Sunday, January 04, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Focused

So much to enjoy in life...
I had anticipated writing again a few days ago but became knee deep in finally sorting through the dresser in the Study.  You can blame it on my Word for 2015... and God.  But He is only molding and shaping me and for that I am thankful.

Normally I spend time pondering what my Word would be for the coming year but this year it found me.  I was thinking of a couple of other words, telling my son's mother-in-law at Thanksgiving that I may choose gratitude again.  But something else was nudging at my spirit, much like a word at the tip of one's tongue they know but cannot remember.

I felt God was leading me to simplify even more but that wasn't it.  I was frustrated at my ability to be so easily distracted.  It had become more difficult to read big books that were of a heavy volume, usually my favorite for getting lost in for a long period of time.

I would start on one project and then go to another before finishing the first.  At least baking had a way of keeping my attention for if one does not, one finds they have put salt and not sugar in the canister (you may remember that happened to me last year...).

And that WORD... it kept nudging at that part of my brain where ideas are birthed.

Then one day there was a Eureka! moment and I heard that Still Small Voice tell me... Brenda, you must become more focused.  That was it, that was the WORD that had been nudging my thoughts, waiting to be brought forth in this new year... Focus!

Although you will have noticed from the title, I switched it to Focus-ed.  For that is what I am becoming this year.  It is not so much a goal as a desire to change my thinking and my doing.

So I jotted down a few ideas that will help the progression of becoming a more focused individual.  Those which remain after I cover them with prayer and pondering will find a permanent location in the Scrapbook Journal.

So far they are as such:
  1. Decide what creative activities on which to concentrate.
  2. Get rid of everything hanging on from past projects I do not want to continue.
  3. Read bigger books again with a balance of nonfiction and fiction.
  4. Make the Bible the most important read this next year.
  5. Continue lessening my time on social media.
  6. Continue with blogging (I hope you are happy with that one!); however,
  7. Do not try to be a professional blogger (more on that one later).
  8. Continue to eat seasonally.
  9. Continue to remove layers of stuff from the house.
That is what I have so far and it may be complete just like that.  The first thing I did as part of my new Word for the Year was to fill a sack with Christmas items going to charity and place them in the van.  I had already gone through everything in year's past but I'd been hanging on to some items that needed to go on to another home.  I still have plenty of decorations.

I then once again went through the dishes, most of them located in the dining area, and filled two boxes with items I had been holding on to because I liked them even if I didn't use them.  They were boxed up and placed in the van for charity.  I still have plenty of dishes.

Along with the dishes, I went through all my different tablecloths and kept four that I knew for certain would get used. I found I used the same one over and over and I kept a couple more that could possibly be used... like the deep red tablecloth I sometimes use on the deck when we have a 4th of July celebration.  The remaining items went into a bag for charity and then into the van.  I still have plenty of tablecloths.

Then I came to the most difficult project and the reason for my late return into chatting with you.  The dresser in the Study.  The dresser whose drawers hold over twenty years worth of project materials.

I sorted through all of it.  Every drawer was emptied of contents and either set aside for a friend, boxed up for charity, or a decision was made that indeed it was a project I may come to later. The boxes immediately went into the van and yes, I still have enough project stuff.

But I also came away with two empty drawers and a burden the size of Texas off my shoulders.  I let the past go.  For I made a final decision that I really did not want to do any sewing of quilts or making of snowmen or even have mismatched yarn around, purchased from charity shops.

What did I keep of those items in the drawers?  I kept all my cross stitch stuff and the crafting supplies that can be used in general. I gave away almost all my fabric, a couple sacks set aside for friends and the rest to charity.  The only fabric I kept were a few items that were tea related and so fill my heart with joy that I will get happy just seeing them there.  They will cause no burden of guilt that they must be used for they serve a purpose just being looked upon now and then.

I had been holding on to all the fabric pretty much out of guilt.  I had accumulated a lot of fabric back when I was in my quilting phase.  Back in the 1990s when Christopher was really little.  But sewing after that time was done out of a desire not to waste money on items purchased instead of the joy of the craft.

I was never one who enjoyed the process of sewing as so many of my friends.  But then again... they did not always understand how I received so much pleasure from spending an afternoon in the kitchen chopping, stirring, or baking.

Part of that call to focus helped me shed the past and make room for the future (literally). Now I can focus on scrapbook journaling and paper crafting.  That is what makes my heart sing these days.  I can see a return to doing a cross stitch project as well as making more time to crochet.

What I have learned is that when we are holding on to the past for whatever reason (in this case, thinking of all the money spent on fabric related creative projects in the past), then we also have emotional clutter going on in our lives.

