Sister, Don’t Preach

A couple of decades ago Madonna released a song called Papa, Don’t Preach. The lyrics talked about a young girl “in trouble” who decided to stay with her boyfriend and keep her baby. She kept asking her father to not preach at her, reassuring him that they would be okay, even though they had to sacrifice their youth to become a family.

So in scrolling through Instagram pics earlier, I saw a post promoting a clothing store in Austin, Texas. Liberal “Keep Austin Weird” Texas. That geographic region of the Lone Star State, where Democrats congregate and castigate the rest of us for not sharing our “wealth,” for not caring enough about our fellow man.

The items of clothing I saw were a frumpy bit of plain sewing. A quick click to their website, and I was treated to a poetic explanation of their “process” from design, to production, to sale. There was some mumbo jumbo about multiple fit sessions to ensure the proper fit. I’m looking at these photos of a simple crop top and a shirt dress that have virtually no shape — how poorly must the designer be that requires multiple fit sessions to make sure a shapeless dress fits?

 

Anyone care to venture a guess on how many greenbacks each of these items will set you back? Hmmmm?

You can be the proud owner of a boxy top that resembles a short hospital scrub shirt, or the gym top my sister wore with culottes at the church school she attended in junior high for the very (un)reasonable sum of $150.

If you are more interested in the 100% cotton buffalo plaid shirt dress that looks like something my grandmother wore to clean house in, it will only set you back $268.

The Bible teaches us to be good stewards of that we’ve been blessed with and that which we earn through our labors. Part of our motivation for doing so should be our increased ability to help others with what we do not need for ourselves. If I ever plunk down $268 on a

sleeveless shirtdress that’s meant to be your summer staple. easy to throw on and dress up or down with slides or strappy clogs

please take me out to the woodshed and give me a good whipping for being so self-indulgent and wasteful.

As for those of you who don’t see anything wrong with this kind of wasteful spending, don’t preach to me about my fair share and what I owe my fellow humankind. Is it any wonder that government assistance programs are so woefully inefficient when people think it’s okay to spend almost $300 on a potato sack dress?

Minimalism

If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you have most surely seen a video, story, blog, or photo of a tiny house. I still remember the first time I saw a tiny house online (and then later a real one off I-10, near Seguin, Texas). I was enthralled with the dollhouse like details and how much one could fit into a tiny house that was well-designed. I could definitely see a tiny house parked out back of our place to be used as a guest house, writing and/or craft studio.

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A Texas Tiny House near Seguin, Texas – one of the company’s prototypes, this little house is made with all recycled materials.
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Another tiny house — what you see is the entire living room. The ladder leads to the sleeping loft above the kitchen.
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The sleeping loft. I took this photo standing on the ladder a few inches from the foot of the bed. Not sure where one keeps his or her clothing.

I cannot, however, see living in one full time. While I do not deny I have plenty of stuff to get rid of, the things that I use, that my guy uses — it just wouldn’t fit in one of those houses.

Earlier today Jami and I managed to throw out a healthy stack of papers, though. We managed to throw out enough stuff that we were able to consolidate what had once taken up two filing cabinet drawers and three plastic file boxes into just one file cabinet drawer, and it’s not nearly full. Mostly we threw out school papers from her brief three year stint in public school. We pulled a few “samples” of her work for posterity’s sake, and in the trash the rest went. It was really satisfying to take the few items we decided to keep and put them back in the formerly crammed full filing cabinet drawer, with plenty of room to spare. Soon I will begin scrapbooking again, and those items will make their way into a book where they can be viewed and enjoyed on a regular basis.

I guess I’m just too sentimental to be a complete minimalist, although I am working on only keeping the things that give me joy, or that mean something to my family. I realized that much of what I was keeping was out of guilt: “I can’t get rid of that, my mother gave it to me.” Or, “My girl may want that someday. I need to keep it safe for her just in case she does.” After realizing this, I’m being more selective about what I keep for myself, and I’m asking my girl to make the decisions that relate to her memories. I just know that it is hell going through your family home after a parent dies, having to make those decisions when you are already overwhelmed by emotions. Hopefully I can get my own “warehouse of memories” under control so my girl doesn’t have to deal with that when we are gone. I’m learning there’s a great deal of peace to be found when you let go of the things you thought were important, but you’ve discovered really aren’t. And it makes room for the things that bring you joy.

Duty

Tomorrow I have to head over to the county courthouse because, for the second time in my life, I’ve been called for jury duty. The first time I was called was in 1999, right after we moved to Brazoria County from Walker County. The call was for Walker, so obviously I got out of that one, since I didn’t live there any longer.

I actually postponed this one because it was originally scheduled for the time that we had an out-of-state trip planned. You get one freebie, where you can ask to reschedule your duty. I used mine. I’m praying that I don’t get picked, that they will decide I am too white, too educated, too conservative to serve on a jury. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s pretty much a given that those are not desirable qualities in a jury member.

The fact is, I’ve not been feeling too perky for several months now and I’m in the middle of doctors’ appointments trying to figure out why I feel the way I do, if there’s another reason aside from needing to (a) exercise and (b) lose weight. I have two appointments this week that I will have to cancel/reschedule if I get picked. So I’m hoping at least this time I’ll get passed over for my civic duty.