Category Archives: simplification

Waste Management

Stemming from 7 by Jen Hatmaker (and ALL the posts I’ve done about that and simplification), I have been in a (somewhat) constant state of refocusing, reorganizing, goal-setting, minimizing and heart-checking

What are God’s commands to me as His daughter, a wife, a mother, and a friend?

What are my priorities and what should they be?

Why do I do the things I do?  Out of convenience?  Because of laziness?  Out of ignorance?  Out of necessity?

These are obviously huge questions and to some degree they vary for each person, (though for the first one, God is pretty clear on the basics of those areas and how we are to be obedient in general – and for each of us, He has developed unique bents that we further must submit to Him in obedience), however, I want to deal with one small (or enormous) part of these questions (and coincidently, a chapter in 7).

Waste Management

I am increasingly aware of how much waste I create. (are you?!)

From throwing my grocery list in the trash bag in my car instead of throwing it in the recycling, to switching to cloth diapers 9 months ago – there is SO much we can each do to eliminate waste in our lives, homes, and habits

Switching to cloth diapers was for many, probably common, reasons.  We desire to spend our money well and wisely, our kids have CRAZY sensitive skin and are prone to rashes and eczema, and it is better for our environment.  What surprised me the most was the AMOUNT OF TRASH we no longer had!  Now, our kids both wear diapers for afternoon naps and bed, but a couple of diapers per day vs a couple of dozen makes quite a difference.  And even though it took me a couple years to figure it out (thank you for your patience, Brittany and Kim), it really was not that big of deal to switch! (Curious about trying this?! Ask me about it!)

The grocery list recycling bit – that can seem tedious and inconsequential, right?!  I thought so too.  Until I realize how many receipts, lists, junk mail, old colored pages/cards/torn up construction paper, etc. our house generates each week and I see that I can contribute to the reduction of trash and reuse of products through recycling!

Another kind of ‘waste’ reduction I’ve been paying attention to is JUNK MAIL AND EMAIL.  Did you know you can sign up online to get rid of junk mail being sent to your house?!  Unfortunately, I do not remember the exact website we used (but just google something and you’ll find one!), but about 2 years ago I signed up online to get rid of junk mail and within a few weeks our mail was decreased by over half!  I will also open particular junk mail, find the contact info and call to be removed from their list.  This saves a time waster for the Post Office and a tree-saver technique to help the environment overall (the time used to stop this junk mail will quickly be made up!).  You can do the same thing with ALL THOSE MARKETING EMAILS that we’ve accidentely signed up for.  At the bottom of each email will be an ‘unsubscribe’ option.  Follow it and be amazed that your inbox will only be full of the meaningful messages you WANT to spend time reading 🙂

Now, the latest issue that has been plaguing me is public restroom paper towel waste.  How many times do you see the trash can FULL of half or UNUSED paper towel in a public restroom?  And how many of those restrooms have the air hand dryers, anyways?!  Yes, it will double your time in drying your hands and returning to your loved one(s) waiting for you on the other side of the door.  But how much time is that, really? Like an entire 60 more seconds?  I think we can handle that!

So while this post seems like it’s my soapbox (and maybe it is – where’d that saying come from anyways?!), I really just want to get on with a good old fashioned CHALLENGE to use less paper towel in public restrooms and always choose the hand dryers if they’re available!  Who’s with me?! (Late Night Bible Study Girls: here’s your shout-out to shake your hands 12 times before using the single paper towel that will then be needed to finish drying!!!!)

And what other simple ways have you learned to eliminate waste that you can share with us?!?!



So this food fast has been ridiculous

I could go into all the details of why, but then I’d be continuing to take the focus off of God and I can’t keep getting stuck in the trap that Katie from CardiganWay describes on LifeWay today.

So I’m going to keep this one simple w/a brief update and a longer re-focusing proposal

10 days.

That’s how long I lasted eating only 10 foods.

Because of digestion issues, obsession over food, and realizing I had not ushered anymore of God into the void that I had made from food.

My intentions were good…but the result was ugly


So, here we are – 4 days later from the switch and our focus is clearer and more Christ-like

We are now tracking all of our eating and exercise on

We are discussing the importance of exercise in our weekly and daily life – not only for our physical health, but our mental and emotional health as well

We are still fasting from some foods (desserts and coffee) . . . but not all of them!

Most importantly, we are memorizing the WORD

Phillipians 4:8

1 Peter 1:13-16

1 Timothy 4:7-8

The Fruits of the Spirit

The Armor of God

Romans 12:18

(just to name a few to encourage you to join with us!)

