Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The things we leave behind

Going through Mom's possessions is an interesting and moving procedure. It's a mini-glimpse into what interested Mom, what grabbed her attention at a particular point in time. I've shown her angels before. These are just a few of the ones she has made through the years. I have more in my storage unit. And I used to sell them at fairs.

Mom loved doilies and dresser scarfs. Table clothes and afghans. She loved to pad things to protect them so all her special dishware is padded with paper towels or napkins to keep the dishes from knocking together and breaking. I love crocheted doilies and dresser scarfs too so I'll probably keep this box of them. Although 4 years ago I had to throw my own collection of the same to the wind.

She and my Grandma both loved cotton handkerchiefs. I have a tin full of Gram's collection. Mom has about three dozen more. She really used them. These I love too.

Mom took many medications and saved many of her medication bottles. I guess they are sort of pretty. And a few come in handy to store doodads. But I have also thrown a number of these in the trash. Mom kept one filled with water beside the sink. I never asked why. I sort of assume it is a token to the well-god to keep the water flowing.

Mom loved glassware. It is very pretty, but I'd need a large cabinet to store it in. I will leave all the large bookcases and cabinets here for my brother to use. I havent tackled the glassware yet as far as figuring out what to do with it.

Through the years she collected these beautiful Lenox birds. They are quite beautiful.

Mom spent 20 or more years doing family genealogy on both sides. She traced the line back to the Mayflower on Dad's side. There are about 100 genealogy research books that I will have a bookseller look at.
I already showed Mom's material stash. Here is her sewing basket which I will keep. I don't have a sewing basket but back in my storage unit I have an old sewing notions table with drawers and two side cubbies to put things in. (I dont know why these letters are blue and underlined.)

Doing all this makes me think about my own possessions and what I have kept and why. What is the point of owning all these things? My personal stash of old family items seemed precious to me before I had to leave my 20 year rental. But afterwards with all the moving, they seem like a burden I must carry from one place to the other.

Which leads me to--what is the point of life? We gain skills and hone talents, we buy houses and cars (some of us, I do not ignore that there are many in the world who do not own houses and cars). But here in the west this is our goal. We buy stacks of clothes, delightful luxury items, computers, iPhones, cameras, books, art supplies, on and on. And then, we die. I don't mean this to be grim. It is just a fact that I am looking at right now after the two family deaths, three if you count Dad's two years ago. I know it is the pleasure in the moment that I need to look at. But can you take pleasure in all these things in one little moment? I don't know........I'm pondering.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the one bowl idea. Monks of times past often owned only one bowl and the clothes they wore daily. The used to go from door to door to get their bowls filled with food.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these matters. I think I've written about this before in one way or another. It is something that seems to cycle through my life and thoughts and never really get resolved.

40 comments:

ELK said...

i like simplicity ~ my parents both are gone and i have many of my mother's things still~she was an artist I cannot part with them..i am ok with that because i keep my life simple in so many other ways...go slowly in your process suki

Jude said...

Yes, after packing up our life in Cornwall 6 years ago, to start another life on a 37 foot yacht Then starting a new life here, I find I have far too much stuff, much of which I haven't looked at since we moved. I can't let go though. I must, it's tying me down and making me look back instead of forward.I agree with the monks.......... but how do I do it???????

patti said...

You have a yen for zen! :)

I'm with you Suki. I was walking through a Target store this morning and there was so much stuff! I just wondered in amazement at whether we really need all of it. It complicates life so much.

The rows and rows of merchandise was overwhelming. I truly have more than enough and even so, constantly de-clutter, without sentimentality.

Hard for you to be detached when you've just lost family though. Going slowly is good advice.

marianne said...

It is certainly an issue for me. I think we have way too much things/stuff, more than enough.
before we moved our parents to their new appartment we cleared a lot. I was doing part of the process which you are doing now..... It was interesting letting your past go through your fingers, letting go.
Made me thionk of our own stuff. I would like to trow (or bring) much away but my husband is very attached to everything.
My goal this holiday was to tidy up Felix´ room, well I still have time........
I´d like to sort out most of my stuff before I die and hope to reduce my possesions.
Attaching to thingsis something to think about........why?
I love it to tidy up thing not only makes room in your house but in your head as well.


