De-cluttering My Way

I am so excited about the work I finally did last week in my bedroom/craft room and in my office. It happened because Jessica was coming home with the twins for a weekend, and we were not really sure where to put them. OK, so that is not really true. We had planned to put them in my room because it is the largest, but I had it so messy that it was actually hard for me to function there. And if you need to see any proof of all that scroll back to October 17, 2017 to the post titled: Declaring War on Clutter, sort of!

So, everything is put into a can or a box or a tote, and they are even labeled so that I know where to find things without opening up everything. I fixed, as in sewed the stack of items without buttons or torn and returned them to the drawers and closets where they belonged. That was a good feeling. I have also been working on my Works in Progress items in the crochet department. Hopefully I will get to the sewing on the “to do” list by Monday or Tuesday. I even threw away the scraps of yarn that were too small to use for anything. In the past I saved them and set them out for the birds to use in their nests, but they never took them, so into the landfill they go.

So, the cleaning was thought up because of the pending visit, but it was not the actual trigger of my de-cluttering frenzy, which is still going on, Hurrah!!!

Baptism display

What actually happened is that I thought I was scheduled to sub on Thursday and Friday of last week. I got up on Thursday morning, got dressed and ready, and went along with James to school only to see the lady I was covering for in the building. I had the right day but the wrong week; I am subbing today. Instead of being super upset, I took it as the gift of a free day to do whatever I wanted to do. I went home, went to my office and began to sort. I sorted books into a spot in the bookshelf. I put items into the file cabinet and the desk drawers where they should have been in the first place. I sorted so much that I even put up the pictures of the twins’ baptism and Ana’s baptism on the top of the bookshelf. Those are the three children that I have baptized since beginning in ministry…well since ever. Duh!

Angels

I also cleared off all the items from the top of the computer desk and put up my display of Christmas angels. At first I was wondering why I put them there, and then it hit me that what better inspiration to write my messages than a bunch of angels. These angels have either been gifts from family or friends for Christmas or were things that I picked up at auction sales in $1. boxes. I think that the only one I bought for myself is the one on the far right in the back. Both the blue one and the green one belong to a daughter and the two little reindeer don’t really fit the theme, but they match in color and are staying with the angels rather than moving them to the Santa display.

The plant stand in my office.

Mostly I sorted and tossed little sticky notes of paper and sheets of things that were no longer relevant. I also found an empty shoe box and filled it with the Christmas, birthday and cards of congratulations from my installation. That was set aside to make myself a scrap-book later. I was really happy to fill the garbage so full. I got so excited that I even cleared out a stack of old magazines and reduced that by nearly half. I also found a pile of old manuals for nearly every appliance around. We even found the one for the washer and dryer that we had to toss this summer. They were given to us by James’ parents on our wedding. I wish they were still with us. That set worked far better than what I have now. Oh well… So, this is all for now. All I know is that I am happy about what I was able to clear out, and that I only tossed out the items that really had no further value for me. I refuse to toss just to toss, but it is time to go. Hope you are having a great day!!

Jan. 14: Sorting some Christmas items

James and I finally put away the Christmas tree. If you read any of my previous posts, you have seen our little white tree. I posted a picture of this year’s version on both Dec. 25, 2016 and Dec. 29, 2016. We bought it a few years back for several reasons the number one being that there really isn’t any room in this house for a large tree. I also really dislike putting lights on the tree. Each year it was getting more annoying to do that, and when we saw this little table top tree with the lights already in place, it was a no brainer. After we got it home we decided to pick a different color theme each year and decorate accordingly. The first year it was read (picture found on Nov. 29, 2014 post), and candy canes were all over that tree. I think I even replaced them once. Last year the color was blue (picture of this found on Nov. 27, 2015 on my old lucindagardens site) and that was really pretty.

All the old ornaments boxed for storage.

This year we did gold, and I like that one too. So now rather than have to dig through the big box of ornaments and try to remember where the garland and string beads are located in the storage area, we boxed up the items by color and marked the outside of the box. I think next year we will start all over with green. I know we have a few bulbs, and if we are willing to use the old wooden ornaments that are mostly green, I think it will work. Pretty soon we can just pull out the box with the label and leave the rest in place under the steps. Yipee!!! We also did some rearranging in the boxes that we were using for storage, and found that we could get by with smaller containers. Sometimes sorting isn’t necessarily tossing anything out, it is just organizing more efficiently. That was our main focus today. We also fixed items that were damaged for example James glued the head back on a wooden soldier.

