in which jen hatmaker takes o'er the blog

Super-duper excited today, friends, for a number of reasons:

1.) This is one of the easiest blog posts I’ve ever written. BECAUSE I DIDN’T WRITE IT.

2.) Jen Hatmaker, one of my heroes for a plethora of reasons (her love for the poor & Jesus, her writing prowess, & her HILARITY to name three), is guest posting today, and I’m just giddy over it.

And 3.) I just know I can count on y’all to help her out in crazy-awesome ways (I’ll let her explain.)

I’ll wrap up the post with a little paragraph at the end (all of my words will be in italics today and Jen’s will be in normal font), but without further blabbering, let’s welcome Jen Hatmaker!

I don’t know why, but as I keep thinking about how to start this, my mind keeps lapsing into pirate-speak. Don’t ask me to explain this. Something like, “Aaaiii, mateys, you done good, you did!” Maybe a rousing cheer and celebratory toast with big, frothy beers and some parrots. A lot of yelling. Some eye patches.

Let’s start over.

I’m super proud of this gathering of rebel rousers over here at Marla’s blog. (And while we’re at it, three cheers for our fearless leader, wading into difficult territory and juggling so much Hard Life and managing to stay encouraging and kind all the while. Marla is so much kinder and nicer and more thoughtful than me. Thank you for such fabulous leadership these last eight weeks, Marla!)

I’ve had a chance to pop over and read your comments and some of your blogs. It has been so terribly exciting to see how God takes one person’s little idea and tweaks and expands and transforms it into so many new stories, so many fresh thoughts. 7 had a lot of babies, and some of them look nothing like their mother. It’s awesome.

Now, I would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t exploit you and plunder your insights for my full advantage right now, because, you know, that’s WJWD. I am currently writing 7 curriculum right now. Oh, okay, I wasn’t going to show you the cover, but since you just won’t let it go…

Cool, right? The 7 Experiment. And here is where you come in. I’m writing this, well, exactly the way you went through it; a 7-week version of the original project. Each week has 8-10 options, so there is no one size fits all for the readers. (In the first week, they can pick 7 foods or eliminate 7 ingredients or fast one meal a day for the week or eat only whole foods, etc.)

I’m working really hard at approaching the mechanics and parameters loosely, because a project like 7 lends itself to legalism. I’m way more concerned with the “so what” more than the “how.” The study dives head first into the biblical support behind each concept. Dear ones, I’ve been in Leviticus all week learning about “clean and unclean meats.” Please put me on your prayer chains.

Good readers and 7 journeymen, you unknowingly are my pilot group. Not that Marla and I planned that (I just contracted for the study a couple of weeks ago), but whatever, man…you are now. You’ve done it. You’ve lived it. You’ve tackled the 7-week version of it. I need you. Future participators in The 7 Experiment need you.

Here is what I’m dying to hear:

What did you love? What did you hate? What did you need? What did you want to learn more about; where did the content fall short? In terms of the experiment, what can you tell me that might be helpful as I’m writing this for the next wave of readers? (Remember, this is a study, not a book.) Biblically speaking, what questions did you have? What might’ve been helpful had I included it? Or what was totally helpful that I should keep?

I realize that you joined the read-a-long from all over and perhaps went at it alone, but the study is written for small groups, so readers will be sevening (I enjoy making this a verb) in face-to-face community. Is there anything you can add here? Is there something you needed that I should note as it relates to rallying a group of people together?

Essentially, any feedback you can give me as I develop this study is so valuable to me. I know the book wasn’t written as curriculum, so your project was all an adaptation, but that makes you the perfect group to speak into a study version. You can tell me what it was like and what you needed and how I can help. (You can also tell me you hated the whole enterprise, of course, but go easy…I’m just a girl, standing in front of a read-a-long group, asking you to love me.)

May I tell you how moved and inspired I’ve been, peeking in at you? Some of you started gardens. I have no words. I loved your questions. I loved the places we disagreed. I loved the wrestling and the tension. I loved your humility and courage. I basically loved it all, and now you’ve ruined everything for me because I won’t get to watch every 7 group write a new story together like yours.

