Decluttering : It’s Just Stuff

Photo by Félix Prado on Unsplash

I grew up in a pretty clean house. My mom was an “at home” mother until I went to college and she loved a neat and tidy home. We were never made to run the sweeper, do dishes (back in the days before dishwashers), laundry, or anything like that. She said when we got older we’d have enough housework.

When I went away to college I needed to do laundry so I went to a coin operated laundromat. I was so spoiled I had to ask someone to show me how to use the washer. One day I left a new pair of Wrangler jeans washing in the New Ken laundromat and went back to my half duplex one block away. When I returned they were gone. Someone must have really wanted them if they took them soaking wet.

I don’t remember being really neat in college or when I lived, single, in my Winebiddle Street apartment afterwards. I hated going to bed with dirty dishes on the counter (still do) so I made sure they were done. I did live in an old, old house that had been converted into one room effficiencies. One day I came home and my Free Spirit 10 speed bicycle was in the window sunlight. I looked and it was encased in a giant, intricate spider web. I don’t remember what I did about that but I probably wiped it down.

Once my babies were born, I remember launching into clean mode. I spent way too much time worrying about how clean my house was. With my first, I went back to work. With my second, it no longer made sense to give day care my salary so I stayed home and became a plastics party queen. I loved a clean house back then even though I remember toys everywhere for a very long time.

Last night I went looking for a specific music CD and it was gone. So was my stack of probably 40-50 CD’s that were on a shelf in my guest bedroom closet. I had a flash of panic. My husband and daughter rented a dumpster about a month ago and cleaned out the house. I participated very little in this. I have been decluttering for at least four years, since I quit my full time job, and even before that so I felt very little need to join in.

The reality began to set in a minute later that my CD’s were GONE. I sent Jim a text in the hopes that he might know where they were. But I knew. Twenty years worth of music- Christmas, Greek, Rock and Roll- gone to a dumpster and a garbage dump somewhere. Good thing I had a couple of my favorites in the car.

Now if my husband threw these away, I don’t blame him. Yep, I don’t. Because I should have participated in this and honestly, he probably thought they were old CD’s of the kids that no one listened to anymore. In the process of looking through my closet (just in case they were in a box somewhere), I did find a treasure trove of children’s music that probably belonged to my grandson from 15 years ago. Those are going to Penny.

I will be sad for a couple of days but I will move on. Decluttering is a good feeling in the end. It is just stuff. I listen to music in the car occasionally, but most times I enjoy the quiet. I think I’ll be ok with that.

If you want to de-clutter and don’t know where to start, I recommend this book written by a friend. It’s awesome and will get you started. Restore Order, Restore Joy by Dorothy L. Clear. 

Is there a clutter area in your house? How does it bother or not bother you?

 

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Kindness Rocks

The Kindness Rocks Project

I was on a girl’s weekend with a few of my friends. We happened to be at Susquehanna University, a beautiful campus with lots of quiet and flowers. I wanted to stay in the shade and decided to walk under a line of trees to keep cool.

Turning a corner, I saw the large flat stones. It stopped me right in my tracks. Here’s what it said.

How fitting that this should be on a college campus. So many people of all ages probably go to this school, work and study hard, and sit among the trees on a gorgeous day. Maybe on a tough day they need to see this. Perhaps they pick up a rock and take it back to their room. It’s possible it will make their day a little brighter.

I decided to be needy and so I took a rock. It said, “You are Worth It.” I love it. I brought it home and placed it in the soil of my growing fig tree. I hope the tree will note this message and feel free to grow tall and strong. I did briefly wonder if I should not take a rock since I didn’t have one to leave. I don’t think this is the main purpose. I think the rocks are there for the taking.

I would have loved to be in the room when these were being painted. How did the painters decide what quotes to choose? There were some rocks with only one word on them. Others had more sayings. Since then, I’ve looked up the Kindness Rocks website and wow, there are so many more wonderful rocks!

I told my friend Ms. Child about the Kindness Rocks. She thought maybe she’d start one in her area. Lo and behold she went on the website and it turns out there is one near her! She’s excited about creating some rocks of her own and visiting the project. How cool is that? To find out if there is a Kindness Rocks project in your area, click HERE.

This is bigger than you think. Check out the video.

I love this wonderful idea. A landmark birthday is looming this year and I’ve already reached out to my township to ask them for an opportunity to start a Kindness Rocks project in my local park. If you live near me, let me know if you’ll come and paint with me.

PS. The Kindness Rocks website is full of information! Many gorgeous rocks and a downloadable “how to” on the best materials to use.

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Grace and Wellness

sunlight-through-the-fog-2

With the help of a good friend I am beginning a journey towards better self care. It’s not that I wasn’t good at it before but you know how it goes. Get busy, neglect sleep, eat poorly, and forget the exercise. The typical stuff of a mid life woman who tries to do too much.

I procrastinated about this wellness focus for months, waiting until my schedule finally cleared enough to give mental space (and energy) to the idea. My friend said to do this alittle at a time (thank God) and she sent me encouraging emails with her own health and wellness tips.

