Clean House, Messy Heart

Today, I am going to get personal. I often talk about things “out there,” or I am ambiguous on purpose because what I’m writing about can have more than one meaning. I usually want the reader to find the one that resonates with them. So I’m going to do something in this post that I don’t frequently do — get personal.

The hubs and I have one of our best friends coming to visit for a quick overnight stay. We haven’t seen her in two years, where we normally would see her and her family three to four times a year. She and her husband moved out of the state a couple years ago and, thanks to COVID-19, we haven’t had the chance to see them or their kids. She’s “home” for a spell and is making the two hour+ drive to see us. Because of this, there has been an amount of “getting ready” happening in our home.

Something about tidying up and rushing around the house reminds me of my father. He was a tyrant. He was fastidious, to say the kindest and the least, about everything, and definitely about the inside as well as the outside of the home. The majority of my chores were outside for some reason (no clue why). It’s probably no shock that I’m way better at taking care of the outside of the house than I am the inside. But there’s more to it than that. I actually get sort of frozen-in-place when a project inside is a giant one, or when someone decides they want to rush me around. Nothing was ever good enough for him, and he never cared how hard you tried.

So, back to our friend that’s coming over. I got up this morning with a migraine and tallied up the things that I felt needed to be done before her arrival this evening. There weren’t many, and even those were pretty simple things. I had already washed sheets, dusted and cleaned the bedroom, and made the bed. I dusted the living and dining rooms a couple days ago. But there are dog nose-prints on the front window and mulberries squished on the floor from dogs that run around the backyard and then track them inside. The mulberries are a several-times-a-day project until the tree stops dropping them. Well, shoot, my vitamins are out on the counter in the kitchen and the kitchen rugs could use another wash. Some of the placemats on the dining table don’t match. Recyclable trash needs to be emptied, and there’s a stack of mail on the dining room table. My desk – well my desk has always had a life of its own! Laundry is in the dryer, so that means it probably won’t get folded and put away before she gets here. I sort of sat there with my cup of coffee in a trance, frozen-ish, headachy.

By the time I finished my cup of coffee and cottage cheese with blueberries, I was over it — not over our friend’s visit, but over being overly-concerned about what there was to do. First of all, we love her and she loves us, and I know for a fact that she is not going to come into my home and begin examining everything, and I already know she has no expectation of walking into a showroom model home. Secondly, I’m not going to have friends who are that judgy anyway. (If you are, I might just hand you some spray and paper towels and invite you to clean the dog nose-marks yourself.)

I realize that my first reaction this morning was really coming from someone/somewhere else, and not from me. I just happened to let it in. It was coming from people who have been in my life who really need to do as much heart work as they do in other areas of their lives. My heart is full of love for our friend, and I know it’s returned. My home is clean, comfortable, and welcoming. Save my desk and a set of shelves in my bedroom, my home is orderly. You can open my cupboards and look under the rugs and furniture.

I know some people who insist on a spotless home who are actually not great at being good humans, or whose lives are in complete disarray. (That’s not to say that everyone who has a spotless home IS a terrible human, so don’t email me.) But it occurred to me today that we can work so hard at looking good, appearing competent, acting organized, etc., but forget or refuse to give as much attention to becoming the person our exteriors claim we are. We may have a clean home, pressed clothes, a nice physique… but a messy heart. Take for example the person whose home looks clean and tidy when you walk in, but you better not open a drawer or a cupboard because the mess was never really cleaned, it was just stuffed away out of sight. A funny thing about that process is that even we forget sometimes that the stuff is in there or forget where we even put something!

Things become lost – like souls.

I’m not at all saying that someone cannot master both home and heart. What I am saying is this: Be kind and loving to your people, especially if you’re raising children. Our children grow up to be other versions of us, or worse, versions of the mess we stuff away in cupboards or sweep under the rug, and you never know how that’s going to come out. For me, it comes out as anxiety, a kind of frozen, soft-serve mess. For others it might come out like a spotless home, but a frozen heart, and for still others it might look like abuse. We raise these little people sometimes without remembering that other people have to deal with them after they leave our care or we leave this world. If you’re going to leave a mess behind, let it be the dog nose-print on the window kind, or the home overflowing with fun kind — not a person, or not the mean-spirited, heartless, not enough, or anxiety-in-skin kind that hides away or projects onto others. Your spotless home might be something to be proud of, but don’t make it meaningless in the grand scheme of it all, or a miserable place to be for those with whom you share it.

Appearances are just that – something to see; but a kind and giving heart is something to behold and cherish.

Walking & Thinking #3

I hear a lot lately about cancel culture. I’m sure it has its negative impacts, as I can see how we might want to jump the gun or be specifically harsh to someone if our feelings have been hurt in some way. I can also see how it is necessary if someone is toxic or dangerous to our very being. More specifically, today I got to thinking about people that claim to love us or have our highest interests at heart — someone we live with, a spouse, a neighbor, a relative, or a friend.

Sometimes people just aren’t for you, even if they have love for you. Sometimes people just are not your tribe, or someone truly isn’t your person. Everyone has some kind of genius inside of them, and you will know your tribe by the fact that they not only recognize it, but they actually celebrate it, and they might even recognize it in you before you realize it. That’s your tribe; that’s your person!

#WalkingAndThinking #blog #blogger #tribe #GeniusInside #DeboraLynn #recognize #gift #CancelCulture #redefine #struggle #MentalHealth #love #friends #family #spouse #happy

Whether Black Sheep or Wandering Sheep


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving

So, I’ve read several posts in the last two days about family rejection and/or being made the black sheep of the family, and how hard it is during the holidays and special occasions. Listen, I’ve been there, and with more than one side of the “family.” I’ve also been hundreds and hundreds of miles away from loving family for many years (“wandering sheep”) and unable to spend time with the ones who love me back. It can feel hard, especially if it’s a new situation. But it doesn’t have to remain hard or sad. 

Don’t be a victim. Find other like-minded, loving “sheep” and keep it moving. Live YOUR life. Find YOUR tribe (or herd, I guess). Help grow a new group of humans that are there just to love on each other and understand.

Thankful and Grateful

There are no words to express just how thankful I am for the loving folks in my family that know and care about my heart, that aren’t feeding from the drama well, and have no other agenda for me except to love me as I am.  I am eternally grateful for those of you who took the kids and me in at holidays when my family was so far away. Those are forever treasured memories and times — and I would be remiss if I didn’t recall that a few of you were in the same position. (Look up “Misfit Thanksgiving” inside our collective memories. LOL)

Thinkful and Greatful – What It Is and What It Isn’t

By the way, this isn’t about giving those that you need to be away from or who are pushing you away the proverbial or literal middle finger. (Though I acknowledge how tempting it might be!)  It’s not even the opposite of that.  It’s something completely offline from that altogether. This is ALL about and ONLY about loving yourself more than your perceived need to make a point, prove how right or worthy you are, or to linger in abuse.

Just like we push ourselves away from the table when we’ve had enough to eat, sometimes we have to do the same with those that try to force feed us a bunch of malarkey! Choose healthy options and portions! Spend your energy and mind on making memories that feel good, and excuse yourself from the ones that hurt.  You’re the only one that can do this for you.

Happy Thanksgiving, from my herd to yours!


(For the record, if you know you really are a trifling problem in your family, or you have been treating someone bad, this post is NOT for you.  This is not for you to justify staying away or being asked to due to your poor or abusive behavior.  Be honest. Go get yourself straight and make amends.)



My Mama, Gram, and me – Thanksgiving 2013
We always had the best time.

Audio File/Slideshow


Relationship Currency