Blue decorations

Blue decorations

Red decorations

Red decorations

One of the things that makes our basement look way more cluttered than it needs to is all the cardboard boxes that I save. I keep telling myself that I need them for days like today (and I did find just the ones I needed) so I can find something better to relocate and repack items to keep. It is cheaper than purchasing fancy plastic tubs or baskets. It is also better for the environment than the plastic storage items. However, as a bit of advice to the young people out there, the best thing would be not to accumulate and especially not to purchase so much junk in the first place, and then you don’t need the storage containers or the space.  And think of all the money you save from: #1 not purchasing the stuff and #2 not purchasing the storage container and #3 not needing to spend money at the clinic or hospital on a sprained ankle from tripping over all the junk or worse yet a counselor or psychiatrist to get over your hording addiction. OK, so maybe #3 didn’t come out quite as funny as it was intended.

The bottom line on all of this refers to the third part of my philosophy of frugal/organized living, where I list that thing about ask yourself if you really need this. Most of these Christmas items I ended up getting at various auction sales. Almost nothing other than that little white tree were purchased at full retail price. This is where I get myself into the most trouble. I always think that if I am getting a bargain then of course it is fine to buy it. I have to stay away from auction sales because bidding becomes a high in itself, and if an auctioneer ignores me for a couple of items that I might think are ok, and I might actually use, then I get carried away on junk things and bid just for the fun of bidding. You might see why I never step foot inside a gambling casino. I am too afraid of participating in that form of recreation. Now if only I could get myself to find the high in exercising or cleaning, that might be a good thing.

Homemade ornaments!

Homemade ornaments!

Plastic canvass and crocheted items.

Plastic canvass and crocheted items.

So enough of my true confessions. During our sorting today, I also pulled out all of the little handmade ornaments from many years past. I now have them in a small container in my sewing area. I see that some of them are little felt items and others are made with the plastic canvass that was so popular years ago. I have a stash of each, and figured these would be great small projects that I can work on during long nights of watching television. They can then be used as gifts for the grandchildren later on down the road. Oh and those crocheted snowflakes, I have to figure out how to make those to give each of my girls some of their very own. These were a gift from my Aunt Sylvia the first year we were married. I have treasured them each year that I put them on the tree.

We also found a few items with Paulina’s name on the back, and they have been added to her box of Christmas ornaments that hopefully will disappear to her home when she graduates and gets out on her own. Someday…. Well enough for now. What have you organized at your place lately???

Dec. 29, Little dog goes home

Raja playing out in the snow.

Raja playing out in the snow.

Today was finally the day that little Raja was allowed to go back to Jessica and home to Jamestown. Raja came to our house with Paulina when she came home for semester break. We were on dog watching duty because Tony and Jessica went to Green Bay to the Packers vs. Vikings game on Christmas Eve. It was Tony’s birthday gift from his parents. James was so upset about them going on that trip because of the prediction of bad weather. Little did we know what was going on. While they were there, Tony proposed to Jessica on Lambeau field. His text was, “She said Yes!” It was great.

She accepted!!

She accepted!!

Tony proposing

Tony proposing

Considering I didn’t get a proposal and neither did our middle daughter Victoria, we thought this was pretty great. Jess got the romantic moment that we missed. Of course I would probably have yelled at James for acting so silly. Sometimes I wonder how I got so matter of fact in things like that and then break down to sobbing tears watching some Olympic game event or talking about something nostalgic. Just a weirdo I guess.

The little tree with the gifts before we divvied them out.

The little tree with the gifts before we divvied them out.

Today, Jess and Tony were in Bismarck because Kenlee had an appointment with a surgeon to remove her tonsils. The surgery went pretty well and she was able to go home with her mother for over night. They will pick her up later this weekend for some time with them before school starts up again. We met up with them at the Perkins restaurant and had a little lunch and a rather hasty exchange of Christmas gifts. I didn’t do any big presents for anyone this year just a small pile of little things. Alyse was heading back to Jamestown with them, and she was able to open her gifts with us. Fun!!

Ok, so I haven’t mentioned this on the blog before and not really for any reason other than it just didn’t fit the post. Jessica is due to have twins sometime in May, or possibly late April depending on how all things work out. I had almost given up on her even having children, and now she is having two at once. I predict that they are one of each or both boys. I just keep dreaming about caring for a little boy. I just pray that they are both fine and all goes well for them and her. She is currently fighting a bad cold and sinus issues. Yesterday her ear hurt pretty badly so she went to the clinic and was told to take Tylenol and wash her hands. She is miserable, but I guess it is better not to overdo the antibiotics, though I have been in that situation when you feel rotten and there isn’t any help. I am thinking that lots of fluids and rest will help some, but the ear thing is miserable. Victoria yesterday had some ideas about using some scents and rubs to get some relief. Hopefully she is doing that and will be feeling better soon.

