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Join us this week as we continue on this journey through 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess! It’s not too late to join us – pick up a copy from DaySpring for only $10 here. Here’s the whole book club schedule – jump on in with us! We love this excerpt from Jen on what she hopes to learn from wearing only 7 items of clothing during month two:

I hope one day clothes and appearance and everyone else’s assessment doesn’t even occur to me. I would like to be so focused on the valuable that what I am wearing doesn’t even warrant mental space. Not the fussy, concerned, indulgent obsession with clothes; not the conspicuous, public, distracting reduction where I am now… but the zero balance of priority is where I hope to land.

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Discuss:

Do you find you have an overabundance of clothes in your closet? Do you feel like this chapter will have an affect on your shopping habits in the future? Let’s share below in the comments.

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Join us on Wednesday as Flower Patch Farmgirl shares with us how Month Two changed her life. And if you’ve also shared about this month’s topic on your blog, won’t you link up with us on Friday or share in the comments? We’d love to hear from you!

 

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  • Olivia

    I just had a count up of my clothes – 67 items (inc shoes, scarfs and togs) in my closet and drawers, plus another 39 in storage (mostly stuff that is too small, and some summer clothes – start of spring here in NZ). I don’t like clothes shopping as I am at a unhealthy weight and want to lose before buying anything. Also I only have a small closet that I share with my husband ( the railing is only ~3ft long).

    I do however like to buy clothes for my sons but I am still careful about it and mainly buy second hand or get hand me downs. It would be a lot harder if I had a daughter though! I think I would go overboard buying for a girl since there are so many pretty clothes!

    • http://espressoyour-self.com Malory H

      I’m with you there. I’ve never really been this big ol’ clothes spender because of my size growing up and even in adulthood. I’m still don’t like to clothes shop a lot of the time. Sometimes I will get into this “I wanna buy something(s) new”, but (because of my size still) I still take a while at choosing and sometimes walk away with little or nothing. Now when we get to the chapter on spending, that’s where I really got a lot from. Where I lack on spending on clothes, I make up for in spending on stuff (books…TOTAL booknerd,…music, etc.). I know that if I was married and had children…Girl, I’d so buy a lot of clothes for them ;)

  • http://espressoyour-self.com Malory H

    I had purged a WHOLE bunch this summer after losing some weight and needing to purge. (We had a yard sale and donated the rest to a local group who always gives to whom that stuff is needed or they sell or and five proceeds to others, etc.) But I did learn that I don’t need to constantly “buy” and be reasonable on buying clothes, etc.

    • http://espressoyour-self.com Malory H

      **that would be “who always gives to whom the stuff is needed or they sell it and give the proceeds to others, etc.”…lol :)

  • http://thissharedlife.blogspot.com Mandy

    This chapter really resonated with me~ I have a ton of stuff, and most of it I don’t wear! I went through this weekend and tried EVERYTHING on… sorted for donating, trashing, etc. And then I have tossed around the idea of doing a swap like Jen suggested. I think it would be really fun, and I think my friends would have a bunch of stuff to go through to. I am loving this book~ I was already feeling like I live pretty simply, but God is helping to identify the more hidden places of excess, mostly in my heart and mind. Things that subtly become idols that I didn’t even recognize as such!

  • Anna

    Just downsizing stuff to move into a van with my husband, two girls and dog for a year. We have just successfully purged the girls play shoes, handbags and jewellry. I discovered that it helped to give them the number of items that they can keep rather than just saying what is your favorite. I was about to give them a break they are only 7 and 3, when my daughter asked if we needed to sort out thier clothes too. “Well yes there is probably not going to be room to keep them all”. they have a small hanging rail and a chest of draws between them. The response I got was ” I love my clothes I’m going to kiss them all”. I came to check my email while they were doing just that.

    • Liz

      We’ve lived in a camper with our four kids while my husband worked in nd, is that where you will be, if so, I might have a few suggestions for you, and I’ll definitely be praying for you!

  • http://homewiththeboys.net Erin @ Home with the Boys

    I do love clothing. I admit it. I haven’t counted my items yet, but I’m guessing it is around what Jess has.

