Away Too Long

I didn’t realize it has been almost a month since my last post until this evening.

The orchids have continued.  I’m not sure what kept me from the page.  I noticed my private journal has been somewhat quiet most days.  Just a spell, I guess.

My next to oldest friend came to see us.  It was so comforting to simply visit with him.  I look forward to him coming again and bringing his bride.  She is my oldest friend.  Fifty years this summer since we started playing together as babes.

Our best friend’s step dad passed away.  We went to see him and his mother one evening.  It was good to see them even with the circumstances.  His mother was in her characteristic animated mode.  Showing off the cows and wild deer and wild ducks.  Feeding everything that moves.

I attended my littlest niece’s birthday party.  She is three already!  I got to see several beloved family members and friends that are family. Pizza, cake, piñata and lots of toys to open.  Great fun!  Our baby girl, the one about to be thirty and a first time mother was there with our acquired granddaughter. She has a ten year old step daughter and is expecting our new girl in May.

Two dear friends and I went to the annual ladies’ retreat sponsored by our association of churches.  We had a special time.  It was a time of bonding for the three of us that is not possible in the settings where we usually encounter each other.  The retreat itself was okay, but we came away with inspiration and direction that came more from left field, so to speak.

He has been terribly busy with many obligations.  All I can do is continue to lift him up to Him for care and protection.  I try to stay alert to his needs that I am able to meet.  The Father is blessing his work in all areas.

I have some friends recovering from or going for surgeries and other medical procedures.  I am trying to be careful to lift them often to the Physician in my prayers.  He heard me the first time.  But, it builds my compassion and matures my heart to maintain contact with Him on their behalf.

I have worked on my Facebook news feed and my Tumbler dashboard and my Pinterest account to increase seeing scriptures and praises and prayers on them.  I have adjusted other things to reduce adverse exposures.

My friend asked me if I listen to contemporary Christian music.  I told her no.  Our area has limited reception to most contemporary Christian stations.  But, I have set my dial to some so I can try to tune in when possible.

I want to draw closer to Him.  I want to be more for Him.  That is one prayer I know He will answer.  Anyone who seeks Him with a sincere heart will be rewarded with Him making His presence known.

We anticipate a visit with our California Dream in the near future.  I can’t think about it too much.  I get giddy with excitement.  More than a kid on Christmas Eve.

So, yes, the orchids have been pouring down.  A sweet fragrance of blessings all round.  This is short and sweet, this evening.  I give myself credit for showing up on the page.  It is enough for now.

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One More Week

I have one more week to complete my January plan to finish it or forget it.  I need to make a good push the next couple of evenings.  I need to make sure I haven’t missed anything that I wanted to get resolved.  It is unlikely I will get everything done as intended.

Those big frames are still causing a roadblock.  I haven’t done the project I planned.  It was actually about the third plan for one of three.  I like the idea of the project.  But, I don’t want that hanging on my wall.  What was I thinking? Back to square one.

If I do what I promised myself, the frames have to leave on February 1.  This late in the evening with the week I have had, I don’t know what the outcome will be regarding this matter.

Monday, I went in to the 9-5 in tears.  We have an upcoming audit and I was certain a critical portion of documentation was missing.  He knew of my dilemma and prayed all morning for me.  That afternoon, I found the documentation in my file right where I would have looked had I not been so certain I didn’t have it.  Not only was the paperwork there, it was complete.  That is the power of a praying man.  That is the mercy of a loving Father.

This evening, while riding home from church, I told him he has a red phone directly to Him.  It’s one of those that doesn’t even have a dial.  He just picks up and it rings in Heaven and He answers.  He told me I have the same.  I told him no.  I have to dial my phone.   Someday, perhaps I will have faith as large as his. Meanwhile, I am very grateful and blessed because of his direct red phone connection to Him.

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A Song

I have heard a couple of songs on the radio recently. One is a current hit. One is from several years ago.  The one from several years ago is about a woman questioning what she is doing with her life.  I struggled with that for years.  Why didn’t I finish college?  What career path should I have taken?

I married early and had children. I had ill parents to tend.  By the time, real opportunity came along for me to pursue something else, I didn’t have the resources to move on it.  Resources aren’t just money.  Time, energy, desire.

Perhaps it is the approach of middle age. Perhaps is it the imminent arrival of granddaughter number one and the fast approaching granddaughter number two.  I am losing the sense of loss over missed opportunities.

The current song just made me recall my original dream. I don’t even know what about the song made me think what I did.  All I ever wanted was to be a wife, mother and homemaker.  I did all that along with a 9-5.  My husband is my career and the 9-5 is a sideline.

I wouldn’t give myself a very good evaluation for my career performance right now. I have been sidetracked.  I have this terrible weakness of allowing media-books, magazines, Pinterest-influence my decisions too greatly.  I let the profit driven mass production world of commerce deceive me into thinking I am not in line with what is acceptable modern living.  The problem develops because I cannot keep up with their standards and actually provide an appropriate lifestyle or living conditions for our real life household.

