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Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Compact

In our quest to pay off debt faster, we are thinking about joining "The Compact" beginning in October. Here is an article about the original group. And their blog. I have another friend who is doing it too...she actually is the one who got me thinking about it again. Everytime I've heard about this movement/group, it has appealed to me. I love a good challenge. Especially when it comes to consumerism/reducing/reusing/recycling. Even if we don't do it will still create the mindfulness about spending/consuming that we so desire.

Lately, I've found myself getting so laid back about spending...and once I start that, it's really hard to stop. However, because I am such an all or nothing person, I swing easily the other way. Once we decide to do something, I will go to GREAT lengths to maintain whatever it is that we are doing. So, at this point, we are just considering it, but it sounds like a great addition to our debt reduction plan. Anyone care to be my "Compact Buddy"?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Colorful Groceries

It's so fun to go grocery shopping when you have pretty bags to bring your food home in! My counter was brimming with color today...I just couldn't help but take a photo. If you've never made the switch to cloth grocery're missing out. But don't stop at groceries! Bring them to every store!

My most recent find was cloth produce bags. Instead of using all of those flimsy plastic bags in the produce aisle, you can use these great organic bags.

My favorite places to get bags:
Reusable Bags

I prefer the bags with long handles. I think they are easier to can put them over your shoulder, or tie the handles in a knot and carry them like a traditional plastic bag. These bags stretch and can hold an amazing amount of food. They won't break. Of course, you don't have to get fancy string bags. Cloth tote bags from the thrift store work perfectly fine too! There are so many bags with company logos, event logos, etc. on can snatch them up at any Goodwill.

Go cloth!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Drunk on the Spirits of Fear

A friend posted something that made me think of a great song.

"This World"
by Caedmon's Call
There's tarnish on the golden rule
And I wanna jump from this ship of fools
Show me a place where hope is young
And a people who aren't afraid to love

This world has nothing for me and this world has everything
All that I could want and nothing that I need

This world is making me drunk on the spirits of fear.
So when he says who will go, I am nowhere near.

And the least of these look like criminals to me
So I leave Christ on the street

This world has held my hand and has led me into intolerance
But now I'm waking up, but now I'm breaking up
But now I'm making up for lost time

It says so many important things about the state of our world. With everything that is happening around us, it's so easy to be in constant fear. Fear of war, fear of flying, fear of terrorism....fear of global warming, fear of pesticides...fear of the suburbs? The list could go on and on. One of the reasons I don't watch TV news is because I feel that it creates unnecessary fear. Why do I need Fox News to tell me something 5 times an hour for 24 hours? Their goal is to suck you in, create fear, and get you to keep watching. And watching and watching. Just in case something might happen. TV news makes me feel crazy just watching all the fires, sirens, murders, plagues...and all the flashy colors and reporters with their scary voices. Aaaah! Enough!

I much prefer READING the news on an alternative news source. Of course, it's very difficult to find unbiased reporting...maybe because everything is owned by just a few people. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. Here and here. Follow the money. I prefer to read at the BBC News and other international sites. I really like Sojourners, but that has a bent as well. I used to only search out Christian news and Republican sites, but have since realized that Jesus is neither of those things, so I'm not concerned about that. I'm more concerned with getting the truth and loving people.

Even if you don't agree with everything I'm saying here, just be aware that you are being brainwashed if you are listening and reading mainstream media. Try...just for once, to search out your own answers about things you are interested in. You'll be glad you did. But be careful...when you start to question one thing, it will lead to another. And another. Pretty soon, you'll find that there is so much that you "learned" growing up that isn't true.

Let's not be drunk on the "spirits of fear", but instead, use knowledge of our world for good. Make a difference! Talk to someone you wouldn't normally talk to. Make someone's day. Give a compliment. Fear God only and think for yourself.

Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama

It's official. I am a Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama. I scored a 180 on this survey. I normally think these are silly...because they just are. But I couldn't resist this one.

Obsessive Consumption

I came across this website in 2003 when I was living in Lincoln, NE. Kate, the artist, was a grad student and UNL...and I loved this site so much that I actually went to her office on campus to talk with her, but she wasn't there, so I left a note on her door. (Kristin...did you go with me?). Years later, I had tried to find her site again, but couldn't.

Yesterday, I happened across a post on Happy Mundane, and there is was! I was happy. Here is a summary of what "Obsessive Consumption" is:
Obsessive Consumption was created by Kate Bingaman to showcase her love/hate relationship with money, shopping, branding, credit cards, celebrity, advertising and marketing. The work is inspired by the ever ubiquitous, generic, delicate, sometimes stomachache inducing credit card statement, craft as activism, and general consumerism. She created Obsessive Consumption in 2002 when she decided that she was going to not only document all of her purchases, but to also create a brand out of the process to package and promote. was launched in early 2003 to bring her documentation to a larger audience. She documented all of her purchases for 28 months. The documentation started on January 22nd, 2002 and ended on April 22nd, 2004. She is currently hand drawing all of her credit card statements until they are paid off and also spends her time consuming, documenting and making. Kate is a 28 year old Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Mississippi State University.

