Declutter and explore

 

Treasures

I am bushed! Today was the day I finally tackled the closet into which we shoved everything when Bob went out of private practice and began working for Eye Associates. Yeah, I know, that was a long time ago, 2006 in fact. He’s been fully retired for about two years +/-, but I guess it’s fitting I’m taking on the task in October, since that’s the month he started with EA.

All that stuff we squirreled away? Into the trash, eighty percent of it. Old magazines, old questionable receipts, old eye drops, old letterhead… just old stuff. I still have TWO BOXES TO GO! But I’ve given up for the day.

I’m a person who believes that if you haven’t looked for or used something in three years, you probably don’t need it. Toss it out or see if the Salvation Army Thrift Store can make a little money by selling it.

Once a upon a time I was a Mary Kay Cosmetics rep. I wasn’t very good at it, but I learned this – and should apply it more often – act on it, file it or throw it away. Mary Kay was talking about paperwork, but it applies to a lot of things. How many cords to something do you have in your house but you’re not sure what the something is the cord belongs to? My husband is a pen and paper clip hoarder. Today – without his knowledge (tee hee hee) I threw a slug of them out – only the ones that didn’t work… mostly – and there’s still a bunch left!

So before your dungeon ­– oops, excuse me – storage closet turns into what feels like an insurmountable task, try the five declutter tricks below to bring calm out of chaos.

  1. Mary Kay was right. When it comes to paperwork deal with it immediately – act on it, file it or throw it away.
  2. That magazine you are going to read “later” might still be there three months from now. Consider carefully what you subscribe to so you don’t accumulate stacks of reading material so high the thought of reading it makes your head spin. Recycle by taking to nursing homes, hospitals, doctors’ offices, or preschools and day care centers to be used in crafts. Call ahead to make sure your donation will be accepted and useful.
  3. Take on decluttering one room (maybe one space in a room!) at a time. I’ve been cleaning my office for three days. Yes, it was that bad. Trying to do too much all at once will wear you out and discourage you from moving forward.
  4. Tomorrow isn’t a good day to declutter. Today is. Even if you tidy up your desk or the junk drawer in the kitchen, you will feel so good once it’s done, you’ll be inspired to take on something else… maybe tomorrow.
  5. Be ready for a journey of discovery. Go through everything carefully, you don’t know what you might find. I discovered photos of Bob’s grandparents in a double frame, the Optic announcing when I moved up from society editor to managing editor in June 1993, an Optic photo of me when I worked as a new accounts rep at First Federal, a carved elephant (quartz I think) and an article about Bob and Orville Hughes (prof at Highlands back in the day) announcing a Rotary fund raiser!

So, I’m done for today, even though there are still two boxes to go and a lot of shelf organizing to do, and yes, it was tiring, but it was also fun. More important, I can get into the closet without seventeen things falling out of boxes when I open the door!


Check out Tiny Tome #1.

Las Vegas, NM Book

Now Available

Las Vegas, NM Pages

It has been a long time in the making, but Las Vegas, NM, 1835 – 1935 is now out and ready for purchase. The price, $39.95, and well worth the investment. It began as the germ of an idea and transformed into a gem of a book. More than 150 pages packed with historical photos, essays, maps and images.

On the flyleaf, Friends of the Museum supporter and bibliophile Nancy Colalillo writes, “… here is our origin story, the birth of Las Vegas, NM. The original Las Vegas as most residents will tell you. Within these pages are the answers to who, why, and how.”

Who were the early leaders, movers and shakers of Las Vegas? Why did development progress in the way it did? How did multicultural influences come together to create the Las Vegas of today? You can find the answers in this beautifully constructed book that covers 100 years of Las Vegas, NM.

This ll” x ll” publication might be looked upon as a coffee table book, interesting to look at and a bit of a conversation starter, but it is also an historical record that is enlightening and entertaining.

“It’s all here: The Spanish explorers and pioneers, the wagon trains, the Rough Riders, the Harvey Girls, the outlaws and desperadoes and ranching legends,” wrote Hampton Sides, best selling author of Blood and Thunder. His review is one of several by noted historians cited on the book’s back cover.

In her summary statement about the book, editor Edwina Portelle Romero writes that Las Vegas, NM, 1835 – 1935 is a snapshot of the 100-year period covered by the book. “…revealed through photographs, each capturing a single moment in time, frozen and selected by a human being… All photographs were selected by Las Vegans of today looking back, reflecting, making sense of the past and its people.”

