Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Man Who Comes After Me, & 6th Update on Kristen

"Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity."
Ecclesiastes 2:18,19
(KJV)
Emphasis added.


This passage of Scripture has always really struck a chord with me.
It is profound to think that one day each and every one of us will leave this world,
and every, single thing we own will be left to someone else.
It is very sobering.

We struggle to gather.
We collect.
We amass as much as we possibly can.
We fill our homes with so much stuff.
Excess to the point of gluttony.
We push ourselves and spend precious time on keeping up with the world's demands,
losing out on what is most important, in the process.
We labor hard to maintain what we have accumulated,
and, then, one day we die and leave it "to the man that shall come after us",
and, who knows, whether he will be a wise man or a fool?

In our pursuit of living a simpler life, we are letting go of many things.
And, it is HARD.
Because we have worked through the superficial layers...
the attic's contents, some of which hadn't seen the light of day in right around 14 years,
the huge, oversized, packed nearly to the brim 2 car garage that was attached to our house,
the big stuff we knew we couldn't bring on our long-distance move,
the duplicate items in our home, kitchen stuff that we never used, and things that were just plain no longer relevant to our current lives.

But, now we have ventured into the deeper layers of minimizing,
where the stuff probably isn't worth a penny to anyone else, but seems invaluable to us.
Stuff like cards.
Letters.
Trinkets.
Joggers of memories.
Souvenirs.
You know what I mean.

This is not superficial stuff.
This isn't like us leaving behind the big, cumbersome, heavy leather couch for the people who bought our house.
It is not similar to Kevin leaving nearly all of his garage and yard stuff for the "man who came after us" and is now appointed steward over the two acres dear, sweet Zach spent his entire childhood playing and running through.
The things that inhabit this layer of minimizing do not weigh nearly as much as the refrigerator, stove, washer, or dryer we left in the house where we lived and made precious memories for so long.
This stuff doesn't weigh much, at all, per individual item.
But, this stuff is heavy.
Emotionally, it weighs a ton.

Every, single card I pick up and re-read...and some of these cards I have kept since I was a young girl, mind you...is saturated with emotions and feelings I haven't felt in years.
Every piece of paper feels like it weighs a thousand pounds.

I sat in the floor last night, as dear Kevin brought in yet another crate and set it in front of me.

He is the kindest man.
Honestly, I wish every one of you precious readers could know Kevin.
I don't know why on earth God, in His infinite love and wisdom, chose me to be the grateful soul who gets to walk through life holding his hand.
He is the wisest man I know or have ever personally met.
He is even-keeled to the core, not driven by emotion, but guided by the hand of the One Who is eternal truth.

He sat on the couch a few feet away from me, as I warily tore off the tape on the top of the crate and opened the lid to peek inside.
Whew!
THIS crate is the most emotionally-charged one yet.
At one point, I just almost put the things back in that I had taken out and closed the lid.
I had this huge temptation to leave it all in there forever and ever.
The emotional weight was just far too heavy.
I didn't feel like I could handle it a moment longer.

As I read through letters and cards, one by one, just to see if I felt like they should be kept a moment longer, I started crying.

"Don't cry" Kevin said in the gentlest of tones.

His tenderness always soothes me.
I could never, even if God gave us a million years together living as man and wife,
ever, ever thank Him enough for this dear, loving man.

This point of minimizing is where it gets hard toughest.
Man, alive, I just can't tell you how hard this is.

I am not a hoarder, in most ways.
But, when it comes to cards and letters people have given me,
little receipts that remind me of things Kevin, Zach, and I have done through the years,
scraps of paper that instantly take me back to another place and time and earlier section of life,
I must be the ultimate hoarder of all time.

