Friday, September 19, 2014

The insatiable desire for order from chaos

Insatiable, yes, that’s the word. I have been infused with the insatiable need to purge my house—every corner, every closet, everything. If you know me, you know that I have become more streamlined over the years. I no longer yearn for heavily decorated knickknacks lining every shelf in a whimsical fashion. I want spare. I want clean. I want minimal. When I was newly married, I was out buying all sorts of things from thrift stores that we needed. Garage sales, clearance racks—if it was on sale and we needed it my house enveloped it. I think envelop is the right word because when I go through things now, I don’t remember buying half the stuff I find. I’ve purged a lot over the years at our garage sales and by selling online, so my home is nothing like it was then. But, something has taken over me and it wants to clean it, all of it.

I’m thinking it has something to do with the empty house. For nearly 24 years there were children running amok in the home so we always were careful what we had sitting around. Now that they’re gone, I think Missy’s sense of style and spatial reasoning is coming back. I’ve got projects in my head that are popping out. I’ve already cleaned the kitchen cupboards and thrown everything out of the pantry. Folks, you do not want to know what was in the back of that thing. I have cranberry-dark chocolate trail mix that I now nibble on, and black corn tortilla chips that we dip in hot salsa. It is filled with things that our palates crave, and everything is arranged with clean lines and non-sticky surfaces. I cleaned out my coffee nook and threw away a myriad of containers. It is now spare and pleasurable. My bedside stands and shelf have been cleared of books I don’t need, as have my library shelves. I have a laundry basket full of books that I need to take somewhere to sell or trade, and I have my eye on more as my shelves groan a little less heavily now. I am planning on clearing all the shelves of my library and painting the insides a bright color, then arranging my books in an artful way. 

I’ve already cleaned out some of the boy’s stuff in his room he no longer needs and posted it online. The girl had her pile ready to go as she kept her room fairly spotless. I have a few things left from our eldest, but it’s bits and pieces of her life that no longer have meaning to her—except for the fuzzy pants she keeps here to wear when she comes home for Christmas. Those are neatly folded on her closet shelf. Three heaping closets, made when we created the dormers upstairs after the fire, have somehow become dens of iniquity and they are next on my radar. My fingers are itching to sort through the rubble and see what I find to sell or get rid of. This new phase of actually wanting to sift and sort is a tantalizing surprise to me. It was never something I enjoyed doing, but now I feel it’s just the shifting of the years and the wanting for things to be in order. It’s putting your life into a semblance of things that are within your control and tangible to your touch. With each piece I am gaining peace and making my world spare and clean so I can go out and do more with my life. I can’t feel as if the home is in tatters as I’m making a new way in a child-less world. I press onward, garbage bag in one hand and steely mentality in the other. With each item thrown away or sold my heart gets a bit lighter.

You can find this and my other columns on The Holmes County Bargain Hunter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Casting out demons and finding your spark

I've been silent. I've been pensive. I've been letting the dark shadows curb my writing. Silent demons, stop your scratching at my neck. I'm tired of you and the way you make me feel.

It's a salient process, this thing called writing. My focus, when I left my desk job to set up a nook here at home, was to find time to start the novel inside me. For so long I've let those demons tell me I can't write it.

"You will never finish it."
"You can't even start it."
"Just do it tomorrow."

Adjusting to the warm niche of home, along with the added benefits of coffee and food on hand, has taken some time to get used to. I have found love for home, kept inside, that now flows out of me. I am doing what I'm meant to. I'm sharing a passion and spreading it around, though thin in spots, that is ever progressing and changing with each day.

Losing inspiration sucks.
I feel as if I've lost a spark and can't find it.

Yesterday I got a text from my niece McKenzie. She's always told me how much she loves to read what I write be it my newspaper column or a blog piece. She says she can get lost in my writing and I always just smiled and said, "I'm glad you love them" never really realizing how much she meant it.

She started a blog. Because she was inspired. You can find her at Just Your Average 20 Year Old's Blog.

This has quite blown me away not just because she started a blog, but because she felt like she was never good enough at writing to start one. But she said "screw it" and created one. And she wrote. I believe she has lit the spark inside me once again. Sometimes we just need to say "screw it" and start doing the impossible.

In listening to those demons speak we give them life. We give them power. We make them bigger and scarier than they really are. Really, we just need to tell them to go back to hell where they came from. Slip your bad selves back into the pit because I don't need to listen anymore. Sincerely.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Throw-away blog.