Ps yesterday was my moms birthday; before they moved and mom was still in rehab I trew out about 20 wallets she had in a drawer. Now she complained she had no wallet....
So for her birthday I bought her a wallet again. She doesn´t spend any money I don´t know what she wants with it but it made her happy.

soulbrush said...

this is exactly how i feel suki, after having emigrated 23 years ago and leaving most of our things behind in sa. then we moved about and lots more had to be decluttered. now i want nothing, all that stuff is stored away in boxes, as i would have to dust it and look at it and be reminded of so many losses and moves....sigh....stuff has no interest for me, i went to sa for 2 weeks and bought nothing for myself, nothing!!! ' all i want is a room somewhere'...and if the house were to burn down, what would i grab??? my photos, all of them, and nothing else! so ask yourselves, what would you grab if your house was burning??? that should help with the decisions. having said that, i love your mom's stuff, but how can you carry it on your back??? i think you should be a bit ruthless....maybe it is not for me to say, but that's what i would do....

Britt-Arnhild said...

I can see your point of view Suki, and I think these thoughts in many ways have to come when we face death.

One of my answers to this is to live fully here and now. We don't have a very modern home, I love old things and I love things I can use. My home and my life is for here and now, for myself, for my husband and my kids, for my parents, my extended family, my friends (also my blog friends), and for my known and unknown neighbours.

I do tend to keep too much stuff, kind of saving for a rainy day, but I try hard not to let my things take possesion of me and of my life.

By the way - the green glassware is magnifique!

Karen Mowrey said...

Very interesting post and treasures. I have thought about this a lot and this month is usually my "boxing month". We have a big house and it seems filled with "stuff". The "stuff" I buy usually has to have a story or help me to use my talents or mind. We would not even know how to use an iphone or ipod or i-anything but the computer I have come to love in the past year. My vehicle will always be nicer and better maintained then my home because getting from point A to point B safely is extremely important to me. As far as luxuries...I value a nice handbag as a reward for those painful days in the "cage" but will use them for years. I think we "need" certain "stuff" for our mind, for it's beauty and for it's story. My most treasured items are those from my grandparents and things I have picked up along the way. What drives me the most crazy is all the colorful plastic crap that is handed to Pajama Girl so freely and in LARGE quantities...it clutters the house and her mind. Simple basic learning items, art supplies, books or handmade items she appreciates much more...she is an "old soul". I would prefer the givers would donate to a charity in her name or add to a college fund for her.

Bottom line, I take after my mom and grandma..I like stuff...it can be rocks, shells, old books, bits and bops but I am going to love being around them. I don't mean this to sound unfair to anyone but it is my life, my journey and I will surround myself with what I love and when I am gone it is someone elses problem...figure it will give them something to do and a better understanding of me!

sukipoet said...

Thanks Elk for reminding me to go slowly. Oh yes, it is very very hard to let go of handmade things such a paintings and other artisitic creations. They contain so much of the energy of the maker. I love what you say about keeping your life simple and would like to learn more. I will visit you soon. I love simplicity too. Well, I have two sides. One who loves to collect things. And another who loves simplicity. A nice big room with few things in it. I think I keep my life simple in certain ways too. For example, RARELy do I buy new clothes in real stores. Most often, back on the Cape anyway where there were lots of thrift stores and great ones to as there are lots of rich folks there who give away perfectly good clothing, I bought almost all my clothes except for personal items at thrift stores. Thanks for your reflections, Elk.

Jude, you are so right. I often have IDEAS about downsizing and letting to. But when put into ACTION, how do we do it? As that letting go involves letting go of sentimental attachments too, not just of a cold object with no resonance. However, as you indicate, when a person changes the way they live, as you did going to a boat then a home in a totally new place, the things that seemed so important to our lives in the past, end up in boxes. The new life has new requirements and new things we need to make it workable. I wonder if people who keep things for generations are also people who pretty much stay in one place. When you move, there is more push to let go. Thanks for your reflections, Jude.

