Archives for July 2012

Summer of 7: Waste


I’m finishing up my week of waste and the only conclusion to be drawn is I wasted the week.  I half-heartedly made an attempt to make changes. 

My original goal for the week was to add a compost pile to further eliminate the kitchen waste. I asked Scott and he said he’d have to think about where he would want it.  I just got him to do this yesterday so I may have met my quota of the hubby to-do list for a few days.

We did manage to add a second kitchen trash can just for recyclables but that’s mainly because we were tired of Tucker eating out of our old can without a lid.  I found that we were less likely to recycle when we had to take it outdoors.  So, when we got the new trash can this week, the old trash can became just for recyclables and the new one for legitimate trash.  On the up side, it really has been working and the recyclable bin has been filling up really fast.

Many other areas of waste are of concern–power and water off the top of my head—but I just haven’t tackled them other than to remember to cut a light off here and there.

Most of all I feel like I’ve missed the spiritual aspect of the week.  How does my heart play into the waste I produce?

Perhaps I will revisit Waste Week.

For now, I am on to Media Week

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Here are the rules I’m kicking myself for laying out:

No blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reader, general browsing, no TV and no cell phone use except for calls/texting when necessary.

I will be checking email but only reading if it looks like it’s an emergency.

I will be offline from tonight (Friday 7/27) midnight until next Saturday (8/4) morning.

See you on the other side!

Twin Bunk Beds

About six months ago I posted a short blurb about us debunking the girls’ bunk beds into two twin beds.  Well.  The two twin beds on the floor weren’t really working for me. 

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Their room is forever messy.  I mean MESSY.  I do get it cleaned up every once in awhile, at least every 2 weeks when the cleaning lady comes, but even then, I never felt like it was REALLY clean because the beds were still sitting on the floor since the frame was made for bunk beds.  And most of the time it was a flat sea of STUFF.

I asked Scott to build a frame for the beds so it would be 1-2 feet off the floor.  Well, we all know what happens when Scott starts building.  I knew we were in trouble when Scott walks in from the hall and says, “I think I have an idea for the girls’ room.”

He decided to reuse the book case and desk for bunk beds but to split them up and make them BOTH top bunks.  He used some 2×4’s he had around the house and voila!  We have bunk beds again.

Warning: please do not refer to these pictures for organization skills.

 

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As you can see, it adds a TON of floor space.  I like that you don’t see the really messy desk and book case from the door.  I like that a lot of wall space was freed up.  I like that their desk and book case are now a sort of wall unit, hidden beneath their beds.

For anyone curious, here is the inside where he attached four screws from the outside.

 

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Scott had it done in less than 30 minutes and the room is completely different.  Lexi was really worried about sleeping up high but when she woke up, she said she loved it.  Works for me.

Words

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I finished a book Kaitlin sent me last night called Thirteen Reasons Why.  It’s a teen novel based around a girl that commits suicide.  Now, before you check out, it’s not as depressing as it sounds. 

The premise of the book is before the girl commits suicide, she records a tape for each of the 13 different people (reasons) that she pinpointed that led to her death.  Before she dies, she sends the tapes to the first person on the list and then insists they listen to all of them, pass it on to the next person and if anyone fails to do it, the tapes are released to the public. 

One boy that she did like and liked her is on the list and that’s who we follow as he listens to all the tapes.

It may seem a little grotesque to read an entire novel which serves as a suicide note but the story reads like a murder mystery, each chapter unfolding how the person affected this girl’s life.

I finished it in 3 sittings and I can’t shake the book from my mind today.

As you can imagine, many themes emerge from the book but I walked away remembering we’re all connected and even the tiniest of encounters, words, or actions can greatly affect those around us, even if they aren’t directly said or done unto a person.

I thought specifically about gossip and how I really have struggled with that over the years.  Not that I made up lies and spread them or purposely spread untrue things.   But I think at some points in my life I prided myself in knowing something another person didn’t.  It took a few times of breaking confidence and hurting people’s feelings that I learned my job was not filling a person in on the finer points of someone else’s life. 

Gossip is not just hateful or untrue talk.  It’s ANY chit-chat over someone else’s personal life.  Sure, there’s a time and place for talking about specific situations but overwhelmingly, it’s just plain old gossip. 

Proverbs 18:8 from the Message says it like this: Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy; do you really want junk like that in your belly?

It’s junk.  Just plain old junk.

Track your conversations for a week and you’ll see pretty fast if this is an issue. If it is, stop it.  I can say this because I had to say it to myself at one point. Just quit talking about e’erbody else!

In the book, you really see the affect of gossip and people’s opinions of each other.  They drove this poor girl to her death.  Let’s not believe the lie that our words don’t have the same power.

Curious, I looked up in the Bible about words and I determined there’s only two ways it refers to words.  Life and death.   That’s it. 

Either your words are defiling, rash, corrupting, obscene, angry, careless, wrath-provoking, foolish OR your words are healing, graceful, life-giving, salty, gentle, satisfying, and joy-inducing.

Which is it?

Let’s be a people whose words heal and not hurt.

