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After we have worked hard

After we have worked hard on this task of cleaning and purging it is important to take the time to re-evaluate what we learned in the process and how can we not repeat it.
If it was too much clothing, then we must master the ability to say “I don’t it need anymore.”
If it was books, same story, how many can you read?
Keep the very special ones and send the others to a different place of residence.
My husband will often say, “what are you getting rid of?”
It puts me on a ‘defense’ because I am not getting rid of something; I am hopefully blessing someone with what I had and liked.
It is all a matter of perspective and wording.
The other thing that is really important to me is ‘let me do this on my schedule.’
Do not tell me what to do, in fact don’t really even suggest what I need to work on.
Just let me work on it.
When I get done with this major process I might reward myself with something special.
For instance if I give away four pairs of shoes that I marginally liked, then I can find ONE pair I really love.
It is a reward system that works. Minimize to maximize your goal.
I am really liking comfort clothing. Removing the old jeans that ‘bug’ me when I wear them.
Also the petite short length tops. Yes they used to be favorites of mine but if I do not feel covered when I raise my hands up then it is time for them to move on.
It takes a lot of ‘determination’ when doing all this.
But in the end it is so worth it.
Allow yourself time to deal with the ‘list’, then also allow yourself time to deal with how to re-center or re-do the space that is now open.
Try really hard to not fill it up with other ‘stuff’, empty space is freeing.
September is a great time for starting new routines and thoughts.
Then when it’s all done you can move into the holiday season feeling refreshed and ready.
Are we going to encourage each other in this process? I hope so.
Let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done. With a smile and with a sense of accomplishment.

The next area to deal with

Have you ever really looked in your kitchen cabinets and wondered when you last used something?
I can think of at least two drawers and three parts of the cabinets that could be purged and cleaned.
When I did daycare I had kid cups and spoons and plates. Don’t need those anymore.
How many coffee cups do we like or love?
What about the utensil drawer? we have been married 42 years and some of the items have been with us that long.
How many serving dishes does one really use on a weekly basis?
That electric fry pan you store in the garage? like it or love it, your answer will tell you if you should send it to another ‘person’s home’.
I am trying to de-clutter as much as I can this fall. It needs to be done.
It is necessary just as the clothing and or the shoes.
Get it processed and focus on what you really want to keep.
At some point in time we are going to redo my den-office room.
In this journey of redoing and purging it is going to take time to go through drawers and or closets of all kinds.
I have even thought of coats and sweaters. How many does one need and how often do we wear them? I have favorites. What about the heavy winter coat, yes keep.
What about the multiple kinds of sweatshirts?
In this process of cleaning it is almost always going to bring you back to the question,
“do I like it or love it, does it serve a purpose.”
The fall and winter season will be upon us soon and then we will drag out the Thanksgiving decorations and Christmas too.
How much of those do we need to keep?
As we move through this process let us keep in mind the whole purpose of removing the items we don’t want or need; is re-purposing them for others to enjoy.
Keep focused and stay on track.
YOU can do it… you can manage this task. Be proud of yourself as you do it.

The process continues for us

My husband and I have a saying about keeping things in our home.
Do we like it or do we love it.
Does it have a purpose or is it a sentimental part of our lives?
Could we live in peace if it was gone or should we make room for it always?
These are very good questions for all of us to consider when purging and cleaning.
Remember the goal and reasons of simplifying our lives; to maintain a more peaceful environment.
That can mean to ask the same question for many areas or rooms.
Do we like it or do we love it.
Last year my husband cleaned out his three tool boxes and kept his favorites; then gave the left overs to our grandsons who loved having their own hammers and tools.
It is so simple sometimes.
One day I found myself going through old magazines and tearing off our address then sending the rest into a recycle box to be recycled.
They don’t serve a purpose after awhile unless you can take them to a doctor’s office where they mostly have outdated and boring things to read.
I know in the den I have many books that serve little purpose for me now, so they will go away too.
In our room there are more assorted books and items that really could leave and not be missed.
It will be both fun and freeing to get this project done.
Does it take energy? yes because when one is a sentimental messy it is an internal shift to ‘give away’.
Just like any project we have to have a purpose, and a goal so we can visualize the end result.
One year I cleaned out my closet and gave away over 15 sweatshirts. How many can one person wear?
It freed up space and it went to a good cause.
That is what this message is about. Repurposing our ‘things’ to bless others in the process.
Are we ready to continue this process?