And we are spending a lot of time talking

We’re in preparation for doing a Marriage Challenge next (the month of April)

We want to take back our intentions to becoming more like Christ from  “a feat to conquer, a hill that I climb up, determined to stake my flag at its pinnacle,” as Katie so eloquently stated earlier today


If you haven’t left because of my annoying posts and reposts about those 10 dang foods, THANK YOU, for sticking around 🙂

I ask for your grace and forgiveness as we try to pull ourselves out of the mud that we’ve allowed these good intentions to dissolve into

One week in…

We’ve been doing the Food Challenge for 1 week

Here’s the breakdown:

Thursday February 28th I go to the store to pick up items for a parenting conference we’re hosting and I discover:

bottleFriends. This is both a blessing and a curse

We all know that Salted Caramel desserts and treats were the HIT of everyone’s winter festivities this year…and besides Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark that I took like a drug really really really enjoyed, International Delight’s Salted Caramel Mocha Creamer simply MADE my entire holiday season. I LOVE THIS STUFF!  And up until last Thursday, I thought it was SEASONAL! I haven’t been able to find it in 2013! Until February 28th: THE LAST DAY BEFORE MY FOOD CHALLENGE (which, sadly, DOESN’T include coffee or coffee creamer!)

So……….I totally bought 2 bottles and put them promptly into my freezer and you better believe I will be defrosting them come Easter and thoroughly enjoying way too much SWEETLY CREAMED coffee on April Fool’s Day 🙂

In other foodie news, Joel has been in Mexico for work all week 😦 and has struggled through trying to stick as close to our foods as possible!

A week in, here are the changes that we have made since Day 1:

Original foods:

Chicken, eggs, apples, 100% whole wheat bread, peanut butter, greens, onions, beans, rice, broccoli

With the additions of salt, pepper, and olive oil for cooking and seasoning

During our last supper (4 of us got together to gorge ourselves snack on our favorites until literally midnight on February 28th), we all compared lists and made loose ‘rules’ and gave suggestions and ended up changing some foods

Then, after a week of this I realized I wasn’t eating a few items, so swapped them out w/others I would eat regularly!

So NOW my list is:

Chicken, eggs, apples, 100% whole wheat bread, peanut butter, greens, mozzerella cheese, bananas, tomatoes, berries

And we have broadened seasoning to ALL seasonings (hence dropping onion as food because I can use garlic anytime!), and included milk as a freebie so we are still getting our calcium and Vitamin D that is so important this time of year!

This list is versatile and lovely!

My starvation dramatics cravings went away after 3 days and I’ve gotten into a groove of normal eating patterns again (goodbye days of 3 string cheeses and possible multiple grilled cheese sandwiches chased with too many bananas…)

But I am SO looking forward to not being consumed with what to prepare, how to prepare it, and how to get it not to taste exactly like what I just ate for lunch…once April arrives

Spiritually, God is examining my emotions and my reasons for eating emotionally…

Why do I cover up stillness w/food and over-indulgence?

Why can’t I sit and just be?!

What am I ‘feeding’ w/cookies and desserts and sweets that I should be feeding w/the Word?

God revealed to Jenna this scripture that she passed on to us and we are all encouraging each other to memorize this month:

“So get yourselves ready, prepare your minds to act, control yourselves, and look forward in hope as you focus on the grace that comes when Jesus the Anointed returns and is completely revealed to you.  Be like obedient children as you put aside the desires you used to pursue when you didn’t know better.  Since the One who called you is holy, be holdy in all you do.  For the Scripture says, ” You are to be holy, for I am holy.”  If you call on the Father who judges everyone without partiality according to their actions, then you should live in reverence and awe while you live out the days of your exile.”

1 Peter 1:13-17 (The Voice)

NIV translation of these verses found HERE

What words are you hiding away in your heart right now?!

Why the challenges?!


It ends on TUESDAY and the winners will be announced WEDNESDAY!


It’s March and we’ve begun our FOOD CHALLENGE

Since we posted our ‘unofficial list’ earlier we have changed out RICE for BANANAS

Anyways, that’s not the point of this blog

I want to talk about WHY we are challenging ourselves in different ways, what it is doing for us, and how we hope to be changed for the future


Since cookies, ice cream, cookies, rolos, cookie dough, and cookies are not on my list for my food challenge, I am pretty confident I will fail.

(Debbie downer, huh?!)

Actually, I know I will failif I am not putting my faith and trust in God to transform my self-control and discipline…I have no hopes of succeeding!

