- I am just about to be a grandmother.
2. My youngest is outside this very minute of his own accord washing my filthy car.
3. My husband decided to go get food. This chick does not have to cook tonight.
4. Watermelon season is upon us.
closed eyes. legs outstretched.
clean and hay and new grass and blooms
in the little gusts of wind
like the breath of heaven.
a small oasis outside of it all
in this sad and heavy and unplanned day
like a breath from heaven.
now i can return.
i can carry
blessing into the passing
sweetness into the sadness
love into the losing
eternal into the temporal.
a breath from heaven
collector- [kuh-lek-ter] noun 3. a person who collects books, paintings, stamps, shells, etc., especially as a hobby.
collect- [kuh-lekt] verb 1.to gather together; assemble
A long time ago, when I first attempted blogging, I came up with the name Collecting Cabbages for my first blog. EH?, you say.
I was trying to capture the essence of what I wanted to say to the world, and what came to mind was an experience I had once. A friend of mine was working on her tiny winter garden, not for food, but for the aesthetic. She had planted a couple cabbages and I thought they were kind of ugly, although they did lend a certain interesting texture. Who really loves cabbages, after all?
A few visits later, and my mind was blown.
Who knew? It taught me something about hidden beauty, especially given time. I look for things like this now along my way and desire to share them with others, just in case they might miss it. The blog name morphed along the way, but the intention remains the same.
I am a collector. I must be very strict with myself about the quantity of collections, because, as I have discussed before, I hate clutter. I have many mini, carefully curated small collections that I love to look at and add to, selectively. Baskets, glass, antique tins, pottery, art, jewelry, plants, nature bits, people. Pretty ecclectic.
I have wondered recently what drives my interest in collecting. I also am an assembler. Collage and jewelry making speak to my soul because of it. Taking somewhat ordinary things and assembling them into the extraordinary… I suppose it’s a metaphor for how I see life, and how I would like others to see life. I just want to show others, “See? Did you see this small thing and the uniqueness of it? Do you see how it adds to the mosaic of your life?” The blooming cabbages along the way, if you will.
Ha! Bloomin’ cabbages. Sounds like a British swear. But I digress.
To have them all in one place, to look over, to examine, to remember. to admire. I think that’s the heart of it.
Well. How disappointing, WordPress.
Apparently, I can no longer upload video OR audio without paying for a plan upgrade. I do understand it takes money from somewhere to run these sites (are the ads they run on your blog page not enough??), but it feels like such a racket. The almighty dollar. Grrrr.
So, with my opinion expressed, IF you happen to be so interested in what music I am listening to lately that you are willing to go to Youtube and look it up yourself, here it is:
CAN’T STOP THE FEELING- Justin Timberlake
Never a big JT fan, I am finding myself liking his music better as he matures. This song, and especially the video, make me unreasonably happy.
FEEL IT- TobyMac
SEND MY LOVE- Adele
So, any more of these posts might be rather pointless.
On with the theme of simplicity…
I was thinking this morning about God’s original design for our lives. He never intended for us to strive and grasp and stress, but to live at rest in relationship with Him under His total provision, stewarding these things. (Genesis 2)
When Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, as a Father He had to give them consequences. But even in His discipline, the life they were expected to lead was simple. Raise a family, work the land. And in His great kindness, despite their sin, God built rewards into that life. (Genesis 3)
Marriage is both hard work and a lifelong friendship. Children are both hard work, and a sweet blessing. Cultivating the land is very hard work, and yet there is the satifaction of a job well done, and the literal fruit of your labor. Even so, I can only imagine how much simpler it was without modern distractions and demands to focus on: 1. your relationship with God, 2. your spouse and family, 3. your job.
My, how things have changed.
Now hear me, I am not necessarily against our modern conveniences and way of life. Some things I really appreciate. But I do wonder how many of God’s innate rewards and blessings we are missing out on by trying to outdo Him and His natural order. I get this foreboding at times that technology and science are reaching a point where they are a modern day Tower of Babel, and it will all come crashing down on us. (Genesis 11) Then what are we left with?
God’s original design.
I find that a little bit mind-blowing.
I would like to be a minimalist.
I really would. The idea appeals to me on a deep level. Only what is necessary. Sigh. Oh, the peace and simplicity. Except….
Except I don’t think that is who I truly am.
I would deeply miss my collection of plants. And books. And my gallery wall. And my couch full of pillows. I like cozy, and true minimalism seems rather sterile. Let’s say I lean towards minimalism.
I have, however, spent the better part of a year getting rid of stuff. I’ve never been a hoarder or anything, but stuff has a way of multiplying over time, especially when you live with other people. Every so often the urge to purge will hit again and I will spend days going through drawers and cupboards and closets. It feels so SATISFYING to give/throw away unused and unnecessary things. Cleansing. Lighter. AHH..order.
I am definitely not a type A personality- rules, schedules, and perfect order are against my natural tendencies. But I have a new respect for the peace and simplicity they bring. To an increasing degree, I crave it, actually. In many ways this has spilled over into other areas of my life.
Tossing the word “should” out of my vocabulary has freed me from a false sense of obligation to commitments or ways of being that I don’t identify with. My time can be invested in what I deem worthy. I can cultivate my character to be what I value.
I’ve learned to stop stuffing my feelings like that closet where everything goes to die, because eventually it bursts open and someone ends up under an avalanche of crap. I examine emotions as they ‘break’, and either repair them or throw them out by confronting or deciding to let it go.
I’ve given up habits that did not serve me well, were time-wasters, money-wasters, or all three. This has given me space to form beneficial habits that promote peace and well-being.
Declutter. Simplify. I’ve grown quite fond of these words. They mean less is more. They mean what remains is valuable and of quality.
I can live with that.
They don’t call this middle age for nothing.
Smack in the middle of your life. And it’s such an odd place. A great place, but strange all the same.
So far from the insecurities of early adulthood, yet facing new ones as your children become grown and you have to find different things to fill your life with. So much more confident and comfortable with who you really are, and yet wondering who you have yet to become. Having lost many of the matriarchs and patriarchs of your family, facing the fact that your parents are aging and will not live forever, and on the cusp of one day becoming the matriarchs and patriarchs yourself. At this crossroads of laying down the things in life that either do not serve you well or should have never been so important anyway, and choosing new priorities, simplifying, decluttering. Discovering the need to stop wasting time and focus on things that truly matter, and desiring to waste even more of it just floating along to whatever happens next.
I’m sure every age had these paradoxes. Maybe I was never so aware of them. Or maybe just never so comfortable with studying them, and letting them be what they are. I think where a midlife crisis comes from- either facing all this with fear, or only seeing what “should” be by now, and being angry because it isn’t.
I think I will choose to have a midlife concurrence. I will accept with grace the things I cannot change, and I will choose to change the things I can change and that need changing.
Or, in the words of Reinhold Neibuhr:
all the windows down.
blowing on the back of my neck, cooling the last of the day’s humidity.
no radio, just the rushing wind and the rhythm of the wheels on the road.
red taillights chasing each other down the black curving highway lined by tall, tall trees.
the very last traces of rosy gold light to my left, smoky lavender blue to my right.
scents of sweet…jasmine maybe, from deep in the woods.
breathe deep. inhale. deeper. exhale. in this moment nothing else matters.
life is good.