By allowing myself to give away the past, I now have made room for the present... and that will help me do what God is asking me to do in this next year.  Focus.

On Friday, Hubby and I had a few errands to run and while in that part of town, stopped by the Salvation Army and gave away the boxes and bags filled with the stuff of the past.  They were thrilled.  I was deeply relieved.

It will be a fun journey to see how else He uses this word in my life for last year's word... Heirloom... was the center of so much of my pondering.

It is good to be back.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I am in exactly the same place and my hubby and I were just talking about this. Now that I am done homeschooling and an empty nester I find I have time for projects but no focus!! Start many but finish none! I have an entire closet of project materials that makes me feel guilty every time I open it. I did stop pinning hundreds of craft projects I will never do! Thank you for writing this- I have lots to ponder! Blessings to you in 2015, Dee in MN

Adrienne said...

Brenda, this post was such an inspiration and encouragement to me today! I will be sharing my word for 2015 on my blog later today. Like you, I know that God's still, small voice whispered my word to my heart. There is no doubt. I can identify with so much of what you shared today. You really encouraged me to let go of the things and projects that I felt I 'should' keep. Letting go of the past and living in the present - and, in my case, preparing for the future - is just what I need to do. Thank you again for opening your heart. You touched mine deeply today.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

Glad to have you back too!

Enjoyed your post. A lovely way to start a new year, decluttering the past and just keeping what still brings joy. I'm doing that too these days.

Wishing you a beautiful day...
Brenda L.

Shan said...

Dearest Brenda,

I just loved this post. So much wisdom! I have been doing much the same this last year and will continue in 2015.

You are right about not only the literal space, but the lessening of the burden when we let go of the past and the needless clutter in our lives and hearts.

I look forward to your posts this year about being focused....I think I need a dose of that in my life as well!!

Blessings in this New Year,

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I must do that too. Most sunday schools are glad to get any craft supplies for their kids' projects.

Find I can't do counted cross stitch any more. My vision just isn't up to it.

Ann said...

What a great post! I've been pretty consistent with keeping my drawers and closets cleaned out regularly but I can't seem to make a decision and stick with crafty or creative projects -- seems like the well of ideas is dry. But our son has just moved into his own place again and now I have my guest/craft room back and I'm looking forward to getting things set up and ready for creativity whenever it arrives.

Cheryl (Copperswife) said...

This was lovely, Brenda! I chuckled a few times, though, in reading what you wrote. My word for the year is very different than yours, but the Lord has inspired me with it in some of the same ways that he has inspired you with your word "focused".

Happy new year, my friend!

Nancy said...

I have a suggestion for your tea related fabrics------napkins!!!!! They could be used everyday and enjoy a practical purpose. I understand your need to downsize projects. I finally decided that quilting was where my heart was and quit several other endeavors. I enjoy your blog.

Vee said...

Welcome back! My daughter-in-law and I were chatting about "focus" the other day. I concluded that I might have an attention deficit and she said that that would explain my son. LOL! She said she's living with three who are afflicted—I'm not sure if she's kidding. I am so impressed by your giving away fabric. I am sure that it blessed someone besides yourself. Today, I am sitting by my roaring (fake) fire, enjoying the tree, and reading here again. All seems right with the world so, yes, I am thrilled that being focused will not mean leaving Blogdom.

suzanne said...

Happy New Year, Miss Brenda, and are back! I was relieved to read that you weren't going to toss out blogging along with all the clutter! I actually was doing some of the same sort of thing last weekend....went thru my clothes in the dresser....I mean, really,,if I haven't worn it in 6 months,,do I really think I will EVER wear it? It's good to remove "baggage" ALL thru the year

Scrappy quilter said...

Wonderful post. I'm not sure what my word is yet Still waiting on that still small voice.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Great word. Still praying about mine - I've been so busy that I haven't given it too much thought.

I think many of us are sorting and passing on things we no longer use. My girl leaves tomorrow morning and so we will be back to our normal schedule. I am actually looking forward to our normal schedule, but I will miss my girl!


Stephanie Peter said...

Hi Brenda! I am only a college student, but I just love reading your blog. Your posts are always so lovely and inspiring, and every time I read a post it warms my heart! I might pass your blog along to my mom, who, after my sister goes off to college this coming fall, will be an empty-nester for the first time. I think your blog would be comforting and inspiring for her :)
Anyways, I came across a quote on Pinterest shortly after reading this post that goes along perfectly with what you said: "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new." -Socrates
God bless! :)

Mama Squirrel said...

