Not sure how this happened, as these were supposed to be two separate groups of bulbs—but doesn’t it look like one of the purple flowers decided to do a bit of neighborly visiting with the white flowers?
 

White and purple spring flowers, with a purple one next to the white. 

This little scene left me remembering childhood wanderings through meadows full of wildflowers, making up all sorts of fanciful fairy-tale scenarios of what the flowers might be doing. I believe it would do us all good to exercise our imagination like that from time to time, even as adults!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

April 22, 2015 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

In olden times, when an invading army was defeated and the war came to an end, the victorious defending soldiers would be paid whatever wages were due to them and sent home to tend to their families and fields. What if we did the same with our defensive emotions when our lives became more peaceful—honoring their service, while recognizing that it’s not in our best interest to keep them as a standing army? An imaginary mustering-out ceremony might go something like this:

Anger, step forward. Today we honor your valiant service. You charged courageously into battle, attacking wrongdoers and righting injustice. You kept your fellow soldiers motivated to go on fighting until victory was won. Here are your wages and a medal honoring your many brave deeds. May you find success in turning that impetuous energy toward a new career. How about the theater? It would suit your dramatics quite well.

Fear, thank you for your service as a vigilant scout, searching the countryside for dangers and quickly alerting the troops. Without your hard work, there surely would have been more mishaps and ambushes. Here is the money you’re owed—no doubt you’ll manage it just as carefully! Enjoy the pleasant, sunny days of peacetime on the farm, and try to relax if you can!

Bitterness, now it’s your turn. For many years, you honed your talents as a masterful propagandist. You made sure everyone knew the sordid details of the enemy’s evil schemes—and if they got exaggerated beyond recognition, well, that was all in a day’s work. Surely you’ll find great success in the advertising industry! Here are your wages, along with a commendation for having been so zealous.

Doubt, you were a fine quartermaster. Nobody got away with stealing the army’s supplies while you were on the job! You’ll certainly have many commercial firms eager to hire you. Here’s your bag of gold coins. Please try to wait until you step off the stage before you count them!

Judgment, your efforts are much valued. With diligent attention to detail, you kept us informed of all the ways we were better, smarter, and more capable than the enemy. You gave us certainty that we were always in the right—and that even if we weren’t, it was someone else’s fault. Word has it that you plan to start a new career in politics. Good luck to you, and here’s your well-earned pay!

As all of you receive your honorable discharge today, please know that your service to God and country is greatly appreciated—and as the times become more peaceful, may we find peace in our hearts as well.

April 19, 2015 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Here’s one of the reasons why there was such a mess in the closet where my kids used to keep their school supplies—that big heap of stuff on the floor was full of old backpacks and sports bags. Rather than throwing the well-worn ones away at the end of the school year, the kids just tossed them back into the closet. Then they sank to the bottom of the heap, never to be seen again.
 

Two rows of old backpacks on brown carpet. 

Of course, as the responsible adult I should have made sure the old stuff was gone when I bought new school supplies every year. Learned my lesson there: Not paying attention to what goes out (or doesn’t) when new stuff comes into the house equals clutter! But all’s well that ends well—the closet is back to life. No more Bermuda Triangle for backpacks here!

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!

Last year I bought a crystal necklace that became a favorite string of “worry beads,” as I described in a previous Nurturing Thursday post. Sadly, all my fidgeting with the necklace had its inevitable result this morning when the string broke and the beads started falling all over my desk!
 

Necklace of crystal beads with a broken plastic string. 

The necklace can easily be fixed of course, but having it suddenly fall apart like that was kind of discombobulating. Then I thought that maybe I should look at it as giving me a message that all is well, and there’s no need to worry about anything today!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Today’s world is far busier than at any time in the past. Everywhere we look, we’re faced with many choices to make and complicated details to track and organize. It’s no wonder that so many people lead lives of constant stress, always worrying that there’s too much going on and no good ways to keep up with it all. Making wrong choices, losing track of things, and not getting enough done seem inevitable.

Of course, anxiety only makes everything worse; but if we don’t feel in control of our daily lives, then how can we get those worries to go away? And until the worries go away, how can we feel more confident? Many of us struggle with this dilemma. It can be especially challenging for people with disabilities, whose needs are by definition (under the social model of disability) not adequately supported in present-day society.

Autism, in particular, often is associated with anxiety. Definitions of autism generally mention self-calming repetitive behaviors. Many people view such behaviors not as an intrinsic part of their autism, however, but as symptoms of anxiety caused by living in a world that can feel overwhelming and extremely difficult to navigate, with information often coming too fast to process.

I believe that it’s helpful for any of us, whether or not we have a disability, to keep in mind that we do have the power to change our personal environment. Even though we can’t control much of what happens in the world, we can create peaceful, nurturing homes and workspaces that lovingly support us as we go through our days. We can awaken our power by making small positive changes to our routines and surroundings, which reinforce and build on each other as time passes.

When I feel stressed about something I’m trying to do, I stop and ask myself: Does this need to be done now, or at all? Are there more comfortable ways to do it? Should I ask for help instead of trying to do it myself? Sometimes anxiety makes us forget that we have other options; but in reality, there are almost always better alternatives, if we take enough time to discover them. Rather than letting ourselves get overwhelmed, we can step back from the situation for a moment and consider ways to simplify it.
 

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Visit autismacceptancemonth.com for more information.