Love Languages and How The Bachelorette is my Crack

Last week’s posts were heavy.  I like the heavy, but sometimes I’m not sure it reflects me completely.  In between all these deep thoughts, which are only written and rarely spoken, I’m doing not so serious things like laundry and making salsa (Ree’s Restaurant Style is to die for).  And mostly last week, watching the Bachelorette and basically being a complete and total fan girl about Emily and Jef.

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The Bachelorette is My Crack

I swore off the Bachelor/ette a few seasons ago.  In fact, I swore off a lot of TV in the past year or so.  Everyone has their weakness and I’ve just realized that TV is mine.  I can’t just watch a TV show.  Just like I can’t just buy a shirt. I have to rewatch every single scene 5 times, post all the animated gifs to Tumblr and watch all the fan videos on YouTube and then spam all my Facebook friends with them.  I’ve also been known to create an entire fan site or two.

Here’s what I relearned this summer with The Bachelorette: TV is my crack. 

We only get one life, folks.  And I don’t want it to be spent fangirling over strangers.  I mean, it’s fun and all, and it brings me a lot of joy.  And I still would be super excited to be new BFFs with Jemily when they get set up in Charlotte. But that’s just it, it brings *me* a lot of joy. 

I want my life to not be all about me. 

I mean, it’s my life, and I should be happy and all but I’d rather be happy about making an eternal difference.  If I had died with one of those people in Aurora, people could say I spent a lot of my last week on YouTube and I did a really great job culling up Bachelorette articles. SERIOUSLY.  This is our LIFE, folks. 

Alright, I’ll hop off my soap box.  I needed to give myself a good talking to but let’s be done with that. 

While we’re camped out on the Bachelorette, I figured we may as well learn something from all my devoted hours of TV watching.

The Bachelorette and Love Languages

I promise I’m not going to Jesus Juke this whole thing but I do think there’s a good applicable reminder in here.

I had a realization today of why everyone is in love with Emily and Jef.  And specifically, Jef. 

Jef is really good at expressing himself. And it’s not just his eloquence.  Jef is really good at all the love languages and furthermore, he’s spot-on with Emily’s.

The proof:

Words of affirmation

By far, I think Emily’s prominent love language is Words of Affirmation.  If you watch back, Emily was always so focused on what the guys were saying.  It was a huge deal when Sean had a hard time saying I love you. 

Jef is a hopeless romantic and knows just how to communicate his feelings.  He says things like we need to bridle our passions and I’m smitten with her and I want to spend every night with you in our own fantasy suite.  The guy is smooth.  And Emily ate that up. 

The fact that Jef is quite eloquent coupled with Emily love for words of affirmation, played a huge part into her falling for him. 

Touch

Anyone that watched could tell you that Emily liked to kiss.  A lot.  She was kissing left and right (no blame here, Emily).  The one time she got frustrated with Jef was when he wouldn’t kiss her.  Was anyone just dying when he wouldn’t kiss her on the beach?  Gah.

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I’m going to bet Emily’s second love language is touch.  Jef finally got on the ball in London and they never looked back.  If you watch their scenes, he was always playing with her dress or rubbing her arm or holding her hand.  Jef expressed his love well through touch. 

Gifts

I think out of any of the bachelors, Jef did the best at giving gifts.  They don’t have a ton of opportunities to give each other gifts but one that stuck out to me was Jef buying Emily the puppet in Prague and including one for Ricki.  You could tell Emily felt very loved. 

He also gave her the book from Curacao and took the time to draw stick figures of them.  Cheesy, but Emily ate it up.  I can’t really blame her. 

Oh and let’s not forget the beautiful flowers he gave to Emily’s mom and future sister-in-law.

Quality Time

Emily and Jef probably lacked time the most.  They only had a handful of dates but time was important to them. She gave Jef the fantasy suite card so she could spend more time with him and they were constantly reminding each other how much they loved their time together.

Acts of service

Acts of service was probably the least represented from the season but I think Jef did little things like pulling out seats for her at the dinner table, giving her a blanket when it was cold and paddling them around a cove to send things through the roof.

 

Of course, I think there is much more to Emily and Jef’s match, but I certainly think their love language match is a huge factor in their connection.

Sean had a hard time expressing his love in words—a deal breaker for Emily. 

Ryan vomited out of the mouth constantly–a major turn off for Emily. 

Doug had a hard time kissing Emily–it sent him home. 

Arie was good at both words and touch–landing him in the final two.

I would mention Chris but I think he’s still fuming somewhere.

The display of the love languages didn’t just cement Emily and Jef’s connection, but the audience’s connection to Jef as well.

I wonder if people were to read this and then watch back, would they recognize they were drawn to Jef when he displayed their own love language? 

Did you hear he just said he’s smitten with her, he’s so sweet!

That kiss was amazing, he must really love her!

Wasn’t it so sweet he bought Ricki a doll?  He just thinks the world of them!

And since Jef was so good at all of the love languages, I think he was well-loved by the majority.  Each person could usually find something to be drawn to. 

 

Why am I being a dork and analyzing all this?  Let me get to the point. 

The real point to all this rambling is how important our love languages are and how we ought to let that translate to our spouses (and even kids!).  If you don’t know your spouse’s love languages, RUN to the book store and get the book. 