And I know that if I try to succeed with self-discipline alone, I will fail!  We are coming together, in community, to radically challenge each other with self-control and discipline.  We are holding each other up in daily prayer and contacting each other with regular accountability.  The clothing challenge was a tight-knit group of 5 gals.  This food challenge has grown from 5 gals to 9! (7 ladies and 2 of our husbands).  In April the challenge will be related to marriage and I hope that even more will join in on the vulnerability, sacrifice, discipline, fellowship, and growth!

Along with the Late Night Girls Bible Study where the idea for these challenges grew – I have been reading lots of literature that has been tugging on my heart and convicting my spirit to make radical, lasting changes in how I view my possessions, my wealth, and my capabilities

One of these books is Radical by David Platt

If 7 by Jen Hatmaker rocked my world (the book behind the idea for the challenges), Radical pretty much crumbled it

We listened to this a few times in 2011 and I recently bought the book so I can pour over it’s words and write my thoughts in the margin

This book stirred our hearts towards adoption

This book helped us think differently about our God’s possessions (that we are merely stewards of)

This book turned our hearts towards seeking out more of THE BOOK (The Bible, in case you weren’t quite sure if I was refering again to 7 by Jen Hatmaker again which I’ve mentioned in at least 5% of my blogs)

Big Picture:

This is about the health of my heart and my emotions and my mind
We have the luxury of buying whatever we want…even extremely expensive healthy whole foods that are great for us – but we don’t have to hardly blink about the cost because of our surplus of money!
I want to meditate on the world and what I choose to stay blind to…how they are not just hungry but DIE from hunger
Kids, exactly like mine, all over the world, that will die today because they are hungry…something that can be so easily rectified…
How I can eat less or a smaller variety of diet and avoid gluttony, and over-indulgence, and SELF-indulgence?
And begin to concentrate on self-control, and my body-image in Christ, and being world-focused?
I know as we open our hearts to be more radical – and diligently hide more of The Word away in our hearts, we will continue to be pulled towards God’s plan for our lives and how our sole purpose is to bring Him glory
God, help us rid ourselves of gluttony this month and meditate on eliminating waste of food and get back to nurturing our bodies with a conservative and respectful diligence that keeps us globally-focused on those that will die today from not having the luxury of consuming the scraps that we throw away from our table…
Help us die to ourselves so that YOU can take us over and accomplish your greatness through us!
If you want to be challenged and need some accountability and fellowship – join us in this month’s challenge!  Just a leave a comment and let me know 🙂
If you want some literary ‘food for thought’ pick up Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst and be enlightened to transform our God-given desire to crave from food and other worldy distractions, to God and His Word that will benefit and feed us eternally.

The Food Challenge

So we’re wrapping up February and the Clothes Challenge!

I’ll have 1 more post at the end of this month by a Guest (my friend Sarah) and a GIVEAWAY!

Check back on Thursday 🙂


Before we wrap up the clothes, I want to prepare us for March’s FOOD CHALLENGE

This month’s challenge can look any way you want…fasting from a particular food, type of food, way of spending ON food…or being more intentional about what you are purchasing or what you are eating

My sweet, spectacular husband and I are going to be choosing 10 food items to eat from for the month of March

Here is our unofficial list:





peanut butter






What do you think?!

I’m still trying to figure out our ‘freebie’ list…

It will include salt, pepper, and olive oil…but still deciding if including salad dressing or vinegar is acceptable…plus juice for smoothies and milk for every day consumption

Thoughts? Feedback?

We also have a few situations where we may momentarily stray from our foods…but I have my gals giving me feedback on those circumstances and then I’ll reveal them to you for your judgment thoughts and views

Prayer request for this month: THIS IS GOING TO BE HARD.

You’re reading a blog from a gal who LOVES her sweets.

Since Novemeber I have uncovered an obsession love for baking…to accompany my long-time friend of over-indulgence enjoying desserts 🙂

So pray that I don’t crash and burn daily with this challenge.

After considering my list, however, I realized that I will be able to enjoy me some homemade peanut butter banana ice cream! I think I may be able to survive…


So – who’s with me?!

What will your challenge be?!

What do you think of our list of foods?!

I’m really excited to see what God does in my heart this month…coupled w/the groundwork he’s laid during the clothes challenge and the scripture memorization we are challenging ourselves w/in Late Night Girls Bible Study – it is bound to be a gloriously difficult month of growth!


Reflection on what we worship

What do we worship?