Thanks for joining in. I’m proud to walk alongside such strong, brave sisters and brothers. I love to see God moving in us all. Carry on, warriors.

Much love,
Jen

Pass the tissues, wouldya? I’m all verklempt. Thanks soooooo much, Jen, for being brave enough to write this book and for encouraging us as we join you (and Jesus) on this journey. You’ve been too, too kind to us, and we’ll do anything we can to help make your new 7 study a raging success.

Won’t we, friends? Even if you didn’t participate (or participate much) in the read-a-long, I know Jen would love your thoughts on the book, what you’ve learned, and how you’ve been applying it to your life.

If you’ve written at least one blog post and linked up at any time during our read-a-long, I’d love to thank you with a free e-copy of either The Husband’s Guide to Getting Lucky or Once Upon the Internet (your choice–and if you already have them both, you can give one to a friend).

And you can link up to this post–that counts, even if it’s your first. Just blog some thoughts about 7 and link up back here. Or link to your favorite post from the read-a-long. Whatever works for you.

I’m sad to see the read-a-long end, but this isn’t over, friends. This “mutiny against excess” and “a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity” will continue to be a huge theme on the blog in weeks (and years) to come.

Thanks so much for joining Jen and me on this amazing journey!

52 thoughts on “in which jen hatmaker takes o'er the blog

  1. Pingback: The End of 7. What next? - Picture Your Life

  2. Betsy

    I know this thread is pretty much over but I finally caught up & read the book! Our small groups at my church break for summer but 7 will be our summer book club since it’s already challenging some of us. Cannot wait to do it in a group! Our church seems very similar to Jen’s but this was the re-boot that I needed deeply after a hard hard season. Much much love to both Jen & Marla for this. I’m emotionally bound to this book! And the possibilities of so many faith communitities latching on to the ideas here.

  3. Ali

    What has stuck with me the most, now weeks after I finished the book, is the practical application of Mark 12:31, love your neighbor as yourself. I was whacked in the head when I read how Austin New Church applies that to its congregation and community. And this has inspired me to find ways to apply this command to all areas of my life (for instance, as I was signing up my son for swim lessons I thought, “who could we extend this same privilege to?” and we gifted swim lessons to another family.) Anyway, my point is I would love to brainstorm other ways to see this play out in our lives. I simply love the story of Jen’s altar boots. When we are willing to give those things that mean the most to us I believe we are truly beginning to see the Gospel manifest in our lives. And it’s not just stuff. I think a lot about my time and the gift of time. I’m blessed with extended family who live in town and love to help me with my kids. And I pray a lot about my heart and how I can extend that same blessing to those around me without such support. I’m miserably selfish and the Holy Spirit continues to remind me of how terribly fortunate I am to have the luxuries of built-in community and if I am to obey God’s command, I sure as heck better be willing to offer that same unconditional love to those around me. I hope the two authors, Marla & Jen, enjoyed that last run-on sentence. It was a doozy!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Love you, Ali. Honored to be your real-life friend and sit on your couch with you while you nurse your baby and brainstorm ways to be Jesus right where you live.

      I know you say I inspire you, but you were taking care of God’s earth long before I was and won me over without saying a word.

      I love run-on sentences. And really short incomplete sentences. And anything else that breaks the rules.

  4. Teresa Henry

    Love! So looking forward to the curriculum. I read 7 and then Interuppted and then bought Barefoot Church…I really am not a Hatmaker stalker or anything like that…I just love your realism (not sure if that is a word). I got a little pumped up after reading 7 and Interuppted…and I think I scared our new pastor with my excitement about changing the world…but I reeled myself in to a reasonable place!

    I loved all of the chapters…they each spoke to me in a different way. At first I wanted to follow it “exact”….which wasn’t the intention I know…but that is where I started to go. It was important for me to see what each chapter meant to what God wanted for me to change, understand, and respond to. I think the two things that became apparent to me as I read were that 1) I became VERY enlightened to more than my little world and tunnel visioned home life and 2) I realized that we must must must live our lifes with eternal perspective. Using a curriculum will allow people to make this journey personal…I will give people the chance to look at their own lives and see how they can apply the principles to themselves. I can’t wait!

