The Day The Shift Started…

I was driving to my parent’s house and my cell phone rang. I’ll listen to it later I thought. That day was just a clean-up-&-toss-out day, so I was sure that nothing could be urgent. I was just minutes away, after all.

When I pulled up to the driveway I was shocked to see how many belongings were layed out across the cement in the driveway and garage.  Items that my mom had, for years, begged us to go through and toss or organize, now took up every spare inch of the driveway and then some…

I saw our wonderful neighbors sitting with my dad, showing him each item, talking to him, seeing him shake his head no, and then exhaustedly walk away and put it in a particular pile.

As I walked closer to greet my dad and give him a hug, I saw tears running down his face. I saw so much pain in his eyes that even now as I recall it, I tear up and shake.

They were helping my dad clean out the house that he and my mom lived in, the only place I knew as “home”, that held soo many memories for us…

It was a fairly large house. Nothing in comparison to the luxury homes I see nowadays but it was nice. One of my childhood friends joked that it looked like a miniature ‘White House’ because of the white pillars in front. I loved that front porch and swing…

It was a decent enough size to hold a lot of sentimental belongings.  How ironic, I thought, now that mom has passed away, is when we all finally listen to her and start cleaning out that large attic and basement.

Shamefully I wiped away tears, held my dad’s hand and started assisting my neighbors in asking him “What would you like to have us do with this?”. To every question his answer was “Keep it please. That’s from when your mom and I went… (insert name of road trip, family vacation and/or small event he remembered)…I love that (name of trinket)… It reminds me of your mom.” and the heartbreak washed over his face even more.

From the smallest to the heaviest of items, no matter how broken or how much he knew he wouldn’t use them again, he said “Keep it please, don’t throw that away, it’s in perfectly good condition. ”

After awhile we were all getting a little flustered and frustrated. He was about to be moved into a small ranch-style (only half of it) house. There was no way there would be enough room for all of these things.

When he wouldn’t let go of some old Christmas wrapping (several hours later) I had to step away to take a deep breath. Not because I thought he was being irrational or overly sentimental but because up until that day, I had been like that too.

My mom had told me countless time to donate some of my toys to a child who could receive some joy out of them, instead of them sitting in an attic just collecting dust. She had been so right. And ~ If I had done so, my dad wouldn’t be sitting there on the cement floor of his garage, being forced to remember even more memories that made him shed tears, again.

Over and over it hit me like a tons of bricks, smacked so hard into my chest that I felt like I couldn’t breathe. With each item he insisted on keeping and each tear that fell down his cheek, I was reminded of my immature needs those years ago. “No mom, don’t give that away, that was a gift from ___ and I want to keep it forever! “

Our family friends eventually talked him into giving up some items. Bless their hearts for their efforts and patience. I couldn’t handle it. My mom had passed away just a couple weeks earlier and it was too much for either my dad or I to take.

~~~

That day changed my need to keep sentimental items. I saw how much pain was in my dad’s eyes and swore I’d never allow myself to get emotionally attached to material things ever again.

This wasn’t the beginning to my journey into ‘minimalism’ though. I hadn’t even heard of it back then. As a matter of fact, I went the other direction, let go of too much. Because of my story, which I hope to tell some day, there were things I tossed that I should’ve kept and I’m still more than sad about them.

I started to go the extreme other direction. A part of the grieving processes, especially denial and anger for me was tossing anything and everything 😦

It would be many years before I would want to or begin to understand how to find the right balance.

~~~

When I arrived home later that day I listened to the voicemail from the phone call earlier that day. It had been from one of my parents’ family friends. they were asking me to come help my dad because he was having a difficult time letting go of so many things.

Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much I was too…

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Some Assembly Required…

I would love to be able to say that I created my capsule wardrobe by scratch with no help other than a couple articles read here, or glancing at a couple Pinterest pictures, however, I cannot.

The truth is, a Very kind minimalist sent me her excel spreadsheet of an outline of how she organized hers. :).

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I did read, a lot. I did go on Pinterest, even more. But for the main pieces of my capsule wardrobe, I needed Cliff’s Notes version, and fast 😊.  I was a classic case of ‘too many choices made it harder to decide’.

