Sunday, March 16, 2014


I have been reading and loving the book 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Jen is an awesome Christian writer/speaker/blogger and if you don't know about her yet, you will love her!

Simplifying has been on my mind a lot lately, and 7 has been really inspirational. In this book, Jen chronicles her experiment with cutting back in 7 areas in her life and how it brings her closer to God and opens her eyes to helping others in new ways. In the first chapter, she chooses only 7 foods to eat for a month. In the next, it's 7 items of clothing. The third month, she and her family give away 7 possessions every day. And thats about all I've read so far...

My favorite thing about Jen and the book is that she's a suburban woman/wife/mom who realizes how much she and her family really have in the grand scheme of things. It's so easy to compare ourselves to the images of society or look at what others have and want it. But in reality, many of us are in the top 1% of the world financially. If you are reading this post, you're probably at least in the top 5%. And yet we aren't satisfied.

One quote that I love from 7 is: "If we raised others up instead of raising ourselves a little higher, there would be few needs left on earth."

I think that one way we can begin raising up others is to first simplify our own lives. If we let go of our love for material things, maybe it will free up more space for loving others. I am definitely no expert and love my "stuff" just as much as the next person, but here are just some ideas on how we can simplify:

  • Food: I love food and think it would be really hard to choose just 7. But one thing we are working on in our house is cutting way back on processed foods. A lot of times I'll buy fresh produce trying to be healthy and then let it go to waste while we eat all the junk in the pantry. One way you can prevent this is to cut down on your grocery list. Only go to the grocery once for the week and get a few specific things. That way you'll have to use the fresh ingredients, they won't go bad, and you'll feel so much better and more satisfied. You could even use the money you saved on processed junk and get some things to donate to a local food pantry. 
  • Clothes: Count the number of items in your closet. Wow. Are you as shocked as I was? What about the items in your drawers? Shoes? Purses? Find a good charity to donate everything you haven't worn in the last year. Look around at your newly-purged closet. Take a deep breath, soak  it in . Doesn't that feel good? Now to not go out and replace them...
  • Stuff: That's what I like to call my possessions. Things that we want but don't really need. Things that we see, buy, and sit around until we finally throw away to make room for more stuff. What stuff could you give away to a new home that would appreciate it? This week I was out running errands and realized I had a few "wants" not "needs" in my cart. I decided to put them back & instead get a few items for my friend's ministry that is giving out baskets of household supplies to those in need this Easter. Another way to simplify is instead of going out and buying something new, what do you have that you could recycle into something new? Or what does someone you know have that they want to get rid of? 
  • Budget: Simplifying and saving money kind of go hand in hand. By cutting back on what you buy, you will see your bank account grow. A budget plan is always a good idea and lets you see where your money is going. There are lots of good budgeting apps or you can do a budget binder like we do. I also get updates from Chase on my phone so I always know how much I have and what I've spent $ on.
  • Precious Time: One of the most important things for me is simplifying what I do with my time. With Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin', etc. it's crazy how much of our time is spent on social media. I catch myself reaching for my phone out of boredom or habit constantly. By cutting back on things like this, you can free up time for the more important things in life that really bring you joy. For me: family, friends, reading, bible study, exercise, crafting. Doing the Paleo diet has forced me to spend more time on preparing meals, but it has been really good for us in that we appreciate the food more and spend time together enjoying it. What can you spend more of your time on that will make you happy in the long run? What about serving others? Could we cut out something else (shopping, facebooking, etc.) and spend just an hour of our week serving others? This is one of my goals for this year. 
Here are some things that help me simplify:

This budget binder helps us focus on where we're spending our money. You can get the free printables here.

Lara bars: Sometimes it's impossible to cook fresh & all-natural for every meal. For on-the-go clean eating, these are awesome because they have natural ingredients. They are even paleo-friendly!

This book I am reading with my Life Group girls. It takes you through the bible in chronological order, so much easier to understand! I am loving carving a little time out of my week to spend on the story, and then talking about it with girlfriends.

This planner by Emily Ley is amazing! They are all sold out of 2014 but the 2015 will be available to order in the Fall. :)

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