Challenges

The week has been full of challenges.

I have had a very busy week at the 9-5.  We had a project to do on short notice.  The results showed I have made more progress than I imagined in a major audit that occurs next year.  Every three years we have an audit that requires annual documentation to be collected from dozens of areas. The information has to be compiled into folders.  I do a lot of the collecting and all of the compiling.  I have some co-workers who assist when they have time and I appreciate them like a glass of sweet tea in August.  The nice thing is that (Lord willing), the audit next year will be my fourth and last one.  I should be able to retire before it comes around again.

I also had a challenge to try to say the right things to a friend going through a major crisis.  She has a lot of difficult and heart rending things happening.  I reminded her that it will be okay, that she is strong, that she has a large support system.  I know He will take care of every need.

I am challenged with trying to write this post.  I am not feeling very inspired.  But, the exercise is to show up and type.  For one trying to develop a writing lifestyle, it is an important thing to just show up at the page.

He always encourages me to write.  I tease him that he just likes to read how wonderful he is and see me telling the world how wonderful he is to me.  He is my Valentine every day.  He has been for thirty four years.  He continues to amaze me with his ability to face the world with such bravado and touch the world with such compassion for others with less bold courage.  What a treasure is my True Love.

 

IMAG1090-2-1

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.

 

 blackbirds

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.

fullsizerender-27

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.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////

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”…….

img_1327

 

 

 

Poor Student

I should have read “Lessons” Monday, before I left for the 9-5. I arrived to find my office floor partially flooded.  A co-worker had moved some things from the floor to my desk top to protect them from damage.  I appreciate her effort.  The mess still left me with a negative attitude.  I had that emotional reaction I wrote about avoiding last week.

That is the way all three of my work days have gone. I did have a few good things after work.  My front flower bed got some attention.  I found a good container and decorations for our candy bowl donations at the 9-5.  Guesses of how many pieces of candy are sold to raise money for local charity.  One of many projects my workplace does to help our community.  I stopped by our newly opened dollar store and loaded a gift bag of goodies for my soon-to-be six year old great niece.  Or is it grandniece?

Last weekend was a fine time with some friends. Festival going and boutique shopping finished off by my first try at a local Italian restaurant. My entrée was delicious!  The coming weekend promises to be wonderful, too.  I will see my all my little girls. Niece, grand nieces, daughter……..I have in mind to revisit a place from my distant past. It will depend on my daughter’s schedule.

I don’t expect the 9-5 to be much less stressful tomorrow. Too much to do in too little time.  Mentally demanding tasks and a multitude of interruptions make for stress.

The simple beauty of things includes a fabulous white cloud gleaming in the sky before me all the way home. Then, at that same dollar store stop, I found Blue Bell’s Camo ice cream.  I had forgotten about them introducing it.  I had looked for it previously without success.  Without paying much attention, it suddenly caught my eye in the freezer case.  I need to wrap up this post and go get a bowl of it.

Now that I think about it, the week hasn’t been so bad after all. Once again, He has used my own keyboard to show me how wonderful is my life.  He and I will get a big bowl of ice cream and be thankful for all the wonderfulness He is pouring into our life.

California Dream arriving in November and now a Texas Honey arriving in late April or early May. Those are the best beautiful blessings.  Nine to five, weeds in the flower bed, a trick back, all those troubles fade away before the wonder of those two little ones.

My heart feels as billowy as that fine cloud I saw shining in the sky before me…………………

fullsizerender-20

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)

Rats

I have delayed long enough.  Time to restart my posts.  I did not intend to take off this long.  I was going to post in January and in February.  Here it is March and I am just now getting something going.

I had a rat turn up in January. Literally.  I have a small storage shed in the back yard.  I used to keep my “attic” boxes in it.  I didn’t have an attic at the house where we raised our children.  He bought me a building in which to keep Christmas decorations and canning jars and odds and ends.

After we moved to this house, I have an attic and more closets than I can keep up with.  I have actually forgotten about a closet on occasion when trying to remember where I stored something!

I didn’t need the shed any longer.  I thought.

He used it to store feed and seed until the mice drilled a few holes and set up housekeeping.  So, we emptied it out, moved it closer to the house and I started using it to store yard tools and ice chests.  Mouse-less as far as I could tell.

This past Christmas, getting things down from the attic was more challenge than this fifty year old self wants to face.  I decided I could clean and rearrange my little shed and use it for my Christmas decorations and things again.

I did not know that it had become a pack rat condo. Not the human kind of pack rat.  The rodent kind of pack rat. Corn fed fat. Literally. A mostly empty bag of deer corn was left on one of the trailers parked near the shed. He found it.  I know he did, because there was a lot of it inside the shed where he dropped it.  In the process of clearing out my things, I came across the loose corn and very large droppings.  Knowing it was not simply a mouse, I continued cautiously clearing things.  Finally, I realized where his nest was located. Right in plain sight. But, camouflaged with flowers he had scavenged from the ones I had laid on the shelf previously.

He finally appeared when he was between me and the door. I did not know if he went out the door or behind the ice chest below the shelf that had become his condo.  Well, he didn’t go out the door.  That is how I saw him creeping his obese self along the back wall of the shed.

I called him on the phone to tell him to not forget to get chupacabra poison. Not just mouse poison, RAT poison.  He assured me it was already in the truck.  The creature does not appear to live there now.  He consumed a large quantity of the bait.  I presume he went on to his reward.

I have let other rats set up housekeeping in my life. The rat of uncertainty.  The rat of laziness. The rat of self-condemnation.  The rat of insecurity.  I have set out poison for those rats, too.  His Word is good bait to get rid of those kinds of rats.  I must keep feeling my way along, even when I don’t have “enough light for the step I am on”.  Even in the darkness of indecision, I can press on.  Do what I have been doing until a new way opens up.  Just keep going along until the path is shut off and no passage can be found.

I don’t have to know the way. I don’t have to know the how.  I just have to show up at the appointed place at the appointed time.  Where is that place?  On my spiritual knees in prayer to Him.  Seeking the Spirit’s guidance and strength and wisdom and discernment.  But, then get up and do the thing that is due.  Without any idea of outcome or expectation of satisfaction.

For me that seems to be here at this keyboard. Typing. Or even in my journal. Scribbling. I just scribble a million thoughts one after the other.  I hope someday something cohesive might come together.  But, if not, the scribbling helps me be better able to meet the world with compassion and understanding.  And the typing connects me to a few people I love more than my very breath.

The rats will keep coming. I will continue to battle them.  I am so much stronger than I thought.  I am going to keep fighting, even in the dark.  Against the rat of doom that sometimes makes me feel life is too sad.  Against the rat of sorrow that threatens to set up a condo in my heart. Against my own rat of attitude when my compassion fails and I just want to make my nest tight around be to ward off people who make me sad and angry.

He went in the shed and got the rat condo out for me. He put it on the fire pile and burned it to ashes.  He does his part to help Him take care of me.  Even when I act like a rat, piling things up around me to keep myself insulated from the world.  So far neither of them has decided to use “bait” on me!  I must still have some redeeming qualities or some certain purpose to fulfill. I will ease along then.  Seeking the next step to take no matter how small.  And if I stall like I did with my posting, I will get them to help me clear out the rat’s nest in my mind and heart and get moving again.

 

 pink flowering tree