This one’s for you, girls

No, I’m not blogging about #me, too. Although, I’d venture to guess most of us have a story or two to tell!
I’d rather write about our closets… or at least what’s in ‘em that shouldn’t be.
If yours looks anything like mine, it’s as jam-packed with clothes as the mall is with people on the weekend before Christmas.
I’ve never considered myself to be a hoarder. But, I do know I have a problem with keeping too many clothes.
So, my curiosity got the best of me. I decided to check out a few websites. One site, Hoarders Help, quoted Jack Samuels, Ph.D., an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Dept. of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. He suggested, “Hoarding belongs to a syndrome which also includes: Indecisiveness, perfectionism, procrastination, avoidance behaviors and difficulty organizing tasks.”
BOOM!! I didn’t have to think twice! Right off the bat I was convicted on the first two counts!
1) Indecisiveness. My family, including my parents, brothers and sisters and I were teased for years by the in-laws because we were all so indecisive! If there was a decision to be made when members of the Poling clan got together, we’d go round and round before someone FINALLY made it… and then it was usually one of the in-laws!
2) Perfectionism. Yes, it’s another trait I struggle with. So much so that sometimes I even drive myself crazy!!! LOL
Obviously, fessing up to the first two categories didn’t start off on a positive note in my quest for a not-guilty-of-hoarding verdict. Yet, I don’t believe I’m a full-blown hoarder. My main problem is clinging to too many clothes.
Hmm…let’s see…there’s the mini velvet skirt with a matching vest almost as long as the skirt. I bought it 40+ years ago!!! I use the excuse it’s vintage and a keepsake. But, it’s more like…for Pete’s sake, what am I thinking?!!
Do you remember Fantles on 5th Ave. in La Crosse? My closet boasts a black bolero jacket and a few other pieces I purchased there. Has Fantle’s really been closed since 1995? Yikes! That’s 23 years ago!! But, I see bolero jackets are still popular. Maybe this one can stay in my closet!
I still have the sweater our son, Jon, gave me during his St. Olaf College days back in the early 90’s!! I like it. But, once when I wore it when Jon and daughter-in-law, Sara, visited, they looked at me cross-eyed and laughed. Even so, I’m having a hard time saying good-bye.
Normally, I don’t have a problem with shoes. But, it took me a number of years to finally get rid of the red heels I loved so much… the ones that didn’t love me back. Not only did the toes pinch, the shoes slipped when I walked. No amount of shoe inserts helped. Believe me, I tried! Finally, I acknowledged that if the “big reds” didn’t go to Good Will, I’d slip or trip, fall, and be wearing a red face to match!
These are just a few examples. Yet, enough for you to get the picture. I probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark, though, suggesting you may have several illustrations of your own.
Another reason…er…excuse my over-populated closet began to swell to an out-of-proportion size was the opening of TJ Maxx in our area just over 13 years ago. My closet has never been the same. My reasoning for shopping at TJ Maxx more than department stores is, if I pay less for an article of clothing, then it won’t bother me to give it up. There’s one teensy-weensy problem with this concept. Even when the article of clothing doesn’t work for me anymore, I still don’t want to send it out the door.
My dad was a pack rat when it came to his garage. He kept pieces of wire, wood, string, old worn-out tools…you name it, he had it in spades. When he passed away, cleaning out his garage wasn’t for the faint of heart. Thankfully, my brothers sorted through the bulk of it. Several loads of his long-saved “treasures” made their final trip… to the dump. Dad would not have been happy, but we sure were! To that end, I don't want to put our kids through such a major task, whenever that day should come.
So, what to do? A while back I read about a challenge for clothes hoarders, suggesting switching clothing to face the opposite way everything normally does. As an article of clothing is worn and laundered, turn it the normal way again. After one year, whatever remains that has not been worn, and therefore has not been turned to face the usual way, donate those items.
With the start of a new year, and this added incentive in mind, I’m willing to accept the “one-year-plan challenge.” As of today, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, I switched all of my tops and jackets/blazers to hang in the closet facing the opposite direction. Thank goodness I don’t have a problem with slacks, jeans or dresses. Just turning the tops about-face was a project. This Lamb is sheepish to admit I stopped counting at 100!!!
After one year, it will be sayonara to the tops and jackets/blazers that have not been worn, and therefore have not been turned to face the usual way. Today’s date has been recorded. I will report the results in one year.
I wonder if, after one year, I still won’t be able to let go. Parish the thought!!!
If you decide to take the challenge, let me know. And, good luck!!
Hmm… I’m checking out Mr. Outdoors side of the closet. He seriously needs to consider doing an about-face with his shirts, too!!! Should I suggest it, or keep the peace and not say a word? AARRGGHHH!!! I can’t decide!!!

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A New Year… a new lease on life

I can think of no better way to start out the New Year than with good… no, fantastic news!!
One week ago, The Outdoors Guy had labs and a CT scan for his three-month check in his pancreatic cancer battle.
During his appointment with oncologist Dr. Paula Gill in October, she commented, “Bob has been a miracle man since the first day he walked into my office!”
The miracle continued when he met with Dr. Gill this week. Bob’s scan proved to be consistent with his previous one… "No significant interval change from the prior exams without evidence of progressed tumor.”
Could “The Miracle Man” and our family be given more splendid news? Actually… YES!!! Because furthermore, his three liver tests revealed his liver count is now within normal range. This is a “first” since his diagnosis 32 months ago, May 8, 2015!!!
Finally, The Outdoors Guy’s tumor marker dropped to nine. He is well within the 35 range, the highest number accepted as normal for cancer patients.
Because Bob has exceeded all expectations, he and Dr. Gill discussed a time frame for his next battery of tests. Both feel comfortable with another 3-month check. Then, pending another excellent report, Dr. Gill will extend testing to six months.
She told Bob, "You are amazing!!!"
Additionally, we are elated because The Outdoors Guy has fully recovered from the stroke he suffered Labor Day Weekend at our son’s and daughter-in-law’s cabin near Hayward, WI.
There is nothing good about a stroke. Well… almost nothing! For me, one fun consequence has come to the surface… Bob laughs a lot more at my lame jokes!!!
I cannot end this blog without giving credit where credit is due.
Matthew 17:20 says: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Yet, the mountain isn’t a physical one figuratively speaking. It is embracing the faith that trusts God will work things out for our good. The mountain that is moved is the one within us!!!
Bob and I set our minds on this simple, yet unfathomable truth after the first weekend of his diagnosis. It was when we took his illness out of our hands and put it into God’s hands.
This life-changing experience taught us to never underestimate what the power of faith in God will accomplish.
Our family is ecstatic and feel beyond blessed with our news!!! What a spectacular way to start the New Year!!
May you and yours also be abundantly blessed in 2018!!!