And here are all my clothes on the bed ready for sorting into love, don't love, not this season
The don't love pile grows
The don't love pile got folded
Drum roll.... here is my capsule.
various button downs and knit long sleeve shirts along with 2 'silky' work blouses
black and gray turtleneck, two patterned sweaters and a gray drape-y sweater as Fran calls it
2 pair boyfriend jean, one pair dark skinny. 3 pairs of athleta leggings-- black, gray and hunter green
Not pictured- two pairs of black dress pants- one capri, one full length and one pair of brown skinny cords
Gray and Oatmeal sweatshirt material sweater dresses and one tunic top
Black, gray and black/gray stripes
Not pictured- the one I wore today and another star wars one in the wash
Not pictured- the camel coat sweater I am madly in love with which I wore today
One gray/brown chunky cardigan and one plum cardigan with hood
Capsule outfit day #1
A colorful flannel 40% off at the Gap
Here is the combined pile of clothes to donate or sell and the ones to store to reassess later
Now let's see if I miss any one of these clothes even a little bit.
I have my strong doubts
I feel heavy. I know have I have 10 lbs on me which is new over the last year or so. I have worked hard to shed it but it seems perhaps here to stay. So this may be my 41 year old body now... I'm getting to be ok with it. My work is great. I have run every day for almost 2 years. I'm healthy. My kid is literally the funniest human ever. Life is good. But I feel blah and weighted down nonetheless. I feel in a funk. I feel heavy.
This week while chatting with my dearest friend, Fran, she mentioned minimizing her closet. She mentioned capsule wardrobes. I started to do some googling. I saw this quote "It hit me pretty hard when I realized I wasn't shopping for clothes- I was shopping for happiness. No wonder my closet didn't make sense" (from theeverygirl.com blog post about capsule wardrobes which came from un-fancy.com and Caroline who i think invented this concept). I read it again and again and texted it to Fran with the comment "Holy hell this is me. I need help". This was Wednesday.
That night I went to my prayer group and mentioned this idea which was bouncing around my head. A gal in my prayer group mentioned this Japanese decluttering book she had just read, the Life-changing magic of tidying up by Kondo, and she purged almost her entire closet and she said, "I feel free and I feel light". And in my heart I knew I had to do this. So I ordered said Japanese decluttering book and told my husband my idea about a capsule wardrobe to which he responded "Sounds good Francis but just don't involve Lucas and I in the decluttering" (using Fran's full name is how what he calls me when I have a crazy scheme which he knows I got from her or I put together an awesome outfit which he, being fashion challenged, thinks is a hot mess or when I bought essential oils -- the Francis in me got the last laugh on that one because now he loves those 'cooky oils')
I did more research and thought more about how a capsule wardrobe would fit into my life and how I would have to make some adjustments. Here is what I decided I was going to do for me and how I live...
Step 1. I took everything out of my closet and put in a pile all the clothes I did not love or did not fit or I hadn't worn in their appropriate season. Take pictures. Check.
Step 2. Put all warm weather clothes in attic to capsule this spring. Check.
Step 3. Have my husband say "Your closet looks so empty" to which I responded "wait until I capsule it" to which he responded with a grin "yes Francis". Check.
Step 4. Lay out my personal capsule strategy... now this is how I did it...again for me and how I live.... with no clear guidance about the number 37 being the it target, I chose 40. As my 40s are going to be my best decade yet. I'll pare down to 40 pieces...here goes...
a. I will capsule my wardrobe, I think, right now for two seasons not four--- hot and cold. Though I love fall and spring in Iowa, I don't have a ton of in-between clothes and with the way buildings are heated here in winter and air-conditioned here in summer, there isn't much difference at times. I will reassess in January and perhaps swap out some sweaters.
b. I will not include jackets or shoes. I don't wear jackets for fashion; that is I don't have a cute denim jacket or some fun fitted jackets which make my outfits pop. I have jackets for rain, jackets for chilly, jackets for cold, jackets for effing freezing. I have flat terrible flipper feet (so says my husband) so I don't have tons of shoes as they need to all have good support... I have 5 pairs of boots I wear all winter which have good arch supports in them --- black and brown high boots, black and brown low boots and a pair of gray mid calf boots. I wear running shoes a lot. I have two pairs of adorable flats that I wear to work with dress pants. I spend most of the winter wearing snow boots into work and then changing. Cutting down on my shoes didn't make sense to me so I'm not doing it.
