Thoughts on the Traditional Latin Mass by Someone Who Knows Only a Little

Question #1 What’s going on?

I’ve read the new Motu Proprio by Pope Francis. It’s troubling me and I’ve been trying to figure why because I don’t even attend the TLM. I did one time. I was on a trip and wanted to go to a Saturday morning Mass. I may have been in New York State or New Hampshire. I can’t remember. I do remember having trouble finding parking and the entrance to the church. I could barely hear anything the priest said, and I felt like I was dressed inappropriately. The women wore dresses and head coverings and I most likely was wearing jeans and a hoodie. But I did like that most of the families had similar appearances to my homeschooling friends, holding babies, and filling up pews with toddlers and teens. I don’t remember music. I was not moved to search for a Latin Mass back home.

That was before Covid. I’ve been thinking about going to one for many months now. I’ve struggled with identifying and feeling my feelings about wearing masks at Mass and receiving communion in the hands rather than on the tongue. I didn’t want to be deprived of receiving Jesus when the churches opened up after the shutdowns, so I received Him in my hands. I felt very sad and disappointed. I saw a few women not receiving the Eucharist at all when communion on the tongue was denied and wondered if what I was doing was selfish. I prayed about it, asked for guidance, and decided to receive Him as reverently as I possibly could at the Masses I attended. The rules changed frequently. I often got anxious when I would wait until the end of communion wondering if the priest would wait in the front of the church for those receiving on the tongue as planned. And I did not enjoy sometimes being the only one to walk up to the front of the church, kneel on the kneeler, and receive Jesus on my tongue.

I talked with friends who attended Latin Masses about 30 minutes away from my home. They shared that they didn’t have to wear masks and they could receive communion on the tongue. And kneeling at an altar rail! They said the homilies were moving, the music was beautiful, there were lots of families… I continued to go to Mass close to home to go with my family. My daughter plays the piano at one church once a month. The other weeks we go to our parish where my children are comfortable. They used to be in the choir there when that was allowed. And I’ve been receiving communion in my hand in NYC because that is what the priest allows. So I have been holding onto a desire to try a Traditional Latin Mass for a long time now, but not taking action. Then I heard about these new rules. And they don’t make sense to me. Question # 1.

This morning during my prayer time, I was journaling and more questions came to mind. Why would you want to get rid of the growing communities and make those people go to the declining ones, which they may have left because they wanted to be more reverent? Why would you ever want to discourage faithful practicing Catholics at all? Will this put priests in a dilemma of obedience or disobedience? This seems very similar to what is happening with the government and vaccines, and it doesn’t seem necessary. It looks to me like forcing people to choose what side they are on. Are you with the current leadership or will you resist or oppose it? Do you trust us completely or do you have reservations? Will you believe what we say or do you see the contradictions in speech and actions? The leaders speak of desiring unity but they make rules to cause disunity. What is the intention or purpose of what is happening?

As I was thinking these thoughts I realized that my thoughts are not God’s thoughts. I barely know anything. I asked Him: Lord, do you wish for us to choose a side?

And guess what I remembered. We are either with Him or against Him. We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve God and mammon. We are sheep or goats. Jesus wasn’t afraid of division.

I’ve made a plan to go with a friend to a Traditional Latin Mass in CT this Sunday morning. I’ll continue to live my life one day a time, enjoying the moments, trusting that God has a plan and I don’t need to know the details yet.

Diary of a Peace-Seeking Mom


I just returned home after a week in Cape Cod with Bobby, five of my children, and Joseph’s girlfriend (some of the days). In bed at night, I read Diary of a Country Carmelite, A Year in the Garden of Carmel (just up to today’s entry) by Cynthia Montanaro, OCDS. I know her in real life, and I so enjoyed this peek into her days during 2015, when she made her final profession as a secular Carmelite. While I don’t feel particularly drawn to Carmelite saints, and I don’t really enjoy gardening, I found Cindy’s entries fascinating. They were so peaceful. I know I was only getting a glimpse of the whole picture, but I believe that Cindy does live a peace-filled life, and visuals from her descriptions have stayed in my mind.

From my journal: Such a good example of living the liturgical year – putting God first. Doing unpleasant things -accepting what she cannot change – being grateful and thanking God for the good – or pleasant – Simplicity. Not trying to do too much. Just a little each day. Prayer – Mass – work – family – chores – a bit of recreation. An example of an ordered life. Is there a better compliment than the last one?

Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He is my favorite saint! (not including Mary and Joseph) I’m going to watch two movies about him tonight. One is a drama and the other a documentary. They always inspire me. I like the example of Cindy’s simple, ordered life and I love the example of St. Ignatius’ life, and his way. I have my own way. I have my own life. If I put first things first like they did, it should be an interesting story.

Slow Paced

Today I’m doing things I like to do that I rarely make time for, such as giving myself a pedicure and playing double solitaire. (You could add blogging in there too.)

Being a low maintenance person who rarely wears make-up, has not had my fingernails painted in almost twenty years, and has never plucked an eyebrow, you’d think I wouldn’t enjoy pedicures. On the contrary, they are the best sort of pampering. With the clipping, exfoliating, and soaking in warm water, they are both practical and pleasurable. Very satisfying. And if the nails are painted, they need no more attention for months.

As for double solitaire, I always appreciated the uncountable hours my grandparents spent playing cards with me when I was younger. It was the slow paced quality time that enabled me to talk freely and be myself. It helped me feel close to them. I asked for and received two brand new decks of playing cards for Christmas (with the intention of using them with my children.) I didn’t open them up until last night. Let me back up a bit.

I came to New York City with Bob this week mainly to put together a new TV stand while he was at work. I decided to make my ten year old, Mary, come with us. I wanted to spend some time alone with her. So yesterday, besides building the TV stand, we played Sleeping Queens, Lion King Uno, and you guessed it, double solitaire. And she even helped me get an app called Game Pigeon to play more games. I’m enjoying being with Mary and holding her hand as we walk through unfamiliar neighborhoods with her stuffed dog Dandee.

There’s a church nearby that has a 12:05 Mass. Yesterday we attended but left right before Adoration to come home to eat lunch. Today, a thunderstorm at the end of Mass encouraged us to linger longer, which I appreciated.

Back at the apartment, I put on a “Spa Day” playlist and gave Mary a pedicure while she played games on her iPad with a friend from home. I felt like a professional, but my nail painting needs practice. Then I gave myself a pedicure and wrote this post as I took breaks. The music and the being still has put me in a very relaxed state that I highly recommend.

Slow Down and Listen

Billy Joel is one of my favorite musicians. Vienna is one of my favorite Billy Joel songs. It popped into my head as I sat down to write this post. It begins…

Slow down, you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart, well, tell me
Why are you still so afraid? Mm
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out
You've got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day

“Slow down” seems to be the theme of this blog, and maybe of my life. I often come here to ponder “aloud” my desires to be simple. To remind myself of what’s really important, which is doing God’s will and not my own. And slowing down seems to be the only way that I can hear my Lord. The noise of constant busyness drowns him out for me. I keep cycling between feeling close to Him, then doing too much work or socializing and not spending enough time with Him, and then feeling burnt out and disconnected. I’m learning that I love getting things done, I try to please others, and I tire easily. I seem to be married to the Energizer Bunny, and my life would most certainly be more boring without him. And I have six children and relationships with family and friends. I wonder if God has given me the gifts He has given me to continuously show me how much I need Him. Maybe I just need to keep practicing putting first things first.

So the details are, that I am recovering from two days of shopping, cleaning, triple birthday party prep and hosting. And that was after two weeks of traveling to and from New York City, including shopping, packing, and moving into our new apartment there. Yes, we have an apartment in NYC, and a home in Western Massachusetts. I don’t think I can call myself an aspiring minimalist anymore.

My husband will be commuting there for work. I have been helping to set up and furnish the place. It’s a big change happening in our lives, which means I really need to rely on God. And I need to not look into the unknown future, but to stay in the present moment, where He is with me. I need to slow down and listen.

I hear myself breathing. I try to drop all my worries and trust Him. He takes care of all always. I need to reject the illusion that I am in charge. I do not even want to be in charge. I will bring Him everything and let Him decide what the outcome will be.

Nothing needs to be done but what He asks me to do. I do not need to do things for Him to love me. My existence is enough. Every part of me, body and soul. There is not anything that I can do that will stop His love for me. And He tells me that when I am weak, He is strong. All my strength comes from Him alone. I don’t even think I can surrender without Him. His grace seems make it happen.

He tells me to enjoy the gift. He means of His Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, which I feel privileged to enjoy. But I think I should enjoy all the gifts. I have so much to be grateful for.

Where Do Messages Come From?

