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    Gettin' Ready

    Wowser, I am home and lovin’ it!  My family (and maybe all Oklahomans) uses the word piddling, or rather, piddlin’.  Meaning to do this thing, and then that thing, working on whatever comes to hand.  So, I’ve just been piddlin’ since coming home from Texas.  Unpacking, house cleaning, yard work, gardening, planting more flowers, buying groceries, catching up with family, spending time with my man.

    The rest of our extended family is having a yard sale today and tomorrow.  We have one, sometimes two, every year.  A four-family sale is quite the thing to see - spread down a driveway and over the entire front yard.  This one is at my sister’s house.  I opted out, just needing time to piddle around home.  I will probably have one at my house this fall, and those that have leftover things to sell can go another round.  They are all on my mind this morning.  My parents, sister, sister-in-law, a nephew, a niece (maybe two if she’s not working), and my brother will be in and out (work always interferes with fun).

    Preparing for the sale can be more work than the sale days.  We usually don’t have much leftover, so clean up is not too bad.  Well, I guess it is when you are hot and tired.  Sale items to box up, give away, or throw away, tables to take down and return, signs to pick up, money to count and disperse, kitchen to clean (eating goes on all day).  Sometimes we say, “Let’s not go to so much trouble next time.”, or “These sales are more trouble than they’re worth.”  But, with the next change of season, here we go, dragging out, moving around, unpacking, and arranging things ‘just so’.

    We love it.  We really do.  We talk, laugh, and meet new people.  We eat, play, and fan ourselves.  There is bargaining, organizing, and giving away.  There is some good money to be made with these sales, especially if you are selling furniture or appliances.  And we usually are.

    My sister’s family is really paring down and the proceeds from their portion of the sale will go to my niece.  She travels to Brazil in the fall for a year of mission work.  So, if it’s not nailed down or secreted away, it’s getting sold.  Mother’s family has been having garage, or yard, sales for as long as I can remember.  Grandma and my aunt would all take part, and the tradition was born.  I think that everyone should experience at least one sale in their lifetime.  If you live in a large metropolis, it may not be easy, but you should check into it.  Make a little money, share what you no longer need, and meet your neighbors!

    The next couple of articles will help you get ready for your sale.  Gathering, pricing, displaying, organizing.  Come on, it’ll be fun!


    Home on Sunday

    GB is on the road - driving back to TX to pick me up and take me home.  It’s been a grand week with my mother-in-law.  The to-do list has been pared down, and those items left can be taken care of next week.  She’s faced this first week without her husband with faith, grace, and resilience.  She’s had several sad, sad moments and she knows there will be more.  God will help her overcome, as will family and friends.  Her church family will continue to comfort and serve her, as Jesus comforted and served.

    I am happy to go back to my sweet Arkansas home.  Ready to work in the gardens, do some painting, and get back into the daily routine.  Which is really not a routine at all.  Each day is unique - my mornings start out the same on most days, but after breakfast there’s no telling what activity might peak my interest.  It is with thanksgiving that I face my days.  Glad to be home full-time (I am a homebody extraordinaire!), happy to spend time with my mother-in-law, thrilled that a large extended family is close so we can get together often, excited that my sister is off for the summer (maybe we can bowl with Mother and Daddy more often), joyful that I can spend time with nieces and nephews who are home for the summer (minus one)…I could go on and on.  But, more than all those blessings, I REALLY miss my dear husband!

    We’re all hoping for rain.  Which is just extraordinary considering our wild and wet spring.  My rain barrel and water buckets are low, so that means it really needs to rain soon.  If you’ve not read my post on water usage and conservation, here is the link.  And if you have, give it another read.  I like it.


    A List for All Seasons

    While writing the articles on organization, I knew that I wanted to do a seperate post on list making - and here it is.  From what needs to be accomplished today, to this weekend’s party menu, lists are invaluable.  My list making capabilities were passed down through the family lines, and may even be genetic!  Groceries, daily chores, trip packing items, home repair and remodeling ideas, recipes for upcoming functions (to name a few), all get an ordered list of some kind.  Not to mention to-do lists, honey-do lists, and wish lists.

    Lined, or unlined, paper works equally well.  Fancy notepads, sticky notes, bordered, handmade, recycled - use what works for you and keep it handy.  Spiral notebooks and three-pronged binders can be picked up very cheaply during the back-to-school sales.  They are great for your car or purse, so you are never without something to write down what is cluttering up your mind.  I’ve even been known to use the back of a sack, or a napkin.  Calendars, computers of all varieties, electronic reminder devices, and daily planners are other great list-making tools.  Why try to keep a single item in memory, when you can jot it down and live stress free?  Even if you are a brainiac and can remember the names and birthplaces of the signers of the Declaration of Independence that is no reason to use your valuable gray matter for every day, mundane remembrances.

    I have an old bowl on the counter in the kitchen that holds note paper, pens and pencils (which stand in an antique snuff glass), paper clips, and sticky notes.  I also use spiral notebooks for long term lists.  We keep seperate lists for the health food store, grocery store, and Sam’s Club.  Seasonal around-the-house jobs, long term projects, getting-ready-for-company ideas, and menu planning all get their own paper or page in the notebook.  Many times, my list items are organized further by priority.  Jotting a number by each one, from most important to least, will do the job.  And, I’ve learned to be flexible.  What doesn’t get accomplished one day will another.  No worries.