The next step in moving forward

When we are talking about moving forward with intention it brings to us a stirring.
The first question that might stir feelings around our ‘plans’ of getting organized; is discovering the ‘why’ you want to change.
Change always requires effort and a stepping forward in a new direction.
Knowing the ‘why’ behind the movement is critical to your success.
It is really helpful when we can either write it down or verbally say out loud.
The reason I want to organize is: to get rid of clutter and simplify my living space.
That is our ‘why’.
We make this a new goal and we focus on change and new agenda’s.
In order for me to feel motivated I have to see progress, I have to know visually I can do this by myself and feel empowered because I did it.
The other question to ask is who is the battle for? if you are married is it a mutual goal?
If you are single is it to be on track better and more efficiently?
Someone said this week in order to accomplish anything well, we have to dig deep within ourselves to find our purpose and peace.
If we are struggling with this process of moving forward with intention, ask ‘why’.
The struggle is real, and has a sabotaging power so we must stop if this happens and regroup our intention and our focus.
It is ok to give yourself permission to take a break before returning to the tasks.
When we so return to our process of intentional cleaning we will know what gets us frustrated and what takes our mind off of the intended goal.
Motivation to change and do better is an inside job, it is not just ‘cleaning a room’.
It is allowing yourself a new day to breathe better.
It is a focusing on a new day for simpler living.
Simplicity is clearing space in our heads and in our homes for positive energy and hope.
Are we ready to move forward with a purpose?
Let’s encourage each other as we do this together.

Moving forward with intention

The idea of moving forward with intention came to me a few weeks ago.
When I plan on a task I set aside three days to really tackle it. That is my emotional limit.
If it’s a painting job, it’s done in a short time frame. I tire easily of the task and want it done.
I think it is good to have intention for many things in our lives.
Intention is: mentally determining an action or result.
The last few days I have been cleaning our master bedroom.
I started at the bathroom counter then moved to each corner of the room, removing items not needed anymore.
My personal dresser was cleaned out and I am purging old socks, and other items that have no purpose.
Really does one person need three dresser drawers of socks?
With the intention of thinking, what do I like, what is comfortable and what is the most recent purchase.
I managed to put in a bag so far over 40 pair of socks to give away. Someone might like them.
There will be more to give away and repurpose. I am intentionally ready to let go and release this stuff.
It is a good and peaceful feeling knowing that it doesn’t need to take up space.
Because my nature is to be a sentimental messy there are many items of ‘old’ memories that need to be gone through and figured out what is important and what is not.
This is a project for one person. We grow stronger when we are making the decisions for ourselves.
Moving forward with intention is a great plan for a fall season.
It takes planning and determination to not get distracted or discouraged.
Vacuuming is not fun but necessary. Dusting just the same, not exciting but we have to do it.
Personal intentions are just the same; any program or new direction is sometimes boring but in the end very positive. Once we determine the goal and intention of what is to be accomplished the rest is pretty easy.
Are there ways you can move forward with a better intention for yourself?
Let’s make this a new challenge.

