7 read-a-long (details & introductions)

If you’re looking for the series on What About Orphanages? (Part 1, Meet the McCollums, Part 2), we’ll have the 4th installment for you tomorrow.

And if you’re here for details on the Read-a-Long and a chance to meet your fellow Readers-a-Long, WELCOME! I’m thinking this post might get a little long, so if you’re in a hurry or averse to wordy, check out all the STUFF IN BOLD, and you’ll be good to go.

If you’ve been around these parts for long or we know each other personally, it’s going to take you about three minutes or less of reading 7 to figure out why I love this book so much. If you missed this post where I introduced our next read-a-long selection, we’re doing 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker.

The book in a nutshell: Jen picked 7 areas of excess in her life (food, clothes, possessions, media, waste, spending, stress) and took some simple, but drastic, actions to fight back against the greed, materialism, and over-indulgence that was taking over her family’s life.

This chick is speaking my language, friends. I can’t count the times I wrote the word SAME in the margins of this book. And even if you didn’t spend big chunks of your childhood pretending to be Sandi Patti, belting out “Via Dolorosa,” like Jen and I did (see p. 23, 1st paragraph), she’s probably speaking your language too.

If you can get the book and read the Introduction by Tuesday, February 28, that would be stellar. And if you can’t, that’s fine too, because in spite of the gut-punching conviction you might maybe possibly feel as you turn page after page, this is a gentle read-a-long. And as Jen will tell you, she’s not here to bully you or guilt you into turning your life inside-out and upside-over. She’s just going to share her personal story, give little pep talk-nudges as God leads her, and pray that the Holy Spirit takes you from there.

And that’s what I aim to do too.

Here’s What You Need to Know

1. We’ll “meet” every Tuesday from February 28 through April 24 to discuss that week’s chapter (so you’ll want to have it read, if you can, before Tuesday).

February 28–Introduction
March 6–Chapter 1 (Food)
March 13–Chapter 2 (Clothes)
March 20–Chapter 3 (Possessions)
March 27–Chapter 4 (Media)
April 3–Chapter 5 (Waste)
April 10–Chapter 6 (Spending)
April 17–Chapter 7 (Stress)
April 24–Conclusion and PARTY TIME!

2. Your options for involvement include, but are not limited to:

a. Write your own blog post with your thoughts from the chapter and link to it (there will be a special place to do that).
b. Answer one or more of the discussion questions (that I provide) in the comments section.
c. Reply (kindly) to one or more comments.
d. Read and reflect at your own leisure with or without commenting.
e. Start an IN REAL LIFE read-along group with people you already know or–gasp!–people you meet through this blog that live near you.
f. Anything else you feel like doing.

3. On Bonus Wednesdays, we’ll be discussing some action steps we could take/are taking as they pertain to that week’s chapter.

Again, you can be involved as you want to be. If you want to do week-long experiments where you fast from stuff, that would be awesome. But I’m not going to do a corporate challenge. And I’d like us to keep in mind the spirit of this read-along: we want to inspire and encourage each other, not to one-up and out-do each other. Feel free to comment, reply, link to posts whenever you feel like it. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are just the days I’ll be posting on the blog.

Basically, there aren’t a ton of rules. And we’ll probably tweak things as we go. If you absolutely love structure and order, this format might drive you a tiny bit nuts.

THE IMPORTANT PART:

Please take a minute or two to introduce yourself by answering the following question in the comments section of this post. YOU ARE NOT COMMITTING TO ANYTHING. Just saying hi.

1. Your Name & Location (be as vague or specific as you’d like)
2. Which chapter (area of excess) do you feel most smug about (because it’s not really a problem for you)?
3. Which chapter scares you the most?
4. (Optional) What do you hope to get out of this Read-a-Long?

Here are my answers to give you an idea:

1. Marla Taviano, Columbus OH
2. Clothing. I pretty much wear ratty jeans and gray/black t-shirts 7 days a week.
3. Media & Food. I loooooove the internet & I looooooooove junk food.
4. I want to make more space in my life for Jesus & I want to hear the Spirit clearly. I want to be a family that does justice, loves mercy, walks humbly with God.

See you back here on Tuesday, February 28, to discuss the Introduction to 7!

150 thoughts on “7 read-a-long (details & introductions)

  1. Pingback: Join me for a "Mutiny Against Excess" - Picture Your Life

  2. Suzy

    I am late with the introduction, but I have read the book once, so I can catch up.

    1) Suzy, Round Rock TX (outside of Austin)
    2) I wouldn’t necessarily say smug, but I guess waste is the one I struggle least with
    3) Media – hello Kindle and instant gratification
    4) Just wanting to simplify my life and find a true purpose. Esp today when I am struggling after a friend told me how I am wasting my intellectual capabilities in my underpaid/undervalued jobs – and here I thought life was about happiness.

  3. Lesley

    1. Lesley, Des Moines, IA
    2. I don’t particulary feel smug but maybe clothes is the easiest for me (but I don’t do so well when buying clothes for my boys).
    3. Media and Possessions
    4. A way to find balance. My husband and I tend to restrict ourselves in an area and then at some point we go crazy. Balance is what we need.

  4. Krista

    I am late to the game but I want to follow along, too! Here’s my info:

    1. Krista from Ventura, California.
    2. Clothes. But honestly, when I actually think about it, I get kind of nervous because I have a lot.
    3. MEDIA. Just thinking about a month without facebook makes me break out in hives.
    4. I really want to grow closer to my Jesus and live a life that more closely resembles the life he lived. Even if I’m not walking around in the desert, there is SO much I can do in my little community. There’s so much hurt and heartache here that I can fill a void for someone and give them hope and love them the way Jesus has COMMANDED me.

  5. Shannon

    1. Shannon from NW Arkansas
    2. Stress
    3. Most others combined, I feel like I’m not making good use of any of my resources right now.
    4. Order in my home, mind, and soul

  6. jan

    Jan- Delphos, Ohio
    2.Media- I hv it but could live without it.
    3.Stress- I work for children services, My mom died 2 yrs ago at 51, I’m an only child, I hv 2 kids. need I say more!!
    4. Meet new people, maybe develope support and become closer to the Lord and show others my family is strong through Jesus.

  7. Danielle

    1. Danielle~Atlanta, GA
    2. NONE- I have a bit of a problem in all these areas
    3. Clothes and food I think are going to be the hardest for me.
    4. I really feel like where you are spending money shows what you care most about. That is super convicting for me. So I am looking forward to a deeper look at the areas I need to work on. Also if I am honest I like the extremity of this challenge πŸ™‚

  8. Jen Griffin

    1. My name is Jen Griffin from Ada, Ohio
    2. Clothes…I have less than everyone else in my house…jean and tshirt girl.
    3. Food….we LOVE to eat out.
    4. Less of me and my stuff and more of God!

  9. Jen

    1. Jen Arnold, Dublin, OH
    2. As the unofficial chief of the office and home “green police,” I’d say the chapter on waste is the one I’m “smug” and likely proud about! Can’t wait to be rocked in this area even more!
    3. The money chapter scares me the most, because I liken to think our budget is pretty tight as it is, and my husband is likely losing his Dublin high school teaching job at the end of the school year, so money is mightily on our
    4. I hope to meet some new friends, be challenged to purge things out of our life that take up space for Jesus to be and speak, and I hope to have a whole new view of consumption and need vs want. My hubby and i are going to Jen Hatmaker’s church on Sun., March 18, in Austin, TX (seeing what the city is like in case we can find hubby a job there), so fun to read her book (part of it at least) before we go! Thankful for this opportunity! Thanks, Marla!