I have papers that were written on years and years ago.
At 50 years old, I feel like I have already lived out several lifetimes,
and when I see these little scraps and fragments, they remind me of how I felt in each stage.
That young, insecure little girl with ponytails,
who loved her dolls, Pollyanna and Marcia and the Sunshine Family, who looked forward to the day she would grow up and marry and have her own little Sunshine Family, who moved every few months, was unsettled, worried, and scared, but abundantly loved by two parents who would have laid down their lives for her in a split second,
the awkward, self-conscious teenager,
who never did feel like she fit in...anywhere, changing schools often and at the most inopportune times, but ever-hopeful, and at the same time hopelessly romantic, always reading and dreaming of her very own Mr. Right,
(thank God, I found him, and he loves me just the way I am, emotional warts and all),
the enthusiastic, forward-looking young adult,
striking out and starting a career of her own, ever eager and excited for what good things life had in store,
the head-over-heels-in-love 20 year old,
who couldn't wait to pledge her heart and hand and truly belong to the mate of her soul, the man who swept her completely off her feet, and with whom she finally, at last, found the place she knew she really, truly, honest-to-goodness fit in,
the newly married wife,
eager to do everything right, anticipating with high hopes the next natural step in which her little girl dreams would become reality, and she would hold her own, real little doll baby,
the ever-maturing, infertile young woman,
who over a span of many years, daily struggled with feelings of inadequacy, failure, and pain, due to not being able to conceive,
the much wiser, more mature, ecstatic new Mommy, (God knew),
 whose whole world revolved around that long-anticipated-and-longed-for bundle of joy baby boy,
the to this day, everyday-and-eternally grateful wife and homeschool Mama,
who never could and still can't bear to part with one workbook this precious boy has ever written in from Kindergarten to NOW, who cherishes every, single second of life, who feels like the most blessed woman ever created by our loving and eternal God.

Through all of life's stages, up until now, I have kept and held on to little things that remind me of all of these moments that were spent living life.
And, as I pore back over them, opening crates and boxes of stuff packed away until a future time,
I find that that future time has come, and here I am.
It feels like peeling scabs off old wounds to even remotely think of getting rid of certain things...
like I would have pulled off the cover and let go of what protected that memory.
I just want to let those sleeping memories lie...
to leave them alone and not allow them to be awakened.
I find that I still do not want to let any of these things go...
because it feels like if I do, there are parts of me that will never remember them again.
As I look through every, single shred of paper I own, I am transported back to those everyday moments, and that shred of paper is the means of transport.
How can I let it go?
I don't want to lose the conduit.
I told you this is hard.
It is downright complicated.

Now, I realize there are some of you who will think I am crazy for agonizing over whether or not to let go of a golf scorecard from 1992, the motel receipt from our honeymoon in 1988, hair clippings from Zach's first haircut, or the birthday card Mom and Dad gave me in 1982.
Some of you have much more sense than I do and don't allow yourself to be overcome by sentiment, and you would never have kept most of this stuff in the first place.
Some of you possess a much stronger capacity to remember than I do,
and you wouldn't feel the need to hold on to things in order to be reminded.
If these were yours, some of you could take these boxes of what I consider precious and dear and dump them into trash bags, feeling nothing but relief.
My hat's off to you, friend.
How I wish I were blessed with your fortitude and wisdom!
If I knew then what I know now, perhaps I wouldn't have kept a lot of this, either.

Oh, sure, there are painful parts of my life that I have spent years trying to forget ever happened,
that I would never, in a million years, want to revisit or find a slip of paper that conjures memories of.
Every now and then, I am finding something that jogs those recollections,
and, yes, I am letting those things go.
But, it is the slips of paper, ticket stubs, cards, mementos, Zach's artwork, school workbooks,
and a million other things that stir up happy memories that I am just really, really struggling with deciding whether to let go of or keep.

I can see why God allowed our current situation of life.
It is giving me wonderful time and space, to not feel pressured into doing this quickly.
I need that.
I am trying hard and diligently keeping on these projects, but I don't feel that I have to hurry up and get them done tomorrow.

Even though we had downsized MAJORLY...I mean I just cannot even convey to you how much we had let go of before we made this long-distance move, we still ended up leaving the home we sold with....are you ready for this?
No less than 141 boxes.
YES.
I said 141.
I kept a very organized list of what was generally in each box and numbered them,
so we would know what was in them before pulling them out of storage.
The number "141" does not include the cedar hope chest I have had since I was 16 that is crammed full, the old, black trunk that is filled to capacity, many, many crates, and other such things.
You get the picture.

If you saw what we still have, you would wonder how on earth I could be telling you that we have overwhelmingly minimized our lives and belongings and that we have been on an intensely intentional journey to simplify for the last two years.

But, here we are.
SO much progress behind us.
SO much that still needs to be done.

One thing God has clearly made evident to me is that we need to condense down to what will comfortably and unclutteredly (is that even a word?) fit into our current, small living space.
God is being extremely reasonable with us.
He knows all about my hyper-emotional, super-sentimental nature.
After all, He created me.
Jesus knows I SO want to follow Him.
To be like Him.
To let go of the weight and sin that so easily trips me up and pens me in.
To live this life unencumbered, free, and ready to do what He wants me to do,
without excuse or obligation.
To be more eternity-focused and less adoring of what is temporal.

