everybody’s talking about stuff

I am a sentimental stuff holder-onto-er. I attach value to inanimate objects, much more value than I should. And it’s kind of embarrassing to admit the twinge of fear I have in this process of going through and letting go.

This summer while the kids were with my parents, I cleaned out the playroom and got rid of two van-loads of things. The women at the donation place asked me if my kids knew I was getting rid of their stuff. Heavens no. When they got home, they didn’t miss one single thing. In fact, they thanked me for cleaning. (!!!)

On October 2, my sister, my mom and I are having a yard sale. Kimba and my sister have both posted about their stuff recently. In fact, my sister had so much interest in some of the things she’s selling that she decided to put a few things on e-bay. They aren’t just any few things. They are Vintage Nesting Place things. But all of her other things will be at the sale. Several SUV loads of things.

We do yard sales almost every year, and when they’re over, I always swear and promise and vow I will never do one again. But there is just enough time in between them that I forget the pain and only remember the good parts. Kind of like having a kid.

This year, I’m not just selling the junk. I mean, I’m selling the junk, but I’m also selling more than just the junk. I’ve been thinking a lot about stuff, about the things I have and the things I love. I have a lot more things than I love, but I also love a lot of the things I have. So this year, I’m selling the things I don’t want, but I’m also selling some of the things I love-ish. It was painful at first, to go through some of the twins baby clothes, to pull out that cute skirt I bought in Spain (but haven’t worn in four years), to realize I have 4 too many apothecary jars, to let go of the clock that I love but have no place to put. So I took my sister’s advice: just price it and put in the yard sale pile. Then see how you feel.

And you know what? I feel good. I thought I would go back out to the garage and pull out things to bring back in the house. But I haven’t and I don’t think I will. This lightness breeds a longing for less. I think I could get used to it.

If you are local-ish, the bi-annual neighborhood yard sale will be at my parent’s house in Lake Park.

Not that you need more stuff, but you know what they say about one man’s trash.

in the yard

The leaves haven’t changed yet around here. But soon.

The kids’ feet are still running bare, but not for long.

And the dog? He’s still a dog. The end.

for when you want to hide

I’ve talked here before about the ways I hide when I live in fear of not being enough, of not doing enough, or of not whatever else enough. Sometimes I hide for the opposite reason, too – that of being too much. Too emotional. Too sensitive. Too dramatic. Too critical. Too much.

There is a finding that happens between friends, but only if we allow it. Sometimes I convince myself that I don’t want to be found. But really, don’t we always want to be found, to be seen and loved anyway? I’ve written about this today at (in)courage. Please, follow me there?

a tuesday in september

September used to be my least favorite month. Nothing happens in September. It’s not really summer, it’s too early for fall. The pool is closed, there are no trips planned, and it always felt like a long month of waiting for October.

And then he chose September to propose. Now, it’s heavy with the memory of a dozen orange roses, a diamond ring, and young dreams of forever love. The evening air is just cool enough that you can breathe in deep without swallowing mosquitoes, and as I do, I consider how I am living my dream with this man and these kids and this house we have made. I am compelled to receive the gift and push away the complaint and the grumble and the creeping, sneaking apathy.

But thinking of September 10 years ago does something else. It makes me think of 10 years from now. Because maybe my house will be turned upside down or maybe we’ll visit Pinky in Bangledesh or maybe all this stuff we’ve accumulated will catch fire and burn to nothing. We just don’t know. And so, I want to receive the gifts of now while knowing they may not be forever. Also, I want to consider new dreams that may include less stuff and more heart. Less fear, more love.

Tuesdays are the day we gather here to pause and unwrap the gifts to be found in the daily minute. If you would like to join in, welcome! If you have questions, check out the information on my Tuesdays Unwrapped page. If you are reading in a reader, you may have to click over to see the links and I really hope you read at least a few. So happy here on my favorite day of the week. Join us?

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

(in) Hilton Head, SC

Writing for (in)courage has been an unexpected gift this year. It was one of those things I agreed to before I was really sure what it would be. But oh, how glad I am that I said yes. It was officially launched last year at She Speaks. As I sat in the audience and listened to Stephanie tell the room full of women about the vision for (in)courage, I imagined what it would be like if the thing they wanted to do online could somehow come to life.

“When we asked ourselves what kind of place we were building, we finally came to see it as a bit like a beach house. You can put your sandy, dirty feet on the coffee table, laugh late into the night with friends, and also hear God’s voice clearer than perhaps anywhere else.”  –from the story of (in)courage

Well now, that beach house vision is coming to life even more. Right now, I’m sitting in a beach house on Hilton Head Island with 12 of the women who write for (in)courage. And I am able to see how the words these women write are also the words they live by. But it’s not just for us. Not really, anyway. While we’re here, we are brainstorming ways to offer even more to you in the coming year. And we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Since our family has been vacationing on Hilton Head for many years, I know what a fantastic place it is. And the wonderful people at the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce (seriously, they are wonderful), as well as DaySpring are making it possible for the women of (in)courage to experience and fall in love with Hilton Head as much as I have.

That’s Lisa, Robin, Jen, Annie, Arianne, Dawn, MaryNester, me, Stephanie, Holley, Sarah, and Jessica. Some of them are obstructed. Sorry about that. This weekend coincides with the National Day of Encouragement (did you know there was one?!) and so it beautifully brings in year two of celebrating intentional community building at (in)courage.

Last night’s dinner catered by Soozi and Linda

the beach house, provided by Hilton Head Rentals & Golf

Dolphin tour, taken with Dawn’s camera

And I know this one is blurry, but I hope you can read the emotion of the moment – this is us talking with Ann Voskamp and Lisa-Jo on Skype while they are with Compassion International in Guatemala. It was so beautiful, I couldn’t not post it.

I wish you could see their faces more clearly. It was so sweet to see them and hear their South African and Canadian accents and to see them live from Guatemala as we were all together, gathered on the bed.

If you ever need a place to bring your family, to play golf, to watch some dolphin, to bask in southernness, consider Hilton Head in South Carolina. I come here at least twice a year and hope I never have to stop. And who knows? Maybe next year we can all meet up here for a real-life (in)courage beach party with you. What would you think of that?

Disclosure:: Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce generously provided the accommodations at the amazing beach house, bikes, an ocean cruise, and dinner at The Aqua Grille & Lounge. DaySpring took care of all the incidentals and meals for each of the bloggers.

a moment

Itell her I’m proud of her, and she wants to know why. Because you are mine, I say. She refuses to receive it. But I didn’t do anything, Mommy. I know, love. It’s not what you do, it’s who you are. She wants to earn it, but I won’t let her. It is the sweetest gift we can give them.

Sharing this moment today with SouleMama.