Monday, March 5, 2012

Jen Hatmaker's 7. A Giveaway.

Several months ago I stumbled upon Jen Hatmaker's blog. I may or may not have fallen a little bit in love. Then I heard more about her most recent book, 7: An experimental mutiny against excess.

It sounded exactly like something I needed to read. NEEDED. So I did what any normal person would do and I sent her an invasive, stalkerish, pushy-broad kind of email in which I asked her if she would send me a free copy.

To: Jen Hatmaker
From: Shannan Martin

1. When I read your words it's freaky, because it feels like it's my mind thinking. Like I'm reading my own MIND.
2. #crazyalert
3. I'm hovering over the button to buy 7 because I cannot wait one more minute, except...
4. If your publisher offers copies for bloggers to do reviews, then I can wait. But just one more minute.
5. Do you offer copies for reviews? Am I even asking the right person?
6. Every word you write on this blog (I just discovered you a month or so ago) so clearly mirrors much of my life. It's spooky-cool. And you're a dang good writer and appear to be generally awesome in every visible way.

Then I didn't hear back from her ever again. Amen.

Then I told my book club friends about my foolish attempt to score the book for free and it dawned on me that maybe it's not best to ask your secret girl-crush to send you her book for free. You know, the book she's trying to sell for real paper money so that she can buy coffee and keep milk in the fridge.

I didn't fault her for ignoring my email. Not even a tiny bit. I asked her to forgive me when I talked to her in my head and she said she would. We were all squared away.

Then, one day, she emailed me back saying that she has archaic email accounts that she fails to check for months at a time. And I fell even deeper in love, because as some of you have experienced first-hand, I might respond to a May email the following September. It has happened. Over and over. It's one of the most shameful corners of my life, and I'm not even playing.

Long story short, her people sent me a book. They sent me TWO.

I spent the next week or so buried under a fleece firehouse blanket with my pink gel pen in my claw. And bad hair.

Here's the gist: Jen took seven months and intentionally set out to reduce and simplify her life in 7 key areas (one per month): Food, Clothing, Possessions, Media, Waste, Spending, Stress.

People, this book rocked my socks off in so many ways, my toes are still cold.

There is something so appealing to me about consciously slowing down and letting go. I love the idea of further simplifying. I love this:

I approach this project in the spirit of a fast: an intentional reduction, a deliberate abstinence to summon God's movement in my life. A fast creates margin for God to move. Temporarily changing our routine of comfort jars us off high center. A fast is not necessarily something we offer God, but it assists us in offering ourselves. - 7 Jen Hatmaker

And this:

7 will be a tangible way to bow low and repent of greed, ungratefulness, ruined opportunities, and irresponsibility. It's time to admit I'm trapped in the machine, held by my own selfishness. It's time to face our spending and call it what it is: a travesty. I'm weary of justifying it. - 7 Jen Hatmaker

My eyes were glued to the page as I read about Jen eating only seven foods for the first month. The following month, she wore only seven articles of clothing. You get the point, but I'm more than willing to summarize anyway: Jen Hatmaker went mental for seven months straight and told the whole truth so very well that I followed her straight to the sanitarium.

I pondered the book for 3 additional weeks after I finished it. I re-read some chapters twice. I carted it off to book club to do a reading and I "shushed" the menfolk when it was obvious that they weren't really listening. 

I sent Jen pretend text messages in my mind as I drifted to sleep. "I had that Living Epistle t-shirt too! And the neon-colored volleyball one." "I ROCKED Via Delarosa with my hairbrush microphone!" I imagined myself as one of her council members. I was troubled when she chose sweet potatoes as one of her foods when it was obvious that it should have been raspberries. I condemned her for implying that spaghetti sauce didn't count as a single "whole" food, because if that's true, then what shall be said of salsa? It would totally be one of my 7. If I was insane enough to try it.

I thought for a few minutes that I might be insane enough to try it, but then I wigged the heck out on taco night when I thought we were out of sour cream. I swear to you, I saw a little bit of red. I thought the whole world was against me and my tacos supreme. I shut the fridge with more force than was necessary. "We are never out of sour cream. Ever. And there's no where to get any now that the Dollar General got shut down by the Health Department. Stupid termites. We should just forget it and eat cereal."

(Then I found it way in the back behind the kalamatas.)

It was clear that I wasn't quite ready for the 7 foods thing.

But what I can say is this. I sit here typing in:

1. dark wash jeans that highlight my muffin top but don't give me baggy butt
2. red long sleeve henley
3. grey pill-ball sweater from the now-defunct Steve and Barry's

There's more in the rotation, but you'll have to come back tomorrow to meet 'em.

I have so much more to say about 7. I need you to read the book and help me process it. Think of all of the pretend text messages we can send each other! I'll be part of your council if you'll be part of mine. Do it with me, wouldja? Wouldja?

Leave a comment to win your own copy of 7. Tell me any ol' thing your heart desires.  I'll draw a winner on Wednesday.