Spring fever has possessed me. I know, it’s only February, but the weather has been unseasonably warm, and if the daffodils are blooming my energy levels soar.
With the new burst of energy, the last two weeks have been majorly productive. I got a few more chapters done on the novel I’m working on, cleared out the exercise room closet and took loads of old clothing to Goodwill, cleaned out my bookshelves, rearranged furniture in not one, not two, but three other rooms, and bought paint to redo my kitchen. There is something about the beauty of sunshine and flowers that makes me see all the shabbiness that is indoors and drives me to resolve what I barely noticed during the (very brief) winter. This is a picture of how
I envision myself. 🙂
What I haven’t done is work on my blog. Sorry about that.
I am currently sitting at the local tire center waiting to have a flat fixed on my father’s van. An hour wait? Good grief! Time is precious! After all, I have a kitchen to paint!
Nearly twenty-two years ago, my husband was finishing residency out in California and we were contemplating our move out this way. We needed to sell our house, and decided that if we sold it ourselves we could save the realtor fees and be more competitive. We read everything we could on getting a house ready, and got to work. We found a remnant carpet large enough to cover the living room. It was thick and plush and totally unsuitable for a family with kids. It was white. Hey, but the price was amazing. No problem, we didn’t plan to stay there long and it looked great. I’m always painting walls, so those were up to date. Next step, pack and clear out everything we didn’t need. I packed all the knickknacks and souvenirs, boxed the books, all the extra clothes, toys, everything but the bare necessities. I even went through the kitchen and packed all but four plates, bowls and sets of eating utensils—four being the size of our family at the time. I left minimal cookware, packed all but a few pictures, got rid of furniture we didn’t want to take with us, and suddenly something very strange happened.
It took me a quarter of the time to clean the house.
The kids were content with the few toys left out.
Dishes got washed immediately. My counters stayed clear.
And the weirdest thing of all: people coming to see the house kept asking who my decorator was.
I learned a lesson I still frequently forget. Life is simpler when you keep things simple. It is easy to accumulate, to think we need more than we do. And all that stuff? It needs washing or dusting, ironing or straightening. It needs my time, and frankly I’m selfish and want my time for other things. Things like my kids, my husband, my writing. In fact, as I write, I’m inspired to go clean out more stuff.
This “Simple is simpler” principle spills over into other aspects of life. Call it, “Good housecleaning gets rid of trash.”
Trash takes many forms, here are a few:
Gossip and lies. “If it ain’t true, don’t say it.” Oh, and my Grandma’s favorite–”If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” If you don’t live with trash, you don’t have to be careful about it. You don’t need to keep track of what you said to whom. You won’t be caught wallowing in something you wish you hadn’t said.
Don’t call work claiming to be sick, then be caught at the local hobby shop during your boss’s lunch break. Don’t fudge the numbers, don’t ask someone else to clock in for you because you are running a few minutes late, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Life always catches up with you, and enough accumulated trash eventually falls on your lap, and if you are lucky you can get out from under it. Way too many times, the trash crushes the ones bearing the weight, and other people with them.
Be honest. Be up front. If you have a conflict, talk with the person directly. Live within your means. Don’t envy. Don’t take what’s not yours. Show respect. Put God first and trust Him with your life. Sound familiar?
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols. (STUFF? Career?)
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. (If you claim to be a Christian, live like one.)
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (God wants us to gather together to worship Him.)
- Honor your father and your mother. (Even if they don’t deserve it.)
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery. (Even before marriage–Sex before marriage, multiple partners–it really complicates life.)
- You shall not steal. (A penny here and there, a few minutes here and there. How about stealing the affection of someone that isn’t yours? How about stealing someone’s reputation?)
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
Exodus 20:2-17 (Somewhat summarized.)
Live life with honor. Can you go to bed at night and pray, “Lord, I did my best. Teach me what more I need to know.”
Keep life simple and it will be so much simpler. It is not the cure all. It will not guarantee life will be easy or trouble free. But life is complicated enough without all the extra garbage. Do your best. People around you may not see it, may not understand. But in the end, there is One who sees and understands. And that’s what matters.
By the way, we sold our house in two weeks for our asking price. The folk that bought it were Asians, who never wore their shoes in the house and didn’t mind white carpet.