Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Do you have dishes you rarely use?

When I got married, I had a new set of white stoneware dishes.  I think it's a complete 12-place setting suite of beautiful best ware.  My mother always emphasized that it was important for children to learn to handle beautiful things carefully. 

I would note that she had two daughters.

Her message is important though--even with sons.  It just requires a few more precautions like a sturdy cabinet door protecting said dishes! 

I had some porcelain figurines, a few of which have survived children and 4 moves.  Most of which are out for display except when we lived in apartments.  Things were too tight then.

Back to the dishes:

You'll notice two types of dishes in the dishwasher this morning.  Stoneware and Corelle ware.

Up to now, the Corelle ware had far more use.  I have dishes from two other sets as well.  Those include a few of my mother-in-law's Stengel ware and some special occasion (Thanksgiving) plates.

The question is whether to keep them or downsize. 

Every time we use my china (even though they are technically stoneware, they're really nice and what I chose for my special china), I laugh because my sons set the table with the china, silverware, and (drumroll please) plastic water glasses.  And I groan and ask them to replace it with glass.  I don't think they even know we have crystal!  Sorry, Mother.  I really tried.  The crystal used to be far more accessible but they still didn't think about it then either.

Recently I moved my white "china" to the cupboard where I used to keep the Corelle ware, and constantly remind my sons that it absolutely cannot go into the microwave!  It shatters.  The shatter lines are actually gorgeous as one plate learned, but I don't know if it would completely break with two microwave uses.  But it's being used rather than languishing in a cupboard, and I love it!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Using it!!!

Okay.  I'm starting to own the problem.  While we're at it, here's another way I'm dealing with my fabric stash.  More postcards!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Own it

Three posts in and I've only begun!

Do you see yourself in my experience?  Do you tend to accumulate in spite of yourself?

I remember a speaker, Bob Proctor, teaching that we have to create space for what we really want.  He talked about a woman who told him she wanted new drapes.  She had visualized new drapes, but she still didn't have new drapes although months had passed.

Bob looked around at her windows which were blocked from view by, you guessed it, drapes.

He asked, "Where are you going to PUT new drapes?"

The woman looked astonished and said, "Right there," waving her hand at the already draped window.

Bob said, "You haven't made room for them.  Take those drapes that you hate down.  Right now."

The woman protested because she would have no privacy without something at the windows.  He shrugged at her remarks and said, "I guess you don't really want new drapes."

He said she took them down that night, and the next time he visited her, she had the drapes she wanted at the window.


I'm not sure how to make space for a tinier space, but I'm pretty sure I need less stuff to attain it.  I have always believed that renting storage space for more stuff that is hard to get at is pretty much a waste of money, but maybe all those boxes and piles in my attic that make it hard to put new blinds up in the windows are just as stupid of a waste of space and money.

Own it. What the heck is all that stuff?!  I'm pretty sure there are two boxes underneath that window that I want to keep.  And the suitcases are my sons.  But what is everything else?!!!!!!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Stuff weighs us down

I started on one track in my last post and wound up somewhere else.

Somewhere else important.  Somewhere else that is driving my reason why.

Two posts ago, I talked about our attempts to minimize our lifestyle in order to maximize our lives.

Because, really, stuff weighs us down.

I remember many years ago when we went to Miami, Florida, on a job assignment.  We left everything inside our house for a caretaker to watch over while we put everything we could fit inside our Dodge Grand Caravan.  I wish I had a picture!  I put my kitchen appliances and a few toys along with clothing in with our kids.  We removed one of the captains chairs and moved the bench seat from the back to the middle row and the other captain chair into the back in order to maximize the amount of space we had for our stuff.  Our three kids sat on the bench seat, buckled into the three seat belts, while our dog found just enough space on the floor between their backpacks.  She was a big lab but such a wonderful traveler!

Jim's company paid for a 2-story, townhouse-style, furnished apartment so we didn't need furniture at least.  We lived there for about 6 months and had a wonderful time.  When we came home, we rented an Enterprise van to help drag all the stuff back we had accumulated.  Six months=one van of stuff.

When we came home, I looked at all our stuff and started cleaning out.  We gave away a small mountain.  I missed the lightness of just enough.  When we moved, Jim's new company paid for our move so we didn't lighten up again and I was shocked at how much stuff we had when we moved into our new home in Missouri.

Unfortunately I didn't take the initiative and lighten up again.  We were busy homeschooling because we moved in the middle of the year.  Unpacking took too long as it was!

When we moved BACK to Kentucky six years later, we moved ourselves.  I packed us up myself, and I got tired.  I ran out of boxes and plastic.  And I started giving away stuff.

And more stuff.

And we finally walked away with some furniture still sitting in our unsold house for our renter to use.

Seven years later, we have filled the largest home we have ever owned.

It's time to downsize.