I never saw these "things" as idols before, but I declare, that is what some of this is starting to feel like.
Anything can become an idol.
If holding onto something means more to us than minding God,
then that thing comes between us and God, and we are giving it priority.
Couldn't, shouldn't that thing be classified as an idol?

I am not saying God is requiring me to let go of every, single thing that I hold dear.
Not at all.
What I am saying is that He absolutely wants us to continue to downsize and declutter and let go of what ties us down and causes us to spend extra money in order to keep.

Every month, I go online and pay an extra, excess monthly bill for storage rent,
because all of our stuff will not fit into our small, condensed living space.

Slowly, we are working through it all.
Painfully, I am turning loose of what I didn't even realize have become idols.
I've written about the type of looking back that is not healthy
and the healthy type of looking back to see how far we've come.

Some of these reminders I am coming across are really unhealthy and bringing me down.
I am finding it is getting easier to let them go.
Things are not like they were then.
Life is different.
We have moved forward.
The old is past, the new has come.
Dragging certain things into the new that God has brought us to is really not conducive to peace.
And peace is our word for this year.

Peace comes after firm decisions are made.
The time spent in the valley of decision is agonizing.
God is helping me.
Color is coming back into my knuckles, as I am starting to release the need to retain what God says is no longer necessary.
I'm glad He is patient and long-suffering.
I don't know what I would do if He were rushing me right now.
He knows how much we can take, and He is ever kind and merciful to our needs.

One day, I will have passed off the scene of life, and, like Solomon, there is a "man who is coming after me."
Dear Zach already shows wisdom beyond his years, and I truly know with all my heart he will be a wise steward.
But, I do not want to leave a heavier burden than is necessary for him to have to deal with disposing of in the aftermath of my parting.
I want to leave him with a healthy amount of reminders of who I was, who his ancestors were, and where he came from.
But, to laden him with things that he won't even recognize or understand the reason they were held onto is just selfish of me.
I don't want to make things any harder on him than they have to be.
Mom and Dad had very little when they died, and, I tell you, it was a blessing.

All of this stuff...these mementos so cherished and precious to my heart,
will one day pass away.
They are not living things.
They hold no eternal value.
What will matter is the living legacy I leave behind...
the memories of how I lived life day to day.

As Mom so often reminded me,
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last."

God, help me to live my life with the truth of this continually in view.

********************************************

Please continue to pray for my dear niece, Kristen.
She is not doing well.
She saw the hematologist, and he is working hard to try to find a solution.
She needs medication that, due to being pregnant, she cannot have without endangering the life and well being of her unborn baby.
Her condition has actually worsened, and we are pleading with God for the miracle she and her precious baby boy so desperately need.
PLEASE do keep praying, dear friends.
Whether or not the hematologist finds the answer to Kristen's health problems,
GOD is the ultimate Healer, and He doesn't need medicine or any help in performing the healing Kristen needs.
Our eyes are upon HIM.
Your continued prayers are SO appreciated!!

*****************************************************

And, now for something FUN!
I am slowly adding more things to our FREE STUFF Page!
I wish I could put more on there, but so many of the items we are letting go of are heavy, awkward-sized, and difficult to mail.
So, most of it is either going to our local thrift store or a nearby consignment shop.
I am coming across some smaller things that can be mailed, and those are the little things I would love to pass along to some of you!
So, feel free to click over here from time to time, and see if there is anything that catches your eye.
There is never a charge to you for anything, not even postage.
Just let us know what you would like to give a new home,
email us by clicking here, then click where it says "email" under "Contact Me",
and, Lord willing, once you make your request known, we will get it on its way to you!!

*****************************************************

God bless you all!

74 comments:

  1. You so inspire me my friend, your families willingness to allow God to lead you and guide you and declutter even the most precious memories are just an example of your faith. Thank you for sharing this journey with us and blessing is in the process. Much love and prayers for your niece. Blessings

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    1. Oh, Terri! It was SO nice to see that you had visited today! I have missed you and was hoping all is well with you and your family. I trust your mother-in-law is doing better, also. Thank you ever so much for your kind words! They truly meant so much to me. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  2. Cheryl, I'm so sorry to hear the news about Kristen. I'm praying for her each and every day. God is the ultimate healer, we know this very well. Thank you for your prayers for me also. I very much appreciate them. Before I hurt my back I was on a roll going through closets and getting rid of the "superficial" things in our house. I've been putting off the more sentimental things that you're describing here today because I'm just like you. It will be oh, so difficult to part with them. Thank you for sharing your heart here today.
    Blessings, Betsy

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Betsy. I often think of how you are praying for her and your faithfulness through all of this. It truly means the world to all of us. I SO hope you are feeling better and are out of pain. I am continuing to pray for you. I know how you feel about putting off those sentimental things...oh, my, it is just SO hard. May God bless you and grant you the strength and courage you need through this very difficult process.

