Giving thanks - There are so many things that I am giving thanks for right now that the list would be long. One of the first that comes to mind are the conversations and dates my husband and I are now having. They were long overdue and much needed. Even though we live in the same house and work in the same space it seemed we were like ships passing in the night some days. “Busy” was never a word I used to describe what I wanted to be when I grew up. The older I get the less I like the word and the more I dislike actually being busy.
Outside my window - It’s still dark. I witnessed the most spectacular sunrise earlier this week though. I don’t recall ever seeing a sunrise that looked so much more like a beautiful sunset. I tried to capture it in a photo, but we all know there is simply nothing that compares to the actual experience of such a moment.
I’m so over the lingering summer temperatures. By the time the temperatures drop enough to feel like Autumn, the leaves will be completely gone and it will look like winter. I love the cooler temperatures, but I dread the dreary, gray, dismal days of Winter. My son tells me that I should anticipate fewer and fewer seasons of cool weather… I fear he may be right.
Clothing myself in - the same old stretch denim capris that I wear pretty much every day. I have four pairs of them though, so there’s that. Knowing the temperatures are supposed to warm up, I am wearing a tank top. But the lovely cool morning air allows me to enjoy a brief time in a new light-weight, long-sleeved hooded shirt that I purchased recently. It’s the small things, you know?
On the homefront - our deep freeze died this week. I was stunned that we were able to move all the contents to the three refrigerator freezers that are still working. Having three refrigerators seems like overkill, I admit. But two of the three are very old and were used when they were given to us. The third is also very old - about 20 years to be exact. The others are much, much older. I’ve been wanting to replace the one in the kitchen for a while now. The ice maker hasn’t worked for years and John goes through so much ice it’s a daily chore to fill the 20 or so ice trays to keep the supply up. That’s a chore I’d like to cross off the list. :-)
The search for a new freezer has been unexpectedly challenging. Just finding one the size we already have is the first challenge. Apparently the first year of the pandemic was cause for everyone to buy and stock a freezer. They became one of the items that were nowhere to be found. They’re available again, but in much smaller sizes.
Now, one may ask, why does a nearly empty nest couple need three refrigerators and a huge deep freeze? I’ll tell you why. We are really fortunate to have a large family (I suppose large is a relative term…) and they live nearby. We love knowing that there is always enough to share at gatherings, and be able to help someone out in a pinch for whatever reason.
We often purchase meat in bulk and try to keep items we frequently use on hand. It’s great for taking advantage of sales. In this way, you could say that it’s one way of stewarding our resources well.
After some discussion about down-sizing, and looking at the price of upright freezers, my husband decided we need to stick with a chest type. His choice? An even bigger deep freeze than we already have LOL. What did he not understand about down-sizing??? Experience nudged me after I abruptly shut him down on that thought and I said as I often did to our children when they were younger, “Convince me.” And so he did.
His idea was to purchase the new, larger deep freeze which is a better quality freezer and has two separate doors. One side will store the bulk meats, the other all the other staples we keep frozen - pastas, cheese, bread, veggies and fruits, etc. We’ll get rid of the two really inefficient refrigerators in the garage, move the one from the kitchen to the garage for eggs, milk, juice, drinks, etc, and then purchase a freezerless refrigerator for the kitchen. Oh and we’ll have to have a countertop ice maker.
That’s the current plan. We’ll see how that all pans out.
There’s also a very long list of projects that I still want to get done, but baby steps.
On the menu - There is a menu written on the board, but it became clear that I will need to work the menu around what I can actually access in the stuffed-to-the-brim freezers. On a positive note, this is a good lesson in making sure we are good stewards of the abundance of food in our home. This will force me to use things that would probably have languished in the bottom of the abyss…
Writing - I was weirdly happy and relieved when I heard a recent Tuesday Teacher from Hope Writers suggest that perhaps we should stop doing Morning Pages and/or journaling. It’s the first time I have ever heard an accomplished writer say something that I have thought but decided I had to be wrong. So many writers rely on their Morning Pages and journals to nurture their creative writing. But this writer acknowledged that not everyone has 45 minutes to do Morning Pages and then still have time to work on creative writing. She suggests that we should just get to the writing. Stop using what time we have (if limited) on something other than the creative work. I still love the idea of Morning Pages, but in this season, and the one I’ve just transitioned from, I find that I have very little space in my day to do them and still work on creative writing. So I’m in the midst of a little experiment with this in mind.
Memoirs are where I think I am headed with creative writing… And to be honest, I had a realization at some recent point in time. When I talk about writing (for me) I’m actually referring to blogging. That’s where my heart beats for writing in this season.
Watching - We watched Revenge from beginning to end. I am dreading another season of Hallmark Christmas. I am making alternative plans. A Marvel marathon is probably on the horizon though. Update: we watched the entire three seasons of Manifest since I started this post LOL.
