Monday, November 11, 2013

A Humbling Experience

It has been a while since I have written a post and I need to get back to it!!

The past few weeks have been both stressful and wonderful all at the same time. I had Shingles - it has taken over three weeks for me to begin feeling whole again. Phew! But, having Shingles was an unnecessary evil for me. Why did I get shingles in the first place? STRESS. You can read more about that in my previous post from October 25.

What has this taught me? To take it easy, let others help me, be okay with saying NO to people and events and focus on what is really important. The really important things are GOD, FAMILY and my HEALTH. If I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of my family. My number one job right now is taking care of our beautiful son. He is the reason I am here in this stage of life right now. So what it my house doesn't sparkle like on a commercial.

What else happened the past few weeks? We celebrated Declan's first birthday with friends and family. We were privileged to have Gary's parents from Hong Kong here to meet Declan for the very first time and see where we live. We also had my mom and Gary's American parents (more on that later) from Mississippi. Our guests all stayed in our home and we had a great time visiting.

Gary's parents stayed on for another week and we had a great time. His parents cooked most of the meals since it has been 4 years since we have been to Hong Kong and had real Chinese food. His mom and dad are both wonderful cooks and it was all so good - okay so not everything - bitter melon wasn't that great, but I already knew that from before :) We had a lot of time to just eat together and visit together. We didn't even do any of the touristy things like the Aquarium or Zoo. We just spent quality time together. Declan loved his YeYe (Grandpa) and MaMa (grandma). He even said YeYe when he woke from his nap one day. They had such a wonderful time with him.

We are so blessed beyond measure. Having Gary's parents visit brought a new perspective on things for me. I have had this dream lately of packing everything up and starting over. Not in a new state or anything, but a new start where our family makes less of a footprint on this planet. We live in an area where homes are being build overnight and most of them are HUGE!! We get caught up in the comparison as easily as the next person.

I often find myself complaining about the house we live in now (a hazard of knowing how to design and draw floor plans). Why do we need such a huge Master when we have clothes falling out into the hall from the tiny laundry room? Why don't we have a garage that can actually house two cars and a few tools? Why do the closets go from largest to large to tiny as you move from one bedroom to another? Well, as a designer, having a home that is better laid out as far as floor plan goes would be great. On the other hand, we could just have less things to fill the home we have.

Gary's parents raised two boys in a flat that was barely 600 Sq. Ft. We live in a mansion compared to where they live. Are they unhappy? NO. Do they wish they had space for more things? NO Do they look at us and say we wish we had this much space? NO. What do they say? Wow! So much room. And, in a very non-judgmental way Gary's mom commented that we have so much stuff. So much stuff in fact that it seems cluttered. She also said that if we ever do move to another home, we will have triple the things to pack as we did when we moved previously.

Do we really need so many things? Well, yes and no. Some things are necessary. Declan's toys for example (although we could do with less). Also, Gary and I have books for our careers that serve as reference. We also have a lot more tools to make certain jobs easier such as a blender in the kitchen.

Don't get me wrong - I do not feel guilty about the things we have. We have worked very hard to have a home and have the things we have. Living in America is very different from living in a crowded city of so many people. We do have space to spread out here so to speak. But, I have made a new goal for our family. From now until I am finished, we are going to declutter and simplify our lives. I am going to start in one room and work my way through this house until we are down to what is necessary and no more. We will purge, donate, sell, etc. until we have a home where we don't have to pile the closets full right before company comes. Getting our home ready for company shouldn't be like fighting a battle.

I will not get rid of things that are needed. I will not get rid of things that have sentimental value. I will clear the clutter. I have even been toying around with the idea of a Girls' Night Clothes Swap. Stay tuned for that.

Even as I write this, I feel a little bit freer. By setting and meeting this goal, we will be happier for it. I will have a lot less to clean and our home will be more comfortable.

So, let me quit typing while little man naps and get to it. I plan to tackle our Master Bath first. It is small and I will feel quite accomplished when I finish. Baby steps!!

Stay tuned for a Pictures Only posts later today of some photos from the birthday party and family visiting.
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