My Easter Bag

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​It’s hard to believe that Easter was only one week ago. Most of my Holy Week was spent in church between morning prayer services, the parish community dinner, evening prayer and mass. There is a lot going on and a lot packed into the second half of the week following Palm Sunday. The three days of Holy Week prior to Easter Sunday is called the Triduum, which is basically one long service beginning on Holy Thursday with the sign of the Cross and ending at the Easter Vigil on Saturday night the same way. At our parish we have hospitality or receptions on Saturday morning and evening, the former in celebration of the lighting the Easter fire and the latter in celebration of welcoming the new members to the Catholic church through the RCIA program.

It’s very fulfilling and spiritual, but it’s long and it’s tiring. Since my first Vigil, one of my yearly customs is that I will bring a small tote bag along with my usual purse to carry a water, cough drops, tissues. I’ll add my worship booklet so I have it for the entire three days.

At some point during Holy Week, I’ll realize that I don’t really need my pocketbook if I toss my wallet and kindle and phone and other necessities into the tote bag. That way I only have one bag to carry and keep track of.

Genius, right?

Well, every year, I’m surprised by the time Saturday afternoon rolls around at how heavy this tote bag is. I don’t realize it’s getting heavier as I add things one at a time until the very end when I go to grab it out of the car, and it pulls me back in.

Here is a picture of it when I arrived at church for the lighting of the Easter fire on Saturday morning:

The inside of my Easter bag on Holy Saturday morning. (c)2019

It has my large wallet, kindle, hearing aids, extra batteries for the hearing aids, clipboard and pad if the urge to write grabs hold of me, a pen, packet of tissues, bag of cough drops, daily reflection book for Lent, cell phone, rosary, Triduum worship aid, any of the other worship aids that I’ve collected during the week, bottle of cold water, umbrella for the upcoming rain (it wasn’t raining when I arrived but it was raining very hard when we all went outside to light the fire). I think there may have been a few other odds and ends in there. All I know is it was really heavy by the time I pulled it out of the back seat.
Admittedly, and embarrassingly, this one week later, it still has stuff in it, and needs to be completely emptied and put away. It doesn’t have much, but still, it’s long past time.

30 Day De-Clutter Challenge

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By the time the holidays are over, we are all in need of a good de-cluttering, whether it’s our surroundings or the inside of our heads. Last year I began to attend a workshop on organizing, downsizing, and letting go of clutter. It began for me with a weekend retreat on the same thing. It was a spiritual retreat and it really focused some things for me. I’ve committed to going to at least four to six of the monthly workshops and keep the momentum going despite not doing so well at the end of the year.

The first thing on my list is my closet and getting rid of my professional/teaching clothes that I won’t be using (not that any of them fit anymore).

One rule of thumb and piece of advice – fifteen minutes is all it takes. Take fifteen minutes and do one thing. And then do another fifteen minutes. Don’t overwhelm yourself. I started by not letting  things come into the house in the first place. One example is mail. As soon as the mail is in my hands, all of the junk goes right into the garbage.

Good luck.

I’ll check in with you in fifteen days.

Click picture to link to the source (The Hearty Soul dot com). Copyright belongs to them and the author. (c)2019

Getting Organized

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Getting organized begins by being organized. It’s one of the worst paradoxes encountered and makes less sense than time travel.

If everything has a place, it can be organized. Unfortunately, every flat surface becomes the proverbial coffee table. When we first got married, we had a double decker coffee table. It was a beautiful thing. The top was tastefully decorated with a newspaper and travel magazine casually tossed amidst a coaster and two candles. The second level was an ever-growing pile of crap that only got taken down a notch when it started falling on the floor.

When our son was toddling, he spent an inordinate amount of time banging into the non-child-friendly corners, so we got rid of it, and believe it or not, we got rid of the piles of crap that accumulated on and around it. I would never get another coffee table.

We do have side tables because where else do you put your drinks while watching the television. It does get the pile of mail, but my number one news year’s resolution from a few years ago is not to let it into the house in the first place. Junk mail and unsolicited credit card offers go directly into the garbage. Bills that are paid online get put on the calendar and the papers go into the trash. It’s not perfect, but it’s my place to start.

The old-timey mantra of a place for everything and everything in its place still holds for modern organizing and decluttering.

It is the place to start.

If what’s in your hand doesn’t have a home, it probably should be evicted from your house.

Jackets go on a hook, hats and gloves go in a basket on the stairs near the front door, shoes go on the mat. Mail on the dining room table for no more than twenty-four hours. No place for that Tupperware? Well, then you don’t need that Tupperware. A kitchen rack to hang those pots and pans, no more than one kitchen utility/utensil holder on the counter. Things you use every day go within easy reaching, whether it’s in the kitchen or the office.

Look around your own space and find the ways to get rid of the clutter and begin the organization.

One recent resource I’ve found right here on WordPress is this one: A Girl and Her Bins

She shares her ideas with great humor and wit.

A second, more recent article was found on the Michael J. Fox Foundation Facebook. The title may be a little more specific for most of us, but it can still be adapted for anyone’s organization. It works for other medical care as well as adapting for other non-medical reasons. It’s definitely worth taking a look: 5 Ways You Can Organize Your Parkinson’s Disease Care

Please add your own hints, websites, and/or articles to the comments below.