  10. Sarah

    I’m Sarah from Tucson, AZ originally from Iowa. I just finished the book yesterday but want to read through it and do some of the challenges with this group and maybe a group of girlfriends.
    2. I think that the possessions will be the easiest for me since I’ve been on a purge for about 6 months now.
    3. I’m really nervous about the spending month and the sabbath one because I know how hard it is for me to keep myself discipline in not being busy and in reigning in my shopping.
    4. I’m looking forward to this to get encouragement from other people doing this as well. Also to see the Spirit change my heart and follow His words and actions over my own fleshly desires.

  11. Amanda Rae

    Ok, I’m finally here!
    Amanda, Aurora OH
    Honestly, I’m a little freaked about most of them. I can’t really be sure which I’m smug about because I have a feeling I’m wrong. Lol I have a very comfortable life and it’s getting more and more uncomfortable without me taking the steps to change. I have a longing in my heart for missions that I’m desperately trying to listen to the Lord about. I think excess is definitely a problem for me and I want to make my life more like CHRIST and im hoping this read along will be part of setting me in the right direction.

  12. Nadia

    1. Nadia, Chicago burbs.
    2. Waste: I think we do a pretty good job of using things well… and not wasting much. Though, I am open to finding new ways to cut back, even here.
    3. Media (oh, how I love it.), food (love to cook, love to serve, love variety.)
    4. Our budget is tight and yet I am increasingly aware that we are rolling in excess. I am lost in thought about what could go, what we would be able to do with and for the Kingdom if we had less, how a simpler life might lead us to find more space and energy for tending to our spiritual lives.

    I am nervous about this. But this book is haunting me. I think it will be best to read it through with all of you.

    1. Sue Gerardot

      Welcome Nadia
      Glad to see another from Illinois! I was super excited to see you are by Chicago. I am in the Aurora/Oswego area. I attend at the Yellow Box, Community Christian in Naperville. I am in a small group book club and we are reading 7 there also. I look forward to hearing more from you, should be a great journey!

  13. Tiffany

    Hi new friends! My name if Tiffany and I am really excited about this read-a-long!

    1.) Tiffany from Delaware Ohio
    2.) I’m pretty smug about the stress section-currently I’m in a really chill place in my life with little if no commitments, no kids, and no financial distress
    3.) Food & media. We don’t have cable but I love blogging and am planning our trip to India with the help of other travel blogs and lonely planet! I also ADORE food…holla to Jessica
    4.) I’m really praying Jesus will humble me and allow me to get real about my greed and selfishness which is hard to see in this crazy world of mass consumerism

  14. Dena Tromp

    1. From Colorado
    2. smug: Maybe media?..considering I couldn’t figure out how to even post here and I don’t own a working t.v. (but I keep it for my DVD!)
    3. Issue: prob food..we like our food /coffee dates that’s for sure!
    4. Want to hear clearer purpose, understand love on a deeper level, and to continue to learn and practice that being “caring, nice, loving and giving” is really only that when it isn’t convenient for you.

  15. Nichole

    I’m a little late jumping on this train, but I’d love to read along. Thanks Marla for getting this rolling!
    I’m Nichole from Petersburg, Alaska.
    I feel pretty smug about the media chapter and pretty terrified about the food chapter. I’m hoping to gain some perspective about simplifying and cutting out the excess. We live in a pretty remote place, so it seems logical to me that excess shouldn’t be an issue- but somehow, it still is.

  16. Kelly Jarrell

    1. Kelly, Coppell TX
    2. all areas are a problem
    3. food–love to eat, love to cook
    4. I have been under conviction about a lot of the things Jen writes about for some time. I have taken baby steps towards simplifying and being more generous but often feel very lonely b/c most people I know are in love with the American Dream and have no interest in changing or even discussing these issues.

    1. Jen

      Hey, Kelly, good to meet you! I hear you on the “American Dream” issue. I feel like we’re so opposite of what Scripture teaches about not idolizing things, not trying to serve two masters, and being good stewards. I hope that as a result of this read-along, I can continue to grow in this area and encourage, not condemn, my American Dream-gripping friends πŸ™‚

      Side note… Headed your way to DFW in a couple weeks. My hubby is likely losing his suburban Columbus teaching job at the end of the school year. There seems to be a descent amount of education jobs (he’d like to be an asst. principal) in the DFW area, so we’re coming to visit the area. Coppell is a suburb we’ve heard great things about. Do you enjoy it? Any other suburbs you’d recommend? Everyone we’ve talked to says Grapevine and Flower Mound, and Frisco/Plano. Anyway, nice to “virtually” meet ya! πŸ™‚

      1. Kelly Jarrell

        Yes, I agree we are not to condemn others–the Holy Spirit is working in their lives in a different way than he is currently working in mine. I’ve decided that instead of trying to convince my friends to at least consider a different path, I should try to find some soul-mates that are feeling the same tension I am and interested in grappling with these issues together.

        Sorry to hear about your husband’s job–my husband works for American Airlines–they are in bankruptcy so his job is in jeopardy. I understand husbands’ job/financial difficulties!

        Coppell is awesome–the schools are truly some of the best in the state. The other suburbs you mentioned are good too. The only caveat I would add, and really only because we “met”on this site, is that in any affluent suburb with great schools you are going to have the accompanying lifestyles, children with a sense of entitlement, keeping up with the Joneses, etc. I don’t know if ya’ll have children of our own, but this has been a real issue since we started public school. My girls are getting a great education, though!

        Let me know what your think of Texas–I’m a lifelong Texan and love it here!

  17. Kristi

    Kristi, from Arkansas
    I would say clothes is the least I’m worried about and food is the most. I love to cook and bake. I am starting a book club with some girls at my church on 7 starting next week. I am hoping to reveal soem areas in my life that I need to let go of and let God prune through the excess so that I can live a life more devoted to Him and His Kingdom

  18. Jennifer

    1.) Jennifer Mattox, Lewis Center, OH
    2.) Clothing
    3.) Media and Possessions (love all forms of media and purging possessions is stressful)
    4.) Ideas for our family of 6 to make life changes so that life is less stressfyl. I feel excess plays a large part in my stress level.

  19. Jessica

    My husband & I will be leading a group from our church next month through this book. So I will look forward to your Read-a-long as I can. Don’t know if you have someone from IL yet.

    so here’s my answers:
    1) Jessica from IL
    2) Clothing. I am no trend setter.
    3) HELLO….FOOD….. I AM A OBESE FOODIE. Just being honest. (Can you tell I am Day Two of Month One?)
    4) So excited to see the Holy Spirit working through this gift Jen has wrote. Hope this helps me with endurance and guidance as we encourage others to join us.

