Brain Dump

I am seriously dumping my brain into this blog post just because I don’t have anywhere else to get rid of the overload.

The second is that right now my brain IS a dump and I need to declutter it.  Man, I would really like to get rid of that theme in my life.

So here we go – I will attempt to make this somewhat organized so that I don’t totally scare off my 1 remaining reader, and so that when I revisit this post, I am able to make sense of it and see if I have progressed at all!

Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding And The Meaning of ...

Image by Earthworm via Flickr

Physical house clutter – well, I can’t say that it is any worse, but it is definitely  not any better!  I live in my dream house – there is nothing else in the house that I could honestly want.  There is way more space than a family of 4 needs.  It is structurally a very pretty house.  The house is filled with roomy closets and ample cabinets.   There is absolutely no reason why this house should be this cluttered!  If there were 7 people,  maybe.  But even if there were 7 people living in this house it is large enough that it should not be this cluttered and disorganized.  The only thing that I can complain about regarding this house is that the interior is not painted (waiting on $$$ to get that done).   The rest is completely a result of poor habits.  So I am back on the band wagon to get this house finally organized.  I was talking to someone the other day who put it into perspective for me.  We moved into the house 3 months after we adopted our 2nd daughter (adoption in January, move in March).  I had a hysterectomy in April.  That month was spent just getting things in place where my family could function while I was on major lifting restrictions from surgery.  From that time forward my family has lived from one “crisis” to another.  About the time that we would start to feel like we could move forward another would hit us.  They ranged from 3 occurrences of cancer in my father, my husband being laid off, a dear friend’s death, giving up some of my personal goals so my husband could be a small business owner, the economy crash hitting my husband’s business hard, knowing there was something wrong with my oldest but not being able to get anyone to listen to me and then finally finding an awesome occupational therapist to help us out.   Those were the major issues and don’t include all the little things that occur on a daily basis.   The result is that we never really moved into the house.  We never established systems that worked for the long term.  Those are the things that we now need to do.  Our lives are starting to calm down and hubby and I are once again working together instead of working on the parallel and never meeting! 

Emotionally I need to let go of a lot of things.  This is tied very closely with my spiritual life.    Throughout all of the things that I have listed above I could look back and see where God had worked in my life.  But I was unable to truly focus on and find Him during the events.   I am now consciously working on training my soul to search out God, to pray constantly,  and to praise Him even during the bad times.  I have a very long way to go, but I can see where I have grown.  I have taken the first step in signing up for a Bible Study at our church that takes place during Sunday Morning Religious Education for the girls.  DH is going to be going with me.  I look forward to sharing this experience with him and learning together.  My youngest will also make her First Holy Communion this upcoming spring.  It is a time to reflect on His gift of Himself to us.  While this will make for a very busy year with retreats and classes, it will make my journey towards peace much easier to follow since there will be a set path for me this year.  In the journey I need to find where God wants DH and I to be regarding family growth – are we to adopt another child?  What role am I to play in the lives of young people as my girls grow?  How do I let go of that desire to have “just one more child” in my home?  How do I let go of my anger and disappointment at not being able to be a stay at home mom?  How do I let go to dream of home-schooling my children?  How to I ensure that faith and morals are passed on to them in this fast paced, way too worldly world in which we live?

Physically I am a mess.  I am at my all time highest weight EVER! I have taken a giant leap in this arena and started taking Tae Kwon Do.  My oldest and DH have been taking it for a little over a year.  My youngest and I signed up last week.  I have been to 2 classes.  I was wringing wet by the time the class was over, but I really felt good.   As my body begins to become more accustomed to the increased activity, I will tackle my dietary habits and those of my family.  This will be a tough area for me.  So much of my physical challenges lay squarely in the lap of the whole reason I was unable to bear children.   It is a vicious cycle that is incredibly difficult to break and control.  But if I want to be around to see who my girls turn out to be, I need to become proactive.  So one step at a time.  I refuse to try and change to much at once regarding my physical self – but I WILL make the needed changes and be able to be a physical presence that does not embarrass my girls.  To hear that I am a hot mama from my DH would be nice, too!