When she sent me the spreadsheet I was so excited because she had managed to put together a great set of guidelines and ideas.  I have to say the only reason I suddenly had ideas of “Oooh! I’ll just add accents of blues, reds and greens and then make it interchangeable by doing this, and that…” is because of the the guidelines and lists she gave me.

Thank goodness for the kindness of other people, is all I have to say! From there I figured out my style/s I was going to go with, more interchangeable colors, and then the accessories (which is really where Pinterest helped and got me super-creative).

I highly recommend asking others who are on this journey too, no matter what the question or what stage of your life you’re in, even if it seems like it’s the smallest thing. The advice I’ve seen shared is pretty awesome.

Well, it’s been a long Monday for me, so I’m turning out the lights.

Have a nice morning/day/evening wherever you are…

The Counselor and/or Advocate

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Lol and 💖…

I was reading another blogger’s page and saw she mentioned the website with the 16 personalities test. I’ve taken that test numerous times because of work and because I love the psychology of it all.

I’m an INFJ, so this picture made me laugh big time. To a degree it is true. While we all have intuitive skills and can determine if someone is deceiving us, to an extent, I’ve been told and have noticed I tend to sense it a little earlier than some. This isn’t always a good thing so no bragging is included in here.

Sensing that some thing or some one may be hiding or deceiving can turn a once naive and trusting soul into a suspicious and jaded one instead. And that quite frankly sucks. It takes wisdom, faith and patience to find a healthy balance at times.

I think it’s good to know oneself. To truly understand your strengths and weaknesses (or rather ‘areas of development’), is actually to have the best tools – at your will :). And the areas of development can always evolve and improve. No matter which of the 16 personalities you are, you have that power within you and I just think that is the coolest thing ever when it comes to personal development.

I totally encourage you to do this. It’s interesting to see how accurate it is and either ponder it or share the results with someone you know too. And see theirs too.

http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

Happy Sunday and I hope you are having a magnificent day ☀️ 😊

If Wishes Were Fishes…

I remember my mom saying this, often, as she read the Sunday morning paper. It was usually in response to one of my “I wish I was like Jeanie! (from I dream of Jeanie) Then I could clean in one second, I could do anything really, make us supper, get from here to school… in one second! I wish I could  do that…” My voice would trail off and I’d be imagining it, with a far away blissful look on my face.

My mom would roll her eyes and mutter “If wishes were fishes…” I’d turn and look at her, annoyed she pulled me out my imagination-mode and wonder what that tone in her voice was. I heard that phrase from my mom so much that I thought that Was the entire saying. I couldn’t figure out what it meant but shrugged it off and assumed it was some grown up thing that some day I would be wise enough to understand.

My head was mostly in the clouds in my early years. Any tv show or movie that had magical happenings going on, I was glued to. Happily escaping into worlds where anything was possible, dreams came true and everything could be fixed so that everyone would be happy again… That’s where I wanted to reside.

When I couldn’t fix something in life or I was feeling blue, I’d go to my daydream world. I’d watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Pete’s Dragon and others movies where magic helped fix the situation and everyone found happiness at the end of the story.

I’m much wiser and older now. I understand and know what that tone was in my mom’s voice and now my need to fix things and hope for a happy ending has been replaced with wiser and more realistic goals and dreams.

A year before my dad died, he and I were talking our usual philosophical and hopeful ideas on how the world could be better “if only…”, when he responded after big sigh “As the saying goes, If wishes were fishes, no one would starve…” in a somewhat melancholy tone. “Oh my gosh!” I burst out loud “…so that’s how the saying ends?” My dad looked surprised, chuckled and replied “Yes.. Why?” I told him about how mom would ALWAYS say it to me and how I never until that moment heard the full quote.  My dad laughed. “Well, now you have, my dear.”

As I write this, I’m unrealistically wishing I could give him and my mom a hug right now. Sometimes daydream-time is still the best time for me. I don’t have any unrealistic hopes anymore, now that I’m grown up. I know there is no magic spell or magic power that can make my wishes come true. But sometimes, daydreaming about seeing them again or being able to tell them how much I appreciate everything again, well, it helps slowly heal the absence of their love, smiles and energy that only they could bring to the world.

These are musings and random memories from those happy and poignant years, to the current day.

Have a beautiful day 💕.