Simple Life – It’s About Time

Simplifying our home is beginning to take shape. We’ve paired down on the amount of stuff that we have. I’ve bagged up lots of clothing, and have boxed up décor items, appliances, dish sets and glasses that don’t have a true use in our home.

As I go along, I continue to come across things that I realize I don’t want or need any longer. Gee…is something changing in me? It feels good to have space – or air – on shelves and counter tops, as well as in dressers and closets. Who knew that de-cluttering could be so freeing?

But I do have to say one thing…even a simple home gets messy.

We thought that when we became empty nesters, our home would always be clean, figuring the mess was made by our boys and their friends. Well…this is not the case.  Truth is, HB and I can be messy at times and have found that we are perfectly capable of using up every dish, glass, and piece of silverware in the kitchen. I still manage to leave heaps of clothing and shoes on the floor. The heaps are just smaller now. Papers still pile up near the front door, on side tables and the counter tops. Dust accumulates on shelves and floors, and fluffs of dog hair still find their way into corners.

And at times, all of the above stays in this state of being for several days. In fact, it’s been the case this week. Our schedule has been busy, and while we’ve managed to throw a few meals together, we’ve left a lot around the home undone.

Last night we came home and because of the state of the kitchen, we decided to go have a salad somewhere. When we returned home, I decided that I was going to pick up the living room so we could settle in, without guilt, to veg in front of the TV for the evening. As I was carrying some paperwork to the dining room table (my gathering place where I sort) HB came into the kitchen and started unloading the dishwasher. I told him that he didn’t need to do that because I was just planning to clean the living room so we could relax. Honestly, I wasn’t in the mood to clean more than that. But he decided he would just do a little bit while I was finishing up.

Funny how sometimes it just takes that little nudge, because after I was done cleaning the living room I came into the kitchen to help with the dishes. He rinsed them off and I loaded the dishwasher. In about 10 minutes, our little kitchen was spotless. We even took the time to scour the sink and wipe down all the counters and cabinets.

Once that was done, we headed for the living room. But as we watched TV, I found I had new energy so I got up during a couple of the commercials and finished up the dining room table; grabbing the items that gathered there and putting them in their rightful place. I did a quick dusting (gotta love Swiffers!) and sweeping and then settled down to relax for the rest of the evening.

Our total time spent cleaning…about 30 minutes. 30 minutes! Our messy living room, kitchen and dining room were completely clean – in 30 minutes – and it felt…amazing!

Every day continues to be a lesson learned for me. I’m realizing that the idea behind living a simple life isn’t about having an immaculate home at all times. Because, regardless of how little we have, HB and I are just going to have those weeks where things get messy.

This is about time…our valuable and precious time. The less stuff we have, the easier it is to clean. The easier it is to clean, the more time we have available to do the things that we enjoy doing together…even if it’s spending an evening vegging in front of the TV.

~CindyLu~

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I’ll Remember…

….umm, now what was I thinking about?!

The reason I’ve started carrying a notebook everywhere!

But how many of you wake up with a great idea, vow to yourself to dream about it all night long, only to wake up and find that it’s gone?! Ugh.

I’ve thought about attaching a book light to my notebook for moments like these.
I should probably write that idea down!

~CindyLu~

the biggest lie

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Simple Life – One’s Junk is Another’s Treasure

As the end of the month is drawing near, I am getting increasingly excited – with a little bit of stress thrown in there for good measure. I’m anxious and excited to see a lot of stuff disappear from our home, but I’m still not as far into the process as I’d like to be. This week and weekend will be a big one for us. But I must explain the exciting part!

HB and I attended a meeting, last night, with a few couples from other churches near our own. We are working together on a community outreach project to help local families in need. One of the couples has a ministry called Atlas that helps hurting men and women in the community; people who are down on their luck and are in need of assistance, support and resources to rebuild their lives. They told us about a new branch to their ministry and how they recently acquired a thrift store for their organization.