    1. Sue Gerardot

      HELLO from Illinois Jessica!
      What part of the state are you from?
      I live about 40 miles west of Chicago.
      I am doing the book along with a small group of ladies, we all met at a church event called Chicks and Chocolate, Jen has been a speaker there, but our small group book club started after hearing Shauna Neiquest.
      It will interesting to see how this study dovetails into the other groups. I look forward to hearing back from another Illinois 7 junkie! I just cannot get enough, feeling blessed and motivated!

      1. Jessica

        Thank you so much for commenting. Yes, my family is on day 6 of month one of 7!!!! Boy what a ride!!!! Motivated is right. Stirring in my innermost being. We are about 45 minutes from Bloomington Normal. How cool that you had Jen speak in person. Did you hear Shauna Neiquest speak to? Do they do small groups speaking still or was this early in there careers? Please keep me posted how you are doing. I am having information available on 7 to the church on Sunday, and Monday an informational meeting for anyone wanting to take this journey with us. God bless your socks off today.

  20. Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek

    I’m Katie, from Iowa. I blog about our life, and found out about this book because I’ve been blogging about purging and my cousin recommended the book to me. I haven’t decided if I’ll blog about my reactions or not, but after reading the introduction, I am very moved.

  21. dani

    I’m Dani, from SC. God has been speaking to me about excess in ALL areas of my life lately. After doing the Radical read-a-long, I led the Radical bible study with a group of women at my church, which led to my involvement with a substance abuse recovery center as well as the local women’s shelter. God is still “pruning” me and it often hurts lately, but I’m finding as I let go of more of me He is filling me with so much more of Him. It’s a little scary but I’m excited for the journey and am looking forward to reading along with you!

  22. Kim

    1. YKim in Southern Indiana
    2. umm . . . I think we have a pretty good handle on several, but I know that when digging in starts, a lot will surface.
    3. Spending . . . a real area of struggle for me
    4. Accountability, comfort, and hopefully some laughs!

  23. Betsy

    1.Betsy from Knoxville, TN
    2. I need help with all of them.
    3. Possessions-just so much STUFF to weed through.
    4.I just want to examine my life and clean it up, remove things that may be in the way!

  24. Tracie

    Tracie from Littlestown, PA.
    Of all the areas, clothing is the area where I struggle the least. I own 1 pair of jeans and a handful of shirts, and a few pair of shoes. I really hate to shop. I can not relate to having hundreds of items in my closet.
    Everything else is more of a struggle.
    I am looking forward to reading the book a second time through with others and seeing what God is going to do in me.

  25. Julie Melia

    1) Julie Melia, Omaha, NE
    2) Clothes – I lost my job 2 years ago this June and now work in a more clothing relaxed atmosphere, so I haven’t bought a single new item unless you count the sweater at the Goodwill for S.99.
    3) Food – I am afraid that some in my family might protest.
    4) “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”

  26. Sharon Meekins

    Sharon Meekins – yes I just bought the book… πŸ™‚
    Charlotte, NC
    Media
    Stress
    I’m crazy about Jesus and want my life to glorify Him!

  27. ~Suzanne

    1. Suzanne Deeren – I live in Ionia, Michigan
    2. Smug? How about “guilty as charged” in all areas!?
    3. I think I am most scared of confronting my food & spending issues.
    4. I want more than anything to let the Spirit speak and to have the strength and commitment to follow where He leads…I want to be challenged, to grow and to be changed.

  28. Aura

    1. Aura from New Jersey!!!!
    I just finished reading the book, for the whole month of February (thankfully the shortest month) I have been doing the 7 food fast!! The first week is tough but with perseverance you can do it!! Trader Joes has become my “happy place”. I bought the book for my girlfriend for her bday but other than us….I feel like the only person “up north” that has even heard of this book!! Love the book, its a great idea to do it as a “community”….great moral support!!

  29. Shelley H.

    I’m so in!
    1. I’m from Lewis Center, Ohio
    2. I think the food and clothing chapters won’t be a problem for me but maybe I am overestimating myself:)
    3. All the rest of the chapters will be hard.
    4. I hope to get out of the spiritual funk I have been in…I need a jump start….

  30. aussie monica

    Hi I’m in Toronto Canada but I’m actually from australia. Just started reading 7 and looking forward to changing.

  31. Lacey Martinez

    1. Lacey Martinez from Omaha NE
    2. I am a pretty simple person and I have cut back or lived with out a lot of these things before. I don’t know what my husband would do with out the TV or his cell phone though.
    3. Stress- this will be interesting!
    4. Inspiration. Less self and more Jesus in my life.

  32. Rachel M.

    1. Rachel M. from Fort Lauderdale, FL
    2. Clothing is not an area of excess for me because I’ve really cut back since the recession of ’08. Husband had to beg to buy new clothes this month and I was like, you can wear clothes with holes, you’re a stay at home dad! Okay I finally caved because they really were falling apart but clothing really isn’t an area of concern to me.
    3. Food chapter concerns me, I already have a really tight budget for food and hate the idea of narrowing down my options further. I can cut out eating in restaurants but like to make up for it at home. For example, I’m happy to make home made Mocha’s to cut out Starbucks!
    4. I hope to get inspiration from this read-a-long.

  33. Sallie Howell

    Sallie Howell and I’m in NE Mississippi. I have read the intro. And want to dive in, but feel like I need someone to hold my hand…this group!

    !. smug…none of the above.
    2. possessions-we have too much
    stuff!
    3. I want to be able to bounce these ideas and thoughts off of like minded people. People who feel called to the same passion.

  34. Laura

    Hi!

    1. I’m Laura and I’m from Texas, but I live in Italy (Army wife…)

    2. After having read half of 7, I don’t think I have anything to be smug about either. I think clothes would be the easiest, but I will probably feel differently about everything by the time it’s all over.

    3. Media; I use the internet to communicate with family on another continent, and our family LOVES movies.

    4. I look forward to bouncing ideas off of others and “hearing” what you all have to say.

  35. Britt

    1. Britt – representing Western NY
    2. Chapter 7. I’m not one that lets stress impact me too much! πŸ™‚ although we’ll see when I read that chapter!
    3. Food or Possessions. I love food and have heard about what Jen will challenge us to do in the first chapter. That would be a big step for me! Possessions, I loved getting rid of lots when I moved, but still realize I have tons. So we’ll see what I’m called to live without there.
    4. I’m in a new place, a new situation, so I’m hoping this book will challenge me to look at my life in a new and fresh way. With everything new in my life, what better time than to let God work on these areas of my life!

  36. Lori Haskell

    1. Lori Haskell from Knoxville, TN
    2. I would say I don’t feel “smug” about any area but maybe the chapter on spending seems the most comfortable to me just because the past 5 years God has really worked on me in this area, so I think I’ve made some really huge strides here – but I know I’ll probably be totally brought to my knees when I go through that chapter! Yikes!
    3. Kinda scared to delve into the chapters about food – I do love junk food, and stress – enough said!
    4. I have no expectations. I just know God has been really working on me in all of these areas and I’m ready to listen. We’ve been back in the US for over 6 years now and my number one frustration/battle is with excess on every level. I’m just tired of being frustrated with what I see and how it has sucked my family in as well, and ready to tackle it head on with Jesus!