    But I’m not really caught up in getting the “best” of everything. Sure, I want quality clothing for timeless basics, but having been a one-income or no-income {medical school} family for 8 of the 9 years we’ve been married has made me very mindful of this kind of spending. Thrift stores and clearance racks are my best friend for “trendy” items :) And I am SO thankful we have been in that place, because as we go into life as a doctor’s family, I don’t want to suddenly think I need to have whatever I want, whenever I want it just because we can afford it. {Well, afford it after those med school loans are paid off…in several more years!}

    I also learned a hard lesson a few years ago about how I could nickel-and-dime us to death even at those thrift stores and clearance racks – I didn’t have to buy something just because it was cheap!

    God is still working on me in this area – I want to look nice and put together for my husband and have some fun with my clothing {I love those “What I Wore Wednesday” posts!}, but I don’t want my life to be all about appearances! Lots to pray about here!

    Loved hearing you ladies chat this morning. Thank you for sharing your hearts! Such a blessing!

  • http://kristaonpurpose.com Krista

    I have no idea what’s in my closet right now but it’s probably a lot. I don’t love shopping but when I find something I like, I tend to buy it in a bunch of colors so… It leads to a lot of clothes.

    When I did this month on my own after reading 7, I realized that despite the fact that I own a fair amount of clothes, I hardly wore them. Wearing seven items wasn’t hard all. I actually think it was more than seven but it was pretty basic – jeans, yoga pants, a few shirts, socks, underwear, a few shirts, running shoes, and pjs. The only time I deviated was on Easter and the. A week later on my birthday. On both days I wore the same dress and cardigan (it was new! And pretty!)

    This was a nice month for me. Laundry was a pain but honestly, not bejng burdened by choice like that in the morning was so great. It gave me the freedom to focus on more important things in life and I loved that freedom.

  • http://www.notlessthaneverything.com Aislinn @ Not Less Than Everything

    I’ve been thinking about clothes a lot over the past year; this chapter has helped me think about it more. Right now, I have a very limited amount of clothes and have spent very little money on most of my clothes as I’m living overseas; however, when we return home, I think I’m going to try to save money so that my husband & I can buy a few good quality, versatile pieces as a basis for our wardrobe instead of accumulating a lot of cheap items of clothes that probably end up costing cumulatively more. For the kiddos, I’ll mostly rely on hand-me-downs, gifts, and thrifting for a while–until they stop needing new sizes as often.

  • http://www.beautyoutofdust.wordpress.com Libby

    I really love this video girls! I don’t have the book right now, even though it’s a great price our family needs to not spend money so I am watching along on the videos and really love what you had to say about this chapter! Especially towards the end about how it doesn’t really matter and who am I really and what do I want to be known for, or those who are important to me do I really care about what they wear? No. It’s their character and the warmth and all that they share with others…how they love Jesus and let him share his love with others through them. So good! So true!
    This chapter about clothes is an interesting one to think about for me at this time. We are in a no spending pattern right now and so in a way our whole family is on a clothes fast. :) And the thing that has struck me again is just how much mileage you can get out of clothes. And wearing the same smaller number of items repeatedly during one season is something that people do no matter the number of clothes they have. Has anyone noticed this? I always have in my head that there needs to be variety constantly but if you look around at people you see regularly, in one season they will wear the same 4-5 things over an over. And even when they start to get faded they become the great every day, wear around the house clothes for a long time too.
    And about hand-me-downs. I love them! and our family has been the grateful recipients of these to the point that some seasons we are completely clothed with these items! A wonderful provision!

  • Brandi Dailey

    My largest problem is not having clothes…I find it it very hard to justify purchasing clothes for myself because I feel selfish. Even though clothes are necessary. I cringe at anything over $20 because I feel that the money should go to my kids or to the household budget. I wonder some times if my self worth and value tops out at $20??? Most of the clothes I have are hand me downs and not many are what I would consider my style. I spend a lot of time thinking about clothes and wishing I had them, but when it comes to actually buying them I panic and can’t count how many times I’ve walked away empty handed.

    • Anna

      I so relate to this, and then when I realise that I do really need something new, I get all guilty if it isn’t fair traided. My husband buys me things occasionally and I have discovered a “people tree goody bag” you select your size and get five items for £35. All handcrafted and fair traided. I still feel guilty but have got some beautiful clothes. Although I am different in that I quite like making do and I love to sew, sorry Jen.
      I pray that God would let you know how much you are worth to him and bless you. If you are feeling good about yourself that gives worth to your children and household too. You are beautifully and wonderfully made God says so in the psalms.

