Thursday, March 8, 2012

7/9 Redux and some Winners

We had recently put our house on the market back when these pictures were taken by our famous photographer. We were still in that anxious/exciting phase where you know that there's something on the horizon, but you can't quite see it. We were barefly tasting the exhilaration of flinging ourselves into an unknown future. It was all brand new. I like new things.

Now, 18 months later, we're living in our carpeted paradise, we have no idea where we're going from here or when and I wear four-day jeans and a red henley on a date to Carrabas.

I miss that day, that one up there at the top. It had its charms and it just felt a little easier, a lot less queasier. And yet, we know that this is right. This.

Here's the honest to goodness truth:  When I say that I like having you on this journey with me, what I mean is, "I need you on this journey with me like the salsa needs its chip." It's difficult to explain the ways we have felt isolated through the past months. So when we find people who think a little or a lot like we do, we have to resist the urge to dig our fingernails into them, haul them into the BDR and lock them in the closet. We want to keep them. They make us feel less redonkulous. More normal. Less alone.

You are those people to me. We "get" each other. And sometimes? We don't. But we give the benefit of the doubt. We keep learning together. We celebrate our differences.

We're homies. We just are.

I can't even tell you how your comments crack my business straight up and encourage me. I'm forever leaving your comments in my inbox because I have big pie-in-my-mouth dreams that I'll conjure the time out of thin air to personally respond to all of you. Then I realize that I have 200 emails in my box and I remember what my life is like right now and I know it's not going to happen, so here, right now, feel my love. Do you feel it? Try harder. Now? Do you feel it now??

One of my favorite comments on the giveaway post was this one: "I struggle with excess. I blame it on His extravagant love for me. And then I look around at all this clutter and know...this can't be's really just me." - Abby

Abby Girl, when did you climb into my noggin?

As for me, I'm still loving, neigh, adoring my pared down wardrobe. I mean it, people. When Jen Hatmaker said in her book that she enjoyed wearing the same thing every day I didn't believe her. I got the vapors just thinking about it, which is precisely when I knew that I had to try it.

I thought I'd be all miserable and cheaty but I'm not, which makes me wonder if I have been taken captive by the machine that hooks us in the gills with BOGO and sinks us with snarky commentary on the foolish celeb who dared to wear the same thing twice. We have been hard-wired to believe that we need different stuff, newer stuff. I can't tell you how many times I've justified a new purchase not because the old item is worn out or no longer fits, but simply because it's old, and by "old", I may mean 3 or 4 years.

This wardrobe fast has allowed me to shove the judgments of others off the table, and I'm starting to see that those (silent) voices play a large part in my compulsion to keep mixing it up, adding to the pot. It doesn't feel acceptable to publicly wear the same thing every day. People will talk. They'll think I've lost my mojo. They might think I'm depressed. Or worse, unimaginative.

Please understand that I will go back to wild layering and I'll probably even live to shop again. I'm not saying for a minute that picking out a fun outfit is bad. I'm simply saying that there's something to be learned through a forced departure from the norm. Just try it, ya'lls.

Several of you have mentioned (and I had the same thought on my own) that it would be hard to do 7 or 9 items of clothing for a month when you work outside the home. I get it. Totally, absolutely.

The good news is, this was never meant to be a formula. Jen did 7. I'm doing 9 (plus coat, shoes, and my striped pj pants.) There are no hard and fast rules. This is a framework. A starting point. Get creative. Pray about it. Find your own way to intentionally sacrifice or simplify in the area of your wardrobe. Your way doesn't have to look like mine or hers or his.

Now. We have winners. A dearly beloved reader personally bought and shipped to me 2 additional copies of 7 for the giveaway. We've got threebies, Party People!!!

1. Kim - White Whispers 2U
2. Victoria - As Time Goes By
3. Melissa in PA

Email me your addresses, ladies, and I'll get your books out to you.


  1. i think you practiced for the "9" last summer when you switched off 2 different skirts at your family camp. and totally rocked them. reading you is like getting that great salty chip to finish off the salsa. thanks.

    1. I loved those posts about summer camp. The skirt with the pom poms and the other one. But especially the one with the pom poms.

    2. I kept thinking about the skirts today, too! Here's the post.

    3. pretty sure that's my fave post you've written, you know.
      you are my people. xo

    4. I liked that post but I still will never ever ever ever forget "Merry Christmas Dumpster Rats"
      You have no idea how often I think of that phrase. Usually when I'm frustrated or something. You have invented my favorite angry words. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

  2. well isn't this a happy coincidence. i need you, too. but i think you already know that, right?

  3. Aww, glad to be considered one of your homies. I adore you.

  4. Oh yes, and when you have visited my blog, which has been like twice, I am over the moon to read a comment from you on MY blog! It's like your famous ;)

  5. That Ruby-girl is just so pretty. So happy that I'm not alone in the compulsion to completely capture a person who "gets" me. Glad we can be weird together. Keep on rockin' the henley!