  37. Brandi

    1. Brandi… Memphis, TN preparing to move to Hawaii
    2. I am not smug about any of the chapters. I think I might be a bit better with clothes, but then again maybe not.
    3. The media chapter haunts me. I know I give it too much time. Breaking away scares me.
    4. I am looking forward to hearing other people’s opinions. I want to reexamine my life and see where I can do with less to do more for others.

  38. Ashlie Rich

    1. Ashlie Rich, Garland TX
    2. I am at a point that I don’t feel smug about any of it. I have a problem in each area and am BEYOND ready to take charge and rid myself of it.
    3. Probably media and waste.
    4. Accountability. I started this book when it was released and am only on month three. I was very ready for this book when I heard about it in July. I had been feeling very overwhelmed with the way my family was just over the top with everything. Also having others feedback will be awesome!

  39. Kodi Stephens

    1. Kodi Stephens, Austin, TX (NW Area)
    2. Food – we have food sensitivites, eat organic, local most of the time – BUT I am not smug about it -already know we spend a fortune and waste a lot – ready to change!

    3. Possessions – I am not good at getting rid of stuff, if we do buy things – it was most likely a deal πŸ™‚ – and we didn’t really need it. I REALLY want to declutter the entire house..need to stay focused to complete it!
    Media, specifically TV, but I just committed to my husband to give it up for at least a month, here we go.

    4. Ideas and Support from people trying to follow the same path to walk with Jesus. And to keep me focused!

  40. Rach M

    I’m in N Ireland, and have already read 7, currently re-reading while also experimenting with a group of local friends. Will def follow along with this read-along too, this stuff is so challenging!

  41. Sarah Farish

    1. Sarah Farish, Williamstown, West Virginia
    2. No smugness here! But, if I have to choose one, I choose possessions. There’s nothing I really need; I’d give you the shirt off my back.
    3. Media for sure. I was thinking of skipping this chapter/week. I love my blogging, twittering, facebooking, amazoning activities:)
    4. I want more of God and less of self, and while I have not begun reading 7 yet, I have a feeling this book is about less of self. I need this kick in the pants;)

  42. Loraine Erickson

    Hi, I am Loraine from Stevens Point, WI and am excited about this. I think I am most smug about possessions and scared a bit about the waste chapter. I have a feeling after reading this book I will be smug about NO area of my life.

    i hope I did this correctly. I just ordered the book so hopefully it will be here by Tuesday.

    I just come back here on Tuesday now right? πŸ™‚
    Thanks!!

  43. Karen Story

    I’m in Paducah, KY, devoured this book on kindle last month. We are trying our own watered down version of 7. This month it’s no processed foods. The first 2 weeks went well, but it’s seeming like a chore now. The kids don’t mind the nutritious breakfasts, but they are missing their junk food after school. One nearly had a chik-fil-a meltdown last week and I did give in – he got 4 nuggets:)
    Jen’s comment early on, “Are we blessing the blessed?” continues to resonate with me. My conundrum now is how can I be quiet & hear God if I’m spending all my time in the kitchen! Doing away with junk & prepackaged has saved us about $50/week though (family of 5 with 3 teens). I’m fortunate that I can spend the time baking and cooking right now though. Excited to follow along with others on this journey!

    1. Karen Story

      Oops -didn’t read the directions first! Probably most smug about clothes because I’m overweight, my wardrobe is 3/4 black anyway. Most scared about how God will use this to continue to move me!

  44. Leslie

    1. Leslie from Wisner, La.
    2. Probably clothes. Since I quit my “professional” job, I’m pretty much a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl.
    3. Media (since I quit my “professional” job, my computer in my corner of the couch is my lifeline to the outside world!) Also, I’m a nester and like to fluff my house, although I don’t spend a ton of money doing it.
    4. I’m pretty much scared to death to read this book, but I feel an undeniable tug. I’m in a new-ish season of life (empty nesting, etc) and wondering what God would have me do with it…

  45. Lynn

    1. Lynn, Frederick, MD
    2. I don’t feel “smug” but we do as much “green” things as we can. Though composting is on our list of things to be better about.
    3. I don’t know that any “scare” me. Most challenging and what I feel would be my biggest “failures”: spending and stress.
    4. I’m not sure. I just really enjoyed this book, it was given to me by one of my best friends, and it’s really inspired me to make some changes. I would just like to hear other people’s perspectives and thoughts on it.

  46. Lesa Biancalana

    Hi all. I am so looking forward to this! I am from California but relocated to Kearney Nebraska about a 19 months ago!

    I honestly do not feel smug about ANY areas. I have come to realize lately over the trials that I call my life over the last 2 years, I need work EVERYWHERE. But if I had to chose one, it would probably be clothing. I wear scrubs to work (which my employer provides) and I pretty much wear jeans and T’s or sweats.

    The food scares me to death. I have 65 pounds to lose and I had gastric banding surgery about 12 weeks ago and it is just a life long struggle.

    I really hope to gain insight on how to live a better life for myself and live for Jesus. I am one of the lucky ones who has had the priviledge to pray at a weekend long retreat with Mrs. Hatmaker and she has already changed my life once, I feel her doing it again.

  47. Jessica Brown

    1. Jessica from Columbus OH
    2. I don’t feel overly smug about any of them! I’m confident that I have issues with all 7.
    3. Clothes? Possession? Waste? See #2.
    4. A community where we can all discuss and work through these things. Actually, 7 is the book my husband and I have chosen for our Lent-thing. We’re reading it together and discussing as a couple and examining our lives together. Thankful for the opportunity to discuss with the larger group, too.

  48. Michelle Palomares

    Michelle: I live in Austin, TX
    The one chapter I think I have down is shopping. We actually dont do too much of that
    I think the hardest chapter for me is food
    Well we are going to fund a safe house in Haiti so obviously I need to cut back somewhere if this is going to happen. $6000 is what we need.

    1. Kodi Stephens

      Michelle, We live in NW Austin. Do you attend ANC? I wanted to find a group of local 7 supporters in the N/NW etc area πŸ™‚

      1. Michelle Palomares

        Hey Kodi,
        I live in south Austin off of William Cannon and IH-35. We (husband and son) have attended the Austin Stone for 3 1/2 yrs and love love it. But recently realized for us to really live this mission God has purposed us for we need a smaller version. Meet ANC! So we have been attending ANC for about a month now. I would love to meet up even if I don’t live in NW austin. Do you know of other people in Austin doing this?

  49. Kara

    1. Kara, Findlay OH
    2. Clothes….I wear the same stuff all the time and while I have two “wardrobes” (work & not work), I don’t really have much of a desire/pursuit for clothing….but I do insist on wearing -something-. πŸ™‚
    3. The areas I know God is working on me already are media and waste (specifically my time) which I think are pretty closely related for me.
    4. I’m praying to trust God with His supply for us and trusting Him when He says enough….or even enough is enough.

  50. Ruth

    Ok ok I’m in.
    1. My name is Ruth Chowdhury & I’m from Hamtramck, Mi (Detroit)
    2. I’d say either clothes or spending. I’m the saver in the family & feel guilty when I spend (which still isn’t a good thing, but still… Keeps me from spending excessively!) Heck, it was hard to commit to this cuz I didn’t wanna spend $10 on myself for the book. I have no problem buying stuff for others tho. As for clothing, I’m pretty basic. I just like for stuff to fit. πŸ™‚
    3. Stress or media scares me the most. I like my media junk & am on my iPhone all day (yuck, it pains me to admit that). I also stress like crazy and have to constantly remember to turn my stress into prayers.
    4. Simplifying, less worry, more “in control” of things I can be in control of. Accountability to do what I say I’ll do.