I am changing that already. I have made some decisions and some behavioral changes.   I am having success with them.  I feel better about a lot of things.  My self-evaluation is having a positive effect of change.

Just be happy. He and his son have told me that.  I am glad that line is sticking in my mind rather than the old one from a corny old movie. “Find and fulfil your destiny.”  Nope.  Create my destiny.  Just be happy.  Be wife. Be mama. Be granny. Be housekeeper. Be aunt. Be niece. Be cousin. Be sister. Be me.

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Two Days

I have Friday off from work. And nothing scheduled Saturday. Two days.  I am working out things to have both days to devote to home keeping.  Not housework.  That should be completed by Thursday’s bedtime.  The activity to which I am referring is more like making things pretty.

I have several projects lined up to create ornamental objects for the house. One is actually for Christmas decorating. I won’t reveal that at this time.  I will have to see how it turns out before I publish it.  A long while back I purchased some very large framed oil paintings super cheap from the thrift store.  The subject matter is not why I bought them.  I wanted the frames and the large sized canvases.  I intend to gesso over them and put my own creations in place.  I have no thought to do a painting.  But, I do have an idea with which I want to experiment.

The weather is predicted to be pleasant enough to work outside. I hope to do a lot of catching up on the yard work.  Every area is behind on care.  I have good layer of pine straw in the front yard.  I want to clean the azalea bed and mulch with the fresh straw.  The purple jew is overflowing its area and I want to move it to a better spot.  Weeds, weeds, weeds. I don’t even want to think about that topic right now.  Yard work is excellent therapy for the mind and soul.

Part of my working out being able to stay home the two days was seeing someone this evening. Someone I love is in the hospital.  I needed to see her tonight so I could have my two days without fretting about her.  She seems a little improved.  I told her I was coming.  She said I didn’t need to go all that way.  I told her I was coming anyway and could I bring her anything.  A coke from Sonic.

I hope my coming helped her. It helped me.  I recently saw a meme that reads: Find your tribe. Love them hard.  I am defining my tribe. Redefining, I suppose.  I want her to be part of it.  So I needed to do something to connect.  She always reminds us that we are strong women from a long line of strong women.  She has to be the strongest of us, though.  Frail, delicate, brave, and tougher than old shoe leather.

I appreciate him for supporting my going. I appreciate how much he supports me in so many ways for so many things.  I appreciate his never giving up on his crazy wife.  My half-baked ideas and goofy schemes make him shake his head.

The walking is going well.   I have been getting some photographs along the way.  There is so much to see and things change constantly.  Leaves turning, flowers, the sky, the light on the water.  Then, there are the trees themselves.  So beautiful and so often overlooked.  Seen as window dressing rather than a focal point.  A frame around the view.  But, I love the trees.  See…….black lace.

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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…………..

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Me:

Me:

I will write it out.  May not be exactly the plan for you. We are in such different life stages.  But, the ideas may cross over.  I have been struggling about blog topics.  Maybe this could be a two or three part series.

My friend:

Will you start this week or next?

Me:

I am writing on Wednesday’s now.  So, for tomorrow, I could do part one.  Describe and define the problems and then next week start the resolution phase.  If I get inspired before then, I will send you private previews!

My friend:

I will pray for you. Any specifics in prayers?

Me:

I want to let go of what I think my life should have been and embrace what my life is.  I want to let go of actual physical belongings that don’t add to my quality of life but rather cause anxiety and concern.  I want to let things be the way they are without feeling I should “fix” me to make things seem better.

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So, I had a great post going and my computer decided to auto shut down and update Windows. I am going to try to restart.  Pretty sure this will not be a good as all I lost.

Here goes:

Last week I loaded four bags of clothes and hauled them off to the charity shop. I took some things to our daughter.  She kept part and sent part back with me.  I will refill the box and haul it off this week.  I have a couple of boxes loaded in the turtle hull already.  I have another bag almost full of clothes ready to go.

I recorded a thought in my journal the other day. If a ship is sinking, plug the leak to stop the flood then bail like crazy.  I am trying to plug the leak, but by bailing like crazy, I hope to strengthen my resolve to not let the flooding continue.

Why am I obsessed with minimalism? I don’t really know. I just want to have less stuff to clean, store and shuffle through when looking for the stuff I really use.

What is acceptable for storage? This is highly subjective and personal.  Holiday decorations.  I have an artificial tree because it is less mess and easier to put up and take down than a live tree.  I have minimal decorations to go on the tree.  I also like to do a large table center piece using antlers, candles and silk flowers and greenery.  I don’t do outdoor decorations because we live at the end of a very quiet dead end street.  Maybe when the grands get old enough to enjoy such a thing, I will add them.  For Hallowe’en, Valentine’s and Easter, I do a simple table decoration.

