A Big Bowl of Waiting, a Cup of Busyness, and a Dash of Surrender

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It’s been almost 2 weeks since I’ve written here.  Bobby and I have worked three days on trimming the arborvitae bushes at my father’s house, and I’ve brought five of us to seven medical appointments. There was a day spent in New York City, some college visits and a funeral. Life has been busy. But I don’t want to write about being busy. I want to write about waiting.

I had some time to reflect while I acted as Assistant to the Regional Manager. (I mean held the ladder, while Bobby trimmed.)  I thought about how while I’ve been busy these past two weeks, I’ve also been waiting, and how I’ve had many experiences with waiting.

This past Friday, I had hoped that a decision would be made and my waiting would be over.  I was feeling very anxious and expected to feel relief and maybe some peace when this waiting was over.  When it didn’t happen, I was really disappointed and also frustrated. I talked with a friend about it, (and vented and whined) and was reminded that here was an opportunity to let go of my will and trust God’s will.  While praying, I remembered a time when I was newly married and hoping to get pregnant.  After five months of waiting and disappointments, I finally let go of my wanting to have a baby.  I had the thought that maybe I might never get pregnant and suddenly I felt OK with it. Maybe Bobby and I would travel and golf and do service work. I wanted to do God’s will, not my own. I had surrendered.

This happens to me over and over, and it happened again on Friday night. I remembered that God wills my good. I don’t know what that is.  I tell myself that if such and such happens, then I’ll be at peace. Then I focus on it.  And I get anxious when it’s not happening, but the peace comes as soon as I surrender my will, accept God’s will, and trust that He is taking care of me at that very moment and always.

So whether it’s waiting for a baby, a house to sell, a test result, a decision to be made… whatever it is… I have found that what will give me peace is to truly desire to do God’s will, whatever that may be. And to ask Him for help and remember (with gratitude) how good He has been to me throughout my life.  Friday night, I was even moved to say “Thy will, not mine be done.”

Dear Stuff

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I found this letter that I wrote (maybe two years ago), prompted by a blog post on Be More with Less called “How to Write a Break-up Letter to Your Stuff”.  It was written quickly and without revision, but today I am appreciating the analogy.

Dear Stuff,

I am making a commitment to only be with stuff that serves a good purpose or leads me closer to God. I believe that this is how God wants me to relate to things.  I’m liking the idea of seeing material possessions as tools.  They help me to do God’s will. Like school supplies and curriculum help me to educate my children. Pots and pans are tools to cook with.  My crucifix reminds me of Jesus.

I’m writing to tell you that you are not good for me anymore.  I don’t need you; you do not cause me joy.  Some of you I did need in the past.  You were tools at one time, and you served your purpose well.  but my life has changed, and I no longer need your help.  Others of you, I don’t even know why I have you around.  I never used you for anything.  Maybe you were given to me and I said thank you to the giver because I love them and didn’t want to say no.  Maybe I purchased you when I was afraid.  You made me feel better.  From you I am learning to have a criteria for future purchases.  To ask if I really need it.  What purpose will it serve?  Can I do without it?

I am determined to live a well-ordered life.  I am working my butt off this summer to go through everything and keep only the tools God wants me to use and to let go of my attachments to you all.

I have trouble letting go of some of you.  I’d like to keep you just in case I’ll use you again in the future.  But this is not what God teaches.

He wants me to live in the present and serve Him, love Him and pray unceasingly to Him.  He does not want me to worry about tomorrow.  He says it in the Bible.  He will provide for me always.  I really need to trust Him completely and let you go.

I did not sign my letter.  It was anonymous.  And because I like to linger over ideas…  How about a list of questions to ask when decluttering, based on the ideas found in this letter?

  • Does this serve a good purpose or lead me closer to God?
  • Why do I have this?
  • Is this a tool I used in the past, but don’t need anymore?  Let it go.
  • Have I never used this?  Let it go.
  • Was this a gift? Did I thank the giver?  Let it go.
  • Did someone give it to me and I didn’t want to say no?  Let it go.
  • Did I purchase this when I was afraid?  Let it go.

Questions to ask before a new purchase:

  • Do I really need this?
  • What purpose will it serve?
  • Can I do without it?

Remember:  Live in the present.  Love, serve and pray all day.  Do not worry about tomorrow.  God will provide for you always.  Trust him completely and let it go.