Finances are finally starting to look up.  They will continue to be tight as we dig out of the hole incurred by the economy.  But we are slowly working away and will get there.  I need to take a more active role in conserving money and squeezing every drop of value from each penny.  I have started to coupon and watch sales.  It is a steep learning curve for me.  Over the last few years I was grateful just to have enough money to get food for the girls – we got necessities only.  Now that we can start spending a little more, I want to continue to be frugal and get as much value as possible.

My relationship with DH went through some rough patches over the last couple of years.  As the money canyon got more narrow, the emotional river ran faster and with many, many rapids.  We went on a World Wide Marriage Encounter this summer.  It was the perfect way for us to reconnect.  He put it perfectly – it was like we were both trying to reach each other, but we were on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon.  Over that weekend we finally met at the bottom of the Canyon.  There is a ranch down in the Canyon, along the Colorado River with a small, clear stream running through it.  It is called Phantom Ranch.  DH and I both felt that we finally reached the Ranch that weekend and were finally able to talk to each other without shouting across a gaping chasm.   We have a lot of re-tweeking to do on our communication, but we a finally on the same path, walking the same direction and holding hands while we travel.   I am so blessed to have him in my life as my partner.  After 21 years of marriage I still get butterflies when I see him.   He and my girls are what motivate me to become a better person, to live more fully, to laugh more, to move more, to be less weighted down with emotional/physical/house clutter.

So my journey starts with one step.  This first step is towards my bed to get adequate rest to be able to tackle my projects.  Catch you on the flip side of the clock!

Trashy Tuesday

I have a lot of things I could talk about today.

I could talk about how Hubby got a lot of his office organized. It looks awesome, by the way.

I could address that our Christmas tree is down and the rest of the decorations are gathered in one place, waiting to be packed neatly into boxes.  I love the way the family room gets suddenly bigger, but I miss the soft glow of the twinkle lights and the warmth of all my handmade decorations made by my parents and friends.

I could shout from the rooftops my overwhelming joy that while we were putting things back into the closet where the holiday decorations vacation, we were putting the remainder of the miscellaneous boxes in the order we want to go through them during the rest of the winter when Hubby found the discs containing all the pictures from our trip to adopt our oldest.  I thought those precious pictures were forever lost.

Instead I am going to talk about a different type of organizing and housekeeping.  The interior, emotional kind.

Ellen over at FatGirlWearingThin has started a challenge called the Hate Loss challenge.   I have joined this challenge because the only way that I am going to be able to continue to clean up and organize my physical house is to clean up my emotional/spiritual house.    I am constantly amazed at how one plays right into the other.  The more I learn to like myself, to accept who I am, and honestly look at the things that are good and the things that need to be tweaked a bit, the better I am able to cope with the stresses from the outside – I am able to let go of the unimportant stuff in my house and create a place of comfort for my family.

I find the best way to work on that interior side to be dispassionate and honest.  I do have some things that need a lot of work, but I also have some really great things about myself as well.  I am overweight – but I still have twinkling blue eyes.   I may not be able to keep up with my girls because I am so deconditioned – but I have the ability to create a plan to correct that situation and one day I will be able to participate in more of their physical activities.   My goal, my plan to defeat that little voice inside me that is quick to point out the bad about myself, is to counter each negative thought with something good about myself.    Eventually the positive WILL sound out louder than the negative.  Eventually I will be able to not cut myself to emotional shreds when I look at other people.

So here it to getting rid of the emotional trash in my life.  Is there anyone else who would like to join me?

Trashy Tuesday

9 trash bags full of clothes

1 bag full of toys

6 trash bags full of trash

That is what left my house this past week. 

Part of me is very mad at myself because I did something to aggravate my rotator cuff injury, so I spent most of the week on pain medication with a heating pad.  I feel as if my well planned vacation with the girls was totally lost. 

But in my effort to make positive decisions this year, I am trying to look at the positive instead of the what could have beens.  

My youngest now can use her closet.

By letting go of all those clothes I am accepting what is and looking forward to the next stage of life.

My house is much less of a fire hazard with all those papers out of it.

My girls are learning how to give to others.

