Monday, October 28, 2013

Things of earth...

(quote above is from the hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen H. Lemmel, 
photo is textured with Kim Klassen's quest)

I'm a stuff kind of gal.
I love my stuff!
I love to putter, to create, to decorate, to rearrange all of my stuff.
A couple of times a year I go through the things in the storage closet under our stairs,
the stuff in the garage,
the cupboards,
the closets
and get rid of the things I no longer need or want.
More often than not, these are things that I used to love.

This weekend I did some of that type of purging,
and now the trunk of my car is full of things to give away.
It wasn't very many months ago that I did the same thing,
and again, ended up with the trunk of my car full.
The blue and cream pottery I used to collect, 
a collection of snowmen,
odds and ends,
bits and bobs of stuff,
stuff that I used to love,
stuff that I spent money on.
And now, I'm just tired of it,
so off it goes,
so I can get new stuff,
new stuff to love.

Nothing causes you to face the reality of the meaninglessness of stuff more than death.
For one thing, no one takes their stuff with them when they die.
And for another thing, the reality is that there's a whole lot of your stuff, my stuff,
 that our children and grandchildren just won't want.

Case in point, my father-in-law passed away a number of years ago
and my mother-in-law is in an assisted living home.
She has Alzheimer's.
She doesn't even remember her children and grandchildren very well,
much less her stuff.
And boy, did she have stuff!
She had every greeting card ever given to her.
She had old Sunday School curriculum,
craft projects and supplies.
She had china and tea cups and crystal and linens.
She had stuff, lots and lots of stuff.
Do you know how much of that stuff went into a dumpster when she had to move out of her home?
Then the rest of the stuff went into a storage unit, where monthly rental fees were used to house her stuff...stuff she no longer even remembered.

Her children and grandchildren decided to clear the storage unit out,
to finally deal with all of her stuff.
The teacup in the picture above is one of a few teacups we chose to keep,
some of her crystal goblets,
and her hope chest,
The rest of her stuff will be given to the Goodwill.

The reality of it is, we spend the precious moments, hours, days, weeks, months, years
of our life accumulating stuff that no one really wants.
But the memory verses she taught her son,
the crafts she did with her granddaughters,
the camping trips with her grandsons,
the family dinners that she served on that beautiful china,
the cups of tea shared in those pretty china cups,
the relationships,
those are the things no one can throw in a dumpster.
Those are the eternal things...
what we invest in our relationships with other people,
what we invest in our relationship with God,
what we do for God's kingdom...
this is the stuff that truly satisfies,
the stuff that will last forever,
the stuff you can take with you when you die.

still following,




  1. ....The things of earth DO grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace :)

  2. I agree with you and ^ Rebecca. Stuff is just stuff. I was helping a friend of mine put her kitchen back together after a remodel. She has so much stuff and she can't part with any of it. It was so sad, to me, to see so much money and time and effort to care and store all her stuff.

    1. I have to go through and get rid of stuff regularly for my peace of mind!

  3. Well I'm glad I'm not the only one! I have done the same. Got rid of stuff that I used to love and spent money on. I feel a little guilty about that. But my tastes have changed several times and I think I found my style. (But I thought that before too!) Good ole stuff! No, we cannot take it with us, but God delights in the things that make us happy. And as long as I enjoy hunting for treasures, I'm sure there will be more trips of my stuff.
    Blessings, Diane

    1. Oh, I love to thrift and antique as well, but have been thinking much about keeping my affections and priorities in the right place.

  4. Oh, I so agree with you, Elizabeth and I am guilty of this too. The things that have sentimental value, I don't have the guilt about...but I have a tendency to pick items here and there thinking I will do something with them...put them away and sometimes forget about them. Thank you for this post as a reminder to purge more often and to loosen my grasp on some of the "stuff".

    1. Yes, the grasp that stuff has on my heart is what concerns me. I want my heart to be set on the things that are eternal.

  5. Dear Elizabeth. Went through Mom's stuff 2 yrs. ago went she home to be with Jesus & she also had so much stuff saved everything. Alot of memories in her stuff hard to let go. Then the rest of her stuff came here to our home & I am still going through stuff. Goodwill has seen alot & still blessing many others. This has taught me to let go of alot of my own stuff. God is good in the midst of it all!!

  6. So true, I am beginning to 'rid' the house of things now so later on we won't have to deal with it. What used to be a treasure now looks likes a garage sale trinket. Perspectives change and so does the meaning of many things.
    It is good to clean and purge not only our closets but our hearts too.

  7. This is such a good reminder for anyone who has "collections" glass eggs, carousel animals, and Painted Ponies. When our oldest son came home from New York this month to spend some time between jobs, he went through "stuff" stored in his grandmother's basement for the 8 years since he left Oregon: car stereo pieces, etc. In a tiny closet in his former bedroom, there are boxes of comics, baseball and basketball cards, anime' DVDs, music CD's, and Franklin Mint dragons in "bell jars." At least I have permission to do something with them now! He's only 34 but his idea of "stuff" has changed; plus his plan to go to Spain in the spring doesn't allow for collections of anything anymore.

  8. Great post, Elizabeth.

    1. It's not really Bob but Debbi. I finally found out how to comment on your blog and my yahoo account it in Bob's name. :-)

    2. HaHa! Hi Bob, aka Debbi! Thanks for popping in! :)

  9. Good reminder with Christmas right around the corner. I love relationships much more.

    1. Yes, but sometimes I do get easily wrapped up in the comfort of having "my things" around me...when it's the people around me that matter most!

  10. Dear Elizabeth
    My late father always said that a wood coffin does not have pockets. And he lived and loved by example. Like your mom-in-law, this is the legacies that matters and that we take with us all through life.
    Blessings XX

  11. When disaster strikes, one of the most common refrains you hear is that stuff can be replaced but you can't replace a life of someone you love. No amount of stuff equals the quality of a human life lived. Thanks you for the lesson and life remainder.

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

  12. I met with my Dad for lunch after Allume and we were talking about my grandparents stuff, he was wondering if I had something he was wanting. I think that there are very few things that really matter in the mounds of stuff we have. Honestly, there are days that I think I could give it all away and not care if I have one more piece of stuff. It just doesn't matter to me anymore. People are where I'm focused. Changed lives.

    1. That's the best thing to be focused on, Shelly!

  13. This is a wonderful post, Elizabeth! I'm purging my home of "stuff" right now and can't believe what I've kept! The memory isn't in the "thing" but that's hard to remember sometimes. :)

    1. Lynda, I purge and gather, purge and gather...oh dear! I'm determined however, to not leave my children a house full of junk to deal with when my time comes.

  14. I have so much stuff. Stuff and more stuff. I can hardly wait to get back to Haiti, where the good people there help me remember what matters most.

    1. Yes, Ghana helped me in the same way, Jennifer. We're so over the top about our stuff here...and by we, I mean me, too.

  15. Thank you! And my husband thanks you! He is always trying to get me to get rid of my "stuff" :)

  16. are inspiring me to de-clutter....encouraging that our relationships and the time we spend with them and what matters to God will last and will never end up in a dumpster ...blessings to you, Elizabeth :)

  17. What a beautiful still life. I love the effect of the texture, too.


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