If you are like me, you are in the car a lot. Driving to/from school, baseball, soccer, drama class, grocery store, and so on, is where much of my day is spent. I knew the rain was coming and decided to pick up the floor of the car to prevent everything from being soaked from wet shoes. I found this huge activity book that is a few years old. Not sure the last time anyone used it. Then I saw the red knitted purse that I know was from Grandma. No one claimed it. No one wanted it. Another item left in the car far too long to be remembered. I decided to take another look to maybe get a few more items to put in my blog today but to no avail. I did however redesign our front seat a bit. I have a van with a center console that can fold down to make an aisleway. Since my eldest child can now sit in the front, I can’t throw my purse on her chair anymore. She has no desire to sit on it or hold it. The console wasn’t working to hold my purse, items for the day, etc. So down went the console and in went a bag to hold items so they won’t slide around – my purse, a Kleenex box, coupons for restaurants and then whatever item needs to be put in the car that day. I am so glad that the removal of two unimportant items – an activity book and purse – helped me to finally create organized space in my car. I truly don’t have a cluttered car but just a small step forward has led to a solution. I encourage you to take a look around your car today. Especially because your floor boards will be wet if you live near me. Anything you find needs to have a home or suffer a soggy death. I hope you discover yourself driving around with less today.
The other item I tossed for the day is my 2012 Christian Writer’s Market Guide. It is used to help an author find a publisher and understand the needs of the publisher. It’s a big book and cluttering up my office. The significance of it is that I have never stopped ordering that book even when writing was on hold. However, God has since reopened that door. 2012 was the first year I actually looked in the book. It had been about seven years of putting the book on my bookshelf and giving it away a year or two later. I don’t feel tied to the book but it served as a reminder that God can bring back our dreams when they have been put on hold. I realized the other day that my completion of my novel is important not just to me but the people who have supported me in this endeavor. They deserve to read something after praying for me and my journey. So, writing moves back to the forefront. I hope to finish it in a few months. It is doable. I am on chapter 14 of 24. Thrilling. Thanks to you readers for taking this journey with me too. I strive to entertain, inspire and be real.
I said in my last blog that I needed to tackle the travel bag section of my closet. I have two main bags I use. The big one is for long trips and is fully stocked. The small one is for overnights and has the basics. I cleaned out both of those bags of any excess. I then rummaged through the remaining bags to get rid of a ton of stuff that went in the trash and the items in the picture that will be donated. Notice the two purple bags. That’s a clue this wasn’t easy. (Remember purple, pigs and Barry Manilow stuff?)
I had planned to blog last night. However, I didn’t because I wasn’t ready to take on this task. I knew it meant I needed to get rid of the Red Travel Bag. I’m embarrassed to say that the bag is from high school. I used it at summer camp, winter camp, cheerleading camp, and any other trip I took from high school until about ten years ago when I bought the new large travel bag. I avoided this task ’cause it is upsetting me to get rid of that red bag. I offered it to my girls when they took their first trip. They wanted nothing to do with it. Too out of style is my guess. Plus it is yellowing a bit inside. I am sad to think of it sitting in the donation pile right now. It will take my all to not pull it out. Again, it’s linked to great memories. I know I will never use it again. Even though it saw all my activities from 14-30 something, it isn’t the memory. I know that in my head but my heart is struggling.
I knew when I wrote my last blog that this red bag was doomed. I have battled it for the past few days. I had free time and quickly passed by the closet so I didn’t have to do the inevitable. I browsed other closets and drawers for a sacrificial item to take it’s place. Nope. I knew this was the answer. I know it’s a bag and not very spiritual (even though it has gone to many church camps) but God wanted me to part with this bag. It was so clear to me. I wasn’t just fighting to keep the bag, I was fighting with God on this one. The power some of these items have over me is overwhelming. Almost 3 days of avoidance. 3 days of looking for another item to toss. 3 days of saying no to God. It isn’t about the bag, it’s about obedience. Letting this go is also making the statement “I trust in God and when I release this, He will be there and provide some new direction.” Like I said, this isn’t about the red bag. It’s a symbol of my tight grip on so many things. One by one, they will be released. Step by step, I am freer to receive what God has for me and free to use that wasted energy on better endeavors. What are you clinging to? Loosen your grip. Trust God. Step out in obedience. Goodbye red bag of my youth. Hello next step toward wholeness in Christ.
