Not Looking Hard Enough

Some days it’s easier to live in gratitude than others. As someone who can all too easily free-fall into anxiety and depression, I’m concentrating more and more on living in gratitude.  It’s one of my most intentional of intentional living goals.

Today would be an easy day to just give into the sadness, gloom, depression, anxiety, worry, and every other conceivable dark and sorrowful emotion that exists.  I’m not going to do that.

I’m not denying the negative things that have happened and are happening today.  I can grieve and feel sad.  It’s just not going to be my whole focus.

Amongst all the stuff that’s happening in the world, life goes on.  Good stuff happens.  Bad stuff happens.  We laugh.  We cry.  We play.  We work.  We rest.

My small, little life continues…sometimes parallel to the lives of others and sometimes complexly intertwined.

Some days it’s really difficult to find something to be grateful for.  In some ways it feels callous to seek out joy when others are suffering so greatly.  The truth is that suffering is with us always whether it makes the news or not.

Seeking joy is an act of faith…a defiant action in the face of violence and hatred.

I believe in mankind.  I believe in peace.  I believe in goodness.  I believe that good people are behaving in kind ways as we speak.  I believe that good wins.

And so, I am grateful for little things.

I am thankful that, although we only have air-conditioning in two rooms of our house and it’s really hot today, someone has offered us a free window unit to help out.  And grateful for a relatively small electric bill that is helping balance the budget this month (as a result of not having central air).

I’m grateful for two paid-for cars that started today when we needed them too.  And hopeful that tomorrow they will do the same.

I’m grateful that my family is healthy and that we are not dealing with serious illness as so many I know are.

I am thankful for a full refrigerator, a new washing machine, a bed to sleep in, and a roof over my head.

I am grateful that I have not seen a snake today.

I am thankful for the chickens that are running around my yard eating insects and providing us with fresh eggs.

Right at this moment, I am grateful for a husband who graciously volunteered to clean up the mess from a beer that exploded in our kitchen because it is so hot in here.  That way, I can continue to write this post.

I am grateful that our family has a plan for a better future as a result of a budget that gives us hope to be out of debt (except for the mortgage)in about two years.  I can’t plan an awesome vacation right now.  We don’t have a pool.  I’m hot. But, I have hope that things will get better.  So many folks don’t have hope.

I’m finding that if compare my life to others and find my life lacking, I’m not looking in the right place.  That’s a choice I’m making.  I can look around me and see what I don’t have or look somewhere else and see that I am lucky and blessed.

I am lucky and blessed.  I have choices and options and hope.

My hope for you today is that you can find something to be grateful for and find peace.

0612161940aDecluttered today:

  1. the equipment for Direct TV – we are finally out from under our contract.  YEA!
  2. a box of old records
  3. 5 empty bottles of shampoo and soap from the shower – how did I not see these before?
  4. an old camera and case
  5. another stack of cut-up magazines

 

When Less Equals More

Two posts in one day?

Yep.

I’m ready to move on from decluttering being such a frequent topic.  I’m sure that I’ll never be completely decluttered around here – things will come and things will go as life continues.

But, I would like to focus more on the things that decluttering is helping me to accomplish…like more art, more creativity, more family time, more visiting with friends, more quiet time, more of everything that is positive and life-enriching…

And focus less on the “more” which is less inspiring:  more stuff, more housework, more stress, and more to-do’s that I don’t enjoy doing (that may not have made as much sense as I’d hoped when I thought it in my head.  It may have lost something in translation.)

Basically, I’d like to move on from the getting ready mindset and start doing what I’ve been working towards:  that more intentional life that I keep talking about.

Enough talking already.  Time to start doing is what I’m trying to say.

During this transitional month, I’m going to do one more big decluttering search and destroy mission.  I’ve been trying to  declutter 5 things a day for the month of June.