    There’s not much in our lives that doesn’t get listed.  The planning for every trip, vacation, big event, or dinner party gets written down somewhere:  what to pack, what to buy, what to prepare at home, what to purchase when we get there.  The What to Pack column gets broken down further so I’ll know what items go in which bags (or boxes or baskets):  toiletries, clothing, kitchen items, miscellaneous, books, etc.  There are also Idea Lists - blog articles, curriculum, bible study thoughts, gifts, party games, decorating, paint colors.  I absolutely, unequivocally, do not want to remember every little idea, thought, or question that pops into my head throughout the day.  GB even bought me a small voice recorder that is invaluable.

    During life’s trials, a list can be your best friend.  My mother-in-law and I have been making lists this week…

    • after death formalities
    • thank you notes to write
    • a store list - stamps, trash bags, cleaning supplies, a few groceries
    • doctors’ appointments to cancel or reschedule

    I believe that part of our society’s dysfunction can be related to trying to remember, for ourselves and by ourselves, the minutia of daily living.  Disorganization, being late for appointments, forgetting important events, losing time searching and scrambling for information.  Those kinds of things can make us appear disinterested, lazy, or even selfish.

    Becoming a list maker is not hard at all.  Begin this evening - gather paper and pen, and put it in a special place.  And then make a note for yourself that, tomorrow morning, you will start an accomplishment list for the day.  Place cute little numbers besides each item on the list, placing them in priority order.  What a relief!

    Companion Article:

    Kids and List Making


    Apart, But Not Separate

    Another memorial service behind us, the family drifting back to their lives and homes, our sons driving and flying away. 

    It was good to be together, and GB enjoyed time with his brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, and an aunt.  Texas is even hotter today than the days before, but not unbearable.  There have been moments cool enough to sit out in the courtyard.  A couple of crows (since one is noticeably smaller than the other, I think I mean couple in the mated sense) have become enamored with the backyard and we’ve enjoyed their antics.  My mother-in-law has graciously allowed me to stay with her all this week, and GB is on the road home.

    For several generations now, as our society has become more mobile, leaving home means more than just moving into a place across town.  Young people are continuing their education, getting married, starting careers, and embarking on adventures, mostly away from their parents and childhood homes.  Away, as in more than just a few miles.  I consider our technological advancements a ‘mixed bag’ - it’s great that we can chitchat (even face-to-face) with our family no matter where in the world they live; but there is also a trend toward techno-relationships, which replaces close-proximity, deeper contact.  It’s hard to read body language and facial expressions over the phone, or via email, facebook chats, or Instant Messaging.  Nuances of conversation are lost or scrambled as they travel over wire and through the atmosphere.  Short dialogues, superficial interactions, have replaced long, into-the-night, conversations.  Yes, I’ve had many wonderful phone chats, full of meaning and importance.  But, Up Close and Personal can never be replaced by the next generation iPhone.

    Watching, and engaging in, the family interaction these past few days reminded me of the importance of catching-up.  It’s great if folks can pick up where they left off, when last in each other’s company.  The importance of family gatherings, as well as friend time, has been discussed more than once on this site, but it’s never more evident than when witnessed first-hand.  I would encourage you all to take advantage of opportunities to be with family and friends.  If you can’t always be close, then do avail yourself of our techy blessings - talking with good friends on the other side of the world has never been more easy!


    Amblings, possibly Ramblings

    I’m always surprised at how much hotter it is in Texas.  Well, not always hotter than Tulsa.  And since our home in Northwest Arkansas is almost due east of Tulsa, that seems strange.  More trees in our area?  More hills, less humidity?  Hhmmm…  The air conditioner runs all the time and I even want some ice in my water.  A nephew from my side of the family is in New Mexico for the summer.  Maybe it’s hotter there than here.  Maybe.

    Aldo’s funeral is Friday afternoon and family is already starting to gather.  Three of the four sons are here, as well as one daughter-in-law (me!); another daughter-in-law stopped by on her way to Tulsa from Houston (her father is having a medical procedure tomorrow) and a daughter, two granddaughters, and one great-granddaughter live here.  More family will arrive throughout the day tomorrow, including our sons - one flying in from NYC and the other driving in from western TN.

    It’s late, with GB and his two brothers conversing the night away as I sit typing.  They only see one another a couple of times a year, so no time is wasted sleeping.  While our children were visiting us last week, we drove down here to see my in-laws.  We are so very glad we did.  Just a few days after we left, Aldo slipped away to his heavenly home.

    It was so great to have our little family together for a week.  We miss our sons very much and are so proud of them.  We are thankful for our daughter-in-law and loved the time spent getting to know her even better.  Besides our trip to Texas, we went bowling with the extended family, had a family fun night at my parents, prepared a home feast of shrimp and scallops, and spent many hours talking.  The highlight, for GB and me, was an anniversary dinner gift from the kids.  They took us out for a fine, fine meal of excellent hors d’oeuvres, steak, seafood, trimmings, and dessert.  I must say that it was the best steak I’ve ever had.  No offense to GB’s grilling skills, but it was excellent.  Grilled asparagus and roasted brussel sprouts were my vegetable choices, and the steak was topped with a dollop of truffle butter.  We also enjoyed salmon, ahi tuna egg rolls, and fried calamari for our pre-meal feast.  I chose homemade blackberry ice cream with English walnuts for dessert.  Wowser!

    I think there are several morals to these amblings and possible ramblings - enjoy life.  Go with the flow.  “Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice.”  Count your blessings.  Be thankful.