I liked this: "The only fabric I kept were a few items that were tea related and so fill my heart with joy that I will get happy just seeing them there. They will cause no burden of guilt that they must be used for they serve a purpose just being looked upon now and then." I have a few things like that (I can think of some books and old Christmas ornaments) whose value seems to be exactly that--just seeing them there again!

Anonymous said...

Welcome Back and Happy New Year! You've been missed! I kept checking back regularly, looking for your next blogpost. This was such a good one! (Well, they all are, actually!) What a great start to the new year, sorting through things and tossing out what you no longer use. It must feel Great to start out the year all fresh! (So thankful you decided to keep blogging!)
I, too, asked God for my word for this year and I got "abide". It'll be interesting what He shows and teaches me along the way. Isn't it nice that we're never too old to learn and grow?
Thank you for sharing.
Laura C. (WA)

Debby said...

My word this year is FORWARD. I have got to let go of things in the past, at the young age of 55 I only have one brother left....BUT I have my husband ,, kids, and 9 grandkids....BLESSINGS.

Keep moving forward towards my goals to ready ourselves, our home, our life for older age. I want to be ready.

So FORWARD I shall march!

Nanna Chel said...

A lovely and inspiring post as usual, Brenda. I have been helping my daughter with her new bub and two girls but now that I am home again I need to find what my word for the year will be too. Sometimes it is hard to hear that still small voice when a baby is screaming and his sisters are playing noisily :-)

Some of our southern Aussie states are in the grip of bad bushfires so prayers would be appreciated. We are okay here in Queensland where it is just hot and muggy.

Rebecca said...

I think I can imagine the sense of excitement and the "freedom" you are ALREADY experiencing!

I am among many, I'm sure, who are happy that blogging is NOT one of the things you are going to shed in your determination to be Focused.

Front Porch Grace said...

Warm greetings to you and yours and best wishes and prayers for a blessed, peace-filled, and focused 2015.

This year has been another year of challenge and growth. I have not had time to read my favorite blogs. So, again, I saved them up for some "off" time.

I am so thankful that you are continuing to blog and I am going to take this week's mornings to catch up and soak in the blessings that always come to my soul reading your posts.

God bless you and I thank Him for the inspiration that He gives you and you share with your readers.


Anonymous said...

Love this! Don't you feel freer now? I always feel freer when I give stuff away or toss unusable things out. I remember being happiest when I owned almost nothing. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Judy said...

I'm so glad you are back blogging, and that this Christmas season, rather than being a wearying or dutiful season, seems to have provided joy and left you energized for the year ahead. May it be blessed.

Anonymous said...

My word for 2015 is SURRENDERED. It is going swimmingly, as I have had the flu for the entire portion of 2015 thus far. My schedule went out the window.

Surrendering to what is, not what should be or could be. Just what is.

Anonymous said...

My first comment...though I have consistently followed you for over a year. This post is absolutely perfect-timing for the new year. "Focused" is a rich theme as you outlined in your growing list. Thank you for sharing!

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

You struck a chord in your reader's hearts with this one....I'm also in the process of giving away or just throwing out things from the past. Other people may be happy to find them in thrift stores....I was! One of my daughters is especially good at encouraging me to bite the bullet and "bless other people" with my stuff. (Though they both help!) And oh, what a lifting of a weight from my heart every time I do.....

It is such a comfort to read something on your blog again!

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful. I wish you all the luck with remaining focused.

lives in the woods said...

Have loved your blog for many years, Brenda and find that you say what is on my heart..only much more eloquently.

I have deactivated my Facebook and pinterest accounts. Too much noise for the quiet life I desire.

I only shop out of necessity anymore. My needs are very few.

My word is for this year is the same as last . It is similar to your word. Mine is intentional. Finally at the ripe old age of 60, I have learned that I do not need to be swept along by life, but can intentionally choose what conforms to God's will for my life.

And Thank You! For not monetizing your blog. I get so tired of closing out pop-ups . Often, I will not return to a blog that is screaming at me to buy ( Amazon credits do not count...)

sherry said...

i haven't a word for 2015 but i have an intent or group of intentions. . . one of which is to simplify my belongings. i've already gone through our christmas bins and have one (one!!!) remaining. that will make december easier. i'm also downsizing in the way of furniture and dishes.. need to do clothing, books (oohh a tuffy but necessary), and crafting supplies (argh!).

rebecca said...

"God cannot pour His blessings,
Into hands already full."
- Martha Snell Nicholson

Had to come back and add these lines from a poem I had learned many many years ago. I searched for it and finally found it. I think they partly explain why Jesus asked the Rich Young Ruler to come sell all he had before coming to follow Jesus......