Our lessons we have learned

We have gone through the many ways of letting go, the emotional process of cleaning and purging.
We have journeyed through the hard parts of life and loss and found hope in the middle of it all.
We have ventured into new schedules and new ideas and plans both individually and as a couple.
This fall I have seen many face book pictures of mom’s taking pictures of children moving up into new grades.
They are facing new schedules and new situations too.
Some are entering school as a college age person, some are entering into kindergarten for the first time.
All ages bring us new awareness that life is a series of changes and choices.
In the past week there was a horrendous fire in our area started by a young teen who didn’t make good choices.
The lesson learned will be with him for his entire life.
When we see something like this we begin to understand that no choice we make impacts only ourselves.
If we have family and friends each decision made effects all of us.
How busy we become or how preoccupied we allow ourselves to be affects our peace.
For me there must be time of slow introspective moments of quiet and rest.
Not sleeping just restful restoration.
Fall is here and there is a short window of time till Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Always time for family, always time for reflection and memory making.
I am going to try some new schedules for writing, for exercise and for personal relationships.
The lessons learned in letting go of what is not necessary will be life changing.
Will you join with me in this challenge?
If we allow the ‘clutter’ to remain around us both physically and mentally we become weighted down,
with what is not positive or needed in this time of our lives.
It is a challenge I will take on with all the energy I can hold onto.
Our lessons learned are good and become our teachers if we allow them to teach us.

Learning to let go part two

One day while I was sitting in the therapy office; my counselor gave me a little bottle someone had made.
There was a little hand written note on it that said, “for someone.”
Then she quoted the verse about God noticing and saving our tears in a bottle.
[You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.] Psalm 56:8
I thought it was very sweet and powerful that she would make something for someone she didn’t know.
It also had an impact on me since all the years in therapy I never cried, came really close a few times.
Growing up it was a ‘known lesson’ that showing feelings or especially tears was not a safe thing.
Often I would cry in my bed quietly but no one would know.
So when I think that God was with me when each tear fell, it is comforting to know I was not alone.
The process of letting go of old rules or lessons has been freeing.
To experience sorrow in a normal way. To accept it and know that it is ok to feel the feelings.
To say what you feel without hurting someone gives value to your voice.
I remember when it would be a struggle during counseling to say the words.
I would hear him reminding me in a very quiet voice, “I am here listening.”
Another part of letting go is the process of cleaning.
Letting go of things that used to be ‘important’.
It is in the letting go when we learn to release the grip either it had on us or we had on it.
Another step of this journey is going through closets, ‘keepsake’ things that have less meaning now.
It’s taking a big risk for me as I am definitely a sentimental messy.
I love cards from people and keep them, I treasure children’s drawings and save them.
There will be a point in time when I must let go.
Release and purge the ‘stuff’ now when I am mentally in a place to do it.
Just as I had to let go of childhood pain and move on into freedom and healing.
I have to move forward and get rid of the ‘mess’ because it doesn’t have to be part of the message anymore.
My story is still here.
I just don’t have to keep the years of journaling, the pages of words that could do more harm then be helpful or healing to anyone but me.
The process of letting go is releasing the grief. Understanding it’s power and then learning to breathe again.
I saw a quote from Brene’ Brown and I wanted to share it:
“It takes courage to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
The process of letting go is being able to tell the story as it was and then move on.
That was then, this is now, and I like who I am becoming.

Learning to let go part one

[“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest for your souls.”] Matthew 11:28
[“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”] Psalm 56:8
Have you ever been in a place in your life where a deep heaviness followed you around and the sense of sorrow was real and not able to shake off no matter what you did?
Yeah me too.
In those times I have to remind myself that within the process of grief there is a learning to let go.
A few years ago my husband and I experienced a series of deaths of people of both family and friends.
We lost my parents within a year of each other, we lost our spiritual ‘parents’ within the same time frame, in the same time frame we lost an old cat and then an old dog, then our other good friends were killed in a horrible crash, then another good friend died of cancer.
A few years before that we lost my husbands parents too.
It was a lot of grief to process on many different levels.
When you think of grief and letting go it’s hard. It impacts you deeply.
You lose a part of your life story.
When I think of those who passed away sometimes memories fade.
The power of the story changes when those we cared for are gone.
In the process of saying good bye there comes a realization that in this life, we never will see that person again.
If we are believers we know we will, but we miss them in the here and now time.
In my last counseling session before I did closure on that too, he said to me, “do you realize how much loss you have had in less than four years?” It was hard to think of each passing as a loss.
Each one held different places in our hearts and each impacted us deeply, even the animals.
My parents ‘closure’ was a hard one for me as each of them had a different story and impact on my life.
I did not let go of the ‘story’ but I did let go of the pain that surrounded it.
To disregard the ‘chapters’ that affected my life would be wrong, but I don’t have to dwell on them or stay seated in that place emotionally.
The other hard closure was letting my counselor go.
He was the one person who really knew me and understood how my emotional ‘world worked’.
But in saying that I knew it was time to say goodbye.
I was in his office for many years and the tools he had taught me to find safety in my feelings worked within the context of trauma and death. I was stronger and more able to handle the crisis without him.
Did I feel sad when I drove away? oh yes. Did I want to go back into the room ‘just one more time?’
Oh yes. But the one thing he always told me, it was his job to work himself out of a job.
Learning to let go is just another way of saying, that this time in my life will always have deep meaning to me and I will never forget the moments treasured in memory about them.
Is there something in your life, or someone that you are learning to let go?
Grief and letting go is a process we all must grow through at some point in time.
The main thing I learned in therapy was, the only way out is through