Patti, yes it is so true that to walk through a store like Walmart or Target you get bombarded with so much stuff. And apparently people want this stuff or the stores wouldnt stock it. Interesting that is true in Australia too. I agree with going slow even though I have a big urge to move through things and be done by about March or so.

Jude

sukipoet said...

Marianne, I had a friend who knew she would die within two years. She gave things away constantly. She did what you describe and reduced her possessions to almost nothing but essentials. So when she died there was not much stuff to sort through. She also was an amateur artist and made beautiful sculptures of heads and faces. About 6 months before she died she had a show of them at the library. They were for sale for a contribution to your favorite charity. She was amazing. I dont know if I could do the possession reduction quite as well as she did, but she is a role model.

Happy Birthday to your Mom Marianne. That is funny about the wallet. They must have some special numinous meaning to her.

PS Re: Felix. With children in the home i think it is nearly impossible to reduce possessions. They just accumulate and I think that's okay for children. We want our kids to have the treasures that make them happy.

sukipoet said...

Britt-arnhild. I agree that to focus on the here and now is important. And you also still have children in the home which I think encourages us to keep things and create a warm, inviting, homey atmosphere for our family and as you say for others too. Whereas I live alone, and at the moment have no home, so I think this makes it even harder to decide what to keep. I can't seem to project myself into what sort of future container (home) I may have.

I agree, Mom's glassware collection is lovely and includes too some etched glassware and also that bumpy stuff everyone wants, oh, cut glass. Thank you for your reflections.

sukipoet said...

Ah, ruthless Soulbrush. Part of me agrees with you for, as you describe, some of this stuff might just stay in boxes, so what is the point? I think some of this sorting will happen in layers through time. I may oversave and then at some other point, next year or sometime, go through the things again and downsize, keeping only the most resonant things. thanks for your perspective on a difficult "work."

sukipoet said...

Very interesting perspective Karen. I do think we each and every one make different choices and each choice is valid and true for that particular person. I certainly had many collections at one point including rocks some of which I hauled from Prince Edward Island. I always found uses for those rocks too. Part of me would love to have a big old house with many rooms, each room could have it's own theme. The yoga and meditation room, the writing room, the art room, and so forth. But for me the reality is I dont know where i"ll be living. It is even hard to project into the near future to know what i might want/need in this unknown place. Of course, I will want dishes and a bed etc. But the other things. It is a curious transition time.

I am in my 60's but you are young with a young child at home and i think that is the time to accumulate and create a homey and inventive place for PJ to grow up in for sure.

I agree abt the plastic toys. I used to love wooden toys for Aaron. Also books I love to buy as gifts and art supplies and so forth. Perhaps what you wrote here, what you might prefer for PJ such as a college fund or art supplies and books, you could convey somehow to the gift givers for next year.?

m. heart said...

very thought-provoking post.

i cycle through these same questions as well,especially at this time of year. i know it would feel so liberating in one sense to own only the very basics. yet i always seem to find myself acquiring more stuff. why? is it that buying (for example) new camping equipment makes me feel closer to the outdoors — even if i spend so much time working i hardly have time to go? does purchasing a new cookbook make me feel like a better cook? do new clothes make me feel more attractive? and how long does this feeling last? and as for sentimental items...i have every note passed in high school, every card, ticket stub, event program...why? maybe so i'll remember the events and friendships — though really i would prefer new events with old friends. the items are no substitute for lost relationships.

last january my resolution was to rid myself of many extra items through the year, and i did. carloads were donated, sold, thrown away, recycled. but i am resolving to do the same this year because there's still a long way to go towards simplification. i hope at some point in the process i'll be able to discern the true meaning behind the kept mementos and acquired possessions and feel the freedom of letting go.

Kim said...

