Monday, August 31, 2015

My Bicycle And I

Last week when I was sorting through my Mom's old papers I discovered this poem she wrote in school. (I'm guessing it was around 1950, she didn't date her school papers.) I liked it so much I took it with me to read to her when I went to see her Thursday.

I told her I found a poem that I wanted to read to her. She wanted to know who wrote it, but I wouldn't tell her until after I read it to her. I hoped I could get her to say she liked it before telling her who wrote it. I didn't think she would admit to liking it after I told her that she had written it. As soon as I finished she asked again who wrote it. I asked if she liked it. She asked if I had written it. I said, "No, I didn't write it". But, "Did you like it?" She finally said yes, rather reluctantly. "Who wrote it?" she asked again. I told her she did. She didn't believe me until I showed her the paper with her "by line" on it. Her final comment was that she "never really liked poetry very much."

Well, anyway, I think it's charming:

My Bicycle And I
     by --E. J.

My bicycle and I,
   Go sailing down the road,
When the sun is in the sky,
   Or when the weather's very cold.

Long shadows from the trees,
   Cross our path way.
Wafted on the breeze,
   Comes the fragrance of the hay.

The fragrance of the flowers
   Is wafted to my nose,
As I pass many rosy bowers,
   Among the flowers it makes me want to dose.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saving Sermon Notes...What Would Jesus Do?*

I just spent two hours sorting a two inch stack of sermon notes from the last five years. My brilliant idea was that I could scan them and discard the paper. That would free up more space on my book case. Then each Sunday I could scan that Sunday’s sermon notes, thus preventing me from ever accumulating another such pile.

I don't usually read them again. But it seems like a good thing to do, to keep them. After all, I might write an article or give a talk and need them. I confess, though that I have no idea how I will ever find a particular bit of info in them.

Then I read the user guide for my HP printer/scanner and discovered that because most of them are two sided I won’t be able to use the ADF to feed them through the scanner. Each one will need to be placed on the platen one at a time. That’s not going to happen!

So, I have some choices. I can keep these and continue mindlessly collecting sermon notes each week. At the rate of two inches per five years that means that in 30 years when I am too old and infirm to keep on or too mature to continue such foolishness I will have accumulated 12 more inches of sermon notes. It would take at least two thirds of one shelf on my book case.

I could put this lot back on my book case in its magazine box. Then starting tomorrow I could scan each Sunday’s notes.  Scanning one at a time doesn’t seem so bad.

Or I could keep these in hopes that we will eventually buy a duplex document scanner like J has talked about recently. And meanwhile start scanning each Sunday’s notes to prevent further buildup.

Or, I can declare freedom, chuck these in the recycle bin, and be done with it.

I did that once before come to think of it. It must have been in 2010, since this collection starts in April of that year.

And actually, I have never missed them. Not once. I have never thought, “if only I had kept the sermon notes from February 20, 2008!” Or any other date. In fact I’d say my spiritual life has not suffered one iota.

Hmm…could it be that if I do that again the results will be the same?

I just spoke to my friend C about it. She assured me I should not feel guilty at all about getting rid of them. She did think, though, that maybe I should feel at least a little guilty that I don’t usually read them again! What a friend.

*to answer the question, since Jesus did not have anywhere to lay his head, he probably would not have saved them. But then he only ever had one robe and a pair of sandals, so I'm not sure it's a fair comparison.

Friday, August 7, 2015

accepting limits and limiting books

Decided I would take the afternoon off and just do something fun, no pressure, no guilt. So just as I was settling down to enjoy my book and a cup of tea I started to feel inspired to write something in my blog. What is it about removing pressure and guilt that suddenly makes me feel more energetic? I notice tho that it did not make me want to tackle the bills or opening mail or any of the rest of my more onerous to-dos I've been procrastinating.

I did do some downsizing this week. Made a big dent on my bookcase. I suspect I could make more progress if I tried. Had a discussion with J recently. I said I want a china cabinet to display the antique china I got from his Mum last year. He wondered where we would put it. I said if he would get rid of some of his books that might help. (He has way more books than I do!)

The next day, in the interest of fairness, I thought I should see if I could get rid of some of my books. I knew there were a few I could get rid of. I collected quite a stack fairly quickly but it did not seem to make much difference. Then I got curious about three large three-ring binders on the top shelf. They looked so large and impressive I was sure they must be important but could not remember what was in them. Quite surprised to discover how useless and out of date they were. One was a weekly planner from a few years ago. I did not even remember ever using that format. But there it was. I found myself feeling guilty that I am not that organized anymore. Wondered if I should start keeping one like that again. But I was mostly aware of a sense of heaviness as I looked through it. It was from the early months of caring for my Mom in our home. I wondered if I should keep it. What if I want to write a book about that some time? But the heaviness got heavier and I felt like I just wanted to heave it into the recycle bin ASAP. So that's what I did. It was a nice feeling. I did take some photos of it first. Also retrieved a few paper clips --waste not want not ! :)

After that I made more progress. It seemed to clear my thinking and I saw things with new eyes. I removed 32 inches of books. I only have 25 inches of free shelf space to show for it, though, because I had a lot books riding piggy back on top of other books. 

Not all easy decisions. I confess one book snuck back since then. I need to get them out of the house before any more do.

Sandra Felton in her book "How not to be a Messy" said it's about accepting our limits, better yet, she said we need to set our own limits. "As long as we try to be everything we admire, we just muddle ourselves down in confusion." Yes the book of ribbon embroidery does have pretty pictures, but I have not done any ribbon embroidery since 2007 and I'm not likely to do any more in the near future, if ever. When or if I ever want to do it again I can find a pattern then. Meanwhile I'll have more space for what I am interested in now and someone else can enjoy the book. The afghan patterns were easier. I'm not likely to ever crochet any more afghans. My hands aren't really up to that much repetitive strain. The one time I did crochet a baby afghan for a friend, in about 1987, my tension was so far off that it turned out more of a trapezoid than a rectangle.

I wonder if I should cull more? There are several books I haven't read. Even books about writing and care-giving, if I never read them, are not worth keeping. Why guilt myself into keeping them just because I paid money for them and really "ought" to have read them; or someone gave them to me so I ought to keep them. It reminds me of a current fad in downsizing called the KonMari method. It's about only keeping items that "spark joy" in your life. By that measure if an unread book sparks joy in me then I should keep it.

Maybe I need to get the book about the KonMari method...

And that ribbon embroidery book sort of gave me joy (with only a little guilt) when I looked at it...

And it's very thin...