Last night I was browsing my blog in an attempt to figure out when an event happened. Much like a journal or diary, in the years I blog regularly, life information is saved. An account of sorts is kept. I can flip to June of 2006 and see what was in my thoughts or at least what I felt like sharing. I was 23 pounds thinner that June.
I ran across a bucket list from March of 2010. I was dismayed when I read it: 1. Spend some time at an orphanage in another country. Possibly Uganda. 2. Rock the babies and children at aforementioned orphanage and pray over them. 3. Eat thick, chewy, crusty, pan pizza, filled with gluten and the toppings of my choice. 4. Go to a George Strait Concert. (Again) 5. Visit New York in the winter. 6. Stay overnight in a tall New York hotel, and watch snow falling down on the busy city. 7. Lose a few pounds. 8. Volunteer at a hospital again. 9. Take piano lessons and really learn to play. 10. Bless a stranger abundantly.
I haven't accomplished a single one.
I suppose I could pick up the phone, call the local pizzaria and stuff myself with gooey, glutenous pizza. Then take a red pen and draw a line straight through number three as if I'd accomplished a life long dream. I should have clarified, when I made the list, that I wanted to eat thick crust pizza WITHOUT getting sick. It doesn't appeal to me anymore. I can cross it out as "lost interest." It's time to make a more realistic bucket list.
In the midst of my research, I discovered I can also cross off number 4. In 2011, I saw George Strait live in concert. In my disappointment of not being able to get tickets for his upcoming concert in Denver, it slipped my mind. It was 4 days after we returned from our around-the-world trip. Why wasn't THAT on my bucket list?
"Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,but a sudden good break can turn life around." (Prov. 13:12 MSG)
Remember Halloween in 1969? Mom made us martian costumes with pointed hats and polka dots. Mine was green, yours was pink. You wanted to be a ballerina because most of the girls in your class dressed up as ballerinas. Somewhere, there is a picture of us together dressed as martians. The pink polka dotted one is pointing her toys, posed as a ballerina.
Remember when you told me I had a mustache?
Do you remember riding in the station wagon with mom when we were little? We'd put our flip flops (which were called thongs) on the floor, upside down, and pretend they were gas pedals. We shared so we could take turns having 3 each: one for the gas, one for the brake, and one for the clutch. We were sure that if anything ever happened to mom while driving that we could take over and drive the car for her.
Do you remember pillow presents? Sometimes we made scavenger hunts, sometimes just little treats or notes to each other. I remember mostly getting homemade tamales tucked under my pillow but I don't remember eating them. Did we?
Remember laying in bed tickling each others feet to see who would laugh first?
Do you remember sharing a bedroom and sometimes we fought? We'd try to divide the room up, but usually by the end of the day, we were friends again.
Remember taping Starsky and Hutch on cassette tape, then interviewing each other and using audio clips from the television show for the answers? You thought Starsky was so cute and I liked Hutch. Whatever happened to those tapes?
Do you remember I had a pet water balloon? It was sort of like having a pet rock, someone to talk to when you felt like you didn't have any friends. I made a little bed for it and drew a face on it, but never told anyone. One day I shared it with you and you laughed and wanted to pop it. Later you told me you were sorry and said you'd never make fun of me again.
Remember when you told me I had a mustache, and laughed?
I have so many fond memories. More recently they are the ones where you've had layovers in Denver or when I've been in Arizona and we've sat by your firepit and as we've always done, talked for hours and hours.
Let's keep making memories, maybe New York for the next one?
Clutter creates chaos. I'm not sure how or why this happens, but it does. More often than I care to admit.
Standing in the kitchen, with a half hour before I needed to leave for an appointment, I told myself I had just enough time. I could empty
and reorganize one shelf of a very deep cabinet. Hidden away in the back, amongst the clutter, I found this:
In case you can't read the Best By date, it is Sep. 02, 2009. Do you have any idea how many jars of peanut butter I have purchased in the last 4-5 years? Plenty. I've even run out of peanut butter, or so I thought. (To be fair,this is creamy peanut butter and it most likely was shoved to the back by my peanut butter eaters who prefer crunchy.)
