Things We Love – “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess”

A Book Worth Reading

7-mutiny-against-excessSometimes when I read a book, I wish I had the power to make it required reading for a certain population. This is one of those books, and the chosen population is: America.

When my friend shared 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess with me, I could see why she thought I’d be interested. But for some reason, I put off reading it. It sounded like work. Was I ever wrong. Now that I’ve finished the last page, I’m ready to read it again. That never happens.

There is something about the way this Texas-pastor’s-wife writes that is both hilarious and inspirational. Author, Jen Hatmaker, is witty, authentic, and bold as she takes you and her family along on a 7-month “experimental mutiny against excess.”

About the 7 Experiment

For one month each, Jen and her young family of five creatively fasted from: Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, and Stress. For example, in month one they could only eat 7 foods (spinach, sweet potatoes, wheat bread, eggs, avocados, apples, and chicken). Month two, she kept a rotation of only 7 items of clothing. Month three, they gave away 7 things from their home every day. For Waste, they recycled everything possible and started eating unpackaged goods from their new backyard garden. Spending involved limiting their purchases to only 7 locations for the month; and Stress month led them to take 7 daily pauses for prayer and start practicing Sabbath.

In each chapter, I literally laughed out loud. Then I’d turn the page and become either passionately fired up or emotionally choked up. As she shares her struggles to “walk the walk,” you can’t help but feel a fire under your butt to make some changes of your own.

ThingsWeLove-Simply-IntentionalIf anything, this book is a call for American Christians to wake up and shape up. But it’s also addressing the needs of our society at large, which applies to anyone. Our lives are getting excessive – more busy and more cluttered – but it’s not making us happier, and it’s affecting our ability to be Christ’s hands and feet among the suffering of our world.

This book is not about making you feel guilty. I wish I could explain, but you’ll just have to give it a try for yourself. In the meantime, here’s a quick promo video for a corresponding Bible study where the author gives a brief overview of the 7 Project:

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Dreaming Out Loud – I am Writing a Book

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Dreaming Out Loud

Since attending the World Domination Summit 2014 last month (recap here), I’ve come to realize that being a dreamer, or an idealist, is not enough in the world if there is no action, no intentional effort to turn the things you want in life into a reality. One of my favorite speakers and stories from the

Jadah Sellner of Simple Green Smoothies

summit came from Jadah Sellner, an amazing entrepreneur and community leader who built a huge brand and community around healthy, green smoothies. I’ll share her amazing story later from WDS 2014 (when they publish her talk) but there were two main takeaways that I think about often:

1. “Dream Out Loud” – Talk to people about what your dreams and passions are. When you do, you actually learn if it’s possible or not. You take action to make it happen. You find others with similar interests. Things start to happen.

2. “Take Imperfect Action” – I like the way she phrased this. It literally means to start and don’t worry about having it all together. Our biggest hinderance in life is usually the fear that prevents us from doing anything. You can’t accomplish anything that you don’t start.

That being said, I thought I would dream out loud for today and share with you something I’ve been thinking about doing for a couple of years now: I want to write a book.

I want to write a book for Continue reading “Dreaming Out Loud – I am Writing a Book”

Life Lessons from Jamaican Sayings

Jamaican Life Lessons
Earlier this month Michelle and I had the honor and privilege of welcoming the newest group of Peace Corps volunteers (group #85; we are 83) to the island. It was a strange feeling as we were at the Peace Corps Office working on paperwork and medical stuff to prepare for the completion of our service while surrounded by excited and nervous faces beginning their adventure.

It was infectious.

I was reminded that just two years ago I was exactly like them. Everything was new. It was painfully hot. I was completely exhausted. I wanted to start doing everything. I remember meeting current volunteers and feeling in awe of how experienced and calm they were. They seemed to know everything. I had so many questions then. So many unknowns and- in true Peace Corps fashion- never enough information to satisfy my curiosity and need to know everything or to be in control. I had arrived in a strange new world.

I wish we had more time to get to know these volunteers. It felt like we knew many of them because of Facebook. Peace Corps is a great opportunity to meet new volunteers, make new friends, and fellowship in this adventure. Truly, no one really know what you are going through more than your fellow volunteers, especially those that you serve alongside in the same country.

So I wanted to give this new group some valuable lessons I’ve learned in Jamaica from Jamaicans that helped me during my time here.  These lessons I will take with me for the rest of my life. None of these things might make sense to this group now, but hopefully they will when they meet new volunteer groups that come to Jamaica, when they become the veterans, when they are preparing to go back home.

“Tek Time” & “Soon Come”

When I first got to Jamaica, I really struggled with the pace of life here. Everything was slower. I had no control. I was so used to getting to my destination when I planned to. I was used to everything else being on a predictable schedule. More importantly, being in control of my own schedule meant being in control of my life. In Jamaica, I felt so dependent upon everyone else. Dependent on an unscheduled transport system, never knowing when I would get a ride anywhere.  Dependent upon the affects of daily thunderstorms. Dependent on other people’s time tables.

In Jamaica, “Tek Time” translates to “take time” or “slow down.” Don’t rush. You may want things to Continue reading “Life Lessons from Jamaican Sayings”

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