Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How Much is Too Much?

My goal for the month was to read six books (see January's reading list) and am happy to say that just halfway through the month I am onto number 4!  This month was split between non-fiction and fiction, which is how most of my months will look.  I've mentioned before that 2012 was my "dive into non-fiction" year and I honestly can say I have been missing out for many years!  I'm not into historical reading, but more on topics that I find thought-provoking and relevant to today's life.

This past week I read 7:  An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.  The author chooses seven areas in her life (and her family's) and focuses on cutting back on each for one month.  Some were admittedly a little extreme, like only eating seven foods or wearing seven articles of clothing for a month, but others were much more practical, like spending and stress.  Once again, I found myself thinking of how we live and the small things we could change that would not only make a difference in our lives, but others as well.

The book is a fun, easy read.  The author's style made me chuckle and it was far from "preachy."  Much of this is tied to her faith, which I enjoyed, and her honesty about the way they live their lives and how she came to realize how much excess "stuff" they really have is easy to relate to.  I think we can all agree that we live in a society where many feel like they need more, more, more or must have the newest and best item out there.  The question, though, is does it really make us happier?  

I have no intention of following in her footsteps by creating such a drastic project, but there are some areas of our life that I'd like to make small changes to.  Like most people, we have too much "stuff."  Our house could use a good overhaul, even though we moved not long ago and parted ways with many items.  Most of the time we donate our items to Goodwill and move on without giving it much thought. One point that she made, however, was to actually connect with people while giving items away.  For example, instead of dropping them off at Goodwill, take your items to a shelter or organization where you may actually interact with the people who receive the goods.  It may be a little extra work, but may help us realize how lucky we truly are and give us the opportunity to see first-hand how others live.

Another area that I'm always working to improve upon is food.  Unfortunately, food manufacturers are allowed to add some many additives and junk into what we eat, that it is important to mindful of what we are eating and feeding our children.  I do my best to navigate the grocery aisles and find the healthiest choices, but there is always room to improve.  Since moving, I haven't been able to find a good place to buy organic produce or meat that is not pumped full of hormones and other junk.  I would like to work on that a bit more and adjust our grocery budget to do so.  We've already cut way back on what we feed our kids for snacks and cut-out most processed food you'd find in the freezer section, but there are products that we buy that appear to be "healthy" that really aren't.  This will forever be an ongoing project.

These are just a few examples of what I'd like to accomplish.  There are more, of course, but I don't have time to share them!  If you read the book, I'm sure you'll come up with some projects, however big or small, of your own.  It's definitely worth the read!

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