Monthly Archives: April 2012

Spoiled American

That is what I am. A spoiled American. I love getting pedicures. I love having a washing machine. I love having two cars for the two drivers in our family. I love convenience. I love shopping. but I have felt convicted lately, and I truly hate that I am so materialistic and consumeristic. 

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I recently read the book Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker. This book was a huge smack in my pretty little made up face. I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. I fill my schedule too full. I spend my money too easily. I spend my time unwisely. I don’t give away enough. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want. (well…for the most part…I’m aiming to be gluten-free now so this isn’t entirely true. More on that later.)

But Bottom line: I live a life of EXCESS. 

This all was very clear to me when our dishwasher stopped draining a couple weeks ago. We had a new garbage disposal installed (because ours wasn’t working and Lord knows we can’t empty the yucky scraps into the trash ourselves) and something was off with that that installation that caused our dishwasher to be clogged. We washed a couple loads in there, thinking it might work itself out. This did not happen. It got yucky, and we had to start washing dishes by hand. By we, I mean me, of course…since my job includes caring for the baby and the house while Kev works super hard. 

I was not a happy camper about this hand washing routine. I was a brat, it’s kinda ridiculous how I acted. I know lots of Americans don’t have dishwashers (in fact our apartment didn’t have one, and I SERIOUSLY don’t know how we or our marriage survived.) I was a wreck for this 2 week period of living with a zero-functioning-dishwasher. A complete wreck. I complained that I didn’t have time for anything else besides washing dishes. (seriously, though? How many hours a day do I spend online doing useless activities?) I didn’t want to cook because I didn’t want to wash the dishes by hand. I acted like what I would call a typical, lazy American. I was terrified that our washer or dryer might also malfunction…or what we would do in the future if this happened. I started realizing how much I take these appliances for granted! There are SO SO SO many people around the world who don’t have dishwashers, toasters, Keurig Coffee makers, air-conditioners, heaters, microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, STOVES…my gosh. I need to get over missing out on ONE for 14 days of my life. 

I’m so thankful now for that wake-up call! I have such a selfish heart.

I am so embarrassed to admit my freak-out-ness. I know lots of you probably function fine without a dishwasher. (in that way, I believe you deserve the title of exemplary American.) But this is just one way that I am so spoiled with my way and “standard” of living. I don’t want to be this way! I don’t want to be that suburban brat, ever. I don’t want to live an oblivious, painfully spoiled American life when our sisters and brothers around the world are walking miles just to get clean drinking water. When we have sisters and brothers HERE who hardly have enough food to eat or a place to rest their head. 

I don’t want to continue buying clothes just because it’s fun when I have SO many I don’t wear and when people in our own city and country own just the clothes on their backs. I don’t want to shelter myself from reality and throw a hissy fit over something as frivolous as a dishwasher breaking. 

How do I change?? I think it starts with awareness.

Since I read (more like devoured) Jen’s book, I have mostly stayed away from the mall…and clothing sections in other stores. (ehem…target)  I have seriously probably reduced our clothing expenditures by over 75%.I have cooked more, which has helped us stay away from spending lots of cash on restaurants. I have been praying for the orphans and the widows…and I can feel my heart being drawn even more toward international adoption through these times of prayer and journaling. I just feel God shaping me as I let myself lean into these thoughts and convictions. 

I am painfully aware of excess in my life and heart and schedule. I am afraid of who I might become if I continue down the typical American path.

I’m realizing that it’s not okay to be unaware and therefore “irresponsible.” I would HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t want to live the status quo American way anymore. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a book that pierced me right where I needed it the way this one did. 

We did get our dishwasher fixed. We had bought the warranty from Lowes so it was free. Geez louise. Thank you, Lord, for having mercy on a sinner like me. 

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Missing my Ford Focus :)

So the day before our precious baby was born, we gave into something many many American families do before they welcome home a new family member. We bought an SUV.

Okay, so it wasn’t THAT impulsive of a decision. 🙂 If you knew my husband, you would know he would never allow something so spontaneous to happen. Thank God I married someone level-headed! We had been looking and thinking about buying an SUV for a few months, and we decided to make the leap just in time for baby Coleton.

If you know me well, you probably know that the Ford Edge has been my dream car since they came out about five years ago. When I told Kevin’s cousin about my dream car he laughed and said, “I think you can make that dream come true.” 🙂 This made me happy, because I realized that he was probably right!

Kevin and I used to go test drive cars and take pictures of ourselves in them (me in the Ford Edge and Kev in a Mercedes)…a little something Jack Canfield recommends when he talks about vision-casting and dreaming. We would just enjoy the smell and touch and feel of these fun and “fancy” cars. Very fancy for our college budgets.

It was definitely a bucket list moment when I was handed the keys to this beautiful navy blue sparkling beast of a vehicle (compared to my little Ford Focus.) And I loved it. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it! I have a thing with my cars. I seriously think we build relationships with our cars! I mean, you spend lots of time in it, right? Anyone else feel me?

Although I’m working on my relationship with the Edge, I just want to give a shout out to my little Ford Focus.

Dear baby red,

Oh how I miss you, little zippy car, and your 30 mpg. You are so darn efficient. You are so cheap to fill up with gas. You’re the definition of unpretentious. 

un·pre·ten·tious/ˌənpriˈtenCHəs/

Adjective:
  1. Not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture than is actually possessed.
  2. (of a place) Pleasantly simple and functional; modest.

I like that about you. I feel so compact and practical driving you. But, you had to go. You weren’t big enough for me to feel safe driving our baby in. You also don’t fit the pack and play and other baby paraphanalia as well as your big brother Edge. SO, thanks for all the good times. But please know how much I still miss you!!  

Love,

Olivia (Your most faithful and favorite owner.)

To fill you in, Kevin has been driving the Ford Focus because we sold his Mitsubishi. He does not love it as much as I did. Does someone want to love and care for this sweet little car? It got some minor damage two weeks ago when he was rear ended, so we’re selling it cheap. Here is the Craigslist link. http://quadcities.craigslist.org/cto/2978327279.html 😦 Bye bye, baby red.