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  3. God Bless you on your journey!

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    1. God bless you, too, Micheal. It was such a blessing to see that you had stopped by!

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  4. My darling Cheryl,
    I'm always overcome by sentiments, in every moment of my life, I'm always moved or touched by something, so you have all my understanding, be sure, it's not so easy to live everyday life being so emotional, but maybe we're able and be nearer to a friend, since we have more sensibility ...

    I'm going on praying for your beloved niece and her baby, sweetest friend of mine, and I'm sure more and more that God will do something for them both !

    Wishing you a blessed Sunday

    Xx Dany

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    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet Dany! Your kind words and support and, most of all, your prayers, are just SO appreciated. Sending you much love and many blessings from the USA!

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  5. Hi Cheryl! I will keep Kristen in my heart when I pray. It's so sad that she is actually getting worse...what a worry for her and her husband too. My Jesus the healer come soon with joyful news for everyone.
    I know a little about letting go, especially of old papers and schoolwork from the kids. I have a file cabinet in the basement just stuffed with my children's art and homemade cards. I sure could close my eyes and chuck it all, but I just can't bring myself to do it. Maybe someday. I know you have worked hard to let go of so much, and I know that you'll keep doing it. Don't worry about time constraints, take your time and you'll make the right decisions.
    God bless you and your efforts,
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you SO much, dear Ceil, for your prayers for Kristen. I so appreciate you and your support and kind words. You are a dear blessing to me, my friend. :)

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  6. Praying for your niece Kristen, her baby and family, as well as for you and your family.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you, my friend. God bless you, too.

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  7. Dear Cheryl, These are such good thoughts for any of us, to keep clearing our homes and our lives of the clutter that we easily hold onto! Paper items: letters, cards, and schoolwork are the hardest things for me to let go of also! You are an inspiration to me. May I also listen to the Lord as He directs me through my days of learning to be Still. I think stillness requires some uncluttering in order to center my heart on only Him. --Blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you, dear Bettie. It sounds like I am not the only one who has trouble letting this type of stuff go! May the dear Lord bless you for your support, friendship, and encouragement to us!

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  8. Dearest Cheryl~~you certainly have a task ahead of you, but what a tremendous accomplishment it will be when you have completed it.
    My husband and I are looking to purge a great deal of our lives this year. I have already begun by allowing my two daughters to take some of my things, but I need to dig deeper and share more with them. As we age we realize that we have accumulated more than we wish to deal with now. I too have containers for every year for the past 25 years filled with cards, letters and memorable keepsakes. Every year I tell myself that they need to go as "the man who comes after me" likely does not want to deal with them. I keep a shoe box size rubbermaid and fill it over the year with those special cards etc , then store it away,crazy!
    I will pray for you as you go through those boxes filled with emotions, it's not easy.
    How kind of you to give some of your things to a good home and take care of the mailing expenses.

    My prayers continue for dear Kristen her precious baby, as well as you and your family~

    Much love to you ♡

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    1. Dear, sweet friend! I so appreciate your precious, faithful prayers for Kristen and all of us. It comforts me to know that I am not the only one who has trouble with letting these things go. It sounds like your stuff is very organized, which is really a blessing. One day, God will help us all to be able to do what we need to do. One day at a time, right? It is a process, and, thankfully, we don't have to be in any hurry. Sending much love and many blessings back to you...you are such a dear blessing to me.

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  9. Dear sweet Cheryl,

    First, I'm so sorry to read that Kristen isn't doing well. She will be in my prayers this week. God is bigger!

    And now to your dilemma with the paper things that have you weighed down, what to keep, what to release. If it's any help, when my daughter started Kindergarten, I began a big folder for the things she brought home. This tradition continued until she graduated, at which time I did what I'd planned to do all along. I sorted through each year (and yes that was very hard to do) and tossed things and saved things from every year. Ultimately, I created an amazing (if I do say so) scrapbook from these mementos, including photos from each school year.

