Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Minimalizing Never Ends. Ever!

From Becoming Minimalist
Several people have asked me about my minimalizing this year, so I thought I would address it.

First, most of my minimalist activity took place in 2015 when we moved into the condominium

Secondly, it never ends!

One of the big things that I have been doing this year is going through items that I had never wanted to get rid of. But I came to the realization that all I was doing was making work for my children, and I knew that they would NOT appreciate it.

These activities led me to making some new friends.

I had plenty of clothes that we would now call “period” clothes and even if I lost a vast amount of weight, I would not be wearing them. I met with the collections director at our local historical society and because many of these items were worn by people in a family that is involved in the history of this town, the collections director was interested in them. We took a day and went through them, and she could (look forward to) access them into her collection.

During this time, I met another staff person of the historical society and although I really didn’t give her anything, excepting my knowledge and putting two and two together and fill in some holes in her historical work. I was happy to be able to help.

I have a remarkable portrait that was dated 1894 that belonged in another town, but they honestly don’t have the room for it, so they photographed it and the curator and I sat down and filled in some holes in that branch of the family. That was a VERY interesting day!

Then there is my work with the local historical society and their Bicentennial. Most people don’t get that I consider this my “hometown,” because I only lived nine years there, but it’s my history that makes me a part of it. I haven’t had much to offer them but pictures and letters and memories. I haven’t given them all my letters, because some involve someone still living (my mother). I don’t know what I will do in the future.

I kept lots of special baby clothes, which my kids have no interest in, so I chose to donate them to the Area Women’s Center. Women who are taking parenting classes at the Center earn “dollars” to buy clothes for their children, and although I didn’t donate any of my clothes, they can buy clothes for themselves, also.

So, my husband and I have decided it is time to change our wills and make our son, who lives in the area the executor in case we pass together, or the second is unable to serve. Hopefully I have the house in a condition that he and I can take a walk through the house, and I can say “stuff…...stuff…...stuff……this is important……stuff……more stuff….”and you get the idea. We do have some Derge antiques that need to be offered to Derges. Other than picture albums and my old Bibles, the rest is “stuff.”

We live in a condominium that is 2000 square feet. We could minimalize further, but this is what is comfortable to us, and will be easy to deal with someday. We have three coolers, I don’t know why we have three coolers and one of them (at least) will probably go to Goodwill or another organization someday, but even if I don’t get to it, it is NOT a difficult decision to make.

Minimalist living is constantly keeping up. It means buying less or replacing only as needed. I bought a bedspread set this year. I didn’t need it, I just wanted it. Then I realized I didn’t like the “feel” of it. Admitting I made a mistake and setting about to correct it NOW, I offered it to a friend for a gift card. I paid exactly $30 to learn I didn’t like it. Well, it could have been worse.

As long as a person lives with another person, drawers continue to need to be cleaned out. This is a constant. Everyone throws things in drawers. I know that if it were just me, there wouldn’t be as much to do, but I still would stash when the opportunity came.

I am comfortable with the place we are. I don’t stock up much on food, except in the winter. We don’t live in the frozen North!  I have never experienced blizzard-like or dangerous conditions that lasted more than three days. Plus, I am very creative if need be!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Derges' Digest 2016

I’ve been putting our Christmas Letter on the blog for several years, but I believe that since increasingly people (read: the family is expanding) are involved, that I’m going to put a “cleansed” edition here. If you are on my email list, you will get the unabridged edition.

2016 was full of big things and little things, but ends on a good note. As we slow down at the end of the year, we remember Why we celebrate the Season of Christ’s Birth.

Between Jerry’s volunteering at hospital, and my part-time job arranging doctor’s and dentist’s appointments, that fills most days. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor and feel there has been help there. I had carpal tunnel surgery in September, so still feel some of the residue of that, but it’s no big deal. Jerry remained at #6 at the hospital in hours volunteered.

I sang in the Symphony Chorale this spring and we performed Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Sea Symphony.” It went well and I enjoyed it by the time it all came together.

Jerry and I both meet monthly for lunch with our pals—him with teacher co-workers, and me with my classmates. This was 45th Reunion year so much of my time was consumed with that. I’ve decided that the 50th Reunion will be my swan song.

