(Please hit the jump to recipe button above to head straight for the Roasted Rosemary Potatoes!)
So here we are, with an entire year looming before us. At one point, twelve open-ended months would have felt completely daunting (and seemingly endless). I mean, what if they were only a miserable repeat of the miserable year before? Not always something I was ready to eagerly embrace. Gratefully, for the past handful of years my approach has been much more optimistic again. And even if it’s not always exciting to wonder what lies ahead, it is always interesting. What mysteries, magic, and lessons await? For all I know, this could be the most pivotal year of my life.
I feel strangely positive about 2020, and I’ll readily admit that it might have something to do with the numbers involved. Two has always been a favorite of mine–the number of balance and harmony–so just saying 2020 has a pleasing sound. (And it’s somehow pretty to look at.) But mostly it feels like a year of direction, of deciding where I can best serve, and funneling my energy directly there.
The last several years have involved a lot of new somethings: this blog, the shop, engaging (and maintaining my happiness) in the world of social media, self-publishing my novel and our children’s book. And really, that’s only listing a few. These years have actually been a near-steady whirlwind of movement, with very little (if any) recovery time in between. And this was fine, expected even, especially while ideas were being built and plans manifested. But as 2019 was nearing a close, I felt frustration mounting. I just want a little space to breathe. Just a little. But how would I swing that in this full life I’d so diligently created?
Admittedly, I like being busy; the very word “boredom” tastes super nasty in my mouth. Even when I crave a slower pace, I never crave the emptiness of boredom. Or laziness. Unless I’m meditating, I’m happiest when I’m actively thinking and creating. But there came a point where it all felt like too much, with something slated for every waking minute and no down time in between. And as we approached that beautiful and transitory week between Christmas and New Year’s, I knew exactly what those seven days were going to involve for me.
More Than Enough
I’ve always loved to rearrange, usually with the ulterior motive of harmony. I may (possibly) have taken my rearranging tendencies to the extreme, not only shifting around furniture in a room, but entire rooms themselves. It wasn’t at all a surprise to Scott to walk in after a long day’s work and note that the living room was now a bedroom. Or the dining room a playroom. Or to wonder in what cupboard I had now stashed the Tupperware. And his toothbrush? Where would he find that?
Looking back, if I had to guess, I imagine I was simply seeking change. Or maybe even some semblance of control. But if the end result didn’t feel balanced and harmonious to me, then–change or not–it was considered a failure, and the next day would find me back at it again. My rules were simple and they were clear; they also became less forgiving with each passing year.
The first step would be to remove all of the furniture from the room (which also conveniently doubled as the day’s exercise). Each newly displaced piece would only make it back in if it met certain specifications:
- There must be space. And by space, I don’t mean enough space, I mean more than enough space. Because a crammed room wasn’t at all harmonious and would definitely merit a do-over.
- It must be in some way useful, or at the very least, frequently used; I’m not a knickknack kind of girl.
- It must be loved.
- It must not be cluttered, look cluttered, smell cluttered, feel cluttered. No clutter. No exceptions.
The Cozy Minimalist
Over the years, as I discovered what I wanted my home to become, I became more ruthless. Cheap furniture was replaced by quality furniture; colors were changed from bold to soothing. Walls were stripped of decorations and remained unadorned until I found replacements that fostered a feeling of peace. I was going for minimalist, while staying warm and cozy and welcoming.
That long story was simply to illustrate what my “in-between” week was intended for: a metaphorical emptying and rearranging of the furniture of my…life. Pretty much the whole thing, decorations and all. And yes, the rules would remain the same; I would be just as ruthless with my inner world as I’ve learned to be with my outer.
I started by taking everything out, cleaning out the dusty corners, fixing some broken “furniture,” and sliding back in the things that were unequivocally staying–the priorities (i.e. spirituality and my mom jobs). But that left a whole pile of things that were now up for the elimination process, and this wasn’t quite as simple as throwing out a mass-produced bureau with two broken drawers. Much of this pile was important stuff, but there was simply too much of it. Something had to go. But how was I to know which something?
So obviously, I spread it all out before God and Guru and said…here, you chose.
Always the Patience
Seriously, if only God would give me a solid list detailing exactly where She most wants me, I’d be golden. But sometimes things get confusing, and I’m not at all sure where I need to be. It isn’t always a simple matter of what brings me joy, either. Sometimes things don’t bring me much joy at all, but they’re somehow relevant–and necessary–to where I currently stand. I’ve tried to leave Instagram repeatedly, thinking surely this can go, only to be called back every time by what seems a clear sign from above. And if social media is a pertinent part of my journey, then who knows where else She might decide to guide me. As I said, it can all be more than a little confusing.