I must confess that anything that is purple, is a pig or involves Barry Manilow is tough for me to part with. It is sad but true. So today, it’s something purple. Remember I mentioned the makeup applicators in my purple travel bag? I decided to go back and get rid of the other stuff in that bag. Silly to keep it if it’s old and dilapidated. I opened the cute clear bag with purple trim and removed the purple items inside. I had already pulled out the bottle that held my daughter’s earring cleaner. I am grateful I thought to have her pack in a ziploc in case it leaked. It fully leaked. I got home from our trip, washed it out and planned to return it to the cute purple travel kit. Why? It leaked. What is the point in saving a liquid travel bottle that leaks? Honest answer – it’s purple. I pushed beyond my comfort zone and put it in the to go pile. Then yesterday I decided to go through the rest of the bag.
I pulled out the cute purple collapsible cup. Remember those from girl scouts? This one is purple. I just realized as I type this I put the power of purple curse on my daughter. She loves purple too. Kinda by accident. My oldest daughter got all pink. When my second daughter was born, everyone started buying them matching stuff but pink for one and purple for the other. My 2nd daughter became the purple one. So I gave her the cup. She saw it and loved it. I made her instantly put it in her travel bag. She said she likes to use a cup when she brushes her teeth and this would help her. It’s going to good use. The comb got put in the bye bye pile. The sewing kit was gonna be there too but I decided to trade out an old one for this one. I put the sewing kit in my other purple travel bag. I know I have a lot of travel bags. I may be blogging about a few travel items the next few days. Honestly, we aren’t big travelers either. I don’t need so many. We’ll deal with that another day. One addiction a day. Today is purple. So the clear bag with purple accents is still in my closet with the mirror (it’s attached or I would have tossed it – I just want the bag.)
All this to say, if you see me tossing something purple, know it took a lot of energy for me to do so. It’s purple after all. No offense to pink or green or blue or red but ever since I fell in love with purple as a child, it has had a power over me. My insight for today – I am not ready to let go of the power of purple. I don’t believe it is such a bad thing really. However, I do need to address my travel bag collection. Maybe tomorrow. For now, I need to put on my purple shirt and get to tennis.
I haven’t written since Wednesday but I have a good excuse – my daughter was playing in the State Cup competition for soccer in San Diego and we left on Valentine’s Day. That meant preparing for Valentine’s Day – cards, gifts, parties on top of packing, getting the dog cared for, cleaning the house for our house sitter and a million other details. So there is my excuse and my playing the “poor busy me” card. It was a great weekend even though we are out of the tournament. As for the purpose of this blog, I did some cleaning out. Thursday-Monday saw the removal of:
* makeup applicators – I found them in an old travel bag when I was looking for a bottle to hold earring cleaner for my daughter’s relatively newly pierced ears. She could change them out this weekend for the first time. Lots of ouches as we did it but we are learning. The makeup applicators were literally disintegrated. Blech.
* a princess pennant from a long time ago party – I don’t remember which daughter it was for or the theme or anything. Wow – that’s depressing. I found the pennant when I was looking for Valentine decor to put in the kitchen for the holiday.
* a box of Pixar character Valentine’s and miscellaneous Valentine themed goodie bags – I had like 2 bags of each type and I will never use them. Gone.
* 20 plastic Valentine cups that were so dusty and filthy it was disgusting. I don’t know why they were in the cupboard for so long. Probably a good five years old at least.
* a ton of pasta and crackers with expiration dates as far back as 2011. I cleaned up the Valentine’s decor and put it back in the cupboard. (Be prepared for streamers and lots of other party stuff to appear soon – that cupboard was full of stuff I won’t reuse.) Anyway, the kitchen looked cleaner with the garden window emptier and the decor down. I decided to get all our chips and snacks in the cupboard. Ten minutes of rearranging and pulling down old boxes of stuff did wonders for my pantry. The pasta boxes kept falling every time I needed the item next them. Yet I saved them. The lasagna noodles (from 2011 I believe) were so I could make homemade lasagna in a skillet. I did it once or twice but never got back to doing it again. Pretty simple but just not a recipe that sounded good the past few years. So the OLD lasagna noodles finally got the heave ho.
So what deep emotion or spiritual truth did I uncover in my five days of silence? Don’t let minor things keep you busy or distracted from what is important. I felt a bit guilty not blogging until today. Honestly, I wanted to fully enjoy my children this weekend. I didn’t want to let my blog stress me out when I needed to pack or keep me from watching a silly food show on TV in the hotel room. I think the other lesson I received just today – use what you buy. What a waste to toss all that pasta, crackers and graham crackers. Can I buy more? Sure. Why didn’t I use those when I got them? I love Brenton crackers and was saving them for something special. The trashcan wasn’t the intended audience. I often don’t use certain items or wear certain clothes until just the right occasion. I often end up tossing the item or not being able to fit the outfit when the time arrives. Eat the good crackers. Wear the cute new blouse. Don’t wait. Every moment is special.