First up, a plant in my room. Sounds so simple but a plant provides oxygen and that can only be good. Second, I ordered a good book- Food Rules by Michael Pollan. I couldn’t resist skimming the first few chapters and wasn’t surprised. Eat more plants and don’t eat things that have more than five ingredients on the package. Right!

Of course it was a few days before Thanksgiving when I read this. I gave thought to what I was going to be eating on the holiday. Turkey, well, only one ingredient there. Baked yams and pineapple, pretty good.  Hawaiian rolls, probably not so good but delicious. Mashed potatoes made with Yukon golds, butter, and a little cream. I thought this really wasn’t so bad.

The pumpkin pie was made from a can that needed condensed milk and eggs. Mom made homemade crust with flour and crisco, a big no no I’m sure but heck, it’s the holiday right? Plus I am not going to tell mom not to make pie. 🙂

All in all, I would say I did not overeat on Thanksgiving. I felt fine afterwards. I cleaned up the kitchen and sealed up leftovers for the next day. No need to cook dinner tonight!

I think the hardest thing about health and wellness for me is putting myself first. Life is ongoing around my house. There are always things to do and some kind of agenda. Even though I no longer work full time, I have a million mundane things to do (laundry, housekeeping, dog, babysit Penny, help my mother). Prioritizing is key. The one gift of menopause has been the recognition that I can’t do it all. I don’t feel guilty saying no anymore. I’ve done the committees, the grunge work, the volunteering. It’s ok by me to say no.

Making an effort at better self care is good. Not feeling guilty about what I don’t accomplish is a challenge. Setting realistic expectations is the order of the day. The grace is in turning it over to the universe.

I hope you have a wonderful week! If you have any tips for self care, I’d love to hear them.

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Practicing Spontaneity- Meeting Vivian!

Meeting Vivian- What a Joy!
Meeting Vivian- What a Joy!

“I had to leave Deep Run before I learned how special this part of the world is. I hope you will understand that long before I did.” Vivian Howard, Deep Run Roots

As a recovering perfectionist, I am not always good at spontaneity. And being a wedding and event planner further cements that. I like to plan, plan, plan for my events so things go as smoothly as possible. Better planning makes less anxiety.

So it was with a bit of hesitancy that I purchased a ticket to Vivian Howard’s “Deep Run Roots” book tour and bought my plane ticket within 24 to 48 hours of seeing her social media post. By the time the first 24 hours had lapsed, the one location I wanted to go to (with two events on two different nights) had sold out. The second closest tour site to my sister Mary was in Greensboro, North Carolina.

I bought the tour tickets first, then made the plane reservation. I figured the Greensboro location would sell out just as fast and I was not waiting. This was a big deal for me – it was as spontaneous as I ever could be.

Mary picked me up at the airport and the fun began. I won’t go into detail here; I listed my favorite places with links below. Suffice to say I had a wonderful time eating, shopping, and visiting with old friends. The weather was picture perfect and a good deal warmer than at home.

So the time to meet Vivian was coming closer and closer. Mary and I headed for Greensboro from Winston Salem around 4:30pm. The start time at Scuppernong Books was 6pm. We arrived around 5:45pm and line was already building. Vivian had started early.

meeting-vivian-first-glance

The first time I saw Vivian’s show on PBS “A Chef’s Life”, I set the DVR to tape every episode. I loved the stories, recipes and the way Vivian interacted with the locals. Asking them for their tales, stirring the pots along side of them, and thanking them for teaching her. Her gratitude, respect for her deep roots family, and ample grace comes through. She is also very human. Vivian never shies away from exposing her own frailties, frustrations, and mommy guilt.

I admit to a tear in my eye while I was waiting for her. I’m not sure why but I’m guessing it was gratitude. To my higher power, my sister, and the universe for making it happen. I hoped to be inspired by meeting Vivian- to see that maybe we all can keep the faith about what we are doing. I love writing and blogging and I bet she does too.

vivian-shes-fabulous

Her cookbook “Deep Run Roots” is heavy, large and gorgeous. There are stunning food pics and detailed explanations along with her recipes. I expected a big cookbook- and it is- but it is also a storybook. One of the first pages is the “Don’t You Dare Miss This Introduction!”. Her wit, humor, and love of food is evident throughout.

Whether you buy this book for yourself or a friend, it’s truly a treasure.

Last thought:

One morning I took a hot bath at Mary’s and opened my Pandora app. Guess what came up:

 

Here’s the links!

A Chef’s Life

The Book Tour:

Vivian’s Website

Scuppernong Books

Where I ate during my visit:

Sweet Potatoes

Crafted

6th and Vine

CinCin Burger Bar

Atelier Bakery

Ketchie Creek Bakery and Cafe

My favorite Winston Salem Shops:

Earthbound Arts

The Other Half

vivian-3

hugging-vivian
Thank you Mary for taking these pictures!
Join me on my graceful journey.
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