How the book came together through the agency of a committee peopled by different volunteers over a span of time is a testament to the dedication of the Friends to make sure this story was told in this way. It is a book worth buying. Currently it is available at the City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection gift shop.

 

Getting healthy

I hope…

Weight Loss

When I was young, I weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. And then I got married and rocketed up to 153. I took control of my weight and successfully used the Atkins diet, now referred to more commonly at the ketogenic diet. This high protein/low carb eating plan worked. Lots of meat, no potatoes.

Back in the day, Atkins was THE THING for serious dieters. I went from 153 to 120 over a three-month period, and kept the weight off for several years. It slowly crept back and nothing I did seemed to make a difference. I hovered around 140. Not the best weight for someone who is 5’1” (now 4’11”). Yes, I am shrinking vertically; horizontally, not so much.

I did try Weight Watchers, and I must say, it was helpful, but I hated going to all those meetings! Yeah, I know, you can do it online now, but there’s too much of a disconnect when it comes to accountability. What worked with the going-to-meetings thing was an element of competition. Every week I wanted to be the one who lost the most weight.

Anyway, my next major weight loss was the divorce diet. I don’t recommend it. Months of stress, not eating and generally feeling like shit. I went from 140 to 104 in four weeks. No lie. That weight I kept off for quite a while.

Life took a happy turn when I married a wonderful man. I sort of managed my weight without really trying until I quit working full time. And then it packed on. I have no interest in being svelte; I just want to be healthy. So, I thought I’d once again try the Atkins (ketogenic) approach. Turns out, I don’t really like meat all that much, no matter what form or what animal it comes from. I am now embarking on a mission to reduce carbs, eat healthy and avoid meat, especially red meat. Aging doesn’t help, of course. Losing weight in my mid-70s is proving to be more of a challenge than I anticipated.

I would like some helpful feedback from readers, and tasty recipes (which I will be happy to share with permission), on this blog. You can e-mail recipes directly to me at fsharon@msn.com, or post in the comments below.

Here’s a favorite frittata recipe you might enjoy. Serves two.

Egg and Broccoli Frittata

Flash boil 1 cup of broccoli for 60 to 90 seconds. Drain and set aside
Beat four large eggs with a tablespoon of milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

¼ cup each, chopped red and green bell peppers, sautéed
Chop cooled broccoli and add to bell peppers and continue to sauté.
½ cup feta cheese
½ cup +/- cheddar cheese

Spray pie plate with salad oil. Sprinkle feta cheese over the bottom. Layer the broccoli/pepper mix evenly. Pour egg mixture over everything. Bake in 375-degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Cut like a pizza and serve. Note: you can substitute or add green chile. As a side, I marinate chopped tomatoes and avocado in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice. Very tasty and it all fits into the ketogenic diet!

There are lots of resources online and I’m checking them out. My arbitrary restrictions are tofu, eggplant and Portobello mushrooms. Sorry, but the texture of those foods makes me want to retch up every cookie I ever ate.

I wish I was one of those people who post photos of themselves to show the “before” and “after” of a weight loss plan, but I’m not. So, I’ll simply say I am beginning today – Thursday, August 30, 2018, at 153.4 pounds – on a mostly vegetarian quest to lose sensibly with the intent of being healthy, not skinny. I left skinny in the dust decades ago.

Here are five healthy body affirmations to keep me motivated. If you have some you would like to share, send them to me!

  • Nothing tastes as good and being healthy feels.
  • Healthy body, healthy spirit.
  • Saying no to carbs means saying yes to the dress.
  • I will eat to live, not live to eat.
  • Being active strengthens body, soul, mind and spirit.

Why am I doing this and sharing it with readers? Health, pure and simple. I can’t walk a block without breathing hard. I can’t climb stairs easily. There’s more, but you have better things to do than listen to me whine. I’m making a personal contract to make this work. Goal? Good health!

Lift a little prayer for me to stick with it. If you feel like joining me on this quest, please let me know about your progress and your struggles. Perhaps we can encourage each other.


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Rats!

Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7 (The Daily Life Bible)

AnxietyWhat makes you anxious? Try to concentrate on the thing that’s eating you up over which you have some degree of control. Forget the world condition; as angst-ridden as it may be, you probably can’t do anything to affect decisions made outside your direct influence.

