Keep The Important Things


For some reason, I really had my two sweet grandmothers on my mind today. Not exactly sure why, except that…well, I just thought of them. On the same day. This day.

The only way I can explain it was based on two simple activities..I was putting away dishes from the dishwasher and putting away a candy dish with Christmas candy in it.

Ok, I know that’s vague…but let me explain.

My grandmothers, Edna Elizabeth Butler Ballew and Essie Isabell Hodge Greenup, are no longer with us…and I miss them terribly. I really do. In this year of 2017, they would have been 101 and 105 years old, respectively, and I cannot EVEN fathom it.

David and I have been married for 34-1/2 years. And I have, in my possession still, items that both my grandmothers gave to us before we married or early in our marriage.

As I was putting away dishes from our dishwasher tonight, I paid special attention to our silverware…silverware that my Mammaw Ballew (my maternal grandmother) gave me before I married. Bless her heart. In the early 80’s, you could order one place setting of nice quality silverware at a time through a magazine ad. Every time a new ad came in a magazine, my Mammaw Ballew would order a place setting, which consisted of a regular knife, a steak/serrated knife, a dinner fork, a salad fork, a soup spoon, a dessert spoon, and a tea spoon. She would tear the ad out of the magazine, write a check, and put it in the mail (LLLOOOOONNNGGGG before Amazon or Apple Pay).

Other specialty ‘silverware’ sets included serving utensils, grapefruit spoons, pickle forks, a scalloped sugar spoon (that’s what I call it.) Mammaw Ballew got them ALL. When David and I married, I think we had like 20 full sets of utensils. I can’t remember the “brand” of these, but they’re very nice.


Sometimes I look at my silverware, and I think, “It’s been a LONG time since I got these. Maybe I should get something new…more up-to-date…more ‘today’.”

But why? They are still beautiful and useable and very, very special to me. Because my grandmother spent time and money to get them for me.

My other grandmother, Mammaw Greenup, gave me and David a piece of fine crystal (candy dishes and a vase and a napkin holder), in a specific pattern picked just for us, for our wedding and subsequent anniversaries and Christmases. Every year, I use one or more of these candy dishes for season-appropriate candies. Today, I put away the one dish I used this year to store peppermints during the Christmas season…and I thought of her.


There have been times that I’ve thought, “This is just too fancy for me. I don’t use a lot of fine crystal for anything…except just a couple of times a year. Maybe I should sell them or give them to someone else.” But why? They are still beautiful and useable and very, very special to me. Because my grandmother spent time and money to get them for me.

Whenever I use my silverware or my crystal dishes, it’s like a piece of my grandmothers still lives on through my life. It’s like I’m continuing a legacy, as it were, of the generations before.

EVERY DANG YEAR, dadgummit, I commit to scaling down…simplifying…getting rid. I know it’s important to scale down…I definitely need to lessen my load of “stuff” in my house and in my life. But I’ve learned through the years to “keep the important things the important things.” Besides the people in my life…family and friends…the things that were given to me by special people in my life are the important “things.” Does that make sense?

So often we become attached to things that we THINK are important: electronics and gadgets and jeans that don’t fit and jewelry and vehicles and tools and report cards and Christmas letters and postcards and yarn and school pictures and doilies and cake plates and dvd’s and games and Sephora samples and wicker baskets and random recipes and Matchbox cars and ‘nearly-burned-out candles’ and cheap vases that our husband put flowers in and cookbooks I’ve never cooked from and dishes I’ve never used…get the picture? I could go ON AND ON.

But when we finally decide to look at our life from 30,000 feet…when we see the over-arching BIG picture of our life…we realize that, a lot of the things we think are important…ARE TOTALLY NOT. Of course there are things that are cute and fun and entertaining and convenient and “time-saving”…but not “necessary” or “life-giving.” These are not “bad” things, and it’s totally ok to keep them, unless they clutter your life or house or time or mind…and take up the space that could/should belong to the “important things.”

What are the most important “things” in my life? besides my family and friends? I could make a pretty long list, but let me just say that, of all I own and that clutter my home, and if I’m brutally honest with myself, very little would I consider “important”…things that I would never want to lose or leave behind if I needed to leave suddenly.

So much of what I have could be lost in a fire or stolen by thieves…and really, in a week or so, I would never miss it.

So why do we keep things like that? If I ever figure that out, I’ll let you know.

But here’s the purpose of this post: “Keep the important things the important things.” 
Get rid of the rest.

Granted, easier said than done.

George Carlin once said, “Trying to be happy by accumulating stuff is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.”

Ridiculous. Hilarious, but ridiculous!

So, in 2017 (I know…I say it every STINKIN’ year)…I am finally and doggedly (love that word) DETERMINED to rid my home and life…and even my heart and mind and attention…of the clutter…the stuff that I look at every day that doesn’t make me happy…(that becomes part of the ‘landscape’, that I have to dust, or put in a drawer or on a shelf or in another stack)…but rather makes me either wish I had a bigger house or less stuff.

Believe me, I’m not getting a bigger house any time soon, so the only other alternative is less stuff.

What is it in your life that you just can’t get rid of because it is very special to you and brings you much joy?

And what is it in your life that you THINK is important or valuable, but you wouldn’t miss if it disappeared this very instant? THAT, my friend, needs to “gee-oh”…GO!

Join me in 2017 to simplify, simplify, simplify…and toss, toss, toss…and decrease, decrease, decrease…and have no regrets about doing so.

Here’s to a simpler, less-cluttered, less-complicated, less-guilt-inflicting year!

We can do this!!! ❤

Published by leeannramsey

Pastor's wife. Mom. Friend. Musician. Writer. Artist.

One thought on “Keep The Important Things

  1. Yep. Just…yep. You and I have had this discussion so much, and I know how we both struggle. This is the year. Thanks for putting it in perspective. Maybe we need a challenge of some sort? Like every day we get rid of something and post a picture on FB? lol I don’t know…I just HAVE to get de-cluttered! Let’s do this! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: