Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Best Things In Life Are Free

This picture hung in my mom and dad's house always. I honestly can't remember a time when this picture did not hang in our house.

It reads:
The Best Things in Life Are Free

When we count our many blessings; it isn't hard to see that life's most valued treasures are the treasures that are free.
For it isn't what we own or buy that signifies our wealth.
It's the special gifts that have no price: our family, friends and health.

We've all seen a version of this all over Internet. But . . . How often in our world of uber-consumerism do we think about this seriously?

It's Saturday and of course I have a lot of choices of how to spend my day. Years ago, Saturday meant some kind of shopping trip. Today, I'm trying to figure out all the things I DON'T need and all the things I have right here to not only keep me busy but make my day fun and relaxing.

This little picture hangs in my hallway. I pass it several times a day. Sometimes I notice it and sometimes I don't. For some reason, today I did notice it, hanging quietly, but loudly encouraging me to find ways to not spend money. To spend my day in useful pursuits - reading, sewing (so many projects), knitting (ditto), making some good food, take a walk (it's cold, but a short one would be ok). Any of these things I can accomplish without spending money.

I think we have been so conditioned today that we must buy buy buy - coffee at the coffee house (don't forget your scone or muffin), more food than we need from the mega grocery store, clothes, shoes, stuff and more stuff. We forget that it is possible to find things to do in our homes. That we can pick up books that we have been meaning to read. That we could finish any number of projects that we have started. That we could take a walk. That we could change up our morning routine with yoga and tea instead of coffee and something sugary. Oh and don't forget popping in a DVD (does anyone still own these things besides me) and watching a couple of your favorite movies (while completing a knitting or quilting project) It's like giving yourself a spa day - a no consuming spa day.

Today I have committed to not spending money. I don't write about this for any kind of accolades or to even say that this is something everyone (or even anyone else) should embrace, but believe it or not it is the most empowering thing to do. I am always so amazed at the end of one of these days at how satisfied I feel. I look around at completed things, I am usually amazed at whatever meal I've been able to prepare without going to the store (because we all have lots of stuff in our cupboards), and how relaxed I feel after one of these days.

Happy Saturday, everyone! Enjoy a relaxing day if you can.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


This week I was reminded of how important a sense of home is, and how much I have strayed from the comfort of one place that I call home.

I'm sure I've written about this before, because I think about it a lot. In 2008, when so many people were losing their homes, I joined their ranks. I was divorced and struggling to hang on to a house that was too big and too expensive for one person. My sons were all grown, two of them were married and my youngest son had just graduated from college. I didn't need the house, but something made me hang on till the bitter end. What happened next has been a little hard to stop. 

I started running. Metaphorically. I moved from one apartment to the next over the next ten years, sometimes only staying a few months (oh yes, I've learned quite a bit about leases and dealing with unhappy landlords). I moved a total of 20 times. It seems unbelievable to write it, but it's true. 

About two years ago on my 60th birthday, I moved into a lovely little cottage in a quite neighborhood that reminds me of the house I was living in, when I first was married, when my boys were young. It is a yellow house (my dad's favorite color) and it's situated on a street that is a semi-circle with exits at both ends of the circle. It has its flaws, like any old house, but I love it.

I've been here for two years, and this week something terrible almost happened - I almost moved again. What the hell! I was preparing to leave behind my garage (what a blessing in bad weather to be able to walk just a few steps into a dry space to load and unload my car), and my laundry room (for five years I lived without a laundry in my apartment - what was I thinking?)

I wasn't thinking. I was running.  

I've been doing a lot of meditating on my blessings and learning to remain calm and stay put. I've been meditating on the joys of knowing what is in every corner, every closet, and not having unpacked boxes. I've been meditating on my garden and making this place work for me. And. Because I spoke up about the things that were making it hard for me to stay here (the giant yard and mowing and caring for it) my landlord stepped up and offered to help.

I've stopped running. I'm staying put. I'm going to embrace stability. I'm going to let go of the pain of losing my house - finally. 

This is my home sweet home. 

Oh . . . and I'm back here on Blogger - a more simple place for me to put down my thoughts. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Contemplating Loss

Summer Sky
"It is not too uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living."
Eckhart Tolle 
Three weeks ago, on a sweltering summer afternoon, the day before my sister's birthday, my brother-in-law layed down for a nap, and side stepped off this plane.

He was tired after fighting a brave fight with kidney disease for the past six years. My sister, to state the obvious, is devasted. She is left a widow. She is left with a pretty big hole in her life. She is alone for the first time in her adult life, with no children to soften the blow of his leaving. While trying to deal with the emotional loss of her husband, she is also faced with the possessions he has left behind. My brother-in-law was a lover of a good auction, and he has the stuff to prove it. But his sudden passing (because it did seem sudden, even though we knew he was sick) has left in its wake a pretty big, heartbreaking mess for my sister to negotiate.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Hello April . . . You are so Fickle - Well Hello June . . .

"In spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside four and twenty hours."
Mark Twain

It has been many years since I remember this much snow in April. It was very beautiful though, and it has probably given me another two weeks without mowing lawn. Yah snow!

What a crazy beginning to our Spring here in Ohio.

I found this laying in my que - never pushed publish. It has been a busy spring. It must have been because it is now Summer. I planted a small herb garden in my huge backyard - we'll see how things go.

Newly Planted Herb Garden - May 2016

Herb Garden June 2016 - with a little lettuce

More updates to come. Happy Summer !!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Libraries: A Bibliophile Faces Her Minimalism

“You can never get a cup of tea big enough, or a book long enough for me.” 
C.S. Lewis
My current stack of library books (top shelf) my journals bottom shelf

                When I was young, we went to the library on a regular basis. The summers were particularly lovely because we could walk to the library in our neighborhood any time we wanted. I loved libraries then, and I still love them. I love the rows and rows of books. I love the chairs tucked into corners for reading. I love the dense hush of a library. It was my favorite place in college to escape.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Get Real

"Language most shows a man; speak so that I may see thee."  

 Ben Johnson (Poet b. 1572)

This post is about a couple of things. First (and not foremost), it is about boring repetition. Second it is about choosing our words carefully. And finally, it is about honesty.

The phrase first and foremost must fade away. Now. Writing both is a redundancy. If something is first - as in the first reason you do something, or the first of anything, you don't need foremost. Foremost means: leading, principal, FIRST, premier, top, best, and more. First means: FOREMOST, principal, top, and more. These words mean the same thing. That means that to always be using them together is redundant. Who started this? Someone has to stop it first. Let it be me and you; should you choose to take the challenge.  I challenge you to scour this phrase from your writing. Firstly, your writing will be more concise, but the foremost reason for cutting this phrase from your writing is that it is redundant. Lose redundancy in your writing, and your writing will be more enjoyable to read, and more understandable.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stuff and Passion

Small Spaces
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

I love to cook. I love to knit and sew. I love to garden. I love to entertain. I love to read. I love to listen to music and watch movies. But I am trying very hard to be a minimalist. And all of these things could lead me down a path of mass consumption.