Friday Five: Clutter/Declutter

janintx writes:


My daughter told me that she and her partner have different ways of organizing: my daughter puts it all in a pile, while her spouse files it. My daughter is definitely connected to me, as I tend to be a stacker of papers, photos, letters, books, clothes, etc. I am wanting to get rid of some of these piles, which I periodically do. Instead of rearranging them, I need to recycle them. So for this Friday Five, Let’s look at our organizational skills and/or clutter:

1. How do you organize? Is there a difference with various objects?

Totally depends on the object. I have my movies alphabetized by title and my books alphabetized by author, but that’s only so I can find stuff. Oh, wait. Clothes too. Not alphabetized, of course, but since I work in retail, I ROY G. BIV my closet, and also organize by silhouette and style. I know. But again, easier to find . The books on my shelf in the living room, however, are set up to be more visually appealing, because they’re decorative.

This is making me sound super organized. I’m not.

2. Do you have any cluttered spots in your office or home? Describe.

I have piles of crap at work on my desk. I usually let it pile up until I can’t deal and then I go through a big organizing jag.

3. What do you organize well? And not?

I’m super hate filing for some reason, and I always manage to screw up the alphabet. I’ve been reading since I was 3, but can’t manage the alphabet. I’m special.

4. What do you wish to de-clutter?

My brain is kind of a cluttered place. I have lots of thoughts all the time and they all seem to get to the front of the line at once. I use the blog to sort through them a lot. You should see the number of unfinished drafts I’ve got going.

5. Accomplishments in organizing or de-cluttering:

I’m in the middle of a home office de-cluttering and I’ve made huge strides in the last few weeks. It’s an ongoing thing that I’m doing a little bit on each weekend. This past weekend I had a friend staying with me and he’s an IT professional. He set up my printer that has been in the box since I ordered it in November of last year. Don’t judge.

I Love to Tell the Story

Today I went to the memorial service for a man I’ve never met. He was the friend of a very close friend from San Francisco and I went to support my friend, if that makes sense. The man who passed away, or transitioned from death to life as I like to say, is gone too soon, too young, and under difficult circumstances. He was imperfect, which is to say, he was human. As are we all.

The overarching theme of everything  that was said throughout the service and by everyone who knew him was about how much he loved Jesus and knew how much Jesus loved him. It was a beautifully well done service that respected his wishes and the wishes of his family and still communicated the essence of this man’s life to those like me who may not have known him well.

I held it together for the most part, until we got to the end of the service when the closing hymn was “I Love To Tell The Story”. I grew up on hymns and I didn’t need any word sheets for any of the songs, but I paid attention to this one because it seemed new to me today. It was the most beautiful wrap-up to a service honoring the life of an imperfect person who loved Jesus and did his best to follow Him. That’s when the tears came. It was a mix of overwhelming sadness for this loss and  joy for the legacy this man left for his friends, family and daughter.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above
Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love
I love to tell the story, because I know it’s true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else would do.

I love to tell the story, how pleasant to repeat
what seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet!
I love to tell the story, for some have never heart
the message of salvation from God’s own holy word

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
I’ll sing the old, old story that I have loved so long.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory
to tell the old, old, story of Jesus and his love.

This hymn was written by  Katherine Hankey, the daughter of a wealthy British banker. She was a passionate bible study teacher and gave every dime from the proceeds of her publishing to international missions. She wrote this and other hymn texts during an illness during which she was bed-ridden for almost a year. The man whose memorial I attended battled various illnesses and yet was able to communicate the love of Christ for the world in everything he did.

The verse that really stood out to me today was the third. Often we think of this hymn as encouraging us to tell the story to those who’ve never heard it. But the third verse reminds us that those of us who know it best still hunger and thirst to hear it again. We can hear it again in the lives of people like this man who brought it with him everywhere.

I thought a lot about my life and what my legacy will be when I transition. If it’s even a fraction as positive as this man’s story, I will be perfectly happy. I’ve already informed my family that this song will be played at my memorial. It’s how I want to be remembered as I hope my life tells the old, old story.

Friday Five: Summer!

revkarla writes:

Hello friends~~
It’s Friday, and TBTG! Even when I work all weekend, I still love that “Friday feeling”, you know? PLUS~~it’s summer! So, for a summer Friday Five, here are a few thoughts to ponder upon:

1. What makes you happy in your happy hour? (kicking off shoes, reading a book, a cocktail, lemonade~~essentially, what do you do to relax at the end of your week…)

I make sure I relax at the end of my week. I do, frankly, whatever I feel like doing. That includes sleeping, laundry (I know, but it makes me happy), reading, swimming, shopping, cooking

2. I have a pair of shorts that I jump into the minute I get home for the evening–every day in the summer. What’s your favorite summer “garment”?

