Hello, blog friends! I missed you last week, but a break was necessary. Last week, we lost Joe's uncle all too soon. The family and I headed to New Jersey to surround ourselves with the people we love most and to say goodbye.
There are a lot of things that are hard about being self-employed, but the best part is being able to take the time you need when you need it. This week, I'm back in the office, painting away. It's healing. But do you know what else is oddly soothing? Assembling invites. There's something therapeutic about sealing envelopes and making sure all the stamps are straight.
And speaking of therapeutic, I'm continuing my Kon Mari journey to a more real, calm, simplified life. It started during a Bible study that I'm doing with the director of music at my church. (This may not seem like it's going to relate, but it will, stay with me!) We were studying the six ways that we all justify our sin. You might downplay it or blame others for it or hide it. But as I read this description, I felt like I was reading my own heart:
I strive to keep up appearances and maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me . . . As a result, not many people know the real me. (I may not even know the real me.)
As I thought about this idea, that we're always faking this perfect image of ourselves, I started to look around my office at home. How many things in here did I buy just because I thought it would look good in a photoshoot? On Instagram? If a client came over? How much of this stuff that surrounds me actually inspires me?
(Emma's watercolor "roses" and thank you cards from clients will always inspire me)
So, another decluttering began. Instead of just thinking, "Do I need this" or "Do I use this" I started evaluating if I, Chloe, actually like this item. I even looked at the rug at my feet and thought, "You know what? I don't even like this! It's kind of odd and it's not very practical to keep clean with a kid and cats!" So, out it goes. And so do some mugs with sayings that were just trendy and nail polish colors I never wear!
Now that I've gotten rid of the excess, I can see more clearly the things that inspire me. Like my insanely old copy of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette. Or the wooden birdhouse that sits on my bookshelf, that looks a little too much like my own house. I smile so hard each time I pass it. I feel like I've shed a little more light (my word of the year!!) on who I am as a person instead of the person I try to portray on Instagram.
So, since this was so therapeutic to me, I'm ending this Tea with Chloe with a challenge. GO right now and find an empty box. (I know you have an empty Amazon box somewhere!) Walk through a room in your house that has been feeling a little claustrophobic to you lately and fill that box. Fill it with things that don't fuel you or feel like you. Seriously! Pick them up, give it a moment's thought, and if you don't feel connected, toss it in the box.
BONUS CHALLENGE: Take that box to a donation center ASAP. Don't let it clutter up your counter or your car! Get the clutter clear, and get it gone! Because life is far too short to feel stressed by things.
Photo Cred: Shalese Danielle Photography