My girls have created a home for each of their belongings and can put things away without having to think or work too hard at it.

My allergies will get better without all the clutter.

I really do feel freer with all those things gone!

I  am less overwhelmed and can see the individual jobs that need to be done to continue decluttering.

The time resting this week did allow my body to recover from the stress of the last few months and has given me the energy I need to face the next few weeks of darkness and joyfully anticipate spring.

Motivation Monday

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

William A. Foster quotes 

There is a lot of talk about intentional living on blogs that I follow.  Me, being not quite as quick on the uptake as many people, took a long time to understand what they were talking about.  But when I finally understood, it was like flood light went off in my brain.

Some people make New Year resolutions, others set goals.  But I think the smartest thing I have heard is to pick a word for the year, and make decisions based on what that word means to them.

I have several words that I want to use this year – peace, thanksgiving, hope, faith, joy, growth, organization, simplicity….

When I review that list of words, I realized that all of them could be met through intentional living.  By choosing how to live my life, instead of living reactively, I can find peace, I can find things for which to give thanks, I can see the hope,  I will  be faithful, I will have the space to grow, my life and home will be more organized, and my life will be more simple.

So my word is officially -

INTENTIONAL

What is your word for the year?

Thoughtful Thursday – They never let me move up…

My grandmother had a 5 room house, including the bathroom.  This equaled roughly 750 square feet.  It was in this house that she raised 7 children.  This same house was where she welcomed and entertained each of her grandchildren as if they were the only grandchild she had.  This same house was where we met for holidays.  By the time that I remember holidays, 3 of my mother’s siblings had moved out of state.  But the rest of us gathered every Thanksgiving, the Sunday before Christmas, the 4th of July, and any other time during warm weather when we could have a “wiener roast”.  A life time of childhood memories were created in that house.

Thanksgiving Meal 2006

Image by laffy4k via Flickr

Thanksgiving was a big meal.  There was always a huge turkey.  Gramma would fix her awesome dressing.  The Aunts would all discuss the best way to make gravy while they threw different ingredients into the pot.  This discussion occurred each year.  I never did figure out why.  One would think they would figure it out and write down the directions after all those years! Maybe that is why I can’t make gravy – I never saw it made the same way twice!  There were pineapple slices coated with green Jell-O.  There were peanut butter rice crispy treats.  Mashed potatoes swam in butter.  Bacon slices floated in the green beans.   Golden corn was heaped into a bowl, emitting that wonderful sweet corn smell.  The yeasty smell of rolls wafted through the house.  Different desserts made their appearance through the years, but the main meal never changed.

In the kitchen were the 5 adult ladies.  In the living room were the 5 adult men and various teen cousins watching football.  Running through the

house, getting underfoot, and banging out the door were the rest of us cousins.  Eventually the call would come that dinner was ready.  We would all gather in the kitchen where we would all join hands for grace – all 20 of us – not including any stray friends one of us may have brought along, or boyfriends or girlfriends that were being introduced to the family.  Then the rush to find seats started.  There was the grown up table and there was the kids table.  Sometimes, if there was an extra card table or two, there would be the middle table.  But me, I was always at the kids table.  This was the table reserved for those of us above 4 but under 12.  Sometimes, once you 12 you were allowed to move up to the adult table if there was room, or if there was a middle table you could eat with the “big cousins”.  But me, being the 3rd to the youngest of the grandkids, was perpetually at the kids table.

The Lard Can

Image by juliegever via Flickr

This table was always a card table that invariable was bumped or jiggled which resulted in some sort of spill.  It was always covered with an old sheet that soaked up all the various spills and plate jiggling. This table did not have chairs.  Nope, furniture that was designed for sitting was reserved for adult and older cousins.  Those of us at the kids table got the lard cans.  For those of you who did not grow up in the country, when a pig was raised on the farm and subsequently butchered, the fat was rendered into lard which was returned to the family in large cans – roughly 24 inches tall and 16 inches around.  The cans had tops that could be removed to access the lard and then put back on – similar to today’s Tupperware lids.  Only these were made of metal.  And the metal lids had creases around the edges to accommodate the can.  The ridges were not rounded or smooth – they were sharp and hard.  Not sharp as in they would cut skin, but sharp as in they would have been great for biscuit cutters – if you wanted a biscuit that large.

