My Word of the Week: Pare

pare –  verb \ˈper\

: to carefully cut off the outside or the ends of (something)
: to make (something) smaller : to reduce (something) in size, amount, or number


The weather forecast has included a chance of thunderstorms nearly every day for the past 10 days or so, and the barometric pressure changes that come from the undulating weather have wreaked havoc on my sinuses. Daily headaches are normal lately. The wetness also has resulted in a greener than usual August. Just last week, Steve and I were remembering the past several Augusts of brown grass and multiple-week intervals between mowing. Not this year. If he had the time between rainstorms, Steve could move twice a week and just barely keep up with the growth.

The tomatoes also suffer from a wet August. Though the temperatures are just now hot enough for the green orbs to ripen red on the vine, the dampness is causing small areas of rot just as the fruit is ready for harvest. Just last night as I was slicing tomatoes for dinner, I had to cut off sections from the ends where they were soft and dark.

Once the paring was done, the fruit that was left was delicious. We just had fewer and smaller tomato slices than I had expected.

The tomatoes aren’t the only thing in need of paring about now. August has brought us not only a frenzy of rain, but also a flurry of activity. School has started, with its meet-the-teacher nights and required homework assignments, its supply lists and fundraisers. Fall soccer practice begins in a few days, and so does church youth group. Oh, and we are moving in three weeks.

Yesterday, someone asked me if I had started packing. And I really, really wanted to say, “yes.” That’s what people do when they are moving in three weeks, right? They start packing. But I haven’t gotten to it yet. I know who we will give the two chairs upstairs to, and we’ve nearly picked out the desks for the boys new rooms. We also have begun collecting boxes in the garage. And I have a to-do list. (Boy, do I have a to-do list.) That’s a start.

But August also brought extra work assignments for me and extra appointments and paperwork that come with selling and buying a house. Just because there are boxes to fill doesn’t mean we can stop working and living.


“We’ll get it done,” I wrote to a friend in a Facebook Message last night. “Stuff like that always gets done even though it feels impossible.” She just moved also. She knows.

But it will not get done unless we trim off the excess in our lives right now. We have to still live, but our lives have to become smaller for a time while we pare down to the essentials. I’ll be writing on my blog a little less over the next couple of weeks. I’m trying to wrap up a few work projects, and I won’t be taking on anything extra for a while. Last week, I missed a deadline and asked for a week extension. When the editor said, “Take your time,” I asked for another week.

On the homefront, we’ve discontinued recycling until the move is over. We don’t have room in our garage for more garbage bags. I stopped dusting already, and now, we may stop vacuuming—if we can stand it.

And tonight, after dinner, I will drag boxes into the living room and start packing up books.

As long as nothing else comes up.



Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.


Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a writer, author, and speaker, helping readers grow in their faith and experience true hope in the middle of life’s joys and sorrows. She is the author of My Year in Words: what I learned from choosing one word a week for one year and coauthor of On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life That Lasts.

  • Sandra Heska King ,

    Pare sounds more gentle than prune.

    Just think… this time next year, you’ll be all settled in. 🙂

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      Charity Singleton Craig ,

      Sandy – I hadn’t thought about the difference between pare and prune, but you are right. Pare does sound gentler. I keep thinking that there might be a better word, one that connotes the temporary nature of what I am doing. It’s kind of like I have kicked into crisis mode for the next four weeks, but it won’t last forever. I need to remember that. And yes, hopefully in two months from now will be all settled.

    • Nannette and the Sweetheart ,

      I love this, Charity! I will hopefully be back with my word of the week post. I would love to join the “club”. 🙂

      Praying for you today, no, seriously, I am going to pray for you today! Praying for strength for the move, peace in the chaos and even joy along the journey. ♥

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        Charity Singleton Craig ,

        Nannette – Thanks for praying. I can’t tell you how encouraging that was on a really stressful day. I did actually start packing last night, and for the life of me, I don’t understand how it made me feel even more frazzled. I think the reality of all that has to happen is really settling in. But, this too shall pass. And yes, I need to LOOK for joy in this journey. It’s likely I’ll miss it if I am not careful.