    Here we go!! πŸ™‚

  51. Elizabeth Hutchison

    1. My name is Elizabeth and i live in Franklin, TN
    2. The one I’m most “smug” about is food. I’m careful about what I eat, and write down what i eat every day. And I’m one of the lucky people who don’t crave sweets.
    3. The one that worries me the most is worry! (stress) I worry a lot about the future, have a ton of “what ifs..” and these things stress me
    4. what I’d like to get out of the study is a look at my life from a different perspective. and, I always enjoy listening to the perspectives of others since it’s easy for me, as a worrier, to think things can only be the way I see them being. Thanks for doing this!

  52. Sue Gerardot

    HI
    My name is Sue Gerardot, I live in a small town about 35 miles west of Chicago. I lives here or near by my entire life. I am a Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, and a school nurse. I joined a small group book club after hearing Jen and Shauna Neiquest speak at 2 different events at church. There is no way I can be anything but smug in the clothes area, new scrubs for work, old scrubs and hoodie for going about time and super old scrubs for sleeping!
    At book club we have just finished Chapter One and for the past 2 weeks we identified a preferred food/drink and have tried to eliminate it for 2 weeks. MINE WAS COFFEE, I broke twice!
    My goal is to strengthen my spiritual journey and help me identify what mission God has in store for me.
    I would like to say hi to all of you and I am looking forward to this journey.

  53. Tisha Shuffield

    Hi y’all!! I’m so excited to get started!!

    1. My name is Tisha Shuffield from Brady,TX. The heart of Texas!
    2. Waste would be the least worrisome for me during this study.
    3. I’m most worried about media. I use all types of social media to promote my photography business so it seems to be a good “excuse” to always be plugged in! However, this keeps me from plugging in to more important things in my life! I would say possessions and spending would fall close behind.
    4. I am hoping to come out of this study more focused on the true important things in my life and make some major time and priority adjustments!

  54. Andrea

    1. Hi all! My name is Andrea, and I live in Charlottesville VA.
    2. Waste because I have a problem with trying to reuse eeeeverything, much to the annoyance of co-workers and housemates.
    3. Media and stress seem to go hand-in-hand to me. If only I didn’t work on a computer and turn it on when I get home and follow people on Facebook and Twitter and a gazillion blogs and news posts and on and on maybe I would have less stress.
    4. I have never participated in a Read-a-Long before but this book sounds great…really, really challenging but also in a way I have been yearning.

    1. Valerie

      Hello fellow Virginian! I’m in the Northern Neck, near a little town called Warsaw. Looking forward to seeing you here!

  55. Donna Pineau

    Hi everyone! My name is Donna from Memphis, TN. My least worrisome chapter? Maybe the one on stress. I handle stress fairly okay. The more worrisome? All the rest!! All of them actually touch a cord somewhere in me. Some of the things I don’t want to give up bothers me too – that I’m selfish enough to make excuses or just ignore that part. I’m hoping to come out of Seven with less excess – less Donna-centered and more Jesus-centered.

  56. Carla Gain

    Hello~I am going to give this a try!
    1. Carla Gain from Arlington, TX
    2. Clothes and waste seem to be two that pop up here~I
    am a retired teacher and like Marla, have come to rely
    on “uniforms” rather than trying to coordinate outfits.
    3. Media and want to use it more efficiently and
    effectively~
    and food~working on eating healthier rather than
    reaching for comfort foods.
    4. Refocusing my life~ alignment with God’s purpose and
    discipline to follow through with what He wants me to
    do.

  57. Jeremiah Johnson

    Hey everyone,
    1. JJ Johnson from Albuquerque, NM
    2. My wife and I have been in a 4+ year purge of our possessions since we got married. So I feel pretty confident in this area, which maybe should concern me a little.
    3. I am most worried about the chapter on stress. Stress is the world that we live in, and it is the air we breath, or in my case the air that suffocates me.
    4. Not sure exactly how this whole thing will go. My wife has really enjoyed the read a longs in the past and I am looking forward to it. I pray that God will reveal the idols in my life and speak the truth into it that He is the only thing that truly satisfies.

    1. Danielle

      I REALLY like this guy! I’m so excited to have my sweetie reading along with me on this one. Can’t wait to see what God does in our marriage through this! In the future I’ll try to restrain myself from commenting excessively about him, but he’s just so COOL!

  58. Jen Hanson

    1. Jen from Chandler, Arizona
    2. Possessions is gonna be the easier one for me. I’d throw out/give away half of the stuff crowding our apartment if my husband would let me! (and if I didn’t I’d go buy it all back up again eventually… wait… maybe this isn’t my strongest area. I’m a two-sided coin on this one. I don’t want/need all this stuff, but when I get rid of, say a bunch of clothing, I can suddenly justify that “but it’s on clearance and I don’t have a lot in my closet” purchase)
    3. Biggest struggles? Media (specifically internet) and waste (I’m assuming that has something to do with wasting natural resources and not recycling. If so – that’s me!)
    4. I’ll probably watch from a distance as I’m too cheap to buy the book and too busy with the twins to read it/do anything about it (sad right? blah. feeling unmotivated this morning apparently). But I’m looking forward to picking up some tips via your posts!

          1. Jen Hanson

            I know right!?! I couldn’t hold out more than an hour after reading the sample. Fortunately, my old bosses gave me a pre-paid gift card as a parting gift yesterday, so I used that to buy it for my cheap self. Score.

  59. Valerie

    Hi all!

    1. Valerie from Heath, OH
    2. Waste is the least of my worries during the past year we have revamped our life more to recycling, reusable bags/water containers, general green tips around the house, all greener household cleaners, and we cloth diaper our son during the day when at home…which we’re usually here.
    3. I’m most worried about media and the affect it has on my time. Clothing is another trouble area…not for me but for my son…. I see a cute shirt or outfit and I want to buy it. He’s 19 months and it’s hard not to want to give him everything but, I’m working on getting better at not buying every cute thing we see.
    4. I’m hoping that I can get a more honest look at my life through this book and experience and continue to strengthen my relationship with God.

    I am planning to be an active participant however, I’m also a full-time student so during midterms and finals weeks I may be more scarce than the other ones.

  60. beth lehman

    Hi, all!

    1. Beth, from Blacksburg, VA
    2. I really don’t stress a whole lot – about big things – just the little ones like “I asked you three times to get in the van so we aren’t later for school.”-type ones! I rarely buy clothing. (that’s probably obvious to many!)
    3. I guess I’m most worried about media and it’s influence on my time.
    4. I’m hoping I can look at things in my life honestly and come out of the experience having learned something and strengthened my relationship with God – b/c that’s really the bigger picture and all the little things get in the way of that.

      1. Valerie

        Hi Virginia girls! I’m in the rural sticks of the Northern Neck of Virginia. Don’t make me break up any UVA/Tech fights, OK?

