Baggage that I Put Down

I usually work into most posts that I’m a work in progress but think I need to start this one in that way.

I don’t always do this perfectly but I have certainly come a long way!  The more I practice what I’m about to “preach,” the better I feel.

Let me say that I love the forties.  Not the 1940’s era.  The being in the 40’s age group.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are a few things that I would like from my 20’s.  I wish my middle section was toned and would like to tighten up that five baby stretched out skin on my tummy.  Who am I kidding?  I would like to buy the entire line of Rodan and Fields to take ten years off of my crows feet and jowls.  A few less varicose and spider veins on the calves would be nice.

Ahh….I digress.  I was about to tell you why I love being the age that I am.

Even with the marks and stretches and lines in the wrongs places, I love this season of life.  With it comes a freedom.

There are some bags that I carried for so long and I have learned/ am learning to put them down.  With each one, my load is lighter and I have been given so much freedom!  I want to shout it at the 20 somethings so that they don’t carry it around for 20 more years unnecessarily.

Here are a few of the things that I have taken out of my bag and I feel so much lighter for it:

  1. The ability to let other people’s opinion drive me.  WOW!  That’s a big one to unpack.  My phases went like this:  I spent a lot of time worrying about what other people thought of me, came to the realization that people don’t even think about me as much as I thought they did, and then decided not to care.  If I start to feel that burden hopping back into my bag, I remind myself of who I am in Christ.   A little side note is that I have a handful of great friends who I trust to give honest, Christlike feedback and I listen closely to their counsel.
  2. The need for perfection.  This has permeated most areas of my life ( work in progress.)  I haven’t and won’t be a perfect friend, parent, spouse, daughter, aunt. teacher, housekeeper, decorator.  Any of it.  I can’t even say that I’ve done my best for all of my life.  But I do try to improve daily.  A few years ago I began saying it would be “just right.”  One of my friends had burned something that she was cooking and I said “Oh it will be just right.”  From then on, that became our phrase for it’ll be ok if it’s not perfect.  It has been used over and over and over.  Guess what?  It’s always worked out ok.  Because that small stuff really isn’t worth sweating over after all.   The next time you are stressing because it’s not working out just perfectly, try telling yourself it’s “just right.”
  3. The guilt of my past.  Man, that’s a big one.  I shoula’, coulda’, woulda’ but I did or didn’t.   This freedom has come from Christ and Christ alone.  I can look back at regrets from thirty years ago or even yesterday.  If I’m living intentionally (and I hope I am) then I am going to have to trust that God will work all things out for my good.  Satan is a deceiver and a liar.  When he brings up sins and failures that I’ve been forgiven for, I’m sending him right back where he came from.  I’m taking hold of those thoughts and living in the freedom that I now have.
  4. Fear and worry.  I’ve come so far. I come from a long line of worriers and that is a hard, hard cycle to break.  But I’m finally making progress.  Worrying about the present, the future (and #3 the past) takes SO much energy away from just living today.  Very little of what I could worry about could/can be changed.  So I pray.  I believe that God is for me.  I move on.

I’m sure my bag is lighter because of a million other things that I put out of my life.  Sometimes I have to put them out daily.  Sometimes it’s hourly.

However, I am so thankful that God has helped to settle my mind and allow me to unpack some things that have weighed me down.

Sometimes the struggle isn’t putting them down.  It’s leaving them there.

As always, I’m a work in progress.


DIY Ice Cream Party

I Scream, You Scream.  We all scream because birthday parties are so expensive!

Ahhh….that’s not the ending you’ve heard before? 😉

But seriously.  Birthday parties can be so expensive.

I was able to pull off an ice cream birthday party for my ten year old for very little money.

I started by making her birthday cake.  It has become the tradition that I make the birthday cakes for my family.  I used this tutorial to get an idea for how to make this ice cream cone cake.  I was a little rushed and I had a few helpers in the kitchen but it turned out just how she imagined.

We found ice cream cone bubbles in a three pack for $1 at Dollar Tree!  Score!  They were perfect party favors.

We found the birthday banner and the stickers for the party at Dirt Cheap!  What a great find!  I simply let her put the stickers on folded posterboard and wah-la, we had a sign!

I bought coordinating plates and napkins at Dollar Tree.  I NEVER buy party plates anywhere else.   I also found the cups for the ice cream toppings there.

The blue spoons were from our free ice-cream swirls that we got all summer long at our local Race-Trac!

I went into the yard and cut a few branches of magnolia,crepe myrtle and boxwood and stuck them into a farmhouse pitcher for a table decoration.

And there you have it……our ice cream party on the cheap!

What are your best tips for saving money and still pulling off an extra special, special day?


Gifts for Those Who Dislike More Stuff

Clutter.  Stuff.  Energy-sucking things.

This is how I could describe the things that can so easily creep into my life and home.  I know that there are different degrees of minimalism and I’m somewhere in there.

I like to have a few sentimental things and a few choice pieces in my home.  However, I need for my smooth surfaces to be clean before I can rest my mind.  I’d like to say that this means that my surfaces stay clutter free…it basically means that my mind doesn’t rest as much as I’d like.

I’d really like to be able to sit and read, or play, or anything in the middle of a mess.  But I can’t.

I spent years making myself feel guilty because I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the dishes in the sink and the laundry to be folded in order to do something more fun.  I’ve now decided that I need to be efficient in getting those things done so that I can then move on to the “more important” things.

I detest clutter.  I look at possessions and think how much of my life they will require me to give up.

I’m sure that makes me pretty hard to shop for.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that there are very few gifts that I appreciate.  I don’t mean that as harshly as it sounds. I appreciate the thought but most THINGS  just don’t impress me.

Before you think that I’m being unkind, let me throw out a few things that would be great gifts for someone who doesn’t like stuff.  I’ll stress that this is my own personal opinion. If you want to buy me a gift, then check the list.  That would be super cool. 😉  Otherwise, chances are there might be someone in your life who might have a similar personality and interests and might simply dislike things.

Here are some ideas that I think would make great gifts for those who don’t want more things:

Consumables such as:

  • pretty napkins or paper products
  • nice soaps
  • a candle
  • homemade cleaning supplies
  • essential oils
  • a bird feeder and seeds

Items that might need to be replaced:

  • a nice pillowcase
  • pretty dishtowel

Food items:

  • homemade jams/jellies
  • raw honey
  • fruit baskets
  • baked bread
  • herb garden
  • specialty coffee or tea

Thoughtful Personal gifts:

  • a cutting from your garden in a pretty pot
  • an online subscription
  • a gift card for an outing
  • a night of babysitting
  • a certificate for a pedicure

While many of these things may be specific to me, I think that most people who dislike more “stuff” would find one or two things that they could appreciate.


What about you?  What would you add?  What is your view on stuff?