God gave me some special memories this weekend with all the girls on the soccer team and with the parents too. I am grateful the blog didn’t interrupt that. Thank you for understanding my silence. This week we may clean the party closet. Or another section of the pantry. I’ll surprise you. Hope your three day weekend was fun and relaxing.
Two days ago I got rid of old shin guards that have been in my laundry room for several months. I know it’s a kid item but it was in my possession and my space because my son was done with them. However, I kept them just in case he changed his mind. Just a few more weeks of soccer and he’s just fine with his new stuff. So, off they go to donation.
Most women strive to find the perfect “little black dress.” Not me, I strive to find the perfect “little black boot.” I love boots. I have quite a few pairs. I think I own about 4 brown boots and 5 black boots. I noticed a pair of my short black boots were cracked this year. They are a few years old. I was bummed. I didn’t want to part with them. Not because they are sentimental but more because I feel I will never find a pair that I like as much as these. I hold onto clothes that don’t fit or are out of style because I think once I let it go, I will want it again in the near future and won’t be able to find a decent replacement. Most clothing and shoes I don’t depart with are in my closet because of the “regret” factor. I know it is just clothes but I would regret letting it go. I feel a small level of anxiety as I view my black boots sitting in the donation bag. Sad but true. Even though they are cracked, old and not so nice to wear anymore, I am struggling to send them on their way. It’s amazing to me how much hold stuff has on me. I didn’t realize until this moment why I am holding on to these boots and some other clothing I have. Wow. It’s not easy to admit how much regret I feel when I get rid of a beloved outfit. It would make more sense if it were my prom dress or the outfit I wore home from the hospital after my kids were born. These are boots. Just normal boots. Probably from PayLess. Not expensive. Not high quality.
Lord – help me release the anxiety that is in my heart over this new concept of clothes regret. Remind me that you are the one who provides for all my needs and even most of my wants. Help me to let go of these items that have such unnecessary power in my life. Amen.
The boots are in the donate pile along with a pair of my favorite summer sandals with a cute green flower on top.
I threw out two old containers of medicine this weekend. One I have no recollection what it was even for. I am not a huge medicine gal. So if I have a prescription, I must have been pretty sick. The bottle said “use as needed” and it was nearly full. I must have not needed it too much. The other medicine was actually progesterone cream. I tried it for a few months to see if it would help lessen my PMS. It didn’t. However, it was part of a yearlong process I went through to find solutions for my PMS. A few days a month, rage was at the surface and often bubbled over. The process to find a solution truly took me a year. I don’t think you want to read about all the details but instead the thoughts behind this process. I tried something for a few months and it didn’t work. I continued to seek another treatment until I found results. I think so many of us stop after the first failure. I was committed to find a solution because my family and I deserved a break from what eventually was determined to be a hormonally induced anger. (Please don’t send me suggestions on how to handle PMS because I am pleased with where I am today.) The thing I wanted to communicate today is, don’t stop. If something is important to you, continue on until you find the solution or achieve the goal. If God redirects your goal, take that path. Just don’t stop because it’s hard or it’s taking too long or you get tired. In our microwave society, we expect resolution in life to be overnight or quicker. Time is sometimes the best teacher of perspective, wisdom and perseverance. As the apostle Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12. Press on toward what God has for you. You may find healing from a health issue or maybe a new ability to deal with it. I don’t know what you are pressing on toward in your life. Whatever it is, don’t stop unless God redirects you. It is worth seeking answers, wisdom, skills, insight and joy. Press on.
P.S. No picture today because who wants to see a medicine bottle.
Thursday I got rid of my wrapping storage container. If you live in the area and want it, please email me. It’s yours. It’s in great shape. However, I am now a gift bag person. I have maybe 3 rolls of wrapping paper. The shape of this container didn’t work great with gift bags. It was tucked nicely in my laundry room but I don’t need it. It only held 3 rolls. Please contact me if you are a fan of wrap and it’s yours.
Friday I got rid of two packs of pencils for Christmas. One says “Happy Birthday Jesus” and the other was just reindeer and Santa designs. I have had the Christian pencils for a few years now. When my oldest was in first grade, we gave them out to classmates. However, I ran into a problem when the principal said we couldn’t hand them out due to their religious nature. He eventually agreed but she had to distribute them after the bell rang. I was angry. I knew my rights and he was wrong. I also knew I was going to be in this school a long time since I had three kids and one was a newborn. How grateful I was for God’s wisdom in this situation. I met with the principal to discuss the gifts. At one point the conversation got heated as I pushed a bit to clarify that I do have a right to hand these out in the future. Then God nudged me to try another tactic. I told the principal I would show him our gift ideas before we purchase them to get his “approval.” When Easter arrived and I met with him to show him my Oriental Trading catalog and the items we were considering, he was shocked. I reminded him of my promise to “clear” it with him. My relationship with the principal grew stronger from that point on. The reason I put “approval” and “clear” in quotes is this, I didn’t need his approval or clearance. I had the right to do this. However, sometimes relationship trumps being right. I’m a fighter but God’s people (those who know Him and those who don’t) are more important than winning the battle. I can’t tell you which battles to fight, especially in public school (too many battles to take on) but I can confidently say that God will direct your steps if you ask him.