Once I had the pieces of my life all neatly laid out for God’s inspection, I fell to listening. I knew the guidance would come, provided I stayed alert and patient. Always with the patience. As the days passed, I frequently felt that certainty that comes with an intuitive knowing, and happily slid things back in with God’s blessings. Those had all been fairly easy, though; they were quickly resolved, and the answers were ones that, really, I already knew. But in the end I was left with several large pieces of furniture that I was stuck on. And once out, they were too heavy to move back in unless I was sure. Like, really sure.
Part of my Path
One of the most obvious items up for discussion was this blog.
Does it stay? Or does it go?
Letting it go would free up vast amounts of time and a significant amount of money; both things would make my life far less cluttered. But while I love to write, and this is an excellent outlet, this blog is about so much more than that. The question was–was it enough? So kindly, over the course of the week, God made sure I understood some things. And reminded me of others.
Personally, I feel like each of us is given a talent, a gift, or maybe just a passion for something to grow into. Sometimes we’re offered opportunities to use that gift. Other times paths are illuminated, and even if they’re not, we see ways to create our own opportunities and blaze our own trails. It’s always up to us whether or not we take those paths, but if we do, and if we follow them, then it’s how we’re allowed to bring in the light. It’s the avenue that we’re handed which allows us to feed the seeds of beauty, kindness, love, and compassion that are scattered everywhere on this beautiful planet. On the days when I’m not exhausted, this blog feels like part of my path. And God made sure I remembered that.
One Less Voice
This space is a way for me to “be the change.” Sitting around and complaining about the state of the world will do nothing to change it, but utilizing this virtual space can. And while I always have the choice of walking away, my conscience immediately starts to fussing. Sure, it would be easier for me, but as soon as I fall silent, that’s one less voice in the world speaking out for the animals. One less voice speaking out for the environment. One less voice speaking out for unity and love and acceptance and tolerance.
And while I don’t pretend that my voice carries a whole lot of weight, especially in the obscure spot where this blog currently lingers, it’s not silent, either. And could I feel good about myself knowing that I had an opportunity to effect some change, no matter how small, but didn’t? Because I felt tired. It sounds weak, even to my own ears.
Out of Love
And then there’s also this: I believe, more now than ever, that humans have a responsibility to each other. If we have enough food/money/time/wisdom, then it behooves us, and others, to share the abundance. Because we’re all going to have challenging parts to our journey; parts where we feel lost and afraid. Days where we long to grow, but feel overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
For me, it’s been those who’ve walked the path before me that have been instrumental in helping me to find the way out. Emerging victoriously from our own personal dark nights, we walk with newly acquired knowledge, wisdom, or hopefully expanded compassion. And just as others blessed us with their help, I believe we are now obligated to do the same. Not out of coercion, but out of love.
Isn’t that what this blog does? Shares my oh-so-small stash of accrued knowledge? Whether it be in the form of recipes, lessons, recommendations, or perhaps only in offering much-needed encouragement. One of my signs from God this past week was to send me a friend looking to detox her life. She was asking about chemical-free alternatives to…everything. Trying to fit in the time to reply to her (because this is what I love), I thought how much easier and quicker it would be to simply direct her here. With all of the suggestions and recipes right at her fingertips. But before I can do that, there’s still so much more work to be done.
And so, with this post, I’m moving the blog back in. Yeah, it’s kind of heavy (and things are always breaking), but it’s useful. And it’s loved. Honestly, I’m not feeling too bad about getting the green light. I am little scared, though, because so far God’s encouraged me to move back in an awful lot of the pieces that I’d already moved out. One thing, if she’ll just allow me to get rid of one thing, I think I could make it all work. But we’ll see what She has to say about that…
Have a beautiful week, my friends. Spread the light, be the light, live the light. And if you get tired? Take a nap.
Many blessings and abundant love ~ Melinda
- 4 large white potatoes (sliced into sticks or wedges)
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
- 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°
1. Sliced the potatoes into sticks or wedges, leaving the skins on.
2. Combine the melted oil, rosemary, and salt.
3. Pour the oil mixture over the sliced potatoes; stir to thoroughly coat.
4. Spread the potatoes on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until soft, stirring every fifteen minutes or so while baking.