    Letting go of sentimental things is something I've never considered a priority, personally, but I can see the need if you're seriously trying to rid yourself of extra things that no longer fit into your space or lifestyle.

    Bless you as you continue down this path.

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    1. Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for dear Kristen. Oh, it truly means so much to know that you are praying! I think your idea is just wonderful about the scrapbook. I did this for Kindergarten, and oh, my, I still treasure that dear book SO much. It would be a great thing to do for each school year. Thank you for your dear support and encouragement and friendship. God bless you abundantly, sweet friend. :)

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  10. I am so sorry to hear that Kristen isn't doing well. I will continue to remember her in my prayers. May God give peace to all of you as He works this situation out for His glory. I just want to tell you what a strong woman you are to down-size your life the ways you have! I must say that I am not one who has held on to all of those papers connected with memories...oh yes, there have been a few...but it is the "things" I have a problem with. We are getting ready for new floors at my house and I have been going through closets, etc. and coming across things I haven't laid my eyes on for years! Reading your posts have inspired me release my grasp a bit! Thank you for being so honest and transparent by sharing your "letting go" moments. Blessings on your week!♥

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for Kristen! We appreciate it so much! I am thankful you have been inspired and trust the Lord will give you wisdom and courage to do what needs to be done and to release what you no longer need. Sending you much love today, sweet friend. :)

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  11. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your encouraging post. Since turning fifty I have felt this need to let go; especially the sentimental items, such as paper, keepsakes. I too don't want my son's to dread sorting through my personal belongings.The guilt that one feels is overwhelming; especially if it's a family member. I still recall the feelings I had of being the one who did the sorting of my Mom's belongings after she passed. Everything is for a season. Those were my memories; which will always be within my heart. Blessings & Prayers for You & Family! Khani

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    1. It sounds like our paths have been very similar, Khani. I so appreciate your sweet visit and kind words! God bless you, my friend. :)

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  12. Hello, my dear friend. I am so sorry to hear that Kristen isn't doing better. Will continue to pray for her.
    I completely understand about the sentimental treasures. I've managed to let go of some of it, but some of it will just stay.♥ :-)
    I hope you have a blessed week. Much love and hugs, ~Melanie

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    1. Thank you so much, dear friend, for your continued prayers and support. It truly means so much to us! Sending you much love and many hugs back! God bless you. :)

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  13. Hello sweet friend, Your transparency and humility in sharing your minimalism journey is a wonderful testimony to the Jesus you so love.

    Your words truly convey the struggle you feel over these sentimental items and the God who understands.

    I've always felt guilty that I'm not like other moms. I've referred to myself as the "anti-hoarder" because I only tend to keep very, very special items. Otherwise, I throw away everything else. Clutter and stuff seem to effect me physically. True story. If you were to come into my kitchen, my countertops are fairly empty. In my home, I no longer have knick knacks everywhere, but only special, carefully thought out pieces.

    My mom is the opposite, she keeps everything collected from her own life and her house is also filled with what was left behind from my great aunt and uncle. There will be much to go through when their time comes to part this world. Even now when we visit, I get sad thinking that in the next 10-15 years, I will one day be going through all that my mom left behind. I wonder if my tendency to throw away will stick?

    Praising God that He understands every emotion we have tied to things and it is in the sentimental that we recollect all of His precious blessings.

    I am so very sorry to hear about Kristen.

    It seems when things look the bleakest is when God shows Himself the mightiest. I have prayed that our mighty God will bring complete healing to Kristen and her precious baby boy.

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    1. Dear Karen! It sounds like you have had a good handle on this minimalism thing all along! This is so wonderful, as you will not have to deal with all of this stuff in the future. You are such a dear blessing to me, and I cherish your friendship, support, encouragement, and support. May the dear Lord bless you abundantly, sweet friend. :)

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  14. This post hit home. Hugs to you.
    I will continue to pray for Kristen and her son.
    God's mercy prevail!
    Laura

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    1. Amen, and amen, sweet friend! Thank you ever so much. Sending lots of love and hugs your way! :)

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  15. Sweet sister, so sorry to hear that Kristen is still not well. We will continue to pray. The Lord loves you all so dearly. Hugs.
    On the subject of getting rid of the sentimental stuff, my suggestion is that you photograph meaningful pieces of paper and use a photo editing program to make as many collages as needed complete with text explaining why the objects are meaningful. You can then keep it digital or make a photo book. My mom kept a bunch of papers from when I was a child, and by the time she finally gave them to me, a lot of the paper was brittle and breaking. (I did enjoy looking at them, though.) If you take pictures, you will still have the memories in a very small space and can get rid of the objects that are going to eventually yellow and fade, not to mention all the dust!