Immediately, the light bulbs began to click on! I told them about my month of minimizing and simplifying, and the stacks of clothing and other stuff that I’m accumulating. Not only did they want to hear more about the journey I’ve been on, but they also wanted any donations we were willing to send their way. And get this…their doors open the first week in May!

Seriously now…is all of this timely or what?! As someone who believes that everything happens for a reason, I am so excited to load everything onto our trailer and cart it away to this great organization. To know that, not only will this help out some good friends in building their new store and ministry, but also that my junk will be treasures to others in greater need, just excites me to no end.

This Simple Life Adventure just became more meaningful than I imagined.

So bring on the boxes!!
I’m ready to load them up and take them to their future home.

~CindyLu~

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Behave Yourself

Dear Writers,
I always giggle when I read this quote. It’s one of my favorites.
But don’t you sometimes find it hard to have this sort of freedom in writing?

~CindyLu~

you-own-everything-that-happened-to-you

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Coffee Anyone?

I receive a lot of pictures about coffee on my Facebook page. For some reason, when people see a funny picture or good quote about coffee, they think of me. I can’t imagine why?! *smile*

Okay…it’s true. I love coffee and I drink a lot of it. When I received this picture the other day, my imagination took off. I am now on a quest for a cup such as this.

My idea is to have a dessert get together, one summer evening, and serve up iced coffee in a cup like this. You know, punch bowl style. Maybe get two of them and serve sweet tea in the other.

Seriously…am I the only one that thinks it’s a great idea?!

large cup of coffee

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Simple Life – Carry On

Today is where we pick up where we left off. HB arrived back in town late Friday evening. Since he was pretty exhausted, we decided to embrace some much-needed down time over the weekend.

He returned from a weeklong trip in Ensenada, Mexico, where he and a team of 13 others from our church, built a small home for a family who had been living in a one-room, dirt floored, “home” … a place that we would probably consider a shack. While their new home is still on the small side, they now have three separated rooms and a floor. What an awesome experience for all!

In one of our conversations, before returning home, I mentioned that I would need his help to continue on this simple life adventure. His comment was, “No problem. We’ll pack it up and send it to Mexico.” The gist of the comment…in comparison, we are rich and have far more than what we need.

I knew this would be very timely for both of us. Being among people who cherish the very little that they have certainly puts it all into perspective.

Thankfully, he didn’t come home wanting to get rid of everything that we’ve worked hard for, but we both have a new focus on keeping things that we truly love and that are useful – and parting ways with a lot of other things that don’t fit the bill.

We have a couple of busy evenings to work around this week, but on our free evenings, our plan is to resist the urge to sit in front of the TV when we get home from work. Instead, we’re going to focus in on a certain area and work together to either pack it up for the thrift store, or send it to our garage sale room for family and friends to go through. At the end of the month, I’ll post a picture of everything that’s been piled onto the trailer to be hauled away.

So far, this has been quite a journey. I still believe that had I not dislocated the ol’ pinky toe, I’d be much further ahead in all of this. But even so, I can see how that served to give me new perspective in other areas of my life, like my cluttered way of thinking. This has definitely been a month of lessons.

There’s still time to get much done.
So to coin the simple, but meaningful, phrase…it’s time for us to “Carry on!”

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Simple Life – True Accomplishments

I haven’t been able to accomplish all that I had planned for while HB is gone. After the whole toe incident, a week ago today, I’ve had to slow it way down. I did allow this to discourage me for a day or so, but I feel good about what I did get accomplished when I first started out on this quest; that is, an organized kitchen with one large box of kitchen items, and an almost completely organized bedroom with three 39-gallon-sized bags, ready for the local thrift store. In spite of my unplanned down time the past couple of days, I’ve kept up with a bit of surface cleaning. The house does feel tidy and I can live with that.

I seem to be all about clichés this week, but I’m seeing that hindsight really is 20/20. As I reflect back over the past six days alone, I’m seeing how this little incident opened the door to do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise done, because my list was all about tasks.

