maine & one other little thing.

The past few weeks have been brimming with new experiences.

Exhibit 1:

The rocky Maine coast on an unbelievably cool August day. Really–I did not know August days could require a jacket. It was dreamy.

Exhibit 2:

Old seaside towns with harbors full of sailboats. The differences between towns along the Atlantic ocean in the northern part of the country and the ones in the south are striking. It feels like you could not possibly be gazing out at the same body of water that you frolic in off the Florida coast.

Exhibit 3:

Summiting Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Exhausting and beautiful.

Exhibit 4:

Oh, that? Well, yes, that is a tiny human growing in my uterus. Surprise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

travel prep.

This is what it looks like when I pack for two people to go on a 10-day vacation.

Organized chaos. I should admit: I actually enjoy packing for trips. What I do not enjoy is the requisite pre-trip visit to CVS that always, always leads me to spending a ridiculous amount of money on things I “need” for the trip. What is it about traveling that does that?

We are flying to Portland, Maine tomorrow with my parents, picking up an RV, and touring the coast. I am equally thrilled about the lobster and the perfect weather. It has been a brutally hot summer here in the south, so I am excited for comfortable days, chilly nights, and the ocean breeze.

Here is my reading list for the flights and lazy days:

{1}Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller. Really excited to read this because of both the topic and the author.
{2}  Miserly Moms: Living Well on Less in a Tough Economy by Jonni McCoy. I am seriously trying to be frugal. I need help.
{3} Humility: True Greatness by CJ Mahaney. I’m about halfway through this and loving it. He has a gift for discussing Scripture in a deeply moving, highly applicable way.

No fiction, surprisingly, but I’ve been a non-fiction kick lately.

Many pictures of the gorgeous Northeast coast to come!

the 50% project.

Over the course of the previous year, I’ve come to realize a stirring truth: I have so much more than I deserve or need. Growing up middle class, I always knew I was a bit spoiled, but I felt I had a right to my unnecessary objects. My family worked hard, we were blessed, what could I do but enjoy it? The American Dream was my right. Right?

Changes this past year have catapulted me through one of the most meaningful, game-changing spiritual journeys of my young life. I faced a fact that had been nagging at me for years: the stuff does not, will not, cannot give me joy. On top of that, when the eyes of my heart were opened to how my excess compares to the need of so many others, all the stuff started to make me feel kind of sick. Suffocated and selfish and dangerously silly.

Where do you start, though, when every corner of your everyday life is filled with stuff? I started with one of the most cluttered and beloved spots in my home: my closet. For the past year, I’ve made an effort to regularly bag things up from my closet to give away. This week, though, as I reread Crazy Love, I clearly felt that I needed to push myself further. Since last spring, I’ve given a ridiculous amount of clothes away, but my closet remained filled to the brim, so full that my husband’s clothes were relegated to tops shelves, corners, and the closet in the laundry room. I needed to stop holding on to the stuff.

Thus, the 50% Project came about. After praying to make sure I wasn’t coming up with this idea on my own just to make some human gesture of “sacrifice,” I knew that giving away 50% of my clothes was the goal.

I kept the things I actually wear as well as good, classic pieces and put the rest in bags. It wasn’t quite 50%, but as I progressed, the numbers became less important. I let go of things I had been holding onto, I gave my husband back space in his own closet, I set good pieces of clothing aside for someone who could never, ever afford them otherwise.

It’s just clothes. I know that. For me, though, clothes are the earthly object to which I always find myself clinging for self-assurance and happiness. In other words, it was exactly where I needed to start the process of simplifying my life and giving more to others.