        1. beth lehman

          Not a problem! Although we live here, I didn’t go to school here. We actually moved here from Harrisonburg about 10 years ago, so my husband could go to graduate school. Got the book today at my local B/N.

          1. Valerie Henry

            No way! I have a nephew who is going to Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, and I took my daughter up there last year to check out JMU. Pretty place! My hubs is a Hokie, but not too rabid about it.

          2. beth lehman

            My husband and I both graduated from Eastern Mennonite (then College)! My husband worked in admissions for 13 years! We still have lots of friends there. I loved going to school there – but I’m not sure I can afford to send my kids there……

          3. Valerie Henry

            I feel you…..I know it’s been a struggle for my sister and brother-in-law, but so worth it for Adam, my nephew. He pitches for the EMU Baseball team and has really blossomed in his Christian walk there at EMU. My daughter goes to Liberty in Lynchburg, and I thought THAT was expensive until I found out what EMU cost!

          4. Andrea

            Somehow I missed all of these replies until just now! I’m from NC but came here for grad school and work at UVa but do not keep up with the sports teams much. Glad to “meet” others with ties to this general area!

  61. Pingback: What in the World Wednesday? « Witty Words

  62. Robin Presley

    1. Robin Presley, Jacksonville, FL
    2. Media. (i almost never watch tv or am on the phone)
    3. The chapter on Food scares me because Im not organized and we really eat ‘on the road’ with our crazy scedules.
    4. I want to make room for the Lord to show me where my faith has been mostly just words and not really living it in practical ways.

  63. Sean

    Sean, Cbus, OH

    I feel pretty good about stress. At times, my wife wishes I would take it to the next level higher, but I’m pretty even keiled.

    Food and media are difficult ones for me. I think I eat pretty healthy with fresh foods prepared at home, but I’ve got a neverending sweet tooth with an addiction to dark chocolate. Music, movies and internet all play a significant part of my non-family and non-working times.

    I’ll be reading this with my community group at a slower pace, so I may get behind in my comments and additions to the conversations here.

  64. Sheree G

    1. Sheree in Grand Saline, TX
    2. Spending: don’t have it – you don’t spend it
    3. Stress. I’ve got issues, just sayin’
    4. Having been one of the “least of these”, I just want to stop pretending it’s all about the “pretty people” who somehow deserve Jesus while there is a world that is lost and dying because we won’t DO anything

  65. Jonna Watson

    My name is Jonna and I live in Nashville.

    We’re on a tight budget because we have a newborn and are trying to pay off student loans! But yet we still have cable, data plans for our smartphones, “allowance” we give ourselves for discretionary spending…so our “tight” budget really just means we don’t eat out anymore and is probably laughable to those in pocerty. Yeah…maybe not so smug.

    I love media.I’m always emailing, skyping, or texting. I’m most afraid of that.

    I’ve read 7 once and I’m going to re-read it because I so, SO want to simplify my life so that there’s more room for Jesus.

    1. brooke

      i love budgets and budgeting, but you’re right – we stress about ways to find room in the budget. the truly poor don’t know how they are going to eat tomorrow. sobering thought to a budget nerd like myself.

  66. Melissa

    1. Melissa, Columbus, OH
    2. Possessions. I’m pretty good at getting rid of stuff.
    3. Clothes/Media/Spending. I love a good deal and am on the internet too much.
    4. I think I need to refocus and prioritize Jesus again.

  67. Kim

    1) Kim from Annapolis, Maryland
    2) Waste and food I have a pretty good handle on.
    3) Clothes. I used to be a buyer for a major department store and it was important how I looked. I was in marketing and sales until I lost my job last October, so it was still important. I busy almost all my clothing second hand but I do have alot! Too much I’m afraid!
    4) Too continue to learn contentment, to free up resources for ministry and to continue seeking God’s direction.

  68. Becca

    I’m Becca from Atlanta, GA . . .

    And let’s just be honest, I dont feel smug about ANY of the areas because I am WEARY of having too much and I’m so ready to simplify. Also, food is the hardest for me I think. I’m so excited to read along!

    Adam and I have been feeling like the next step in our journey is to simplify, to focus our lives on Him instead of all our stuff!

  69. Kelly S

    1. Kelly ~ San Diego, California

    2. I don’t feel smug about any of these chapters… I sure have LOTS of room for improvement in them all! I think the ones where I’ve seen the most growth so far in the past year or two are: possessions and stress.

    3. I think I probably have the biggest issues with media and spending, but I also have a lot of progress to go in the areas of possessions and stress, too! πŸ™‚ (Even though I’ve made progress in them – see number two – there’s sill more to go!)

    4. Over the past few years, I feel like I’ve been on a journey toward decluttering/destressing/decomplicating my life. Much of the underlying motivation for that is a feeling that the clutter/stress/complications of my life are keeping me from being able to serve Christ as effectively as I’d like. So, I hope this book continues to guide me in this process and that God will use it to shape my heart, attitude, and actions.

    Also, we’re expecting our first child in June and preparing to move overseas for long-term mission work within the next two years. I’m especially hoping to tackle some of these issues prior to those two life-changing events AND ease my way into these events without jumping right back into a life of excess (something especially tough with all those cute baby clothes!!) πŸ™‚

  70. Tonia

    1. Tonia from Houston, TX
    2. Clothing will be easy for me (or the easiest I should say). Possessions: I am super good at de-cluttering and getting the stuff out of my house, but not so good at not buying things to replace said clutter.
    3. Food, media (i.e. Pinterest), Spending. Probably spending will be the hardest because I have so much that I want to buy since I have my first β€œhome” and it’s too big and super empty.
    4. Some tangible direction for ways I can cut out excess in my life and how to fill those areas with good and β€œstuff” for Jesus! I want to be able to teach my family this stuff, but need to live it first. Oh, and I hope the waste chapter can finally inspire my rain barrel, compost, raised-bed garden dreams for my new home.

  71. nicky

    Nicky- near Dayton Ohio
    2. Clothing- I don’t typically like shopping for clothes, so I don’t have a ton of them, but I did just revamp overhalf of my.closet so I have some more clothes that fit….it will be simple to start throwing out the “old” half, and no more holding on to those cloths that will fit of I just lose 20 pounds…..
    3. Food….I LOVE food….a little to much…..
    4. I hope to open my mind about what I “need” vs what I really need…and want to declutter my life all around….

    1. Tina

      Sometimes you forget what you were doing (distracted!) and hit enter before you finish πŸ˜‰

      I was saying …participating in the read-a-long.

  72. Jennifer

    1. I’m Jennifer, a new resident of Houston, TEXAS. πŸ™‚
    2. Umm… spending, maybe? On a good day? (I’m feeling convicted already about all of these, so…)
    3. Media and food. I love my smart phone almost as much as I love Moo Bars.
    4. Hope to be shaken out of my complacency.

      1. Jennifer

        Tonia, I’m on the SE side of Houston… I think. I just moved here, so I’m still trying to get my bearings on where exactly I am! Message me if you still want to try a group. It may just be two of us, but I’m game if you are!