I found many interesting items in that cabinet: A package of seaweed sent from Korea by my son. He's been back in the states for 2 years. Two boxes of candy canes I planned to use at Christmas. They were saved from the previous year. Six empty bags of Starbucks coffee. Did you know if you take an empty bag to the store you can get a free cup of coffee? Just a regular coffee, nothing fancy. Expired hot chocolate, coffee filters that don't look useable, and a nearly empty roll of Reynolds plastic wrap that is no longer sold-nostalgia? I can't remember why it was saved. I ran across 4 expired packages of baking chocolate, one was white. Apparently I had baking plans, but never got around to them. I managed to empty the shelf in the allotted time and only put back what I felt was necessary and trashed the rest.
When clutter takes over drawers, closets, countertops, and cupboards, is it any wonder that items become lost or disappear? I doubt I'm the only one who has lost an important paper, misplaced a valuable tool, or simply couldn't find what I needed because of unnecessary clutter. In the busyness of life, rather than deal with stuff that is accumulating, it seems easier to shove it in a drawer and decide what to do with it at a later date. The problem is, later isn't any more convenient. As the clutter takes over, it steals my time. I waste hours sifting through junk to locate an important item. The time it would have initially taken to either find a proper home for stuff or discard it is a pittance to the time lost rummaging through it in search of other things.
What about mental and spiritual clutter? Issues and decisions come up yet get shoved to the back of my mind or heart because I don't want to deal with them now. What becomes of this junk? Does that little agitation grow every time I throw it to the back of my mind's closet? When is a convenient time to deal with that irritation or to make that decision? When it is fresh, right in front of me or when it has been allowed to clutter and cloud my thoughts for days and weeks at a time? Do I forgive right away, or stuff that in my mental "to do" folder? If I wait until I am offended again, I can add that to the existing folder. Then when the folder is big and fat, it is no longer filled with just items needing forgiveness, but now contains deep roots of bitterness. I glance at it and realize I have a huge cluttered mess to tackle. It reminds me a lot of that overstuffed closet. It would have been so much easier if I had dealt with these things right away.
When I allow clutter to build up, whether clutter of the heart, mind, or home, it can lead to chaos. It causes me to lose valuable time and resources. That jar of peanut butter was a perfectly good, food item that was wasted because it became lost in the back of a shelf, amidst the junk. How often have I missed an opportunity to grow or to be used by God, because I was loaded down by a bunch of junk that kept me from seeing what was truly important?
What about you? I'd love to hear how you have dealt with clutter: your successes and failures.
also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us
lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," (Heb. 12:1)
I recently committed to picking Ethan up every other Wednesday to take
him to music therapy. Yesterday was the first day for me to drive an
hour and 15 minutes to his school, pick him up, then drive 38 minutes
Once in the car, I explained that I was taking him to therapy (not Grandpa's.) Afterwards I would take him to get something to eat. He began signing and telling me something. Grrr...I wish I understood his signs better.
"Ethan, get Gramma's Ipad out of her purse. Find the app that has the owl. See if you can tell me on there." It has been a very long time since we've attempted to use that speaking program. The school chooses to use another speak system that frustrates me beyond belief, but enough of that. Within a couple of minutes, he was in the program and it was saying dinosaurs. That was the mode where we last left it. The next thing I hear is, "I want Dr. Pepper."
I look at the clock, then the GPS. There is no time to stop. We should arrive at our destination in 23 minutes, exactly 3:30. His water bottle in his backpack is empty. I feel like a bad gramma. This kid gets on the bus at 8:30 a.m. School starts at 9:00. Normally he doesn't get out of school until 3:30 where he again rides the bus arriving home between 4:00-4:30. That is a long, darn day. On Mondays and Wednesdays therapy doesn't get over until 4:45. Then there is that long drive home.
"I'm sorry Buddy, we will get one when we get something for dinner." I hand him my phone that has the GPS and tell him he can FaceTime with one of his aunts. Instead he is fascinated with the map and begins telling me directions to go, gesturing and pointing. We finally arrive at the appointed time, but all I can think about is my 11 year old grandson has never asked me for a drink, let alone for a Dr. Pepper-and I can't do anything about it. Grrr....
I have to say though, I am very excited about his music therapy. I believe it will open new areas of his brain development. This is about all I could see from my vantage point. I listened to them singing and doing activities. Occasionally he would see me and smile, then go on with what he was doing.
After therapy and driving 40 minutes, Ethan and I stopped at Chik-fil-A to get that long awaited Dr. Pepper.
See you next Wednesday Ethan!
"And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward." (Mt. 10:42)