Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Journey into "7"

Good morning all!  I hope everyone has had a fabulous past week :-)  I'm still loving school and loving my GA-ship - although my time has been devoured...obviously.  Regardless, I'm going to try and set aside some time everyday for blogging because I find that it really does keep me focused and happy (see this post).

Anyway, I recently joined the Bloom Book Club from (in)Courage and was extremely fortunate to receive a free copy of Jen Hatmaker's 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.  Thank you so much for those who donated a copy!!  This book details the author's journey into minimalism with the intention of letting more God into her life.  Such an incredible inspiration.

Her categories include: food, clothing, shopping, waste, possessions, media, and stress.  All great categories to think about...

She begins with food. daily interaction with food is one I am certainly NOT proud of.  I eat out far too much and because of this, I eat beyond my means.  I am in debt because of food!!  I don't buy excessive amounts of clothes or tangible goods, but instead waste all of my money on meeting my cravings and desires for certain foods (which by their nature are gone in a flash).  I've never put this reality into words before...what an eye-opener :-/

While I had originally planned on just passively reading the book and absorbing knowledge from blog posts discussing what others had learned, I find myself quite convicted at the moment.  I think I may have to begin my own journey into these 7 categories of excess.  Since this book club is doing a chapter a week and not a chapter a month, like the author, I will go along with them and delve into my excess a week at a time.

So I begin with food.  I'm not going to pair down my food intake to only 7 items like Jen does, but instead am going to focus on not eating out for a week.  This is so much harder than it may seem!  As a graduate student in education, I am always on the move going to and from schools and of course my own classes at UA.  I don't stay in one location all day and so don't have the luxury of a refrigerator to store a lunch.  From my own personal experiences, having a non-perishable lunch of a granola bar, crackers, apple sauce, and tuna every single day is just not fun.  I know my focus should not be on enjoying this, but if I'm going to make not eating out last, then I have to come up with a way to make it enjoyable enough to continue past just one week.  I have to get out of debt!  Some days I know I will have to resort to the above assortment of food, and when I look into my paper lunch bag and see the same boring items for the umpteenth time, I need to start praying and open up space for Christ to come in and work on me rather than selfishly say, "Hmmm...I really don't want that, I'll just grab *** from *** and be happily satisfied."  I need to realize that this satisfaction really only lasts up until I get my credit card bill and see how many hundreds of dollars I've spent on my momentary cravings!

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. - Romans 13:8

The borrower is slave to the lender.  When you are in debt to another, you enter into a slave/master relationship with your creditor. - Proverbs 22:7
And yet we are called to only be slaves to Jesus Christ!

Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. - Matthew 5:42
How can I follow this command if I myself have no money to give??

I'm being hit pretty hard at this very moment with the desire to visit my favorite post-Church restaurant for a delicious burrito or chimichanga and that wonderful pile of never-ending chips with salsa and queso dip...UGH!!  But if I am to have enough money to give to those who are less fortunate than myself, then I really need to calm down and think clearly about my eating habits.  The less I eat out, the sooner I can pay off my credit cards and actually have money to give.

May Christ work in me over the next week to be content in what I already have and to be creative in making dishes from what's already in the pantry!  So I'm challenging myself to stick with making meals from what I already have (after I buy milk and bread today) for the next week - May God be with me...

Here's the book club post including a video of a discussion with the author.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Mufasa ;-)

So it's been ages since I last has definitely started back full steam.  I'm incredibly excited about my courses so far though and my Graduate Assistantship is amazing!  I have high hopes for a wonderful semester :-)

I've taken a bit of a break in organizing since what's left is not that visible and it's not stressing me out now to the point of having to get stuff done, which is good...and  But when it's all complete, I'll be sure and show off the final results :-)

For now, I'd like to share some great quotes I came across in Mufasa's Little Instruction Book from Disney Press.  Remember I said awhile back that I was going to post quotes from the quote books I'm donating?  Well this is the first one::

- "Very little in life is black and white - except if you're a zebra!"
I think this has a lot of relevance in the ways that we interact with other people.  We may assume that they are acting a certain way for a certain reason, but honestly, we have no idea what is truly going on in their lives.

Ngorongoro Crater, TZE [taken by me]

- "When a lion is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package."
I LOVE this one!  It is so so true and a really great way of visualizing what happens when we only consider ourselves.  We tuck ourselves in and don't allow ourselves to expand out to the people around us.  How can we help and love others when we are wrapped up in a tight self-absorbed ball?  (No matter how big our problems may be...)  I really need to focus on this one, especially when the downward spiral starts to take hold...

Serengeti National Park, TZE - lion cub [taken by me]

- "The only way to have a friend is to be one."
Amen to that!  Friendship takes time and effort on the part of both friends.  It really sucks when you're the only one putting energy into the relationship - but when both parties are enthusiastic about caring for each other, neither person can help but feel loved.

- "Sometimes you have to be like a giraffe and stick your neck out to get what you want."
I'm going to keep this visual in mind for the future.  Be like a giraffe!!  A super important thing for meek, doormat me to remember...  I need to stop expecting people to roll out the carpet for me and invite me to do things with them.  If I want to do something, I need to start sticking my neck out there like a giraffe and make it known that I want to be a part of the group.  It's incredibly painful to not be automatically, reflexively included but maybe after a few times of sticking my neck out, I will be :-/

Tarangire National Park, TZE [taken by me]

- "It's no good running swiftly if you are on the wrong path."
Doing this leads to simply falling flat on your face :-(

Serengeti National Park, TZE [taken by me]

- "To speak without thinking is to pounce without first seeing your prey."
An interesting way to look at it - if you speak without thinking first, then you've wasted your energy on something that may get you nowhere - or may set you back a few paces.

- "No lion can think clearly when his paws are clenched."
  "Always think before you roar."
Don't act in anger.  Let your feelings simmer down before you do something about them...

- "No one knows the story of tomorrow's dawn." - African proverb
A hopeful way to look at the future.  We never know what great things might come across our path.

Tarangire National Park, TZE [taken by me]

That's all for now!  But since I'm back in the swing of a non-Summer schedule, 
I'll get back to posting regularly too :-)  Glad to be back to writing.