31 Days- Excess {Part Two}

** Note. I’m running out of steam. So, in order to take a breather I’m reposting my favoritey favorite posts from my first 31 days series. They also actually fit my theme for this year.**

Originally posted 18 Oct 2012:


The last several times I’ve gotten ready for our worship service it has taken me longer than usual to choose my shoes. I’ve had to think long and hard about which pair I would wear. The thought of leaving my shoes at the altar was weighing so heavy on my mind that each time I have been momentarily paralyzed in my choosing.

Isn’t it silly how a pair of shoes can throw you for a loop? The worst part is that I knew no one would ask me for them… It was a hypothetical situation, not a real one. Once I realized how ridiculous and selfish I was the shame and grief came flooding. I felt so small and insignificant, but changed. I went to worship knowing if anyone asked for them, I would leave those shoes at the altar in an instant. How silly of me to even stress about such a trivial offering when there are others in TRUE NEED.

I am shaken to my core. We’ve sponsored children in third world countries for years, but is that all I’m called to? Is sponsoring a few children all that I can give to help a dying world? I have the perfect pair of shoes for every occasion, but in other places children are dying because they don’t have food.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness[a] will go before you,

and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. (NIV Isaiah 58:5-9)

In the shadow of such enormous need, I realize that in no way shape or form can I do it all. I can’t even put shoes on that sweet soul wearing soda bottles on their feet…

The realization that I am so small and the need is so great humbles me beyond words. I am overwhelmed by the enormity of the need compared to my own insignificance. What can I or any one person possibly do to care for the vast multitude in need?

(To Be Continued…)




Before I really dig into the nuts and bolts of how we have downsized, I want to talk about the why.

Some people talk of reducing carbon footprint, others of just helping the environment in general. Some people champion the cause of human rights and say that overconsumption hurts those that manufacture these items. Some people point to debt reduction and financial freedom.

All of those those are big things to think about. Truly.

But this is my motivation:

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Why we are downsizing

I’m kind of  a hermit…

Having moved 6 times in 7 years of marriage we never stayed in one place long enough to find a real church home, much less make friends. That left all of our social interaction for the office… which means we had very little to none really. Add to that two precious cuties and me deciding to become a stay at home mom… that put my social interaction meter to zero…

I have happily lived in my own cocoon for so long that I had forgotten what it was like to talk to other people for more than 30 seconds.  I have read my favorite simple living/ minimalist blogs while spending precious time with my babes and doing everything I can to survive this awesome but hectic phase of life. So when I interact with people who are not on a purging journey, then I feel completely out of place. I have surrounded myself with like minded simplicity loving voices for so long that it is completely awkward to talk to normal folks. Thankfully we have finally found a congregation where we belong and for the first time in… years I’m making friends. Which has completely highlighted how socially awkward I’ve become. :-)


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Comfort (or comfortability, or being comfortable) is a sense of physical or psychological ease, often characterized as a lack of hardship.

Because of the personal nature of positive associations, psychological comfort is highly subjective.[2]

The use of “comfort” as a verb generally implies that the subject is in a state of pain, suffering or affliction. Where the term is used to describe the support given to someone who has experienced a tragedy, the word is synonymous with consolation or solace. However, comfort is used much more broadly, as one can provide physical comfort to someone who is not in a position to be uncomfortable. For example, a person might sit in a chair without discomfort, but still find the addition of a pillow to the chair to increase their feeling of comfort.

We are currently house shopping. Due to the current economy our real estate market is a bit… funny. The inventory is also very low. There are McMansions (am I too old to use trendy words like that?) for sale, there are normal middle-class houses (priced as if they were McMansions), and there are “fixer-uppers”. There seem to be few reasonably priced houses in between. Even though this is a tiny bit frustrating… I’m (now) glad that we’re in this situation. It is completely forcing me to change my perspective.

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wear His coat well…

I heard a story today that took my breath away and had to share it with you:

One day an evangelist by the name of Jakov arrived in a certain village. He commiserated with an elderly man named Cimmerman on the tragedies he had experienced and talked to him of the love of Christ. Cimmerman abruptly interrupted Jakov and told him that he wished to have nothing to do with Christianity. He reminded Jakov of the dreadful history of the church in his town, a history replete with plundering, exploiting, and indeed with killing innocent people. “My own nephew was killed by them,” he said and angrily rebuffed any effort on Jakov’s part to talk about Christ. “They wear those elaborate coats and caps and crosses,” he said, “signifying a heavenly commission, but their evil designs and lives I cannot ignore.”

