Tag Archives: past

Things I Learned by Downsizing – Part One – Papers     

 

I’m back to blogging this week–finally! This last move into a smaller home has been the biggest task of my life. Impacting my thoughts, emotions, and body has been a good transformative process and I’m thankful to be settled now.

The downsizing process began a couple of years ago by reading “Everything That Remains” in two sittings. My thoughts about stuff will never be the same.

Since moving into a smaller home a few months ago with one-third less stuff, here are the things I learned about purging the papers in my life:

Kids school papers

Everything from math fact worksheets to book reports cluttered our attic. Multiply this by three since I kept schoolwork from all of my children. Instead of keeping all those papers, send them to grandparents and special people in your lives or use them to make an envelope or wrap a gift. Take photos of their artwork, they’ll be digital and last longer.

Pay stubs, bills, and receipts

I cannot tell you how many boxes of this stuff I found in the garage and attic, including paycheck stubs from my first job in the 70s and receipts from a zillion places for things we don’t even own anymore. I tried shredding and burning it all myself, but it was taking ages and burnt out my shredder. My friend offered to take dozen boxes off my hands and had them shredded for me.

Journals, recipes, letters

Hysteria erupted when my husband found my diary from high school and saw all those tear-stained pages of my true loves lost! I’m so glad we found all my journals. Now, they are together in one box, a collage of my thought life.

The butter-stained recipes written by my mother, grandmother and precious friends are in a separate box together. Maybe someday I’ll compile a book of these handwritten recipes.

My grandma wrote to me weekly when I lived out-of-state for a couple of years. She passed away nearly 30 years ago, but I have all of those letters in a special box now. It felt like a warm hug to read her words. I’ll do that again someday when I am missing her. I’ve added cards and letters from other grandparents and loved ones to that box. A separate box holds the cards and letters from my two best friends I met in first grade and we are still best friends today.

Cards

So many boxes of cards! Some of those are in my new garage waiting to be sorted. I saved the ones with heartfelt notes inside and the ones my kids made all those Mother’s days ago. Though, most of the cards landed in the recycle bin.

Rewards of purging paper

The rewards are too numerous to mention, but the greatest is how much lighter my life feels. I felt buried underneath all of this paper/memorabilia and I’m glad it’s almost all gone.

Tips for a successful paper purge:

  • Hire a professional organizer. My favorite organizer works locally here
  • Keep your children’s original writings and art
  • Don’t buy storage containers–you’ll have plenty once you start getting rid of stuff
  • Follow “minimalist” types on social media
  • Keep receipts for big items, like furniture, vehicles, and home improvements

Is it time for you to shred, box, give-away, or recycle some papers?

Come back next time for tips about clearing out books, clothes, and household items.

From Freeze to Free

Like Queen Elsa in Disney’s animated film, “Frozen” we can “Let it Go.” Fear, that is. And, being frozen.

But, we will need to do more than stomp our feet, wave our hands in the air, and sing a hit tune. It’s time for a real breakthrough to no longer live under the heaviness of traumatic events that have us stuck.

Experiencing fearful events cause us to respond in one of three ways: fight, flight or freeze. Experts say that the “freeze” response is overcome with the help of a professional. With the fight or flight response, the trauma, fear, or painful experience is processed at the time. By freezing, the trauma is internalized and frozen. We can get stuck here.

Flight, Fight, or Freeze

If you’re hiking in the mountains and come face-to-furry face with a grizzly bear, you’d better allow the automatic switch for flight to engage and protect yourself from harm. (To avoid experiencing this fear, hike in groups of three or more. 91% of bear attacks happen to lone hikers.)

If someone tries to steal your bag or your bike, you’ll most likely engage the fight mechanism and hit or chase that person.

If you’ve been abused as a child or adult, betrayed by your spouse, or some other trauma that caused you to freeze, don’t fear the future.

The Future is Yours

It may be tempting to stay stuck in this frozen state. Don’t. The freeze response debilitates us from actually feeling the fear. If we have traumatic experiences that have caused us to freeze, we most likely need to seek professional help to thaw out and move forward.

You can live freely.

Recognize the trauma that caused you to freeze. Talk with someone. Face the fear, process it, and move into a fearless way of life. I’m not suggesting that we forsake caution, or that this process is a quick and easy one, but we can get free from what caused us to freeze.

I know this from experience and I live more freely today than ever (and, yes, I had professional help to get free).

So can you.

Comfort Music

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me; my heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

Sometimes I like to listen to “comfort music.” This is important when I feel like I’ve forgotten who I am or where I’m going in life. Familiar songs comfort me like a warm blanket on a chilly night and refresh like a tall glass of water on a sweltering summer day. Comfort music serenades happy memories to my mind, like comfort food helps me feel better.

Studies prove that music profoundly impacts our minds and moods. We can influence our thoughts by what we listen to. So, when times are stressful or I’m just weary from the grind of daily life, I turn on a familiar tune to spark a lighter time in my past.

Comfort music reminds me who I am. Some songs remind me who God is. I can feel the tension release when I hear the first few notes, and my spirit lifts as I sing along.

It amazes me that I remember every lyric without even thinking about it. But don’t ask me what I ate for lunch last Monday because I probably don’t remember.

(Excerpt from Dashes of Salt. Contact Kim to purchase a copy. Book also available on Amazon)

Blooming from a pile of abundance

 

We experience seasons of darkness, silence, and sometimes hopelessness before the daylight shines and warms us to grow into all God plans for us to be.

If you feel like you’re buried under a pile of…manure, don’t lose heart. The dark, thick soil is the fermenting ground of blossoms. Unless the seed is pressed under the dirt and manure, it cannot produce leaves, blooms, or good fruit. It waits for many sunrises and sunsets before green shoots of life break through the surface. A miracle!

We have such a small part in the growth process of trees, bushes or flowers and yet we believe sometimes that we ought to grow quicker, recover more easily, and produce fruit year-round.

It doesn’t work that way.

Perhaps your life is littered with addiction, abuse, neglect, abandonment, a painful past or current daily struggles.

It looks like…well, it even smells like…manure.

Compost.

Dirt.

The stuff that no one wants. God, the Master Gardener uses all of that stuff to mature us, grow us up and strengthen us to produce good fruit and share the abundance of that goodness with others.

Try this quick exercise and see if it doesn’t lighten your life just a little bit.

  1. Make a brief list of the manure in your life.
  2. What good can come from that?
  3. Out of that abundance, who can you share with?

If you’ve ever had a garden or fruit trees you know they produce much more than you can possibly consume. You’re on the lookout for anyone who likes whatever you have an abundance of. A church we visited has a table designated for folks to bring the abundance of their harvests to share with others. Otherwise, the excess falls to the ground and becomes waste. And, that really stinks.

I believe our lives can operate in the same way. If you have an abundance of experience, pain, healing, hope, faith, or courage, think about who might benefit from your abundance. As you bless others, so you will be blessed!