I’ve had three pocket-sized metal boxes from a tea promotion in a kitchen cabinet for many years. Although they have cute designs on the lids, they never were very useful because each of them is so small that it can’t hold more than a half-dozen teabags.
 

Three small metal boxes for tea, with colorful pictures on the lids. 

I never had any occasion to carry teabags around in a pocket or purse, so these little tins haven’t done much besides take up space on the cabinet shelf. Sometimes I would put a few teabags in one of them if the box from the store was nearly empty; but really, they’re just in the way. Even if they’re cute and cheerful, that doesn’t mean I should keep them forever!

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 summer I embarked upon a time-attraction experiment, which I described in a series of posts that started with Tithing Time. I was curious as to whether giving away some of my time would shift my perspective toward seeing time as an abundant resource, with the result of attracting more time. Although I did not in fact have any extra time at the end of the year, I felt more relaxed about my time and considered that to be a positive outcome.

This year, although time hasn’t been a worry, I sometimes feel that my creative energy level isn’t where it should be. So I found myself wondering: If, as a general rule, we get more of what we give, then shouldn’t that rule also apply to creative energy? And how does one go about tithing creative energy anyway? Money and material goods are easily measured, and time isn’t hard to track either, in a world that has lists and schedules for just about everything. Perhaps creativity might be measured by counting output, such as the number of words written; but how would donating a percentage of it work?

Then I realized that I was overthinking it and that the measure was pretty simple after all. When I write something that’s part of my job, I get paid for it. The percentage of creative energy that I tithe consists of other writing that I share freely, in the interest of contributing to a better world. This would include blog posts that uplift and inspire my readers; other materials I donate for publication elsewhere; and comments, emails, and reviews in which I compliment other authors and encourage them to write more. There’s no way of knowing how far such small ripples might spread…
 

Brown leaf on water with ripples and cloud reflections.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

When I set aside more time last year for reading positive blogs and leaving encouraging comments for their authors, my creative output did in fact increase. I went from writing occasional blog entries a few times a month to posting three days a week regularly. I also have more readers who like and comment on my posts. So, if I still feel that my creativity is not where it ought to be, that’s not because I actually have less of it. On the contrary, it’s because I have been doing more, which has given me higher expectations. All those ideas for creative projects that piled up over the years, without really going anywhere, now feel as if they’re within reach. That leaves me feeling impatient to get on with them.

Rather than being impatient, I just need to keep on with what I’ve been doing—that is, writing my regular posts and commenting on other blogs, while gradually moving the larger projects forward too. Those ripples are moving in the right direction!

The little garden fountain on my front porch, which I mentioned in a May post, has had a lot of algae this summer. I didn’t want to risk harming animals that might drink out of the fountain by putting chemicals in the water; so I’ve just been dumping out the water and the pebbles from time to time, and then putting in clean water and more pebbles.
 

Ceramic garden fountain with pebbles at the top, covered with algae. 

I need to quit being lazy about it, though, and give the fountain a good thorough scrubbing to get all that algae out! The water hasn’t been flowing as freely as it should, and every time I look at it, I’m getting subconscious impressions of blockage and gunk instead of the healthy flow of energy that I had in mind when I bought it. Even the best of intentions for self-nurturing aren’t necessarily going to work out without some work being put in!

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.

August 23, 2015 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

One of my kitchen cabinets has three shelves behind glass doors, where I displayed my kids’ craft items when they were younger. After they went off to college, I decided it was time to retire those cute handmade items, but I wasn’t sure what to put in their place. My mom just happened to be moving at that time and giving away things she didn’t need, which included some mugs with bright and cheerful designs, so I put them on the shelves instead.
 

Kitchen cabinet with three shelves and glass doors, open to show brightly painted mugs and candle-wax animal figurines. 

But that arrangement never looked right to me. The mugs on the bottom shelf are not quite the same size as the mugs on the middle shelf; they’re actually two different sets. And although the candle-wax animal figurines on the top shelf are pretty, I’ve had them since I was in college. Overall, when I look at the display cabinet, it gives the impression of old mismatched random stuff, which is certainly not what I want.

I know what I need to do—find new and meaningful items to put on the display shelves, so that looking at them will give me joyful positive energy. Maybe angel figurines so that I’ll feel safe and protected when I see them? Although I haven’t yet made up my mind, I decided to go ahead and write this post anyway, to give myself a bit of motivation!

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!

As described in my post on January 1st, my New Year’s resolution for 2015 was to say “Yay!” to my new red toaster every morning, so that I would start each day with a smile (and perhaps a giggle) while better appreciating the fun and silliness in ordinary life.
 

New red toaster with display screen. 

I haven’t always kept that resolution as intended, though. On those mornings when I don’t feel awake enough to do much more than stumble into the kitchen to get some coffee, remembering it might take me a few hours. So I’ve modified the resolution a bit. Now, if I don’t remember to say “Yay!” to the toaster in the morning, I just say it to whatever other cheerful objects I notice later. So far, I’ve said it to the dark and breezy air just before a thunderstorm blows in; to the glint of sparkling waves on the river at midday; and to the cool shade of my willow hedge.

I’ve even said “Yay!” to the roll of toilet paper in my bathroom, which seems a very appropriate subject for gratitude because, after all, life with modern sanitation is much better than where we’d be without it!
 

Roll of toilet paper on a shiny brass holder. 

So, even though my “Yay for the Day” resolution didn’t turn out exactly as I had in mind, just being flexible about it made my days more fun anyway! And I would say that’s true of most things in life. Rather than worrying about failure when something doesn’t go as planned, it’s best to look at it as an opportunity for lots of other interesting stuff to show up!