In March, our daughter’s family moved into their permanent home. It will be a very nice home for slumber parties and all kinds of social events.

We cleared our calendar for the birth of our first grandson on May 26th.  Our son and daughter-in-law have delighted us in their roles as first-time parents and we certainly enjoy seeing him often! We see plenty of the girls too. We are the grandparents with a pool!

My Class Reunion was July 28-31st. The following weekend I was involved in Medway’s Bicentennial activities and it was so much fun, seeing people I hadn’t seen in decades! In addition to working with the Medway Historical Society, I have established relationships with the Clark County Heritage Center.

We kept the girls for the end of August so Mommy and Daddy could have a vacation. Then it was time to get organized for the celebration of my Mother’s 85th birthday on September 18th. It was a very nice celebration of a long life well-lived.

At the first of October, I went to the 45thReunion of Tecumseh Class of 1971. I had a wonderful time, and can’t wait for the 50th. These are the people I would have graduated with had my family not moved in 1964. Although I had to miss their football game (!) I went to the Saturday night event. I knew about one third of the people there and many others introduced themselves to me.

I’ve also been attending school board meetings as our community decides what they want to do about new schools. It has been an “education” hearing all the opinions, but one thing is clear to me. As a citizen, it is still my duty to provide good schools for the children. Someone is doing elsewhere for my grandchildren.

And then, of course, there was football! Tippecanoe HS moved to the (larger) Greater Western Ohio Conference, which provided some new challenges. The team ended up with a 7-3 record and made the playoffs. We played one playoff game against a 10-0 team and we BROUGHT IT, heart-breaker losing by one point.

Thanksgiving was spent with Jerry’s siblings this year, as it is the “off” year where the children go to the other side of the family. We did not take a vacation this year. Someone else graciously agreed to host the Class Christmas Party so that was December 9th. As always, a good time was had by all!
Mom is still living alone with much help from my aunt, who lives very close by. She likes her solitude and she has regular visitors. And of course, there is the Internet! She's on Facebook!

May God richly bless you in this Christmas season and in the coming year! Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and good will toward men.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bible Journaling: A New Way to Study the Bible

Every once in a while, you find a new thing.

Bible study has always been a part of my adult life. I have studied (primarily) with Kay Arthur’s Precept Upon Precept© classes, and I have done many Beth Moore studies. Over the years, I have tried some other authors, for example Cynthia Heald, Dee Brestin and Nancy Guthrie come to mind. And, of course, I am quite able to study on my own.

But lately, I am doing something completely different and I want to share with my friends.


First, I tried some things in my old Bible and the paper was too thin for some media I wanted to try, so I ordered a special Bible with thicker pages. It also has single column spacing (easier for me to read) with large margins on the sides of the pages.  It is made by Crossway Books and I have the ESV version.

I piddled around with some ideas, and I admit I used Pinterest. Sometimes I use a concept I see on Pinterest, but use it with another part of the Bible. Because of arthritis, I am not able to letter nicely, so I have purchased some lettering at the grocery store and craft store. I’ve tried a few things and have preferred some more than others. And, I DO letter, but just not a lot.

Like many things, the costs can add up! I suggest starting with whatever you have at home, crayons, and colored pencils. Maybe you have a micron pen or something like that, but I found that my fine-line Pilot© pens work just as well. At least I am in control of my outlining. I suggest using pencil for whatever you want to draw, then go over with ink and then fill in with color.

That said, I have bought stickers of things that I don’t WANT to draw, anything from flowers to animals to seasonal items. This must be done in stages or you WILL be broke, so I end up eventually with this “collection” of things.

I do have my own personal rules. Unless I make a mistake, and I have, I never want to cover Scripture with a medium that you cannot see through. I also don’t use any medium that I need to “prepare” the page for with another product, such as Gesso©. I do not use any dye cut additions like bookmarks. For the most part, I keep this project flat in the Bible. It is easy to see the Bible “growing” with the projects.

I use GTL Bible High-Glider© for background. It’s like a highlighter but it looks lighter on the page. I also use Distress Ink by Ranger© and I use it in two forms. One is a block shape and one is a pen. I have a blending tool that you put the ink on and then you put it on the page and it diffuses the ink and makes it much lighter and more background than direct application. And yes, I have screwed up there too.

