Childhood Pleasures

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Apples, peaches, pumpkin pie, who’s not ready, hollar “I”!

Do you remember that game we played when kiddos?  Hide and Seek!  I personally played it in the hay field, under the pole light, around the back of the house and in the bushes on the farm.  I played it in the corn field and in the side yard at gramma’s house, and by the river bank where I learned to swim.  I played in the front yard of my neighbor’s house, and in the snow drifts along the side of his garage.  The hay mow, the back forty, the upstairs bedrooms on rainy days–any place was the right place to play hide and seek because it was that much fun!

We’d giggled and ran, and jumped and hid, and we never tired of the constant entertainment hide and seek provided.  It was grand fun!

This morning, though, I’m wondering about my hiding ways.  When did I become so good at isolation?  When did pulling back become more important than pushing forward? When did parsing out my words and being careful about what I say become more important than running and giggling, and engaging in fun with my friends?

Back then, we didn’t scrutinize each other before playing hide and seek. If you had a voice, two legs, and interest in the game, you were “in.” Nothing else mattered, except for the location of the best hiding place ever.  I smile even as I write those words, because I once found a hiding spot that nobody discovered and there I sat, alone, silent, forgotten while the game progressed.

While that place behind the milk house seemed like a good hiding spot, in reality it wasn’t.  It was too remote, too dark, too out-of-the-way to be considered, let alone found. And it was too far away from goal for me to run out of that spot and home, before being “caught.”

It was a bad spot I found myself in behind the milk house.

Today, I’m remembering how much fun it was to get out there and play without many rules, without much discrimination, and without a Master Plan.  We just were: kids, having fun with other kids, for hours.

I wonder?  Can I recapture some of that mystery of childhood and apply it to my life today, as an adult?

Will it work? What do you think?  Leave your comments in the section provided below.  Let’s see if you can hide a little child-like wisdom there for me to find.  I love hide and seek, and I love, love pumpkin pie. How about you?

Did you enjoy playing Hide and Seek as a kid? Where was your favorite hiding place?

 

 

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Transformer Tuesday

Transformation can be tough. Ask anyone whose ever tried to be someone else, or change vocations, or continue to keep their marriage strong, or break a nasty habit.

My goal this year:   To quit copying the behaviors and customs of this world, while cooperating in a process that will change not only the way I act, but the way I think.  There are three important components to this transforming process, for me:  spiritual, emotional, and relational.   My faith that transformation will occur is based on my strong desire to further develop  as a person, my rock hard belief in the power of habit formation, and my confidence that as I become a more willing participant in God’s plan for my life good things will come of it.

Partnerships are always good business!

Today, I want to write about THREE current projects underway in my life. The first addresses my ongoing attempts at living a simpler life, ie: minimalism. The second includes my efforts to step back from previous commitments, to pursue a more balanced life. The third is about The Healing Journey, a 7 month commitment I made that I am hoping will equip me to lead others to greater victory in their lives. I want to help them get un-stuck. First, though, I have to figure out how to do that for me.

SIMPLER LIVING 101

This past weekend’s de-cluttering, donating, and doing-it-up-right project included tackling the long ignored and dreaded pile of paperwork that has been haunting  our home.

First, the TJ Maxx bag of doom…

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That bag, no kidding, weighs about 20 lbs, or so it seems.  It is HUGE and it was overflowing.  Note: Hope Word-WAS!  The bag wasn’t all there was to tackle. Oh, no!  There was also this…

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That’s about six months of neglected mail shoved in there.  Oh, and that stack below the mail holder–that’s overflow and “stuff” the mister has collected, but neglected to put away.  We apparently decided to weigh it down (read: hold it in place so it doesn’t go all over the floor), with his Bible.  :/

But wait, we still aren’t done.  There was also this!  A basket full of books, cords, cleaner attachments and maps and tourist pamphlets from a vacation we took three years ago.  Yep, we kept it all. Why? Who knows!

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This is what we had to deal with once all the hidey-holes were cleared and the phone directory drawer was emptied.  This table is approximately six feet long, and the stack was four inches high!

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Here’s a close up view of my mess.

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And this…this is the ONE container that was left after I had sorted through that mess piece by piece and separated the “important” papers that remained from the sentiments (card, notes, and pictures the kids have drawn).

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All those papers on the right are owner manuals we might need to reference and important retirement paperwork relative to mister’s now-lifelong vacation.

This is the ever-growing stack of books I have decided need to find a new home.  If you see anything you’d like, let me know. We can work out a way to get them to you.  All I ask if that you pay the postage.  Those that remain after gifting some to friends will be donated to area churches, libraries and finally, Good Will.