So here are the things I have accomplished this week:

Spent an afternoon with my brother, sisters and mom. We all have busy schedules, so it’s not often that we’re able to get together and to do something fun. My brother happened to be in town, so we threw together an afternoon to have a late lunch and go to a movie. My sisters handed out bags of sinfully delicious movie treats and we had a blast. ♥

Met a friend for an evening coffee date. After a long day of work, I could have easily just stayed home to veg. The plan was to meet up and chat up some details for an Easter brunch, but that ended up being the smallest part of the conversation. Instead, we chatted about everything and nothing that we had going on in our lives. After almost three hours, I left there realizing how much I needed that girl time. ♥

An impromptu pizza and a movie at home. One of my daughter in-loves wrote me an e-mail to see if I had dinner plans. Nope, I didn’t. I told her to call in a pizza and I’d pick it all up on the way home. She came over with two of my grandsons and we just vegged together; dinner in the living room while we watched a movie. It was so relaxing, I almost dozed off a couple of times. ♥

Dinner with family. Not only is HB gone, but two of our sons went with him. This has left my two daughter in-loves at home with the kids. Well, these two amazing girls are making me a birthday dinner tonight. Are you familiar with the story of Naomi and Ruth? Well…these two girls are my Ruth. It’s one thing to be loved by your own children, but when you are loved by children from another mother…that’s a bonus blessing. ♥

Slumber Party. When I saw my mom this past weekend, I just realized how precious this time is with her. She’s been a widow for many years now and I couldn’t help but think about how empty the house has felt with HB away. So I invited her to come and join us for dinner tonight and then to spend the night with me. To make it even more special, I decided to also invite my only grand-daughter, because I want her to have something I never did…a relationship with her great-grandma. So we’re going to spend the late evening eating too much candy and watching something girly…probably “Tangled” because my grand-daughter believes she is the lost princess. ♥

I actually took tomorrow off, so I could have a nice three-day weekend. My intent was to spend it alone…my gift to me. I figured I would have a quiet cup of coffee, turn on some tunes, and well…do more cleaning. But instead, I’ll be spending more time with many listed above and tomorrow evening, I’ll drink too much coffee while I wait for HB’s plane to touch down around midnight.

As for my weekend list, it says…nothing.
It’s empty…a clear page of more relaxing with my very best friend.

Shouldn’t that be a picture of what a simple life looks like? Spontaneous, impromptu, decisions to do whatever we feel like in that moment, which includes nothing at all? Here I made a list of all that I wanted to accomplish to “reach” this goal, while missing the entire concept of what I should be reaching for.

I guess I need to be thankful for my dislocated toe because I never would have accomplished all that I have. My quest to declutter is still a goal, but I think I’m moving it down a few notches so I don’t miss out on other opportunities around me.

The chores will always be there, but spending time with family, friends, a good book, or a quiet cup of coffee…now THAT’s a true accomplishment towards simple living. 

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Learning As I Go

Like many writers out here, this world of blogging is all very new to me. I mean, I do have profiles on Facebook and Instagram, and I’m known to post my little CindyLu-isms about everything and nothing, as well as the occasional “look what I’m eating” picture. But I’ve never really opened up the personal pages of my “life journal” to share the internal ramblings of my heart.

While I am a complete and utter optimist, I do write all over the place, because I just go as my emotions lead. I don’t know about you, but I often stop for a moment, before hitting “Publish” and think to myself, “Is this really worth it? Does this even make sense?” My mind sometimes tells me, “Don’t do it,” but usually my heart overrides and says, “Let it go…send it.”

So I’m venturing out into this unchartered territory and I’m beginning to see a little bit more of what calls out to others. I’m a people watcher and find it very interesting that I even “see” people here. I’ve read blogging articles that say over, and over, and OVER again…”Just be real.” I seriously need to print that and put it on the wall in my little study, because that’s what keeps ringing out to me in that moment of panic before I push that button.

I must say that I am truly humbled by the support I receive from fellow writers, as well as my little circle of friends. When I find out that someone “likes” what I wrote, my heart does a little dance knowing that they “got it.” And when I get a notification that someone new has jumped on board to follow along, well…I am just in awe by such an act.

