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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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!

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Tears

My little nieces came to visit this past weekend. They are wonderful little folks!

But, it is hard on me when they leave. I cry for an hour or so each time they pull out of the drive to go home.

This house is so painfully quiet most of the time. Our own children have been out and on their own for ten years already. He and I ramble around trying to keep up with things.

I miss my children. Yes, I miss the adult children they are now. But, I really miss my little ones. When they were babies and small children and even big children.

I tried to have special times with them every chance I got. I was selfish with them, too. I didn’t let the rest of the world have much of their time until they were too old for me to keep them close.

I suppose I knew even then these days would come. Days when those amazing grown-ups would call me Mother and I would look in wonder at the marvelous people who honor me with that title in their lives. I suppose I knew even then I would forever miss my little ones.

And so I cry because the little ones who come to visit me now will someday be grown-ups and I will miss their little selves.

Such is life. Hurling through time at the speed of love. Life is far too short to be in a hurry. My motto for many years. Better stop and experience this life at this moment. Don’t rush headlong into the future. It doesn’t exist. Only now is real. Only now fills the heart with love. Only now allows memories to build the beautiful life I so long for.

Let my eyes fill with tears and my heart ache only for a moment. Then let the memories sustain me until the next now happens. When I will not rush to do, but pause to be.

 

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More Connections

Friends, friends, and more friends!

Friday with a couple at their special place simply referred to as “the hill”.  We hadn’t seen them in nine months.  Just that couple of hours were wonderful.  Touching each other’s lives again.  Feeling like we had never been apart.

Saturday a road trip took him and me to spend the next 24 hours or so with our bestie.  Our best friend and I have been friends since I was 14.  When I met my husband, they also became best buddies.  Our friend has a lovely wife and three of the most wonderful sons I have ever met.  Crawfish, huge delicious crawfish were on the menu for supper.  Lots of laughs with the larger group of their friends.

Sunday, home and a nap!  My porch felt wonderful!  I laid up and read a book all evening.

Monday morning brought severe weather to our area.  Many of our neighbors and friends are still without power.  Thankfully, ours came back on earlier this afternoon.  He spent a good part of his day going round the neighborhood helping neighbors with trees and clearing the side roads.

We did get to see another couple of our friends.  She is a precious lady in my life.  I can go to her with my heartaches and my happiness and her compassion never ceases to amaze me.

Our son sent video posts of the amazing waterfalls on the road to Hana.  One of the videos has his voice in the background.  It is just a passing word or two.  But, I listened to it over a couple of times.  Just to hear him.  Yes, we can call on the phone.  But, the time difference and the reception on his end along with my job place restrictions regarding cell phones reduce the window of opportunity for that.

The best part of the past few days was this evening.  My daughter turned 28 today.  I cannot begin to describe her endless wonderful qualities.  I would certainly be accused of exaggeration by those who do not know her and scolded by those who do for leaving out their favorite thing about her.  Generous to a fault, incredibly smart, energetic, creative, compassionate, sassy, stubborn, beautiful……her father and I were blessed with a brief supper date this evening.  We had planned on a slightly grander event, but the weather put us off from that trip.  Still, no matter where we are or what we do, time with her is all that matters.

Orchids pouring like the waterfalls of Hana, like the powerful storms of a Texas spring, like the love of friends and family.  Filling my life and my heart with a lovely fragrance and beautiful blooms.

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Spring

The air has changed.  Even if we have more cold temperatures, spring is upon us.  Green buds peek from tips of limbs.  Weeds are more than ankle deep.  Bird songs have changed.  He heard geese traveling north the other evening.

I am restless with the changing season.  Wanting a change.  Not knowing what to change.  I am ready to get my plants off the porch.  Ready to rearrange the furniture for the changing light.  The daybed is in one corner for winter sun and will be moved to another corner for summer shade.

The azaleas should be in bloom within a week.  Already the redbuds bring vibrant hope.  I love every season in its turn.  I celebrate the fading of one and the coming of another.

The transitions remind me of the ever-turning pages of time.  I am reminded to seize this moment and be joyous at the life pulsing through my veins.

The difficulties we face today will be overcome and become distant memories.  I know this because it has happened before.  We have faced difficulties and with His Help, we have overcome them in the past.  There are some things that happen which must be endured until the end of life.  Most things pass.

Challenges are to be faced.  I may have moments of weakness and feel overwhelmed with fear.  But, I must not give in to the fear.  I must stand and face the lions in the den.  Fear leads to confusion and poor or delayed decisions.  Fear leads to despair.  Fear leads to bitterness and anger.

I watched a movie once.  I have it on DVD.  I cannot bear to watch it again.  I love it, but it is emotionally taxing.  What I learned from the movie is simply to feel the cold and not fear it.  Feel the pain.  Feel the heartbreak.  Feel the feelings.  Do not fear them.  I don’t know if I would see all of that if I watched it again.  I doubt anyone else would find that message in the movie 300. 

It corresponds with my Grandmother telling me about childbirth to let go and let it hurt.  I had both of my children without pain medication.  It was not easy to let go and let it hurt.  But, it was worth it.

