The Things We Save

The Things We Save

I returned home from work one day recently to see a For Sale sign on the lawn of our elderly neighbors, a retired Army doctor and nurse. They’ve been living on our street since the houses were first built in the 1960s and have been a fixture throughout our almost 20-year life two houses down. He would walk several times a day, always with a walking stick. She would keep tabs on the neighborhood happenings and report back at our occasional potluck picnics. So it was with no small amount of sadness that I learned they had both been moved to nursing home care and their children had listed the house on the market.

Clearing out clutter: sometimes a sock is just a sock

Clearing out clutter: sometimes a sock is just a sock

Back when Olivia was in preschool, she went through a brief period of hoarding. I’m not talking about holding on to too many favorite toys; I’m talking about hiding deflated balloons and broken plastic spoons in her nightstand, of “rescuing” used Dixie cups and even old tissues from the bathroom trash can because she couldn’t bear the thought of anything being thrown away. “Hon, I think she’s going to be writer,” her Montessori teacher said. And while I tried not to be offended by that evaluation, I have to admit there was probably some truth to it. Whether a writer or musician, artist or actor, creative types tend to see beauty where no one else does. (more…)

Wisdom Wednesday: 5 ways to fine tune your life

Wisdom Wednesday: 5 ways to fine tune your life

I love to read about how other people have transformed their lives into something more manageable, less stressful, more satisfying. What steps did they take? How do they maintain it? I’m always curious, hungry for information. Even if I’m not going to go off the grid, live in the mountains, sail around the world, homeschool my kids, start canning my own food, whatever the particular path might be, I can learn from every single person. There’s always a morsel of magic to be obtained, a nugget of spiritual gold hidden in every story.

So when I came across this post yesterday on the Tiny House page (I dream of living in a Tiny House some day when the kids are grown), I knew I had to share it today. So much goodness, even if you live in a big house crammed with stuff or a city apartment amid the noise and smog.  (more…)

Finding long-lost memories in a dresser drawer

Finding long-lost memories in a dresser drawer

My March “Life Lines” column running in the current issue of Catholic New York:

I decided to clean out some dresser drawers last weekend, and mixed in with the shirts I no longer wear and the silks scarves I forgot I had were little pieces of my past. Noah’s handprint in clay from when he was just a year old. A puffy foam heart necklace made by Chiara for a Mother’s Day gone by. Olivia’s old letters to Santa and one to the Tooth Fairy demanding to know what she does with all those teeth anyway. (more…)

Finding calm amid the chaos

I have heard from so many friends telling me that my previous post about my difficult third week of Advent rang true for them. Apparently a lot of us are feeling the same joylessness, the same darkness and confusion at a time that is supposed to be filled with light and hope.

Then today a Facebook friend in Italy posted a beautiful reflection on this very topic. I guess some things translate across oceans and continents.

The post is from a certain simplicity* (uncomplicated creative living) and it’s just what I needed to hear, read, think about, absorb. I’ll get you started here and then link to the blog, because you should go there today — and any day you need a lift — to hear lots of positive things with servings of Italy on the side.

From Diana Baur’s post today:

The clutter, the discord and the difficulty are what produce the fertile ground of creativity.

On the day you decide to follow a creative path, you will have lesson after lesson handed to you. You will feel beaten, humbled, and alive. You will be aware of large churnings under the surface that no one can see or feel but you. You might smile at friends and family, talking to them about things you have always talked about, but inside you will be jumping hurdles, slaying dragons, praying for answers.

You will feel like you are running as hard as you can – in a bowl of mashed potatoes.

Your advances will be small, your badges earned. You will be a student for a very, very long time. You will wonder whether it was worth it. If you should not have just stayed where you were, in the land of mediocrity and perpetual indecision.

Continue reading…

Thank you, Diana, for giving me food for thought when I most needed to know I am not alone and I will move forward. Peace to everyone out there today who feels like they’re running hard but standing still.

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