  73. Shawna

    1. Shawna ~ Boise, Idaho
    2. Waste. We’re pretty recycle friendly (if that’s what that chapter is about? haven’t read it yet). Possessions. I don’t get too attached to my stuff unless there is sentimental value to it (gift from husband or kids).
    3. Media and food (if there were a chapter on buying books, I would have listed that!). My work involves social networking so am on the Internet a lot. Also, my family LOVES to eat out. That’s a hard one for us to give up.
    4. I want to live God’s path for me and see Him authentically.

  74. Jennifer Main

    1~ Jennifer from Topeka, Kansas
    2~ Spending… Gini- We too are on a tight budget because my husband is also in law school!
    3~Media. I love my Fb/email/blogs. I type this while thinking “how much data on my phone am I using??!!” 65% used already and 16 days left in my billing cycle! Yikes!
    4~I hope I gain a Godly perspective on my life and decisions. I just completed a 30 day experiment on Sunday- no make-up! Monday my four kiddos and I started our next 30 days together-7 articles of clothing. (raken from hte pages of 7) Obviously I have read the book but truly feel this is one of those that keeps giving you a new gift each
    time you read it:). Very excited to dive in again and chat with you all!

  75. gini

    1. Gini– Oxford, Mississippi
    2. Spending right now… we are on a tight, one income budget while my husband is in law-school so it forces us to… but left to my own devices I know I’m bad! And when you think about it, me not spending much is really spending a whole lot more than people in true poverty!
    3. They all kind of make me nervous… πŸ™‚ In a good way…
    4. I want to de-clutter my life… physically and spiritually. I want to live with Jesus in total control… not Gini!

  76. Kristyn VanBuskirk

    1. I’m Kristyn from Chillicothe, OH.
    2. Clothes. If I weren’t currently pregnant with quite a limited wardrobe this would probably be the toughest thing & still might be because I love accessories but I’m going with clothes for now…
    3. Possessions. I keep telling myself that I don’t own enough to give away 210 items although I know for a fact this is a big.fat.lie. & it’s tough. This & stress. 7 pauses a day sound beautiful. I dream about it. But I also am certain I would love/hate these alarms. Food too. Im pregnant, need i say more? How about all of them?! Can I say that??
    4. This will be round 2 for me & this book. It’s beat the crap out of me once & yet I’m coming back for more… I’m ready to re-read, note take & make a plan of action. I’m tired of “basing my life on everything I’m against”(fav quote from book!)

  77. HopefulLeigh

    1. My name is Leigh and I live in Nashville, TN after 30 years as an Illinoisan.
    2. Spending. My parents raised me to budget and give well.
    3. Media and Food. Same reasons as Marla!
    4. To find a better balance in all these areas of my life and to examine what they say about me and my relationship with God.

  78. Tina

    1. Tina, Wyoming
    2. Stress – I am pretty good at letting things go and not letting everything bother me.
    3. Media – I have tried to cut back but I keep getting pulled back in! There are just so many good resources out there and I love reading and comparing everything!
    4. I hope to learn how to cut back on everything else in our lives and to concentrate solely on God. I know when we do that, all the other “stuff” will fall into place!

  79. Amy

    1. Amy, Oklahoma
    2. Food, because I pretty much eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch everyday.
    3. Possessions, because I can’t get my family on the same page about this one. I want to stay in my house until I die and my husband wants to move. I also have a hard time throwing things away b/c it’s overwhelming. So much junk!! If someone came to my house and did it for me, I wouldn’t mind a bit. When are you coming over?
    4. I hope to gain insight from other readers about what approach they’ve taken to each of these subjects. It’s very interesting to me the creativity of other people and their diversity in tackling challenges. I’d like some of that creativity to be a reality for my life.

    1. Sharon

      Amy,

      I’m only a state away and would love to come over and help you declutter your house! I think Marla would, too. Perhaps I should finish with my own house first, but tackling someone else’s house (when you don’t have emotional attachments to their stuff) is so much easier!

  80. Diane

    1. Diane, Mantorville, MN
    2. clothing isn’t a problem….I mostly buy what I need at 2nd hand stores but there is a tendency because I’m not spending as much to buy stuff I don’t like then it’s wasteful. I’ve recently lost weight so it’s good timing to purge and not restock so much.
    3. I have a book addiction…I do read them and use them for ministry BUT! …..I have so many. I am reluctant to fast from media because I LOVE IT! Like this blog for example! LOL
    4. It’s been a journey over the past 3 years, Crazy Love, Radical, Dave Ramsey, Radical Together…but rather than be more like these human authors who I admire and am thankful for I just want to be like Jesus and be the ME, He has called me to be in this time and place.

    1. Kelly S

      Diane, I really like your thoughts for question number 4! I’ve been on the same journey with those same books/authors (except for Dave Ramsey), and I think this is a great point… our goal is not to just emulate Francis Chan and David Platt and Jen Hatmaker but to emulate Jesus!!!

  81. Danielle

    1. Hi! I’m Danielle and I live in beautiful Albuquerque, NM.

    2. I’m really not concerned about the clothes chapter, I’ve gotten rid of 3/4 of my clothes in the last 4 years, and my husband has to talk me into going shopping when the old faithfuls finally give out.

    3. The stress chapter already convicts me and I don’t even have the book yet!

    4. I hope to get a lot of opportunities to talk with my husband (who is also doing the read-a-long!) about how we are using our lives and the gifts God has given us to glorify God.
    4. (Optional) What do you hope to get out of this Read-a-Long?

  82. Teresa Henry

    1. Teresa Henry, Stanwood, WA
    2. Food…Long story…
    3. Media will be the hardest…especially if I add my kids in to the factor. I think for me it would be okay but for my kids….help.
    4. Jen says “In order for Jesus’ kingdom to come, my kingdom will have to go.” I want to learn and practice living out the gospel….love God, love others.

  83. Valerie Henry

    !. Hi, my name is Valerie and I’m a McDonald’s-a-holic.
    2. Clothing is my least troublesome area. My wardrobe, to quote Jen loosely, is just barely above that of a vagrant.
    3. Food, obviously. If I can just go 7 days without fast food, I will consider it a miracle that can only be wrought by God.
    4. I’m in a season of seeking. I’ve got all three of my girls safely off to college (don’t be jealous — if you could see my checkbook you would weep with me) and I don’t know what God wants me to do with myself now.

    1. brooke

      i with ya on the fast food/eating out problem! i tried just saying “never alone” so i could eat out with friends and family. even that was too difficult and i caved after a month.

      1. Valerie Henry

        I visit my mother-in-law in the nursing home three times a week, and each time I drive by a KFC, Hardees, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s. Eating that stuff has become my “reward” for dealing with my elderly (and bossy) MIL. It’s become an emotional issue, and I’ve gained about 10 pounds since the time my husband and I “put” her in the nursing home. Sigh. I don’t even want to think about it.

  84. Shannon Wilson

    1. Shannon, Louisville, KY
    2. Clothes would be the least of the 7 at this point.
    3. Food and Media, for sure
    4. I want to be a better steward of everything that God has entrusted to me and spend more time with Him instead of with my stuff.

  85. Angela Lambright

    1. Hi! Angela Lambright from Barberton, OH.
    2. Probably clothes. I pretty much only get new ones when
    I have b-day money to spend.
    3. I’m thinking food. I REALLY love to eat, especially
    Chipotle!!!!
    4.I want to be content with what I have. Actually w/less! And I’ve seen recently how obsessed w/stuff my children have become. Especially technology. I want to be able to be a good influence on them and lead them by example. I’m pretty sure God has more in mind for our lives if we’re really willing to put Him first.