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    1. Oh, it truly means so much to know that you are continuing to pray for Kristen...I so appreciate your kind words. Sounds like a great idea to photograph the items to keep them in my memory. Thank you ever so much for sharing your heart and thoughts! Sending you much love today, sweet friend. :)

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  16. Oh dear Cheryl, how WELL I know just how difficult those crates and boxes full of memory are! So hard to know what to keep and what to let go. One thing that has helped me is this. If it is something you really love, if you can scan it, and then keep it in a digital file on the computer, where it doesn't take up so much space, at least you can always remember it. Or, you could just keep the very special things and make a scrapbook with those memories. I have found that by doing that, has really cut down on the memory-heavy things I have. I have a whole shelf of scrapbooks that I have completed, and either taking a picture of it, or scanning it helps to keep the memory, but in a less dense form.

    You have such a big job going through all these things, and the memories that can weigh you down too! I feel for you!

    I will continue praying for dear Kristen too. Bless her heart, such an incredibly scary thing to go through. I continue to pray that she feels the precious touch and presence of the Lord near her as she walks through this dark valley. I know your encouragement means so much to her. What a blessing you are, my friend!

    Hugs to you today! I will be sending an email soon :)

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and kind words, sweet friend. :) I am SO grateful to you for your prayers for dear Kristen. Oh, she is going through SO much, and it just breaks my heart. God is our refuge and strength, and our trust is in Him! I know you have walked this path of downsizing and can surely understand how difficult it all is. I so appreciate your encouragement, support, and friendship! Sending you much love and many blessings today!!

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  17. I remember my mother as she prepared for them to tare down our home place where I grew up. Dad wanted to build a 4 plex for their retired years so - - mother was sorting and weeding out what they could not take with them to their tiny apartment. The big barrel where they burned paper trash now was being used to burn all the papers and collectibles, she had saved from her school days, and so on. She was cutting the past from her future.
    Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Oh, bless your mother's heart! That must have been so difficult for her. God bless you, Hazel. I appreciate you stopping by!

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  18. Oh, you are doing some hard, hard work! Going through the sentimental boxes is always the toughest for me, too. I need to start de-cluttering my home again, but it is as emotionally and mentally draining as it is physically. God's blessings on you as you release the stuff yet hold on to the memories!

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    1. You are so right, my friend! It IS very draining, and I think it is even harder than hard physical labor. This just tears at your heartstrings. I so appreciate your sweet visit today, Lisa. :) God bless you!

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  19. I struggle with stuffism and hanging on to momentos. But I'm getting better--technology has certainly helped :).

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    1. I am glad to hear of your progress! Thank you ever so much for your visit and comment! :)

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  20. I adore your story and I am in the same stage of life where all of my sentimental trinkets, cards and pictures need to be sifted through. I hope to move and that is a process of downsizing not seeing how much I can take with me. The hardest part for me is getting started. I relate to how you are feeling and know that getting rid of stuff will be hard but leaving my legacy should be easy.

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    1. Bless your heart, Mary. My heart goes out to you, as I surely know how you feel and what this entails. God bless you on your journey, sweet friend. :)

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  21. This is the second post in a row that I have read about simplifying and decluttering so I think God may be trying to tell me something! It is so important to remember what really matters in the light of eternity, but I agree it is especially difficult to part with things that have sentimental value.
    I'm sorry the news about Kristen is not good- continuing to pray!

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    1. The dear Lord must be trying to tell you something...it is amazing how He does that and how He re-confirms it over and over to get our attention sometimes. Thank you SO much for your prayers for Kristen. We appreciate them more than I can say. God bless you, sweet friend. ;)

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  22. What a blessing to have a husband like that. Make me want to be a better one.

    Yeah, and even security blankets by their very nature are idols too. Whatever we consider one.

    Praying for Kristen and the baby.

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    1. Thank you so much, Floyd. I so appreciate your presence here and your encouragement and support. We can't thank you enough for continuing to pray for Kristen and the baby. May the dear Lord bless you, my friend.