  6. I get you, and like you a lot :-)

  7. well then. totally taking this as a sign from the L9ord that i can, ion fact, keep wearing layers of 4 shorts at a time.
    what? that's not what you meant? well crapola.

    we love you too sista girl. loads.

  8. I get you, and I wish we would have met when I lived in Chicago! If you are in San Diego in the next few years...
    Ps we have lots of chips & salsa here.

  9. I'm toying with the idea of giving up television, or, more specifically, our DVR/Dish/TV...and just saying that gives me shivers. But I think it's excessive.

    I'm getting the book this week. I can't wait. I wish I'd been reading at the same time as you so I could call you and we could gab about it while I drive to the school and you pretend Silas isn't using lotion as shampoo.

    That was fun that one time we did that.


  10. Can an English girl be a homie? I hope so. Not exactly sure what it is but sounds cosy! Slightly envious you can say words like homie and dang and skillz without sounding one iota ridiculous. Being able to say "oh crumbs" without affectation doesn't seem like a fair comparison!

    First five hauls of clothes from Wild Acre HQ have gone to Oxfam.

  11. Now you are just TOYING with me w/the "famous photographer" stuff -- OR -- you haven't read my e-mail, and you have no idea what I'm talking about. Either way, Happy Friday. Keep rockin' the henley.

  12. Awesome! I am so excited to get and read the book! Thanks!

  13. You're just the sweetest thang! I hope you have a day filled with blessed peace and assurances of His love for you. I love you, too.

  14. Remember how it was almost dark and we all of a sudden realized that your darling children were about three hours past their dinner time and five minutes away from their bedtime but in spite of it all they were being such troopers and powering through every child's dream of participating in a family photo shoot?
    I need a rosemary roll hot from the oven, stat!
    Miss you, Farmgurrrl.

  15. I could barefly get through the rest of your post when I caught that little hidden nugget.
    To steal Abilene's thunder. You is kind. You is smart. You is important. I am reading along, in awe of what you are doing. Really.

  16. I've pared down my wardrobe but not quite to 7. Thank you for giving me permission to not have to do 7. I am a rules following fiend and it was tearing me up that i wasn't down to that certain number. But I have eliminated 90% of my wardrobe and am working with 15 pieces. This is my "framework," as you so aptly put it, and it is already doing a work inside me. Who knows, maybe next week i'll eliminate 8 things and be down to seven...we'll see. excited to see what you (and I) discover on this little learning journey.

  17. I saw Kim, and my heart skipped a beat. And then I realized it was a Kim who isn't me. But, I love you anyway.
    The end.

    1. I wish ALL the Kims could win! And all the Everyones, really. :)

  18. My husband and I are "letting go" as well. Seriously, we are moving from the hometown I have been in since 2nd grade selling ALMOST ALL our stuff (hows THAT for a fast?! we're only keeping what we can pack in our SUV)b/c we are moving to Boston to live with his aunt while the hubs finishes his seminary degree and I finish up my masters in teaching ESL then after we are done we are literally moving half way across the world to live (his hometown). Where I will have to learn a different language and culture, no to mention one day have kids there?! The adventure side of me screams LETS DO THIS! the other side of me screams WHAT THE HECK ARE WE DOING?! I write all of this to say I'm thankful for you, for how you encourage me to let go by writing about it, about how you don't sugar coat it but you also have hope, encourages me and I don't feel like I am the only one doing something crazy, and if I am weeeelllll I enjoy the company your blog provides ;)

  19. "Now, 18 months later, we're living in our carpeted paradise, we have NO idea where we're going from here" ~ girl you are like a favorite tv series, keeping us in suspense like this, only we don't have to worry about a season finale. thank goodness!
    It's difficult to explain the ways we have felt isolated through the past months. So when we find people who think a little or a lot like we do, we have to resist the urge to dig our fingernails into them, haul them into the BDR and lock them in the closet. ~ i get 'it.' feel it everyday in my little work-a-day-business-world surrounded by christians & non's. love ya!

  20. I left a long maybe to long of a comment Thanking you! Though I don't see it now.
    I'm very excited to read this book.Thanks for the chance to have won one~Kim

  21. so maybe this is too personal, but, my dilema is that i'm an excessive armit sweat-er!!! that wigs me out because then i'd have to do laundry more often for fewer clothes??????? maybe i'll choose 7 shirts and 1 pair of jeans....hmm...
    seriously, thought i did a missions trip with reign ministries in europe. we were gone for 3 months and we were allowed 4 shirts, 3 shorts, 1 jeans, 1 sweatshirt and 7 undies. we also had to do our laundry by hand most campgrounds and line dry which meant we could only do our laundry about every 7 days. you know, looking back we all loved it. sometimes we would trade with each other. but it didn't take long when i got home to go back to my american way. sounds like i'm getting closer to taking the plundge.
    and i feel your love...oh how i long to find a community that gets my little family:)

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I'll try again ;-)

    love your words, and your honesty!
    I might have mentioned this before, but you are an inspiration, and I totally get you ;-)

  24. You are sooo not alone! THANKS for making me smile when I read my mail... You and your family make my heart smile. Hope your Friday went well and your weekend's full of fun.