Here’s the list so far:

  1. a humongous entertainment center type storage cabinet
  2. a pair of shorts
  3. a stapler
  4. a lampshade
  5. a stuffed animal
  6. a handful of socks with no mates (why are these so hard for me to let go of?)
  7. a stack of magazines
  8. a down comforter
  9. seeds saved from too many seasons ago
  10. a stack of outdated “important” papers
  11. a children’s book that I’d been saving for the illustrations
  12. miscellaneous mason jar lids that don’t have jars to go with them
  13. a headband
  14. one shoe (can’t find the other one)
  15. a visual journal barely used – made up of disappointingly flimsy paper
  16. a picture frame with no glass that I kept thinking might be useful for something
  17. a pants hanger that was almost impossible to hang pants on and even harder to remove the pants from
  18. one of three cutting mats
  19. lightbulbs that don’t fit anywhere in the house
  20. a dusty cookbook (if I need a recipe, I almost always go to the internet)
  21. wood scraps saved because they might be useful for something someday
  22. a blouse that doesn’t fit quite right
  23. bathing suits that my daughter has outgrown
  24. a beach hat that has seen one too many trips to the beach
  25. a summer dress that I had hoped to fit into this summer, but that obviously has no appreciation for the fact that I’ve given life to four children

Why am I providing such detail about my decluttering efforts, you might be asking?

Well, if anyone is struggling with clutter, maybe, just maybe, this list could inspire them to search for extra stuff that they don’t need in a new spot – to find things that they didn’t realize they had or hadn’t thought to search through.

We’re not in this alone.  This is something that a lot of folks are working through.   I don’t have any magic words or instructions that can really help.  I’m not going to tell you that having 3 bins to sort into is the answer,  or that there is a magic amount of time that will solve all your problems.  It’s truly about more than just the stuff.  Getting rid of things helps, but there is always an underlying problem that we’ve got to deal with.

The journey is worth the effort – no matter how long it takes.

I know.  I’ve struggled.  I’ve given up.  I’ve started over (and over) again.  I can see daylight at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not an oncoming train).  It’s the light shining on this blank canvas that I’m going to start work on first thing in the morning.

0605161854

Tomorrow will be a new day with less and a whole lot more!.

 

Traveling to a Mythical Destination

Today I’m thinking about my journey and doing a bit of re-evaluating.  Tweaking the steps and direction just a bit to accommodate that little thing  we like to call reality.  Mostly, I’m refiguring the whole journey versus destination dynamic in an effort to be a little kinder and gentler to myself and those that I love.

Perfectionists (say it isn’t so!) don’t live squarely in reality.  We tend to envision a world that is equal parts imagination and myth.  When confronted with reality we tend to react with disbelief and anger that turns into self-recrimination and weariness…just a few short steps from hopelessness, frustration and self-defeat.

A To-Do list two pages long written in colorful markers with tasks written in specific categories?  You bet.

Maybe even rewritten a time or two so that it looks good and nothing is forgotten.  Not that I would ever do the latter.  Nope, not me.

Carefully checking off the completed tasks and marveling at how great things are going to be when the list is completed.  Confident that this list will enable us to get everything done.

Surprised when it doesn’t all get done and with a feeling of great self-awareness we comment, “Maybe the list was a little long.”

Surprised when our eldest daughter comments, “Duh, you think?”

How’s this for profound?  This journey of life isn’t done until I’m dead.  I can’t get it all done, completed, finished.  Duh.  Why am I racing in an effort to get to that mythical place called “done”.  It doesn’t exist or at least not in the way that I’m imagining it.  No amount of mapping, or planning or list-making will make that destination possible in the sense that I can sit back and say, “I’m done.  I can sit and relax now.  I did it!”

As I dust, more dust is forming and falling.  As I wash, dry and fold a load of laundry more is being dirtied…

(unless we become nudists which isn’t happening.  Not that I have anything against nudists…each to his own…I try not to judge…but honestly that would be hard to do if we were all running around naked.  Comparison would seem to be inevitable, I imagine and I prefer to leave all of that to the imagination.  Not in a creepy way though.  I don’t walk around imaging everyone naked.  If we ever meet and for those I do see, I’m really not imagining you naked.  I promise.  Honestly, there are a couple of people I think about being naked, but they aren’t anyone that I know in person – just a couple of celebrities, you know.  Not that you would be unattractive naked – I don’t want to be insulting.  The human body is a marvelous and beautiful thing.  I just don’t think about it…except for those few exceptions that I mentioned previously.)

