More Clutter-busting

I worry about what I will do when I get rid of all the clutter and extra stuff such as arts and crafts supplies and sewing stuff. And home decorations. Undone projects. Extra potted plants. Excess home keeping gear.  Superfluous books and printed materials. Cumbersome furniture items.  Costume jewelry. Scarves. Yes, even scarves.

I will do more or less what I do now. Read, watch television, web surf. And I will still have coloring and embroidery to do.  I was coloring for stress relief long before it became vogue.  I have a Disneyland coloring book at least 20 years old I have been working my way through.  I pick it up from time to time and do another page.

What will I not have to do when I get everything cleared out?  I won’t have to move this to get to that. I won’t have overloaded cabinets, pantries and drawers.  I will easily see what I have and what I need to replenish and so avoid buying something of which I already have a good supply.  I won’t expend energy shuffling boxes of stuff around.  I won’t waste valuable square footage of real estate holding onto “Made in China” junk, “got it for a dollar” junk, “Walmart” junk, “Dollar Store” junk.  What didn’t get unloaded onto me at the passing of a loved one probably came from one of those sources.  Even most of the inherited things came from similarly mass produced lines of goods.

I don’t own much that is rare. I have a few things that are very special to me personally, but certainly not valuable antiques.  I practice an exercise periodically.  I imagine a wildfire is approaching and I only have three hours to load all I can in my little car and perhaps the back of his truck.  What would I load up to haul to safety?  Of what was left behind, on what would I spend the money to replace?  Items not making either of these lists become good candidates for the charity shop donation box.  The things that would not get loaded and would likely not get replaced can certainly be removed from my housekeeping ménage.

The major problem I face is the selection of items that belonged to ancestors. Some are not practical.  Some I do not have the courage to unload.  With grandchildren on the way, I am increasing my consideration of those things.  I don’t want my descendants to have the same kind of problem I have.  I worry about the challenges he or our children would face after I am gone.  If I were to not see today’s sunset, what am I leaving for them to clean up and disperse?  I would rather not have very much for the charity shop to haul away after an estate sale.  A few useful or sentimental things for them to take home and some things I need now to keep house that they won’t need are all I really want to keep.

When I read about decluttering, some much of the lists are simply trash. Broken this and piles of rusted that. I don’t have that problem. Occasionally, I keep a lamp in need of repair a little longer than usual before I give up and get rid of it.  If an article of clothing gets into the mending pile, it is doomed unless our daughter rescues it and does her magic trick to repair it.  I try to get around to it.  I just don’t make it. Magazines and billing statements can sometimes get a little much.  Candles, nail polish and lipstick are problem areas for me. They are still good items.  But, I have more than I will use in a reasonable timeframe.

My trouble is more that the excess is useful and usable stuff. Not necessarily useful for me.  Each time I come home from a shopping trip, I evaluate what non-essential items I have purchased.  These days, even food is reviewed for non-essentials (chips, ice cream, cookies). I ask myself if I have bought more fresh produce than the two of us will consume before it loses its freshness.  Cooking for two is still a major challenge.  What about toiletries and kitchen gadgets? Magazines? Cup towels? Rugs? Storage boxes? I would rather not face my purse, shoe, book and coffee addiction just yet.  But, it will come.  Sooner or later, I will deal with those things, too.

I used to watch Clean Sweep and Hoarders.  Don Aslett’s books about clutter are on my bookshelf. I have read through them several times.  I saw a small portion of Oprah’s trip to India.  A woman, her husband and their three daughters lived without despair in an eight by eight room.  Water and latrines were down the hall in a communal area.  All of these sources have helped me work through to what is essential for well-being.

Each person has a well-being setting. Mine happens to be clear, open and streamlined.  Lots of sunlight and bright spots of colors are in the plan.  Looking at the space around me in this room, I have more work to do. However, I will not berate myself for not being finished.  I will commend myself for all I have done for the past couple of weeks and over the past 25 years.

My little nieces have helped me see things more clearly, too. The time they spend here helps me see how better to make things for them and the ones coming after them.  They show me that snuggles under the covers watching Scooby Doo after a Barbie Doll bubble bath are the best!

I want to have a minimal house so I can have maximum time, energy and money to spend with them, with him and with the Dreams coming true. In the day to day, I want time and energy to spend on my true career, housekeeping. Housekeeping is not shuffling clutter around.  It is cooking and cleaning, dusting and sweeping, washing and folding. Polishing the place we gather to live together.  I want time and energy and love to spend on him.  With him. Twirling around to a song on the radio across a clean wide open floor. Or bouncing along in the buggy down a wildflower trail…………..

img_1108

Advertisements

Simple Ambitions

 

I have such painfully simple ambitions.