Not much else to report. I called a few of the older members today to see how they fared during the power outage this past week. We apparently have a major build up of ice outside of the church elevator and side door. We will drive to Eureka tomorrow to look it over and see what can be done about it or if we will need to call off services on Sunday. I am getting to the point where I may not remember how to hold services. Not quite, but it is beginning to feel a bit off.

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas from our house to yours!!

Dec. 25, 2016

Dec. 25, 2016

We woke this morning to the sound of winds swirling around the house, but upon a peak outside we saw white skies, white ground, but no snow falling down. The major storm has yet to hit in the terms that have been predicted. It is cold and windy and James, who was out to grab his shovel from blowing away and pull in a few of the decorations that were not faring well in the wind, said that it is nasty to be outside. I am feeling a bit guilty that we rearranged the church service schedule to get ahead of the storm and now there basically is no storm. James also says to be patient, it will hit later. I am not complaining, mind you, but it scares me to have a prediction as big as has been told us for over a week, and then nothing happens. When those occur no one takes the next prediction seriously and that is when people get hurt or killed.

Presents under the tree.

Presents under the tree.

I was up at 7 a.m. to put the turkey into the oven. Interestingly, this was the first turkey ever that I didn’t have to re-clean. It gets so disgusting some years when there are pin feathers all over the wings and tail areas. I literally had to use a pliers one year to pull some of them out. This year try as I might I could not find anything, and it wasn’t that we bought from some expensive company. It actually was on sale and less than I have ever paid for a bird. With only three of us at the table, I suppose we will have plenty of left overs.

Christmas mouse sings "We wish you a Merry Christmas"

Christmas mouse sings “We wish you a Merry Christmas”

Oh my, I hear noises above me. Could it mean that Paulina is waking, hahaha!! James and I have been patiently waiting to open our gifts. I guess without the other girls and the grandchildren it sort of doesn’t feel like an opening presents sort of Christmas morning. On the other hand, it will be ok today to just have a quiet gathering.

Corner of decorations

Corner of decorations

Hopefully tomorrow we will find the time to put a few items back in their place and we can clear out some of the chaos we have setting around at this time. I am leaving you today with a few pictures of the room where we will open our gifts. Hope you all are having a blessed Christmas Day, and Happy Holidays to all of you.

More decorations

Some old and some new…

The ponds

The ponds

Merry Christmas Eve: Peanuts collection

Snoopy plays for Woodstock

Snoopy plays for Woodstock

Greetings to all and to all a Merry Christmas. I am on shut down mode today. My family is not happy with me, but I have just spent three days in a row doing services, and frankly, I am fried up. Monday was spent putting all the bulletins together choosing songs and contacting the pianist. Tuesday was the mobile food pantry in town which I always help with as a clergy from the area, and it was the day Paulina came home. She got to town just in time to help us move some of the heavy stuff.

Snoopy resting on his house. This one plays, "Christmas Time is Here."

Snoopy resting on his house. This one plays, “Christmas Time is Here.”

Wednesday I was in charge of the service at the Nursing home then back home to write the message for the funeral on Thursday, which turned into an all day event, and then of course yesterday we did a joint Christmas Eve/Christmas Day service a bit early to get ahead of the storm. It has been a full week and it all turned out fine, but today I am fried up mentally and worst of all this storm has my joints going crazy. My Achilles on the once broken leg is swollen and throbbing and my knee on the other leg is out of whack and I can’t see very well and it is almost worse with my glasses. I must just be falling apart. I know this sounds like lots of complaining, it really isn’t that I feel so horrible, it is just how it is today. I am ready for a rest, and I think if I take today to lounge around a bit, tomorrow I will be ready to pop a turkey in the oven, peel up some potatoes and maybe even make a pumpkin pie.

Peanuts gang as Nativity figurines and a few extras.

Peanuts gang as Nativity figurines and a few extras.

More Peanuts figurines.

More Peanuts figurines.