But, back to the point I was trying to make…housecleaning will never be done, and that includes decluttering.  The yard doesn’t stay mowed.  Raising and nurturing children doesn’t really ever finish – our tasks and responsibilities just evolve.  Errands are never all done. The healthy lifestyle is ongoing.  As problems are solved, new ones crop up.  Appliances wear out and need to be replaced.  Stuff happens and is happening…

“Done” doesn’t exist.  I can’t get there.

I can travel a journey that has less stuff and clutter and stress so that the traveling can be easier and more spontaneous.  I can carry less and be more aware of the sights and experiences along the way.  By spending less and getting out of debt, I can worry less about how to fund my life journey.  That will give me more options when deciding where I want to go.  By being more realistic about the steps I take, I can be more optimistic and at peace, instead of traveling (or stopping altogether) with a negative attitude.

I need to quit looking at that mythical destination and focus more on the journey…

This magical trip we call life…I want to smell the flowers (but not necessarily plant them), watch my children grow, pet my dog, hug my husband, hear what people have to say, rest when I’m weary, make stuff, and absorb every bit of it.

There are too many things that I neglect doing because I’m going to do it when “I’m done”… done with housework, when we’re out of debt, when I have time…

When “I’m done” is too late.  When I’m “done”, I’ll be dead.

Life is now in all it’s imperfection.

The journey is real and what’s important.

The destination can wait.

Hard to Say

Will this be an interesting post or not?  It’s hard to say at this point.  I’m not sure that I should be attempting to write at all.  This has not been a particularly interesting day in any respect.  Not a bad day.  Not a good day.  Just kind of a day.

Of note, I’ve reconnected with a friend who is battling a cancer battle.  I’ve just kind of ignored the whole situation for a while.  We don’t live close to each other and our lives don’t intercept at all any more except in that weird world that is the internet or interweb or whatever we are calling it now.  Pretty much a mystery to me.

Anyhow, I’ve started reading her Caring Bridge posts and texted her a bit today.   Can we say too many times that cancer sucks and that chemo sucks even more?  I don’t think so.  Cancer sucks and chemo sucks even more.

Her post, in combination with my less than stellar performing digestive system, prompted me today to schedule all of the diagnostic screening exams that I have ignored forever…Pap Smear, colonoscopy, and mammogram.  Ugh.  Ignoring things doesn’t mean they go away.  Sigh.  I don’t know what is more stressful – wondering if something is wrong or scheduling a procedure that’s gonna be unpleasant.

We place so much faith in our bodies and take for granted that they will do what we need them to do when we need them to do it.

A close family member is dealing with the effects of aging and a body that’s performed a lifetime of good and hard service for the betterment of others.  It’s worn out – her body that is.  It’s hard to deal with…aging and illness that force us to learn to ask for help and rely on the help of others.

We’re not meant to live this life alone.  Life is too darn hard.  Why is it so hard to reveal our weaknesses and allow others to be our superheroes?  I don’t mind helping someone out when they need it and I certainly don’t think less of them.  Why is that not a reciprocal act for me – for most of us?

I got a wonderful package in the mail the other day.  A friend responded to my post about giving up Sonic tea runs and sent me a gift of all kinds of wonderful teas.  When I spoke with her she said, “I have tea and you need tea.  We need to be in community and share what we have with each other.  That’s how it should be.”

Amen.

I lift up my cup of tea…Here’s to stepping out of our comfort zone and reaching out to someone in our life (or a stranger) and offering a helping hand.  Let’s not wait to be asked.  Some of us will never ask for help because we don’t know how, don’t realize we need to, or are afraid of rejection based on past experiences.

Let’s share our stories, our skills, our resources, and our time with each other.  Let’s not be alone and lonely.

What makes a good story?

What makes a good story?  Interesting questions isn’t it?  In my opinion it ranks right up there with what is good art or what is a beautiful home.  Questions without answers – or rather questions with way too many answers.  None of the answers wrong and none of them necessarily right.