      • http://www.newlywedsbliss.com Emily

        Anna, I’d really love to hear more about this! I’ve been convicted about how most of my clothes are made using child or forced labor, and I’m trying to find new options!

    • Barbara M.

      Brandi Dailey, me too, exactly! I can’t even spend the $20!! I have to be able to say I got it dirt cheap. I am still trying to put away a little for the second-hand store so I can get some more clothing. But I get discouraged and buy the kids something instead, so I am in the exact same boat as you are.

  • Samantha

    I hate shopping with a passion. I am the kind of girl that if I go out for something that I need and can’t find anything that fits/looks nice, I will get moody like anyones business!
    I struggle buying jeans a lot, I’m 5’1 so even petite jeans are too long! I finally found some jeans from TopShop that actually fit (thank goodness for 28″ leg!) but the wear I put into them….that means they only last like 4 months at most. So really, rather than buying a really good pair of jeans, and paying to get them turned up, I’m paying out for the perfect pair of jeans that are only lasting a fraction of what those good quality jeans would.
    Saying that, I rotate my tops, I have obvious favourites and my friends know about it! I have 1 pair of shoes at the moment. Which is a little rough because they’ve just got a hole in them and I can’t afford another pair at the moment! But, thinking about it, some people don’t have even a single pair of shoes! Perspective!
    I wear a uniform shirt at work so that makes it easier for work days.

    I adored this quote from Chapter 2;
    “…more than thirteen thousand of those days are over for me. I’m determined to make the rest count…” pg 66.

  • Anne

    I do agree that I have too many clothes and it is a great reminder to live with much less. I would also challenge that our clothes are an expresion of who we are and can be an expresion of the gift of beauty and the ability to create that God has given us. We are beautiful and can brag on God by recognizing beauty. I have two young daughters and this is a tricky balance, but I think it is important to take care of our bodies and be full of grace and beauty…. this can be reflected in what we wear. Thoughts?

  • http://athankfullheart.blogspot.com Miranda

    Just wanted to let you know that the incourage feed email also included the Bloom ones :).

  • http://www.heatherlconrad.com Heather Conrad

    I really enjoyed this chapter. I too am a very casual dresser. I rarely buy clothes, only on an “occasion” basis, only because it isn’t something I really enjoy doing. I enjoy running, and you mostly will find me in jeans and a t-shirt, or shorts and a running shirt. Funny thing is, that may be changing. I’ve been a “mom” at home for the past 9 years, and now God is opening a door to get back into teaching. I may need to purchase a few basics to mix and match, but I’m super frugal. One of the reasons I feel nudged to get back into education is that my husband is now unemployed (gulp).

    I pray for discernment as He knows our needs and will provide. I love the quote from Jen, “when the jars of clay remember they are jars of clay, the treasure within gets all the glory…”

    I am thankful for what He gives, and use what is given. I pray my children see this as well. There are a few needs, they receive for birthdays, back to school, and Christmas, but we also frequently pass down as their need is over. In fact, I had a wonderful opportunity to serve in Honduras back in July, and it was a great opportunity to give and to share back home all the ways God wanted to richly bless.

    I love what the girls talked about in undertaking this process knowing the Lord does not intend condemnation, but instead, freedom. It is a great process to cleanse, and to refocus on the bigger picture. His picture. Thank you for everything ladies!

  • Beth Williams

    I know I have an abundance of clothes in my closets, dresser, etc. Most were given to me by family and friends. Periodically I will go through my clothes and give away those that don’t fit, or I just haven’t worn in a long, long, time.

    There is a Clothes Closet run by a local church. I try to give them as much as I want to rid myself of–so that others can wear and enjoy them.

  • http://www.jenhatmaker.com Jen Hatmaker

    So good, everyone!!! This is such an interesting, diverse topic for women. It’s interesting that this particular response feed is more concerned/aware of the cost of clothes rather than our appearance in them. I came into it from an appearance side, but exited on the cost side once I realized that I wasn’t quite as wrapped up in the appearance part as I thought. Regardless, just giving this our attention is such a great beginning. So much love to all my sisters out there… love that we are raising this discussion together. XOXO

  • http://cfoldenauer.blogspot.com Candice

    I loved this chapter while reading it, but I really processed so much more after watching the video. I’m living overseas right now for 6 months. When I came here, I obviously couldn’t fit too much in my suitcase, and the work I am doing requires me to wear very modest clothes as appropriate in this culture. It’s funny because I already am modest in America, but here it is a much stricter level (long-ish sleeves, always long pants, etc). Anyway, before we left I was really stressing out about not wearing my favorite clothing items while we are here because they don’t fit the dress code. I was so jealous of my husband who got to bring his “regular” clothes. It can still be a struggle for me because I feel like so much of my personality comes out in my clothing choices. However, I have loved only having a handful of clothing options. When I get home I will try to count my items and really cut back to just the essentials and faves.