They would be padded with a pillow.  Not a bed pillow.  But one of those pillows that were used on rocking chairs and metal lawn chairs.  Pillows that had maybe ¼ inch of foam in them.  Pillows that had been in use since before my conception.  I was never quite sure what use those pillows were.  I think they were a tease.  They never managed to soften the top of the cans.  The never managed to pad the lip of the can top – the ones that prevented all circulation from the knees down, resulting in much wiggling and groaning and numb feet.  But once that plate of food was placed in front of us, life did not get any better.

As each cousin reached the magical age of 12, responsibilities changed.  The girls were expected to help out in the kitchen.  The boys were expected to help clear the table (if they were caught and forced to help out) and then watch football or head outside to play football or kickball.  Those of us at the kids table – we were free agents.  We were never expected to help; in fact we were shooed out of the kitchen.  We could watch the ballgame, but usually the cloud of smoke would begin to push us outside.  Once outside we would run and play and have a great time.

Now, I am sure you are asking why I am boring you with all the details of a very crowded, yet normal event in my life.  Well, Thursdays are about what made me the way I am.  When I was about 11 our family started to really grow.  Some of my cousins were getting married and bringing their spouses.  They started having babies.  Before long there just was no more room at my grandmother’s house, and she was getting just old enough that she did not need to have to deal with all of us invading her home for a full meal.  So we started to alternate where Thanksgiving was hosted.  Each “Aunt and Uncle” took a turn at hosting.  The food was the same, the fussing over the gravy was unchanged, the football game on the TV was still playing, but suddenly there was no kids table.  Everyone filled their plate, buffet style, and headed to one of the folding buffet tables scattered throughout the home of whoever was hosting that year.  Children mixed with adults.  That magical event – moving to the adult table – that right of passage, was denied to me just as I was on the cusp of what I considered “adulthood”.  I know it sounds dorky that I mourn the loss of that opportunity.

Sheila over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum talks about this same topic – the perpetual adolescence that hase become standard in our society.  When I got married and Hubby and I started talking about expanding our family I found myself hesitating.  I kept waiting for someone to tell me that I had “arrived”, that I was an adult, that I was old enough and mature enough to have children.  There are days that I still find myself waiting for that.  You would think at 43 I would figure out that I am way old enough!  Now, I am not blaming my family for stunting my emotional growth because I was never allowed to sit at the adult table during Thanksgiving Dinner.  But I will say that Sheila’s post really initiated analysis of the origins of some of my insecurities – especially those related to my role in my family, both the family I live with daily, and my extended family.  It has also made me re-evaluate how I interact with my own children and utz and encourage them towards their own adult path.

Motivation Monday – Personal Growth Update

The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.
Robert Cushing

 

Well, I did it.

I made it through the church social function.

I drove there – BY MYSELF

I entered the venue – BY MYSELF

I walked around all the tables and looked at the decorations – BY MYSELF

I initiated a conversation with a woman I had never met before – BY MYSELF

And you know what –

I had a great time.

A friend of mine showed up a little later and we sat together.  We had been friends at our old parish.  I did not realize that she was part of this parish until I ran into her dropping her son off at VBS a couple of years ago.  Life had gotten in the way and other than saying a quick hello, we had not had the chance to reconnect. She had encouraged a mutual friend of ours to come along to the event. All three of us sat together, drank wine, ate, laughed, and listened to an awesome presentation.  I even won a door prize!

After the scheduled part of the evening was over, my friend and I stood around and chatted for another hour.

We laughed some more, cried a little, learned how much we each grown over the last few years.  The years fell away as we shared as only women can.

Snow Falling at Night

Image by ♥ Crystal Writer ♥ via Flickr

As I walked out to my car it was snowing.  The world was quiet as it only is when blanketed by snow.  The flakes glittered as they passed through the street light beams.  I walked along, quietly humming Christmas carols, occasionally trying to catch a snow flake on my tongue, and praised God that He had given me the strength to meet this personal challenge and allowed me to find Him the heart of another woman.