Just questions to think about (or not) depending on your philosophical bent or lack thereof.

I think a good story is one that someone can relate to.  It doesn’t have to find a huge following.  A one person audience can be enough.  I think I’ll go so far as to say that a good story doesn’t necessarily need to find an audience at all.  It may just be a story that needs to be told.

I’m often at a loss to explain why I am writing here on this blog.  To an audience of people I know and even more that I will never actually meet.  Some good people and probably more than a few not so nice people.  Why write at all?  Why risk?  What’s the point?

I have a story.  We all do.  I’m sure that there are people out there with far more writing skill and most definitely more interesting stories to tell.  I’ve never really travelled extensively.  I don’t have a glamorous job.  I’m not rich or beautiful or profoundly intelligent.  I’d say that I’m solidly average.  But, most of us are.

In my quest to live a more intentional life – a life of thoughtful choices – I’ve learned (am learning) to question the wisdom of following the stories of those who appear to be “better” than me.  Those whose life appears to be “more”.  Celebrities who are famous for absolutely nothing that has made the world a better place.  People who talk a lot and really have nothing significant to say.  Damaging stories that make us want more and better – homes, clothes, cars, detergent, hair, personalities, relationships….

I tell my story.

A story of a 54 year old woman who struggles with her weight.  Who can’t eat one Little Debbie snack cake and leave the rest in the box.  Who has been known to eat frosting from a can.  Who buys healthy food, but doesn’t always make good choices.  Who lost a lot of weight, but only because I had a major health crisis to motivate me.

I’m a wife who loves her husband and a mom who loves her children – but I have been known to yell way more than I should have over things that weren’t worth yelling about.  I worry about the things I’ve done wrong and sometimes wonder if I’ve done anything right.

I’m a homemaker that doesn’t always do a very good job of keeping house.  I have hoarding tendencies that I deal with all the time.  I “pile” things and worry more about what the inside of the cabinets look like than the whole house.  I bounce between wanting to get rid of everything and thinking I can pull off a “cozy and cluttered” ambiance.   Sometimes the laundry is done and sometimes we are scrambling for clean underwear.

I worry about the environment and try to recycle.  We don’t have curbside so sometimes it just gets thrown away.  I read a blog about a zero-waste home and wonder what I’m doing wrong.  The best I can do Is shred our junk-mail and use it as chicken coop bedding.  Other than that, it’s rather hit-or-miss.

I wonder what I should be doing to make the world a better place.  Most of the time, I don’t even know how to make my own home a better place.

This story could go on and on.

Mostly, I worry about being enough.  About doing enough.  About caring enough.  About whether it will matter if I spent time on this planet or not.

Is it enough to try?  And fail.  To be average.

I’m going to say yes.  It matters.  It has to.  It’s all most of us ordinary folks have.  We try. We fail.  We try again.

We hope.

We tell our stories so we know we aren’t alone.

Want versus Need

Definitely a recurring theme around here lately – want vs. need.  Just when I think I’ve got the concept figured out, something happens that reminds me that my point of view can be very skewed.

It started with a trip to Target to pick up a few essentials.  And who can go to Target and just get what they need without wandering around for a bit and seeing all kinds of stuff that they need (want).  Youngest and I ended up in the Halloween section.  She’s thinking about her costume and dreaming big dreams – and that in my opinion is the fun part of Halloween.  Forget the candy – Who can I be?  That’s a great question.  Who/what can I dress up as?  What can I imagine?  What can I pretend?  The big night when I can wear a costume and be whoever (or whatever) I want!

She’s perusing the aisles keeping in mind the parameters.  No complete costume that costs $25.00 before accessories.  Have to use your imagination.  If we buy it this early, you can’t get bored and change your mind.

As she’s looking we can’t help but notice some of the other families around us.  Several kids each and a cart full of Halloween.  They sent the kids down the aisles and said “pick out a costume”.   And they did:  the costume, all the accessories, the matching candy bucket, and a few pricey Halloween decorations for good measure.  “Mom, I need this to go with my costume”.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not judging their purchases, decisions or child-rearing practices.  Maybe they have that kind of money.  Maybe they have good credit.  Maybe it’s their once-a-year splurge.  It’s really none of my business.