c. I will have five mini capsules. 1. Hawkeye capsule- 2 sweatshirts and 2 t shirts; one black set and one gold set. Almost every home game has a 'theme' color so it is not realistic for me to get rid of them or to count them towards my clothing total as I only wear them 8 home games a fall. Not counted. 2. Mexico capsule- we take 2 2-week trips to Mexico to run medical clinics and I have a pretty established capsule of clothing that goes with me. this is not being modified or adjusted. it is just what it is- so it remains on the shelf in my closet where i left it after we got home the last time. Not counted. 3. Comfy capsule- at home on weekends and at night and after long runs or races, I lounge in sweats and worn-in sweatshirts. I have parred down this stash to include 2 sweatpants, 2 sweatshirts. Not counted. 4. Running capsule- these clothes are not even on my radar for minimizing as I run outside every day in every season and thus produce a ton of laundry that we can barely keep up with as it is so I'm not decreasing my supply. Not counted. 5. ER capsule- need to have scrubs for work, 2 sets of black. Not counted.
Some may see these caveats as 'cheating' against 'made up rules' for some 'invented way' to live. Maybe I don't want to be constrained by rules. Maybe I like breaking them. For me and how I live, this is what makes sense.
d. As I thought about my capsule, I assessed what I needed each week... 3 days of office clothes and the rest casual. I assessed how often we do laundry so I wouldn't short myself or drive my laundry husband crazy. I spent hours texting with Fran and sending her pictures and I think I've done it. I've made a fall/winter capsule of 39 items. Most of them are black and white and gray. I needed a bit of color. I picked up #40 today at the Gap, a delicious 40% off plaid flannel with some color. Today I walked into my closet. I picked out an outfit I love. I feel lighter than I have in years.
This is a blog post that has been rattling around in my brain for quite some time and I just haven't had time to post it.
The background: For any readers who don't know, Bill and I spend time in Mazatlan Mexico with the Vineyard Church there running outreach clinics for the poor. We have been going down for 5+years. The story of how we got started is a blog post for another day but the bottom line is that we both feel as if this is where God wants us. Bill heard God say that this is what we should do so we have done it. Three times a year for a week for the past 5 years we have assembled teams, bought meds, traveled, served, worked, sweated, laughed, loved with our now great friends who live and serve in Mazatlan. We have had teams of 4 with us being the only medical providers (shout out to Cam and Steve) and teams of 27. When I got pregnant, some thought our mission would change. I did miss one trip when Lucas was 4 weeks go but starting at 5 mo, we just took Lucas along. I find no better way to grow up than knowing that serving the poor is just part of life. Being in Mexico with Mommy and Daddy is just part of life.
The issue: Mexico is getting more dangerous. Th
e drug cartels are creating violence in this beloved city of ours. Mazatlan is having escalation in violence. Most of the violence is drug on drug with very few bystander casualties (if any) and the only way we would be hurt is if we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. To be honest, that is how you can get hurt or killed anywhere. I had been really struggling with continuing to take Lucas and my parents. Bill and I have 'bought into' this vision we have from God; the volunteers we take on our team know the risks but Lucas is just an innocent little child who we 'drag' there. My folks only come to take care of Lucas and I wrestled with the notion that I was being selfish. Putting my beloved child and parents in harms way seems some days like too big a risk. Leaving Lucas at home is an option but we now go for 2 weeks twice a year and that means missing a month of his life every year and I'm just not cool with that. So this is where I found myself and my heart a few weeks ago. I started to pray. What am I really afraid of? What does all this boil down to? Should we continue to go?
The heart of the matter: I realized I am fearful and don't trust God enough to take care of my child. I realized I don't actually believe that God loves Lucas more than I do. I realized I don't actually believe that anyone loves their child with the painful all consuming love that I love Lucas with. I know that sounds crazy. I see my friends with their kids or even my parents with me and I think 'surely they love their kids but they cannot possibly love their kids like I love Lucas'. I realized I was treating God like a buffet line; picking and choosing where I wanted to believe and where I wanted him and where I just wanted to pass and do it all myself. I am terrified of something happening to Lucas. I am terrified.of.living.my.life.without.him. The fear is IMMOBILIZING.