  86. Lori Mercer

    1. Lori, Suburbia Columbus, Ohio
    2. Food. Caffeine free. HFCS free. Gluten Free. already and feel so energized as a a result. already motivated there.
    3. media….it’s my job to be on a computer or smartphone for the majority of the day. And Spending…. bad past perceptions from childhood and the toughtest subject for my hubby and I to discuss. This one is so needed and so difficult.
    4. I hope that through Marla’s inspiration and my personal blogging from a working mom perspective, I find a community that experiences some of my challenges implementing this as a working mom. There is no judging work mom vs SAHM. Period. But so much of the christian blog / book material out there is for SAHM that I can feel pretty lonely and discouraged trying to implement these great ideas in a dual career family lifestyle. So….working moms please sign up and let’s figure out how to make this work in our crazy world!!

  87. Jennifer Ekstrand

    1. Jennifer Ekstrand, Minneapolis, MN
    2. Probably waste; not because I feel like it isn’t a problem, just that I don’t feel like I can do anything about it.
    3. I can’t decide between food, possessions, and media… but it is a good thing there isn’t a chapter exclusively on books because that would probably take the cake.
    4. I want to plagerize the answers before me… but in general, the problem of excess resonates with me: I eat too much, have too much “stuff” and complain too much and I settle for less on better things: God, relationships, and contentment. So I’m hoping this read along helps both motivationally and practically continue making changes for less of me and my stuff and more of God.

  88. ali

    1) Ali, Columbus OH suburb
    2) I’m about to get a royal butt kicking.
    3) And it’s gonna hurt. And I’ll probably cuss out Hatmaker on a daily basis.
    4) I need this butt kicking. So by the end, I hope to be begging Hatmaker for forgiveness because of all the awful things I anticipate doing to my Jen Hatmaker voodoo doll.

  89. Mandy

    1. Mandy from CT
    2. It’s hard to choose because I want to improve in all areas – maybe Waste? We have a great recycling program in our town and we compost, but I know we could do better in this area.
    3. Again, it’s hard to choose. I guess maybe stress, clothes, food, possessions, spending… I’m going to be severely challenged, I can tell!
    4. Connection, more money to give away, and less stuff in my house.

  90. Sharon

    1. Sharon, Colorado
    2. My spending can always be improved upon, but of the 7, it’s the one I have the least trouble with.
    3. Media. I am an internet junky. TV? No, thank you. Internet? I couldn’t live a day without it.
    4. I’m slowly decluttering our house and hope to get another jump start while going through the book.

  91. brooke

    East Tennessee represent!
    I’m pretty smug about food – my grocery budget is $150 a month and I do fairly well with sticking to it. I’m definitely not a foodie!
    Waste was a horrible chapter for me – she was stepping all over my toes. We don’t recycle, we can’t have a garden (subdivision regulations) or a clothes line.
    After reading the book all the way through, I’m hoping that the read along will help me digest the material and find ways to apply the concepts for the long haul. Not just purging, but also keeping myself from reacquiring!

    1. brooke

      um…i’m surrounded by people who don’t care about clothing. that in itself is a little scary. so we won’t talk aboutmy 60+ pairs of shoes. or 2 closets. or the tupperwares full under my king sized bed. or that i often wear over 7 different pieces of clothing over the course of a 1 day period.

    2. Sarah

      I just have to ask….how on earth do you keep to a budget of $150/month? Is that for only one person? I mean, do you eat healthy? Fresh fruit and vegatables? Even frozen? I just cannot fathom how one can spend that amount unless they are eating only processed foods. Just so curious….Thanks!

      1. brooke

        There are just two of us, I coupon, and that total doesn’t include meat. About once a quarter we spend extra stocking the big freezer.

        I rarely buy soda, chips, or snack foods which saves a lot in weekly expenses. I find that simple fresh produce is cheaper than a box (think about how much further a 10# sack of taters takes you over a packet of instant) divided out over the course of several meals. HOWEVER we do eat more than our fair share of ramen or velveeta shells & cheese.

        so we both eat healthy (i’m a greek yogurt snob) AND eat like we’re in college.

        clear as mud?

        1. Sarah

          Truly…I am floored and impressed. You haven’t appeared on “Extreme Couponing”, have you?

          Do you realize the USDA Thrifty Food Plan (the basis for food stamp allocation amounts) for family of 2 adults is $360/month?????

  92. Tom Vanderwell

    1. Grand Rapids MI
    2. Clothes – jeans and a t-shirt and I’m good.
    3. I think it’s a tie between spending and possessions.
    4. I want to prioritize life better and also encourage others to prioritize their lives better too. I work for an orphanage in Haiti and I’d love to get more people to be passionate about investing the excess of their lives (in whatever way they want) in the kids in Haiti.

  93. Bethany Peters

    1. Bethany Peters from West Milton, OH
    2. Stress (I’m not really sure what angle she’s going at though, but I’m usually pretty good at saying no to things so that I’m not over-committed–I don’t function well when I’m busy)
    3. Food scares me the most. I have an obsession with it.
    4. Like Jen said in the introduction (sorry I read ahead!), I want to experience and know Jesus’ idea of rich, blessed, and generous.

  94. Amanda C

    1. Cable, OH
    2. Clothes is my least of the 7
    3. Having a hard time picking just one as my worst area…..love food, especially junk food, media is big in my life personally and with work. My biggest area my be stress!!!!
    4. I want to look at simplifying my life to decrease the stress and be able to focus on the most important things in life, relationships with those important to me.

  95. Krysten

    1. Hi there! I’m Krysten from just outside of Columbus.
    2. Possessions: my husband and I are long-time simplifiers and don’t mind giving stuff away (except my iPhone… We’re attached at the palm…
    3. I have to say that Media is the chapter that freaks me out, because I love the internet/ email.
    4. I heard of this book when I got back from India in January, and it was perfect timing… I could see just how overly spoiled I was in a very real sense. I have an inkling that my spoiled-rottenness keeps me from loving Jesus and others fully, and I want to clear the way for Him to increase in my life.

  96. Kim Hamilton

    1. Kim Hamilton Menlo Park CA
    2. Clothing. I alternate between jeans & yoga pants (even tho I am a yoga dropout)
    3. Food. Nursing a headache RIGHT NOW and am only on day two πŸ™ missing my coffee and box of Valentine chocolates.
    4. I want to step away from “false securities” and have much less ME and more Jesus.

  97. Angie Taviano

    1.Hi! Angie Taviano from Lima, Ohio:)
    2. 1-6 doesn’t bother me much at all BUT
    3. #7 needs desperate work, and I’ll be interested to see how that chapter will speak to me
    4. If there is something more I need to be doing or giving, I want something to click. I don’t want to be over- excessive in any area of my life and know I could’ve helped somebody with a resource I already had.

  98. Carla B.

    1. Carla, Belton TX
    2. Waste is the least of the 7 but just barely
    3. Food & Media. I love my iPhone & the internet and I love to eat.
    4. I want to simplify in order to focus on my life in Christ and our family’s mission.

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