This month’s challenge has been so revealing…

I have 71 articles of clothes hanging in MY part of our closet

And 14 pairs of pants and shorts

7 ‘pajama’ pieces

17 folded t-shirts

12 pairs of shoes/boots/tennies

8 pairs of sandals

and an entire 5 drawer dresser full of undergarments, and workout clothes

40 pairs of earrings + 33 other accessories

And I didn’t get out my box from under the bed to count the clothes that are only ‘summer’ worthy



We’re talking close to 300 THINGS that I own (or do they own me?!) to cover myself with and in

That’s not to count that since I read 7 by Jen Hatmaker in October I have probably halved a wardrobe that I naturally am constantly reducing…

I wish I had a tally of what has cycled in and out of my closet in the last nearly 5 years since I’ve lived here…of how many articles I have mindlessly spent money on to wear/use for such a short period of time

So, while I can say that this challenge hasn’t been difficult to actually pull off…it has certainly been mind-altering and life-changing

Please, God, let it continue to change my life!  Do not let me return to impulse-online-shopping…to finding my worth in adorning myself to impress others…or to cover up the ugliness that is really in my heart – not on my skin

Transform me.

Watch this music video by Jimmy Needham – Clear the Stage (Thanks, Rachel, for sharing this!)

The halfway point…

Our halfway point of the clothes challenge was Thursday!

By now we have 16 days past us and 12 to go 🙂 (Hello, shortest month of the year!)

I wanted to compile some thoughts from the 4 other gals doing this challenge with me to recap how God is moving in us and using this to challenge us!

Some candid comments:

Day 2: I said “I hate this” (very classy of me, huh?!) and after many emails and jokes and encouragement, Lydia blessed us with this perspective:  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…       1 Peter 3:3-5

Day 5: From Lilli on the topic of having jewelry/accessories when speaking in front of a Mom’s group: “I don’t think anyone noticed. Good lesson for me. We think people care more than they do”

Day 11:

Lessons from Lydia:

1) I really don’t need as many clothes as I think are necessary…I’m actually getting along pretty easily with only 10 items!
2) I’m saving time and energy b/c I don’t have to think about what to wear.
3) People really don’t care about what i’m wearing
4) It’s OK to leave the house in sweats…dirty sweats…and stained up clothes.  Most people don’t even look twice 🙂
Lessons from Rachel M included:
1. The struggle to keep everything clean!
2. Overall boredom with what we chose (HERE, HERE!)
3. Really pay attention to the ‘rules’ because socks DON’T count……oh poor Rachel…one pair of socks for the first 7 days and sacrificing them some days so they’d be clean for others… 🙂
Lessons from Stephanie:
1. No one really cares what I have on – no one.  No one has said a word.
2. I can get by with a lot less – however, today is maybe not such a good day to ask because I’m just kind of annoyed – I know – it’s not a godly characteristic, but I just wanted to put on something different today and more layers.  I’m freezing!
3.  This challenge does make me thankful (although based on the previous paragraph one might not hear that.).  I am thankful to live where we live, to be able to provide for our family, but by no means does this give me permission to be greedy and frivolous.  I’m just realizing that I take it for granted that I can just go to my closet and yank another shirt off a hanger and throw it on b/c I get food on it or someone wipes grimy hands on me or I lift the beaters out of a bowl to soon.  I’m thankful for the laundry we are able to do so easily and quickly!  Thank you God for all the provisions you give me & my family – help me not to take them for granted and to share with those who have so much less than me.
Since then:
I had sent out an email a few days prior to Valentine’s Day suggesting we get a ‘pass’ for a date night with our hubby…and after hearding everyone’s response’s, especially Lilli’s (Lilli, you are so superior to us…so much holier… 🙂  ), I decided that maybe I wouldn’t take the pass…or maybe I’d wear some accessories (my poor neck and ears have been BARE from scarves and earrings!) to spice up my very dull nice outfit (black shirt and jeans).
Anyways…all of this to say – is that what started out as somewhat inconvenient has turned out NOT to be difficult for me at all.  Many of us had previously cleaned out our closets and I bet, come March 1st when we re-enter those closets and stand in open-mouthed wonder at what lies in front of our eyes, we’ll be cleaning them out again 🙂
I pray that I will be moved to not spend my money so freely on clothes and shoes and accessories in the future, but to really meditate on what I NEED vs. what I WANT…and to take those desires to God.
It’s all about seeking out what is in our hearts…and the reasoning behind our motives…

And for those of you who are curious – March will bring us to the food challenge!

More on that, soon 🙂