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31 Days- Excess {Part Three} 2012

** Note. I’m running out of steam. So, in order to take a breather I’m reposting my favoritey favorite posts from my first 31 days series. They also actually fit my theme for this year.**

Originally posted 19 Oct 2012:


At this point the purging, organizing and learning to live simply is consuming our focus. We’re making decisions daily on what to keep, donate or toss. It’s a little exhausting really, but worth it. Having less junk around makes things less messy. There’s less to clean, less to jump over because it’s in your way, etc. The kids are better able to focus and Momma is not quite as cranky. During this process I have been hyper focused on the purging. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if I wait until this is over to think about others, I’ll never get there.

Thinking of others makes me finally face my previous question. What can I do to affect change? How can I be Jesus to someone in need? Is giving my leftovers and cast offs all that I’m called to do?

The family goal is to get to Dave Ramsey’s big #7. G.I.V.E. Being focused on the other steps is great, but we have lost sight of the reason we’re hyper focused on saving, living simply and being a little weird… Continue reading

31 Days- Excess {Part One} 2012

** Note. I’m running out of steam. So, in order to take a breather I’m reposting my favoritey favorite posts from my first 31 days series. They also actually fit my theme for this year.**

Originally posted 17 Oct 2012:

I’m over the hump and more than halfway done with 31 days! :-D

My brilliant idea to start my blog by jumping in with the Nester’s 31 Days linky seemed like a good idea at the time…

If I’m honest, writing a post every. single. day. has been exhausting. Not just because I have this self imposed deadline, but I’m still figuring out my blog and the direction I want it to take…

I prefer to be (*Note: “think I’m”) funny. I’m a deep thinker by nature and if I let myself dwell on serious issues all the time I’d be gloomier then Eeyore…

So I’ve kept things fun and practical so far, but the point of this 31 Days series is to help me find balance in all the extremely varied aspects of my life… and I feel the need to share my heart.

I recently caved and bought the book 7, by Jen Hatmaker. I have seen this book being discussed all over various blogs. (in)courage has also showcased it in their book club. I have purposely avoided this book because the topic is something that’s been tugging at my heart for years.

Live Simply so that others can Simply Live



The idea of living simply has been on my mind for a while now. I’ve read minimalist blogs and watched hoarding shows. While I am more predisposed to hoarding, something about living simply calls to me. We will never be a minimalist family. For one I’m the type that likes to be prepared… for everything. Seriously, I should have been a boy scout. Do they let girls in?

As a family we have moved 6 times in 7 years of marriage. Each time we’ve donated enough to single-handedly stock our local Goodwill. I’ve recently been on a serious mission to purge all. of. the. things. The Husband and I have an incredible amount of junk. And while we’ve donated thousands and thousands of things, even very nice things… it still has only been excess. We haven’t been sacrificial in our giving. This book really called me out in that area.

This is my favorite passage so far:

“I wondered if the American church was like well-mannered nice-talkers, sitting in a living room sipping coffee, talking about choir practice, while the world burns down outside our windows. While the richest people on earth pray to get richer, the rest of the world begs for intervention with their faces pressed to the window, watching us drink our coffee, unruffled by their suffering.

It’s just not right.

So I blubbered in front of 3000 women, bawling for the anguish of others and my own heinous disinterest, worried we were missing the point. I told the story about giving away my boots and asked if a similar moment wasn’t in order – not that shoes will change anyone’s life, but there is something spiritual and submissive about offering the shoes on your feet, the sweater off your back. It tells Jesus: I’m in.

It’s the engine behind this month of Seven: giving away is somehow sacred, connecting to the sacrificial heartbeat of Jesus. It’s as transformative for the giver as a blessing to the receiver. When God told us to give, I suspect he had spiritual formation in mind as much as meeting needs.

You might want to sit down.

Before I formalized this or offered any structure, women started pouring down the aisles, pulling their shoes off. They left jackets, Bibles, purses, diamond necklaces, wedding rings, cameras, iPhones, bags – I have never seen anything like it. Eventually, I just turned off my microphone as hundreds of women laid face down, sobbing, barefoot. The stage was covered in their offerings, falling onto the ground and taking over the room.

It filled 70 large moving boxes.”

– From Jen Hatmaker’s blog and the Book 7 An experimental mutiny against excess

I feel like I’ve been Punk-slapped. All the giving and getting rid of stuff was in no way, shape, or form, benevolence.

It was for me! It was all about me. My first thought wasn’t about the suffering, it was about me and my need of a quieter life. 

Getting rid of clutter is an amazing way to simplify, but how pious was I to be so incredibly proud of myself for being so “sacrificial”?

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (NIV- 1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

I’ve never realized just how selfish I am…

Would I truly leave the very shoes on my feet at the altar and walk home barefoot in the rain?

Would I show Jesus I’m all in?

… (To be Continued)

To Read Part Two Click Here

To Read Part Three Click Here