  • http://dappledthings.me Gail

    I loved this chapter because I didn’t think that it would be much of an issue for me and clothing-wise, it’s not. I wear a very simple wardrobe. Basically, I wear long denim skirts and modest tops with a pair of plain brown loafers. I do wear jeans at home, but that is a modesty issue that I am on the fence about right now. I also wear a headcovering. Wearing a headcovering has shown me how not fussing or worrying about my appearance can free me in ways I hadn’t considered.

    I think the most inspiring part of this chapter came at the end. Seeing a clearer picture of Jesus and what few physical things we actually need to be like Jesus really got to me. It has me really putting a lot of thought into something I have been toying with for several months. Going without makeup. It seems a natural extension of wanting to be more like Jesus. I believe I will blog about this soon. :)

  • http://krishill10.blogspot.com Kristin

    I could relate to what Angie said about not liking/wanting to shop for her own clothes, but being quick to buy for her kids. I have been there. My daughter started kindergarten this year at a school that has a uniform. Yes, we had to buy some things to get ready for school, but in the long run, it’s going to save us money and the focus on what she’s putting on each morning for school. My son, who goes through clothes like my daughter never has with his rougher, messier ways, has been blessed with hand-me-downs and some great yard sale finds. I hope to stick with that mentality.

    I loved the part of this chapter where Jen talks about how life is fleeting … “We’ll stand before Jesus once, and none of our luxuries will accompany us. We’ll have one moment to say, ‘This is how I lived.'”

  • Kristi

    A lump formed in my throat when Angie said she was having self esteem problems (Angie if you are reading this: You are beautiful. Inside and Out) but was quick to buy for her kids. The lump came b/c I feel the same way. I’ve gained a substantial amount of weight over the past few years (I like to blame it on pregnancies but it’s really my own laziness which should be one of my 7) and understand wholeheartedly what Angie briefly touched on.

    While I purchase clothes for myself (way too many!) in hopes to make myself feel better, I go way overboard with my children. I justify it by getting great deals on them but the reality is I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of money on clothes. I put alot of value in making sure my children “look nice” to get dirty at daycare from the elements of self feeding, finger paints, markers, and playground where “we made mudpies today, Mommy!” I have to ask myself if I’m really being honest – do I want them to look nice to cover up my own insecurities of not feeling like I look nice? Do I want them to wear their Gymboree coordinates to hide the embarrassment that Mommy isn’t able to wear the most fashionable items and I want society to think I know whats hot and whats not? Do I want them to have 100 items per season (and here in Michigan, we have 4 dramatically different seasons) to mask that I gravitate to the same few dozen in my closet leaving the other hundred(s?) just collecting dust?

    And to further my gut check: Why does it matter? My worth shouldn’t come from others. My value does not come from others.

    As Jen said in the book {paraphrasing}: What else could I have done with all that money? As fast I my fingers can type this sentence, I can think of a dozen different things that would further God’s Kingdom with all the money I’ve spent on my children’s designer clothes.

    Sorry for the novel :) I got a little carried away :) Can you tell this chapter resonated with me? :)

  • http://janlbinpa.tumblr.com Jan B

    I don’t find clothing (or the spending of $$$ on it) to be too much of an issue for me. Perhaps I should care just a wee tad more. :) Being overweight takes the “fun” out of shopping – for clothes, anyway. I’ve managed to reduce my wardrobe from two closets – split seasonally – down to just one closet. And I’ve been conscious of donating what I don’t fit, don’t love and don’t want to fix.

    HOWEVER – there’s this one issue concerning appearance that wasn’t addressed directly in the book – and that’s makeup. My name is Jan and I’m a makeup-aholic. I LOVE to buy it and play with it (it’s like ART!). So I started thinking about if I could give it up for a month. I asked some friends that question as we sat around a table eating lunch and one woman answered with an emphatic “NO” in lightening speed. (The rest came out of shock at varying speeds) Ha! Myself – I go around the house in a tee shirt, yoga pants and no makeup all the time. Yes, just so attractive. But would I go to church or to work without makeup for a whole month? I can’t even answer that question yet, it’s so daunting. Okay, so what’s THAT about?