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  23. Oh that poor girl. Please know that we are Upholding Kristen in our prayers during this pregnancy. It's hard enough to be pregnant, let alone deal with health issues. For me it is my journals that I can't part with. We have those wire rack shelves mounted behind my clothes in the closet and one shelf is full of my journals. I keep thinking that one day if my girls miss me, they will connect through all my prayers and scripture notes with me after I leave this earth. Big hugs to you, my special friend.

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    1. I know what you mean...oh, my heart just goes out to her so much! I can't thank you enough for your faithful prayers, dear Mary! I can totally understand not wanting to let go of those journals. I came across several of my own, and I guarantee you that is one thing that I will not be minimizing or parting with. LOL! I just poured too much into them. YES, your girls will need to connect with you through those later down the line. But, I don't want to think about that...I hope you get to stay with all of us for many, many years to come! You are such a precious, dear friend. Sending you love and hugs. :)

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  24. Sending prayers for Kristen.

    Thank you for sharing your struggle with us, Cheryl. I'm not a big "keeper," but letters are things I have kept as well. I expect one of these days I'll have to go through them. For now, they just sit in a tub in the attic. Thanks for the inspiration! The book you sent me, The More of Less, was very helpful. And having minimalistic friends like you and others is encouraging as well.

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers for Kristen, sweet friend. ;) I am SO thankful that book has been a blessing to you. I really got a lot of good out of it, too. Thank you for your faithful support and encouragement. You are a blessing to me!

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    2. You inspired my Cheryl. I'm going through that tub right now, throwing what I can away and turning the rest into scrapbooks. It will be so nice to get done! :D

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    3. Thank you dear Lord! I am so happy you were inspired! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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  25. Prayers for your dear friend and her baby boy! I will add her to my daily conversations with God. Happy Wednesday, from the #CoffeeForYouHeart linkup
    Megs

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers, Megs! We appreciate them so much! God bless you. :)

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  26. Hi Cheryl,
    I'm continuing to keep your niece in my prayers. But I can relate how keepsakes can mean so much and I think you're having success clearing some of the unnecessary items from your live to simplify! I have a writer friend who took photos of certain keepsakes so she had the memory but let the actual item go since she decided she didn't need to keep it. I applaud your efforts to find peace among your possessions! xo

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Valerie. Your prayers are such a comfort and blessing to us. I know God is hearing and will bring her through. It is just such a long, hard process, and fear is ever present. Taking photos of things is a great idea. I am starting to do that, and it is helping so much. Thank you so much for your kind words, encouragement, and support! Sending you love and hugs, sweet friend. :)

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  27. Thank you for the update on your niece. Praying...

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  28. Oh, Cheryl -- I hear ya. I'm sentimental too. (Perhaps beyond reason.) I have a lot of the things you mentioned. :) (Down to the publix receipt for the apple I bought on the morning of my wedding! Will be 25 years ago this October!) Maybe 1.5 to 2 years ago I finally gave the baby and maternity clothes to the church thrift store. My youngest is almost 15. You think I waited long enough. -- I'm mostly sentimental about my children's things. Anything that's had to do with them in any way, ends up taking up space in my heart. -- Good for you for doing the hard work and determining what's to keep and what's not. I believe you completely when you say it's hard! Glad you're able to take your time. -- Continued prayers for Kristen. -- Thanks for sharing with #ChasingCommunity today. ((blessings))

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    1. Oh, my, you sound like me! You wouldn't believe the things I am coming across that haven't seen the light of day in years! I know exactly what you mean. Thank you so much for your prayers for Kristen! God bless you.

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  29. Good Morning My Dear,

    Well you know I am a very sentimental soul and I have boxes of greeting cards from my Mother and sister and my children. I totally understand you and totally respect your dedication to determining what needs to remain or go.
    Sending prayers for Kristen.
    Thinking of you and wishing a beautiful weekend,
    Blessings,
    Jemma

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    1. I surely know how you feel, sweet friend. It is SO hard! Thank you ever so much for your prayers for Kristen. God bless you!

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  30. I do this same thing. I keep the smallest things, that no one else could ever care about. I have all 4 of my kids' first haircuts, ticket stubs, letters...just like you. :) I really appreciate you pointing out that someone has to take care of this stuff after we're gone, though. Whether it's emotional or just simply a headache to them, it probably won't be fun. That's a really good thing to realize, and will certainly help me to keep my "saving" in check!