What I do know, is that my kid picked out fox ears, a fox tail, and a fox nose, said I’ll use a plastic bag for my candy or find something at home, and was done.

Not going to lie…she certainly noticed those other kids shopping.

We had a good, long talk about want and need.

About what happens when you get everything you want as a kid and then grow up.  And find out the world isn’t really all about making you happy.

About kids in this country and certainly elsewhere in the world who will never get that one night of dressing up and getting way too much candy – about the kids who will never know a decent meal, much less a piece of candy.

About this simple truth:  you can’t have it all – no matter how rich you are or how hard you try.

About being careful who you are comparing your life to when figuring out if you have enough or not.

…The people in Target who dropped about $400 for one night of fun or the folks who weren’t in Target getting anything at all?

…The people up the street who have a “nicer” house or the people around the world who don’t have any home at all?

…Our paycheck that doesn’t quite reach until the next payday or the people who don’t have a paycheck at all and would really like to be earning one.  Not to mention the folks who are working two full-time jobs or multiple part-time ones just to keep the roof over their heads.

This was her big life lesson this week.  I know she’s thinking about it.  I hope it helps her to make better and more thoughtful decisions about her wants and needs.

But, I’m afraid its not a lesson you learn once and are done.  That you get it all figured out and don’t need to worry about it any more.  There’s just so much cool “stuff” out there.  So much to want.  So many advertisements skewing our perspective.  The fallacy that “this” will make up happy.  “This” will make our house clean.  “This” will solve that problem.

It seems that I have to revisit the subject of want versus need a lot

After the Target visit,  I was thinking, “It is really time to figure out flooring for this house.  I need to get these floors done.  (Remember, we pulled up the carpet a while back).  A trip to The Home Depot ensues.  Conclusion:  no way in hell these floors are getting done any time soon.  Now I feel sorry for myself because I really need new flooring and we work hard and we should be able to have new flooring and there just isn’t enough money and it really isn’t fair….

And then…

…I’m made aware of a family I know that lost their house to foreclosure
…and am reminded of a friend who has opened up her home to two families that needed some help getting their life together
…and a group of folks that live in tents and live paycheck to paycheck and job to job and help each other out – sharing whatever they have
…and the family I know who need a new floor (not just floor covering) and a new roof and a couple of windows
And I have a good, long talk with myself about want and need.  And I’m thinking about it.  I’m hoping it will help me make better and more thoughtful decisions about want and need.  Until the next time…

A Tiny Little World

Depression is hard…trying to keep going and not let on that you are struggling.  Doing what has to be done.  Tired all the time.  Battling the hopelessness.  Frustrated because the negative feelings aren’t fully connected to the reality that you are living in.  Knowing that things aren’t really all that bad, but mad at yourself because you are unhappy anyway.  Not living up to the expectations that you are placing upon yourself.  The little voice in your head that gets louder and louder – criticizing and commenting on all your failures.  Knowing that the folks around you (who don’t live with you) are unaware of the struggle.  Pulling into yourself bit by bit until only you only have to deal with your immediate surroundings, decisions you can’t avoid and work you have to do.  Realizing that you’ve isolated yourself from anyone who might be able to help because you don’t want them to be aware that you are weak and less than perfect.

…an unhappy tiny little world…

I’m peeking out a bit today.  This vicious little merry-go-round ride I’ve been on is not fun.  I’m blogging today and I will write again tomorrow.  I promise myself.

Life has really been going on rather normally I suppose.  Most people around me would probably be surprised to know how hard the last few weeks/months have been.  What’s been happening since I last wrote regularly?

I’ve got three part-time jobs now.  Part of it is for the money – we are really working on getting our debt paid down.