Yesterday I got rid of two more pots in the garden window. They were plastic ones where the kids drew a picture on paper and inserted it into the divided pot. I asked both kids who had made them and they were good with them going. That was an easy one. I dread the day I ask and they cry because I am throwing away a gift they made me. Thankfully, that day isn’t here yet.
Today I tossed our box of Pedialyte popsicle. My kids have never liked that stuff. Why I bought it probably three or four times, I have no clue? I kept thinking, maybe they are sick enough this time they will like it. I think I do that a lot in life – let’s try it one more time. I will plan one more lunch with this friend because maybe this time she won’t make a judgmental comment. I will take on this small task for PTA because I’m sure another mom will have to join me when she sees all the work I have to do. Don’t get me wrong, trying something a few times can lead to good results. The doctor said you need to try a food you don’t like 50 times before you can rule it out. Cauliflower must have hit the 50 mark in my late 20s when I started liking it. However, lobster still must only be in the 10 try category. I still don’t like it. Honestly, sometimes it’s OK to just say “I don’t like it” or “I’m not going to try it” or “no, I’m not doing that task again no matter how easy it sounds.” I’m done trying Pedialyte. It’s in the trash. I will have to ponder what other things in my life, I’m done trying for now too.
I decided to get back to work on the garden window. My sickness distracted me. Although, I think my 20 medicine cups are one of my favorite things I got rid of so far. I was sharing with a friend tonight about how surprised I am by my emotional attachments to stuff. I got rid of five planters/pots from the garden window. The hardest one was a terra-cotta pot with a green bow on it. It was a gift from the Bible Study I used to coordinate. The sad thing, it was the gift my co-coordinator and I gave to everyone. So it was a gift from me to me and I was attached to it. I like myself and all but I don’t need to save a gift I gave myself. I know the link is the study, the season it represented and the people I connected with that year. Reality is – it’s a terra-cotta pot with a bow. It’s gone.
If you have kids, have they ever made window clings? They are so fun to make and cool to see on the window, however, a pain in the toosh to remove. I nearly broke a nail when I peeled them off today. I left remnants of the black outline on the window too. The outline had hardened and stuck to the window with all its might. My deep lesson, if you leave something for too long, it becomes permanent. All things need to be moved around every once in a while. People need to take a different route to work to shake up the routine. Kids needs to pack a different type of sandwich for lunch rather than their standard PBJ (actually, it’s usually PBC in my house – peanut butter and cinnamon). Pictures need to be rotated in frames. Thoughts need to be dusted off and reprocessed as we age. Even how we connect with God should be altered from time to time. Read a new translation of the Bible. Wake up early to watch a sunset with God. Stay up late writing a letter to God. Move things around to prevent the hardening of your heart and the stuckness of life. The suncatcher remnants are all removed (it literally took a razor blade to remove). Don’t allow your life to get so stuck, a sharp painful tool is required to clean it up.
Yesterday I got rid of 20 medicine cups. Whenever I got a new bottle of medicine for my kids, I saved the cup from the old bottle. I rarely threw one away. When I got sick this week, I ran out of one of my medicines and when I bought a new bottle, I kept the old cup. I had a flash in my mind of my children’s medicine cabinet and I knew what to get rid of. Every time I get out medicine for the kids, the stack would fall. Ridiculous that it took this long to realize, I don’t need twenty medicine cups. At this point, you are all cracking up or thinking, poor Debbie, that Robitussin is making her loopy. Either way, the stack is in the trash.
Today I got rid of my Christmas tin that held my mom’s amazing fudge. The fudge is eaten except a few pieces I repacked in a small container. Mom makes it every year and everyone who tries it proclaims, “the best fudge ever.” It really is. My dad said it’s all in his stirring technique. I agree. It’s the love they pour into the making of it that adds to the quality.
I realized too that returning an item to someone still gets it out of my house. I rarely keep items I borrow but who knows what I’ll discover when I dig in my closet and cupboards.
Just a side note – it’s been a month of this blog. What do you think? What do you want to hear? Should I dive deeper into my emotional reasons for holding onto stuff? Do you mind when I go off on tangents? I’d love feedback. I plan to seek more followers this month and my faithful beginning few of you can help shape this blog. I trust you. Let me know. I’ll try to deliver.