    I am still praying for Kristen. I was so sad to hear of bad news, but I am still believing that she will come out of this healthy and happy with that precious baby. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment and your continued prayers for Kristen. She surely needs them. I am believing God to bring her through right along with you, sweet friend. God bless you!

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  31. Dear Cheryl, as I read this post it is almost as if I wrote it myself. I too and a super emotional paper hoader. Three years ago when forced to live in a small apartment we too payed extra money for storage to hold mentos. It was hard to let go of things. I am still in a process of letting go. It is truly hard. I feel your pain. Yet there is a sence of freedom that comes with it dear one. Thank you for sharing your journey. ( hugs)

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    1. Thank you ever so much for your comforting, kind words! They were such a blessing and encouragement to me. God bless you, sweet friend. ;)

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  32. Cheryl- I love this post and my heart just stirred as I read through your beautiful words. Sentimental me. My heart is so tender toward special cards and pressed flowers between pages. And that passage from Ecclesiastes came alive to me. Thank you and thank you for stopping by my blog. I've been married 11 years longer than you (June 11, 1977) and I'm almost ten years ahead of you in my season of life...I'm 59. God is so good to allow us to connect this way. We are truly kindred sisters. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much for your precious comment! It meant so much to see that you had visited here! Yes, we are truly kindred sisters...I thought it was so neat that we were both married to our husbands on the same date exactly 11 years apart! God bless you in a big way, sweet friend. :)

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  33. Dear, dear Cheryl. I can relate because I have made so many moves and had to let go of countless loving items. As my hands let go my heart did finally follow but it took a while. EVEry so often I wonder, where is that and then I remember, oh I it went about the 16 move. For years while over seas some friends kept a couple totes for us and when we knew our time over seas was over we also knew it was time to go through those totes. My husband is the keeper , I am the one who lets go the easiest. But those few boxes were the hardest. It's been a few years and I can honestly say it was the best thing we did. Letting go means you can go on. Letting go makes room for the new God wants to bring into our lives. Letting go is what He did when Jesus said, I'll go FAther and die for them. As for that man of yours, I have one too and words cannot tell how much he has helped me through this last medical trial. Thanks for all the words of wisdom your post was packed full of.

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    1. Dear Betty! Bless your dear heart! You always pick up my spirits when you stop by here. So very thankful for what you shared...I read it to my husband and son, and it comforted all of us. God bless you, my dear, sweet friend. :)

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  34. Cheryl, so sorry about your niece! I am so on behind lately!! Praying my friend!Hope you were not hit with the bad storms!

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet Jo! So happy you stopped by and so appreciative of your prayers. Kristen is not doing well. I am going to try to post an update soon. God bless you, and please do keep praying!

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  35. Dear Cheryl, thanks for sharing so much of your life with us and the precious lessons you let us learn. Decluttering is something we must learn to do regularly as we take inventory of our lives. Thanks a lot Cheryl...
    I join you to trust God for the supernatural healing of Kristen. God is still Rapha and He is compassionate towards her.
    Have a super blessed day!
    Love

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    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet friend. Your encouragement just means so much! I was so comforted by your words. Thank you for your continued prayers for Kristen. We appreciate it so much!

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  36. Thanks for this reminder, Cheryl. I am somewhere between you and the person who can throw things in a trash bag and feel relieved. :-) Some things don't much bother me to toss, but other things twist my heart strings a bit, and some things a lot. I also come from a family skilled in thinking of all the reasons why something might be needed or useful in the future. Even a variety of paper things can do this to me because of my writing. It's easy to tell myself that I might use it someday. sigh.

    My family has piles of African memorabilia from years of missionaries living there. Some of it has some meaning or especial interest, but a whole lot of it is just stuff with little value and no meaning other than trinkets. We no longer know the stories behind many things - if there ever was one. It is hard to get rid of it all, or to convince others that it should be sold/tossed. That and a lot of other family stuff is stored in our garage, and it's hard to deal with at times, especially because other family members are, or feel like they should be, involved in the process and opinions differ.

    The Eccl. verse is important to me because we don't have kids, and there is way more stuff around here than what our nieces and nephews would want - or should even have! Also, it would lighten the load and make less work, as you say.

    This is a verse that has really convicted me and that I struggle with: Isaiah 65:17, "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." That is such a defining verse as far as identifying the things that really matter. There is so little that is going with us into eternity! Truly, the only treasure that will last is that laid up in heaven!

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing your wonderful words with us here! God bless you abundantly, sweet friend. :)

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