My newest job is teaching at a private school that opened in our little town.  Did I share this already?  I’m teaching art one day a week and am really enjoying it.  I was pretty sure that I would like it, but am actually surprised at how much!  It’s been fun to get to know the kids and to see how talented some of them are and how enthusiastic they all are.  The art lessons are supposed to complement the history curriculum and they are studying the Renaissance.  That’s challenging to do in one hour, one day a week.  I’ve been lightly touching on an aspect of Renaissance Art and then adapting a lesson to be both fun and fit into the time we have.  Today we did a “stained glass” project using tissue paper, laminating sheets and a laminator.

My youngest and I are fully into our homeschool year.  It’s been sooooo different having only one “student”.  We’ve actually “done” school almost every day and are hardly behind my schedule at all.  We’ve also managed several field trips (other than trips to the grocery store).  We’ve visited the Blanton Art Museum and the Austin Zoo so far.    Not bad for a self-described eclectic un-schooling family.

We’ve been working on the house doing some small maintenance and renovation projects.  Right now we are working in our hallway which is almost large enough to be a room on it’s own.  Three of the bedrooms, the classroom/studio and hall bath open into it.  It also contains a built-in desk, counter and two upper cabinets.  I’ve decluttered enough that the cabinet above the desk is almost empty so we are removing it.  It overshadows the desk and looks cramped.  We’re putting in a simple shelf instead.  Less stuff, less clutter and a more open airy feel.  All the walls are going to be painted Polar Bear white.  I’m ready for simple, uncluttered and peaceful!

Still sorting through stuff and trying to see how little we really need.  Layer by layer we are downsizing.  About a box a week is going to the thrift store and the trash can is always overflowing.  Where does it all come from?!?!

Not much is happening on the art front.  I just haven’t had the energy to complete anything.  Anything I did attempt just didn’t measure up to my expectations.  I’m cleaning an architect’s office and have been gifted a lot of flooring and upholstery samples.  I’m planning on playing with them and seeing what I can come up with.  Lots of fun colors and textures!

Time to open the blinds, throw open the windows and let the breeze blow in.  No more shutting out the world!  There is joy out there to be found, lived and enjoyed.  I’m going to give it a try…



What People Need

It’s Friday evening and another week is ending.  My husband and son are off to work.  Both are temporarily on the night shift prepping for inventory.  Oldest daughter is still at camp.

Second daughter who is home during summer break is not actually home but at a friend’s house.  Her summer session online class started already:  She is taking Introduction to Philosophy.  I watched part of her first online lecture with her last night.  I think I’ve lost a lot of brain cells since college.  I took  Philosophy a few or more years ago and made an “A”.  Last night  I felt like I was watching the professor’s lips move, but didn’t understand a single thing he said.  Either he is the worst lecturer ever or I need to start exercising my brain.  It’s probably me.  Those were some really big words he was using!

It’s just me and the youngest at home tonight.  She is tired from a week of getting up early (for us) to go to Vacation Bible School.  She was invited by a friend from the homeschool group.  She had a really good time and made me quite proud with some of the things she shared when she came home each day.

I guess I’ll share here that we aren’t active in a church congregation and haven’t been for many years now.  There was a time when I was the one running the show…Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, etc…  I’m still a believer in Jesus, but have lost interest in the organized church.  I don’t begrudge anyone who attends and do believe that there are some great churches doing great work out there in the world.  I’ve just moved on, in a sense, to a different place and it isn’t a good fit for me anymore.

I have a lot of friends who live in a lot of different belief systems – some are followers of Christ to varying degrees and quite a few who aren’t.  I’m good with that…more than good.  I love being surrounded by people who think differently than I do.  I love the discussion of and exposure to differing ideas and ideals.  I can’t imagine only hanging out with folks who believe or live just like me.

I personally choose to believe in a God because it gives me comfort knowing that life isn’t a series of random events happening for no particular reason in no particular order.  I need to believe in something.

Mostly, I just desire to be a good person.  A person who does good things and will leave the world in a slightly better condition when I move on.  The concept of Jesus works for me in that respect.  Kind of like a great role model.  The Bible is also a pretty fascinating piece of literature with some good stories and guidelines in it.  Do I believe it is meant to be taken literally in all aspects.  Ummmm, NO.  The world changes and the people in it change and we have a brain that we should be thinking with.