      1. Teresa Henry

        Since I have read 7 and Interuppted God has opened up so much that I had never seen before. It is funny how God begins to shed light on (or maybe we finally see the light) on things we never realized were right there in front of us…poverty…need…hurt….brokenness…there are so many opportunities to love.

        A few things that my family has done…just small things…have been recycling more and bringing down our garbage each week by on and sometimes two bags. We began to compost which has helped so much with garbage. I already have a garden, but we are becoming more intentional about what we plant so that we plant what we can use and share. My kids and (I am a single mom) collected things such as granola bars, crackers, toiletries, socks, etc and put them in extra large ziplock bags…we made up 8…not alot but they were full. And we went to the streets, gave them to homeless people…the fun part was when we sat and got to know each one of them and prayed with them by name. My kids remember each of their names and each of their faces. That day was life changing.

        And the funny thing is…my new pastor…he put me in charge of “community missions”…and I know it may not seem funny to you…but that is not what was on “my” plan. But my heart keeps going there…even though my feet kept trying to go somewhere else. It all happened after I read your books…and began to see the world differently…literally.

        Now what? That is where I found myself. A curriculum will help provide people like me to find the now what in their lives by creating a tangible plan.

        I really wanted to move to Texas…and go to your church…feed and love on the homeless and experience your missional minded family of believers. I think I was a stalker! 🙂

  5. Jennifer Ekstrand

    I loved hearing about the adoption process, both because I have friends in the middle of an international adoptions and because it provided a great context for confronting excess. I thought the thrown-away fish story was one of the most heart-piercing moments.

    Marla,

    Thanks for hosting the read-along; I’ve enjoyed it. I’m encouraged to hear “This ‘mutiny against excess’ and ‘a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity’ will continue to be a huge theme on the blog in weeks (and years) to come”, knowing that continuation on the theme is helpful for continuing in this direction.

    1. Marla Taviano

      You’re welcome, Jennifer. I’m not sure when you started reading my blog, but I’ve been blogging about simplicity and generosity for a long time now and won’t stop, I promise. If you click on the 31 Days of Purging tab on the sidebar, there’s lots of good stuff on this topic.

      1. Jennifer Ekstrand

        31 Days of Purging is when I started reading. 🙂

        It doesn’t surprise me that you’re going to keep blogging about simplicity and generosity; I just know holding onto clutter is one of my “gaps”, so I’m thankful for the recurring encouragement to value God and people more than stuff.

    2. Jen Hatmaker

      I am a little sad that the adoption thread will be a little lost in the study. It was a natural part of that year of my life, and I was just telling my own story, it fit right in. I’m sure I’ll find a way to make something in the study aaaaaaallll about adoption. I already managed to fit in a series of tweets about a middle school dance, so…

  6. Lori

    Whoa! The REAL Jen Hatmaker??? Mega-cool. Your on the front of the Lifeway ad this week too, so in my little world, I feel a bit like I’m having a brush with a famous person 🙂

    Seriously honored that you’d read these comments. Seriously not surprised knowing Marla a little bit!

    7 messed with me a bit but I don’t want it to stop. I am a better person for it. And I want everyone to feel it in their hearts too. How can we get everyone a little bit of seven??? I’m an advocate. Let’s go!

    1. Marla Taviano

      Shoot, I never thought to ask her if she’s the REAL Jen Hatmaker. Oh well.

      Gotta write the update on Gabe I promised, but I’ll be over to read your post as soon as I get a chance. LOVED your thoughts these past few weeks, friend!

  7. Becca

    Hey so Jen I loved your book and I love Marla and her blog and basically I just have lots of love for everything right now 🙂 haha which is funny considering the day full of off-the-charts-crazy-tantrums we had with the 3 year old today. ANYWAYS, I loved 7 and I especially love the idea of doing it as a study within community. Because I read this by myself and tried to convince my hubby to read it with me, but it’s not the same as having a group of people to jump into this kind of stuff together with. People you can text or call when you’re struggling or need encouragement etc. I feel like our family has been doing a good job or caring for the poor and reaching out/giving away etc. But there are so many things I feel compelled to move towards as the next step in our faith journey and I think that simplifying and loosening our grip on our “stuff” is going to be a big part of that next step. Thanks Jen (and Marla) for being faithful in sharing your own journeys and for encouraging us along the way.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I have lots of love for everything too!! Which is remarkable because a couple days ago I hated the whole entire world (and I can’t even blame PMS).