    How about YOU? Would you (if you usually wear it) give up makeup for a month?

    • http://kaylaaimee.com Kayla Aimee

      Jan! Go read melissajenna.com and read about her 40 day makeup fast. It is so uplifting. It’s totally inspired me.

      • http://janlbinpa.tumblr.com Jan B

        You’re always messin’ with me, KA! :P

    • http://dappledthings.me Gail

      Jan,

      If you read my post above, you’ll see that I had the same idea. Or was it a feeling? I don’t know, but I have read MelissaJenna.com and her “makeup fast” and I believe she got the notion from reading “7” and decided to go with it for forty days.

      I have been on the fence about this for a while because I, like you, can totally go around the house and town without makeup. I literally only wear it to church or church functions. Who am I trying to impress?

      I live in a fairly affluent area where I have a hard enough time feeling like I fit in with my long skirts and headcovering. Doing away with what little makeup I do wear seems scary, but in the back of my mind I think it might be liberating, too.

      Praying for you and for God’s leading in this matter. <3

  • http://kaylaaimee.com Kayla Aimee

    *Raises Hand* I had none of those problems except that I like to hoard things and the things I like to hoard are clothes. So this chapter was hard for me- I love dressing up and putting outfits together and buying stuff. Just because I buy it off clearance at Target doesn’t mean it’s less of an idol for when I’m thinking more about how I look, what I’m wearing, and how much I don’t want to part with things in case one day I’m having “an ugly day” and really need those pants for my self esteem. This chapter was hard :)

  • http://www.lindseymbell.com Lindsey Bell

    This chapter wasn’t as hard for me. My hubby and I live on one income (and a minister’s salary at that!) so we just don’t have the money for me to shop. Nonetheless, even though I don’t so much struggle with buying, I do struggle with hanging on to clothes. Someday this is going to fit. What if I need this again? When what I should be doing is giving it away to someone who will get a lot of use from it!

    • Erin

      I just experienced this, too! After 2 babies, I find myself holding on to all different sizes of clothing.

      PLUS, I just sorted through all of our baby clothes. At first, I was holding on to SO many things – just because of the memories associated with them. But, I realized, they were doing NOTHING in my closet in a box- some other baby girl somewhere could be making memories! So… off they went… and I feel free-er already!

  • http://terriestreasuresfromabove.blogspot.com/ Terrie Mathison

    This was a hard chapter! I am a clothes hoarder! I love to shop and find the cute perfect item — to wear once or twice. I spend too much on clothes. I am a SAHM and do I really need 600 items! Yes you read that right. I stopped counting at 450 and just lumped in the shoes, scarves, sweats and t-shirts into the rest of the number. I do have a huge closet and it’s full!

    This is a chapter that I am praying about and will continue to pray about. The Holy Spirit is working on me I know. Thank you for touching on this subject. It appears I am in a minority here but we are all wired differently. This chapter so far, is MY CHAPTER. Although with 5 more to go, let’s see how else I need to be pruned!

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  • Erin

    I can seriously say that clothes are NOT a huge issue for me! I probably have about 10 pieces that I wear regularly. And I try to keep the kiddos’ wardrobes very basic; we love consignment shopping. This is one of those things that I feel is super important to our sanity – minimal clothes, choices, laundry, etc.

    I do occasionally find myself in the “trap” of thinking that what I have isn’t good enough- but I LOVE how Jen described the freedom she found through this month of 7! I’m feelin’ it too!

  • http://kaelynnjudd.com Kaelynn Judd

    I certainly have an overabundance of clothes… I actually have so many that I cannot fit them into my dresser. None of them are necessarily nice clothes, but just things I have accumulated over the past 8 years or so. Most of them I cannot even wear, but yet I have hung onto them. This chapter convicted me so much. I am going to donate the majority of my clothes to someone in need. I want to bless someone with them!

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  • http://jenandherMarine.blogspot.com Jennifer

    I’d like to say that clothes aren’t a huge deal to me, but that would be indeed a lie. My husband and I started training for a marathon. In doing so that required properly fitted shoes, a few NEW running shirts(4), two pairs of compression shorts, running socks, and bobby pins that I can FIND! All for running a marathon our church is supporting! Yes, running has become a new obsession/work out, but I didn’t really NEED those items, except maybe the shoes. (blisters and sore toes weren’t going to work!) And all that ADDS to the 7 pairs of running shorts I already had, the 3 workout capri pants and yoga pants I own, and about 9 workout shirts. This is what I typically wear in summer. Let’s not talk about the hoarding of jeans and shirts and sweaters (that I get free from Old Navy being part of their Style Council) or hoodies. oh, the hoodies.

    And I just purged over 20 pairs of jeans last year in multiple sizes. So much for thinking I don’t have a clothing problem. This goes much deeper than I ever imagined.

  • http://www.adventureswiththerossfamily.com nicole

    I thought clothes weren’t a big deal for me and I always think I have nothing to wear. And then I counted my closet. It was over 230 items. That’s not counting my scarf drawer either.
    And my kids had a huge amount too. About 50 shirts alone. Granted, we have two seasons, but do I really need 25 shirts for each season?
    And most importantly, is this why I can’t find any hangers to hang up clothes on? I’m always running out of hangers.
    So for me, this was an eye opener. I only wear about 25% of the items and have trouble finding the clothes I do wear.
    Nicole

  • http://www.annaradchenko.net Anna Radchenko

    At least once a year I go through my clothes and get rid of whatever does’t fit/doesn’t get worn often. My husbad and I both gave away a bunch of clothes last year after we got married as there is barely any closet space where we’re living now. I only go shopping for myself a few times a year… usually if I have a gift card.

    However, the biggest conviction from this chapter/video was my motives. Looking at pinterest, it can become SO EASY to say “oh, I want that…” or “I wish I had her STYLE.” We are so consumed with what other people think of how we look and how we present ourselves that we believe it says WHO we are. Another big “YUP” moment I had was when Angie talked about not even really going shopping for herself because of self esteem and not wanting to try on those clothes and be dissatisfied with how they fit/how she looks in them. That is the same with me, as well. This chapter was more of an emotional issue for me, rather than a material issue.

    It’s a lot to take in :) praying God transforms our hearts.

  • Robin in New Jersey

    I haven’t started the book yet. It just arrived in the mail two days ago.
    I am unable to hear the videos. My sound works fine for everything else, but not for these videos. :(

  • Debbie

    I love this book!

    I have been eyeing my closet EVERY TIME I go in.

    I want to start a clothes closet to give away my abundance and I know I have friends who will join me.

    Just praying for the perfect opportunity. I work with a 501 group that is trying to fight human trafficking and reaching out to the “working girls” in a notorious part of our city.
    I just asked them if they had considered a clothes closet-they have! They will only have a small space to start with, but is this where God wants MY clothes closet to be?

    I’m so excited, I think about this all the time, especially when I go into my ridiculously stuffed, over-sized, walk-in closet. Oh sure, there are lots of t-shirts( do I really need 5 flag Tshirts that I bought after 9-11?) and even more stuff that I am keeping for when I finally get these 10-15-20 pounds off again…ok, sister, you are way over 50 years old and I don’t think you are EVER going to fit into THAT again…give it up!

    God, keep convicting me….I love being stirred up this way…..Thanks, Jen.

  • terri uecker

    My grandchildren’s school is having a fund raiser….Shoes for school. This means old unwanted shoes in pairs. Place them in a black plastic bag. The bag is weighed, The school receives money for each pound the bag weighs. Any takers????

  • http://waterwatereverywhere.net Sarah aka MainlineMom

    Reading the comments on this post makes me feel like an oddball, since most of y’all say you don’t like shopping or can’t afford much anyway. I’m the complete opposite.

    Hello my name is Sarah and shopping makes me happy. Mainly clothes shopping. I confess that I have a massive closet, bigger than most rooms, and make more than enough money to afford to shop a lot. Fashion is my thing. I love it, I blog about it. I have circles of friends who are obsessed with it, though I am not. I don’t need expensive things, I shop cheaply, but I in the past I would buy a lot. A cute new outfit made me feel good. I also buy a TON for my kids. Yes a lot is second hand, but a lot is not. I would justify it by knowing I would resell it later.

    But the Holy Spirit has been working in my life and I saw the error of my ways. I saw how much money I was wasting and thought about who could use that money more than I. It has been HARD. I have had to unsubscribe from dozens of daily retail emails to avoid temptation. I cannot even set foot into the mall. I try to toss catalogs without even opening them. Clothes are like a drug for me.