Once upon a time, you could eat off my floors.  Ceiling fans to baseboards, pantries and potties.  All were kept immaculately clean and tidy.  Even when I started working at the school, I had enough time and energy to keep up with things.

Between working a full-time 9-5 and reaching my 50s, I don’t keep up so well.  We discussed the possibility of hiring some help for me.  At least someone to do the ceiling fans and floors.  I’m not sure how our puppy dog would feel about someone being in the house with us not here.  So, that is on the back burner for now.

One thing I have noticed.  The messes don’t bother me as much as they did when I was younger.  I don’t think my standards have lowered. Rather, I have begun to have more compassion for myself.  Historically, by this time, I would be having a nervous fit over the condition of some areas of the house.  Don’t get me wrong, the house is not filthy.  Things are not piled up everywhere.  Still, things are not as pristine as I would like them to be.

A couple of my phrases from my life book are:  über tidy and operating room clean.  Some of my other catch phrases include words like immaculate and other such “perfection” words, it is easy to understand how I fall ridiculously short of my goals.

Yes, it is my intention to “put wash away warm”.  My poor beloved knows how to dig socks from the hamper of clean clothes.  I console myself by noting that the clothes are clean.  I have heard of those having to dig in the dirty clothes for something to wear.  Never at my house in all my years of housekeeping have any of them had to do that.  Please forgive my boast.  I need something today to reduce the level of guilt over my neglected floors and rugs.

So, my house is not looking the way I would prefer.  My schedule is looking great.  I have several events upcoming.  Nearly every Saturday has some special something to occupy my time and energy.  I will have a large quantity of memories scheduled for accumulating over the next several months.  Memories with my church family, my nieces, cousins, aunts, daughter.  Memories with him and our son and his bride and the Jewel of California arriving soon.

That accumulation more than offsets any anguish I might feel over the accumulation of dust bunnies in the corners.  Über festive, immaculately pleasant, are those good phrases? Maybe I will adopt those to replace the more difficult ones.

Perfection is being in the presence of my family and friends, him, Him, and especially that Jewel on the way.

img_1290

Weeds

Every spring we plant a garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash and peppers are regulars.  We did this year as usual, along with eggplant.  We had greens earlier in the season. Every year, I promise myself I will keep up with the weeding.  And every year, I don’t.  Including this year.

I spent time yesterday trying to restore order from the chaos among the tomatoes and peppers. I will work on it some more over the next few days.  I ask myself why I even bother to plant.  Of course, we have fresh vegetables to eat.  Usually we have enough to put extra in the freezer.  I always make pickles.

Along the same lines, I got a dozen herbs and potted them. During the days of neglecting the garden, I also neglected the herbs.  I didn’t get them watered in time and lost a couple.  Why?  I ask myself.

It is because I don’t keep up with the weeding and watering. I let the grass grow in the tomatoes and the pots go dry on the carport and my life get overcrowded and parched as well.

So often I plan a project, prepare for it, launch it, progress with it. Then suddenly I look up and it has fallen by the way and been overrun with weeds.  In the past few years, I have been less productive. I have also launched fewer projects.

My main project at this point is editing. Even with the garden and flower beds and yard care, I am working toward less to maintain.  I am looking for beautifully streamlined set ups.  Yard care, home care, personal care, self-entertainment.  Streamlining and editing the things that must be done to make room for the things that are a joy to do.

I want my house to be tidy and clean all the time. I want my flower beds and vegetable garden to always be in great shape. I want my chores and personal care to be perfectly current.  I want time to read and watch movies.  I want to cook delicious meals for him.  I want to feel energetic and enthusiastic all the time.  I want time to paint my walls and redecorate my house.  I want time to fish and to go swimming. I want time to go visit family and friends.  I want to visit museums and parks and go to the zoo.

I want so much and reach for so much, I don’t have time or opportunity or energy to keep up. The weeds invariably grow in some areas.  Streamlining.  That is my current project.  I am streamlining as many processes and areas as possible.  Get rid of this to make time for that.  Weed out this just because it isn’t worth the place it takes in my home or my life to keep up.  This includes hobbies I thought I wanted to pursue.  I have gotten rid of more arts and crafts things.  I do still backslide in this area. But, I am quicker to notice and redirect my path.  Even getting rid of or returning items I have purchased very soon after acquisition.

Weeding. My life, my home, my heart, my mind.  Digging out things that don’t belong and making space for things that bring forth fruits of joy and satisfaction. I am happy with my progress.  I see more and more ways to make a difference, to improve my allocations of resources.  I enjoy the process of housekeeping.  I simply want to be sure the house I am keeping is one of my choosing and not what I have allowed to creep in like the weeds in my garden.