The Holy Land for Holy Week (Jerusalem, September 2014)

It’s a good question to mull over on a rainy Sunday afternoon. First, let me answer the question: Where did this question come from? I recently watched a YouTube video by The Minimal Mom called “The Silent To-Do List“. If you’re an aspiring minimalist, it’s worth the watch. (I plan to use the “filter” in my next round of decluttering.) If not, then here’s what I want to consider today.

She says that Fumio Sasaki, in his book Goodbye, Things, states that every single material item in our house is sending out a message to us. His proposal is that as the things are telling us to do something, they are adding to our to-do list.

So we are carrying around this subconscious to-do list. She adds that as she has simplified her home, her silent to-do list has gotten shorter. This makes sense to me and has been my experience. I was ironing in my foyer as I listened, and taking a quick look around I “heard” many messages. I jotted them down along with their potential sources.

  • the red cooler, “Hannah needs to wash it”
  • the mesh, stuffed animal hammock, “I need to hang it”
  • cabinet fillers, “I need to finish the laundry room project”
  • broken hutch door, “I need to fix it or get it repaired”
  • dining room blinds, “They need to be fixed”

I realize that this is how I actually come up with many ideas for my physical to-do list. But how much of a burden do I put upon myself with the silent to-do list? Sure, I often write things down believing that it clears my head. But I’ll bet those messages keep on coming whether or not I’ve written them down. Why do my lists seem so long? Am I overextended? Do I procrastinate? Am I a perfectionist? Do we have too many possessions? And I cannot ignore the fact that I don’t believe inanimate objects are capable of messaging. So where are these messages coming from?

My first possibility is me. They are my thoughts. This appears to be confirmed by information I received from my husband while explaining the concept to him. I found out that we get completely different messages from the same object. A pile of napkins on the table might tell me that I need to put them away in the drawer where they are kept. But they may tell him that he should buy a napkin holder. I couldn’t tell if he was serious or not, but he said our kitchen is telling him that it needs more things on the walls and more doodads. So while I’m hearing that we need to simplify, he’s hearing that we need to buy more.

Can I conclude that we are giving ourselves these messages? I don’t think so. I remember hearing in a talk by Fr. John Hardon called Temptation/Inspiration that our thoughts are never entirely just our own. I believe this to be true. Our minds are never operating alone, but under the constant influence of intelligent forces outside of our minds and wills. Ultimately, they all come from one of the two types of spirits.

This brings me to the second possibility. The messages are either from the Holy Spirit or the evil spirit. And because I’ve come to the end of my writing time, this is a satisfactory answer to me for now. Practicing the discernment of spirits will help me to recognize the sources of my inspirations and those thoughts I hope to reject. Holy Week is here. I will try to be more aware of my thoughts and spend more time in prayer. And to help, I will limit the messages I am hearing from external sources by culling my to-do lists, paring down possessions, and fasting from media. Have a Blessed Week!

Perseverence Personified

Today, Bobby and I went on my kind of date. We saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on the big screen. And I mean BIG. The XD theater… and I loved it! I missed it when it first came to the theaters, because I was breastfeeding around the clock and taking care of three children four and under. Seeing it reminded me that I have a blog to which I haven’t posted anything since the last time I saw this movie. The photo above shows one of my favorite scenes when Sam (of my blog post title) says, “Come, Mr. Frodo! I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” I’ve got to read these books!

Speaking of books, this Lent I’ve been reading a couple. I’m daily plugging away with Consecration to St. Joseph and following along with videos by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. And I’ve begun reading a book I got for free some time ago, and have always wanted to read, called Discernment of Spirits by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV. The motivation to read it now, came from my signing up (and attending) a retreat on the Theology of the Body Institute led by the author, along with Christopher West. Also, my fascination with St. Ignatius was rekindled by reading Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus with the girls during school.

So here I am, filled with delight and enthusiasm for embarking on a literature study of The Lord of the Rings, or a methodical education in Theology of the Body. I’m committed to learning more about Christ’s Passion on Fridays, very curious about something called the Flame of Love devotion, and thinking that learning the practice of discernment of spirits would really come in handy. Add to this a feeling of obligation to finish searching for the perfect counter stools to complete our kitchen remodel, and to find blinds and hang up holders in my newly painted bathroom. But after spending three hours and twenty minutes with the virtuous heroes of Middle Earth, online shopping feels so lame and unimportant.