Hi Suki,

You have so many tasks before you, however it appears you are jumping right in to get through your mother's things. While I have never had to do what you are doing for my parents, I did help my husband deal with this task for his parents. One of the things which struck me then was how these bits and pieces of things are supports for stories. I think much depends on the way you might approach life in general...although, as I said, I am not sure as I have not done this before. It is interesting to see, though, how people lived in detail...like the water by the sink and the padding of breakables.

I have to say, like you, your mother and your grandmother I also love old linens...you have some treasures there.

You are such a giver, Suki, to share this part of your life with us and your thinking as you go along. You are a giving woman and a teacher to me.

Thank You!

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

You can't take it with you. You die with what you had when you were born. But while I am alive I will enjoy nice things. Not EVERY nice thing but a few nice things. They make me happy. Memories are tied to some and new memories are started by some. Some things are necessary for living and some not. Only we can decide what is best for us. The worst is what you are going thru. Your memories of your Mom and Dad. I have found it was hard to sell and give away things when my Dad died so I kept more then I wanted since I couldnt part with them at the time. But after a time I have pared those things down to what I could use and what made me happy. I have no one to pass things on to so it is my call. but I had to take a bit of time to do so as it was to fresh & painful at first.
Helping my ex-neighbor here sell off her parents things a couple months ago was very emotional for her because here were things that two lives had collected thru their long lives for their comfort, happiness & pleasure that as a whole meant nothing to anyone else & we were selling them for peanute's just to get rid of them. It was a bit sad really. The sum and pieces of our lives.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Suki, I need to run out to do errands but I didn't want to miss this subject as it is important to me. I'll come back later, I just want to say one word "attahments" that is what I watch for in myself. Hope your snow flurries give you a break to go out!
Mary Ann

Teri C said...

I enjoyed this look into your Mother's life. She was a very interesting person.

I have had the same thoughts as you when I had to go through my Mom's things and my MIL. My feeling is, I am going to enjoy what I have and let the kids decide what to do with them. Some things I just cannot throw away.

Mary said...

this is a topic so near and dear to my heart because i come from a very long line of packrats. some of the things are very sweet but mostly....it's really just junk.

the one thing i learned from cleaning out 4 estates in the last few years and from working at an auction house for awhile...

we sure don't take it with us!

it has really made me look at what i own and why i keep what i keep....

i will be spending the next month finally moving along the things that we don't use or need....from our own stashes as well as those of our parents and grandparents.

i don't envy you this job...it's sentimental, annoying, heartbreaking, bittersweet and difficult among other things...

good luck and take your time...

yoon see said...

Congrats on winning a special blog award from Soulbrush!
HNY 2009!!!!

Cestandrea said...

Suki, thank you for sharing these thoughts and feeling of a moment, which sure brings up this question you are asking: what is the purpose of all this? I think, it really is the moment, but if I know this, (and I do) why am I still running around, participating in the crazyness of our western world which is "to want" things. It would be different if I led the life my grandfather led. That of a little farmer. The only things that matter are the daily bred and how to earn it, and family and protection.
But most of us cannot live like that anymore, or can we? I don't know. Suki, now I'll go and meditate some:) Thanks so much for your insights which are always so unbiased. love. Andrea

Dianne said...

Dear Suki, you have posed a very interesting question - do we need all this stuff? I had to go to the Middle East in 2007 for 8 months and had to decide, what do I take with me that is absolutley essential to my life? I had one suitcase and a box. Besides some clothes, I needed some art equipment, my journal, my music CDs, my lap-top and my photo's on discs. There were some things that I couldn't take, I so missed my books.
It was a good exercise in getting to know what is essential and how little I need for a happy existence.

~Babs said...

Hi Suki,
I love that green glass. Maybe depression glass, I'm never sure.

I'm thinking in the very near future that many people will begin to see that needs and wants are so very different.