There is a reason growing in California to increase my rate of progress toward my goals these days. I need to get my life, my home and my resources in order. She won’t be here in this house for a good long while. But, she is already taking over my heart and my mind like a weed!  She is one weed I will keep!

IMG_1032

Beginning, again.

Folks who know me personally will expect this to be about the news we recently received. I am not yet ready to put words to that.

New hope. That is what I want to talk about.  Sometimes we go along and things seem to be flat. Like a Coke sitting open on the counter overnight.  Still sweet, but no fizz.  Life needs some fizz to keep one from becoming flat in the soul.

I have a new hope. Someone who makes all the difference.  More than anything, I have been concentrating on the feeling of hope.  Not the kind of hope when one says “I hope so”.  But, the kind of hope that says the rescue ship is sitting at the shore.

Things have been challenging for us this year. I counted up a dozen crises he had to deal with in a couple of months or less.  His health, the children’s vehicles. A tree falling the wrong way.  He always says “the Good Lord takes care of it”.  And not casually, but with absolute unwavering conviction, he knows He is taking care of all the “its” in our lives.

Some things turned out to be blessings in ways we never imagined. Some things just turned out.  I have often felt my prayers hit the clouds and crashed back down.  He (the Father) showed me a specific and powerful proof that He is listening and working things for my good and His glory to use a cliché.  Truth, though.

Recently, I have been shown some things. I have asked for some things in prayer.  Not so much for something to happen or to be granted.  My salvation is secure and I am “forgiven” in the grand scheme.  I needed to ask His forgiveness for some other things and truly acknowledge in my own heart that He granted those petitions.  I asked Him to change my “heart-itude” about some issues.  I asked Him to let me pray for certain things with a pure and sincere heart.

Some special things have occurred that directly impact my outlook and my direction. He also reminded me of a truth I have let get too far from my thoughts.  If His plans agree with mine, I will retire in just over three years.  I am fairly young for that to happen.  But, in my heart of hearts I am a homemaker.  I enjoy taking care of the physical structure we call home.  Additionally, I am a writer.  Perhaps, someday I will even be an author.  Meanwhile, I have new hope growing in California.

My photo was taken late winter. The tree is still bare and the sun is setting.  But there is the hope of spring and the dawn of a new day very near.  So it is with me at this time.  Very near are He and he.  Very near is new hope.

FullSizeRender (8)

Scrub a Dub Dub

I have spent my evening cleaning house.  I estimate I am half way.  Maybe a little more.  I spent some time outside putting things away.  I even washed four windows.  Odd, I know.  They needed it more than the rest.  I will try to do a few more next week.  The fish tank needed some water work. I am give out now.

I have my menu for the holiday weekend made out and my grocery list about ready for tomorrow after the 9 to 5.  Rather than a traditional Thanksgiving menu when my daughter and her husband come, we are having a traditional Sunday dinner.  Fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, creamed potatoes, gravy, yeast rolls, corn, crowder peas, greens, cornbread, sweet potato pie.  We don’t eat like that anymore.  It has now become a treat in my mind.

My niece and her family are coming over the holiday.  I have a menu planned with two little girls in mind.  I checked my supply of chocolate syrup and will make sure I select some delectable cookies.  I don’t have time to bake cookies this week.  We will have to make do with store bought.

He was reviewing the menu for the several days.  He mentioned I had forgotten his ham rolls.  Added them immediately along with the cheese torte.  I hope he enjoys the festivities and the feasting.

Our holiday times are so different from the traditional ways of our childhood and even early adulthood.  The passing of our parents and the marrying off of our children changed everything.  I miss those two little people who used to live with me.  They made my life magical.

I see two grown-ups who seem familiar.  I think they are wonderful people as adults.  But, I still seek glimpses of my young’uns.  I still want to gather them in my arms and hold on tight.

The holidays will roll in and pass by.  I want to make some more magical memories.  I eagerly anticipate two little girls coming to visit.  I hope and pray weather and wellness permit.  I also eagerly anticipate seeing our daughter and her love.  Not sure if our grand-girl will be here.

I hadn’t been looking forward to putting up a tree and laying the table with decorations.  After writing this, I am feeling more like having Christmas after all.  Sometimes, it helps to give myself a good talking to.  Stop wistfully mourning the past and look happily toward the future.  Get the house scrubbed and ready.  Christmas is coming. And so are some of the children!

An image below of a place that never fails to ground me.  My beloved lake in winter.  I will need to spend time there soon.  All the festivities will have me teetering.  I go there and visit the ghosts and talk to Him.  He knows all about my heart, both the strong parts and the fragile.  He will scrub my soul and refresh my spirit.  Any day, not just the holidays.

 lake photos 2

Housekeeping

Long hours sitting in the woods have helped some.  Just time without having to do anything.  I always take my journal so I can write.  I read over past entries.  I ponder things.  I am forced to be present with my thoughts.