What else to store? I have a few extra-large pots and things for bigger gatherings that we no longer host.  I haven’t quite decided to give up on that idea.  Things may expand again someday.  I don’t like the idea of  storing clothes out of season simply because I don’t want to have so many clothes they need to be stored in rotation.  I should be able to put summer things in the back end of the rack and fall things in the front.  I can do that.  My closet’s hanging rod is long enough for that.

I considered getting another shed. My shed was overtaken by a chupacabra (see previous post about a pack rat).  We cleared up big daddy, but I discovered junior has moved in, recently.  I don’t have anything stored in the attic.  I like it that way.  I am physically hindered from accessing things in the attic. (getting too old and arthritic to climb and haul up and down that ladder) My things are in the washroom, the back room closet and in those under the bed storage boxes.  Even as I write this, I am mindful of the things in the boxes I could eliminate.

One of my favorite de-cluttering writers suggests eliminating activities that don’t have adequate rewards to justify the baggage and resources they use. In other words, consider the activities I pursue.  Do I actually enjoy the activity enough to provide space to do the activity and store the items used in the activity?  Do I just do it because I should do something?  Is it something I used to enjoy, but I have lost interest?

Or is it like sewing? I know how to sew.  I am pretty good at it.  I used to sew. My mother loved to sew.  I should want to sew.  Right?  I don’t think I want to sew.  I just want to feel my mother’s presence again.  Sit with her digging through the fabrics and patterns.  Hear the machine whirring as she stitches up a beautiful dress for me to wear.

I would love to have a tiny box with a couple of needles, some basic thread colors, a pair of tiny scissors. Just enough to repair a button or hem.  I have a little more than that.  Not a lot more. But more than I will ever use.  I don’t see myself sewing, again.  Or maybe, after writing this, I see the truth of the thing.  Sewing is something I once enjoyed.  When Mother could no longer sew, I could no longer enjoy it for myself.  Even now, the process gouges too deeply at the wound of losing her.  The big empty place in my life.

I guess I will keep on with my piddling and sorting and hauling off and acquiring. Till someday I latch on to something that doesn’t hurt so much to do.  I didn’t know I was still hurting so much.  I don’t know what I will do with this revelation.

He had to comfort me earlier when the computer went down in the middle of things. He always comes to my rescue when the dragons threaten.  I hear the pounding hooves of his white charger even before I click “publish”…….

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Lessons

My 9 to 5 has been giving me some lessons the past few weeks. Not bad things, just reminders.  A few months ago I was again moved into a certain position that I generally try to escape as soon as possible.  I have made up my mind I want to stay in it, if allowed, for the next three years until I retire.  The lessons relate to my maintaining detachment.  I always fuss at my co-worker friends about letting others elicit an emotional response from them.  My line is “if you are having an emotional response, either positive or negative, you have lost your professionalism”.  The business I am in requires such behavior.  It is far too dangerous otherwise.  I let more than one someone get me agitated when I should not have let it bother me.

Another recent lesson I have experienced (but not fully learned) is to just keep at it. I have started walking again.  It is still hot and the bugs are still buzzing and I can’t get to it as many days as I would like. But, I am going to keep at it.  It matters to me to do it.  It makes me feel better to walk through stress from the day and work out my sciatic nerve pain.  Better sleep is a major bonus, too.

I am keeping at my house. I got some chores caught up. Still have more to do.  I want to get some extra stuff out of here.  My dilemma comes with our daughter’s profession.  As a second year theater teacher, her prop room needs development.  I have some things for the prop room stacked up ready to deliver.  But, she lives an hour and a half away.  So, I just keep piling and moving the piles.  I will keep at it until I get things delivered to her.

This past weekend, we were blessed to participate in the Beth Moore simulcast at our church. I read her latest book, Audacious, last month. I am reminded again to keep at developing my relationship with Him.  I am not a holy roller at all.  I deeply love Christ.  I am a born-again believer.  But, I am a work in progress.  I can’t imagine how bad I would be if not for the tempering of the Holy Spirit.  I am pretty rough even with His influence.  It’s not about me, though. It is about Him and His love for me.  It is about Him using me to love others for Him when they can’t see Him.  I wish I was better at it.  I wish I wasn’t so easily agitated by some things.

I have a few other lessons I am trying to teach myself. I hope he can be patient with me while I work out some more of them.  Most of the time he notices without comment.  I have to be careful to not take the lack of comments as disapproval.  Sometimes he does comment.  I have to be careful to not take the input of comments as disapproval. He is the one with whom I always want to have a positive emotional reaction.  But, I am shy when it comes to him.  I am still afraid of disappointing him.  That seems silly considering how many years we have been married and how well he knows me.

I will keep at it. Learning and growing and maturing.  Like our bull pines, I will have to weather more storms and drop limbs from time to time.  Living and thriving means I will need to keep at my lessons.  Some I will learn the first time through.  Others will take many tries to learn.  Still others will require I keep at it till He calls me home.

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