We moved Mom from a large farm house, and had a huge sale. Then we moved her from a small house in town to an apartment, and had another sale. Her final move before the nursing facility was to my sister's house,and in the end there wasn't an awful lot left to deal with. Doing it in stages made it so much easier for all of us, including her I think.
I'm sure it must be a bit overwhelming to you,,,,wondering what to keep, and how to keep it.
Maybe,,,, in time,,,, you might want to consider an estate sale. I'm sure there are some things there that would be worth selling,if you have any dealers in the area, they could have a look-see. I know it's too soon maybe to think of this, but maybe down the road. Your Mom surely would be pleased for you to do this, to help fund your move.
On one hand it sounds cold maybe,,,but being the practical person I am,,,,it only makes sense to me, if, as you've said, your brother isn't really interested in the contents of the house, and it was all left to you.
Practical counts,,,if we can use our heads instead of our hearts.
I wish you well as you go through this,,,,,

sukipoet said...

M. Heart how interesting that you have kept notes passed in school. Ticket stubs etc can of course be pasted in to a memory album. Even the notes. all these things are so fascinating. Yet the fascination passes and comes and goes in waves i think. To me the thrill of buying something new does pass quickly and after the time when I had to toss so many things because I was rootless for awhile and still am, it seemed such a pity to me that I had spent all that money on these things that now only a few years later life had put me in a situation where i could not keep them all. Thats so great you were able to sort and filter some of your possessions last year. Of course, if you live in a house with an attic or a barn, that space is so easy to fill with things. At least it was for me when I lived in that 6 room house. Good luck with your sorting and letting go for this year too.

sukipoet said...

Thanks KIm. Sometimes i think I am sort of selfish to rattle on about these things. On the other hand I really appreciate hearing everyones various thoughts on the matter. I have never done this before either except to sort through my own things. When Dad died my thought was everything passed to my mother although my brother came and got things from Dad as he thought differently. But now with MOm it is up to me since she left it all to me.I agree, I think a lot of Moms stories are revealed as I look through her life via these things. And considering she did not talk much about her life, I am learning about her in this way.

Well Said Cris. Thank you for sharing. The difficulty of parting with some of your Dad's stuff right away and the saving the further sorting till later sounds like a good idea. I am doing that with some things that I am sure i will sort through more thoroughly at another time such as Mom's jewelry. I also found the Christmas decorations painful to sort through for some reason. Interesting top what you say about your friend parting with her folks things. It is true that the meaning in and around the items is for the original owner. They chose them specially for themselves and other people don't have that resonance with them. On the other hand I know that i myself love to go to yard sales and estate sales and find that special item that does have resonance and meaning for me although it may be different from what it meant to the original owner. thanks for sharing these ideas Cris. very helpful.

sukipoet said...

Blue Sky, thanks for stopping by. I once read a book written by a homeless man. He had to let go of so much from his old pre-homeless life. He said he was okay with letting go of the sentimental things as you dont need the thing to remember the memories or sentiments. Those will alway be there with you in your thoughts. I always thought that was quite wise.

sukipoet said...

teri, that is a good attitude. You have several children I think so they will most likely want to sort through your things. I am not sure what I will do if I have warning that my end is nearish. I have but one son and am not sure if he will want any of my stuff.

Well said Mary. You have certainly got lots of experience having worked through four estates! Wow. Good luck in this next month at moving the rest of the unused things along. It is a big task emotionally, physically and psychically. I'd say everyone in my family are packrats. My brother's 6 room house and shed are full of junk. And he has managed to fill the huge barn almost completely full with more piles of junk. This all overflows into his yard where wooden tables and old barbeque grills lie rotting. He is far more over the edge than I am.

I do know some families just hire people to come in and throw everything into big dumpsters to be carted off and the better things to be in an estate sale. I might have a small estate sale here except it is mid-winter and miles from civilization so who would come?? On Cape Cod there were Estate sales going on all the time due, I think, to the large elderly population.

sukipoet said...

thanks Yoon See.

Andrea, you make me laugh. "Why am I running around particpating in the crazyness of our Western world which is to "want" things? I laugh and I know that I too do this. I too both want things and do not want. I just bought three new books to read. I am longing for a new sketchbook. Maybe it is something that can never really be resolved and is just part of being a thinking person in this society at this time. The contradictions pull us one way then another and the answers flee.