As we all know, yard work does not go away when ignored. A row of junipers under my living room windows had been getting overgrown for years while I put off the chore of pruning them. I sternly lectured myself this spring that it needed to get done now, before the sprawling branches killed any more of the grass around them. I started working on it over the weekends, setting myself a deadline of mid-August because that is when the lawn service usually does the aeration and overseeding, which I thought might help with getting the grass to come back more quickly.
 

Junipers with bare spot in grass where they were pruned. 

When I mentioned that to my husband, who is a practical-minded engineer, he said that the timing really didn’t matter because the lawn service people generally don’t walk that close to the bushes anyway, and the bare areas will mainly grow back from the edges because overseeding adds only a small amount of grass seed. Looks like he was right about that because the aeration and overseeding was done this morning, and I didn’t see aeration holes or a significant amount of grass seed in the bare areas.

Still, I would say that setting myself a deadline was good because it kept me motivated to finish the task, even if it didn’t make a practical difference. When neglected chores sit around in plain sight with no definite completion date, they tend to drain mental energy because the subconscious mind notices such things and files them away under the “lots of stuff to do, and it’s not getting done” category. Better to quit procrastinating, get the chore over with, and effectively “overseed” that depleted energy by looking at the positive results instead!

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.

August 16, 2015 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

A few years ago, when my husband and I went on a lot of road trips to watch our daughter’s college soccer games, we often had to leave early in the morning. Not surprisingly, we started drinking more coffee. That gave me the idea of buying my husband an espresso and cappuccino maker for a Christmas gift, since he likes gadgets generally.
 

Espresso and cappuccino maker on kitchen countertop. 

Although it got some use over the winter, we decided to buy a Keurig coffee maker before the next soccer season began. Not only are K-cups quick to brew, they also make it possible to keep many different kinds of coffee in the house because they stay fresh for a long time, unlike bagged coffee that must be used soon after opening the bag. So the espresso and cappuccino maker became just another obsolete gadget taking up space in a kitchen cabinet—a gadget gone cold!

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!

My inner child needs to learn some patience.

I sat down with her yesterday afternoon, in the warm spring grass of April 1978. Wild strawberry blossoms dotted the meadow like tiny white stars. Bees buzzed in the dandelions, birds sang in the trees, and puffy clouds piled on each other along the horizon to make fanciful castles—a wonderful moment to be savored for as long as it might last.
 

Wild strawberry blossoms and dandelions.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

But, truth be told, my inner child wasn’t appreciating it nearly that much. Well, except for the castles, from which she pictured angels and fairies swooping down to grant wishes. And what was she wishing for? To be grown up already. Just being a child with nothing to do besides sitting in the grass was too boring, you see. She wanted to get on with all those exciting grown-up adventures that surely had to be waiting for her.

“If you bring me forward in time, just a few years,” she said out loud to the imaginary angels and fairies, “then I’ll…”

And here she ran into a bit of trouble, having nothing to bargain with for the time travel she wanted. She had no precious jewels to offer a fairy, nor was there a magical jar anywhere nearby from which she could release a grateful genie.

“Then I’ll be happy even if it’s the end of summer,” she finally said, which she thought would be a great sacrifice. After all, she liked spring and early summer the best of all the seasons. Picking the wild strawberries in May and the raspberries in June always was great fun; and later she would look back fondly on her memories of sitting in the spring grass with the strawberry blossoms and the dandelions, even if she couldn’t have been persuaded of it at the time.

I did try, though, when she paused to listen for fairy-voices amidst the birdsong, just before I reluctantly left this peaceful scene. I couldn’t stay any longer, but had to go back to my exciting grown-up world of mortgage payments, work schedules and to-do lists.

“You don’t have to be in such a hurry,” I told her. “That wish is one you’ll get soon enough.”

Somehow I let myself get into a gloomy, brooding sort of mood over the past few days; and when today rolled around I still didn’t have anything in mind for a Nurturing Thursday post. While I was standing in the laundry room, taking towels from the washer and putting them into the dryer, I was wondering if I’d had any self-nurturing going on this week that was even worth mentioning.
 

Front-loading washer and dryer, full of towels. 

Then I started thinking about how everyday things like a washer and dryer, along with all the other common household items we take for granted, make our lives more comfortable all the time. My current front-loading set is much nicer than the set it replaced, which in turn was better than the first washer and dryer my family had, and even that cheap set made life much easier than using a laundromat or an apartment laundry room.

And of course, before the modern era, women who did their laundry by hand in a washtub or at the river would’ve dearly loved going to a laundromat! So, as with everything, it all depends on one’s perspective. When gloomy thoughts show up for no particular reason, the best thing is to take a different view of the situation and just let them wash away!

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.

August 9, 2015 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

My daughter trained her dog to ring bells as a signal that the dog needed to go outside. The bells hung from the handle of the sliding glass door in the kitchen. The dog learned how to go to the door and push the bells with her snout to ring them, but there was one small problem: We always had to leave the vertical blinds open, at least enough that the bells were not covered up. And on cold winter nights, that made the kitchen drafty. So my husband moved the bells to the wall next to the door.
 

Small bells hanging from a wall next to a sliding glass door. 

To us, the bells looked close enough that they were almost in the same place. But a dog’s brain evidently has a harder time processing what to do with objects that have been moved, and the dog never rang the bells again. Now she just barks at us when she wants to go out. So the bells have been hanging on the wall since the winter, completely useless. We finally decided it’s time to bid them farewell!

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!