We’re still unpacking. We’re still trying to find things that we *know* we moved from the apartment but can’t find yet in the stacks of boxes. And there are still a few odds and ends at the apartment we haven’t retrieved yet (like the vacuum, which we need SOON!) So my posts over the past few weeks have been later than I would like to help people prepare for worship. I hope to get back on track with posting now.

Moving always makes me recognize how much stuff we have and how much stuff we truly need. Compared to much of the world, we appear to be hoarders. We have multiple DVD’s, a wall of books, pots and pans and dishes (everyday and my grandmother’s china) and CD’s we rarely listen to because we use MP3’s or satellite radio. Do we need all this stuff? No. But yet we struggle in getting down to the bare essentials, or at least a simpler life.

When we moved from Massachusetts to Oklahoma we did get rid of a lot of things. Old furniture, duplicate books, about 1/3 of our CD collection and many other odds and ends. Yet in this move, I found myself wondering why in the world I had kept certain class notes from college and seminary? I had finally recycled much of my college notes before the move to Oklahoma, but this time, I finally decided that church history and ethics could go, mainly because there are many resources for church history available and ethics is a constantly growing and changing subject and my notes were probably old and outdated anyway. I did keep my Biblical studies notes because I always refer to them, along with my notes for theology that I refer to occasionally for a refresher. I tossed the Youth Ministry notes as youth ministry is another constantly changing area. But I still have all of my creative writing, dating back to high school. I still sift through it sometimes to look for past inspiration in my writing.

I also decided to give away much of my winter clothing. Winter in southern Oklahoma does not last long and is not nearly as cold as Alaska or Massachusetts. I wore sweaters maybe three times last winter, and so any sweater I had not worn since leaving New England I have in a bag for Goodwill.

Some things are simply stuff, easy to get rid of, dispose or give away. For me, old clothing is easy. I go through my closet and drawers usually quarterly. If I’m not wearing it, there is someone else that usually can. But class notes? Writings? Old doodles in the margins of social ethics courses? It is hard to let go of something that at one point was important to note, to commit to memory, to review. But like the old clothing, it has served its purpose. It is no longer useful. Unlike the old clothing, however, there is no one in the market for old church history notes. Recycling is the best end for that shelf-space taker.

Still, I have two totes full of sermons. I have most of my sermons on my computer (and saved onto external drives) but haven’t been able to let go of the manuscripts, with their notes in the margins, with the bulletins paired with each text. Yet even in the process of this move I laughed at myself, since I stopped using the manuscript in the pulpit in 2007, what’s the point of saving the hard copy? So someday, when I have time (!!!) I’d like to go through and either scan the bulletin or at least create a database of the sermon title, date, scriptures and hymns used, along with any other special notes. For the most part, the only reason I keep the bulletin is to remember what was going on that day (was there a baptism? A church anniversary?) and what hymns were sung. But I haven’t gotten to that point yet.

Now we are unpacking in a much larger space. Our house is still small compared to others, but it is the right size for us and we have plenty of room to stretch out. We have a great backyard and covered patio with a porch swing I love to sit on. AJ has a great sandbox and a minute walk to the park a block away. It is perfect for us. And for now, the upper part of a closet is where the two totes of sermons from the two churches I served rest. I hope I don’t leave that for the next move (and I hope the next move is not for a long, long time!)

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