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Tag Archives: change

Decluttering My Vanity…and My Life

Decluttering My Vanity…and My Life

So I thought I would kick off the new year by getting rid of things I have lying around that are seldom used and gathering dust. Makeup, clothes, home decor, and toys were making their way into the “donate” pile. This quickly became an exercise in self reflection.

At first I felt the urge to justify keeping things, thinking, “Oh I’m sure I’ll use this soon.”  But as my stack began to grow, the buzz of having more space and simplifying my home began to kick in.  Before I knew it, I was happily tossing things in. I began to feel more energized, and it occurred to me just how long it had been since I felt that way.

I realized that not only did I need to declutter my house, I needed to declutter my life.  It wasn’t just about “things” zapping my energy.  Unhealthy habits, relationships, and priorities can throw everything off kilter. They steal our time, energy, and quality of life. And just like justifying the keeping of unnecessary things, we legitimize those habits by saying, “It’s not that big of a deal.” We defend unhealthy relationships with family, friends, and partners, thinking, “It will get better.” We excuse skewed priorities with, “I’ll get to it later.” But later never comes.  Not that way.

Later is now. This moment is what we have to work with.  Maybe “it” is that big of a deal.  And how can things get better without correction?  Ask yourself honestly what (or who) needs to go, needs to change. Even if the one who needs to change is you. Change is scary, but what scares you more? Changing…or staying the same?

What will you “declutter?” Leave a comment below.  Thanks for reading.

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When Good Friends Move Away

English: Start of a long road

English: Start of a long road (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s official: the Smiths don’t live here anymore.  They drove off into the nightwith Fat Lucy in the backseat, signaling the end of this chapter.  Today is a sad day.

I’m talking about our neighbors; Fat Lucy is their cat.  We bought our houses the same year and became fast friends.  While this move is exciting for them, we, of course, are mourning the loss.  No more will their house be a second home to our kids. They fed us, gave to us of their time and talents.   They watched out for our kids while they played.  They babysat, fed, and loved our kids.  They let them pick flowers from their garden.  They caught Titus (our beastly Great Dane) countless times he got outside without a leash.  If we ever needed anything and they were able to help, the answer was always yes (even when I’m sure they didn’t want to).  House sitting, pet sitting, helping with projects, and truly sharing life.  In our eyes they were everything a neighbor could be.  Every member of our familes are close.  So many things in common, so many differences; yet somehow we all clicked.  This seems like a rarity in this day and age of hiding behind privacy fences.   We’ll miss their kids telling us, “You guys are the best family!”  And our countless long talks of hilarity or depth about joys and sorrows, our kids, extended families, friends (and sometimes spouses :p).  They are very gracious, genuine people.  People who let you see their house (and their very lives) messy. There is a trust there…an understanding.  They are people we can be completely real with who do not judge us.  I value that so much, and it is a quality that seems scarce.  How do you tell someone that?  That they mean all these things and more which words cannot express? I hope you who may be reading this have someone like that in your lives.  The street seems so different now.  And time marches on.

Hopefully we’ll keep in touch.  There’s e-mail, phone, Skype, planes, and cars to aid in that.  Yet life happens, and sometimes things we hold dear get forgotten…foggy.  As trivial as it might sound, we are grieving this loss.  My prayer is not only for their safe adjustment, but also that we would stay connected.  That perhaps we could sail together once again; let the kids have a sleepover again.  May we travel together someday like we always talked about.  May life be good to us all; not because we deserve it, but because God is so very good and abundant.  And that they would be blessed.  They are so giving, Lord please give to them; and please fill this hole with yourself and your love.  I hope the roads of our lives continue to lead us in parallel, though separate, directions.  Who knows, maybe they won’t be separate forever.

Have you had a close friend move away?  Or perhaps you were the one who had to move?  I’d love to read about it in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.” 1Thessalonians 1:2

*”Smith” is not their real name but a generic one used for their privacy

Water in the Basement

We’ve had some pretty nasty thunderstorms here lately, leaving many people with water in their basements.  Fortunately, our house had very, very little so it was more annoying than catastrophic.  Due to this water, we were going through boxes and things that have been stored down there and I came across a box I have not touched in years.  It contained memories from college.

Inside the box were many things I had both treasured and mindlessly thrown in to accelerate the moving process.  Class schedules, pictures, funny notes my roommate and I had taped to our door, flash cards, and e-mails I had printed.  Even notebooks I would doodle and journal in if I was bored at work at the mall (yes I was a total mall rat).  The nostalgia hit me so hard it was almost painful.  College was a very interesting time for me, simultaneously fun, challenging, chaotic, and amazing somehow.

Perhaps it was being an adult without 100% of the responsibility that would eventually come.  Maybe it was that my whole life was before me, full of promise and possibility.  I used to daydream about what the future would hold: what will my career be?  Who will I marry?  Where will I live?  How many children will I have?  What adventures will we create?  What will all of that look like put together?  My imagination would run wild with these things, picturing both the exciting and mundane.  I loved to dream.

Sitting there it occurred to me how, at this point, it seems so much of my life has been decided.  I know the answers to most of those questions now.   As a child in school I remember how much I looked forward to the weekend.  In time, I realized it was more the promise the weekend held than anything else.  But I miss dreaming a little, and I’m not entirely sure why.  Perhaps I feel a little trapped, like I can’t make any major change without disrupting the kids or job security.  Not in an immature, bored kind of way.  I have been very content with my life since undergrad, full of so many wonderful people and experiences I would never trade in.  And I certainly wouldn’t want to repeat college all over again.  Yet in the background there’s always that nostalgia that won’t be completely quiet.  And sometimes, times like now when I find an old photo or hear an old song, it becomes a guttural scream; a cry of restlessness.

Perhaps I need to remind myself that life is never fully decided.  That, in many ways, my proverbial “whole life” is always ahead of me; be it 80 years or mere moments.  Maybe the cure for the common life is to do something spontaneous.  To keep dreaming big.  To believe that God still has something special up His sleeve.  This can be a bit scary.  After all, not all change is pleasant.  And as I sit in the mildly musty basement lost in thought and memories, my little boy runs up to me and gives me a craft he made for me.  My heart warms, and I pack up the past and head back upstairs to my gifts of the present; reassured that I still have the right to dream.  For a romantic like me, I’m glad to have something to dream about.  And glad for a little water in the basement.