One of the first products that I bought was Ranger© heavy body acrylic paint. No this isn’t “Skin Wars,” but it is thicker than I want to use for most occasions. And the lighter the better, in your Bible.

Many people use water color pencils. I have not ventured into that yet, but I may in the future.

This endeavor will humble you. The first thing I did was the 7 days of Creation. I thought I was so cool and got Dixie cups© to make circles and have each circle represent one day. Then, I put Day 6 before Day 5. Humility is good for the soul.

Currently, I am following along with a group that is illustrating Advent Bible verses. We have finished two weeks and have two left to do. I will add some illustrations and I am not proud. I can show my mistakes too.

If you are interested in this, just Google “Bible Journaling” and there are plenty of how-to sites. I don’t have permission to share links, but there are several. There are LOTS of places to buy supplies too. Again, I suggest starting slowly, or you will probably waste some money.

Here's some illustrations:
Isaiah 9:11

John 8:12

Luke 1:46 Note: If some verses
are from something I have sung,
like in public, I put a songbook
next to it.

Isaiah 54:10
Luke 1:30-33

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Is Out-of-Date REALLY Out-of Date?

This is me in 2016!
I was reading some old blogs and they seem out of date, but they are still a part of my life.

There are several reasons for writing this blog, beginning with my 40th class Reunion in 2011 and all the thoughts that went along with that event, through my health issues with normal aging and then breast cancer. Along the way, there are life changes, births, marriages, and deaths.

I have taken a few subjects and addressed them for posterity. The family history entries are for someone in the future. I suppose every one of the entries could be for someone in the future. We are not writing our histories for anyone anymore. We are not writing letters anymore, we don’t have boxes of letters to leave our children and grandchildren. When we do email, we usually delete it, and with good reason. I have purposely not written about politics but I wonder, during the course of history, if that is a wise choice? Someday, someone may look back and wonder what Great-Grandma thought of the 2016 Election?

I have moved to a new residence and I have made choices about what I would keep and get rid of. I have gained weight and my closet looks different. I continue to struggle with my knees and yet I know it’s not time to replace them yet. One thing has led to another and my fitness goals have been totally derailed as I knew them.

My health has the normal ups and downs of aging. I know what I should and should not eat and drink. I do the best that I can and still have a life. Life is too short, but it’s about balance.

Speaking of balance, I believe that’s the best thing I can say about my life. In as much as I am able, I try to keep the various aspects of life in balance—physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional. I don’t believe that I need to give examples. (It’s mostly about the kids!)

The only thing that is constant is change. That is for sure. Overall, I am blessed and I feel blessed. I have three of the most beautiful and intelligent grandchildren in the world (!) and for the most part, I can do the things I really want to do. Finances prohibit some things, time prohibits some, stamina prohibits others. I look at that as though there will be other times to do things, if God wills. And if not, well, God didn’t want me to do those things.

There are times that I check the “hits” on the blog and I can see that someone read a whole bunch of them at one time. (Mom?) It always seems to be in the middle of the night, but I do realize that people read it all over the world. From time to time, people in the Ukraine or some other random country hit the site. Lucky them, but it’s random, not someone trolling from across the world.

I have removed—or more accurately, put back into draft mode—a few entries because someone WAS hitting on them in an amount that was not normal. You can tell that. Not that many women are interested in my search for clothing that works for “women of a certain age.”

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in who and where hits are coming from. I enjoy all comments. I must approve them all. There is a reason for that. Enough said.

So, I keep on and keep my brain sharp in the process. Hopefully, there is someone interested in each entry. Keep the comments coming. They might even inspire something else.

Do remember that there are two tools that you can use to find something that you read in the past. One is search by keywords, and the other is the filing of my entries into "My Different Topics." You can query out things that you are not interested in.

I am not anyone outstanding. I am a woman that happened to be born in 1953 and will probably die by the 2030s. If nothing else, someone can look at this blog someday and understand what it was like to live in this time period; have some problems (but not others!) and attempt to make a good life for myself, my family, and my friends.