Dianne thanks for sharing that experience. I have gone away for a month at a time to various art colonies and I NEVER long for the stuff I have left behind. It is odd. If I need a new book or pad of paper I buy it. I am perfectly happy at these art colonies just making writing or art and walking in nature. But then, I get back home again and it is onward with things. And more things.

sukipoet said...

Babs, I dont think the green glass is depression glass which I know what that is and there is some green. I think it's more decorative and depression glass is usually dishes I think and tea cups etc. I have been to and observed many many estate sales on Cape Cod which had a large elderly population. And my first thought coming up here was that when Mom dies I'd have an estate sale. However, I dont think they have them up here. On the Cape there are even a number of small buisnesses set up to conduct the entire sale and you the seller dont have to do much of anything. The problem with up here too is this place is wayyy out in the boonies and I dont think attendance would be very great. Still, I will consider that for the spring if I havent figured out what to do with some of these things. I think what you describe of gradually downsizing as your mom moved to smaller and smaller places IS a perfect way to let go according to the size of the "container" (I call houses/apartments containers right now) one is going to live in. thanks for the suggestion and I agree some money would be good. Hopefully the book man will give me some money for the geneology bks which would be a start.

kj said...

suki, i find your mother's treasures a window into who she is and what she cherished. my heart is full looking at these photos and seeing how lovingly she tended to these things.

as for life, at its core, i believe what matters most and perhaps only are the connections and relationships we have and honor. in some real way, love is everything. everything i do, i hope, comes from or leads to someone or something i care about.

a wonderful post, suki.

:)

katie jane said...

Suki, this has always been my take on life! I've always wondered at the need to accumulate stuff. My husband and I have moved 10 times in 33 years, so keeping lots of "stuff" is pointless to me. I like to clean out everything about once a year or less. I guess I could easily live in a monestary. I can pare life down to the basics and be very happy.

I, too, find it interesting, what we keep and why; what is important to a given person. Who knows?

soulbrush said...

oops, maybe i did come across as being too ruthless, and i apologise if i hurt yours (or anyone's feelings.) i suppose this is my cynical way of saying that 'nothing ever lasts' and that we are mere ashes to ashes.....of course it will take you time, i forget that both my parents died when i was in my early thirties and there wasn't a lot to pass on anyway. let yourself grieve, dear suki, and looking at her things and touching them and letting the memories wash over you are all a part of grieving. do you have any definite plans yet?

Cestandrea said...

Suki, I came back to read some:)
I love it how you say:"Well, this is how it is" without judgement, just realizing. And still trying to get better at whatever we have to improve!:)
Thanks so much for your blogfriendship throughout 2008, I send you much love, energy and wish us all lots of painting, poeting and pondering in the new year:)
love
Andrea

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Suki, I'm back on this subject but I think attachments says it all for me...it's great to follow interests and have collections but love them and when ready let them go without attachment as they will always be with you in memory. Value of things is a tough one, when I went through my mother's things, everything had a chip in it...she used it all, even the valuable stuff...good lesson for me...either sell it or use it.

sukipoet said...

KJ thanks for your insights. Yes, I agree that MOm's collections are windows into who she was. Since she was so quiet and didnt talk the stories of her life, never talked about her childhood etc, these things represent, for me, some of that "talking." Of course, people are more important than things. But it was through things that Mom voiced her love. Mom nor Dad used to hug me or say "I love you." About ten years back I began hugging them when I visited and saying "I love you" to them. They were fairly unresponsive to all this. But I kept on for my own sake I guess. However, this last year when I lived with Mom, she said "I love you" many times and expressed her appreciation for all i was doing for her. And each night I hugged her and said "I love you Mom" as she went off to bed. It took 63 years, but at last Mom was able to express her love in a verbal way.

sukipoet said...