Think instead about the thing, person or situation that has your heart racing or your head pounding. Right now, today – for me – it’s a dead rat just outside the garage. My husband killed it and tried to convince me the droppings I’d found in the garage were lizard leavings, but I knew better.

I have a rat and mouse phobia. It nearly renders me catatonic. I want and need to scour the garage and make sure no taint of that rat is still there, but I’m afraid I’ll stir up a rat cousin.

This is the anxiety I’m having a tough time overcoming right this minute. It helps me breathe to write about it, but it’s still there, a vise at the back on my head squeezing out rational thought.

So, I call on the God of all things, large and small, to relieve my anxiety and help me put this in perspective. I have two choices: believe this rat was the only one and go on with my day, or think there may be others but somehow overcome my fears and get on with my day. The washer and dryer are in the garage and its laundry day. I have no choice but to suck it up.

Thank you, Lord of all, for courage to overcome something that in the greater scheme of life is nothing. And, please, keep the critters in the great outdoors where they belong!


Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Peace like a river

A new day

God made the earth by his might, it is said,
he shaped the world by his wisdom,
crafted the skies by his knowledge.

God made all there is, was, or ever will be.
Be sure of his love and presence, guidance and mercy.
He knew, and knows us.
A confusing concept to our way of thinking,
God knowing the outcome of our lives before they’ve begun.
Am I – are you – predestined to be good or bad?
Does it matter?
We are given this day.
What will we do with it?
How will we treat others?
Those are the questions we answer
by the choices we make every day.

Lord, help me make good and right choices.

Whatever you do, whether in speech or action,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus;
give thanks to God the Father through him.

Will this thing I’m doing please God?
Will my life choices make God smile?
Anger, fear, frustration, greed–
none of these emotions serve God or human kind.
Are we held captive by the actions
of ego-driven manipulators?
God is in charge, our great hope, believe it;
out of madness God brings courage.
Posing and posturing will not bring resolution;
banding together for peace will turn the tide.

Pray for our world and its leaders.

And whenever you stand up to pray, if you have something against anyone, forgive so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your wrongdoings.

To be forgiven, you must first forgive.
God is a loving God. He is ready to forgive.
Am I?
Can I drop the bag of rocks that is resentment, discontent, and anger
by forgiving my enemy?
Can I untether myself from yesterday?
I can.
I must.
Forgiveness is the gift of grace.

Thank God for His amazing grace and forgiveness.

NOTE: Reflections on Jeremiah 10:12, Colossians 3:17, and Mark 11:25 from (The Daily Life Bible


 

Generosity

Easter MorningGenerous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 (The Daily Life Bible)

The world is a complex place and the demands are many. What can I do today, that will make life better for someone else today? A minister we had several years ago said that it wasn’t up to him to decide how a beggar would use the money he gave him; his calling was to recognize a need, and fill it. That’s the gift, not the money or food or clothes or any other material contribution; the gift is a spirit of compassion and generosity. What am I doing – what have I done – what will I do, to make life better for someone else, not just in the family, but in the community and in the world? The teacher who knew she was dying of cancer, asked that instead of flowers at her funeral, mourners donate backpacks full of supplies to be given to students. That act of compassion and generosity will make a difference for many students in ways she could never have imagined. Thank you, Tammy Waddell, for your powerful gifts of teaching and compassion.


 

The right words

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word! Proverbs 15:23 (NIV)

sunset beach people sunrise
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Simple and direct, that’s the best way. When you say thank you, I love you, good job, keep the faith, you’re beautiful, you’re smarter than you think you are, I’m sorry, I forgive you… these are simple phrases that go a long way toward healing, restoration, joy, laughter and smiles. It doesn’t take a tome to express heartfelt words; it merely takes the right words at the right time.

 

The best dad

Father's Day
My dad was wonderful. There were times growing up when I didn’t think so. He embarrassed me more than once, and his groaner jokes were the worst, but he loved our mother and he loved us. He would do anything for us, and when times were tough, he did. When we were little, he worked in the oil fields all week and in the cotton fields on the weekend. Yes, in Hobbs, NM, there were both.

Dad was deeply spiritual, like a kid at Christmas when he was happy, and lived for most of his life with bouts of depression. He was a complex man who seemed like a good old boy with nothing on his mind but getting through the day. He was an artist who never explored his talent. He loved to sing, and was better than I ever gave him credit for. He never wanted to hurt anyone in thought, word or deed. He served his country with pride as a seaman who saw the aftermath of war on beaches where nothing was left behind but the honored dead. I loved him with all my heart and miss him every day.

