Monday, May 5, 2014


Sweet Hannah came into our lives as quietly as she left.  13 years ago, we fostered a dog that was destined for the other end of the needle unless we could get her to eat and "cheer up" enough for the humane society.  A few days in our home, she was eating out of my hand, literally.  Her first meal was a few pieces of "Life" cereal.  Then we discovered that she had heartworms.  The organization agreed to treat her for the condition since she was brought in by a group of construction workers who pulled together enough money (500.00!) to donate to the shelter if they would agree to take her in.  I will always believe in the goodness of people.

Hannah was once named Mama Dog and had had at least one litter of puppies in a construction zone.  She became Hannah in August of 2001, a week before my 5th child was born.  She was the best of the best.  Never complained.  Never misbehaved.  Always obedient and loyal.

If Hannah barked, you better figure out why.  She watched over the home quietly and gently and maintained a sort of balance for us all.

April 27, 2014, Hannah became very ill, very quickly and was gone before we knew what was happening.  It was my prayer that when her time with us was done, that God would take her quickly and that I would know without a doubt that it was her time.  My prayer was answered.

Hannah walked many years with us.  She was the childhood dog to all 6 of the children.  She loved most everyone.  And if she didn't like you, there was a good reason for it.

I will miss my shadow.  I will miss watching her beautiful, lean body run ahead of me through the woods.  I will miss hearing her footsteps on the floor as she made the security rounds every now and then in the house.  I will miss petting her to soothe my own soul.

The luckiest people in the world get to share their lives with a good dog.  I have been one of the luckiest of all.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Project 20:14: Ponderings 09

This week a quote that stuck with me and seemed to resonate throughout the entire week was, "Are you organizing or are you decluttering/de-owning?"

I love to organize.  I love neat binders all in a row, books that appear as nicely arranged as our public library, cupboards to take one's breath away by their exceedingly amazing crisp, organized, and picture perfect presentation.  And I have spent many years working to achieve this look only to be undone quickly by living life in a home with real people looking for real things that while might appear to be in an organized home, honestly are in a home with too.  much.  stuff.

I have come to a point in my life where I no longer desire organizing too. much.  stuff.  I would rather live with less so that I can use my time doing other things that I enjoy and will bring more meaning to my life and to the life of my family.  My mantra for 2014 in all areas of my life is..."life-giving not life-draining".  From my sock drawer, to my vehicles, to my finances, to my relationships.  If the "thing" does not offer life-giving qualities then they must be discarded or at the very least minimalized.

Organizing is a great stress reliever for me, but it is also an untruth.  I feel as though, when I organize, I am gaining some positive control over an unmanageable area.  Most often, however, I find that very soon after my efforts are finished, the disorganization returns and I am more frustrated, disappointed and overwhelmed yet again.  I am done with this way of living.  I am choosing to own less so I can live more, and live more abundantly.

The last year, I have been working little bits at a time to find the balance between having too much and where I would like my home to be.  Less is more.  And the less we have, the more I think we have too much.  Funny how that works.

Homeschooling will be wrapping up fairly soon here and I aim to begin some major de-owning of things.  Especially homeschooling books, pictures, binders, furniture, and anything else that might not be nailed down...and maybe even some things that are.

I don't yearn for a house with nothing.  I love to feel the warmth of a home that loves books, but I want the books to be books we are using or books that we love and will go back to time and time again.  I began to clear out some items from one set of shelves yesterday.  Truthfully, I have three items left on the shelf and when I look at the emptiness, it startles me!  It will take some soul-searching to part with some of these things, but I know that this is an ever evolving process that will allow me to re-visit things as often as I would like.  Maybe I won't get rid of every single book that doesn't fit my profile, but sometimes I think sentimentality has a reason to be considered.  I have a book from my mother's childhood.  I will never use it as a school book and my children probably won't ever read it, but my mom is gone and I don't have much from her life around the house.  These are things I may choose to compromise on, and I may even change my mind about it someday and release it.

The idea of a more simplified life must be defined by each family, each person, as to what that means to them.  Today it means something different to me and to my family than what it meant 5 years ago and I'm certain as the years continue to click by, it will change again.

Monday I will begin to clear out one shelf per day.  I will go through 20 shelves in the family room.  I may do more than one in a day, but I will do no less than one per day.  Weekday that is. Weekends are for enjoying and working outside!