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My journey towards minimalism begins this month in earnest.

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Read this quote today…

“We don’t need to collect any more stuff, honey! We should now focus on collecting memorable life experiences instead. That’s what lives in our hearts and travels to the end of time with us. You know?”

off of the “becoming minimalist” blog. It was from a guest post by Farnoosh Brock.
It stood out to me because the lifestyle of simplicity and minimalism is growing more alluring to me daily and yet for a quality time person like myself…a person who can be highly sentimental, the thought of not hanging on to that kind of stuff leaves me a little unsure.
A couple of days ago I was reading a blog and it was talking about how the trinkets that were given to you from your grandma or whoever else that you hold dear…really are just trinkets, the emotions attached to them can live on in your heart and mind without the actual trinket being there.
I’m challenged to not collect more stuff and just focus on memories instead. Too often stuff seems like it’s needed to keep the memory alive. That’s got to be a marketing thing, because I know it’s not true and yet I find myself in those gift shops just like the rest of you looking over the stuff that has the name on it from where we’ve been, thinking that my kids might need it to remember the day we just spent together.
I want to do better about just collecting memorable life experiences instead. Just what lives in my heart and mind.
I’m falling into minimalism. I’ve been on the edges for a long time. I’ve never enjoyed clutter. I grew up in a home where clutter wasn’t tolerated :). My mom was minimalistic before it was even a cool idea or way of life. More out of necessity since we just didn’t have a lot. What we had needed to serve a function. My dad always half heartedly joked that if he didn’t keep moving she would throw him out just because stuff didn’t stay around our house unless it was useful 🙂
I’m going to take some time to really pursue this way of life this year. I’ve got time. I’m taking one room of my house per month and just clearing it out. Everything. And only putting back in what’s essential. I’m also going to put a fresh coat of paint on each room as I go through this process and make minor repairs that have been needing to be attended to for some time now as I go. I’ll take before and after pictures to chart this journey.
I’m starting in the dungeon this month. I figured it was best to just go to the least favorite place and get it over with from the get go. Our basement is going to be emptied this month. It has holiday stuff, old furniture, art supplies, music stuff, and tools…and a huge variety of other stuff that rarely gets touched if ever…memorabilia…along with our laundry stuff. It’s unfinished space. I tried to finish it with carpet squares at one point but that was ridiculous as I was at war with the water that came in far too often and had to take up the squares far too much to make it worth the effort.
Originally I had set up a art and music area for my kids to play in as kids…but honestly, those areas didn’t get used nearly as much as I thought they would. Who likes to hang out in an unfinished basement? No matter how you dress it up it’s still a basement that is prone to have spiders and stuff in it that creeps a person out. Even an occasional mouse! It’s time to just clear it out.
The only thing I want left in the basement is the basic tools, basic holiday stuff, a bit of memorabilia and our laundry stuff. Otherwise the rest goes.
Originally I thought I would just cart away the other stuff to goodwill or put it out to the road for free…but my girls have decided to take it upon themselves to try and sell whatever we get rid of. I’ve decided that if they want to put in the work…then by all means they can go for it and keep the proceeds of what they make 🙂
I’m hoping to end up with a very clean/empty basement so that when water does occasionally come in, it can be dealt with easily and when repairs need to be made on duct work, water heater, furnace, laundry stuff, etc. it can  be done without apology for the junk in the basement cluttering up the space.
It’s one of those things like getting new tires that isn’t nearly as exciting as getting a new car. But I think it’s a great place for me to start.
I’m giving myself the month of July to get her done.
So begins my push towards minimalism.

Thank you

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It’s occurred to me that when you run a race there are people who stand on the sidelines and cheer you on all the way to the finish line. They help you keep going. They offer encouragement, a smile, a shout of ‘you can do it’, or a cup of water.

As I approach my finish line in the next week I am aware that some of you have really been there for me all along this race. You’ve cheered me on, told me I could do it, offered encouragement at the right time and honestly, just been present and willing to care about my race. I’m grateful. Without you, I might not be where I am today.

I’ve made decisions and am living out my life on my own in some ways…but all of us are better for the people who are on the sidelines cheering us on.

Thank you. I will try to do the same for you 🙂

Conviction for my soul

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Ok, so yesterday I wrote about my weariness with the “we can do hard things” mantra. I still agree that it’s best to not make all of life one big hard thing all the time.

But…today I went to the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield. I’ve been there before. A couple of times on school field trips. But today after just watching the Lincoln movie for the second time last weekend I was challenged to take a good look at Abe’s life and realize how difficult it must have been for him and his wife Mary.

The kind of criticism they faced.

The kind of stress they endured.

The losses they grieved through.

The complete loss of their life as it was in Springfield.

I know him as the beloved 16th president. But I’m reminded that while he was alive that’s not how it was. He wasn’t really beloved til he was dead.

If he hadn’t taken the first steps to end slavery with the emancipation proclamation, who knows when slavery would’ve ended. If he hadn’t fought for the Union of the states who knows what America would be like today.

I looked at his pictures today in a five year time period and was amazed again at the literal aging you see in his face over that time period. Astounding to think of the burden he carried. After all…in the civil war more people died than all of the people in World War 1, World War 2, Korea and Vietnam combined!! That is a lot of human life to be responsible for.

I walked through the hall of the museum today where they had all of the ugly cartoons and caricatures that they had in newspapers back in the days when he was elected and served as president. The criticism was so overwhelming that I felt oppressed today reading it all this many years later. I can’t imagine if that was actually my husband that was happening to, or if it was me. How incredibly difficult to deal with that kind of criticism. No wonder Mary went a little over the edge while in the White House.

There are times when we have to stand up and do some hard stuff. I praise God that Lincoln did. I also feel grief that he even had to.

I never want to live a life that is just rest, or just about me, or my own comfort. I understand that their are moments in time when I will be called and have been called to do hard things. I guess I’m just trying to realize that not all of life should feel that way.

I must be able to know what is really important. When it’s time to go all the way and push through and when it’s time to take a break or just say no.

Seeing Lincoln’s story up close and personal today was very compelling and good conviction for my soul.

After all of the naysayers had their say. After Lincoln was assassinated. After all of the stress and difficulty he endured. Lincoln has had just about as many books written about him as Jesus Christ himself. Lincoln is and will always be one of our most beloved presidents and his words still challenge people today to live in ways where all people are treated equally. I wish he could’ve experienced more of the blessing while he was alive. I look forward to meeting him someday. I want to call him friend.