I completely relate to her love/hate relationship with consumerism. I hate it, and yet I am strangely drawn to those things I hate. Specifically, The Gap, The Mall, Starbucks, etc. When we are on a cash budget, it's much easier to resist...and tracking every single purchase, no matter how small is a huge eye opener. I have noticed a predictable connection between my TV watching and mindless consumption. Luckily, when we move, the cable goes bye bye. Bittersweet. I love me some HGTV and TLC. Anyway...check out her site, it's slightly addictive. The thrift store photo installation is fun. I just have to love her...she's a graphic design professor and that was my major in college. Her quirky design sense is fabulous.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Color = Happy

I came across this fabulous apartment...and I just had to share it. It's such a happy place...I could just move right in. I love the style, the colors, the light. Gorgeous.

I found it while I was browsing around Apartment Therapy. This site is a great resource for those who are renting...or those who just want some fun ideas.

Living Smaller

Many of you know this already, but we are getting ready to move to a smaller apartment (we've sold our house) that we can fully focus on paying off student loans and living more simply.

Living more simply...those words mean different things for everyone. It doesn't have to mean giving up all the things you enjoy. Or only eating beans and rice. Or never going on vacation again. Or getting rid of all your possessions. It's just about deciding what is important in your life, and aligning your priorities to match. As you examine your life, you will probably realize that many things you thought you "needed" really didn't need.

For us, downsizing our living space allows us to spend more time doing what we love to do. Instead of spending hours cleaning, we can spend hours at the park having a picnic. Instead of spending money on a large mortgage payment, we can live in a smaller space and use the extra money to achieve the financial freedom we desperately long for. Making sacrifices now helps us achieve our dreams for later.

This journey started over a year ago, when we discovered Dave Ramsey. We listened to Dave on the radio, read his books, etc. We were able to pay off all of our credit cards, our car, and other random debts. The only debt we still have is student loans. Some people think that student loans are "supposed" to be around forever, but I totally disagree. There is a tremendous emotional drain that comes with that kind of debt. That's why we are choosing to knock it out over the course of the coming year.

We are getting rid of most of our possessions...and all of our debt. I can feel the lightness already! And now, one last note for those of you who are saying..."I could never do that!". Look at your current living arrangements, your possessions and your spending. Do you ever use your extra bedroom? Do you really need 4 bathrooms in your house? Do you need 6 pairs of jeans? Do you need that latte everyday? Do you really have to work 80 hours a week just so you can have everything your heart desires? It does take some soul searching to make changes, but it's so worth it in the end. Go simple!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Manufactered Want

Even though I desire to lead a simple life with few possessions and tread lightly on the earth...I am still hear a the evil voices whenever I go near a mall (which I like to refer to as the "Giant Shrine of Manufactered Wants). It whispers to me...

"You need me.."
"Your life would be so different if you would just buy me..."
"You would look so cute if you wore me..."
The first step is realizing that the mall DOES truly try to suck you in like the sirens...the second step is resisting, the third step is going to Starbucks and buying an inanely overpriced cup of muddy water and sugar flavoring to "reward" yourself for not getting sucked into the mall.

Here is the post that got me thinking about this today...Stuff Lust.

Photo by Charlie Brewer/Flickr

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Make Your Own

Many of you have asked me for my "recipes" for natural cleaners, etc. Here is a great site that I just came across. Don't let the name fool you, it has much more than just cosmetics!
Make Your Cosmetics

Monday, September 04, 2006


In early August, we flew out to Denver/Boulder. Matt flew onto Boise to pick up our bus, and I stayed in Denver with my brother, and then in Boulder with our friends, the Cheeks. I love Boulder. I love the people. The atmosphere. The food. The coffee. It's just good stuff. Check out the photos here.

We went to the Farmer's Market, the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival, the Emmaus Road Church "dedication", out for Thai food, out for coffee. Fun times.

We love spending time with the Cheeks. Even though we may not see each other for months and's as if no time has passed at all. It's crazy to think that we've been friends for just 8 years. It seems like so much longer! I could sit for hours talking to Natalie, and I know Matt could do the same with Kris. In fact, we used to do that a lot more BEFORE we had kids. Now, freetime is a little harder to come by, but it makes every moment all the more sweet.

It was great to be there and see the great things that are happening with the church plant. I praise God for what He is doing there and also that He has allowed us to see so many friends and family this summer.

Kansas City and Kristin

Earlier this year I went to see my friend, Kristin, in Kansas City. I just now got around to uploading the photos. Here are the photos of our fun.

A few weeks ago, I made another trip down to spend time with her while Matt was in Scottsdale. Photos here.

It's always wonderful being with Kristin...she is a beautiful soul. We also love the exact same things. We are sisters.

We went to Lawrence. We ate Thai food. We drank tea. We went out for coffee. We talked about Jesus. We watched Miami Ink. We played on the Internet. We cooked. We laughed. We hugged. We rode around in the bus. We watched a movie...possibly one of my favorites. Can you guess what it was? Here is a hint:
"I like to look for things no one else catches. I hate the way drivers never look at the road in old movies."
We have the best time whenever we are together. This last time, I was there for 5 days. That's a long time to spend with anyone you aren't related to. I loved it though...because once you get past the first couple of days, you just get to live life together. Meals, emotions, bedtime, etc...the "daily-ness" of our lives. When you can be together in the mundane daily routine, and you still love each other, that is true friendship. One that will last a lifetime.
The Compact Blog Ring
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