Monday, October 28, 2013

I love being loved on in a loved one's home on Day 28

Even though I was away for the weekend I had my 31 Days of Letting Go project on my mind.  I took with me Julie Morgenstern’s book and the  Oprah magazine that had been devoted to the subject of “Declutter Your Life”.   Oprah has always been a motivator for me, especially when she would have Peter Walsh on her show and feature his work with people who were hoarders.  I think I secretly consoled myself about my problem with “saving” things that create clutter by comparing myself to the more hard core cases she featured on her show. It was very much like a sermon on Sunday when you say to yourself, “I wish ‘so and so’ could have been here to hear this” and totally miss the application you should be making to yourself.  But this far into my project I can honestly say, “I get it.”  I know I have a problem and there are some psychological obstacles that are keeping me from moving forward to do what needs to be done. 

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:8 that “Love covers a multitude of sins”.  I don’t really believe that keeping things I don’t really need is a sin. But I do believe that God’s love and the genuine love of others who He puts in our lives can help us with hard times and things that are difficult. In His intentional, grace-full, wonderful way God gave me a gift this weekend to encourage me in my struggle.    After the half marathon we drove to Del Rio to visit my husband’s Aunt Gene, the younger sister of his dad who passed away in 2010.  I guess you could describe her as the matriarch of our family in that we respect her greatly and she loves on all of us and works at making sure our family stays in touch by staying in touch with all of us.  I always love seeing a “like” from Aunt Gene on something I post on Facebook! 

As I walked into her home Saturday evening, I knew I had an opportunity to take note and talk with someone I greatly love and respect about how to go about making decisions on what to keep and what to throw away as you move through the seasons of your life.  I noted that there were no stacks of old magazines, bins under the bed, framed pictures in a corner waiting to be hung, nor bookcases crammed with too many photo albums or books that would never be read again.  Counters were clean, cabinet shelves dusted, and it was easy to find silverware and serving pieces in her kitchen drawers.  This was impressive to me because of how old she is-old enough to have great-grandchildren (which by the way she still travels to see)and because she has combined households with her second husband, Bill, a widower,  after losing her first mate more than twenty years ago.  I can’t imagine the challenge it was to decide what to keep and what to get rid of when two people  had been married so long to others and each had so many years of accumulated belongings!

The house they live in had been the house Bill and his first wife had built.  It is a very nice house and Gene tells me she had been thinking about selling her own small home of nearly 40 years and moving into a condo even before she and Bill dated and decided to marry after their spouses died.   So it was a practical and reasonable decision to move into Bill’s house, but I am sure I would have had to give careful consideration to having another wife’s things on “my” shelves .  Aunt Gene is gracious and matter of fact about that.  “I decided to not let it bother me,” she said, “and I loved Bill.  That’s what mattered.” 

Every room in the house is a tasteful blend of things from their first families and things from their life together.  In the living room is an antique curio cabinet which has memories of Uncle Dale’s (her first husband who I also had the privilege to know) patient carpentry and restoration talents.  In it are some things she describes as “all her’s”.  Included is a wine glass that belonged to her father which one of his sisters gave her.  It is the only thing she has that was his.  He died when she was still a young girl. The kitchen has Bill’s first wife’s collection of milk glass dishes behind the glass doors of the display cabinet and some of her stoneware jugs on upper shelves.  The everyday dishes we used that evening also belonged to his first wife but Gene’s own special pieces, glasses, and dishes as well as some which belonged to her mother, my husband’s Granny Sue, and Dale’s mother are also used and displayed. The refrigerator has pictures of children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren and all are recent and displayed with equal prominence.
  In a bedroom there is a trunk storing letters written by her siblings at significant times in their lives and photos that she has labeled, preserved, and even shared for some of us to copy.  Framed pictures and certificates throughout the house on walls and on shelves not only tell a story of people they love but also honor family members and important occasions.  Bill is a retired Marine and they have enjoyed many trips to reunions of his division and special commemorative and celebratory events.  What is displayed in their home reflects and honors their past and their present and gives all who come in a glimpse of what is important to both of them. 

I don’t really need the book by Julie Morgenstern, nor the many magazines I’ve saved because they have good advice on how to deal with clutter!  HA!  Like the Beatles sang, “All you need is love!”  I got a good dose of that this weekend. I send my love and gratitude to you, uncles and aunts, cousins, and all the rest of you family members who aren’t living here in Texas.  By God’s grace and by your example, I am   letting go and moving forward so my home can reflect the love I have for my family and friends. 


  1. Hmm...I have a lot of decluttering and organizing books too, and they're adding to the clutter! Haha! :)

  2. Yes, Sage, the irony of that has not escaped me! So why is it I am such a sucker for each new glossy cover photo that promises new secrets for organizing success? Sometimes I have to pull my arm back from reaching for the offending periodical and just walk away. Recognizing the value of a "sponsor", so to speak, I call a friend to hear her say, "Just pitch, pitch, pitch." Thanks for your comment. It made me laugh!


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