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Friday, March 30, 2007

No Impact Man

I came across an interesting blog...No Impact Man. It's one man's radical attempt to decrease his family's "impact" on the earth over the course of a year. It's inspiring and CRAZY. It's been in the news lately, so you may have already heard about it...but I know that many of you will enjoy tracking his progress this year as they live mindfully.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Walk Slowly

Anywhere is walking distance, if you've got the time.
Steven Wright

Walk slowly...or quickly if you're late. Just WALK! One of the reasons we fell in love with our new apartment was because we have so many amenities within walking distance. There is no reason to use my car to run errands. All of the following is within a 5 minute walk:
  • 4 grocery stores (including the coop and another smaller health food store)
  • Library
  • Post Office
  • Hardware store
  • 8 coffee shops
  • Children's Museum (indoor playground)
  • Park
  • Ice cream shop
  • Every restaurant imaginable (from sushi to pizza)
  • Video rental store
  • 3 Thrift Stores
And if I just have to go somewhere else...the bus stop is 1 block away. Of course, when it's freezing cold, walking doesn't sound so appealing, so I do drive sometimes...but I try to avoid it. I have been working on planning my week so that if I do have to drive, I can clump everything into one trip. I've also been trying to be more mindful of if I truly "need" something. For example, do I NEED to go to Costco to buy my bread? They carry a locally made brand that I like...but it's on the other side of town on the busiest road in town. I can walk directly to the bakery that makes it and even though I'm spending a little more, I am saving on gas, emotional energy drained in traffic, and I would be supporting a local business. Or I could just make my own bread! But that's another post. I would encourage YOU to examine your extra car trips and work on condensing them or eliminating them altogether.

This morning it was about 20 degrees and we bundled up and walked to our friend's house for a play date. I was not really looking forward to the cold weather, but the rewards were many:
  • Exercise. It feels so great to walk. Move those legs!
  • Fresh air. Freezing cold fresh air. It was good.
  • A slower pace...which results in you inevitably looking around at your surroundings. Today I noticed so many wonderful things on our walk...a family having breakfast around their table, cute houses along the way, majestic mountain views...things that I wouldn't have paid attention to if I would have jumped in my car and rushed over there.
  • Time to think. Check out this interesting essay on walking by Henry David Thoreau.
My entire life I've wanted to live in a city that I could walk places, but I've always thought I'd have to move to Manhattan to find it! Walkability will be at the top of our lists the next time we move (let's hope that's not for awhile). I feel so blessed that we have the opportunity to "stroll" to our destination. Next on my list...a sweet cruiser like this one. Wheeeeeee!

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Sunday, March 25, 2007


"Whenever I go on a trip, I think about all the homes I've had & I remember how little has changed about what comforts me."
-Brian Andreas (Story People)

Glowing, cozy rooms. Comfortable couches. Hot tea and cookies. Thai food. My Bible. Curling up with a good book or magazine. Great fellowship with friends. These are just a few of the things that "comfort" me...and like the quote says, those things have never changed. No matter how many times we move and how much "stuff" I get rid of, as long as I have a few wonderful things, I am comforted.

We are now settled in our new apartment and whenever we are there, I am comfortable and content. A calmness comes over me when I sit in our living room and drink it all in. Here are more photos...come take the tour!

However, none of these good feelings can compare to the comfort and peace I receive from Jesus Christ. But so often, I look to the "created comforts" of this world to bring me those home, my rituals, my friends and family, my hobbies. While I adore living in a space that I love and in a town that I love...would I still be contented and praise Him in different circumstances? I've been pondering that lately. I have a feeling that this is why my emotions start to go crazy when my house is a mess and things are in disarray. A clean house is always nice, but I tend to let it affect me deeper than it should. Can I be full of joy even as I clean up the mess?

True joy is not the same as happiness. Happiness can come and go with circumstances and moods...but joy comes from Christ. Knowing that ultimately, no matter what happens in my life, I will spend eternity with Him. Paul had this is what he wrote as he was sitting in jail.
"I don't have a sense of needing anything personally. I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am."
Philippians 4:12 (The Message)
I am so encouraged by this verse...and I like this particular paraphrase a lot. I cannot say that I have conquered the "wants" in my life. I have found that when I am not spending time meditating on God's word...those wants seem to multiply out of control. When I am disciplined and reading daily, I am better able to demonstrate self-control (or Jesus-control!) over my desires and wants...especially for material things.

Knowing that we can have joy despite what is going on around us is transforming. It frees me from the worry, wanting, and fear that come with daily life. I am enjoying the amazing blessings that God has given us...but I know that I can't place my hope or confidence in my apartment, relationships, or my things. My comfort and hope comes from Him.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

On The Move

Hello friends...
Time is just flying by right now. We have not had ANY Internet connection at our apartment for a few weeks now due to technical difficulties. We've been going to coffee shops and the library every couple of days. So just in case you were wondering where I went...I'm alive and well, just not connected. Luckily, we will be moving again in a week or so, and we have free high speed wireless at our new location.

They're moving again?! Yes. We have decided to cut our housing expenses in half and move to a much smaller place even closer to downtown. We've been busily painting, tearing flooring out, painting some more and sleeping hard. We've also had out of town guests and more out of town guests and dinner guests, so we have been B-U-S-Y!

You can see the "before" photos here and read more about the apartment. In the coming weeks, I will take the "after" photos and you can see the progress! We're having a blast making it our own and I am ecstatic to be moving into a smaller space again.

Some of you have asked how we stay on the Compact while moving and remodeling. Luckily, our landlords have said they will help with much of the costs of the renovations. We have been buying most of the remodeling items new (paint, tile, etc). If it was my own home and we were paying for it, I would probably buy used. It's proving very difficult to find some household items used...but we are doing our best and having a great time! The thing that helps me the most is to have PATIENCE. I am usually able to find what I need or something that will work if I just wait. eBay is my new friend. I'm learning a lot about my character in this process because I am definitely not naturally a patient person.

I have many new topics to write about and discuss with you...but my blogs will be on hold for just a bit longer while we finish the apartment, move, and get settled.

Blessings...and stay warm!

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