Getting control of the house thing

It’s a gray, rainy day. The sort of day when one wants to curl up on the sofa, wrapped in a soft, plush throw, cup of coffee close by and a deliciously fine novel in one’s hands. Jane Austen, anyone?

It’s a bit more than three months ago that I started this amazing decluttering, take-control journey. More than 30 bags of trash, several hundred books (and more than that remaining on my shelves) – big stuff tucked in a spare room until a friend can help me haul them off in his pickup.  The difference in  my home is absolutely amazing. . . and I’m still “in process.” But I have to tell you, I’m loving this.

I never thought of myself as a domestic woman, or for that matter even a feminine one. My poor mother was a very sick woman — frequent debilitating migraines* and some other health issues that left her more often than not simply incapable of coping with life, much less a strong-willed little girl with more energy than she knew what to do with (what happened to that energy, now that I need it???)  Mom “managed” me by using mental beratement instead of actually teaching me things I needed to know:  “If you had any common sense. .  .” put the blame on me for not knowing how to sew, or cook, or . . . when the truth was that the poor woman simply had no energy or mental resources for dealing with me, for teaching me. No — Nor for doing any of these basic things, herself.

I remember the dishes being washed only when the clean ones were all used up — and we had a lot of dishes because Mom collected them from whichever store was giving them away as a bonus for shopping there. The living room was marked by a narrow pathway from the door to the television to the sofa and Mom’s recliner. . .  the rest filled with old newspapers, books, Hardees coffee cups and holders, overflowing ashtrays. . .

Children need to see home being cared for, as their first step to learning. I didn’t have that. They need to be allowed to work side by side with Mother in keeping home dusted and tidy. I didn’t have that, either. “You’re getting on my nerves . . . giving me a headache . . . ”  — and Mother’s headaches were the stuff of my childhood miseries, as she lay in a perfectly darkened bedroom, emerging only to go to the bathroom to vomit. . .  leaving me to eat far too many “meals” of peanut butter straight from the jar with a spoon.  The house had to be kept q-u-I-e-t. . .  I could be sitting with my nose inches from the television, the volume barely audible, and she’d beg me not to have it so loud . . . from the other end of the house. So the threat of a headache was enough to cow me into submission and to quell my enthusiasms.

But I grew up believing that I had no sense, that I was incapable of doing ordinary things. I don’t blame Mother for being so sick — that was out of her control. But for years I hated her for making it my fault, and for controlling my behavior with insults. Now I just feel sorry for her. And as a mature woman I can teach myself and prove her wrong, most of all to myself.  Thank God for YouTube! Right?

So the sense that It’s Time! and just a general eagerness to have a different sort of life than I’ve had, before, converge and . . . more than 30 bags of trash, gone, several hundred books, big stuff ready to go when the friend and his truck can come.

I was looking forward to doing several things around the house, this morning – more taking charge, establishing routines, etc. — but this cold weather system (we’re supposed to drop to the low 20s tonight, which is typical for January, not November!) is coming through with all this rain and my joints are locked up.  I’ll do a bit of gentle stretch exercises in a few minutes, but if the bathroom doesn’t get wiped down today, I’ll try it tomorrow.

The big thing today — well, there are two:  this afternoon I plan to take some of the smaller, nice stuff that I’ve decluttered to a local thrift/consignment shop. This is another task I can postpone if the joints don’t recover as the rain clears out, by mid-afternoon.  But I’m looking forward to clearing out the back of my car! —

The other is that I have been carefully, frugally been adding some organizational and cleaning helps over the past couple months.  I have ordered an over-sink dish drain from Amazon, and it’s scheduled to be delivered today. That will be a huge help (I hope!) at least by freeing up my sink from the current dish drain. I live in a single-wide trailer and counter space is at a premium; I’ve been using a big dish pan set on the counter to wash, one sink to rinse, and the other to hold the strainer. Now I can use my sinks to their stated purpose and have my countertop freed.  I think it will be wonderful.

I also have undertaken a small sewing project — small in terms of complexity, that is. I bought a set of curtains for the living room from Amazon, more than a year ago, and I really like them . . .except they are very light and — well, it’s getting COLD and I need a  bit of insulation. So I am taking those curtains and inserting drapery lining, which I bought at the local Hobby Lobby. I did the first one yesterday — well, made a good start on it. I pressed the curtain, lined up the liner, pinned, cut, turned under and hand-pressed a seam allowance, and hand-stitched the two pieces together.  Top stitch only. I put the one curtain over the window, last night, and it’s hanging well — I appear to have lined things up well! — so today I will topstitch another as a quick remedy for drafty windows over the next couple of days. . . . then I’ll take the other pair and fully stitch them in, and, piece by piece, get the project done.  I had YouTube videos going in the background to keep me company (when I’m doing house stuff I like the company of another human voice; writing, like this, I listen to music), and the time passed very pleasantly.

Off to do a bit more stuff. It’s still raining, but the sky is lighter.  I think more heavy rain is on the way, though, so I mustn’t get too excited.  Still, the rain is beautiful, isn’t it?

God bless you all.

Love,

L.

 

Battle fatigue

I’m tired. That chronic, pervasive sort of tired that just saps everything I try to do.

It might be age-related insomnia, with night-time overactive bladder depriving me of sleep. It might be that summer heat just drags on and on and hardly any respite in sight.

But I have come to believe, since a verbal spar with a member of a well-known Catholic agency, yesterday, that I’m mostly just plain tired of control freaks.

I’d pointed out that an item said agency had published was rather florid for a news item, and that this was a distraction, and I got hammered.  Actually, I was understating when I called it “florid.”  It was a matter of purple prose, which ought never to be permitted in what is supposed to be journalism.  And the team member — two team members, actually — criticized me for not recognizing that the piece was an “opinion” piece.  Well, no, you have it posted as a World News Item; you are promoting it as news. . .