I wrote a blog and couldn't publish it. My thoughts are too raw, too charged and full of gristle. Someday soon I might, but today isn't that day. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Standing on the precipice ready to fly

My newest column which will be published next week. Early for you on the blog. Check out all my columns on The Holmes County Bargain Hunter

My August is a precipice, a steep cliff that keeps dropping away from me ever steeper. I stand on this edge not only peering out at the drop, but looking ahead in the distance. I can’t quite make out what’s ahead in the hazy ephemera, but I know it’s there – solid and warm - waiting for me to arrive. My husband stands with me on this cliff, just a step back, and together we watch our last child prepare to leave the familiar nest of home.

Together we launched our eldest into her future some five years ago, and I wept. Four years later we delivered our middle child to her destination, and I wept. As I write, in two days we deliver our youngest to his starting point. I have been adamant over the years that they consider what is different - to see what is out there for them that doesn’t keep them near my sticky fingers. Those mom-fevered dreams that give you the itch to “drop in” with cookies or something they might need just so you can see their face. We bade them consider something that will be of value to themselves and then the world – not something that involves getting a “degree” for something they aren’t passionate about.

The hot sting of tears behind my eyes has become normal these last several weeks, and I’ve let the floodgates open. I embrace it and know that each tear that rolls down my cheeks is one more step in giving my child wings - wings to fly to unknown parts where they can collect themselves and their future. I’ve fixed my eyes on what I know to be true and right. Definitively we know this is where Hunter belongs. People may say, “Why are you sending him to an art school? How is that valuable?” I want to say to each and every one of the doubters, “What are YOU doing that is more valuable than this? How is your business degree, your teaching degree, or your degree in accounting any better or wiser a choice than any other?” We each have a choice in how to direct our lives and one way is not more important than any other. If we all chose to stay in the vicinity and get the same degree what a boring life we would all lead. I want to break down the walls surrounding our community and shed light on what is out there to encounter. We too often stay in our safe little boxes and peer out timidly around us with a judgmental eye. I reject sameness. I embrace diversity.

For now, we are carefully packing up each and every shoe, sweatshirt, and pillow. Socks are being bundled together and with each one my mind goes back to that tiny frame of his, now so broad, who curled himself into my lap for comfort each time the world hurt him. I let myself roam in those memories, walk around in them and pick him up just to bury myself in that tender neck one more time. I would be remiss to not let myself mourn what was – what remains in my memories. He is standing on the precipice as well, having fought his way to it, his frame now rugged and ready. He has forged his way through hands that wished to keep him down, sequestered, through words that traveled misleadingly on tongues without care. I laugh with him as we look ahead to the start – the start of his life on the edge. It’s a place where you make your dreams or drown in them, there in the highest of heights looking down uncertainly against the unknown. I see him there, standing on the edge, and I see him as a preschooler, so small and unsure. As quick as that image comes I banish it. We are behind him, ready to push him off that precipice – so he can fly away. 

Next week when I climb the stairs to his room and sit on his bed, now stripped of its trappings and pillows, I will cry. I will think of him in that big city and I will be joyful. I will savor his scent so recently departed and I will smile, because I know he is where he needs to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014


"Silence becomes cowardice then the occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly." -Ghandi

Monday, August 11, 2014

Success/Failure: Summer 2014

Though not yet published in print or on the website for The Bargain Hunter, here is my newest column. Some successes and some failures - yes, we all have failures and should voice them so we do BETTER. Let's be honest here.

Successes and Failures: Summer 2014 Edition

August is half over. I repeat - August is half over.

I really did have a lot of plans for this summer. Read books that have been languishing on my shelves, go swimming, start writing my book. Alas, I did read two books and went swimming twice. Go me. Did I start writing my book? No, but I feel the writing bug coming on and soon my house will be a vast, empty echoing hall of its former self when the kids leave the end of August. There soon will be no more excuses.

This is my compiled list of successes and failures (not really failures per se…) of the summer of 2014. Hey, we all have aspirations of at least TRYING to accomplish things, don’t we?

    1) Hunter’s grad party – success. We’ve nailed the graduation party thing to within an inch of its life and if anyone needs wisdom in this area, well I’m here for you, but not literally. I’m done throwing grad parties until the kids need help with THEIR kids. My break has arrived. We’ve figured out what you need to buy to stay within your means because really, Dollar Tree should be your friend. Who’s going to know that the sweet hanging lanterns in your trees cost $1 instead of $10? NO ONE. Don’t let the “dollar store” stigma get any foothold in your mind because they are lies.

