Storm’s A-Comin’

by Stefani on 24-June-2007

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It’s been brewing for some time now, months really. And now, it appears that there’s just no stopping it.

Batten down the hatches. Stay away from windows and doors. Stock up on batteries and bottled water. The atmosphere is getting a little heavy around here.

I suppose I can’t really look to any one event that has caused this situation. Like any storm, it’s just a handful of ingredients, right time, right place, that have resulted in the eruption of a powerful force that I can no longer hold at bay.

Our family is about to undergo some big changes.

Maybe it started several months ago when I had a falling out with a dear friend. She was my person. I thought we’d be old ladies together. For reasons I’ve yet to understand, we’re no longer talking. I keep thinking that it’s going to get fixed, but it doesn’t. I’ve tried all that I can think of, and the thing is just broken. It’s been a terribly discouraging and sincerely heartbreaking experience. One that has taught me a great deal.

For five long months I’ve been in self-assessment mode. Trying to make sense of what happened. Trying to figure out my part in what went wrong. Trying to reconcile myself to the fact that things that I thought were true, things that I thought I could count on, turned out to be built on sand. The whole thing has made me take a long look at all the other things/people/ideas in which I place my faith.

But, emotionally trying as the end of a friendship is, it, in and of itself, is not cause for a major life upheaval. There are many little drops of water that must collect before a white whisp in the sky can become a big grey storm cloud.

– I notice the massive amount of plastic grocery bags under the sink, and it bothers me. Even though I have never considered myself in the “green” camp, I’m beginning to wonder… Just what are we doing making all this mess?

– I find that my son can no longer close his closet door, for all the junk billowing out of it.

– I am coming up on my 10 year wedding anniversary, and I am wondering how 10 years have gone by so quickly. Will the next 10 disappear just as fast?

– My middle son hits that magic age where he becomes a big kid, getting taller, losing teeth, riding a two wheeler. How did that happen?

– One of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver, releases a new book, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” about a year of eating locally. It gives me a LOT to think about.

– I start a blog, and somehow it makes me more reflective about the small moments of our days that will ultimately make up the story of our lives.

– I enjoy myself so fully watching my kids run up and down the rows of a u-pick-’em farm that we do it twice more in one season. Why does this appeal to me so?

– I begin a love affair with my local Goodwill.

– My husband has the trash disposal company bring another can because one is just not enough to hold all of our weekly waste. This bothers me too. One family, two cans, times a bazillion households in the world equals a LOT of crap piling up.

– I taste a blueberry off the bush, and it is so different, so much better, than any blueberry I’ve ever had from a grocery store. Why is that?

– I look at my two year old, asleep on his bed, and I am shocked by how long he has gotten; how quickly the baby he was has disappeared into blurry-eyed memories. If I blink again will he be in college?

All of these little drops, and probably a thousand others, have collected in my mind, gathering into one enormous cloud. Its rumblings grow louder and louder, and this week, only hours from now, the cleansing rain will begin to fall. It has been such a long time coming.

I feel a need to clean house. I want to go through, room by room and eliminate the clutter, the useless junk. I want to clear off the counters, clean out the corners, organize the closets. I want to wash baseboards and ceiling fans. I want to empty the pantry and refridgerator of over-processed junk. I want to weed the flowerbeds, fix the fence, wash the windows. I want to learn more about eating seasonally and relying on locally grown/raised foods (more on this to come in the next few days). I want to finish those canvas grocery bags that have been waiting in my “to-sew” pile, and bring home NO MORE of those plastic bags.

I want to get rid of the nonsense and S I M P L I F Y.

I want to be more purposeful about what I put in my body, and my husband and childrens’ bodies.

I want to do my part and be a good steward of the little part of the world that is mine.

I want a do over, a clean slate, a new beginning.

I am realizing that my children are growing up at light speed, and I am getting older too. If there is a time to set a standard, if there is a time to declare what I stand for, who I am, what I hold dear, it is now.

So with a furious and mighty wind, it begins. Tomorrow, the biggest boys will begin a week-long day camp. While they are gone, Ryder and I have plans to raise a mighty squall in these parts. (Well, I have plans and as he’s two, so my plans are his plans).