Ummm…it’s pretty much summer here all the time, so summer clothes are all I have. My MO is pretty much to put on jammies as soon as I get home, regardless of time of day. I heart jammies.

3. I have discovered, after living here in New England for 7 years, Ipswich fried clams. Oh. my. OH MY! Do you have a summer food you might splurge on once or twice in the summer?

Well, yes and no. I’m back on the healthy eating wagon after being emotionally derailed last year. However, I recently purchased the Humphry Slocombe & Jeni’s Splendid cookbooks, so I’m going to be experiencing with some fancy ice creams. I’ll keep you posted.

4. Do you have a specific fond memory of summers of your childhood?

I have many, because, again, summer is kind of all we have. The ones that are popping up now are the following:

  • Eating dinner of watermelon and Spam (don’t judge) while hanging out of the pool. This happened a lot.
  • Playing “Name That TV Show Theme Song” underwater
  • Using a river rock to time our tanning flips
  • My mom exorcising childhood memories by whisking us out of school on the last day and driving us to southern CA to pick cherries for days, and me missing all end of school slumber parties. As an adult, I totally get why my mom did this and I would totally do this to my kids if I had them, so all you kids out there, be glad I’m not your mom.
  • Experimenting with recipes for dinner when my parents got home from work
  • My brother and I started being home on our own for the summer when I was 12 and he was 6&7. I was in charge of making sure we completed our chore list and that we each only watched 2 hours of TV per day
  • Throwing things into the deep end and then having races to retrieve them
  • Memorizing all the Sandy Patti albums. ALL of them.

5. Use these words in a sentence: snail, baby duck, camper, ice cream, surfboard, cherries.

Calliope, the baby duck, and her best friend Beauregard, the snail, kicked back in their camper eating cherries and ice cream, their newly waxed surfboards glowing in the setting sun.

Welcome Home

I recently returned from a very fun road trip up the coast of California with a dear friend from seminary. She’s one of those people with whom I can spend days on end and we never tire of each other. We were in the car, in hotels and completely together for 6 days straight, and still I would turn around and do it again tomorrow. As a pretty hard core introvert, I can count the number of people in my life with whom I have that relationship on one hand. She’s a person who is like home to me.

Home is a tricky concept. It’s people, it’s places, it’s feelings, it’s food, it’s smells, it’s pictures, it’s sounds and it’s silence. I have a geographical home, which is Arizona. I am from here. I’m a desert girl. I draw energy from the open space and big sky. I love single-digit humidity. My hair just works here. I like swimming most of the year. I have a perma-tan. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece & nephew are here. I can afford to live here. I know the streets, the places, the culture. It’s familiar and comforting.

And yet, I have this other home of San Francisco. I lived there for almost 15 years. At this point, that’s 36% of my life (side note: that’s depressing. Kind of thought it would be more). I really grew up there. I was 26 when I moved there. I had some of my first grown up jobs, there, went to seminary there, made and lost friends there, developed a pretty good pallet there, and learned a lot about life there. The majority of my close friends are still there. My church is still there.

Last Sunday I attended church at my home church and it reminded me rather starkly how much I don’t have a community here yet. It very much felt like home. We baptized a beautiful baby girl and committed to helping her two moms raise her to follow Christ. We took communion. We discussed. We surprised our pastor with a flash mob on her 2nd anniversary. That’s the church I want and haven’t quite found yet. It was hard. Not going to lie – it gave me the feels.  And I know it’s not fair to think I can find the exact thing here. But that church has ruined me for finding another place of worship. That’s my church. It’s home.

The Sunday I came back from my trip I attended the church I’ve been visiting for a couple of months. When I walked in the screen read, “Welcome Home!” Then after church, I went to a yoga class at the studio where I am a member and they had a sign on the front desk that read, “Welcome home!” This is becoming a pattern.

I’ve spent time since I got back from this trip really thinking about what home means for me. I want to be here and I want to be back in SF. I think God has given me some specific instructions before I can return. I’m doing the networking I need to do to make it back eventually, but for the foreseeable future, I’m here. I’m choosing every day to be present to this experience, to make friends and to invest in a church community. But it’s hard when sometimes it only feels like 64% home.