      I think what you guys are doing is AMAZING, and I’m excited to see what God has in store for you next (besides a full night of sleep of course).

      Love you, friend! I’ll pray hubby feels a little Holy Spirit nudge to read it soon. 😉

      1. Jen Hatmaker

        I agree, Becca. I think 7 will be so much richer done with friends and collaborators. Marla did a great job creating an online community here, but a face-to-face group meeting weekly (and with each other’s numbers to text out their SOS’s) will hopefully keep the wheels on even more. Love to you this morning!

  8. Pingback: The "7" Wrap-up | Living the Life of a Frugal Trophy Wife

  9. Kim

    I’m in that “bubble” with some of the others. My life took this radical turn a few years back. It is always nice to review and remember — I always find areas where i have slackened a bit without even noticing.

    I love the attitude of the book: “This is my story”. I think it is just perfect that the study come out later rather than being part of the original book.

    I’d love to see the church addressed more too. Not just individuals. I’m weak in this area: I haven’t been taught to distinguish between principles and incidentals in the Bible.

    **Hint Hint for a new Bible study?**

    Marla — Thank you so much for hosting this read-a-lont. It was my first and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

      1. Kim

        Good, because we need it! Learning so much from you.

        I am (with fear and trembling) preparing to read Radical and then Barefoot Church. Lord help me (and you might want to pray for my husband! LOL)

  10. HopefulLeigh

    I’m not home so I can’t reference my copy of the book. You might end up with another comment later. Similar to Dena’s comment, I am in that same bubble of already recycling, buying local, considering where my food comes from, etc. That’s not to say there’s not room to grow- there is. 7 reminded me of some things I’d meant to do but hadn’t yet followed through on. So for those of us that don’t need to purge (or who actively regulate our possessions) or make these big changes, it was sometimes hard to know how to respond. I’m glad people are reading and being changed by the book but for me there weren’t as many practical applications. I want to say that I commented early on about being interested in how we determine good places to support or how far back we trace where our food/clothes/stuff comes from, such as buying Fair Trade and whatnot. That’s an area that I feel people, self included, would benefit in learning more about. The most meaningful chapter for me was the last one. While reading 7, I tried to keep tabs on my heart and attitude. Just because I’ve adamantly recycled most of my life (thanks to a certain incident with my dad- interestingly my parents are not crunchy at all, just good stewards or else trying to maximize the little money they had while I was growing up), doesn’t mean I can be prideful or that there aren’t areas that I need a good smacking about.

    I think 7 is going to do a lot of good, Jen, and I’m sure this curriculum you’re developing will help. Thanks for letting us offer feedback!

  11. Dena

    It’s me! I didn’t want to leave you hanging.

    I wanted to update you on I decided a couple chapters into 7 actually go backward and read Interrupted first, so I bought that and almost finished and then going back to 7…I just needed some background., since I am all about needing a base of understanding. Then I can get further in 7.

    I guess I kind of feel I am in a bit of “bubble” (?) where I live since we are all pretty much hippies and know it, and we get made fun of it all the time for it..we have the organic community garden , don’t have a t.v, only buy local, I know where my meat comes from, live the 2 bedroom frontier home with the wood-burning stove our small group sat on the mountain during the eclipse and prayed (all of course while the New Moon people sat next to us and chanted). yada yada…So things like water and food toxicity, recycling, buying local, etc…I think “doesn’t everyone know/do that?” being in my “bubble” out here, so I guess my next step is to finish 7 and understand sacrifice, look at more we can do for others , and make sure “we are the way we are” with the proper hearts. Especially since I haven’t left my brand-new cowboy boots on the alter yet. (Interrupted people get that)
    🙂

    1. Marla Taviano

      Dena!! I’ve been waiting on pins and needles for a comment from you!! 😉 LOVE your thoughts and observations on your bubble and the rest of us. Love the idea of checking our hearts. It’s an honor to know you, friend.