  25. "It's difficult to explain the ways we have felt isolated through the past months."

    What?! Really?! That makes me sad. And yet, I guess if I stop and think about it...I shouldn't be surprised. I so admire your steps of faith that it's hard to imagine a lack of support. But we've been there too, and it can be a lonely place when you break away from status quo.

    I think you're the bomb. Do you feel the love? I hope so.

  26. Why, FPFG, I nearly fainted. :) I'm pretty sure it is YOU who have gotten in MY head. God is messing me up in the best possible ways. Sometimes I can't even process it, so I just take it all in and store it up for later.

    I've asked Him to continue messing me up. Because when He's done pruning, I don't really miss the branches. I just feel free.

    I'm thankful for your blog & your heart & your willingness to put it out there. I'm thankful for you.

  27. what?! I missed it?! I'm kind of mildly freaking out over here. I just assumed you and Jen were tight because I found you both around the same time and you reminded me of each other--totally awesome ladies who rock my socks off :) I've been dying to read 7, I even pinned it on pinterest like a month ago!

  28. I just *hug* you! It is great you are not alone. I blogged about you and Jen and 7 and we are going to start a Bible study over the whole thing. I am looking forward to it bc I need to intentionally simplify. Thanks for the push

  29. Okay girl - I'm with ya! I'm up for the challenge because I just cheated by browsing through as much of Jen Hatmaker's book on Amazon I could see thru the edited selections they offer! She finally got me when she described me at the end (guessing who her reader's most likely were!). The clothes thing isn't gonna be that hard for me I don't think but food? Maybe a challenge... and how am I supposed to get my family on board?!!
    I confess - I actually do this crazy bipolarish thing were I vacilate between extremely frugal and simplify everything and then the pendulum swings and we eat out practicly every other day of the week and I thrift to my hearts content bringing home way too many "great finds". Need balance! Or maybe not balance - maybe just as Thoreau said "simplify,simplify". Now I wonder if my local library would have copies yet? I sure hope so!

  30. So I didn't win the book?


    I will buy it.

    200 emails sitting in your inbox?

    Simply overwhelming. I could never keep up.

    Thank you for the times you have responded. I had a feeling your inbox was clogged, but not flooded.

    I can feel the love.

    And I'm volleying it right back at ya!

    Happy Saturday!


  31. I love, love, love reading blogs that stretch my thinking and invite me in, but don't push me (too hard-some is good) or judge me do I say it? Become off-putting in the good idea department. You are balancing that, and I am trying to stretch my thinking and contemplate my love of shopping at the thrift store. My home is full and overflowing with good deals. I need to clean it out, but I want God to help me with my spending. This is a piece of the help he has provided - this blogging you are doing. Thank you.

  32. Yes, we WERE created to need each other. And I get you. Only, I'd try eating only 7 items for a month before wearing only 7 items.

    And you have me craving chips/salsa. It would definitely be included in my 7.

  33. My first comment on your blog, which I've been reading for a while now - - (and LOVE btw!) I get a lot of grief because I DO tend to keep things simple! When Dave and I decided to make it all official and declare ourselves a family, we combined two established households into his 1100 sq ft house - - and after, sometimes painful (on both our parts) editing, the things in this house are what we NEED, what we LOVE, and what are USEFUL. I know that sounds a little boring, but it is, in fact, quite liberating! If we splurge anywhere at all, I would say it's the phenominal meals we cook and the fun we have in garden - - the backyard is his - he likes and Asian zen theme, and I have the front - I prefer a bit of an English garden look!
    I love reading your blog as I grew up in NE and somehow ended up in the farther corner of NW WA state, so it's a little like visiting back home - the central U.S. Thank you for that!

  34. Wow this post hit me square on with the battle I'm having letting things go - in the middle of packing and changing my living circumstances. It is painful, isn't it? But then later it feels oh so good to be lightened & appreciate the things that were kept because they made the cut! I still have a lot of work to do in organizing and managing a small space. Having a friend nearby to motivate, encourage, be honest in love, and sprinkle in a little humor, too! Thank God for friends! I've missed a lot of your in between posts but thankful I dropped in today. God bless :)

  35. Really Nice Post.
    Thanks for sharing...

  36. I love the framework idea. There is no right or wrong, it's an exercise.
    When our country went to war in Iraq I did something quirky. I was single then and worked in an office. I was so naive, I thought this war would be like the Gulf war and over in a few weeks/months. I decided to wear a blue shirt to work everyday in honor of infantry blue. Everyday as I went to my closet and made a conscious effort to select a blue blouse or sweater or shirt I was reminded of what was going on in Iraq. It challenged me in my thinking about freedom. It reminded me that soldiers wear the same thing every single day. It reminded me that I am proud to be an American. It reminded me to pray. I think I did this for about 7 or 8 weeks. And when I stopped it wasn't because I just couldn't bear the thought of wearing another blue shirt. It was because the exercise of reflection had done it's job and I no longer needed a blue shirt to be reminded that we were at war.