The thing is, many of us are not matched in our love languages and are not naturally good at expressing love in all the different languages

Mine is words of affirmation and Scott’s is touch.  I always know if I need Scott’s attention, it’s through an unexpected kiss and if he wants on my good side, it’s through washing the dishes or a well-played compliment. 

When we become self-aware enough to recognize our own love language and our spouse’s, we can learn to speak our love in such a way that they know without a doubt we’d pick them out of a crowd of 25 every. single. time.

If you know your spouse’s love language—use it!  It’s not manipulation, it’s simply showing your spouse your love in the language they understand.

 

So, I’m curious. Is TV your crack?  What’s your love language?

A Giving Tree

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“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”

What does that command conjure up in your head?

For me, I imagined a slow, painful process of emptying my house, suffering through innumerable yard sales and Craigslist transactions until we were sitting on milk crates in the living room, with no pictures on the wall and only enough clothes in our closets for a week.

Seriously.

I thought that was the end goal.

While I’ve been doing Spending week(s) for Summer of 7, I think God gave me a little insight into this idea.  Perhaps I’m behind the ball on this idea but he showed me that selling our possessions and giving to the poor does not mean that we are left with nothing.

In fact, what I find in God’s economy is when he takes away, he always gives back in abundance.

He Replenishes

I have always been enamored with trees.  I can remember learning to draw trees in fifth grade art and just loving that I could do that.  I would go years.  I mean, years trying to draw trees.  I still to this day try to draw a great tree when me and the girls are drawing.  I have many pictures and art pieces of trees in my house.  I always choose the tree if I have to pick out an image somewhere.

I love trees. 

Weeping willow is my favorite, if you’re wondering.

While thinking about selling what I had in order to give, I thought about Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.  Have you read that because it’s just the most beautiful story of giving.  In sort of the same vein, I thought about how fruit trees are made to give.  They bloom their flowers and give forth fruit.  The fruit is taken but the tree doesn’t die.  It’s not left with nothing.

God created the tree to bear even more fruit.  In fact, if you take some branches at the end of the season too and not just the fruit, it is quite healthy for the tree and will produce even more fruit.

You see this concept of taking and replenishing everywhere in nature.

I thought about Job and how God took every single thing he had and then when he stood strong, in the end it says “the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before”.  God took but he still provided in abundance.

Be a Conduit

I went back to the verse in Luke where it talks about selling your possessions and the whole section is that part about not worrying.  About how the wildflowers grow and the birds eat.  They don’t worry and God takes care of them. 

Towards the end, it says he is pleased to give us the kingdom.  And in conclusion of all that he says, and yeah, so since I’m going to take care of you, sell your possessions and give to the poor.

I think God was just showing me I’m supposed to be a tree. 

He’s going to give me what I need.  At some point, these things I own are no longer meant to be mine and I’m supposed to sell them and give the money to the poor.  I ought not hoard the money and chase after more things.  He’s going to provide.  My job is to be conduit of the fruit.

He gives me things, beautiful things, like he gives a cherry tree its beautiful blossoms every year.  The branches stretch and say look at these beautiful flowers God gave me.  They produce delicious, beautiful, ripe fruit.  But then the fruit is taken for others.

But God always starts the cycle again.

I want to be a tree.  A beautiful conduit of his fruit.  Whether that fruit be spiritual fruit of mercy and grace and forgiveness or whether it physically be these things he gives me or the money I earn from them, I want to pass it on. 

Have Less

If you take it a step further, then, and you begin viewing yourself as a conduit, the buying of “all the things” in the first place begins to make a lot less sense. 

Dani and I held our Garage Sale for Orphans on Saturday and we would have these moments where we’d stop and just look at all the stuff and say why did we buy all this in the first place?  Do you know how many people could have been helped while this stuff sat in our attics?

The ultimate idea, then, is not to buy, sell, give cyclically, but to simply give.

I keep waiting for God to tell me my spending fast is over but you know, I think I’m permanently done.  I’m done with it being all about me.  I’m fine with buying nice things and enjoying them and displaying and being grateful for God’s beautiful gifts but my perspective is changed.

I’m done with all the Target end caps and Wal-Mart plastics. 

I’m just done.

Give More

I started this post talking about how God replenishes and never leaves you with nothing.  I think that’s sort of set up for failure because one might think the idea is to give so God will bless you.  I think what we miss though is if we get this mindset of being a conduit, when he begins replenishing, he’s then not replenishing you in abundance but replenishing others in abundance but in an awesome way using you to do it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to be a Giving Tree.

And just guessing, but this could be fun.

I know we’ve probably all read this passage a zillion times, but just read it again with this perspective and see how much more it makes sense.

 

2 Corinthians 9:6-11

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

 

Awesome, right?

 

You know what’s awesomer?  Today’s my birthday and I’d really love it if my birthday could be a conduit for something GOOD. 

Real Hope for Haiti is a medical clinic in Haiti. They’re trying to raise money to get another container shipped from the States with much needed supplies.  Hop over and donate to help them out?  You are awesome!  Thanks!