From that thought to today: So I started sharing with those I trusted the most and asked for prayer. I shared with a woman in Mazatlan who we work very closely with about my fears. She wrote me back an email that made me cry out to God. We don't serve a God of fear, she said. Tell Jesus to take your fear and don't live it in, she said. You have to believe that God knows the days you have with Lucas either one more or a zillion more, she said. Trust God who does love Lucas more, she said. God gave you your mother's heart and trust him with all your love for Lucas, she said. So I started. I started while running telling God that I trusted him and that I will not be afraid. The fears eased a bit slowly I felt my tight grip on Lucas in my heart loosening.
Then Bill and I started to read Romans together for Lent. I remember exactly where I was when I reread Romans 4:20-21 out loud " (speaking about Abraham) For he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised" So I am there. I am fully persuaded that God has power to do what He had promised. I know my God is mighty. My faith was coming back stronger than before. I started to repeat this verse in my head. Then I started to remember what God promises and what God doesn't promise. He doesn't promise that I won't get shot in drug related cross fire in Mexico when I am trying to serve the poor. He doesn't promise that my child will live a healthy long life free of pain or sorrow. He doesn't promise that my child will outlive me. He doesn't promise that I won't die in a plane crash. He doesn't promise that a drunk driver won't hop the curve and hit me when I'm out for a run or that someone not paying attention backs over my shopping cart carrying Lucas at HyVee. He doesn't promise me that Lucas won't get kidnapped walking two blocks home from school or that I don't get snatched out running even in daylight. He doesn't promise that I won't get hit by lightening or blown away in a tornado. He doesn't promise me that a pissed off patient who really wanted narcotics won't shoot me at work or come to my house and light it on fire. But what He does promise is to.be.with.us.always.period.
So in two weeks we will pack up Lucas, enough fruit snacks to feed a small nation, medicine, every DVD with elmo or thomas in it, our team, birthday presents, a new tricycle, running clothes, old shoes, my parents, sand toys, thomas themed birthday paraphernalia, enough chocolate to satisfy my lenten fast, treats for our ex-pat friends and we will head to Mazatlan. We will spend two weeks serving, loving, laughing, sweating in Mazatlan. We will celebrate Lucas' 2nd birthday there. We will be smart about going out after dark. We will stick close to our hotel. We will pray for safety and hold on to the promise of Christ that He.is.with.us.always.
We leave on Easter Sunday and that fact is not lost on me. We serve a God who is alive and on the move. He is here and there and with us and before us. He promises His Holy Spirit to guide us and live in us. He has risen from the grave. He has beaten death. He has overcome the dark powers of this world.
For I will not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, but will be strengthened in my faith giving glory to God being fully persuaded that God has power to do what He has promised.
a naked problem. lucas has learned how to take his clothes off. sunday night he unzipped his pjs, took off his diaper and fell asleep, junk hanging out just peeing at will. luckily i noticed this when i checked on him before i went to bed so the pee damage was minimal. we thought we had 'solved' the problem by putting 'big boy underwear' over his diaper. total genius, right? got the idea from my mom who is a total genius; that fact has long been established. two nights, no unzipping peep show. today i receive a picture from daycare. lucas pantless standing in the pack-n-play where he naps. he had taken off his pants and diaper. ah ha a new trick taking off his pants. ms lisa and ms robin were laughing and calling him a 'hot mess' so apparently he spent the rest of the afternoon calling himself a 'hot mess'. tonight we get him ready for bed and go out to our house group. i get a picture from our babysitter who is ms robin from daycare. a picture of lucas naked in his crib. he was apparently banging on the wall and making all sorts of noise so she went up. he looked a bit startled to see her and then just say 'hi ray ray, i naked'. hi-larious. i scoffed at the idea of using duct tape to hold on his diaper but i just may have to do it. i think he is getting ready for potty training as he always tells me when he is going but i am holding off until after we get back from mexico which is just another month but i have a more pressing problem. what do i dress him in? invest in hard to get off overalls? is that my only option? until then i just may have a naked little boy running around. please send "pee from carpet" removal tips.
