Letting go – of things and thoughts

Welcome to the March edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival – Clearing the Clutter cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month our participants wrote about de-cluttering and cleaning up. Please check out the links to their thoughts at the end of this post.

As a military wife, and by experiencing the first few years of a mothering journey, I have changed considerably from the totally type-A, unbending, unyielding, sometimes self-loathing perfectionist I once was. I think back to my teenage days and I wish I could grab myself and tell myself what I know now.

Because slimming down our household goods in preparation for our upcoming military PCS from Maine to Kodiak Island, Alaska. . . it has got me thinking about how much I have learned about letting go – - – of things and of thoughts. How much I have grown and changed, just in a few years, through military life and motherhood, and by allowing others to teach me how to let go – -


It’s amazing how many things I can stash in a closet.  I used to save every photo, every card, cut out articles from the paper, and ripped out pages from magazines that I wanted to use. . . sometime in the future. My husband has since reformed my ways, and gotten me to let go of my clippings, random photos of people we don’t even know anymore, and has even gotten me to recycle my binder full of ripped out magazine pages – showing me that I can get my Martha Stewart and Health magazine articles on my iPad and “save a zillion trees” in the process.

As we cleaned out the upstairs storage closet before he left for this current assignment with his boat, I felt very accomplished as well as very amazed at what had collected in the closet while we’ve lived here in Maine for 3 years. I was able to donate a whole paper grocery bag full of fully prepared paper crafts that I had made for a TAHOMA Christmas party that was attended by, um, no one, the first winter we were here to someone who could use them. We also went through my old papers from high school, on topics from The Great Gatsby to a personal essay, to Like Water for Chocolate, and even an AP statistics paper. I was holding onto them . . . I’m not sure why.

Maybe it was me holding on tightly to something that reminded me of home, since our military life had moved me so far from my parents’ house and the city I grew up and matured in.

As we read the papers together, we giggled a bit at my writing voice, even in the most studious of papers.  We read the scribbled notations and edits from my beloved Junior year English teacher and I explained to Hubs how much I looked up to her, and wanted to write the best paper to please her.  He could tell that I was feeling maybe a bit self-conscious about letting go of a time when studying and excelling at writing was most of my life.

And then he told me how amazing it is that I parent our two babies, manage the house, and still somehow blog, sew diapers, AND take college courses full time.  And I realized.  I could let go of my Junior year of high school.  I’m bigger and better now.  So into the recycling they went.

And another box bit the dust.


Thoughts are a little harder to get rid of.  Those thoughts that you would like to throw out seem to stick and stick and stick, even as you try to scrape them off your heart.  And then, I learned what it truly means to forgive.  And to grow forward from thoughts that are painful.  And that made me, friends, the brillo pad of bad thoughts.  Scrape them right off, when I remember how to forgive and to trust and give up the issue to God.

I have been insanely blessed to have met and spent a lot of time with a certain friend here in our neighborhood in Maine.  And through our friendship, I have learned that forgiving isn’t losing, even though it feels like it sometimes. Last summer, there was an ordeal with a lady in the neighborhood that used to be a close friend. Long story short, I criticized her in a friendly manner regarding how exclusive and controlling she was being.  And it started a crazy-fest that you can read about if you like.

The point is that I have forgiven her.  And it feels SO good.  Letting go of that hatred for the evil in her heart toward me has been so freeing.  I never thought I could do it.  What she did seemed so unforgivable. But through my relationship with my dear friend Jess, I have been molded through experience and truth from God’s Word to understand that forgiveness is not surrender in the traditional sense.  You don’t lose when you forgive – on the contrary.  It is a huge weight off my life to have forgiven her.  And in the same way, I’m learning to forgive others and myself as well!

Forgiveness is really amazing in de-cluttering and getting rid of ugly thoughts.



Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are incorporating simple living into their lives by clearing out the clutter. We hope you will join us next month, as the Simply Living Blog Carnival focuses on Going Green!




  1. As a bit of a perfectionsist myself (ahem), I have found that living a simple, decluttered life is crucial for me to be able to relax. Clutter comepletely stresses me out.

    • So nice to know I’m not alone in perfectionistic tendencies! I’ve definitely embraced the need for more flexibility in my life since marrying into the military and having children. But that perfectionist is still there and sometimes she needs a “seat check” to remember that the new adaptable Amy is in charge! ;)

  2. Thanks for your post, Amy. I’m glad you brought in the idea of letting go of thoughts because even more than physical clutter, I believe many of our unconscious/automatic thoughts clog our hearts, congest our lives, and contain our light. May your continuing freedom allow you to shine brightly for your family and all those around you. You piece also reminded me of a post I wrote about being “fallible” for our children’s sake: http://www.heartledparenting.com/be-fallible/

    • Thank you for your reply, Shonnie! I LOVE the post that you wrote about being fallible. It’s so important as humans to remember that we will never be perfect, but that our hearts can be happy and healthy if we “clear them out” on a regular basis, and we can show this authenticity and personal growth to our children through modeling :)

  3. Emotional clutter. Gets me all the time. I’m glad you brought that up. Walking around with sad and mad feelings is just messy but it can be so hard to let go.

  4. I agree that it is not just the physical things that we need to keep in check, our emotions can weigh us down too if we are not careful, become heavy baggage round our necks.

    • Our emotions absolutely can weigh us down. . . I’m so glad that I have started to clear out negativity and ugliness from my mind and my heart. It’s really freeing!

  5. I’ve opted to scan lots of possibly-memorable stuff so that I can hoard it digitally rather than in paper form. Sometimes I wonder what will happen when I have to invest in a second external hard drive, but for now… this works for me. :)

    I also still have my high school report on manatees. It was when I discovered them and they became my favorite animal. Perhaps I should scan it and then send it to the recycle bin…

  6. I went through a similar ordeal when I went through boxes and boxes of my old school papers last summer. Some of the things I was proud of and some I was embarrassed to relive through my writing! But in the end, lots of it went in the trash. It was part of what has inspired me to live a less cluttered life from that point on. I still struggle with that, though! My husband definitely helps. (Although, I have to say I *did* just use up some old magazine scraps that I’ve had in a folder for about two years. It felt good to 1-actually use them and 2-get rid of them!)

  7. Lovely post, Amy! I have been cleaning out my closets and my thoughts again lately, too. And you’re so right—it’s incredible how freeing it feels to let go, to forgive, and to move on. <3

    • It’s really hard to let go of things and thoughts that are a “part of you” – a part of who you are! I use an image of assimilating the learned lessons from the item or thought or experience into my soul, and letting the actual “thing” go.


  1. [...] Letting Go – Of Things and Thoughts – Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work rejoices in her ability to allow others to teach her to let go – of things and of thoughts. [...]

  2. [...] Letting Go – Of Things and Thoughts – Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work rejoices in her ability to allow others to teach her to let go – of things and of thoughts. [...]

  3. [...] Letting Go – Of  Things and Thoughts – Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work rejoices in her ability to allow others to teach her to let go – of things and of thoughts. [...]

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