    I have purged many times but I can tell you I know I have WAY more items than Jen mentioned. I don’t need to count to know that. I did a quick purge again after reading 7 and took six bags to our local women’s domestic abuse agency and another massive pile of businessy clothes to Dress for Success. My closet is starting to look weird with some empty space on the racks, but still more items than Jen started with.

    I’ve stopped buying but I still struggle. I feel weird. Not really liberated yet. Praying about that.

    • http://huntleysarah50@gmail.com Sally

      Sarah,

      Do you by any chance live on the Main Line of Philadelphia? I grew up on the Mainline in a sphere of affluence. For most of my 62 years, I was able to indulge my passion not only for clothes shopping but for purchasing “nice things.” as well. How I loved to purchase!

      Several years ago, due to the recession and the loss of my job, I incurred severe financial difficulties that I had never before experienced. I had to sell my lovely home in an upscale neighborhood and move into a smaller home in a neighborhood that was not nearly as affluent. My thirty year old daughter currently struggles to provide for me and her younger, disabled sister. As a result of this twist of fate, I am no longer able to indulge my materialistic passion for so called “better things” in life.

      Since I was able to use shopping as a stress reliever nearly all my life, I find that I now actually grieve for the loss of the lifestyle I once had. I believe my very identity was somehow tied up in this lifestyle, and one could say that I have lost a part of my identity.

      The upside of this experience, however, is that I have become far more humble, far more aware of the suffering of others, and much more forgiving. Although I continue to struggle with my loss of purchasing power, I realize that this materialistic loss in no way compares to the loss of a loved one or the pain of seeing one’s friend or loved one suffer. I am also far more attuned to those people who are forced – through no fault of their own – to live in a state of poverty far worse than mine.

      The experience has also strengthened my relationship with God. Although I know on an intellectual level know that an affluent lifestyle does not in and of itself provide one with peace, God has been working with me as I struggle emotionally to accept this fact.

      Thank you for sharing your blog; I understand your struggle and would enjoy hearing from you. I will keep you in my prayers.

      Sally

  • http://www.littleredpurse.blogspot.com Leah

    I am trying to think of a rough number in my head of how many items of clothes I have. It’s way more than I care to admit, but being involved in the fashion industry creates this desire to always want that new and shiny item that everyone else has! My question is, why do you think God gives us an interest/ talent in a certain area that may cause us to value worldly things?

  • http://jennebeker.wordpress.com Jennifer N.

    Belated participant here … finding time to watch the video was harder than I thought. Clothes aren’t important, but I do shop thrift stores (recently discovered an amazing one), and that’s causing the number to creep up. Also learning to sew, and want to be able to sew clothes, even if I don’t need them. I’m a jeans/tee-shirt/hoodie kind of mama, until Sundays, then I’ll dress up a bit, but I’m always most happy in my jeans skirt and a button down shirt. Simple is good. But having enough clothes to let the laundry go for 2 weeks without running out (by any means) is too many. Tried to downsize, but I’m in the middle of losing weight, and can’t replace anything yet … so it’s hard to know what to let go, until I stabilize a bit. Love the questions that help me find God, even in the middle of temporal things.

  • Marinalva Sickler

    I’m behind with the chapter in the book and the video for each chapter, however, I’m on task. It’s a painful one. As I’m getting close to end the folding and taking away of Paul, my deceased husband. I’m presented with another dilemma.

    The loss of my husband’s car during the trip to make the last car payment because of a car accident is added now to the loss of my daughter.

    This chapter is helping me during the clean up of rooms in my house. It is helping me to keep focusing on the task ahead of me. My grandson needs a bedroom fitted to an eight years old boy.

    Turning on the video motivates me to the bottom of each pile. Trash whatever, separate to recycle, sort it out for garage sales, and lower the piles. Wow! It is encouraging me to not crying and keeping going. I have no option by simplify, reduce, and lighten rooms, drawers, cabinets, and closets.

    The pain is overwhelming and I don’t resist – crying, sobbing, and believing on His mercy to the last drop of my strength.

    Who am I grieving or missing? The house is empty now and full of bags, tubs, and totes. The ring of the phone at the first hours of the day brings me back to the saddest reallity of a drama I never imagine to live. My loved one at the door that cannot be opened while I hear the sound of the engine to move away from the street. :ord! My mutiny plan is shattered in pain and anguish.

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