Monthly Archives: January 2014

Lightening the Load

This woman's work is beautiful! Man I love art so much.

This woman’s work is beautiful! Man I love art so much.

We had a wonderful little homeschool class today where 2 college seniors came to explain to us their different study-abroad experiences. One had gone to Uganda and the other to Beijing, China.

The student that went to Uganda helped with a project that makes clay water filters to purify drinking water. He kept mentioning how the people have much less than Americans had but he noticed they just seemed happier. He said it multiple times; you could tell it had stuck with him.

It seemed timely to hear this. Just this morning I got home from working out and cleared out both bookcases. I have quite a lot of books to donate and some very tidy shelves at the moment.

The process didn’t take long, it wasn’t difficult, and now not only do I know exactly what I have, I don’t have shelves cluttered with books I’ll probably never read again. But I didn’t get rid of absolutely everything. Some stuff I keep for sentimental value, although I may not read it again. I suppose someday if we ever move into an itty bitty house I will part with them. In the meantime I’ll try to keep getting ebooks and books from the library to not add to the clutter.

I know none of this is earth shattering information. A strive for simplicity is nothing new. Only people with more than they could ever need get the privelege of talking about reducing the amount of stuff they own. This doesn’t mean I don’t think it isn’t something good to do.

Some people say it’s a good idea for kids to have fewer toys. It doesn’t overwhelm them as much. I think this is pretty decent advice for grown-ups too.

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with possessions. I don’t think they make us bad people. I just think sometimes they feel heavy. Shuffling things to and fro and avoiding dusty bookshelves for months because you have more important things to do than worry about them.

I want to spend my time on other things. Put my energies where they should go instead of into more chores. The last thing I need in my life is more stuff to tidy up.

I’ve still got more spaces in this house to lighten, but I’m a lot further along than I was 3 days ago!

A Fresh Start

Sunrise over Ashtabula, Ohio. January 3, 2014

Sunrise over Ashtabula, Ohio. January 3, 2014I almost always like the beginning of something in terms of getting motivated. Yes, the new year is just a flip of the calendar but in my mind it’s something more. I feel the same about Mondays, new months, etc. Everything seems possible. 

I have some resolutions, but they are mostly just reminders to do what I know I should do anyway. Like, go work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. My only hold-up with this is that now it’s so dark and cold at 5am when I get up, it’s hard to feel motivated, but once I’m done I always feel like a rockstar, so I need to remember that when the warmth of my bed is calling to me.

Get back to meal planning and cooking. I love to cook and I’m not bad at it so I just need to be more proactive with this. I’m going back to a food budget and I know I have a lot of food in the house that needs to be used. I plan to be more intentional about using up what I already have, and planning meals around these items. This will save me money and trips to the store, which is good because I hate going to the grocery store.

Reduce the crap in my house. Seriously, I just spent a large chunk of the weekend cleaning and organizing. The crazy thing is I keep a clean house, and generally fairly organized, but when I get into major organizing I realize I end up keeping all sorts of nonsense because I might need it at some point. Lame. I also am so bad about “putting something away later.” Meaning, I will set down the stuff that needs to be filed into a pile in the office, instead of just filing it right away. This cannot continue.

Not being a spazz with homeschooling. Really, I stress out over crazy things. My kid couldn’t figure out how to tell time for a few years and each time it would come up I would panic and then get angry, and then feel frustrated. He just asked for a watch for Christmas and got one in his stocking. Guess what? He can tell time now, he just wasn’t ready before. I need peace with the fact that we will never ever read all the books, do all the projects, see all the things. It will be ok. I think we’d both enjoy reading Tolkien books together instead of dry workbooks any day.

Farm better. I should be a better bee keeper. I will be better this year. I can plan out my garden better and sell smarter. I will also do this this spring/summer. I still have a few months before worrying about either of these so I’m going to let it ride for a bit and just enjoy winter.

Enjoy what and who I have in my life. I’m generally pretty appreciative, at least in my mind. I have a great husband and kid, great friends, a nice community, etc. I just want to revel in this more and make time for making memories. We have hectic lives like everyone else but I want to make sure I make time for fun adventures, for laughing with friends, for relaxing with yoga, etc.

I want to create. I want to read. I want to go camping more. I want to do kind things for no reason. I want to look at art and watch great films. I want to swim and run barefoot on grass and sometimes just curl up on the couch with a beer and my dogs.

There’s more, much more. More than I can put here, but this is a pretty decent overview.

2013 was really great. I have no complaints. I have no regrets. I just like to push myself forward constantly in a positive direction. A new year seems like as good a place as any to start with that.