Remember this, when it comes to showing love for Dads and Moms in this life, no gesture is too small or too large. You will never regret the things you did to let your parents know you love them.

For those of you who didn’t have the gift of a great father think on this: you learned from all the men you’ve respected over the years who have come to mean more to you than someone who donated sperm and was never there. And, in ways you can never know, I imagine you’ve been a role model – a dad – to others.

Happy Father’s Day

Dear Mom

Mona Peralta Conkle

Dear Mom:

Mona Peralta ConkleWhen you died in 1986 at the age of 62, it was a blow to all of us. Despite a diagnosis of cancer, we all kept hoping against hope you would pull through and get back to normal, to being Mom, the woman who had an answer for everything.

I remember the trip we took to visit your Concho, Ariz., roots in July 1969, which happened to coincide with Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. What I recall most about that trip was going to the adobe house you grew up in, a crumbling ruin that was hardly big enough to accommodate two people, yet you lived there with several siblings and your dad after your mother died. What remained were a few exterior walls with a yellow climbing rose growing up the side. A burbling stream meandered behind what was left of the house and enormous trees shaded the property as though keeping it safe for whoever would someday decide to build a life there. I’m sure that experience was colored by romanticism based on stories you told us about your childhood. I plucked a yellow rose from the vine and pressed it between the pages of my Bible. I kept the rose for many years until life intervened and I lost it somewhere along the way. I still feel the loss of that rose, as I feel the loss of you.

I’m sorry I never knew your mom and dad, Pete and Ruth Nunez Peralta, but as it turns out, you hardly knew them either. Grandmother Ruth died when you were barely four, and Grandpa Pete, nine years later. You were left to be raised by older siblings. Why did I never ask you how that affected you growing up?

Dad loved telling stories about your first year as a (very) young married couple. I especially liked the one about him “accidentally” dropping the casserole dish of macaroni, cheese and hamburger on the floor after having been served the same thing almost every night for the first month of your marriage. Dad never was a subtle kind of guy. You may not have started out as a great cook, but that changed by the time I was born. No one could cook like you.

You did not have it easy. When Dad was in the Navy you were a “Rosie the Riveter” until I was born, and then you moved with my older brother and me to live with Dad’s folks in Arizona until he came home from the service. When we were older, you worked at a number of low-paying jobs while Dad worked in the oilfields. Over the years, three more kiddos came along. I must say I was horribly embarrassed when at thirteen I learned you were PREGNANT! Let it be said that I didn’t exactly know what happened between moms and dads in their bedrooms, but what I did know sounded downright icky and I was sure my mother and father didn’t do those things. Until along came my baby sister.

Your beloved oldest child, my wonderful brother, Don, died of some horrifying version of cancer when he was twenty. It wounded us all to the heart, but especially you. He was so like you, more than the rest of us. He had tea-colored skin like yours, coal black hair like yours, warm chocolate brown eyes like yours, and innate charm, like you. A light went out in all our lives when he was gone.

You had plenty on your plate to keep you going. Your third child, my sweet, sweet sister Patty, was a fragile flower, a child whose mind never quite matured. You and Dad didn’t institutionalize her, as some might do, you kept her at home and loved her as deeply as you did the rest of us. Perhaps that is why you spent most of your professional career working with the mentally ill and others who needed treatment that combined understanding, compassion and firm boundaries. You were honored many times in your career by your peers and your patients. No one honored or held you in as high regard as did Don, Marc, Melissa, Patty who loved you with the brightness of a fallen star, and I. So many in our family are gone now, but I have no doubt they are dancing with you in heaven.

Your deep faith and your limitless love inspired me to be a better person. I confess I have not measured up in many ways, but I try.

I miss you, Mom. You packed a lot of living into your 62 years. You had a big laugh. You had a great capacity for love. Thank you, for the gift of your amazing self you shared with so many.

–Your daughter…

In all times

pexels-photo-236164.jpegCan all your worries add a single moment to your life? Matthew 6:27 NIV

Jesus wept, but he laughed, too. He went to parties. Visited with family. Saw the humor in the mundane. Welcomed friends. Understood the value of storytelling as an art form. Engaged his audience. Jesus’ life was filled with people of all kinds. Was he a worrier? I  think not. What did he say about the birds of the air and flowers of the fields? (Matthew 2:26) Faith is a builder; worry is a destroyer. Have faith.