      p.s. Let me know when you give away those boots… 😉

    2. Jen Hatmaker

      I appreciate this comment (and your similar comment above it, Leigh) so much. It’s so encouraging to hear of more and more folks already “in the bubble.” Hooray! My deepest hope is that 7 will help others move into the bubble (or near it or within ear shot or binocular distance). I definitely wrote it more for people like me, who were comfortably distanced from the bubble, which sadly, is the majority of believers. Most of us are like, “Who recycles??? The liberal media??” So for SURE, those of you way ahead of us will feel frustrated or unchallenged by 7 most likely. We’re scrambling behind you, trying to catch up. We’re watching you as our examples, so thank you for being patient with us and helping us learn.

      One area I struggle with as a teacher is the “practical application” part (like you mentioned, Leigh), because like so many readers have pointed out to me, even all my examples that I included (tons of specifics) are here in Austin or fit my context, not theirs. I LOVE specifics (I included a bunch of fair trade and for-profit social enterprises at the end that anyone could access), but it’s hard to build a list of do’s that will work everywhere without making people feel guilty or left out if those options aren’t available to them. Plus, there is so much value in doing the hard research work in your own community, finding people and needs and getting in the game. However, I am definitely a fan of including options and potential starter ideas. I’m thinking this through seriously.

      Thank you for the giggle about praying on the mountain during the eclipse while the New Moon people chanted. Cracked me up!

      I so hope that one day an enormous gaggle of us will be saying, “Why is this news? Doesn’t everyone behave responsibly like this?” That is my dream and prayer for the Bride.

      1. HopefulLeigh

        I can’t imagine taking on a project of this magnitude, Jen, so I really do feel you did a great job, even though it wasn’t as hard-hitting as I expected it to be based on others’ responses. It didn’t frustrate me that there weren’t more practical applications. It forced me to consider the things I needed to follow up on and what my heart was telling me.

        I imagine it would be hard to balance any application part as well so that it doesn’t become a legalistic thing. And I can see how this curriculum could help people research what’s unique to their area and give them ideas of where to start but letting them do the actual work.

        Feel free to hit me up if you need a sounding board down the line. Or if your brother changes his mind about your matchmaking capabilities. 🙂

      2. Dena

        HAHA! First, your books are for sure a challenge and trust me, I am still pondering a lot of your chapters in both books, but either way I am glad you are doing a study to educate more Christians that it’s not “New Age-y” to be aware, educated and responsible

        I would hope that part of the study would have a “homework” section in it that has people basically research there own area like you said and find where and what the need is, find the local grocer and the community garden or even start one,(we started one here) , and once the need is found , do a small group project networking with these local places to serve an event or do a promotion for/with them. Even Christians get on board with that after I tease them about the need to go more “au natural”…I just tell them yes, it’s responsible resourcing, yes, it’s sustainable, yes it promotes community, but bottom line, you start eating hormone/pesticide free, local food, your skin will look better, you will be thinner, and you will be chin-hair free when they are 80 and too lazy to wax it. Gotta meet them there at you know! Hope you continue to get great ideas!
        A random rant…maybe doing a plug somewhere about the need for Child Sponsorship ( I am an advocate for Compassion) Every city has access to them and even though they are international sponsorship (as opposed to local kids), it wasn’t until I started sponsoring kids over-seas that I started noticing what could be done locally…I would love to see a “Local Sponsorship” program done like Compassion on a city level somehow where you can have local kids sponsored…k, I am done, that was a random rant!

        1. Jen Hatmaker

          I really, really like the idea of a weekly “homework task” to ever so kindly push folks into their own communities. Great, great idea! And when readers fuss about it, I’m going to send them to you! ;0)

  12. Loraine Erickson

    I can’t link another post, mainly because I promised my faithful blog followers (all 21 of them) that I was fianlly done talking about 7 🙂

    Two things I wanted to share though. First, in the intro you talk about repentance leading you to do this experiment and write this book. I loved that. I am not sure I am repentant though. I was definitely convicted and am making some changes out of that conviction and desire to be obedient, but if I am being honest, I am not sure I am repentant. Maybe I needed to spend more time here? Or maybe i am just fundamentally flawed?