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TIME AND TIME AGAIN

While de-cluttering my home has been a practice in pleasure for me, trimming personal time commitments has brought the most peace.  I recently stepped down from teaching, something I have enjoyed for decades.  Doing research, building a lesson plan, and delivering my findings to grateful “students” has been a passion of mine for longer than I can remember, but this past year it has been plain hard.  Inspiration had waned, and I have become increasingly convinced that I was headed in the wrong direction.  The research no longer held my attention. The class time experience equally fell short. Pretty soon I was resenting the study I needed to put in to feel properly prepared to teach.  Eventually, I realized that it was time to quit.  It was hard to walk away from something that others say I do well, but I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. The lessons didn’t matter as much to me. The flame had nearly been extinguished.

What I have discovered as a result of giving up something that had grown increasingly trying was that I gained extra hours in my week that could be used to bake bread, read, enjoy luxuriously long conversations with family and friends, and escape the criticisms of people who don’t do what I do, but think it comes easily.  Everyone’s a critic, but criticism is not why I stopped teaching. It was just time.

As a result of trimming back on activities that were not all that joyful anymore, I have begun to dream again and my intuition seems to have gotten a kick-start.  I’m writing fiction again, experiencing the wildest and wackiest dreams during my sleep hours, and feeling more relaxed than I have in a long, long time.

THE HEALING JOURNEY

Last night we began this intensive study (no, I’m not leading it).  I think THJ is going to challenge me emotionally, spiritually, and relationally!  Woohoo!  It involves group study, individual study and practice, and group discussion–all things I love!  It promises to push me in areas where I’d rather not be pushed, but also claims to bring a new peace  and sense of authenticity to my life.  Most thrilling of all is the sense I have that through this study I will be introduced once again to the Lori that transforms her world, instead of being conformed to the dictates of others.  I can’t wait to see her rise from the ashes.  She’s been gone too long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What is your wildest hope for yourself in one year, five years, or ten years from now?  When you are emotionally, spiritually, or relationally challenged, where do you turn for help? 

 

 

 

 

Friday Fiction

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He loved wet hair!

I don’t know why.

Some say his mother gave birth to him on the streets of Rio during a tropical cyclone, but I was never able to verify that story.   What I know is that on those occasions when I longed for intimacy, craved closeness, or hoped to shut out a little of the white noise of the world through physical touch I simply wet my hair and appeared before him.

That smile; it spread across taunt, tanned cheeks like a wild fire, turning a deeper amber as his pulse quickened.

Salty, dripping, curly tendrils sticking to the nape of my neck and bouncing off my brow as I shook my head reminded me of a Labradoodle drying himself off after a walk in the rain, but for him…for him it was aphrodisiac.

Everything else waited while he attended to my needs.

Everything!

Goals and Self-Discovery

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THE CHART

This week I thought I might do a lil bit better with my goals if I made a chart.  It actually turned out pretty good for a hand-made accountability tool. Visuals help, right?  Problem was, I made it, but not until yesterday.

Yeah, shiny things distract me!

Anyway, I made the chart and I filled out the chart, writing down what I had done already this week and yesterday, and then what I did this morning.  I think this chart would have worked well for me had I made it earlier in the week. I have a blank one ready to go for this coming week! I will remember this time. I will!!!

THREE TEENY, TINY GOALS FROM LAST WEEK

1  Get to bed early at last twice this week.  SCORE!  I did get to bed early at least twice this week. In fact, I was in bed early 3x this week.  A big WIN for me! Yay!

2  Make my bed every day this week.  YES YES!!!  I hit the bull’s eye on this one!  I made my bed every day this week and every day it looked great!

3  Dance in the kitchen with the mister for ten minutes, at least three times this week.  FAIL!!!!  Can you believe it?  I did not dance with my mister even once this week. What?!  How could that be?

You would think that finding ten minutes to dance with my mister would be an easy goal, wouldn’t you?  Guess not. Not for me, not this week.  I think this one needs to go back on my list. I’m bummed that I did so poorly on that last goal.  I know hubs would have made time if I had shared the goal and chart with him. Totally my bad on this one, and I’m angry with myself for missing out.  :/

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MY SMALLER-THAN-USUAL GOALS

I like setting goals as a means of keeping myself focused on needed improvements and self-care.

Setting goals helps me to see where I’m robbing from what matters most to me, in order to support what matters least.  Without the goal list, I doubt I would recognize defeating patterns developing, let alone find the energy and impetus to address them.

Finally, this week I noticed a couple of nights I came home feeling like my partner hadn’t done enough during the day.  He’s retired, while I’m still working, which creates a sometimes challenging dynamic for me.  This imbalance in our work schedules can lead me into a pity party.  I’d like to be a stay-at-home self-employed glamour granna, but have yet to figure that one out!!! Last night I realized I had landed in that space again—that dissatisfied and grumbling, why-can’t-you-see-this-needs-to-be-done-without-me-reminding-you space, and had to once again check myself!  Ugh!

