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Friday, September 21, 2012

Making Him Think It's His Idea

“Less of me and my junk. More of you and your kingdom.” Jen Hatmaker

So, I've been following my husband around the house, reading him a “story.” No, he didn’t ask me to. No, it isn't a book that's required reading. It's a book that threatens to inspire me to change in ways my husband may see as radical, extreme or even worse – annoying.

Here's the background story -

This is our new patio, with our new patio furniture, and the new trellises. New new new.

This is the new mulch on the new landscaping fabric on the new dirt. Most is old and hand-shoveled but my shoulders were very very sore... so I paid money for one scoop of dirt at the landscaping store. Then I only had to rake it off the tailgate of my husband's pickup. Easier and hours faster! The old dirt was free, the new dirt was $35.

This was how we spent most of our income tax refund check. I wanted it, dreamed of it, longed for a civilized place to sit outside. A place that earwigs, spiders and bugs with names I don't know would look at and say, “Did you see that contemporary eyesore (everything's a contemporary eyesore to bugs that live in the woods) the neighbors put in?  Hideous!  I wouldn't be caught dead in that place!”

This is our 15 month old pool. We bought it at Last year the top ring inflated with air as it was designed. This year it had a leak we couldn't find for a week. We finally sliced the ring open, jammed a bunch of pool noodles in there and enjoyed it all summer. It has to be drained each fall. It isn't matchy matchy with the patio. It doesn't have a deck. One with both those features would cost about 10 times as much.

We planned to use next year's tax refund for a new pool. One with a deck and steps that led from the beautiful patio to the new pool.
Now, Enter the book I just finished. 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. OMGoodness!

I was a poor kid, and a poor adult for many years. I've not only gone without health insurance, I've gone without car insurance. In some ways you can't tell.  I'm "passing” with people of stable financial histories. In other ways, I'm oddly frugal, and I'm sure those people think I just have no taste. My home came with curtains when we moved in 8 years ago. Other than the bathroom and kitchen, it has those same curtains up today. My husband has even remarked about getting new ones. I've tried, but have you seen how much curtains cost!? 

Actually, this is my living room.
Sometimes they have great sales, but they look like they've been ripped off a belly dancer. My house doesn't have the personality of jeweled and tasseled drapes. She just couldn't pull that off. Apparently many homes can, as those sparkling drapes are in every store. Mine is more like this: 

So... excess... too much... waste not want not. I'm sort of sensitive to the notion I have that and do that. In the past couple years, "The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard E. Stearns, "Wrecked" by Jeff Goins, and this new book I fondly refer to as "7" have reminded me of the difference between wants, needs and American Needs.

The patio is a fantastic place to read, eat, study, entertain, write, and enjoy a bit of less buggy outdoors. It's so comfortable and I'll absolutely use it – a lot. But it cost a pile of money.

Patio – Be still my beating heart.            Pool – Be still my husband's beating heart. 
     ME: “Do you think we really need to get a new pool next year?” 
     ED: “Why?” 
     ME: “Well, do we really NEEED it?  It's soooo much money!” 
     ED: “I knew this was coming when you read that book.”

So, I'm reading the book to him. When someone tries to take something from us, we tend to hold on tighter as it's pulled away. When eyes are opened and a heart is changed, the hands open up and offer it.  I think the patio is permanent, but there are other things.... (Expect pictures in the upcoming days.)

I do still have issues with peer pressure. I've started a book club so my girlfriends will read this book with me. I'm exposing my husband and my friends because I don't want them to think I'm weird without a reason. 

Stay tuned for updates on my response to “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.”

What book has impacted your daily life choices?


  1. I'm overly frugal, even when I don't have to be. If something works, it doesn't get replaced with something fancier, just because there IS something fancier, or newer. (I wish my kids would have inherited this) I'm not much for conspicuous consumption.

  2. Hi I'm Heather! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog! LifesABanquet1(at)

  3. Ms. A., Do you think there are different expectations as to what is enough with every younger generation. Or perhaps it's just that our children have come to age in a more prosperous time so their frame of reference is much different...?

    Heather, I've emailed you.