    Second, my overall favorite thing about this book is your call to the church. I love the church (am a pastor’s wife, too) and found your call to us to get going on this stuff, to “turn the ship around”, so refreshing. It was encouraging and not condemning, motivating not discouraging. And I loved that. I feel like churches and the people in them are starting to get this, like the tides are starting to change. And we need people like you who are leading the charge, being the change. We don’t need any more nay-sayers or pessimists. so thank YOU for championing the church through-out this book.

    I loved this book. Chapter 7 was my favorite as I need to learn to interrupt my ego and toxic trajectories, often in day. Thanks Jen for just a great book!

    1. Carla

      Loraine,

      Just because you have not made a radical overhaul like, uhem, Jen H. I don’t think that means that you are unrepentant. At least, I hope not because I think I am in the same place you are. Extremely, convicted and making changes out of that conviction.

      I think that each of our response/journey to this enlightenment (Jen~you like that?) is meant to be our “own”.

      I also think I need to spend more time with 7. My intentions are to re-read the book and spend more than a week in each area, committing some serious prayer about “where” to go from there.

      Prayers to you 7 Sista!

      1. Loraine Erickson

        I was thinking about repentance. And maybe it is a part of feeling convicted. It must be. but there is something to feeling just sad over how you have been. i think that is a good thing to do and was just saying, maybe I should spend more time thinking through that.

        Thanks for the encouragament and loved the use of the word enlightenment. 🙂

        1. Carla

          I completely agree! I think spending more time thinking through the whole thing is an excellent place for all of us to start.

          There were definitely some parts that I think I was saddened or broken over but in respect for being honest (like you are doing) I am struggling with taking the all the actions I think need to be taken. The small steps have come but still struggling with the bigger ones.

          I love that part of what 7 intends for us to do (or at least I think) is to be having these exact conversations, convictions, brokenness, and call to action ~ as needed in our lives and community.

          Hope to hear what happens for you as you continue the journey.

    2. Marla Taviano

      I totally get your promise to your blog followers. I’ve lost a lot of readers over the years with this obsession with caring for the poor thing. 🙂

      Feeling like you’re not repentant enough sounds kind of repentant to me. I think you’re on the right track, friend.

      And I’m not a pastor’s wife, but I too appreciated Jen’s call to the church.

      So glad you joined us on this journey, Loraine!

    3. Jen Hatmaker

      “I was definitely convicted and am making some changes out of that conviction and desire to be obedient”…that is my definition of repentant, girl! Don’t get hung up on semantics here. Your response to God is beautiful and fitting.

      1. Loraine Erickson

        I don’t think this is just semantics. I am not beating myself up here, but rather exploring the difference between being convicted about something and being truly repentant. Jen, your repentant heart in the intro chapter challenged me, which was good. I think there can be a tendency to see the concepts in this book as mere good ideas a Christian should implement, versus seeing the sin for what it is and being repentant. Repentant in that you are truly sorry for attitudes that have dictated how you’ve lived your life and to see those attitudes as sin. Not just as less –than- ideal attitudes, but as sin. I am not sure that I view the years of having more (in whatever area) as sin. And maybe I should? I think there is a difference between conviction and repentance and I was throwing it out there that maybe I should spend more time thinking that through.
        I am just mulling this over in my mind, in a good way, in a thought provoking, “hmm, I need to think about that more”, way. Hope that makes sense.

  13. Andrea

    This was just what I needed to read right now! It fits so perfectly with what I have been learning from practically everywhere (Bible study, sermons, conversations with friends, other books, even work). I just started on “Consumer Detox” to continue delving into these hard topics and have a list of my next reads ready to go! Thank you Jen and Marla for being a part of the impetus of change for me. In writing a study, I think focusing on some of the verses used and quotes from the authors of our past is helpful. I especially liked how Marla phrased questions each week for us (though I usually had already gotten excited about finishing a chapter and written my own blog post before I saw them haha.). Perhaps she can co-author 😉 If using questions of application, I think it would be great to leave them more open and possibly list examples as you did in the book. I say this because so many of those participating in this online forum had such great and interesting ways to integrate the principles in their life, and many had interesting tangents and diversions along the way that still produced such beautiful results.

