Archives for May 2012

The Summer of 7: Mowing Down the Excess of an Overgrown Life

A few years ago, God sort of began to wreck me a bit.  With a move to a different church and then with a few well-timed books, my outlook slowly started to change. I’d say reading Crazy Love and Radical both did quite the number on me in regards to where our time and finances were going and how I looked at our possessions.  In the midst of that, Dani and I started The Sisterhood of the Traveling Belt.  I won’t say that all my materialism has disappeared but God is still at work.

I’d read Jen Hatmaker’s book Interrupted and then watched as her new book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess debuted.  I followed Marla Taviano’s read-along but still didn’t read the book.  For whatever reason, I just didn’t feel it was my time.  And then Katrina from The Poorganic Life posted about needing another blogger to help blog through the book this summer and it was like a light bulb moment and I knew I needed to be involved.  It was time to meet 7.

The point of 7 is to look at 7 areas of excess in our lives and then cut it out all while realizing how we could help others with the excess and be more grateful for what we did have.   It’s right on par with what God had been doing in me.  She’s like a soul sister I’ve never met.  I mean, really. Eating more whole foods. Wondering why we dress up for church. Putting a cap on what we spend.  Watching too much TV.  All these things and more hit home.  Jen took it a step (or 800) further and spent 7 months on each of the 7 areas doing some cut-throat activities that challenged her.  One month she only ate 7 ingredients in all her meals.  In another, she only wore 7 items of clothing.  And on and on it went.

So Katrina is having us read the book and then do 7 mini challenges for the summer called Summer of 7.  She has put together 7 bloggers that will all attempt a week of challenge from each category and then we each take a week to blog about one area.  Mine is possessions.  I feel it’s pretty fitting.

The rules are pretty much up to each person.  She realized pretty fast that with everyone’s schedule it’d almost be impossible to enforce the same schedule for everyone.  I’ve put together my own schedule.  My plan is to roughly do the challenge from Saturday to Friday and then post about it the following Tuesday.  Here’s what we’re looking at:

June 2-8 FOOD – I feel like I’ve been on one big food challenge since we went gluten free the past few months.  I’ve learned so much about food and I honestly don’t feel like food is a huge sore spot of excess for me right now.  So for this week, I’m doing no take-out, no desserts and only water to drink.  Those are probably the 3 areas in which I do see excess.

June 10-16 STRESS – I’m going to do the 7 prayers in the book.  We will be on vacation this week so I think it’s the perfect time to de-stress.

June 17-24 POSSESSIONS – I’ve been wanting to do a major clean-out of the house and I think it’s time.  I want to take a day to do one room and then at the end I will do something…either a yard sale for Jen Hatmaker’s homes in Haiti, donate to Goodwill or give to individuals as needed.

June 25-30 CLOTHES – I will wear 7 articles of clothing all week.  To be honest, being in the same jean shorts and a t-shirt all week isn’t that challenging for me, so I’m going to also go without makeup all week too.  Hello, my name is Amy and I’m a Mary Kay consultant.

July 1-7 SPENDING – I’m planning to only buy groceries this week.  No Amazon, no Target, no Wal-Mart, no CVS, etc.  Now this is something FOR ME.  If the girls need Tylenol or something, I’m buying it.

There will be a gap here.  It’s birthday week in this house.

July 21-July 27 WASTE – I’ve been wanting to start composting and I think this is the right week to start.

July 28-Aug 3 MEDIA – No blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reader, general browsing, no TV and no cell phone use except for calls/texting.

 

OK, so I would LOVE it if some of you would join me?  Surely there are some of you that want to cut some excess out of your life and like a good challenge?  Don’t want to do all 7?  Sure!  Pick one area that is a sore spot (not the easy one!) and join up.  Katrina has a linky over here where you can post an intro and then sub-pages so we can link up our individual category posts as well.  Below is the *same* linky that you can enter it without hopping over to hers!

