Monthly Archives: May 2013

To Keep? Or Not To Keep?

What constitutes a keepsake?

The term can mean different things for different people.

I’m at a place on my minimalism journey, where the things I’m parting with are becoming more and more meaningful to me.  Occasionally I’ll find a few things that are meaningless, but they are getting harder to come by.

I mentioned in a previous post about my goals, that I wanted to have all my keepsakes fit into one fairly small-sized box.  I’m happy to say I’ve almost arrived.

Most of the things that I want to hold on to, but don’t regularly visit, are in this one box.  Items such as: yearbooks, diplomas, awards, special notes/cards/letters I’ve received through the years, childhood Bible, etc.

(Note: I don’t count my photos and such in this category, as they are of separate importance altogether.  These are just items that mean something to me, that I, from time to time, like to pull out and look through.)

Since my Paw Paw’s death, however, I’m realizing that the meaning of the term keepsake is changing for me.  Death really does put things into perspective.  It becomes so clear what matters and what doesn’t in these heartbreaking situations, especially when thinking of all the things you hold dear that you would trade to have a little more time with your deceased loved one.

Everyone, of course, grieves differently and treasures different things.  I know my Nana will have a hard time parting with any of Paw Paw’s belongings, as she tends to hold on to tangible objects.  I hope to be able to help her let go in some ways, but I understand if she is unable to.

My next post will be an image of said Keepsake Box.  (I placed a CD next to it to give you an idea of size.)

It’s a comfort to know that everything I can’t replace is all together in one condensed location so that I am able to pick it up and go in a crisis.  Everything else is just replaceable fluff.

However, as I stated earlier, my definition of keepsake is changing, and I’m sure I’ll be able to condense my box even further.  I can already think of a couple of things that I feel ready to release.

And how freeing it is!

What items in your life do you consider special, or keepsakes?

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See You Soon, Paw Paw….

I never thought I’d be writing a post like this one so soon.

I’ve been a little absent for a couple of weeks.  A lot has taken place.

Last Wednesday, my mom called and informed me that my grandfather (AKA–Paw Paw) was in the hospital for dehydration.

Don’t worry.  It’s nothing serious.

The day after, I got a call at work from her saying that he wasn’t doing so well.

I packed up my bag as quickly as possible and was on the road.

I got to the hospital in time to see him.  He knew who I was and was happy to see me, but shortly after, he was no longer himself.

Then, on Friday afternoon, he was gone.

The details are not something I wish to rehash.  I’m sure they’ll be burned in my brain for all of eternity.  I would like to say, however, that he went peacefully–just like he had always hoped to.  I’m so thankful he did not spend month after month suffering over his illness.

My family is still in shock.  We had no idea our time with him was so limited.

He had been so healthy and so active, up until the very end.  His favorite pastime was gardening, and he never had a year that he couldn’t do it because of poor health.  What a blessing.

I already miss him so much more than I can ever say.

He was the best man I’ve ever known.  He was humble, selfless, honest, sweet, caring, so full of love, and–in my mind–perfect.  I couldn’t have picked a better Paw Paw, even if I searched the world over and traveled through time.

This experience has just been another reminder in my life of why we should make room for what means the world to us, and eliminate the things/commitments/people that don’t.

My Paw Paw was a master at living simply.

I plan to follow his example in every way possible, and even if I can only be a fraction of the person he was, I will consider my time here successful.

I can’t believe I won’t be able to go visit him anymore on Sunday afternoons, or share Christmas or Easter dinner with him.  My heart breaks to never be able to see his smile or hear his voice again in this life.

Yet, I’m thankful for the almost-27-years I had with him, and am so honored to be able to say that he was my grandfather.

And I anxiously look forward to the day when we will all be together again.



(photo by my cousin, over at the green.)

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Lovely drive with a little precipitation. Greatly anticipating those summer thunderstorms.

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Helping Hand

I have this friend who has reached a point in her life where she desperately needs change.  And I feel compelled to help her.

She needs a life with less in it. She is becoming overwhelmed with all the tasks, responsibilities, and things in her life. She’s also working her tail off in school to get a kick-ass degree that she hopes to use to help others one day.  With all this school work rightfully taking priority in her life, it’s no wonder she feels suffocated by all the extra.

This is not to say that she’s a miserable person.  She’s actually quite cheerful most of the time, even in the face of the numerous obstacles that are being thrown in her path.  All of these trials continue to leave her a stronger and better person in the end.

We have gotten to know each other through work.  She has been reading my blog, intrigued by the idea of minimalism and having a life with less and, therefore, started to do her own research.  She has become enthralled in these ideas that had initially grabbed me and inspired me to make changes in my own life.  So she came to me asking for my help, and I am more than happy to do so.

Because, you see, I think I may have found my purpose in all of this. Not only to help myself–which would have been reward enough–but also to help others who yearn to take this path but don’t know where to begin.  I feel that, even if I do nothing else to contribute in their journey, I–at the very least–have been called to raise awareness in their minds of how much better their lives could be if they break free from the consumerism monster!

Why should we live like the world tells us we should?

Show yourself that you’re better than that.  Show yourself some respect.

Treat yourself to a life far better than anyone else is capable of, as long as they are stuck in this depressing and disappointing cycle of More.  Learn the value and love the truth in Enough.

Live like nobody else!

I’m excited to begin incorporating my experiences of helping others into my blog.  It will still be, overall, about my journey; only now with the addition of my perspective of the journeys of those I’ve helped.

It would thrill me beyond belief to know that I’ve inspired someone to begin their own journey, and I would be ecstatic to be part of their support in its beginning.  It could mean offering a helping hand in going through their stuff (which is what I’ll be doing with this particular friend), or even just using my knowledge of the subject to guide and counsel them through some other form of communication. Whatever the means, I’m all about the end result.

Let’s get de-owning….and learn to want less together!

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Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

–Leonardo da Vinci


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