    I was a slacker (or actively battling the stress of life in seeking A Sabbath Life) in last week’s post and didn’t get it up until the end of the week (http://amcneely.blogspot.com/2012/04/sabbath-life.html) and this week posted a very short re-cap (http://amcneely.blogspot.com/2012/04/7-experimental-mutiny-against-excess.html).

    Thanks again to all of the participators for making my life a little richer.

          1. Jen Hatmaker

            When God wants me to hear something, Andrea, I usually get the message TEN MILLION DIFFERENT WAYS. I’m like, OK. I GET IT. Love that God is speaking so clearly to you with the same word. It’s so crazy that He pursues us like that. Crazy. Love to you.

  14. Sharon

    My intention all along was to read through the book once (during the read-along) and then read it through again with my husband (we haven’t started yet) and actually participate in the challenges at that time. But, the clothing chapter has already impacted me. I tried on just about every single item I own and got rid of all my work clothes that no longer fit. Which was most of them!! The waste chapter also impacted me hugely. I started making a list of everything in my fridge that needs to be used up ASAP so there would be less chance of it going straight into the trash can. I purchased a Camelbak water bottle, so gone are my Arrowhead sports top water bottles that I only bought so I could refill them with tap water and lug them around with me everywhere I go. (This video is pretty neat about bottled water vs tap water http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-bottled-water/) Yesterday, I purchased dryer balls so I won’t be buying (or throwing out or coming in contact with the apparently toxic) dryer sheets.

    Jen, your book has changed my entire mind set. As I said, I haven’t even actively applied each of the challenges in my life, but I have them in the back of my mind and am making little changes here and there.

    And, I am beyond excited about the study. For a year I lived in a community that I can only describe as “hippie-ish.” I had a friend visiting last week who still lives there. I told her about “7” as it is the perfect fit for the mindset of the community there. I was so bummed as I thought it would be awesome to read the book through with people in my current community. I’m just not sure if anyone I know here will be on board. Especially because just about everyone I know here is in “baby prison” (I love your phrase – makes me laugh every time).

    But, knowing there will be a study book makes me even more motivated to grab some friends and go through it.

    Jen, thank you so much for sharing your amazing experiment with us. I so enjoyed your sense of humor, your honesty and your braveness.

    Marla, bless you for sticking with “7” despite all the things that have popped up in your life lately. It’s been such a huge eye opener and blessing to me.

  15. Sarah Hubbell aka MainlineMom

    So much awesome. So y’all have inspired me to do a study of 7 with our entire life group, which is particularly focused on compassionate living and adoption. That’s a lot of people actually. I suggested it and our group leader said “let’s order a gaggle of them” 🙂 We also happen to live in rich-ville, also known as Katy, TX, so this should be interesting.

    Jen I don’t know when your study will be ready but we’re probably starting up in June so I’m guessing we’ll just get the book.

    Oh and this is a co-ed group…I hope the guys can appreciate Jen’s writing as much as we ladies do!

    1. Marla Taviano

      How exciting, Sarah! We’re doing 7 in our life group too–and a GUY actually suggested it, not me! Can’t wait to hear more about your study!

      p.s. I’ve been to Katy twice in the past few years. Next time I’m there, let’s meet!

    2. Jen Hatmaker

      LOVE. I’ve heard back from tons of co-ed groups…evidently the guys can hang with it. There is just enough sarcasm to deliver them from what they were afraid was some sentimental sappy lady-writing. ;0)

  16. Jen Hanson

    Loved the book, Jen. Love your first name too. And your church. And your friends – I want them for my own.

    But I digress – your book made me think, laugh, cry (the part about envisioning your Ethiopian children’s family looking at your wardrobe and calculating how many months they could have survived on the money you spent – WOW)… the book made me re-consider, re-try and even re-cycle (again… second attempt… so I re-re-cycled). I love that you’re turing the book into a study and really like the 8-10 loose suggestions of application.

  17. Marla Taviano

    I’m heading to bed (and not the ER–hooray!) and will be back bright and early in the morn to share what I loved and hated and need and want and all that.

    I echo everything Jen said about all of you and can’t wait to hear what else you’ve got!

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