 

Cray-Cray Wednesday

OK it’s Wednesday and I’d really like to give you a super insightful post but let me tell you what life was like today. 

This morning I had to not only do the get-ready-for-school deal by myself which is pretty normal but I also had to be at work first thing so I had to get up early since going to work in my snowflake pajama pants just wasn’t going to fly.  Normally I go in the office the days Scott is off so he can help with the kids while I do my thing. I did have the foresight to make the girls’ lunches last night and pick out my clothes so I did have that going for me.

At work, I had to have my yearly goals meeting which really, I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than talk about what leadership goals I have in the workplace.

While I was off goal-ing, I was worried about Lexi who I had expected to have a minor meltdown at school at any minute.  Since I was stuck at work and both my parents and Scott are out of town and the girls had a half day at school, I had to arrange for the girls to ride the bus home with a set of sisters they are both friends with.  Normally I think this would be great.  They’ve never ridden a bus aside from field trips and honestly I wouldn’t hate it if they decided they really liked the bus so I wouldn’t have to sit in the carpool line for 30 minutes every day.  Well, Lexi had a major breakdown last night about riding the bus.  She was scared to death and I just thought for sure she’d lose it.  Not to mention an email from the teacher suggested I should have planned a wee bit more ahead of time and she hoped they had room on the bus for them.  I ended up hightailing it home after my meeting and basically met the bus at their friends’ house and Lexi was totally fine except she said she hated the bus which means I’ll be sitting in a car line every 180 days of the school year for the next 10 years.  ANYWAY.

When we got home we found a dead frog in the pond that I know I’m going to have to get out eventually because Scott is gone.  Then we realized the cleaning ladies (bless their hearts) had locked us out of our house.  I had to lift and push Lexi through an unlocked window to get us in.  And THEN I found a dead BIRD in our pool (THAT IS STILL NOT CLEAR).  That’ll clog a skimmer, folks.

In the meantime, I’m juggling calls from people I really want and NEED to talk to and in the back of my mind planning this:

Katrina from The Poorganic Life has invited bloggers to blog their way through Jen Hatmaker’s 7 book, taking 7 weeks of the summer to do each of the 7 challenges from the book.  And I promise to have a detailed post up tomorrow about what I’m doing starting this weekend but in the meantime, you may want to sneak a peek at what’s going on because it’s coming and you’re going to want to get the book and be involved. 

Oh and I’m WORKING in between all this because I have GOALS, people.  So.  Today was crazy and you’re not going to get a wonderfully insightful post except to say, dear single parents, I am in awe.  It’s a good kind of crazy though and I’m not stressed, not worried.  I love my kids and my life and so thankful I have something to be busy over.  But crazy is crazy.

Weekend Recap

I’d like to give you lots of pictures and a big run down of a busy Memorial Day weekend but we had one of the most relaxing, simple weekends in a while. 

The kids had their cousin sleep over two nights and they were in the pool almost as soon as the sun came up and stayed put for hours.  We spent two evenings watching movies (Chipmunks Shipwrecked, The Vow [depressing but engaging and pretty], We Bought a Zoo [endearing]).  I cooked a lot and worked on the pool a lot and read a lot (A Prayer for Owen Meany [excellent so far]).  We had a small cookout for lunch yesterday.  Aside from massive amounts of towels and dishes, I didn’t even clean a whole lot.  Just a nice, relaxing weekend at home.

Oh, one highlight for me is getting to harvest and eat my first head of broccoli.  I was scared to death of bugs and worms but none was found and I made a simple side of broccoli and cheese.  As Scott says, I completely drowned out the taste of broccoli but I figure that’s the best way to do it.  I promise I won’t take pictures with all my vegetation (especially in my bathing suit with no makeup).  It’s just one of those “firsts” I had to document.

 

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And in case you missed it on Facebook and Twitter, Tucker made his debut in the pool for the year and apparently has deemed himself the lifeguard of the family.  Aside from the cloudy water [that I can’t for the life of me clear up], I’m not sure what he’s saving us from exactly.

