Monday, September 9, 2013


So the book 7- An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker, has really been messing with me. More on that later this week.  Today I want to focus on how ungrateful I am, my kids are, pretty much every person in a first world society, is with the things they own.  (This is also springing up in part from 7)

Lately, for the past few months, I have been noticing how much stuff we have and how much my kids don't care about the nice things they have.  Even the littles let their stuff lay all over the floor and they don't take any steps to care for it.  Beautiful dolls- on the floor, blocks- oops the dog chewed them, books- bent corners because they throw them on the floor, on and on and on.

Remember in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series how Ma had that little china doll that was basically her only beautiful thing?  She packed it carefully every time they moved and the kids were never allowed to touch it. Well, guess what.  There is pretty much nothing that I am that careful with in my life.  Nothing.

So that begets the question, what happened?  When did I come to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter because I can always buy another one?  Or equally disturbing, that one doesn't matter because I have more than one.

We are such a buying culture, that I have to admit I am ashamed of how I have foolishly spent money on stuff, and when I wasn't careful or something happened, I was fortunate enough to just go out and buy it again.

And the biggest question, how do I change it both in myself, and most importantly, in my kids??
How very, very true.

It is up to Chris and I to change our nonchalant ways about buying items that are unnecessary, and teaching our  kids to be grateful for every.single.thing they have.  

This has been on my mind a lot, especially since I have read 7 and have been focusing on what basically 99% of the rest of the world doesn't have.  We're talking people who maybe have one change of clothes, maybe one toy, maybe are eating one meal a day.  And I took my kids to McDonalds because I was too lazy to make lunch.  And Kembia has 4 baby dolls and guess how many she plays with?  None.  

Ugh, it is all starting to make me feel sick about it.  I know, I can't change the past, but I find myself being frustrated with my fellow Americans and our desire for more, more, more.  I am not saying that having things, or even buying things is wrong, but it is wrong when we do it unnecessarily and from a position of gluttony.  And I would even go so far as to say it is wrong if we do it but then are not helping people in need as we continue to amass things for ourselves.  I think Jesus would look at how a typical American, myself included, lives, and shake his head in sadness for how we are totally missing the point.  

We have a big uphill battle in front of us.  


  1. Start slow, check out what values you place on things, filter the excess from your life but slow and intentionally.
    Few ideas that worked well for me
    1) Do a massive clear out sell your stuff online etc donate or use the cash
    2) Start the concept of death bed purchases. Buy things for the long haul. The throw away culture supports poor production practices such as low wages and environmentally costly
    3) Get creative living overseas shows you just how many things you take as everyday aren't about so people make things up reuse and recycle. If you got to go buy something think could you survive without it? Delay buying it for a month
    4) do a 1 month 0 non essential purchase.
    5) Toys kill creativity, children without toys aren't deprived they learn to use what the world has to offer! Those baby dolls your daughter doesn't play with shows that it western parents that believe these to be essential things for a 'good childhood' and we have all witnessed that kids love the box as much if not more than the toy itself. Living in Asia and Africa has shown me that the narrative children with no toys have a bad time playing to be so untrue!
    6) Its all about mmindset and that takes a long time to change so go slow go easy on yourself. You were brought up in an excessive culture of 'stuff= success/value/good' that wont go over night. You have realised something use that to challenge yourself daily. Look at how often when you parent you place importance on ownership of stuff ie 'MY, phone, YOUR toy etc what message does that send? Does stuff and the need for it feel liberating or suffocating for you in each moment and run with it. Is it image/ego that 'needs' this item or happiness/necessity

    Go slow get rid of the excess, be mindful of your purchases and explore your belief system!
    Your post took me back several years when I get very intentional about consumerism and stuff! It has give me the fortune to live a totally different one based on experience and contribution rather than things and status!

    I hope you find a balance that works for you and your family

    1. Thank you so much for your response! Your line "It has give me the fortune to live a totally different one based on experience and contribution rather than things and status!", really, really struck me. That basically sums up how I would like to live my life from this point out. And I completely agree with you about the concept of toys, our desire to have something to "stimulate" their mind, when in reality, they will play with boxes or sticks or various items around the house not really meant for toys so much longer. I kind of feel like I have had a major "aha" moment, and that things will be quite differently for our family from this point forward.