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Lessons from home

By Rev. Ann Mann

Children are returning to school. Almost every day, they will be bringing home something they’ve created, a paper they’ve written, or an especially wonderful project. May I offer one piece of advice? You don’t need to save every piece of paper they have ever touched.

My husband and I just moved to Barnesville. We love this town, and the people we’ve met. What we don’t love is all the boxes that go along with a move. Many of those boxes contain every piece of paper our children touched. Keep in mind, our children range in age from 31 to 35. So, that is a lot of stuff.

It took three 26-foot trucks to carry all our “stuff.” When you see it, all packed into the back of a moving van (three moving vans in our case) we realize we have more than we need. We kept more than we should.

So, we have committed to really paring down as we unpack. After going through just one medium moving box filled with school treasures, we kept three items. When I asked the children (okay, they are adults now, but they will always be my babies,) if they wanted any of these valuable treasures, do you know what they said? If you guessed no, you guessed right.

As this new school year begins, maybe we can avoid all the clutter. Maybe we focus on the things that matter most. Things like making memories with family, thoughtful dinner table conversations, and how we are spending our days are just a few ideas. I was reading a devotion this week that reminded me not to store up treasures that moths and rust destroy. Instead, we are to store up things that will last (see Matthew 6:19-20.)

When we focus on loving and serving Jesus, suddenly our perspective changes. We can still collect mementos for the family scrapbook. But the things of this world are no longer the goal. Making a difference in our families, our church, and our community become the focus. Take it from me, you do not want a garage filled with boxes to be your legacy. Go out and make a difference today. I cannot think of a better way to start the school year!

Ann Mann is an Emmy Award winning journalist, now serving as pastor to Barnesville First United Methodist Church. Her email is

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