Fundamentally, as the Reformed Christian believer that I am, I choose to quote the the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s (women’s, of course) chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

To God be the Glory!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Giving the Klines Equal Time

Wedding picture of Charles and Lorena Kline
I’ve spent much time writing about both sides of my mother’s family and I have received good feedback from the entries, especially the one about my great-aunt, who was committed to a mental hospital by her husband.

There is far less excitement about my father’s side of the family—or I was never told the stories—but they too had an interesting life for their times. It probably resembled many other families of the day.

My Grandfather Charles Arthur Kline was from Medway, Ohio. His wife, Lorena Catherine Laing was from Greenville, Ohio. In today’s automobiles, it’s at least an hour’s drive. I do not know how they met; but I do have evidence that he wrote to her during WWI. They were married in September 1920. I don’t know anything more about their courtship. With the distance, I am left to my imagination.

They were eight years apart. When they were married, Grandpa was 29 and Grandma was two months over 21.  They moved into a house in Medway where they started their family. Three sons were born to them. Carl Arthur came along in 1922, Charles Ray in 1925 and my father Robert Lee in 1930. Having a baby at 30 was about it for my grandmother, although she doted on him.

I know my grandfather was involved in farming with his own father, and he worked at the grain elevator, but later in life (presumably after my great-grandfather died) Grandpa worked at the Fairborn Post Office until his retirement. The USPS also employed my Uncle Ray after he returned from WWII. Eventually, he was appointed Postmaster in Medway, Ohio in 1959. It is in this capacity that he is still remembered by many of the “old timers.”

1959. The new Post Office was dedicated and my uncle
was appointed Postmaster.
Carl built houses and my Dad helped him (Ray did too, when he could).  At a certain time of his life, my Dad left working for his brother and went into sales to provide better for his family. It was a rift in the family that lasted a long time. Carl moved to Florida in mid-life to continue his building career.

The Klines didn’t live long lives. Grandpa lived to be 79. His cause of death is hard to determine. He recovered from a massive heart attack, only to succumb to the after-effects of prostate surgery. I firmly believe this was mental, not physical. There was no reason, even in 1970, for him not to recover from that surgery. He just decided life was over.

Grandma, who I physically resemble, had Type II Diabetes. I watch my sugar like a hawk, since my brother ended up with Diabetes. She only lived two years after my Grandpa died, and although she had a massive heart attack, and it was easy to see why physically, I think there was a mental element to it also. There was nothing left for her to live for.

My father died tragically at the age of 47. That’s another story that has nothing to do with heredity.

Uncle Carl and Uncle Ray both had lung cancer. Carl died at 61 and Ray at 67. I have outlived Carl and nearly Ray’s wife, who died about 18 months before he did. Much of their illness had to do with heavy smoking however, and I haven’t ever smoked a cigarette. I took a puff once and I DID NOT INHALE, and wondered what it was all about that all my family did this!

I don’t know much about Grandma’s family. She had two brothers and she was the baby of the family. I can see where my father and my one brother resemble them. I don’t remember meeting them; but her parents and the one brother and sister-in-law are buried a stone’s throw from my grandparents, aunts and uncles, dad, and brother. The other brother went out west or something. There was no “estrangement” but he had another life.

Grandpa Charley had one sister, Hazel. She died of something we can prevent today when she was 19 years old. My grandmother always said that I resembled Hazel somewhat, but she didn’t know her. She is buried in a plot with her parents (although my great-grandfather married again, he is buried with his first wife) and my first cousin’s cremated remains. He died at the age of 50 from AIDS.

Judging from my father's age, I would guess
this to be about 1936.
 A question that I ask myself is why, when I was not as close to this side of the family, do I still have such an identity with them? Oh, I have great memories as a child and I loved living in their small town, and my decision to be buried in their cemetery has never been in question…. ever! When I go to the historical society meetings, there is a connection to these people, and to their history as a community.

This goes beyond the obvious physical attributes—and I certainly have physical attributes from my mother’s side of the family too—sometimes it’s like I FEEL their blood running through me. My reactions are what I think theirs would be in this setting. It has been 10 years since the last Kline died.

I don’t have the answer to this question, but I put before you, the reader: do you not have similar feelings about certain relatives?