There are many things I can do with my time. I am willing and able to work and I have faith that God will give me the grace to persevere. But first, I’ll need to get my priorities straight. What is God asking me to do? Obviously, I don’t have the answer at this moment. Hopefully, he’ll let me know and ask me to blog about it soon.

A Media Binge

I just wrote in my journal:

It’s good to be reminded of the beauty of surrendering, and of the futility of hanging on to my own will.

Whaaat??!! What a difference a day makes. Why, only yesterday I was…

Let me start from the beginning.

I don’t know when it started, but I know was on a media binge. I had been reading loads of articles on my phone, and I spent a large part of Wednesday afternoon watching inauguration festivities. I don’t think I’ve ever watched one before, but for some reason I thought this one might be historically significant like 9/11 or 476 AD, so I watched it live. There were beautiful buildings. I love the architecture and hope I can see it in person someday. But the events were rather dull except for the commentary, which disturbed me more and more the longer I listened to it. I went out to adoration, prayed the rosary and talked with some friends which made me feel a little better.

Later that night, I continued to “feed” on news headlines, articles, and videos. So and so calls for such and such…

Yesterday morning, I woke up and “consumed” an article recalling the events of 2020. Then I indulged in a heaping plate of anger, with a side dish of self-pity. (I’m going all the way with this eating analogy.) I let my feelings pour out with God. I had a lot of questions, and a few requests. Maybe you could call them demands. “Why?” I was whining. “Explain this to me.” I was murmuring. (Like those crazy Israelites who forgot that God just parted the Red Sea.) I was emotional. And I’m grateful that I feel my feelings today. That wasn’t always the case. But I know from experience, that holding onto anger is no good for me or anyone around me. I went to morning Mass and began to look at my part in this situation.

Throughout the day, some truth came to mind but a sadness remained. I fluctuated from thinking of what behaviors I could change, to not accepting what I cannot change. Besides the obvious fact that a media binge is a bad idea, and the fact that I continue to support businesses that I don’t think I should be supporting, I also thought of Mary. I don’t know a lot about her apparitions, but I think she always says to pray the rosary daily. I’m really inconsistent with it. I have prayed it for years, then stopped for years. I’ll do a novena (even the 54 day ones) when I’m desperate, then stop again after she comes through to help me. I’m pretty sure when she appeared in Fatima that she said to pray it daily or Russia’s errors would spread. I’ve seen this happening. Why haven’t I been praying it? It’s only 15-20 minutes of my day.

Bobby and I have been doing our annual (in January) Lord of the Rings movie marathon. As I was vacuuming, I imagined that I felt like Sam in The Return of the King (SPOILER ALERT) when he knows Gollum is up to something, and he accuses Gollum of taking the bread. Then Gollum twists it around by accusing Sam of taking it, and with lies, tricks Frodo into believing him. Sam gets really angry, but when Frodo says, “No Sam, it’s you.” and “Go home.” Sam cries. So I guess I felt like that. Like crying.

While I was mopping the floor, I listened to some of this Taylor Marshall podcast. He talked a bit about God chastising us. He said that a good father does this to discipline his children. I’ll admit that I’ve thought of this idea before. I haven’t concluded that this is what is happening, but it’s a good possibility. It reminded me of Chapter 4 from Uniformity with God’s Will. I love the whole thing, but especially this chapter. (Audio here)

Here is the wording on chastisements:

Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls: “Let us believe that these scourges of the Lord have happened for our amendment and not for our destruction.”

So that may have helped get me off the pity pot. “God wills our good” always helps. And I may have let a tear(s) fall (SPOILER ALERT) when Frodo said good-bye to Sam at the harbor.

Sam is a model of perseverence. I want to be like Sam. Frodo wouldn’t have gotten far without Sam. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) So last night I deleted my facebook account. And this morning, when the alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. I got out of bed. And I prayed, journaled, and did some spiritual reading. The girls and I attended morning Mass. And during my lunch break I read and journaled until I was at the place I was at the beginning of this post. I think it’s natural to feel angry or sad. But I don’t want to feel bad for myself. Having a temper tantrum will not do anyone any good. I want to be brave, like Sam, and to not give up when life seems scary or difficult. And I want to mend my ways. So I surrender. I know cannot do anything without God’s help. And I don’t want to think I know what’s best.

A Media Fast

It was just one day without reading, scrolling, watching, or listening to the media.

