Eating the Elephant

Apparently, I sounded down in last week’s post.  It wasn’t intended that way. I was actually feeling optimistic.  I did make a run to the fabric store and craft store.  Came away with a few things.  I even found some of the items on my list at the local Walmart. 

I have been making progress on the less than pleasant projects.  Little bites consume the elephant. 

A couple of dear friends are eyeball deep in the restoration of a cabin while inhabiting it.  She mentioned having an opportunity to go through her recipe collection that has been in storage and it giving her renewed inspiration and enthusiasm to keep on with the less than pleasant portions of the project.

It models the method I have used for years to get things done.  I will make my list of tasks and then set a timer for twenty or thirty minutes and work on the first one till the timer goes off.  If I am really going great, I will keep on till I stall.  I move on to the next item on the list and do the same thing with the timer.  It is sometimes best to stop exactly with the timer.  If the project is going well and the stopping place won’t cause a problem for proper execution, stop on the high point.  When the project comes back around, it will be easier to pick up and move forward. 

For the less than pleasant tasks, I have interspersed the happier ones to work on as well.  For example, I am trying to sort out a box of his papers and get them filed.  An elephant.  I also picked up a fish bowl and some aquatic plants to make a water garden.  A happy project.  I am moving back and forth on chores and projects to keep from getting bogged down.  I don’t always use a timer.  After so many years of doing so, I can “feel” the time. 

We had a good trip this past weekend to the longhorn sale.  He came home with his pick of the lots.  We got to visit with people we care about and only see once or twice a year usually.  The sale has been going on for twenty-four years and some of us have been there since the first one.  The trip for me was like my friend’s perusal of her recipes.  It has given me renewed enthusiasm to push through the less than pleasant things. 

I have been productive yesterday and today.  I read a book, watched a movie, washed clothes. As mentioned earlier, I have worked on his filing. I have taken pleasure in drinking my own coffee on the porch and watching the hummingbirds battle it out for a few drops of sugar water.  Even the elephant projects have been good. 

Reading back over the above paragraph, I should clarify that reading a book and watching a movie count as productive for me since those items are on my lists of things to achieve for personal satisfaction.  The book was one from the 1960’s by a favorite writer, Rosamunde Pilcher.  The movie was one of Margaret Rutherford’s portrayals of Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.  As an aspiring writer, soaking in the art and craft of storytelling through books and movies is important.  As for the comment about the coffee, one of the only things I struggle with when traveling is missing my morning coffee on the back porch.  Traveling makes me appreciate it more when I do return home. 

Here’s to a good week of creative expression and loving actions, good books and good coffee.  May we have time to play and time to love.  And time to stop and see the beautiful world He has made.

Traveling light.

“I travel light.” That is a line spoken by John Wayne in the film In Harm’s Way.

It is an idea I adopted a long time ago. Just an idea. I have not applied it across the board in my life. Yet, I want to travel light in all areas.

When it comes to going on a plane trip or to the river bank, I generally take bare basics and one or two frills. My purse could be, and sometimes is, very tiny.

I pack a small bag to go away usually. One exception is a trip he and I take to a cattle sale.  I tend to pack a lot of clothes because there is no time to wash and sometimes a need for two or three outfits a day.  An auction barn can be a pretty grubby place.

There are some additional areas in which I would like to reduce my baggage. I have a book bag.  It contains a zipper bag of pens, sticky notes, markers, paper clips, etc.  I stuff my bag with a journal, a tablet, another book or two, an envelope of odd papers and bills.  Even when I know good and well I won’t have time to even look at this stuff, I feel lost without having it along to some places.  As if something will happen and I won’t have the things I need to keep my head straight.  I want to feel more confidence in my memory.

Another item is morning coffee. I always take a cup in the car on the way.  I’ve already had a pot before I leave.  I usually only drink a sip or two on the ride.  Then, I have a travel cup of cold coffee to haul out of the car.  Extra baggage from habit.

My clothes closet truly is extra baggage. Clothes I don’t wear for a myriad of reasons. I have read about the 333 project.  Thirty three articles of clothing for three months.  Interesting reading.  Not going to happen with me.  At least not yet.  I have read about French women’s style.  Allegedly, they have a few white shirts and dark pants and a pair or two of shoes to achieve their legendary style.  More interesting reading.  I can’t pay attention long enough to put that kind of closet together.

When I look around my home and life, I don’t have as much as many Americans. I have tons more than most of world’s households.   As I get my mind ready for a plane trip, I will need to pick out what will go in a small backpack and a medium size purse.  Five nights, four days.

I want to travel light. Moments like this make me think about the baggage I carry.  What about the baggage in my heart?  Thankfully, the load seems lighter each year.  Learning to let go of the things that need to go. Learning to let be the things that need to be.  Letting it go and letting it hurt.  Letting loose and letting love flow through.

As I look back over this raveled thread of thoughts, one common thing emerges. Baggage comes in many forms.  A coffee cup, a heavy suitcase, cluttered closets, a burdened heart.  My theory is that all these areas overlap as layers.  When the layers are peeled back, truth is revealed.  What is the truth of my life?

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