 

 

This week ends school for the girls.  Lexi is going to miss her teacher but for whatever reason is really excited to have lunch at home again.  I think Emma is just excited to take on any and all teacher supplies her teacher wants to get rid of so she can have a more complete school set-up here at home.  Scott is off to Arizona this week to do his final testing for his drug recognition certification.  Please say a prayer for his testing.  I have never seen him study as hard as he has in the last weeks.

Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and have a great week!

American Idol Finale

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The first two rounds I think went to Jessica.  Jennifer was right that it’s really hard to compare because they’re so different but I just think it’s hard to say that Phillip has better vocals than Jessica. That being said, Phillip is WAY more likable, WAY more creative, WAY more unique and generally the better artist.  Still, I was a little worried going into the final round.  However, when Jessica made a mess of whatever that horrible (and inappropriate) single was, I was feeling better.  And then. THEN.  Phillip bossed that legit new single around and it was AWESOME.  By FAR my favorite new single anyone has ever chosen for the finale.

All that said, I almost don’t want Phillip to win so he doesn’t have to bend to “the machine” and he can do his own thing.  Still, I really hope Phillip’s name goes down in the record books as the best of the season.  It’s been a great one. Colton, Joshua, Skylar and Phillip will go down as my favorites and I just can’t wait to see what they do.  Thanks for reading all my ramblings of another Idol season.  Until next time!

The Stadium Pitch

I sat in a two hour quarterly meeting at work this morning. To be honest I usually don’t look forward to these rah-rah business meetings. But today we had a guest speaker. Mike Lipkin is a traveling motivational speaker and while there was a lot of rah-rah, be-a-better-employee type of talk, I was feverishly taking notes. He presented his ten laws to Living Above the Line . I found that they were applicable in all sorts of ways, one of which being the why and how I manage this blog.

At one point, he asked about our 60 second stadium pitch. Many of you probably have heard of a 60 second elevator pitch. Potential authors are trained to have one. If stuck in an elevator with an agent, how can you pitch your book between floors well enough that they get what your book is about AND care about it. Well, the stadium pitch he referred to is what you’re going to say if you get 60 seconds to speak to 70,000 people in a stadium.

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I don’t know about you but that thought is pretty daunting. It made me think about this blog though. If this is my mini stadium, what, ultimately, am I trying to communicate? I haven’t come close to reaching 70,000 on this blog but what if? What if I stumble upon 70,000 viewers and they give me 60 seconds before they click the little "x"?

So I stepped back to define why I’m here.  And the short of why I’m here is you. If I wanted to write to myself, I’d keep all my posts on 750words.com and call it a day. For that matter, I’d start up Word and type it out to my heart’s content. But it’s about you.  I want so desperately to connect with you. YOU. The one reading these words. I have this belief that God created us in such a way that we need each other and are spurred on by one another. We can’t do life in a silo. And so we must have that connection point. That one thing we have in common so we then begin exchanging. And if we’re lucky, we keep finding connection points until one day we can call each other friends. And friends are pretty great. Sometimes we connect over a TV show or sometimes we connect over a simple helpful tip. Sometimes whatever God is teaching me, is what He’s trying to teach you too. But we can’t expect to connect until one of us reaches out and shows who we really are. So this blog is my attempt to lay me on the line. To say, this is who I am, do you connect with any of it? I read blogs to find more connection points. Who are those people that I can learn from? Be encouraged by? Encourage? Support?

My ultimate hope is I am just a pass-through connection to God.  A big finger pointing to Christ.  Even if you don’t agree with me and find me lacking that you will see that above and through it all, God is real to me and He can be real to you too.  And I suppose in the end, that defines my stadium pitch.  If I had 60 seconds I’d take every one to point to Christ.

And while I get my stadium pitch is important because it tells you what I’m about, I see this blog a lot more like me walking from stadium seat to stadium seat telling you stories, looking for those connections.  I’d sure love to support you, encourage you and help you in any way I can.  It’s what friends do.