Then I saw another piece, a YouTube video in which another well-known Catholic celebrity was — boasting? — that Personality X had treated their invitation for a conversation with less than the respect and consideration Catholic Celebrity seemed to think is his due.

Add to that the heartbreaking release of news of a bishop embroiled in the midst of the sex abuse scandal ordering his seminarians not to associate with a group formed for the support of victims of that abuse — or, if they disobey, they will face absolute consequences.

I think the bishop is acting ill-advisedly. But the other two, who have no real authority, are just being petulant. Getting too big for their britches.  The one hosting purple prose in the name of journalism boasts of being journalistic. I expect more authentic journalism in that setting. The other party is just another layman opining (however well or soundly) on matters of Church and Culture.  Personality X owes him nothing.

I have felt for some time, since resigning from a couple of activities and organizations that I found were not living up to expectations, that I probably work better as a lone wolf. It’s hard. God knows, it’s lonely. But I don’t have the energy to deal with egos, incompetence, and nonsense any more. It’s just less stressful to go it alone.

That actually puts a lot more pressure on me to live up to the standards I expect of other people. I’m probably the world’s worst for making excuses for my own failings; that won’t fly in this arena.  But I’m also not presenting myself as an authoritative voice in any subject, or as THE representative of faithful Catholicism.  I’m just one woman struggling to make some sort of difference in the world — while fighting with myself about what I have to give and whether it even matters.

 

New Year, Resolutions?

January 1, 2019. Another year, and the push to make new resolutions for a “New Year, New You” for the coming twelve months, mixed with the jokes about broken resolutions and the unending cycle of same.

For us as Catholics, the year begins with Mass – not for a new year, but to honor the power of the Incarnation through the fiat of Mary, in a grand Solemnity. I cantored for a local Mass last night, and played at the chapel for another, this morning. This is a very good way to begin.

We are in a grave time of crisis, and we have important choices to make. Our culture is running mad. Children are being exploited as sex objects, even applauded for being transgender or a drag queen on national television, for all our children to see and to think should be imitated or looked up to.  Local libraries and bookstores are promoting reading hours with drag queens — again, to influence our children and to lure them into a false glamour, to rob them of their innocence.

There is an increasing push to criminalize reparative therapy:  the gay lobby insists, very loudly, that it is impossible to change one’s gender preference and that reparative therapy is abuse of a criminal degree — while they insist that one can overcome biology to change one’s own gender.

Public schools are promoting these ideologies, and even taking children to begin the process of “transitioning” — without parental consent.  Parents who oppose these manipulations of their children are being charged with criminal acts and losing their children to the State.

It’s being reported than nearly 14,010,000 babies were aborted in the past year.

The hallmarks of paganism are human sacrifice and sexual depravity.

More and more, Christians and those who hold traditional moral and social values are being scorned, persecuted, punished in the public square.

And even our beloved Church, which is supposed to be the safeguard of all things holy, and the example of sanctity in the world, is embroiled in one controversy and crisis after another — as princes of the Church protect one another from accountability for grave misdeeds, and promote individuals who defy Church teaching in order to promote deviance in the name of “love” and “acceptance.”

We can’t even take our own pontiff seriously, any more, for whatever words he might utter about homosexuals being kept from the priesthood, he promotes and protects the apologists for the homosexual lifestyle and punishes those who actually hold faithful to the Magisterium.

So, in this coming year, I propose that we must be resolved:

  1. to make an oblation, an offering, of our lives to God.
  2. to live faithfully to Christ, even in isolation, even in defiance of the tsunami of atheism and insanity that is pouring in on us.
  3. to know our Faith better, day by day, through diligent study of the Scriptures and works of the Magisterium (beginning, in conjunction with the Scriptures, the Catechism)
  4. to foster a greater love for Christ, through an increase in prayer and devotional time, so that the whole of our life might be a continual, unceasing prayer and praise
  5. to practice the Works of Mercy – which includes the often-uncomfortable Works of rebuking sinners and instructing the ignorant
  6. to guard our minds and hearts against the influence of the Evil One
  7. to do all in our power to protect our homes and families from evil influence
  8. for those who are married to pray together as a couple, and those with children to incorporate the family rosary and prayer in your daily routine
  9. for those who are not married to find prayer partners with whom you will unite in prayer and service, holding one another up to God and to accountability
  10. to serve faithfully in the Church Militant in that sphere of life to which we are called, and in which we daily live.

Frankly, I think our culture has gone past the point of no return. I don’t believe we can recover the innocence and purity of past generations.  I believe we are now on a Search And Rescue mission.

Let us do our very best.

Vivat Christus Rex!

Fall Reflections

The huge arctic blast that everyobraadfordpearne has been talking about has reached my area.  Lows last night hit nearly 20F, and today’s highs will be in the low 40s.  These are temperatures we normally see in January, not November!

I admit I don’t care for the shorter days of winter, but the quality of sunlight this time of year is so golden and so magical, it almost makes up for the brevity of days.

The leaves have been beautiful.  It seemed to take a long time for them to turn, but I don’t know when I’ve ever seen a more beautiful display. The peak never lasts long enough to suit, so I’ve tried to absorb every moment of the splendor that I possibly can. Driving late in the afternoon, earlier this week, along a stretch of country road, it seemed the red-leafed Bradford pears, the dogwoods, the crepe myrtles were ablaze!  And the golden maples, sycamores, and ash were lit from within themselves.

So often people give only a cursory bit of attention to such details, but this beauty has really fed my soul.  I pray I may never be too busy, or too low in spirits, or too distracted, to be able to appreciate such generous, even extravagant, indications of God’s Love.