economy – SOLC Tuesday

The current trend of minimalism speaks to me.

(Not that you could tell that when you walk in my house.)

But I love this idea. Of making do with less. Of keeping only the things that make you happy. Of emptying closets and drawers so that whatever you are looking for – and only what you need – pops into view whenever you open that space and look inside.

When I retired I spent my last year of work going though our house room by room in the evenings and eliminating the excess. But things creep in. I need to do this again now. A little decluttering along the way helps.

The hard part is knowing what to do with family heirlooms. It is easy to pass along my children’s things to them (and let them decide what to keep).  The hard part is what to do with things from the past. What offers no connections to today? What is essential to knowing who you really are? What is truly valuable?

My mother was a hoarder. We didn’t know that term back then or recognize it as an illness, but that doesn’t make it less true. (It was just at the end of her life, and I have to add that she was the best Mama I could have ever had otherwise.) Dealing with that definitely influences my choices for what to keep these days.

So, I am working on sorting, and finding peace in what I choose to keep.

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But… I must also say… there is a certain comfort in spaces that echo the years that been have lived in them.

Walking into a room that has the same look as it always has, that holds pictures from the past in spots reserved only for them, that welcomes you for who you have always been as well as who you are becoming – there is a lot of joy here, too. And so many cherished memories to hold on to tightly – and gently, with great care.

The Big House is a book that describes a family property that exemplified this very thing – the security in sameness through the years. Being there gave the author a sense of time standing still. And, sometimes, there can be great comfort in that.

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Economy can be partially defined as “a social domain that emphasizes the … material expressions associated with the … management of resources.”

So the challenge is to be a good manager of resources.   To get rid of burdensome stuff, and treasure the gifts from life experiences that hold meaning and joy.

What a responsibility!  And what an honor –  to hold so much in our hands.

Sunday’s coming

I am thankful for the many promises that God makes to us, and keeps for us, but most importantly for the gift of eternal life through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

As a child, in times of uncertainty, I remember my mother saying, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.” She knew that no matter how gloomy the present seems, there is redemption ahead for believers.

I hope this Easter season has been a spirit-filled time for each of you. If you are in the midst of a dark Friday time, believe and know that there is hope in Him.

for this place I am thankful (edited) – SOLC Tuesday

When I was a writing teacher, I gained so much from hearing and reading Lucy Calkins’ lessons. One of the first things I learned was that real editing occurs by taking a good piece of writing and making it even better. 

Hmmm… I had always thought editing was polishing up something not-so-good. But it is tough to insert or whittle away to change something with which you are already satisfied. 

But that’s how it goes.

So here is a piece I wrote during March that I thought worked well. Now, after editing, I hope it is even better.

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The county in which I live is a fast growing, formerly rural area – a contrast of old and new everywhere we turn. I drove throughout this beautiful landscape today and marveled at the variety here:

the land

  • hills and hollows that twist and flow into each other
  • wooded hillsides leaf-deep with rocky outcroppings, falling down to a creek, or a field, or even right up to the road
  • wide fields sliced by fence paths reflecting their upkeep through the years

the water

  • creeks that twist and turn and parallel the road until they slip under and out the other side
  • the chameleon River that appears where you least expect it, reflecting green or brown depending on the water’s depth or the bank’s height or the flow’s speed
  • ponds with sparkling fountains proclaiming – fresh cool clear water found here

the roads

  • curvy potholed country lanes following fencerows and property lines, sheltered by the canopies of old growth trees
  • square plotted lines through former farms, bringing civilization to yesterday’s middle-of-nowheres
  • more and more lanes for more and more residents to make their ways to and from work daily

the houses

  • antebellum jewels with columns and porches that shimmer in the light of preservation, or droop in the shadows of neglect
  • grand new construction, at times overlooking shacks with asphalt shingle siding, peeling paint, crumbling foundations
  • a Disneyland of perfect cottages surrounded by meandering sidewalks and luscious landscapes

the barns

  • weathered wood structures held up by the trees grown up around them, or perhaps by the vein of sheer determination found in the hardwoods chosen years back for their construction
  • stair step sized in barn-red color, white tin roofs and sliding metal doors 
  • arts and crafts style with exposed beams and stacked stone walls 

I thank God for this area I love, for this place I call home. 

only one chance – SOL Tuesday

Two dear friends have recently lost a parent, so there was a funeral for the mother of one friend and one for the father of another.  You know, even in the midst of sadness and loss, we who remain behind get only one chance to make that final tribute to the life our loved ones lived. We try to do it in the best way we know how.

These two services were perfect.

My friend’s mom had suffered from dementia for several years. Yet she was so much more than the challenges that consumed her last days. Well-educated with a degree in Bacteriology, she also loved opera, playing bridge, her church, volunteering, museums, reading, travel, sailing, and of course, her family. She left them such a legacy, including a deep seated love for her college alma mater’s sports teams. Her daughter exhibits so many of her mother’s fine traits and characteristics in the way she lives her own life, and in the way she cared for her mother in her later years.

My other friend’s dad was in a position where he could have chosen several different kinds of paths for his life. The fact that he always chose honesty, integrity, and humility speaks so highly of who his father was, as well as the legacy he leaves behind. Our friend LOOKs so much like his father, and I believe that he LIVEs like him as well, because those same characteristics are displayed in our friend’s life. He has chosen those same paths that his father walked. As his father looks in on him from heaven, I know he remains so very proud of his son.
Each of these friends took that one chance they were given and used it well to pay a special tribute to the lives their parents lived, and to the ways they had made this world a better place for us all.
We must all learn to go on living here without our loved ones when they pass away. But knowing we’ll see them again one day brings such joy. God’s arms of comfort are strong and warm, and I am thankful they are always there to constantly surround us during these sorrowful times.