Debby McCuiston, the “Queen of Clutter-Free”, does a segment for us each Sunday on simplifying our lives, getting rid of “clutter”, and focusing on what’s important. We look forward to her words of wisdom each week & hope you enjoy it too! Take it away Debby….
Next week at this time my sweet hubby and I will be headed to New York to see our handsome son and lovely daughter in law. We will be traveling on the Mega Bus; it is the best deal going for traveling right now. Round trip tickets to New York for 2 adults will cost us about $76.00. If you have the time to ride instead of flying to your destination it is well worth your time and money. We couldn’t find airline tickets for under $200 to $300 apiece. Now we can save some money and enjoy the trip.
The thing that stresses me the most about going on any trip is the packing. Now that there are such strict regulations on size and weight of your suitcase and carry on I almost panic at the thought of packing. I have to mentally plan out the week’s activities and check the weather then I can begin to plan my wardrobe for the week.
When my kiddos where younger and we made our yearly trip to Florida to visit my family, it was very easy to pack for them. A bathing suit or 2 and clean underwear and they were happy. Of course I did pack more, much more; sometimes it seemed like their entire wardrobe wound up in their little suitcase. Over time I realized I had to become very organized when packing for them. I used gallon sized zip lock bags and packed a complete outfit for each day, it included the outfit for the day, underwear, socks, hair bow (for my daughter) and shoes. It made getting ready much easier and I never heard “I can’t find ________”. I have even labeled each bag by the day to keep them from wearing an outfit I had purchased for them to wear to a special event. You would be surprised how much easier it makes life to have something so simple already planned out. The kids didn’t care what they wore just as long as they didn’t have to find it or make decisions about it. So it was a win-win situation. I stopped doing this when their clothes no longer fit in the gallon size bags then I just packed outfits together and hoped for the best each morning.
So many things to think about and decisions to make when trying to pack on a trip that it makes my brain tired and I wish I could live with the idea that “I shall not clutter up my pretty little mind with all that thinking”. Great way to look at it if you can do it but I would wind up naked in New York City, not a good idea!! (But in that crowd I am not sure if anyone would even notice)
I try to pack according to what is available in the area. It is not common for apartments in NY to have a washer and dryer so a trip to the laundry mat will be in the plans. If you run out of clothes it will require a trip of several blocks carrying a load or two of dirty clothes along with the bottle of washing soap just to get to a washer and you may or may not have to wait for a washer and dryer, you can plan on staying for a while.
Many times I have left on a trip thinking if I forgot something I can always stop by a local store and pick up the missing item. In the city there are NO Wal-Mart’s, it’s a train ride to get to Target that takes at least 45 minutes not counting the walk and wait to catch the subway, so most shopping is done at the local mom and pop stores or drugstores that may or may not have the size, color or brand you need. With that in mind I feel I must pack everything I may need in that little tiny suitcase. So my first priority is packing enough clean underwear to last the entire week with a few extras for emergencies (you never know), that just one of those girl things!
I use to pack shoes to match every outfit, this trip it’s all about comfortable and walking shoes (white tennis shoes match everything). Gone are the days of a fresh pair of pants and matching top every day, a couple of mix and match outfits will do just fine. Surprising how our priorities change as we get older and wiser.
I also have to remember why we are making this trip to the “Big Apple”. It’s not about the plays we might see or the places we will eat it’s not even about the amazing stores we may shop at, it’s all about the time we get to spend with our kids. I can be very very content to just sit and visit with them but it makes them a little nervous to have me sitting and staring at them 24/7. If you are a parent and your kids do not live close you know what I mean. Just to be in their presence is enough for me.
In reality isn’t that how we are supposed to be with the Lord. To come to Him with our needs and wants usually is what our relationship is all about. How much time do we spend asking for things or for the Lord to fix a problem or make someone do something we want them to do? Don’t you get tired of always being “needed to do or give something” and not having them content to be with you for who you are not what you can do for them? Needing and wanting are not relationship building traits, they are ok in small doses but all the time will wear you out.
I know at times my prayers are like fly-bys, a quick thanks, a list of needs and an even quicker, thanks talk to you soon. If I got those types of phone calls time after time, I am not sure I would continue to answer the phone when their number appears on call ID. But we know that our Lord listens every time we approach the throne with a request, but how it must grive His heart when we won’t even stay long enough to hear His answer.
To have a deeper relationship with Christ we must be content to just be in His presence! We must take time to listen and obey! We must have a 2 way conversation with Him not a “fly-by” chat. Really, who do we think we are that we think we can run into the presence of the All Mighty God, the lover of our soul, and demand what we want then turn to leave without so much as a second thought. I have done this so many times, when I stop and think about it I wonder if I had stayed what would He have said, what would I have felt in my heart as I heard Him explain the plans He has for me and as He shows me the future He has already set into motion. How many of those precious moments have I missed? How many blessings have I not even noticed because I was so caught up in my wants and needs I couldn’t see His hand moving in my life and in the lives of those I love?
As we try to pack so much in each day or each trip in life, may we take time to see the hand of God as it moves with purpose in our life. May we not miss the blessings because we are so busy packing our days with what we want and think we need. Let’s live with intention to build our relationship with the Lover of our soul!
Love you ladies,