Most people I know would not consider me a tree hugger or a hippie. I mean, I respect creation and the beauty in nature and so on and so forth...but never quite to the point where in a state (Oklahoma) where they make it so hard to recycle, that I would finally take a step closer to it this week...I guess you could say that I'm pulling the classic dating move of the "slow yawn and swinging my arm around the back of the chair/shoulder" on the tree.
Let's back up a little and give you all some feedback on this first week. Honestly, the food has been easy...it's actually been fun to see what we come up with and by limiting our food options aka our hurried lifestyle crutches, we've discovered some amazing new food. I love complex spices of Indian food and tasting coffee's nuances and the such but there's something to be said about simple, good food. It might only take 3 or 4 fresh ingredients to make a masterpiece. Such a piece of art was created by my wife, Becca, this week and I thought you might be interested in it.
- whole wheat pita (cut so it was fully round and open like a tortilla)
- pieces of organic chicken pulled off the bone
- cheddar cheese (Cabot Vermont extra sharp cheddar)
- roasted red bell peppers
The above items were all assembled and put into the oven for just enough time for the cheese to get all nice and melty, then it was topped with greek yogurt guacamole that had nothing in it but avocado, greek yogurt and salsa.
To date, without us even trying specifically, we have each lost between 3-4 pounds. And we're LOVING the food. I've had a few serious coffee cravings, though I am happy to report that I have not given in yet. Today, I see or hear the word "coffee" and my mouth waters while something in my soul dies a little. It doesn't help that in the Seven Sacred Pauses, she mentions coffee in just about every chapter and what a beautiful thing it is...hey, I just want to enjoy God's creation...and isn't coffee technically a BEAN?!?! I'm allowed right?! Shut up, Caleb - be strong. I can do this...6 more weeks.
Recycling Station in the Kitchen for plastic, paper and actual waste, we have metal and glass safely away from the kids in the garage.
I was LEAST looking forward to recycling. I mean, it's WORK! Or so I thought...it took some time to set up our system, but I'm currently obsessed with it. I literally look around the house for stray pieces of paper or plastic just so eager to place them in a home with other members of their family. This is a huge deal for me, you can judge all day long, but don't knock it until you've tried it. In just a week, when I see stuff that can be recycled just sitting around or being neglected, it makes me sad. A wonderful side effect of my new OCD habit, is that our house seems WAY less cluttered with old mail and random junk. We've got a ways to go and we haven't dropped off any recycling yet, but I'm hopeful. I think the transformation came for me when I realized how little is ACTUALLY waste! We usually take out about 4-6 full bags of trash a week, this week, it was literally one that was barely 2/3rds of the way full!!!!!! And we hosted a dinner at our home for about 20 people! God forgive me for my self consumed life of convenience and lack of composting!
PIctured here are Becca and Sakari drilling holes in our new compost bin that sits on our back porch now, just outside our kitchen/dining room. It's been so fun to engage our kids in this and the constant thinking of ways to be resourceful has been refreshing. We've slowed down. We talk more. The TV has only been on for an hour a day, but our time is spent living and enjoying together. Much of our trash has ended up in our compost bin that will soon feed our newly planted herb garden and also our vegetable garden which is still in process of being created.
Clothing update: Becca just cleared out her closet yesterday and we're still awaiting a tally of items. In the meantime, I had been praying for how and where to give my clothes away to those who most needed it. I still have some left, but I heard of a need of one of our ministry partners in Cambodia who have men from remote villages living in their dorms who need clothing. I was able to get a box sent to a friend who is going there in a few weeks. I was also so inspired by our friends, Roger and Kari Gibson, who were serving about 5 families near their home in Branson, MO whose homes were destroyed by tornadoes last week. A box is on the way to them. I didn't just want to take everything to Goodwill and call it good, no pun intended, but I wanted it to be personal something that God laid on my heart very specifically.
I've been working on taking the Seven Sacred Pauses (by Macrina Wiederkehr) and haven't done all seven in a day but doing what I can and I can tell a massive difference in my stress level. There's SO much good in this book, though as with almost any, you've got to weed out the stuff that doesn't resound in your spirit. Truly, I have underlined so much and thought about sharing it all with you who are following our journey or tweeting it, but I might just annoy you and my massive (hahaha!) Twitter following might drop in numbers. We've had time to start working on tiny projects around the house and begin to clean out closets and see what else we have hidden away that we don't need and someone else might. We've even had time to attack the STACKS, serious stacks of travel magazines that have accumulated over the past couple years that we never had time to enjoy. Those expiring frequent flyer miles used for subscriptions are officially being used now. Something about seeing and reading about the world is soothing and inspiring.
As a family, we have also begun taking part in Shabbat each week and this day of rest, as commanded in the Bible has been wonderful for our family. There are many resources online that you can find to research Shabbat, it's purpose, traditions and significance. We are slowly incorporating that day of rest into our lives and loving it so far. This call to living a life of mindfulness towards God in every little thing has begun to make me so much more grateful for His provision, my family and who He has surrounded us with on our journey.
One Child Campaign is a ministry outreach of Faith Central Ministries. The vision of the Orphan Awareness and Vision trips is to create a united effort of ministries to give voice to the over 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia and around the world. This will be accomplished through sponsorship, empowerment and discipleship that will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children. This trip will immerse you into the lives of orphans and street kids. It will create an experience that will raise awareness not only to the orphan, but also for the body of Christ to realize the impact it can have through advocacy and adoption. An important part of our ministry is to provide resources for adoptive families. This is a mission to raise up a generation with selfless faith. Together, we can breathe hope into the orphan crisis.