I got another response regarding the blog on new ways of giving:
"With two young kids, the plastic toy clutter got out of hand really quickly. We started requesting hand made gifts on the kids' Bday party invitations. Oh, the treasures their little friends create for them! Jewelry, drawings, sculpture, snacks. One of our best ideas ever. :-)
P.S. I'm also a huge fan of experiences-as-gifts."
If anyone else has some more ideas on giving, please feel free to share them on the blog.
Here's a question from a blog reader:
"Here's a couch dilemma for you, Brooks. So, hubby and I have been married for 25 years now. And, for 25 years, I have been suffering with a couch that I cannot stand, but, yeah, you guessed it - he LOVES! Why does he love such an albatross? He says it's the only couch he's found that he can lay end to end on comfortably. It's long enough for him. I've tried 3 unsuccessful times to introduce new (used) couches, and all three times, no go. Argh! I even considered recovering the cushions, even bought nice fabric to do so. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to spend the time to make something nice for something I abhorred, especially when I knew the nice cushion covers would likely end up all snagged due to all the "stuff" attached to his belt. Ugh! Brooks, what's a gal to do? We are both disabled and on an extremely tight budget. It seems awful to deny my hubby, a cancer patient his ugly couch, but it's definitely affecting ME. Do I change my outlook on it? If so, HOW?"
"He loves his couch and that's great that he gets to enjoy it so much. It's the only one he can lay on end to end comfortably. He doesn't want to let go of it. He already knows how you feel. You asked, "How can he love such an albatross?" The thing is, he does. That's the important thing. You can be happy that he enjoys it so much. Maybe it affects you so much because you think it's possible to get him to change his mind. But he's not. It's what is happening. Sometimes acceptance of what is, when it can't be changed, gives us peace of mind. it's when we think it shouldn't be that way, that we suffer. I hope this helps."
"Thanks Brooks, for the reality check. Gulp. Hard to hear, but easy to understand. Hubby and I have compromised on finding a more attractive cover for it. I can live with that. He also has agreed to fix the broken spring and be the keeper of the falling cushions. Sounds like a win-win to me. Thanks too, for bringing some sanity and cooperation back to this issue."
Sometimes we get attached to someone else's clutter. We want them to get rid of it. We think they are wrong to keep the thing. It bothers us a lot. Meanwhile they are okay with it. The item has become clutter for us. It's not serving us because it's upsetting our life. Our response is not serving us. It's not making the item go, and it's not helping us live with it. If we find a way to let go of that attachment, usually by taking a deeper look in ourselves, we create the possibility for a new solution we couldn't think of when we were attached and irritated.