You won’t find me preaching here although I’m sure my beliefs will slip in every now and then.  This blog is about my life so it would be hard to leave out much.  What I’m trying to say is that’s just not what I’m here to write about.  It’s not so much that I don’t want to offend anyone or am trying to attract a certain type of reader.  My faith is just an intrinsic part of who I am and I don’t feel the need to share at every opportunity.  Once again, I’m not judging or rejecting different viewpoints…I personally follow blogs that are very “Christian” and some that aren’t at all.

As people we are all so different…we come from different backgrounds, experiences and cultures.   As a result, we have different needs.  We will just naturally believe in different things.  We are all seeking something – some truth.  Many times we are talking about the same thing, but using different words to describe or express it.

What a beautiful world we could live in if we were all more tolerant of our differences and embraced our similarities!

I’m aware that there are those that would classify me as a lousy sort of Christian and some who would believe I was way too Christian just for writing what I’ve written.  I’m a people pleaser so it saddens me to think that anyone wouldn’t like me for any reason, but since starting this blog, I’ve become braver.  I’m just doing the best I can in putting together a belief system that helps me to lead a  life that is good for me and beneficial for the world I live in.

Back to what led me onto this “rabbit trail” in the first place…my youngest came home from VBS the first day and told me that she needed to bring an offering the next day.  Ooops – been out of church for awhile and forgot about that.

She volunteered that they were collecting money to send talking Bibles to Africa. Okay, not really my thing, but okay.

The next day, she came home and told me that one of her teachers had a collection jar on her desk to provide meals for children in Africa.  She said,”I hope it’s okay that I put my money in there instead of the Bible collection.  If people are hungry, they need food. I think that it’s more important that we feed them first.”

I just smiled and told her that I thought that was a good idea.

Well, hello there…

I think I’m coming back to the land of “normal”.  I also believe it and I am quite certain that thinking and believing are two different things.  So, I’m going to conclude that there is a definite improvement in my “being-ness” since both thought processes are in play.

We had a fun Fourth of July celebration at the home of old friends.  They are friends that we have known for a long time and are not necessarily old although not as young as they used to be.  It was going to be a smallish celebration, but as most good parties do, it grew and grew…  There was laughter, food, beer, tension, fireworks (mostly the actual physical kind, not the human interaction kind) and more food.

I was stressed going into it all, but by the end of the night was doing pretty well.  Time spent with folks you know and who know you can be healing.  And I did not kill any small child who threw loud noisy things to the ground behind me.  I don’t know what those explosive devices are called AND the small children will never throw them near me again, but I didn’t permanently harm any of them…I promise.

Today saw us dropping my oldest daughter off at her summer job.  She is working a Renaissance style childrens’ summer camp.  She’s the daughter with culinary school and an in-process degree in Food Service Management.  She’ll be working in an unairconditioned kitchen in July in Central Texas.  Fun times…

Did I mention we helped her convert our old trailer into a Vardo type habitat for her stay.  She decided that a tent might be too rustic for her for a month (Gee, you think?).  IMAG0865IMAG0868IMAG0875IMAG0871

She did almost all of the work herself with some manual labor assistance.  She got an air-conditioner and everything….pretty sweet.  I totally forgot to get a photo of the finished dwelling…a description will have to suffice.  Corrugated metal on the ceiling, a sari-fabric hanging light, a full mattress covered in pillows, fabric lining the walls, a desk/table with storage underneath, and a chair.  Very snug, cozy and climate controlled.  I’m almost jealous…except for the whole kitchen job thing…been there, done that.

I followed up our morning excursion with a three hour nap.  I definitely feel better.  I woke up to a quiet and empty house.  I took a moment to wander through and assess the level of untidiness.  On a scale of one to ten with ten being complete chaos, I think we’re hovering around a 13.

It’s pretty “lived-in”.  That’s okay.  We’ve done a lot of living so far this summer. I love a challenge.  I will start out tomorrow with my list in hand and start to tame the beast.

For now, I’m going to be happy to be me.