April 12, 2015 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

On Saturday morning, which was sunny and bright, almost everybody in my subdivision mowed their lawn for the first time this season. While my husband was busy mowing, I dug out some weeds in the flowerbeds. There wasn’t as much spring cleaning to do in the garage this year because we cleaned out a lot of clutter last spring (yay). Still, my husband noticed and got rid of an old extension cord that we never used anymore; and I made the unwelcome discovery that I had not one, but two pairs of gardening gloves in the garage, and that the older pair was totally gross and grimy. I had used them for weeding on a muddy day in 2013, and obviously they never got washed.
 

Old green extension cord and grimy gardening gloves. 

I like to buy new gardening gloves every spring because that gives me a cheerful feeling that a fresh new season is underway, so I shouldn’t even have thought about keeping the old gloves. They only cost a few dollars, after all, and they’re easy to find in the stores. What I probably had in mind was that I might want to use them early in the next season before I got around to buying a new pair, or that if I had a particularly messy gardening task I wouldn’t want the new pair to look old and muddy right away. But all I really accomplished was to make my basket of gardening stuff look weedy!

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!

Because I’ve already posted autumn and winter photos of my willow hedge for Nurturing Thursday entries, I decided that a spring photo would be in order for today’s post. It’s dark and rainy here today, with occasional thunderstorms rolling through—but now that I have resolved not to call such days “dreary,” I find that I’m appreciating their damp softness as they gently nurture the earth, and remembering how I loved playing in the rain when I was a child.
 

Willows on a rainy early-spring day, losing their catkins as leaf buds unfold. 

The catkins, heavy with rain, are falling to the wet grass and making space for the leaf buds to unfold. What came to mind as I took this photo was that although we usually think of autumn (fall) as the season when old things fall away before it’s time for new growth, letting go of old things is really an ongoing, year-round process—both in the natural world and in ourselves!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Now that this blog is in its fourth year (yay!) I’ve been posting entries on a fairly regular schedule. Usually I write three (optimistically four) posts a week: a Clutter Comedy post every Sunday, a Nurturing Thursday post every Thursday, and one or two articles or stories in between. That’s mostly good because my blog now has more content than it had in past years, and the posts that I write for my two regular feature days flow pretty easily because they’re short and structured.

But if Wednesday evening arrives and I haven’t yet written the miscellaneous early-week post, then I feel as if I’m slacking off because my readers will expect me to stay on my regular schedule. Yes, I know that’s a silly thing to worry about. I never had any plans to make money from my blog, so there’s certainly no reason to think of it as having a production schedule like work; and in reality, I don’t believe I have such a demanding audience.

If I slack off once, though, I might do it again, and then this blog could end up as just another derelict hulk adrift in cyberspace. It’s the slippery slope worry—once you start slipping, there’s just no telling where you might end up!
 

Waterfall over steep, slippery rocks.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

Earlier today, when I didn’t have anything in mind to write, I got those slacking-off feelings and then started giving myself a lecture on how ridiculous it was to worry about staying on a schedule that I had just invented last year for no particular reason. Life in the modern world already has too many randomly imposed expectations, so why add more?

I had just about decided it was time to apply to the Court of Conscience for official permission to slack off, when I realized that everything I had been telling myself would work just fine as a blog entry! So as it turned out, there’s a post for Wednesday after all, and no need to get myself an excuse note just yet.

April 5, 2015 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

This week’s clutter blog comes to you from the depths of the toy and school supplies closet in the room that used to be my kids’ study. Next to a pair of portable intercom devices, which are old enough that the white plastic is turning yellow, I found a tiny phone. Although it plugs into a jack and is usable, I would call it a toy, and a very antiquated one at that.
 

Set of two portable intercom devices and a toy phone. 

I don’t quite remember when my daughter got the tiny blue phone, but it must have been before she had a mobile phone—she certainly wouldn’t have had any interest in it after that! So I’m guessing it sat on the closet shelf without anyone using it ever since we moved into this house. And I’m pretty sure the kids never talked to each other on the intercoms after getting their own phones, either. Time marches on, like it always does; and it certainly marched past this stuff long ago!

About Clutter Comedy: Every Sunday (which I envision as a day of rest after a productive week of de-cluttering) I post a Clutter Comedy article describing my most memorable clutter discovery of the week. Other bloggers who wish to join in are welcome—just post a link in the comments! There’s no need to publish any “before” photos of your clutter, if they are too embarrassing. The idea is simply to get motivated to clean it up, while having a bit of fun too!

When my daughter bought her puppy, she got a plain set of metal food and water bowls in a plastic holder. That seemed just fine at the time, and we didn’t think about other possibilities until my husband mentioned that it would be good to have two sets, so that one could be put in the dishwasher while another was left out for the dog. He went to the pet store and bought a colorful placemat with two sets of sturdy ceramic bowls.
 

Ceramic food and water bowls for the dog, on a mat decorated with brightly colored bones. 

The new dog accessories really brightened up the kitchen! Today’s consumer society, even with all its flaws, can be a resource for better nurturing when we buy things that make our surroundings more pleasant. Of course, we need to be careful not to let spending get out of control or let clutter pile up; but within those constraints, buying cheerful little things can go a long way toward improving one’s mood! The old set of bowls is already in the trunk of my car waiting to be taken to the thrift store.

And if you are wondering—yes, that is a small piece of banana on top of the dog food. I often eat a banana in the morning, and Diva Dog decided she likes it, so I usually break off a piece for her. She is definitely a pampered puppy!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.