Where Did My Life Go?

There it is. It’s right in front of me. I’m living it, yet it seems so far out of reach. I’m really over the season of reflection. When I look back at the last year, there is so much that I miss from my previous married life. Divorce is the hardest thing I’ve ever lived through, but I likened the second half of my marriage to saving a dying cat, which is something I also once tried to do.

My sweet orange tabby, Joey, had something wrong with him. It was a slow fade kidney disease that we were trying to tackle as an allergy issue. He was the sweetest, most tolerant cat I ever had. He always struggled with hair balls and vomiting (writing on the wall now that I think of it). He would let me shave his entire body in the summer months to help with his digestive tract. We had such a special bond, but I knew he was dying in the last few years that I had him and I let it go for too long. Selfish on my part really. I think by the time you’re feeding your cat a full diet of Ensure supplement shakes, it’s time. That’s where I found myself at the end of his life. Poor thing was needlessly suffering and I was too, although in that moment I thought I was doing my best with what I had. In reality, I was denying that I could no longer change the outcome no matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I loved him.

…and that was my marriage – Saving a Dying Cat.

Before I got divorced, I thought my recovery would involve only facing the loss of my spouse. Turns out, he is the least of my losses. I do miss some physical things I had but not really because they were things. I miss what my things represented. I miss my house because it was on a quiet street, with a chicken coop in a fenced-in back yard that backed up to the woods with a stream. I miss having a home. I miss a home that we had begun to make memories in and a home that we had plans in. I miss a home that represented normalcy and security. The stuff I had were only tools I used to serve those purposes.

I have things that I kept for sentimental reasons in a storage unit that I no longer want at all. It will be helpful to have furniture for our next home, but the few things I did keep otherwise, I don’t remember what they are and if I never saw these things again, I don’t think I’d miss them at all.

But Amanda, won’t you be happy to reminisce once you do get a chance to get everything out of storage?”

I mean, maybe. Right now it all feels like a dead weight. I think I’ll be asking myself more what I was thinking keeping some of it. At no point have I thought I should have kept more things. The most important things I took from my divorce are what I have right now – my kids, a hope for a better tomorrow, a chance to figure out who I am, and learning that God will hold you close, even in divorce. He will never leave you, nor forsake you no matter what any religious ideology convinces you to believe.

Hope and Self. Something my marriage took from me while I was needlessly suffering thinking that all I could do was the best with what I had. There is no store that I can shop at, or house that I can fill with stuff that can lead me to Hope and Self.

Anything possession that I decide to have will be used to further my purposes for the next season. The kids and I have shared the tiniest one closet for months and I still have clothes to wear everyday. There really is a sense of freedom knowing that you can live without.

Low Price Does Not Equal Savings

Have you ever noticed how much the word saving is associated with spending? Take note as you watch TV, shop online, or walk into your favorite stores over the next several days how seamlessly the idea of saving has been marketed to us as a way to spend, but step out of that context for a minute and think of saving vs spending as the two different things that they are.

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Why You Need a Declutter Box

Several years ago when I was going through the crazy-making season of being a mom to two under 3, I started to realize how much stuff just happened upon us and ended up in my house. Infants and toddlers need big things: swings, highchairs, bouncing things, play pens, teaching to walk things, big strollers and little strollers (they need both), changing tables and then tiny porto potties. It seemed like everything the kids needed consumed so much floor space in the house. I told myself it was for a season, and it was, but then after those things went away other things kept coming – smaller things. . . so many smaller things. There were interactive loud obnoxious toys, plushies, big blocks and little blocks, tiny cars and dolls with elusive doll shoes, and puzzles with all of their pieces. There was also packaging from these small things that cluttered up the house as much as the toys themselves did.

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For What’s Ahead

Being at a turning point in your life forces self awareness to some degree. You can’t help but reflect on where you’ve been and anticipate what’s ahead.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

That’s a hard one to swallow but its a reminder that’s needed when I begin to plan and fixate on uncertainties. I find empathy in those words. Today has enough to think about. Work on what you’re doing today. One thing at a time. It’s easy to be overwhelmed in thought. The time to worry about tomorrow is tomorrow.

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Practical DIY 12: Easy Stewed Tomatoes

Oh my, my! Two years ago our neighbors brought over a small bucket of tomatoes from a local farm and left them on our porch. The kids said they were the best tomatoes they’d ever had and they were. He later told us that he and his wife visit a local farm every year. We’ve been wanting to get to the farm for 2 years and finally made it this past week. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The u-pick option to buy tomatoes was very reasonable. A large bag of tomatoes was $3. We picked about 30 tomatoes before we filled the bag so I have a LOT of tomatoes.

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A Blessing in Stressful Times

Guess what I don’t ever want to do? Go through my clutter. I like to have a clean house but I don’t really like to clean my house. I think that is why living with less is so appealing to me. Hindsight is 20/20. Let’s talk for a minute about how having less clutter has helped in a season that has nothing to do with my stuff.

2, 5, 10 years ago I didn’t think I would be going through a divorce, during a pandemic, 18 months after purchasing our second home, but I did, and I am. When I began the intentional pursuit to have less, I hoped that it would benefit many aspects of my life. It has but sometimes things happen in life where you actually get to see the worth of your efforts.

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When Your Stuff Becomes a Burden

You know the feeling. Anxiety, tension, suffocation when you walk into a room and it’s like, “How. did. all. of this STUFF get here?” I’d like to comfort myself and believe we’ve all been there at one time or another. Looking at it is exhausting. Tackling it seems defeating. Our stuff doesn’t just magically appear in our homes. It doesn’t have legs, walk in and sit down in the middle of the floor and say, “Deal with me now!” And I know, I know it seems cold to point the blame back onto you, or me, or anyone dealing with it. After all blame shifting never solves anything. Truth is, we have all developed habits that make us proned to hoarding too many things. It’s the world we live in. Any way we turn, we are pressed to buy one. more. thing. So it’s the world’s fault, right? Well no, not specifically. If anything, it’s a self-awareness issue. Clutter exists in our home from one of two ways or a combo of both – Buying too much or keeping too much. I’ve comprised a list to determine which side of the coin a person’s clutter causing habits fall.

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Practical DIY No 11: Kitchen Recipes

If you aren’t using the back of cabinets for secret storage and organization, you’re missing out. I started taping my favorite recipes on the backs of my kitchen cabinets years ago and although I now know most of the recipes that I have on display, my daughter has begun to follow them. She loves to cook and every now and then, she’ll be quiet in the kitchen working on something creative to bake in the oven. Our most often used recipe is my Christmas morning muffins.

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A Snake and A Car

Today was a weird day. One that I thought would be filled with much more sadness but as I reflect, I know I’m moving forward in hope. Our house listed in this hot market and we already have 5 viewings scheduled. I’m grateful for it, but it was never the plan. I like plans, but honestly, I like change too so I can see the opportunity for growth here. We bought our house 2 years ago after we lived in our first home for 12 years. My husband, now ex, wanted a bigger house and I wanted a better floor plan. We found both in this house. We bought this house for a family of 4 and now we are a family of 3. I won’t get into the details but it’s what bought me to this happy point today.

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Practical DIY No 10: Removing Sticker Residue

I like a good drop-and-go type situation. It makes me feel like I’m working smarter, not harder. For example crock pot meals, drop everything in the pot, walk away and you have dinner 8 hours later. Or using vinegar to clean nasty food off of my stainless steel pans. Fill the bottom with straight vinegar, leave to soak for several hours, then easily wipe clean, spray rinse, done. I like to know my efforts are working behind the scenes when I’m working on other things or spending time with the kids.

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