do that.  That leads to those other things.  On and on.

There is a part of me that stands back and watches to see what I am doing. Judging me. Criticizing me.  Over the years, I have trained that part to be more compassionate toward myself about so many things.  That part of me is on the edge of her seat watching to see if I walk out on this limb and it breaks off.  She can laugh cruelly as I fall.  Compassion will be out the window on this one.  I am my cruelest adversary.

I rode up to a nearby park the day it was cold and sleeting here. The blackbirds were all over the ground.  Like a black cloud.  As I would approach, they would move is a retreating wave further along.  I was unable to capture the wave on video sufficiently to illustrate their movement.  Will I be able to capture my thoughts on paper sufficiently to illustrate my story?  I could only get a photo of them perched in the trees.  Black against a gray sky. Eventually, I will capture the stories black against a white screen.

 

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Deadline

Rather than resolutions, I have set a deadline. I have several “projects” similar to the snow village lined up to do.  I have a large ornate framed canvas with an oil painting I don’t like.  I only bought the piece for the frame.  I picked up a landscape picture about 20 by 40 inches.  There are some other things I can’t specifically recall at the moment.  Things lurking in the closets and on shelves.  I have particular plans for some of the items.  Some of the items are still awaiting inspiration.  The deadline has to do with actually completing things.

I am going to spend some moments gathering things. I will either complete the project at hand or get rid of the stuff February 1.  January 31 is the last day to complete things.  Let’s see if I can stick to this plan.

Additionally, I have set the same deadline to unload some excess dishes and kitchen items. With all my talk of decluttering, my kitchen is seldom mentioned.  Rather, I continue to add to my packed cabinets.  Dishes are like chairs for me.  Both represent hospitality and parties and a house full of people visiting.  They are occasionally irresistible. Particularly when they match or resemble things from the ancestors’ kitchens.

Another area that remains untouched is my jewelry collection. I don’t have any real stuff beyond a few rings and a pair or two of earrings.  I have piles of costume jewelry, though.  Some of it has to go.  And not to my daughter’s house.  She says it will go to the prop room at the school theater.  I’m not sure it will make it there.  She likes to collect as much as I do.

I intend to keep this scheduled deadline for several reasons. I want to resolve past projects. Either finish or eliminate them. I want to spend time working on the yard in February and March.  I am supposed to have a particular visitor coming in February as well.  By May, I will be fully engaged with another new Dream. This one a Texas Dream.

Incentive and motivation are so important in my venture. The incentive is increased physical space, less cleaning, easier cleaning, more energy, more free time, less wasting of mental energy on indecision.  Motivation is preparing for the new generation before they get going on their feet.

I have a slight hope that eliminating distractions will force me to write. Not this babbling. Not my journal scribbling.  I need to focus and write the stories.  Write the tales that haunt my dreams and drift in memories.  Write the tales that will be unfolding in the coming years.  Write the tales I want my grands to read.  Tales that will show them who we are. Show them the toughness and the love that brought us to this point in this race of beings.

Yes. I would say I have incentive and motivation to meet my self-imposed deadline. Now, if I can just pay attention long enough to get it done!

Happy New Year. May all our plans be guided by a Greater Hand and be filled with His Love.

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Another Christmas Passes Into Memory

This has been an extraordinary Christmas for me simply because of the Jeep. I find myself thinking I will need to take it back to whomever it belongs to any minute now.  It doesn’t seem real that it is mine to keep.  I still can’t believe he bought me such an extraordinary gift.  Sorry my mind still doesn’t wrap around the California Dream living in the shadow of the mountain in the photo.  She is real and yet elusive in my comprehension.

As I was sitting here pondering what to write about, I was looking at the Christmas tree. I plugged in the lights again.  I love colored lights on the tree.  I miss the adjustable twinkle lights we used to have.  I could turn the dial to the perfect speed to set a tranquil mood in the darkened living room.  I would sit and drink my coffee with just the tree lights sparkling to illuminate the room.

I will probably take it down this evening or tomorrow rather than leave it up through New Year’s Day. The thought makes me feel sad, as usual.  The feeling seems amplified because of the feelings about the Jeep being temporarily at my disposal.  If I take the tree down, Christmas is really over.  And I will wake up and the Jeep will be gone, too.

