D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: posessions

The Great Lent Experiment Wrap Up

So the Mutiny Against Excess is over . . . or is it?

Me and Haley came up with this idea for Lent, and it got a little bigger than I had thought. I have talked to lots of people who let the ideas of doing without and downward mobility influence their lent. It was exciting to even be talking about these issues with so many people.

It really didn't feel like 40 days, did it? Now that the Easter celebrations are over I can start to process what this Lent Experiment meant to me.

The Easy Parts:

Limiting shopping for food and eating from my pantry/freezer was pretty easy, mostly because we only did this a week at a time. I did get . . . creative at some points. Hamburger helper (sans hamburger) with frozen vegetables and yogurt? Well, a certain little toddler ate it, and so did my husband. I really enjoyed the push to get out and walk to the farmers market every Wednesday at the local co-op. I do feel the roots of the importance of food and how we think about it taking shape in my life. And I'm glad.

Not buying new clothes also got a little easier  . . . It has now been several months since I stopped thrift storing for funsies. I did go to Goodwill one time for my birthday and got a killer dress and a killer pair of shorts. So. There you have it.

Not spending ANY money besides gas/groceries was actually pretty fun too. At first I was terrified, because spring weather in Portland is so so so bad and my baby can barely walk. So, when in doubt we go to a coffee shop and hang out. Since this was not a possibility for 2 of the weeks of Lent, we found other avenues:

1. New Seasons: they have amazing samples and free water! Plus everybody smiles at you and their hand sanitizer smells like lavender. We went here several times.

2. Petco. Or, as I like to call it "the free, tiny zoo". The baby loved it.

3. The library. Which we already frequented, but during Lent we went there on average 3-4 times a week. I even got the courage to do my first mommy/baby story time activity, and we didn't die! The baby is fixated on reading books about being "black and unique", which makes me feel super weird as I read them out loud to her. Ah well.

The Difficult parts:

The no-media week was hard, because I seem to have few de-stressors that don't involve 20 minutes of TV. Also, you know that feeling when you read TOO many good books and you feel like you might explode? Yeah, that happened. I am still assessing my dependence on media, and I know this is an issue I still need work on.

The Exciting parts:

The no-stress week was difficult (I am unused to the rhythms of contemplative life), but ultimately it turned out to be amazing, and I have continued to use Common Prayer every morning. To really engage in the Scriptures and the prayers for others does take a lot of work, but it feels like such important work. Even though I am easing into it slowly, creating a life where prayer is my first thought and not my last is high on my list of priorities. On good Friday my church opened their doors for a 24 hour prayer session and I actually went! You guys, I want to pray all the time now! And I am not just making this up to sound spiritual. It feels like a real, pressing need. I don't know where this is coming from, but I am so grateful.

In summary, I am so glad I embarked on this journey. I want my life to flow by these rhythms: prayer, creative free time, doing without, purging possessions, finding joy in the simple.

Did you learn anything from Lent this year? Were you inspired to create new patterns?

If so, I want to know!

Lent, week 2: Possessions

I knew this week wouldn't be terribly difficult. We have been trying to wean off our dependence on new "stuff", plus we are most certainly probably maybe moving in a couple of months. So getting rid of stuff is a no-brainer! And it feels so freeing. In a frenzy from reading 7, I gave away half of all of our clothes 3 weeks ago, and I don't really seem to miss very much. Plus, I want to transition to dressing like an actually adult, not just wearing a bunch of ill-fitting bargains from a thrift store. So, now I just pretend like I am packing for a trip to Europe. A couple of pairs of jeans, some Danskos and some Toms, some long sleeved black shirts and a scarf or two are all you need for the winter. It feels good to simplify.

And, as sad as it was, we got rid of a TON of books. I kept about 2 bookshelves worth, mostly non-fiction, because I realize you can't take it all with you.

As for the rest of our stuff--I will have to tackle it this week. We have been house sitting out in Clackamas which has made it a challenge to sort through our own sorry apartment.

Things that were hard this week: Baby ran out of bubble bath during day one, much to her chagrin. Baby started walking (thank you Jesus!!!!!!) this week and she only has one pair of shoes which we kept losing. I have not been clothes shopping since January (I have not even stepped inside of a thrift store) and I am starting to get grumpy about it (I am going to try and keep this up all of Lent). I love bargain hunting!

But overall, it was pretty easy. We just aren't in a position to be hoarding anything right now. Plus, I lost one of my jobs on Friday, which was a good reminder of how fragile finances can be. If we keep running a tight ship it won't be a problem, and I actually think this is a nudge from the Spirit telling me that I DO have more time now for my community.

Cheater Confession: The refugee girls I have been working with forever came over for a sleepover. Their mom asked me to buy them unmentionables, so I did. They very rarely ask for things like that, and I didn't think twice about breaking the fast. The bad part is that we went to Walmart to get the stuff, because I just don't know where to buy sweatshop free bras/underwear/socks. And you know what? Target is just as bad as Walmart (actually, they give less money away but use the same horrid labor practices) but because they have better marketing everybody goes to Target and looks up their noses at Walmart. So maybe this was my small way of rebelling? I don't know, I feel conflicted about it.

Aaaaand, just to keep it real: We went to IKEA yesterday. But only bought a kids meal. The weather is so awful (rain! slush! snow!) and we just couldn't mall walk. So we put the one pair of shoes the baby owns on (they are from China--thanks grandparents!--and they squeek) and walked the tarnation out of that child. It was very cute. And there were lots of things on sale but I wasn't even tempted.


Tomorrow: Week number 3! No Media Week! I am freaking out about this one!

what a lovely swedish bedroom!

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