Because of my optimistic, the-sun-will-come-out-tomorrow, attitude I often put things out there that have that same cheery tone and bounce to them. And then there are the other ramblings I write, where I pull back some layers of myself and reveal something very deep, very real, even painful…and I see the difference in the response.

I’m beginning to understand how much people love and appreciate it when we get to the very core of our hearts. It’s hard, sometimes, for me to be so vulnerable and expose myself in that manner. I come from a time where you swept your problems under the carpet. Where you move forward and you keep that smile on your face.

I suppose, in some ways, that’s what has helped direct the heart that I have. I stop and wonder…am I optimistic because I was taught to sweep things away and rise above? Or have I been able to sweep things and rise above because I’ve always been optimistic? Hmmm…now that’s deep!

Whatever the case…while I am good at rising above and seeing the good in things, there are times when, even I, need to vomit out of me the frustrations and disappointments of life. And I’m learning the value of both, as I go along this journey.

As an encourager, I know that others need to hear words of love, faith and hope…lots and lots of hope…but, I also see the true value of letting down my guard and just being real while I do that.

It’s amazing to me…we write because we feel this need to get it out of us…to share with others and maybe help someone along their journey. But the truth of the matter is, as we write, we also learn so much more about ourselves. The therapy seems to go both ways.

 

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Things I Take For Granted

It’s true what they say, you know. Distance really does make the heart grow fonder. HB (aka my husband) has been gone for four days now. He’s serving with a team from our church down in Mexico; building a small home for a family in need. Awesome, huh?!

I’m so proud of what he and the team are doing there and so thankful for social networks, like Facebook, because I can chat a little bit online and see the daily upload of pictures. However…I sure miss his presence around the home.

It’s amazing…the little things that I just take for granted. There’s so much that he does, big and small, in our daily life together that I never even stop to just say, “Thank you” for.

He gets up earlier than I do and always puts the pot of coffee on. Oh, how I miss waking up to the scent of coffee and aftershave. We usually sit and have our first cup together, before we both head off in opposite directions. I’ve slept in each morning this week because coffee alone in the livingroom just doesn’t feel right. I miss not having an early morning conversation and the sound of his voice.

We have certain shows that we watch together. I watch very little TV while he’s gone. I don’t know, somehow I feel like I’m having a TV affair if he’s not there watching it with me. Besides, it’s just weird watching something like, “The Voice” and not having him there to ask me who I liked best – or me telling him, “Oh…that one was chill worthy” (I get chills if someone is really good. I know…I’m odd like that, but he “gets” me). So I’ll wait until he returns and we’ll catch up on Hulu together.

I’m also certain the dogs miss him something awful because no one plays with them or scratches their ears quite like he does. And on a couple of mornings, they’ve followed me around, sort of moping, until I finally realize that they’re still waiting for me to fill their food dish. HB is like clockwork when it comes to feeding them. I’m sure they will be whimpering with delight when he walks back through the door.

He just does scads of things that are so helpful to our daily lives; like stopping at the store on his way home from work, starting dinner because I get home after he does, moving my clothes from the washer to the dryer… The list could go on and on.

But then there are other things…the little simple things, like, how I get into bed with my ice cold feet (which is just about every night, regardless of the temperature outside) and how he reaches over with his leg to draw them in between his to warm. Or how he’ll say something so funny that it gives me uncontrollable giggles and then we both end up in tears from laughing so hard.

I don’t know…maybe it’s good for couples to spend a little bit of time apart sometimes. It truly does make you take notice of just how much they do. You really see the “team” that you’ve become together and it gives you a new and improved appreciation for one another.

He is my very best friend in the whole wide world. I’m so proud of what he is doing and so thankful that he’s able to be a part of this team…but I really miss his presence.
Thank you, HB, for all that you do.

Sheesh – I sound like a lovesick puppy, huh?
But, isn’t this the way marriage should be?

holding hands

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
~Matthew 19:4-6

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Because I speak coffee…

So now I GET IT!

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