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The magic art of ….getting your life back

Whether it’s the in-laws coming or a special occasion or meeting the future son-in-law, cleaning house for company is guaranteed to send modern 21st century women into a tailspin of anxiety and depression.

It reminds me of those Internet memes….This is what I think I do, this is what  my friends think I do, this is what… You get the picture.  Maintaining a clean or even an orderly house with technology or help is definitely a challenge in the 21st century. And thanks to the feminist movement and its “enforcers” most women are left without help amidst the guilt of trying to be both homemaker and career woman.

So what’s a girl to do?

Several months back while search the Kindle book store I ran across a little book by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

It definitely is life changing. I’ve spent my entire life (half a century) under the burden and guilt of trying to maintain an orderly house when I’m NOT an orderly or organized person. Let’s face it…housework is mind-numbingly boring, not to mention backbreaking hard. It’s also mundane and repetitive, NOT the way I want to spend my days or weekends.

So imagine the sheer delight of finding a way to have my cake and eat it, too. This little book changes the way women think about cleaning and organizing, dismissing all the so-called “rules” as unworkable myths and moving on to give an easy, workable solution to the age old problem of juggling life and housework.

What ‘s also remarkable is the “extra” time I’ve found as I work through the process which has become noticeable to all my friends. Not how clean my house is, but how free the rest of my life is.  Now they’re reading the book. My daughters-in-law and I enjoy (yes, I said enjoy) sharing with each other what we’ve done. Imagine showing off closets and drawers that have stayed neat for months with little or no effort!

I know…I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me this time last year I would be an “organized homemaker and proud of it.”  But I am and if I can do it, so can you.

The best thing about this life style change? It’s super easy. Let me give you a small example.

We had company coming – the kind where you wish you could afford to hire a maid because you really want everything sparking—and I was in a panic trying to get everything cleaned while still teaching school during Homecoming week. Then I remembered: what is the purpose of my home? To be squeaky clean? No! The purpose of my home is a refuge, a place where people could relax and escape the pressures of the world.

Instantly, all the things I felt “needed” to be cleaned melted away, along with the stress and guilt. I focused on making the place a refuge, finished cleaning without becoming exhausted, and we had a wonderful weekend and no one noticed the baseboards or cobwebs. (smirk)



Living in the Wild

When I was a youngster, I couldn’t wait to get free of the small town I grew up in. I wanted the farther horizons, to see the “big city” for myself. In college I loved traveling to New York City with its peacock attitude and flashy lights, but quickly realized I had no desire to live in a big city.

I have found myself living in metroplexes and cities of a 100,000 as an adult and while I wouldn’t mind living in Fort Worth again, I am content living in the country. The solitude and tranquility of country living is a welcome balm to the busyness of life and the hustle and bustle of the workplace. You might say the country is my retreat.

The most enticing joys of country living are the wonderful neighbors that drop by unexpectedly. One lovely fall afternoon, a flock of wild turkeys promenaded through the backyard, stalked by our cat, who couldn’t resist the temptation, but was no match for the majestic birds.

Another day, investigating a noise at the back door, we encountered a badger, one of our more reclusive neighbors. He rooted through a sumptuous feast of wet garbage, cantaloupe, and watermelon rinds.

The ubiquitous coyote has loped through our front yard, along with the occasional cougar. While I delighted in the nightly coyote symphonies, having a cougar run through the yard was a bit unsettling. More so, when we’ve gone out at night to rescue what we thought was our treed cat, only to have the cougar jump out of the tree with a thwack and low growl and flee into the night.

But our most impressive and regal neighbor was a red fox who stopped by one pleasant afternoon for a lengthy chat. My husband and I were enjoying the cool in lawn chairs when Mr. Fox strolled around the corner of the carport and stopped to look us over, not twenty feet away.

We held our breath, frozen in our chairs, then spoke gently. The fox pricked his ears and dropped to a lounging position on the tawny grass (We’re in West Texas. Even in the spring, the grass isn’t green, but a khaki brown.) For twenty minutes the fox watched us, listening intently to our low and one-sided conversation with him. Then he rose and resumed his regular routine, trotting off in a leisurely manner.


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