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to the sound of the alarm. I pressed snooze, so I could take my comfort for nine more minutes. I rationalized that I could pray lying on my back under the warm covers and I started my prayers over and over as I went back and forth between waking and sleeping. When the alarm went off the second time, I made my way into my (War Room) closet. I remembered my media fast and right away I noticed that I was feeling lighter… more free… as if I had permission to slow down and enjoy the present moment. I journaled a bit, then read the above quote and wondered if the things I’ve been thinking about recently meet these standards.

The first one, “whatever is true”, has been really hard to know these days. There is so much contradictory information out there on the Internet, that logically, cannot all be true. There cannot be evidence of election fraud and no evidence of election fraud. The vaccines cannot be both lifesaving and dangerous at the same time. Those are two examples, but there are many more. For me, it’s tempting to research the heck out of things. In some cases, I can confidently judge something based on what I’ve seen, heard, or experienced. But I often feel like it’s a he-said-she-said situation. And that usually happens because someone is lying. Or maybe he or she is in denial. (Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying) But in either case, the deceiver (even if well-intentioned) is manipulating to get his or her own way. So which narrative do we believe?

I think people are just believing the sources of information that they trust more. But are there any sources that are trustworthy?

To me, some are obviously not. As for the others, time will tell. I tend to trust what people do, more than what they say or what others say about them. In my opinion, censorship is a red flag. I know I cannot trust people or organizations that are taking away the rights of others to have a voice and to share information. They are also taking away my freedom to make informed decisions by weighing information from all sources. I want to hear arguments from all sides. Let me decide what witnesses are credible. Thinking for myself is an important part of my humanity. I don’t want it to be stifled. And expressing myself freely leads to intimacy in relationships. It’s sad that I’m already at the point where it feels like a big risk to share my thoughts, ideas, or opinions with anyone outside of my own household. Maybe I lack courage. I’m afraid of confrontation. Or I need the approval of others. I imagine that “most people” will reject me if I were to be honest. It seems we have become so full of fear that hearing an opposing view brings our anger to the surface in an instant. I tell myself that I’m being loving and kind by staying silent, so as not to upset or offend anyone. Sometimes I wonder if I may be one of a silent majority.

Not many will read this. So I’ll voice it here. I call being spoon fed the so-called truth from organizations that are afraid I’ll believe the “lies” of others – propaganda. And I’ll go even further to say that this propaganda, the censorship, and the sensationalism of the media, are causing me (and likely most of society) confusion, anger, and anxiety. And I’ll even say (in my timid, understated sort of way) that confusion and anxiety do not come from a loving source.

There is a source that is trustworthy. He is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. He is the Truth. He is the Light in the darkness. He is also a person, with whom I need to spend more time in order to have peace. He will give me direction and clarity. He has done it before. He never fails me.

When I take a break from the noise, I see that I am a truth seeker, but maybe I’ve been looking for truth in the wrong places. My fears make me forget what I know is true. My God loved me first, He loves me now and He will always love me. He knows everything. He has a plan for me, for my good, to give me a future full of hope. I do not need to worry or to be afraid. I know very little. He knows what I need and He gives me everything I need. He gives me ideas of things that will nourish my soul.

  • prayer and meditation
  • reading verses from Scripture
  • taking my own inventory (examen)
  • journaling
  • praying the rosary
  • devotion to Mary
  • the sacraments and adoration
  • serving others
  • talking with people about things that matter to me
  • listening to the experiences of others
  • silence, solitude
  • spiritual reading
  • sleep, good food, exercise (not caring for my body affects my soul)
  • simplicity
  • slowing down, rest
  • leisure, taking time for important things
  • enjoying the present moment
  • time outside, appreciating nature
  • beauty, truth, and goodness
  • Psalm 98 (a reminder)
  • media fasts

My Dear Jesus, please help me to trust in You. I really want to do your will. Please enlighten my mind and strengthen my will, and let me know when to speak and when to be silent.

A Summer Schedule

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Summer of 2020.  It’s starting out as usual in some ways… laps in my dad’s pool, movie nights, and eating ice cream; but in many ways it will be different.  My family’s annual Fourth of July party has been canceled. Birthday and graduation celebration plans are up in the air.  I’m wondering whether or not I should invite my adult son over to visit us, when I’ll see my friends in person again, and when it’ll be considered safe to hug my parents.

And, we are wearing masks.