Do any of the rest of you hate unrealistic expectations, and yet still get trapped by them sometimes?  I hate that!

MORE TEENY, TINY GOALS FOR ANOTHER WEEK

This week, I’m going to keep my goals simple and the same.  I’m especially going to be focused on dancing with my hubby in the kitchen for at least 10 minutes on three separate occasions this week.  Anyone have a romantic mixed tape they can loan me?

1  Get to bed early at last twice this week. 

2  Make my bed every day this week. 

3  Dance in the kitchen with the mister for ten minutes, at least three times this week. 

What goals will you set for yourself this week?  When have your expectations for yourself or others been too high?

 

Stuff, Be Gone!

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I’VE EMBARKED UPON AN ADVENTURE IN MINIMALISM!

Starting two weeks ago, I have begun the process of culling from the house on the hill anything that is not functional, does not make our lives easier, or is not a symbol of joy in our home.

Granted, I’m beginning with my own “sickness”, but Mr has caught my fever already. He went through his clothes drawers and closet space and donated several pairs of jeans to the cause; perfectly good shorts, but items he has never or rarely worn.  Woohoo!

MY SUPER POWER: INDECISION

I made a discovery of the weekend.  I found out that part of my reason for getting jammed up in life may be due to the fact that I have wayyyy too many choices with regards to almost every aspect of my life.

Too many dishes to store.

Too many socks in my drawer.

Too many knick, and knacks, and things.

Too many trappings and traps!

Too many!!!

What was suggested to me is that having all this stuff in my life makes it hard for me to choose which stuff I want to use and which stuff I don’t. and that dynamic creates a cloud of indecision that hangs over my head, threatening, threatening, threatening to turn into a nasty thunder storm with lightning bursts at any moment.

It makes me fearful…of what will happen when the next shoe drops. Anxious. Weak!

Why, weak?

Because I cannot make up my mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hate that about me, but I think there’s hope on the horizon. Already, I’m feeling better about my living space and my ability to decide what I want to eat, wear, clean, and complete with each passing day.

I may even get that chair done I started last summer once the junk is cleared away.

Maybe!

DO YOU WANT A LIFE THAT IS BETTER, BALANCED, AND JOYFUL?

I want a life that is better, balanced, and joyful, and I think I might be able to have it once I get rid of all the dead weight surrounding me.  I’m at least willing to try.

I have five boxes of gently used toys, books, blankets, and shoes sitting in my  living room, ready to go to Good Will, and that, after I already packed up four garbage bags and donated them last week.  I feel good about this new adventure and I’m ready to share it with you, my bloggin’ buddies.

Stay tuned to see how I make out with this new CHOICE in life.

About this, I am not undecided!  Not in the least!!

Have you ever considered living a minimalist lifestyle?  What is your super power?

Hidden

To not hide was her objective and to think of it made bile rise in the back of her throat.  She knew with this new assignment she would be required to bring into her workplace a transparency that she had hitherto avoided.  Where would the courage come from to do it, and where would her awkward attempts at change take her?

She’d masterfully hidden from the world for decades, or so she thought. Sure, there were a few people who knew the real deal, but most of them were now dead, and those left living had departed from her region of the world.  They were off making something of themselves, serving on distant mission fields, or baking gingerbread fancies with white icing ruffles trimming the edges of their poofy ginger skirts and shirts.  Gingerbread-loving grand babies would eat those confections as soon as they cooled from the oven and had dressed themselves.  She was sure that domestic duties and sticky-sugar hugs were keeping those companions busy these days. They had no time, nor the inclination, to check in on her or pick up the phone and call to make sure life was treating her fairly.  It wasn’t, she mused, but they would never know.  Her smoke and mirror act performed these past forty years had emphasized hiding the real Sally from view, while constructing a feigned and more fascinating model to hide behind.

But this job…

This job would require a new frankness.  It would require painful truth, unmasked weakness, and an authenticity Sally wasn’t entirely sure she was prepared to parse out to strangers.  How could she do it?  What would it take, and what would it cost her?

What job is Sally about to embark upon?  What could it be that she has been hiding for so long?

 

Original work. Copyright LJH,  July 2016

Horse Sense

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A stallion I’m not, but neither a nag.

No more harness.

No more whip.

No more bit in the mouth for this filly.

No more!

Now, I’m free to kick up my heels if I want to.

Free to race through the pasture, splitting the wind as I go.

Free to say what I want, whinny if I will, and blaze a new trail that leads where I want to go.

Ah, FREEDOM!!!

When have you gotten free of an entanglement you regretted? How long has it been since you ran against the wind?