Monday, December 7, 2009

Sentimental Journeys

I am very sentimental. Extremely. And this time of year brings that sentimentality even more to the forefront. There are so many things to treasure! All the family time; reminiscing about holidays gone by and loved ones who are no longer with us; preparing the recipes that have been in the family for years; digging around for hours trying to locate those recipes.

Okay, not so much that last one.

A little history of Kelli:

In the lack of organization was a nuisance. Too often I would be mixing up a batch of cookies and discover I was missing a vital ingredient or I would find myself frantically searching for immunization records before Little League sign-ups ended. Everyone has these moments, but it seemed I had them more often than most.
I really struggled to find a way out of the chaos. Then I met and married Phil.

Phil is an everything-in-its-place kind of guy and suddenly I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, I often wondered if that light was attached to a speeding (but well organized) train that was about to run me over. Total chaos is tiring, but complete organization can be exhausting. Eventually I discovered my happy medium. We could gladly arrange the cabinets, closets, drawers and a few other aspects of our lives, but we would not meddle in one place that is very precious to me.

My recipe file.

I use the word ‘file’ very loosely. What I really have is an old plastic shopping bag stuffed with recipes from the many phases of my life. Some typed, some handwritten by friends and loved ones, and some clipped from newspapers and magazines. There are the tried and true and the ones I hope to try. It is now and will always be a work-in-progress because I've discovered that I like it that way. Spending ages digging for a particular recipe isn’t my idea of a good time, but I love to go rummaging through that bag. It is chock full of the wonderful little gifts that help to make my life so sweet.

Way back when, I put things wherever there was a vacancy. Yes, there were sleepless nights spent wondering where I had stashed the overdue library book and countless hours of searching for the mates to shoes, earrings and socks. My life was definitely made more difficult by the total disorganization. But I still consider my messy recipe bag to be one of my greatest gifts to myself, because within that jumbled mass of sheets and scraps I always find something that makes me smile.

You see, since I spend most of my time in the kitchen my recipe bag is always at hand. Usually when handed a book report that received an A+ or a colorful piece of artwork designed by one of my children, I simply open the cabinet and place the treasure inside that plastic bag. In the beginning I reasoned that I would happen across the item the next time I was ransacking the recipes and then I’d take the time to find it a suitable home. Now I understand why I really do it.

I’ll be digging around in that bag and suddenly there it is! A note written by my precious daughter, thanking me for allowing her to have a slumber party for her seventh birthday. The crooked letters and misspelled words are a sweet reminder of the child she used to be. Or I might run across the snapshot of my firstborn when he was only five and dressed as a policeman, posing proudly beside his father’s cruiser. There is a sandwich bag of dried dandelions and clover picked by my younger daughter when she was only 4, and a laminated lock of golden hair from my baby boy’s first haircut.

Too often we tuck away these little mementos that aren’t worthy of a frame or a place of honor on the mantle. We place them where they’ll be enjoyed only occasionally, when we put forth the effort to dig out a scrapbook or need to find an item that was stuck in the cedar chest for safekeeping.

I strongly prefer my keepsake storage system. I like to take every opportunity to remind myself of the many blessings that define my life and never take them for granted. In this busy world it is far too easy to let everyday routines get in the way of all that’s sweet and good.

So in that way I’m still just a little bit disorganized. I’m also happy to say I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)


  1. I would never have guessed you weren't super organized by nature! You hide that very well.

    I like your new background. The color is cheery and I like dotted patterns.

  2. You mentioned to me this morning that I sound like I "definitely have it all under control"--believe me, if you would take a look at MY recipe file, you wouldn't say that for long!-lol.

  3. Great post. You are so right about how easy it is to let things get in the way of "all that's sweet and good." I regret that I did not think about this more when my children were young. I was a young wife and mother (wife at 17; mother at 18)who thought she had to prove to everyone she could do it all and be perfect at it. . . I wasted a lot of valuable time trying. I've learned alot through the years. These days you might find my dinner dishes in the sink because I chose to snuggle on the sofa with my husband of 31 years instead of washing them. Like you I am very sentimental these days and I also have many old recipes (I inherited my mother-in-law's recipes; actually I asked for them and no one else wanted them) they are not organized either. . . I've had them 27 years. Thanks for sharing the post and have a nice week.


  4. Knitty, I've been pretty decently organized since you've known me. I was never what you'd call a slob, but you know...

    Karen, it's okay! Messy recipe files are the 'in' thing! ;)

    Elizabeth, it's never too late! It seems we have much in common, too. I was married at 17 and a mother at 18 as well. :)


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