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My eldest daughter has decided to pass down to my four-year-old, Kira, one of her old dolls for her birthday this year. Hannah has dusted off the beloved doll and is creating new bedding to match Kira’s room. It will be great gift with a special story for both of them to tell.

In the last years of my grandmother’s life, she marked a lot of items in her home. She simply took a pencil and wrote one of our names on the bottom of plates, figurines, boxes, and the backs of paintings and family photographs. After she passed away, I received a box in the mail with beautiful figurines inside. My favorite part is to look at my name written on the bottom, knowing it was by my grandmother’s hand.

My mother is moving here in a few months and I asked how much stuff she’d be bringing. She laughed and said, “Well, you know me – not much.” What that means is that she is not a big “keeper.” I remember her saying that the more stuff you have, the more you have to dust!

It’s an interesting thing, this passing on of items. Some people choose to pass things on after their deaths, some during their lives and some have few items to pass on at all.

And while I enjoy the stories and the items I have received from family members (I even have a few of my mother’s heirlooms), what is more important to me is the intangible legacy passed on to me by those whom I’ve known.


These legacies come in many shapes and sizes. My first piano teacher who made it exciting to learn about making music. My first dog who taught me about the beautiful friendships that can exist between humans and animals. The middle school teacher who made me do push ups when I spoke out of turn in class, but who taught me I was strong. My grandmother who taught me how to scramble eggs. The high school Bible teacher who taught me about God’s amazing grace. The college friend who encouraged me to travel and see the world. And the list could go on indefinitely…

And I wonder what my legacy will be. What will I pass on to my children, besides stuff? What influence will my life have on my friends and neighbors? How am I allowing myself to be used as God’s hand in the world around me?

I pray that my hand-me-downs will lift people up, strengthen them, help them feel loved and most importantly, show them the glory of the Lord.

“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4).

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® .

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