    2) Maintaining my perennial garden – success. I weeded it on my hands and knees several times in the spring and now? Looking pretty even though it’s August. I call it the “English garden” feel which really means it’s a rambling mess. I don’t know how all those perfect gardens in Holmes County continually look weed-free. What am I doing wrong? Oh yes, I remember now, I dislike gardening. The flowers know. My pots look amazing though because I purchased the flowers from that pretty little greenhouse on Weaver Ridge. Good stock produces good flowers and even I – the avidly hateful gardener – can’t kill them. I did get some killer deals there and also hit The Petalers on their last day which meant 50% off. Score.

    3) Garage sale at my house – success/failure. Because I loved the Noah movie so much I believe that God decided to deluge my house during my garage sale in June. I’ve never seen it rain that hard for that long. Let’s just say big-screen TV’s and rushing water don’t mix. The sale was a success, though, for all the people that came out and shopped anyway. We sold a ton of stuff and still managed to make the sale look inviting even with all the rain. #JunkFlingForever

4)   Losing my sister-in-law in Mexico to cancer – failure. Malena was diagnosed back in December of last year, at the age of 47, and gave a good fight. She faltered in July, and with a way being made, we trekked down there for her funeral. It was good to be with my husband’s family during this time so that was a success even though the trip was heavy and hard. We miss you, Malena.

     5) Managing my new venture – success. I’ve transitioned from a desk job in an office to my home office. I am in love with working from home and especially the ability to write from my haven – the front porch. It takes discipline and good time management so I’m adjusting to those things. The freedom, though, and the power you feel that you are in control of your own self and destiny it can’t be compared and was the best choice I’ve made in a very long time.

If I can successfully get my kids off to college then that will be my last success of the summer. Even though they will be missed, I look forward to the calm stillness that will be my home come September. I claim even more success for myself and my husband in our home-based businesses because we CAN and SHOULD speak goodness over our endeavors.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The veil is thin between this life and the next

Processing much. My aim is to separate our trip to Mexico into small, digestive pieces. Heaviness, pressed down, is what we felt. These are the tip top thoughts I'm feeling now. Will bring more to you as I process each moment. This blog will be published next week in The Bargain Hunter column, but I'm bringing it to you a bit early. 

I hope to someday not sit in a quandary, or a tizzy, or a moment of abject disgust with myself and the momentum I fail to have at times. My life is wasted in small moments, tiny and thin, that bring bigger and bigger amounts of time passing by me like so much of a life gone. I have come back from the edge, older yet not so much wiser. This plane of life is so transparent it takes my breath away so that I cannot think to even fill my lungs with air. I have found what I desire in life – my love, my kids, and my home. Yet still, is it enough to make us whole? Enough when my entire soul is yearning for more and more of what I can’t say. Is it enough when we sit at our tables and gaze out the window hoping to see what lights our souls on fire? My last two weeks were spent ethereally drifting through a solitary plane of existence, life and death on display heavily, until I could breathe no more.

It’s fragile, this existence we have here on earth. Our days are filled with things that will mean nothing in the eternity, yet we labor on because that’s what we’re here to do. We are here to make meaning out of things that are meaningless. We are to dance, to love, to sing, and to cry. We embrace life and death as they come because what else is there to do but accept? We bury people we love and we go home and love the ones that are left just a bit harder. Left behind are those who after unthinkable circumstances become semi-lost souls that have been directed lovingly, yet without recourse. Floundering, gasping for air without the one who has given them direction their whole lives.

We must learn to swim alone. We must learn to grasp what is put before us independently.

To love is to have, to feel, to breathe the air more richly. When we decide that one person is all we need to live then we become dependent on them to be our all. There exists an umbilical cord stretching from person to person. We must cut this. We must embrace love yet know we can be, do, and feel without it. The veil between this life and the next is tissue paper translucent at best, yet we don’t realize it. We go on living day by day never acknowledging how close the other side is. We must see it and peer through to understand that this life won’t last forever. We must be ready and adept, with a knowing that what we accomplish here is wonderful. It is wonderful but we must know that it doesn’t last. We need to achieve yet know, accomplish things with vigor yet with humble attitudes. Maybe what we’re searching for when looking out the window for more is the knowledge that we are a fragile and strong race ever-searching for an absolute meaning. 

Maybe the meaning is found in accepting what we are and doing it well. Until the time comes for us to leave.