Craziness of my thoughts. My mind argues with my heart.

I am already looking into the next year. I have a line-up of projects to do.  I have the materials to do all of them, too.  Just need time and focus to get them done.  Time is not so much of an issue as focus.  I piddle around, stalling.  Stalling because the creative endeavor might not turn out the way I had hoped.  Or maybe I won’t be able to work it out technically.  Will I have the skills needed to turn the idea into a successfully completed project?

I am such a sporadic “crafter” I don’t have a depth of skills. I have hit a lick at this and a lick at that.  Never really committing to one thing or another.  I don’t seem able to get too involved in something.  I tell myself it is because the something isn’t Something.  That I am not really all that interested in it.  I’m not sure what is the underlying issue.  Maybe the shadow of my father’s illness?  Fear I will get too involved and go over the edge.  Maybe some notion that the only thing I should be really interested in is evangelizing lost people and anything that takes from that energy and focus is sinful.  Concerned that I will get lost in the “flow” of creativity and lose track of time and not have supper ready or my chores done and he will be put out or inconvenienced because of it.

Maybe all of the above. There is a song on the radio: “you keep a slip knot in the strings you attach”.  Yes. I do.  I don’t maintain long term relationships beyond my family.  I keep to myself most of the time.  Oh, I yak and laugh with co-workers at the 9-5 and with fellow members at church.  But, I have difficulty socializing outside those arenas.  The friends we’ve had over the years have, like us, moved along in life phases and most have moved geographically, as well.  The ones nearby are busy with other things.  No one has the energy to take time to be together anymore.

One of my hopes for the New Year is to re-learn how to “visit”. To drop by a friend’s house to chat.  To call someone up on the phone to trade gripes about some trivial nothing that happened to us.  To ride to town and go “fumbling”.  That is what my grandmother called what might be translated as window shopping or browsing.  All we would end up buying is a cold coke to drink on the way home.

Another Christmas passes into memory. Another year passes along right behind it.  I feel like Bilbo when he said, “I want to see mountains, again”.  The “mountains” I want to see again are friends.  I want to see my friends, again, and see them often and casually.  Without all the planning and strategizing it seems to take these days.  It feels like a mountain of a wish.  If it plays out, it will bring a mountain of memories.

Next Christmas with two Dreams in the world………………….

Come on New Year. Bring with you more time with certain little Dream girls.  Bring with you more time with friends.  Bring with you mountains of memories and tie my strings into knots.

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Her Name is Sally

Last week, he had me wait for him to go to town after work for some Christmas shopping. This may be normal for some husbands. Not mine.  First of all, he works in the town where we were going to shop.  It is about 30 miles for the round trip.  He doesn’t help me Christmas shop. In thirty years, he hasn’t helped me shop much at all.  He had the excuse for this time that he needed to bring the ice chest full of venison home rather than leave it in the back of the truck, and he thought he would help get something for our son-in-law.  So, I met him at the house. To be very clear, his behavior was out of character.

As we rode to town, we talked about what we could get our daughter’s champion and where we wanted to eat supper. He said he had forgotten his uniforms at work.  We made one stop at a clothing shop. Then, we went to the dealership where he is the service manager to get his uniforms. He went in and got his clothes.  After he locked the door, he motioned for me to come around to the front of the building.  I got out and walked around to look at whatever he wanted me to see.

He showed me a beautiful dark smoke gray Jeep. Big mud grips on 20s. Four doors with a big back seat for grandbabies.  He asked me what I thought about the color.  I told him I thought it was pretty. Better than the black I liked.  He said, “You’d better think it is more than pretty.  It’s yours.” He handed me the keys.  I was stunned and cried.  I still tear up at moments.

I asked him why he got it for me. What feelings were behind it?  He simply said, “I just want you to have it.”  That’s him.  He feels deeply. He cries when he talks about our children and their children and our Lord.  But, he doesn’t express his feelings directly with words easily.

Knowing him the way I know him, this is about the grandest show of love and affection ever. I can never repay with such an extravagant gift for him. I can only continue to do my best to take care of him in every way possible.

