Simple Abundance

Simple abundance. Is there such a thing?

My husband and I are in our final years of employment as we inch closer to retirement. Weekends are spent updating our home, and weeknights are spent daydreaming about our next house. There is a long way to go between point A and point B, with a lot of clutter in between.

To Purge or Not to Purge

I have been reading articles about clutter purging, and I also have a copy of Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (Although, I’m not exactly sure where it is.) Organization experts agree that our adult children won’t want all the stuff we’ve been clinging to for years. Most young people have opted for simple living with fewer possessions than their parents. Whether that is intentional or a matter of circumstance, I’m not quite sure.

Our clutter situation isn’t quite this bad as this photo from Unsplashed.com, but it’s an accurate depiction of the overall task that lies ahead. However daunting that task might be, I’ve learned that replacing your floors really helps to speed the process along. Like any DIY project, it takes a lot of planning and we must set our own pace. Each room has to be completely emptied before we can rip up the old carpet and padding. But when we are finished, it’s a shiny new clean slate.

A Fresh Start

As we begin putting things back into each finished room, my goal is to define and embrace a new concept of simple abundance.

The Lord has showered our family with His love, and we’ve been blessed beyond our dreams. Although we have an abundance of “stuff”, we are being more thoughtful about what we save. This means keeping things that have a legitimate purpose, but also things that we cherish or that have special meaning to us.

Maybe that sounds similar to Ms. Kondo’s “spark joy” concept, but it has deeper meaning to me.

Our home will always be a welcoming space — not just for my husband and me — but for family and strangers alike. It may never be completely clutter-free, but it will be a place to share our abundance and offer welcoming warmth and comfort to all who cross its threshold.

 

Food = Love

Food.

We dream about it, talk about it, and even have television networks dedicated to it. Sweet, savory, or spicy, ethnic, vegan or fusion. Whatever our preference may be on a given day — we love it all!

But despite all the hours we spend consuming food, very few people actually enjoy cooking their own food.  Many will do whatever is necessary to avoid standing in front of the stove. It’s much easier to drive-thru, make a reservation, or order take-out.

Family Feasts

For just a moment though, let’s think about my favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! It’s just around the corner and I’m already looking forward to it. But beyond the festive table settings, and dishes laden with delicious food (and the football game we will sleep through afterward), it’s all about the people we love seated around that table.

Thanksgiving Memories, 2017

 

My mother-in-law raised five children, so she cooked meals for a small army. By the time I arrived on the scene, everyone was grown and flown. But family meals were still a regular occurrence. I can’t say whether cooking was a favorite chore in the Manausa household, but it was always a group effort. Everyone pitched in, and like my own dad, my father-in-law did his share of the cooking!

Several family meals became my favorites. “Chuck’s Everyday Waffles” were extra-delicious because they were full of bacon, with a little bit of bacon grease blended into the batter. Truth be told, I’d be in big trouble if I ate them every day. And his fish fries were wonderful family gatherings too, with his own fresh catch on the dinner menu. “Macaroni Mess” was really what we youngsters called American Chop Suey, only there was bacon in that too. Because, as the saying goes . . . bacon makes everything better.

Memorable Meals

Ketchup was always on the table in the Manausa household, particularly if my husband was coming to dinner. (True story: at my bridal shower, my future mother-in-law presented me with half a case of Heinz Ketchup and a can of K2R Spot Remover. It was an ominous sign.) I never really knew if the condiment was meant to enhance the flavor or hide it.

My in-laws have since passed away, but I fondly remember those meals that often ended with a long evening of conversation and cards. It was a time for jokes and laughter, but also a time for sharing stories and giving and receiving advice. I treasured every moment, especially in my early years as a newlywed.

🍴 🍴 🍴

Fast forward 37 years.

Cooking a meal takes planning and preparation, but I actually look forward to it now. I keep adding new skills, testing new gadgets, and trying new flavors. It’s a lot more fun now that it’s not  just another daily chore.

I enjoy cooking for myself when no one else is around, but most of all, I enjoy cooking for those I love. And thankfully, the ketchup usually stays in the pantry. ❤️

Morning Omelet with Bacon, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Spinach