Learning to listen to your heart

I read something the other day and it said:
“Never dismiss your gut instinct, if something deep inside you says something is not right, learn to trust that.”
Have you ever met someone or been in a situation that seemed to unsettle your peace?
Yeah it is your ‘gut’ instinct that is a true lesson to listen to.
Sometimes our heart ‘can move’ us in a selfish way but for most of us our ‘gut’ instinct is there to protect us.
I tend to have high discernment and as we have been married throughout the years my husband has learned to trust my reaction to something or someone.
It’s pretty immediate for me. “I don’t like this, or I don’t trust this.”
We bought a couch one time from someone and as we were driving down the road my husband said, “we are not keeping it right?” I could not put it in my house there was something odd or strange about the person and item.
We gave it away to someone who had a bonus room and I remained in peace.
I think we often disregard our hearts cry. We minimize it or make excuses.
It isn’t easy for me to do that as the discernment is there for a reason and if I ignore it my spirit remains unsettled and I don’t sleep well or feel in peace.
As we learn to trust our heart I think it’s very spiritual, as the bible used the word heart 956 times.
[I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.] Psalm 16:7
[Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure.] Psalm 16:9
I think as we think on the words above and understand that we must listen to our heart’s churning; we gain peace and an internal calm that is both refreshing and freeing to our every day living.
As we learn to tune into what makes our spirit at rest we find a relaxed way of living.
When I know I am walking and living in the right way I remain ready to say these words.
[Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.] Psalm 19:14

Learning how to react and respond

(This was hand written a week ago and now typed into this setting)
When I continue to think about the art of listening it moves me into the realm of how we pay attention.
Often I will say something to my husband and there will be no response, then I will say to him, “did you hear what I said?” and he will acknowledge that he wasn’t listening.
I could tell because of the lack of response.
Sometimes the noise around us is too loud for us to hear. Other times we just are not tuned into it.
I do not do well when the air noise is loud and there is too much clutter to sift out.
My personality does best in calm and peaceful environments.
How are we supposed to react when the noise is harsh like the current political climate?
For me, my choice is to turn it off.
My husband and I are at the beach and the silence is amazing.
Today I choose to listen to the waves, allow myself to feel the wind in my hair.
Refresh my spirit as I breathe in the beach air and the freshness.
I actually came down to do some writing but I think there was another master plan happening.
The camp has no electricity so I cannot plug in. My computer will not work, my cell phone is dead.
So plan b for the day is to respond with a joy and delight that change has forced me to unplug.
I will walk on the sand, and feel the softness as my feet sink into it.
I will slow my pace and breathe.
I will rejoice in this inconvenience for it forces me to be more in the present.
The beach and it’s beauty.
The waves always calm my spirit and I will return revived and refreshed.
I didn’t bring my camera so even that is not a choice for me.
I will just experience it as it is, in the present and remember it as a memory.
Sometimes a change of plan is good for us.
We can learn to be flexible and open to some new experiences.
How do you handle life when it throws you a curve?
Do you react and respond in a good and positive way?
One of the hardest things I think we all have to work on is letting go of our agendas.
Sometimes it is the laying aside our plans when we get really blessed.