I love joy. And couldn’t we all use a little more? Most of us can easily resemble poster children for joy when friends gather and Arnold Palmers are flowing. But at 5:30 a.m.? I am a looong way from those three little letters. At least the sun greets me earlier at this time of year. It’s a spring thing.
I only know two or three people who absolutely ooze joy. They’re fun to be around. Positive outlooks and encouraging words grace their lips, and I find their attitudes contagious. I smile more and always leave feeling a tad taller in my shoes. Not that I need any more height in this country; I already feel like the jolly green giant.
Speaking of green, the welcomed flowers popped and the unsolicited weeds soared this month. Our fruit trees donated the last of what should have been sweet goodness, but between a lack of rain and a lack of human effort, I think the water-to-fruit ratio was way off. Doesn’t matter if they peel normally; the insides clearly suffered.
How are your insides? I don’t mean your gut, I mean your soul. Are you living like our oranges—beautiful on the outside and suffering on the inside? Do you need some cool water from your Creator?
I’m bummed about the oranges, but at least we can anticipate the white flowers predicting next season’s crop as they emit their phenomenal scent. It makes us all inhale deeper… smile wider… exhale slower. It’s a spring thing.
The garden I had such good intentions of planting early this year got off to a slow start again. As in, I didn’t plant one.
Recently our family donned gloves, rakes, and shovels to rid the unwanted plants in the backyard. Aaand… that’s as far as I got. Between water problems and large dogs who eat new growth, my dream of planting, tending and harvesting keeps getting thwarted. It’s a spring thing.
There are new babies out in the nearby fields right now. Lambs, calves, colts, kids… all sticking close to their mamas and discovering the wide open countryside. No need to don them with ropes, attach them to their parents or tie them to fences. They stay near because they need them. I find it fascinating how they innately know the need for a protector, a provider, a guide.
Do I? Do I need to be reminded to follow my Father? Does my calendar dictate time by His side, eyeballs in His Word, and ears ready to turn off noisy choices in order to listen? Would I be a better follower if I had a leash around my wrist like a toddler at Disneyland?
One of my favorite Christmas presents from a friend acts as a constant reminder in our home. Sometimes I even stop and read it again, like a prayer, as if it were the first time.
These babies though… so innocent, so small, so clueless. Like the flowers on the side of the road and covering the surrounding mountains, they have no idea they make us point and grin; they just go about their days, doing what God created them to do.
Am I? Are you?
Similar to the New Year, spring is a great time to remind myself of new beginnings. New resolve. New optimism. A fresh look at what I am doing and why. Stop, step back, think.
Am I doing what God created me to do?
I space out about new blog topics and burn the rice, so my focus goes back to dinners. My son asks to play Surfer’s Monopoly for the third time in a week, so I privately give my eyes a little roll and turn my attention. By the time I move my flipflop three spaces and buy Mavericks for $280, I’m sucked in and ready to longboard next to my boy.
The next week I clean out a cupboard, weed through a drawer, toss a ridiculously old lotion and donate a shirt. The desire to clean up and pare down comes in like a force. I’m annoyed by the non-essentials and motivated to only keep what we use.
This obsession with decluttering hits me stronger than spring cleaning. I am happy to blame it on a website and new book I read, and even happier to recommend them to you.
On his Becoming Minimalist site, Joshua Becker gives zinger quotes that make me want to stand up and go donate something. Like this: “Owning less is better than organizing more.”
Well, duh. Why didn’t I think of that? Or this one:
And then there’s Kathi Lipp. Lord, have mercy. Her new book, Clutter Free, makes you want to attack your closet, tackle your kitchen, and light your garage on fire.
Err, that’s probably just me, but you haven’t seen my garage.
So I go through my possessions one by one, asking myself the three questions Kathi asks in the book:
- Do I currently use it?
- Do I really love it?
- Would I buy it again?
I’ve heard those first two multiple times. That third one though? It’s what makes me look at that lame candle, stretched out socks and old eyeshadow in a whole new light. You might think you love those shorts you just bought last summer, but if they bind in all the wrong places and make you feel loco, I’m guessing you wouldn’t buy them again. And your ceramic goose with the dusty blue bow from 1994? If it broke would you buy it again?
(This is where you say no and go put it in the garage sale box. Go on–I’ll wait.)
Ahhh… the proverbial garage sale. When we lived in SoCal I had them about once a year, and usually in the spring. Getting rid of junk and making money at the same time? Draw me a fat arrow and call me Craig. It’s a spring thing.
Of course Craigslist and Facebook didn’t exist back when I started putting our stuff on the driveway, getting sunburns in strange places and eating Costco muffins to get through the 11 a.m. lull. But I did my best with fluorescent signage, emails to friends and occasional balloons.
My bags and boxes of donations have piled up so high in our garage I can’t even show you a picture. It’s humiliating and I’m stuck. I’ve taken the first steps to declutter our house, but now I don’t know what to do with the unwanted items. I give away a few things here and there, but for the most part we don’t believe in handouts; we’ve seen how it can breed dependence.
Down here in Baja the garage sale idea does not prove quite as beneficial. Most people don’t have enough money to buy more than a spatula or tank top, but the longer I wait the lower my prices are getting. Plus our kids are more than ready to sell some old toys and make a few pesos. The warmer weather and card tables are calling….
OK, no more excuses—it’s time to find an outlet for these piles and clear some valuable real estate. Are ya with me?
I can already feel the joy.
Feliz Primavera! (Happy Spring!)
“Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” ~Robin Williams
How’s your joy meter? Are you running on empty or feeling the high?
Are you doing what God wants you to do? Have you asked Him where He wants you and what you should be doing?
What’s the first thing you’d like to clear out of your space?