It is a very good thing.

I have reconnected with some things of which I had lost sight.  I let myself get distracted by media driven ideas of what I should be doing.  On what I should be expending resources.

At my nine to five, I will have to do all over again tomorrow the tasks I have done today.  The sense of satisfaction is void.  I keep a to-do list at work to help relieve the strain of feeling I never get anything done at my desk.  I keep work in folders that are fluid.  Papers move from one to the next, helping me feel I am getting someplace.  But nothing at my nine to five feels as good as my clean house.

My true vocation is home keeping. I was born to be a housewife. It suits my temperament. I like the tasks and the sense of accomplishment I feel when the counters are clear and the floor is clean. Yes. It will need to be done all over again tomorrow or maybe before the day is out.  But, there is satisfaction in it for me.

I have complained about the constant business I conduct, moving piles from here to there.  Getting rid of things, accumulating things.  Sorting and resorting. Arranging and rearranging.  I am feathering and refeathering my nest.  A natural born nester.  That is me.

Even in my deer stand, I nest.  I have three chairs in each. One is for shooting.  One is for napping.  One is alternately a foot stool or a table. I have a blanket, too.  I haul a thermos full of coffee going in, empty coming out.  Writing materials, my precious lists, a pen and two back up pens.  I don’t take reading material.  I want to be forced to hear my own voice, see the images in my own mind.

The last evening I was sitting, I wrote a page of fiction including dialogue.  Is it the beginning of a story?  Maybe.  I will have to do as my little friend at church says.  It’s okay to be afraid but still be brave.  Be brave enough to face the demons of the past and the pain of death’s sharp sting.  Having expended such enormous energy to put all that pain in a place I can manage, it will be terrifying to pull it out and go through it again.  That is what I will have to do.  But, this time, it will simply be the memory of the pain. I have lived through the disasters.  Now I will simply recall them.  They did not destroy me the first time.  The memory of them will certainly not destroy me now.

The comfort afforded me by my home and the constancy of my simple housekeeping will serve to keep me grounded. My home is filled with reminders of my long gone loved ones. The house itself is a reminder of the joy and agony of the past. Perhaps the story I need to write echoes here in these walls.

Today as I performed the tasks relevant to providing our evening meal and provisioning our future meals, I thought of the long legacy I have. Since Eve have my ancestral mothers kept house. Ensuring meals and clothing, bedding and warmth were present. I like to think they provided with love and generosity the things a housekeeper does to make a place of abode a home of refuge. They have an epic story to tell.

I am writing this satisfied. My counters are clear and so is my conscience as I prepare for sleep. No fear of Mab, tonight.

IMG_0318

Monday Blues

I don’t hate my job.  But, Monday is a challenge for me.  Not because of my job, but because of all the undone things from the weekend.

I always seem to have too much to do on the weekends and in the evenings.  But, I don’t stay as busy doing as I should.  I like to sit and drink coffee.  Therefore, I stay behind.

I keep trying to remember I am not 25 and super woman anymore.  I used to go out in the yard and work all day in the flower beds.  I used to start at one end of the house and clean top to bottom, back to front, in a day.

Not only do I not have the physical energy and stamina, I don’t have as much enthusiasm to do so.  I want it done.  But, other things attract my attention.

I keep trying to figure out how to do all of it.  Work all week, cook supper, keep up with the washing, do all the dozens of little things that need doing to keep house. When do I get to the ceiling fans?  What about the rose bush that needs a good feeding before it gets too cold?

So, why didn’t I get a lot done this past Saturday?  Well, he got his four-wheeler running. He took it to the woods.  No way am I staying home when I can ride with him!  Of course, it was rough and tumble and wore me out.  But, I would rather be with him and be behind on chores any day of the week.

Someday, I will have time and energy to do all of it and keep up with everything.  But, not at the expense of time with him.

What about the upcoming weekend?  The women will be gathering again.  I have gumbo and ice cream to mix up.  Four generations of women laughing, talking, and just by being together, gaining courage and strength.

Mother would be so pleased. Is so pleased.  I am sure she knows about it.

We have lived in the house Mother built for ten years now.  No. She doesn’t haunt it.  But, when my little nieces come to visit, I feel Mother there with us.  When we all gather to visit at her sister’s house, no doubt her spirit comes to linger and laugh, too.  I certainly feel her closer after the visits.

We are still living her legacy.  Love, laugh, pull together to face the difficult things life brings.

The dust and the weeds will have to wait.  Love calls. I answer, “Here I come!”

IMAG1081