I did get a comment from him at some point about my never saying anything negative about his getting trucks or boats or cows or whatever he wants. I don’t. He is a grown man and makes his own money. He takes care of me and his family and contributes to the household expenses. What he does with the rest is none of my business. He is very successful in business.  He doesn’t need me telling him what to do.

I expressed praise at church tonight. He was in another room.  I work for the State of Texas.  I have been working on an audit.  I was a little concerned about locating some needed documents in the allotted time.  He called me on his lunch break the other day.  I told him my concerns.  The rest of the day and into the next day, the audit prep smoothed out and everything has fallen into place in half the allotted time. I have no doubt he lifted up me and the situation with the audit in prayer. My praise is about his relationship with our Lord and his great faith and the positive effect their relationship has in my life.

Why is my Jeep called Sally? When he and I married at age eighteen, we had nothing. No job, no money, no car. Nothing but our love and devotion for each other and a certainty that we belong together. One person in the whole world believed we would make it.  She believed we had that special something that would make our marriage last.  We have lasted almost 33 years.  We started dating 34 years ago next month.  We still like each other.  We still love each other.  I would say she was right.  She was my maternal grandmother, Sally.  The Jeep is a symbol of our success.  Our life, our marriage, our love. So, my Jeep is called Sally to remember that someone believed in us from the beginning.

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Holiday Countdown

I should be wrapping presents. I have almost everything purchased.  We sent a box to California, today.  I hope it makes it before Christmas.  If not, it will still be full of goodies when it gets there.

Last week, I refinished a table. Photos below.  I used chalk paint to redo an old coffee table I found at a junk shop.  I filled it with votive candles and two birds over a crocheted doily a dear lady made for me years ago.

This past weekend my niece brought my little nieces for a visit. Among the fun was cocoa served from an old tea pot alongside homemade shortbread frosted with milk chocolate and Christmas sprinkles.  We used the table featured in the photos for this event.  It was the follow up to an adventure in town walking through a park filled with Christmas light displays.

We walked and raced round the creek and pond, pausing to look at the lights and get out of the way of the train. We opted to walk rather than wait with a two year old in the line to ride the train.  It was a great option.  She slept soundly, barely moving all night!  This matters because she was in bed with me.

Our daughter and her loves will be here this weekend to have our Christmas with them. I should be wrapping presents.

I am enjoying the season more this year than I usually do. It feels a little more magical for some reason.  A sign of healing?  The grief of so much loss is releasing its grip, perhaps? I am believing Him for that.

I care greatly about several friends and some family members whose grief might never be relieved this side of Heaven. This season reminds them of the moment tragedy struck. The decorations that were so brilliantly beautiful before that moment of disaster now glare and blur through the tears that still linger in their hearts.  I pray for His Peace to pour into their spirits and His Joy to fill their hearts.

I am grateful I have joy this season. I will savor my joy with praise and thanksgiving.  Not smugly, but carefully.  Mindful of those who do not have it.

And yet, I want some moments of wild abandon. Exuberant joy overflowing and bursting out.  Thrills seeing lights and tinsel, pretty presents all wrapped under the tree, my heart beating rapidly as the children pull into the driveway.  Our son and his bride and our little Princess will not be here physically. But distance is no master to Love.  They will be here in my heart for Christmas.  I will hug our daughter, her groom and our “borrowed” grand all the tighter for it.

Well, enough for now. I should be wrapping presents. Here is my pre-holiday project.  I am well-pleased with the outcome.

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The Beginning of Christmas 2016

Last evening was a super productive evening.

I wanted to cover up an eyesore in the living room.  There is an old air conditioner installed in the wall in the corner where I like to put my tree.   I hemmed some homespun and now it is a faux window.  The star needed a little trimming, too.  But, the tree is up.  The table is decorated.  My new old coffee table has been refinished.

I have guests coming.  No. Actually, I have family coming this weekend.  They are my dears.  I have my menu done and the beginning of a shopping list completed.

Tomorrow will bring an afternoon off my 9-5 to take care of some Christmas business.  I need to pack a box to ship to California.  I plan to gather the items for packing on the morrow.

Here are some photos of my Christmas décor so far.  Simple country is all I am.  Nothing spectacular or especially wonderful except to me.  I think my little weekend visitors will like things.  I know he and He like them.