I know one thing no one is thankful for this holiday is my frequent blog updates :-) I have been just terrible updating the blog. To apologize and promise to be better just seems lame at this point. I will just push through the introduction and update everyone on what is happening around these parts. I am at work today so I can't upload any pics but I'll add them after the fact
1. new set of wheels... Legolas, my taurus, died. Bill and I set a price in our heads of the money we would put into him. It turned out to be too expensive to fix. He sat in the driveway dead for about a month. Bill's Honda Civic, Gimli, did a great job being our main car and it wasn't as bad as expected to share a car for a while. It made our carbon footprint a lot less which is good because our new set of wheels eats carbon like no one's business. Bill really wanted a pickup truck. We borrow our friend's truck enough times a year that we wanted one for ourselves. Also for our fireplace Bill is always picking up wood so the trunks of our cars are nasty and full of dirt and wood chips etc. We test drove the Honda Ridgeline which we really liked but that was until we drove the Ford F150. That is such a great truck and now it is ours. We bought a midnight blue giant 4 door Ford F150 which is just a beast. We love it. She/He has yet to be named.
2. Lucas...At times I think I am the only parent who feels this way about their child and then I realize everyone feels this way. I can't really even put into words my love and delight in him. He is such a good boy. He started walking at 17 mo and 3 weeks-- 8 days before he would have been considered 'developmentally delayed'. He has just been a slow mover. He started crawling after his 1st birthday in early May. We did have him evaluated by physical therapy and they thought he was fine and just progressing on his own time. He has kick ass fine motor skills. He has ever since the beginning - he loves to put things in containers and take them out. He loves to take pen caps off and recap them. He especially loves to cap and uncap blistex tubes. He loves to takes things apart and try to put them together again. I think he may be an engineer like Grandpa Joe. Anyway he started cruising well in July, climbing up stairs and just got better and better at moving but with support. On Oct 21st a few hours after I arrived home from a 3 day work trip to Baltimore, Lucas was cruising in the front hall when all of a sudden he let go of the door and kept on going. Bill and I had been working on getting him to go a step or two between us which he had done so those may technically have been his first steps but I'm counting the ones I saw on 10/21 as his first. He has just gotten better and better on his feet. He has started talking too; he says dada, mama, up, down, cookie, milk, more, please, what's that?, open, ball and will repeat anything we saw. He talks ALL the time- I wonder where he got that from- only part of it can we understand. He understands us and will go get things when asked- find his shoes, his snuzzle blanket, his snack. It is so sweet to say, "Lukey go get your shoes" and he toddles off and comes back with them. He makes a 'puppy' sound when he sees a dog and can moo like a cow. He mimics a lot of animal motions.
He is becoming very strong willed. He hates his car seat and we had a total screaming fit in the car last week on the way to Walmart. I say 'we' because he was screaming in the carseat and I was yelling in the front 'I will not be held hostage by your screaming'. Not my finest moment of parenting. Yesterday he woke up from his nap just screaming and didn't calm down for almost an hour. It was really weird. I finally got him calmed down and we were watching a video in the basement. He said 'up' so we went back upstairs. Then he walked to get his sippy cup, brought it to me. Then he got my diet coke and brought it to me. Then he went to get his snacks. I didn't know what he wanted to do with all three; he didn't want to eat or drink. He started screaming again so I put him in his crib for a time out (mainly for me). I went to get him in 2 minutes and then he took his sippy to the basement stairs. My sweet little man wanted to take his drink and snacks back downstairs to watch his show and he was thoughtful enough to include my diet coke in this plan. I started to cry; he had such a great idea but I couldn't figure it out and had 'punished' him for screaming in frustration. Also not my best parenting moment. Lucky for me, he seems to love me no matter what and I can't believe how lucky I am to have him. He toddles over to me, stops at my legs and says 'up' and I actually may melt one of these days. I am the luckiest lady ever to have lived because I get to be Lucas' mom.
That is a long enough update for today. I do want to blog about the amazing two week trip we had to Mexico. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.