The current challenges I face will pass.  I have a choice.  I can face them with good humor and a smile or I can make myself miserable along with everyone around me.  No matter the outcome of the situation, I have a choice about what I think and what I allow myself to feel.

I want to get through this happy and laughing at the moments that exist between the battles.  I want to be able to focus on the battles when they are before me and leave them on the field when the time for rest comes.  I do not want to be covered with the smell of fear.  I hate feeling fear more than just about anything.

I will be strong for him.  I will be faithful for Him.  I will not fear.  I have my sanity and His Salvation.  And a thousand other blessings………………………………..

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Waiting

I spent a lot of time waiting Saturday. I was waiting for a deer to walk out.  I sat on the stand almost all day with no real movement of wildlife at all.  The birds and squirrels were even remarkably quiet.

I spend a lot of time waiting every day, I think. Waiting for something to happen.  What do I think is going to happen?  I can’t even answer that question.  I just feel as if something is about to happen.  Something for which I need to wait.

Perhaps nothing is going to happen. What if I am just waiting?  What if I just sit waiting until my time has run out and the days of my life have gone?

I am not blindly waiting. I am expectantly waiting.  Waiting for whatever it is.  I believe I will know when it happens.

Meanwhile, I try to stay busy. Going to work, trying to keep up with the house, cooking.  I go with him when I can.  Hunting, fishing, riding in the buggy.  Whatever he does and wants me along.  (Which is anyplace except his recliner.)

I also spend time thinking. Mentally preparing for the something that might happen.  I think it might even be something no one else will see.  Maybe it will simply be a shift of my perception.  A change in my belief system.  Not even all my beliefs.  Just one or two.  Enough to make my entire world change.  The world I inhabit in my mind.

Sometimes I feel as if a big reveal is just about to happen. The curtain in my mind will fall away and I will see whatever it is I am supposed to know.  Maybe just the seeking is the happening.  It all feels strange and difficult to explain or examine.

What do I want? Peace of mind, contentment, purpose, a reason to spring out of bed every morning ready to start the day.  I want to know that it is good and well for me to want to be happy.  I want to know that it is good and well for me to want to love and be loved.  I want to know that it is good and well to be alive and well.

I struggle with a type of survivor’s guilt and with a sense of abandonment. I depend on him so much to provide emotional support.  I feel like an emotional vacuum at times.  I try to not cling to him overmuch.  Much of the time I want to curl up in his lap in that recliner and stay there.

One of the best things I have learned is that my feelings are not me. I was born terribly sensitive.  So much so, my grandmother called me “Squall-bags” for a nickname.  She always offered me a sugar tit.  After spending most of my life held hostage by my emotions, I am finally getting free of them.  Peace of mind is sure to come.  Eventually, purpose will emerge with contentment to follow.

 

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Trouble in Paradise

I am having a pity party.  I have some ongoing physical problems that won’t resolve.  Things get better then fall apart again.  I am not progressing at the rate I consider acceptable in my creative work.  I am feeling a mild panic at my age.  Not that I am aging, but that there is so much undone, still.

I am feeling fear that many of the wishes and dreams I had will not be fulfilled.  Most of them are within my own ability to achieve without his help.  But, the blocks in place seem mired in muck that is too much for me to deal with these days.  And I am the only one who can deal with them.

I try to look at others who are struggling with even larger, sometimes life threatening issues.  Intense illness or personal tragedy.  I have been through personal tragedy.  I pray I am mostly done with that.  I have told too many loved ones goodbye at graveside.  My health issues are not life threatening. But, they are life interfering.  Things I want to accomplish and am unable to get there.

Of course, I seem perfectly healthy from the outside.  I am one of those with a hidden physical illness and the additional emotional problem of depression.  Then, there are my feet.  My painfully damaged feet.  Pain that prevents certain activities or serious consequences for some types of activity.  Pain that interferes with sleep.

Sleep deprivation leading to a pity party.  So, here I am today in my beautifully simple life.  Safe from harm.  Home and pantry loaded with luxury.  Loved ones doing mostly okay.  I have good days and bad days.  Today is not so good.  My orchids are falling unseen today, I fear.  Wait a minute…………I need to stop right now and gather them up.

My health issues will improve.  My creative work is moving.  Maybe not like a freight train, but neither is it backing into the closet.  The gardening is coming along.  I did get a few things taken care of around the house over the weekend.  Sago palms sit in pots at the front door.  The stuff piled on the carport at the back door has been moved.  I have organized my crafting things onto the bookcase I got from the thrift store.  I did do some crochet and embroidery work.  I spent some time visiting with my cousin.  The children’s issues from last week have smoothed out.

Yes, my life is beautifully simple.  Sometimes, too simple.  It is my life.  And I am doing the best I can at this moment in time.  And tomorrow I will do the best I can in that moment of time.  The measuring stick cannot be arbitrary.  Some days, my best will be soaring above the clouds.  Some days, my best will be treading muddy water in a puddle.  Most days, things are somewhere in between.  Higher rather than lower.  Temporary.  Things change.  That is a good thought to hang on to, whatever I am feeling or doing today.  No matter how the orchids are raining, a couple of things do not change.  He and he love me.  And I am blessed with the capacity to love them back.  Orchids enough for today.

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