Staying in the day, in the moment, without thinking about all the future unknowns helps me to enjoy my life.  It’s easy for me to worry or to get frustrated when I read news articles.  There are recommendations and mandates, postponed decisions, and perhaps, inconsistencies with the decisions being made.  There are things I don’t fully understand, having only partial information, and these same things are clearly out of my control.

So my priority for this summer (and always, but I get sidetracked), is prayer.  I want to find a balance of prayer, work and rest.  So here is the basic plan:

  • 7:00-8:15  Hygiene, chores, morning prayers, breakfast, spiritual reading and meditation
  • 8:15-9:30  Mass, rosary, start laundry
  • 9:30-11:30  Projects/food shopping/weekly cleaning
  • 11:30-12:00  Reading (fiction)
  • 12:00-1:00  Angelus, lunch, chores, finish laundry
  • 1:00-4:00  Driving lessons, French lessons/pool time, work out
  • 4:00-6:00  Shower, dinner prep & eat, chores
  • 6:00-10:00  Angelus, meeting/movie/blog post, family time
  • 10:00-11:00  Iron, hygiene, night prayers, reading (non-fiction)

I’ve been trying to follow this schedule for a couple of weeks now.  I’ve not been praying the rosary or the Angelus consistently yet.  Because it hasn’t been raining much, we’ve been swimming at the pool almost every day.  I also haven’t been consistent with my reading times. Projects, movies, hanging out with Bobby, and helping my mom (or the kids) seem to take over my time.

One benefit of following a schedule, that I noticed recently, is that it helps me to enjoy the present moment.  Doing the tasks that need to get done at a certain day/time each week, helps to get rid of the overwhelming feelings that I am behind, or forgetting things I need to do, that clutter up my mind and make me feel anxious.  For example, knowing that we are going to clean the house on Friday morning, or that I’m going to take Joseph driving after lunch, allows me to relax when I’m reading a book on the couch, or sitting at the pool with my family.  I don’t have the guilt that I should be doing something “more productive” at that time.

I can also see when I am avoiding doing something on my schedule.  Sometimes there may be a good reason for doing so, but other times I may be avoiding feelings, or maybe my priorities have gotten out of order.  So the schedule can also help with self-awareness and with being intentional as people often say nowadays. Most of all, I hope it will help to make God, rather than me, the center of my life.

 

Experiment #1: Downsizing Eyes

6BBC3B66-1EB1-4505-9FD3-E088D48A7849My step father passed away on December 27, 2019. He and my mother had lived together for thirty years.  They weren’t pack rats, and they were fairly organized and clean.  For the past few months I’ve watched (and sometimes helped) my mother give away and throw away their possessions in order to downsize.  I helped my mother buy a one bedroom condo, which is closer in proximity to my sister and me.  Then two weeks ago, we helped her move the possessions she wanted to keep into the new condo.  Last weekend, she decided she wanted to put her house on the market by the end of the week, and yesterday it was listed.

For five days we spring cleaned, painted, posted items on the “letgo” app, gave items to their new owners, and filled up a 15 yard dumpster.  Then on the sixth and seventh days, I rested.  Today, I’m thinking about the whole experience.

Letting go of a home you lived in for forty years as you grieve the loss of your spouse is my mother’s story.  Saying good-bye to my childhood home and remembering my step father and my grandparents, who also have passed away, and who were a big part of my life back then, is my story; but not where I’m going with this today.  I’m pondering the downsizing of material possessions.

Those who know me well, know that this is a big topic of interest for me. Decluttering, purging stuff, minimalism, voluntary poverty, and downsizing… they are all related in my mind.  And now I have this fresh, first-hand experience (not my own) of answering the questions:  What do I want? What do I need? What am I willing to let go of?

It’s hard not to notice the fact that I will one day go through this downsizing myself, or if I die first, my family will be throwing out and giving away my possessions.  So why am I keeping things that I do not use on a regular basis?  It motivates me to do another pass through my home with the eyes of a downsizer.

Experiment #1:

Imagine you are moving into a tiny one bedroom home next week.  It has a small living room, kitchen, bathroom, and very little extra storage.  What would you take with you?  What are your favorite things?  What do you use all the time?  What is most important?

This will not help me to get rid of any of my husband’s or my children’s belongings.  And I will, of course, need to keep many extra articles of furniture and shared items in the common areas.  But let’s see how this experiment will affect my own stash of personal belongings.  Results will be the subject of a future post.