DECLUTTERING QUESTIONS    30 DAY LIST

 

 

Self-Care

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In 2018, I resolved to make some changes. I wrote about them in my first post. I completed my Whole 30, and then from Superbowl Sunday until Mardi Gras, one could say that I took a break from healthy eating. So I decided to recommit to my resolutions for Lent, which began on February 14th this year. Here is what I’m doing:

Eating healthy.  I’m doing another six weeks of eating Whole 30 compliant foods. Maybe this time I will be able to do the reintroduction of foods when it’s over and see which foods affect me negatively, if any.

Exercising.  (5 times a week for at least 30 minutes) I have only been doing the Couch to 5K weeks one and two so far. But I think I might step it up with Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I know that it will work my arms and abs (and everything) much more than the walking and running.  I also own her Ripped in 30. That is super hard for me.

Daily meditation. I usually start by reading from a book called The Language of Letting Go. A friend gave me a copy of it years ago, before I met Bobby, at a time in my life when I was trying to take better care of myself.  I loved it, then passed it on. I recently purchased a second one, and it’s as good as I remember. I’m at another time in my life when I am trying to take better care of myself after years of letting my physical and emotional needs be low priority. I’ve also been watching the daily videos from Dynamic Catholic’s Best Lent Ever. So far, they seem to go right along with this theme of self-care. I usually do some journaling and spend about 15 minutes talking to God (like a friend) and listening in quiet.

Continuing Operation Joyful Space.  I’ll admit, progress has been slow. I need to remind myself of why this is important to me, and stop the time-wasting distractions. I visualize this project as taking things off of my overflowing plate, or taking a weight off my shoulders. I long for a calm, orderly, peaceful environment.  My ideal home is tidy. There are places for everything. Only what we love, use (or will use at a specific time) would be in it. It would be beautiful… with candles, flowers, art, music and space. Everything in it would be in good repair, taken care of, maintained.  It would be comfortable and cozy. In addition, my life would have rhythms or routines, balance, and time for what’s important. (satisfied sigh sound)  That’s why I need to persevere!

The Menstrual Journal. (shown above)  This is not for Lent. I’m doing this for three months as recommended by my OB/GYN. This is a new interest for me. Science was my least favorite subject in school. In fact, I liked every subject except for science. I’ve said for years that I have a mental block when it comes to medical things. And I used to get bored when anyone would talk about food and nutrition. And food talk, channels, shows, allergies, photos and foodies seem to have increased over the years. Food talk seems trendy now. BORING! Then I found out I was having problems with my hormones. Suddenly, I’m reading about medical stuff.  Around the same time, I began to have a desire to take better care of my body, mostly to have more energy, but also to stop the night snacking. I believe eating when I’m not hungry dulls the mind and can numb feelings too. I may be getting off track here….but my point is that now I’m interested in hormones, and my menstrual cycle, and how food affects it, etc. I’m considering that being aware of my cycle may be a key ingredient in self-care. So I’m actually enjoying keeping this journal. And I’m tracking my food, sleep, exercise and feelings in it too.

I will continue to read, learn, pray and act in ways that will make me physically, spiritually, intellectually and emotionally healthier.

2018

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I’m beginning this year with a BANG! I’m making lots of changes around here, such as starting a new blog and making it public. Here is where I’ll write about all the other changes I’m making too.

In 2018, I started doing a Whole30. This is drastic for sugar-loving me. I’ll admit my biggest reservation about starting it was giving up eating movie popcorn, “with extra butter layered,” as my husband requests it. So far I’m doing well. I’m cooking my butt off; and cooking, for those of you who know me well, is not something I do frequently. Unless you count popping frozen food into the oven.

I’m also exercising. No killer workouts for me. I’m taking it easy, but committing to doing it almost daily. Let’s say five times a week for at least 30 minutes. Last week I did the Couch to 5K (week one) five times on an old treadmill we have in our basement.

The next thing I’m doing is not much of a change. I’m decluttering my home. Yeah, I know I’ve been trying to get totally organized for 20 years now, but I mapped out a plan to finish my whole house in six months. This means that by June 30, 2018, everything in my home should have a place, and all of my own stuff will be used or loved (or both), including sentimental and digital clutter. That is the goal. I plan to take baby steps daily to get there.

Finally, I’m making daily prayer and meditation a priority. This, more than any other thing, will be a change for the better.