Guest Blogger - Marianne Dahl Johnson

Each week I will be featuring a guest that I know and respect to help me keep some perspective.  
I thought I'd share their perspective with you too...I hope you will enjoy! 

 Here is what our guest, my dear cousin Marianne Dahl Johnson has to share:

image found HERE

So Much Stuff

Lots of stuff seems to come with having a family.  With six children in ours, we have plenty of stuff.  Some of it seems to multiply on its own.  I could swear our stuffed animals have their own breeding program. 

One day I decided I’d had enough of errant legoes, mismatched toy dishes from multiple sets, dolls with messy hair, and little plastic cowboys and Indians.  I announced to my children that I would buy toys.  I would give a dime for each toy that would be discarded or donated.  My children reacted in varying ways.  Clarissa and Deseret didn’t really have toys anymore and complained that I should have done that when they were younger.  The others participated in varying degrees. 

Morgan was the most excited.  He brought matchbox cars with missing wheels and action figures with missing limbs.  I didn’t care.  I paid him dimes.  I was happy to get rid of anything!  He paid his tithing and then wanted to go to the store, all that money burning a hole in his pocket.  At the first opportunity, he quickly spent his wad on those little toys that are absolute junk that come from a little vending machine in individual plastic bubbles.  As he proudly showed me his new treasures, I wasn’t sure my plan was such a great success.

Carolina is my baby.  She is four.  She has never met a McDonald’s toy or a stained and holey pair of pants that she didn’t like.  Her bedroom is continually overflowing with treasures such as the paper she drew at preschool four weeks ago, and the paper she drew at preschool three weeks ago, and two weeks ago, and last week, and yesterday.  None of them can be parted with.  She doesn’t want to part with board books that she loved when she was two or Little People animals that she never plays with anymore.  The thought of passing on her too-small clothes to her cousin (whom she loves) brings her to tears.

I have learned how to handle Carolina.  I have had a lot of experience with four-year-olds who cling to their possessions.  The secret is to perform periodic cleansings when the four-year-old is playing at her cousin’s house.  When the four-year-old comes home, she is thrilled that, for that day, she doesn’t need to clean her room.  Her mom did it for her!  What a happy surprise.  She doesn’t even miss those beloved possessions.

  Carolina’s older sisters are 14, 12, and 9.  This afternoon we were cleaning out their bedrooms—going through drawers, closets, and bookshelves.  Suddenly and unexpectedly, I found myself acting like a four-year-old.   

“Are you sure you want to get rid of your fashion design kit?  You had so much fun designing ball gowns.” 

“Grandma made that doll blanket for your fifth birthday.  You want to store it in a bin in the garage?” 

“But that was the first chapter book you ever read!”  “Are you sure that doesn’t fit you anymore?  It was the first skirt you ever sewed yourself.”

I realized that I was the only one feeling nostalgic.  They are excited for the future and I’m the only one looking back.  Clarissa will start high school in the fall.  Deseret will go to Young Women’s Girls’ Camp for the first time.  Liberty is enjoying her first year in 4-H.    They are giving up doll blankets and I’m not sure I’m ready for that. 

I think I’ll visit Carolina’s room and suggest a stuffed animal tea party.  She and I will hold on for a little longer.  

Marianne's AMAZING family (seriously people, I wish you could each sit down with them and experience what a joy it is to be surrounded by so many great people).

Thanks for the perspective Marianne!


  1. What a great post - your cousins family look gorgeous. I only have four children, but they ramge from nearly 13 down to 2, I know how she feels - so true that the only way to get a four year old to part with their treausres is secretly LOL we often have "Daddy put my car (old cardboard box, falling to bits from being hordered for weeks!) in the bin" tears from our Mr 4!

    Nic xxx

    Nic xxx

  2. Thanks for that bit of advice. I feel myself looking back often too. It's hard to give up some of those things, I know. I loved that family before and now I love them more! Thanks!


  3. So true! My oldest is only 9, but I still see him discarding things from younger days and it makes me so sad. My 6 year old is a keeper and a trick that i have found works with her is to get her an art portfolio to manage her papers from school. As long as they fit in the folder she can keep them. If I find them on the ground or her dresser that means she didn't want them! ;D


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