I’m going to start at the back of the house and work my way forward. During this week we are going to eat up what we can from the pantry and fridge, and then start a new more thoughtful way of buying/preparing/eating/thinking about food. Friday, my first delivery of locally grown produce will arrive. Saturday, if we’ve cleaned out all we can, we might just have a garage sale (or take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill). Sunday, we rest and celebrate all we have done. I’m hoping to make a special meal and toast a new beginning in our home. A new phase of us.

My children and my husband are watching the horizon with trepidation, trying to assess the situation. They don’t quite understand what’s going on. They are worried about the implications of such severe weather. I can’t say I blame them. I hardly understand it myself. I don’t really know what life will look like on the other side.

But I know this – after a good storm, things are wiped clean, space is made, dust settles, and new life emerges. I know that it is time for that new life to have its day in the sun.

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Stay tuned for continuing coverage…

Eren June 25, 2007 at 5:14 am

Oh boy! What a opportunity. I posted a similar post a year and a half ago. Jump on in, the water is great. And however it all washes out, living a more purposeful life is always a good thing in my mind.

Penny June 25, 2007 at 5:16 am

That was absolutely beautiful writing. It is exactly what I needed as I sit early in the morning with my first cup of coffee. While my kids are starting camp this morning, I too may start making some changes.

Heather June 25, 2007 at 6:47 am

There is so much I want to say, but the four year old is calling. You wrote what is in my heart on so many days. I made a commitment to myself a long time ago to live purposefully and while it makes me a pretty intense person… I love so much about the way we live. Now… I must go plant carrot seeds with my little girl. I can’t wait to hear about all your upcoming insights. And don’t be too hard on yourself if the whole list doesn’t get done… progress is progress. I’m always reminding myself that baby steps count as much as the big ones. You go girl!

erin June 25, 2007 at 9:18 am

Go, Stefani, go! I am cheering for you, knowing that however you do it, it will be great!

Leigh-Ann June 25, 2007 at 9:27 am

oooooo….that’s the best life-movie trailer ever. i’m AM staying tuned.
bless you for not letting it fly. doing something. thinking.
good.

brit June 25, 2007 at 5:34 pm

My urge to purge can usually be suffocated by plastic tubs and labels. I also come from a long line of packrats and what if I need it later?

Having said that, I love shopping second hand, we are on a pretty tight budget here and I always feel like I’ve won when I score the things I need at garage sales and thrift shops.

Before we had kids, we went down to half size garbage can, we still struggle to maintain it. Composting helps so does the fact that we have a woodstove and burn most of our cardboard and paper. But at one point we had two in diapers, three at sometimes in the month and that was difficult.

Good luck with the life change! Those are a doozy.

Sarah Jackson June 25, 2007 at 6:34 pm

You summed that up so well. I’ve been walking down the same road. I’m using the time that the kids are at the grandparents house next month to really pare down. Keep posting about it so I have inspiration!

miguette June 25, 2007 at 6:53 pm

I was profoundly moved while reading that. I’ve had fleeting feelings of the desire to simplify my life. cheers for you! I really think you explained perfectly how many of us feel. I’m sure you can and will do this.

Molly June 25, 2007 at 7:33 pm

I am coming from such a similar place right now–wanting to clear it all out and become smarter, become greener. So I think, by reading your blog, and by working myself, we can grow together. 🙂 I love the idea of comparing this to a coming storm… the explosion and frustration, the clearing out of it all. I made a vow to start clearing things out… my friend Emily gave me this to help me: “You don’t need to keep every card, every little thing. The quilt your grandma made you, the clock, those things can remind you of her. You don’t need every Easter card. And my rule, except for books, is that if it hasn’t been used in six months, donate it.” Very severe, but I’m working on it, slowly but surely. And being greener in what we buy to replace–dishwasher soap, local vegetables, and less green, but just as local–the bookstore, the small clothing shops, the handmade.

S. June 25, 2007 at 9:47 pm

How I understand you! you go, girl! may the cleansing begin!

Visty July 19, 2007 at 4:32 pm

I could have written your post. We have a lot in common! I don’t exactly know how I came across your blog..one blog linked to another linked to another…but I will be reading more!

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