Time to get light again because that lightness isn't just in how large of a truck it takes to move us.  It's mental and emotional garbage too.  It's freeing to say, "Shaundra needs new clothes," and go to the store for an outfit.  I didn't spend money frivolously; I bought what she needed--one or two new outfits because my baby was growing.  I didn't have to work my way through dozens of outfits packed into boxes.  I just needed one or two that were on sale.  (In Florida, they sell out-of-season summer clothes in the winter just like everywhere else except those clothes are in season!)  And then I got rid of the clothes she had outgrown.  And those two or three playsets we brought for our kids?  They were supplemented with pads of paper and markers as well as the outside world.  They're artistic natures were enhanced with those few tools.  Richest kids I've ever known!!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Did you know

Did you know that Robert E. Lee, general of the Confederate army, may well have been a savior of the Constitution of the United States?

a small clock tower in front of a tree: The Robert E. Lee Monument stands on Monument Avenue, February 8, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia.

You read that right.

Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia wasn't the first defeated.  In fact, it could have kept on going.  Other confederate commanders had been defeated but they hadn't ended the war.

Robert E. Lee was key.

Let's back up though.  Did Lee hate the Constitution?  No.  In fact, he was invited to become the commander over the Union forces.  Abraham Lincoln knew he needed Lee's military genius.  Lee actually was pro-Constitution.  There were a lot of factors at play in his life, however, and a primary virtue he valued was honor.  His family honor was ripped away from him because of his Revolutionary War hero father's post-war habits of gambling and drunkenness.

Robert E. Lee could not strip away his family's honor by leaving his homeland (Virginia) in her time of crisis.  But what he could do, he did. He ended the Civil War.  He fought a good fight.  He out-thought his opponents.  He out-maneuvered his opponents.  He proved his genius.  And then he moved on and urged his countrymen to follow him in that maneuver in becoming good Constitutionalists again.

It broke his heart to leave the Union, and it broke his heart to see so many good men that he loved killed.

He stood up and was counted.  He pled with Southerners everywhere to lay down their weapons of war because he knew they could and would continue guerrilla warfare ad infinitum.  Like Jesse James did.  He knew it was time for the country to heal.  Ironically, the Virginian, Robert E. Lee, stood with Abraham Lincoln in reuniting the country.  It ruined him financially and respectfully, but he did it anyway.  He stood on principle.

Where did I learn this?  From books.  Books help us remember principles.

It's time to stand for principles again. Remember what Robert E. Lee asked of his countrymen. Heal our country.  Stop the divisiveness.  Get rid of everything that doesn't matter, schedules that are overfull, driving habits that kill, online bullying that causes tremendous sadness.

It is time to heal each other.  People, not processes, are what matters.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Who are we as a people? We define ourselves every minute!

Recently I had a soul defining moment that I've been dodging for YEARS.

It's called RETIREMENT, and it's LOOMING over us like someone else's nightmare.

And it has another name:  DEBT.  I finally had enough about a year ago.  Jim quit his job and went to the more risky venture of contracting his services.  In the process, he finally started getting paid closer to what he is worth.

And nothing changed.  Okay, his diet plan got easier to pay for.  But that was it.

How did that happen?  I know because I've always kept track of our money, but I didn't control it.  We simply responded to need and concerns.  We've tried very hard to teach our kids to avoid some common mistakes, mistakes that are labeled as DEBT.  Both of our sons have bought their cars with cash.

And then one son wrecked his car.  Yucky lesson.  It doesn't look too bad, does it?  But you can't see the underside.

You can see the flat tire but you may not realize the wheel itself broke.  Three of those wheels broke.  And all because someone else's schedule was more important to her than my son's safety.  He narrowly missed hitting a black SUV whose driver thought her left turn into the grocery/gas store was more important than my son's right of way on the state highway.  He missed her.  She didn't even have the grace to stop, but the person behind her did.  That lady made sure he was okay.  That curb he jumped?  It's okay too.  They stopped tallying the damages at $4,500.  He only paid $3,500 for the car.  The sign it broke is gone.  He's saving money again for a car instead of school but he still needs money for school next year.  

Remember last post where I talked about remembering the ugly about where our country has been?  Remember the Civil War?  Remember blacks being shoved to awful schools and the backs of buses?  This isn't a racial problem.  This is a courtesy problem.  This is forgetting we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven.  This is about being more concerned about others than our schedule or convenience.  

As my husband puts it, "People over processes."

This is where our education needs to redirect.  We've spent time and money on anti-bullying messages and we have bullying in our social media.  Let's spend time and money studying history again.  Stop tearing down the Confederate statues, not because they're good but because we NEVER WANT TO GO THERE AGAIN.

History unlearned is history repeated. 

Rudeness, all about me attitudes, result in unnecessary automobile accidents, road rage, hurt feelings, offenses taken where none were intended.  Go find a book.  Not fantasy but history.  Learn about what happens when people care more about themselves than others.  Then check into yourself.  Are you more like those who wanted your conveniences over the life of another human being?  Slavery wasn't just about black people.  Indentured servants were treated worse.  Factory workers?  What do you know about the plight of those children on the Orphan Trains?  Have you heard about them?  Liken what you're reading to yourself.  Are you more like the best in them or the worst?  What face do you wear online?  Behind the wheel?

THAT, my friends, is what defines us as a nation.