Making - working on finishing up some Bunco kits that I started a few months ago. I wanted to sell them, but I’m not much of a salesperson. So that ship might have sailed. There is one place I think I’m going to try and see if there is any interest. If not, I’ll give them away and be done with it. Like so many other things, I love the idea of a Bunco group, but the reality of finding 12 women who want to gather face-to-face on a regular monthly basis seems to be fading like something of a bygone era. I don’t get it, but it is what it is. Update: I did the thing - I took the Bunco kits to the vendor fair and although there were a few (very few) interested parties, there were no purchases. So the Bunco kits have been disassembled and all the parts stored away for my own future use. I wonder if perhaps I should have just been hosting my own bunco group all along and stopped trying to do anything more with it?
Planning for the week ahead - the majority of my days seem to be dictated by the needs of others. Many others. That’s all I’m going to say about that. Update: I am heading into yet another week when nearly all my time will be dictated by the needs of others. You might have already noticed that there is a pattern here.
Naming what matters - I did a thing last week. I wrote a draft of what I decided to call a personal manifesto. The word kept coming up and I thought it was a good fit for the goal I had in mind. Note - After just taking a quick assessment, I guess I’m not actually a Type A personality, but I sure do thrive on organization and routine - both of which are an especially challenging thing to accomplish in this season. I don’t have young children, I don’t have a paid job outside of the home, I don’t have a business, I don’t currently volunteer for anything. So why do I need a planner? If you can figure it out, please let me know. But I do have a beautiful planner and a huge calendar on the wall in my kitchen. I use them both. I have determined that one day I will create the perfect customized collection of calendar, journal, and planner - all coordinated and beautiful - but absolutely practical and useful! I digress.
I wrote the rough draft of what I am calling my manifesto. It’s still a work in progress because I want to edit it in Canva and embellish it and make it all pretty - you know. The day after I shared it with my daughter, my daily reader had this to say:
“This is a reminder. While you’re using your imagination, embracing your dreams, and spending your time visualizing positive performance, don’t forget to let go.
Don’t worry about how things will come to pass. Your part is seeing the best for yourself. Then return to the details of your daily life.
It’s safe to let go and let God. Just because we have the creative powers to imagine doesn't mean we have to control the rest. Say, I see, then let it go.
Let God work the manifest.”
Jesus Calling October 12
If you know me, you know that part of my problem in planning is that I always try to control outcomes. The hardest thing for me to learn to do is to make the plan, then let it go. It’s okay to have a planner. It’s okay to have goals for the rhythm of your daily life. It’s okay to hope it goes that way sometimes. However, the bible reminds us that we have our plans, but God is in control. And I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way. He knows best, and has only good plans for me.
Man this is a long story. Where am I going with this under the category of “Naming what matters”? That manifesto does exactly that. I began with the framework of priorities. God, marriage, family. It goes on with the priorities to include close friends, friends, neighbors, community, and people. Simply put, people before things, always.
Then I named my responsibilities. This helps me clear away the mental cobwebs when I need to figure out where to start in the midst of overwhelm. What is my next right thing?
Then I made an important list. This is the one that I think proved a helpful tool the very first day. I made a list of things I love to do, and differentiated hobbies from interests. Hobbies are those things I enjoy enough to consistently invest time, energy, and money into. Mine are cooking, writing/blogging, and gardening. There are subcategories within those hobbies, of course. All things herb for example.
Interests are that endless list of things that I think might be fun and might pursue for a time but lose interest or are at the lower end of things I am willing to invest time, energy, money, or emotion into. They are important to me and I might have a very hard time letting go, but using this filter helps me know whether or not the time is right to choose to indulge.
My daughters are selling in a local vendor fair this weekend, and I got caught up in the excitement and thought for a few hours that maybe I would spend the remainder of any free time this week (as if there actually was any LOL) preparing and having a space of my own for the above mentioned Bunco kits and a few other “interests” that I have played around with. Then a few requests were made of me that fall within the category of responsibility. I started to get frustrated and even a little angry. But then without even realizing it I considered the filter. Since the freezer died, I have to spend this week working on a solution. That is a priority. The time will be better spent on working that solution than doing last minute crafting for a vendor fair I had zero intention of participating in beyond helping my girls.
I’m not sure that anyone else would see how these things worked together - I’m not sure I’m explaining it in a way that helps. But the point for me to remember is that I named what mattered, and then I gave it to God. I didn’t try to control it or become rigid in following a rule. It became a filter through which I make decisions, and it appears to have worked. The reading in Jesus Calling seemed to confirm that creating the manifesto and then letting go was good.
Words worth sharing - from my daughter’s Facebook this morning: “Autumn embraces change, even as she is falling to pieces.” Angie Weiland Crosby
This succinctly states what it is that I’ve been trying to say in my Autumn Writer’s Hope Circle. As Autumn writers, I feel that we are all trying to embrace the changes that come with aging, even as we are struggling with unexpected challenges that we are encountering.
Something to remember - Gratitude first thing in the morning before even rolling out of bed MAKES A DIFFERENCE in the way my day goes.
Note to self: this post is a combination of the original which was written a couple weeks ago and today with the wisdom of hindsight.