Katie Jane, I do think moving frequently helps one keep the accumulations down. An enforced clearing out of dross. On the other hand i do love the story things tell about the lives of the owners. I have learned a lot about mom by going through her things. Or maybe I knew a lot of it and am just remembering things I'd forgotten. She was a lot more complex that I as her daughter, tended to think.

Soulbrush, oh my no appologies needed. I found your perspective refreshing. And it is true, the ashes to ashes and dust to dust. I love to hear everyone's perspective on this topic, and this post has brought a lot of responses, eh? i have no concrete plans yet. I am going one step at a time. First step: sorting through Mom's things. I hope to be done by March or so if not sooner. Then I will tackle the next step of finding a home for me and my two cats.

sukipoet said...

Andrea, thanks for coming back and for your kind thoughts for 2009. This post is really fascinating to read through what everyone has said. But writing responses I have found things out about myself too.

BSD I think I can let go without attachment, it's just deciding/choosing what parts to let go of. I have such a hard time with choices. You are right, we always have the memory of these things. Value wise, a lot of what Mom had she took super good care of. Although some things have gotten chipped and broken since I moved in. I guess I am clumsy. I do believe in using "the best" for everyday though. Enjoy it and don't worry abt future value.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Hello My Sweet Friend,

My repeater has thawed and all my company has trickled back to their own homes, so I am back on the wind of blogging. I enjoyed the respite in a way, but missed so many friends -- like you. : D

I ponder things and stuff in these quiet times of chill and indoor focus. I think the snow and rain must magnify the dust! Oddly enough, as we moved to this house I "let go" of so much and cared less, but as this house is double the size of our last cottage the stuff came and filled up the nooks and crannies. I actively weed out, sort, and give away SO MUCH. It is work to have so much to steward through life.

This past Christmas I received my gifts in the form of hugs and shared moments, very little to unwrap and store. My sentimental notions force critical evaluations on the majority of things and I choose to avoid additional possessions. My children understand . . . I want time with them, not a dust collector. Rachel painted a teapot for me . . . then we shared a cup of tea. Now that's a possession worth having.

This year I have chosen to walk the path of the moment . . . a true challenge for a worry-bug with perfectionism flowing in her veins. I look forward to walking beside you through '09 as we take footfalls through life purposed to live in joy. You were a true gift in '08 that I will continue to enjoy each and every day.

Blessings to you in abundance!

Teri said...

Maybe all we need to remember is photographs and that is why when people ask what would you grab if there was a fire in your home, many say photos...Looking at the photos of your mothers things, it felt as if I was looking through those things right there with you. Photos are important to our remembering. And they are light and easy to carry along to our new abodes and lives...

Teri and the cats of Furrydance

Mim said...

I have two tons of stuff and it worries me. I have about 10 pairs of glasses and I can never find one when I need it.

But the real question - why are we alive, it just much tougher. It certainly isn't to accumulate "stuff" - I believe that it's to add something good to to the overall cosmos, karma or whatever you want to call it. Smile at people you don't even know. Be kind to a loved one, or an unknown street person. Don't be afraid of life.
Who really knows the answer to that question - I'm hoping to find out someday...but also hope like heck that I haven't gotten it all wrong. Perhaps it is all a game and the one with the most toys wins....but I just don't think so!!

Karen Mowrey said...

Just finally getting back here to all this good reading. My mom just blessed me with a ton more of her "stuff"...some as keepsakes but the rest great art supply. A whole shopping tote of vintage hankies, old vintage christmas ornaments etc. I am really going to try to recycle as much as I can in art. I did pass along the tidbit about resisting temptation as far as toys. Suggested charities and college funds. Came to an agreement with some friends to not buy for the kids who have everything and get together in an activity instead. We now have some duplicates and stuff we will never use. PJ girl and I will look for a good cause and donate them with her being an active part in it. She really was confused and a bit burnt out on presents and I hated to see that. She of course gravitated and played with only 2 little animals about 2 inches big in her spare time but mostly wanted to play with my mom and sister's cats.

I totally get why you want and need to be light in load. I would never move from here unless an army would come and pack it all and even in my "stuff" I need organization to be able to function to my fullest.