In the meantime, I will share with you a few of the Peanuts gang figurines and displays that are setting around my house. The first two play songs from some of the specials and I really can’t resist pushing those buttons each time I am near them. Such a delight. There is a fairly new antique shop in Eureka that has Peanuts memorabilia for sale. I will have to check what is new in there on Wednesday when I am in town. In the meantime hope you are all having a wonderful, blessed, family filled Christmas Eve. “And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Advent: Dec. 19 #2 Naughty cats

Sophia looking out the east door

Sophia looking out the east door

Today as I was busy working on the bulletins for the up coming church services, my cats decided to let me know that they are tired of being cooped up in the house. Of course they don’t understand we are all sick of being stuck in the house, but the alternative is not so appealing at this time. The snow is so deep on the east steps that I can’t even open the door. I tried today while they were watching, and they turned around in disgust or despair, I wasn’t real sure which.

Roger sitting in her safe zone after getting into trouble.

Roger sitting in her safe zone after getting into trouble.

Mostly I can tell that they are bored because they are running from one end of the house to the other and jumping on chairs and desks and all sorts of places. There has also been some dirt dug out of the plants in the south window of my bedroom. I notice it every time I open or close the curtains then I forget about it when I leave the room. I should really get off this blog and go do some cleaning up there. I am not sure which of them did the digging, but I might be able to guess and not be too wrong.

Ornaments Sophia was hitting together

Ornaments Sophia was hitting together

Usually it is Roger who is causing the problems, but today when I heard a glass on glass tinkling sound, it was Sophia hitting two of the glass ornaments together on the Advent tree. I even caught her chewing on some of it. This was the fiber optic tree that my mother gave me around the year that she retired. This is the first year I have used it as the Advent tree, and I am not sure that I will have it where these two scoundrels can get at it again. Later Roger tipped it over in an effort to steal one of the little wooden ornaments that she must have thought would be a great toy. She was looking under the desk and the curio for some of her hidden toys this evening. I should grab a yard stick and poke under them to see what she might be searching for.

Advent Candle: Love

Advent candles

Advent candles

If we would have had church today all four of the colored candles would have been lit. The candle for today is called the Love candle and when I read the gospel scriptures in the lectionary, I got the connection. It is Matthew 1:18-25, and is the story of Joseph as he finds out that Mary is with child, but they are only engaged and have not been together. He has a decision to make about what to do with this unfaithful woman. He could have her stoned for infidelity, he could put her aside quietly and basically sentence her to a miserable life because no one of any status would ever want her again, or he could accept her and whatever child she brings to the relationship. Well, Joseph is visited by an angel and told that the baby is not human, but from God. The angel instructs Joseph to take Mary as his wife and protect her and the child because he has been asked to do so by God. Now first off this takes lots of faith on his part to accept this explanation, but he does accept it, and he does a good job of taking care of both of them.

The tree skirt that was handmade by one of our church members.

The tree skirt that was handmade by one of our church members.

What Joseph does in this story as he listens to the angel and accepts his role is to set an example for all of us. Granted we probably haven’t had an angel stop by telling us what God needs us to do at this time in our lives, but I am guessing that even if we did, we probably wouldn’t admit it to anyone. Sometimes we know what it is that God is asking of us and still we hesitate because it really doesn’t fit into our idea of what we have planned for our lives. Joseph was just a poor carpenter who had finally taken a wife, and here he was being asked to accept this baby, and later we will see how he has to hurry this new family out of the country to save the boy from a horrible slaughter by Herod. Joseph is obedient, faithful and frankly pretty darn brave in what he does to be a good husband and father. Mostly though, Joseph shows us what it means to love. Joseph loves his wife, the son that was given to him to raise, and even more than any of that, Joseph loves God. He loves God enough to believe the messenger that comes and speaks to him and to obey the instructions he is given.

Christmas tree

Christmas tree

Our tasks in this life are varied, but the main role we all have is to be an example to the world about what it looks like to have the love of God shine through us. Like the fourth candle that we light this week, we should also be the beacon that points others to the love that God has for us. This is the last of the Advent candles before we light the candle which represents Christ. We need to live so that others will want to know about the Christ that we believe came to earth as a child born of a virgin and raised by a carpenter to die on the cross to save us from the powers of evil.

Our nativity set in front of the altar.

Our nativity set in front of the altar.

The secular world is counting that from today there are seven more shopping days until Christmas. As Christians we should see it as seven more days of opportunities to share the story of God’s love for the creation. We have seven more days before this Christmas to share our light of hope and peace and joy and love to the world around us. It is important that we do so at every opportunity. There are so many in the world hurting, uncertain, confused and alone. Be the light that others need. Be God’s life line for someone today. May God’s blessing be with you.

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