Jan 19 2011

the clothing experiment update [day 237]

Here’s the experiment.  I decided to reduce my wardrobe by 50%.  I also threw out a mini-challenge.  Take 25 pieces of clothing from your closet, place them in a box or plastic tote.  Put it away for a month and see if you miss any of the stuff in it.  If not, take it to the thrift store.  If so, take out the item(s) you missed.  Here are some updates.

50% reduction

I still have a long way to go on achieving a 50% wardrobe reduction.  I’m close, but I still need to purge some more stuff.  I went through my drawers and got rid of about 40% of that.  I need to make my 2nd and 3rd passes there.  I also had 2 loads of dirty laundry that were not included.  I didn’t count the pieces, but just guessing, I need to get rid of about 75-100 more pieces.  I’ll do that later in the week.

my boys did the mini challenge

I had both of my kids pull 25 clothing items out of their closets.

My youngest, 10, has some emotional attachments to his clothing, and to stuff he’s never even worn. Wow, we all start this process early. He has a lot of hand-me-downs that he intends to wear. The process was not easy for him.

My oldest, 11, is way pickier than I thought. I learned a lot about him in the process. He hates yellow and thinks it makes him look like a clown. He won’t wear anything with a collar. He had a lot of clothes in the back of his closet that were too small, and some clean laundry. I thought he had a lot of clothes, but he doesn’t because his brother, being the same size, has hoarded them all.

50 pieces of clothing is going to the resale shop.  And my boys? They feel good about it. It’s easier to keep their rooms clean.

others taking the challenge

I have gotten some great responses to the mini-challenge.  Besides the several people doing it, here’s some great feedback.   Continue reading


Dec 24 2010

twas the night before Christmas… the culturally correct version [day 211]

Let me me be perfectly honest here.  I really hate holidays.  And, I’m an equal opportunity holiday hater, I don’t like any of them.  I love Christmas, that is the true meaning of Christmas, but I hate the cultural crap that comes along with it.  I just want to skip all this and move on to the new year.  I don’t want to spend a bunch of money I don’t have, I don’t want to eat a bunch of sweets, I don’t want to do the holiday dog and pony show, I don’t want to go to holiday parties alone, I don’t want to go to them with a spouse I don’t have, I do not like it in a box, I do not like it with a fox. I do not like green trees, this sham or culture’s Christmas, mad I am.

Some people think the Grinch stole Christmas, nobody cared, so he gave it back and everyone lived happily ever after.  That’s the fictional version of the story, because you and I know darn well, that if someone stole all of the things in our house and all the gifts from under the tree, we would not all be in the street holding hands and singing.   The story would be a little different…  Here it is, in the form of “Twas the night before Christmas.” Enjoy…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town

Many creatures were stirring, using credit around;

The plasma tv was unloaded with care,

In hopes that the credit bill was lost in the mail;

My kids wanting toys, finances in red,

While visions of electronics danced in their heads;

Me on my laptop, looking for deals,

Wondering where I will get the next meal;  Continue reading


Dec 18 2010

read the Bible and win an iPad! [day 206]

I found something in my email this morning, something which disturbed me greatly.  It was from YouVersion, the online Bible app from lifechurch.tv.  Now I love this app, I use it a lot to read the Bible, look up scriptures, post live church events and network with other people that read the Bible.  Today, they are promoting a special event on Christmas, “Global Share the Bible Day”.  What a great idea!  The purpose is to help the world remember the true meaning of Christmas, and to do that, they’re giving away a free iPad, iPhone 4 or Nexus S.  Here’s the excerpt:

A Special Event on Christmas Day and a Giveaway!

We’re declaring Saturday, December 25, “Global Share the Bible Day,” and we hope you’ll join us in helping the world remember the true meaning of Christmas. On December 25, let’s draw as much attention as we can to the Bible—the story of God’s love for us.

Now: Spread the Word (and Win!)

Please start inviting people now to join us on December 25. If you’ll connect your free YouVersion account and post online about Global Share the Bible Day, we’ll register you to win your choice of one of five gifts: an iPad, an iPhone 4, or a Nexus S!

First of all, whomever posted this can’t count.  3 gifts listed, yet you can choose from 5.  Wow.  So if we read the Bible and spread the Word, we can possibly win electronics.  I’m guessing they’re doing the giveaway as an incentive for people to participate.  Isn’t this defeating the purpose?  If Christmas has become consumed with pandemonium, consumerism, selfishness, economic hardship, and most of all… materialism, isn’t this “incentive” really participating in the forgetfulness of Jesus’ birth?

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I like YouVersion and I will still use it.  I am, however, very disappointed in this materialistic persuasion, which is the whole reason we need to remember what Christmas is all about.

I encourage everyone to read the Bible on Christmas day, not to win stuff, but to remember and celebrate Christmas in the right way for the right reasons.  Merry Christmas, or better yet, happy birthday to you Jesus!


Dec 14 2010

name brand god [photograph]

This photograph was light painted for a gallery collection called “Excessable”, showing how we worship stuff, particularly name brand stuff.


Aug 4 2010

what do the initials E. H. stand for? [day 68]

I had to design some t-shirts for work with a comic book / superhero look for our volunteers.  The associated website is everydayheroes.me.  The volunteers are our everyday heroes and the assignment was to use the EH, making into something similar to the S for Superman.  The turnaround time was quick on these, so not much design time.

Here’s what I came up with:

After getting teased about the design using the EH with everyone walking around with their hand cupped over their ear saying “ehh?”, someone said the ultimate, horrific words… Ed Hardy.  I’m pretty sure I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

So why does this bother me?  You should read my blog post on iembracechaos.com to fully understand, but here’s an excerpt:

…what statement are we making by wearing it?

  • I support financial insanity
  • Food… $12, gas… $40, mortgage payment with late fees… $2367, Ed Hardy t-shirt… priceless
  • My shirt cost more than yours! 😛
  • The tattoo would have been cheaper
  • So what, my parents paid for it

I could add to this list.  I guess when they saw the shirt, maybe they saw something like this:

Yes, that’s a menorah.  I’m pretty sure Ed has his name on just about everything.  What is so desirable about a shirt (or other Ed stuff) that costs a ridiculous amount of money and everyone is already wearing?  Don’t get me wrong, I like the artwork, and the quality of the stuff is good, but why does our society idolize it?  As far as I know, Ed is not supporting anything good with his money… the probably 90% profit he’s making.

So who owns E.H.?  Who knows, he could have copyrighted the initials, but E.H. has now become an icon.  Just like the smiley face and Walmart.  (yes, that’s a blog post too on iembracechaos.com)  Whether or not Ed technically owns EH, make no mistake, he owns EH.  We all get sucked into the marketing world, a culture where everything is well advertised and heavily sponsored.  Stadiums are named after soft drink companies, generic brands have large chain store names branding them and let’s not forget that WalMart in Frisco is on WalMart street and Ikea is on Ikea drive.  Even the paid camps for kids are sponsored by many businesses, all competing for space on the back of the camp t-shirts.  What happened to the good old days of propaganda?  Today, that would be something like this:

Okay, so today I’m belly-aching.  I’ll stop, but I do need to say that this saddens me.  I want to be stylish and wear fun clothing, but I want to make the statement that I shop smart, I support good causes and I sport some creativity in my choices.  People don’t know, when they see my Ed shoes, that I got them for free.  Yes, I’m against Ed here, and have used him as my ‘bad example’, but what I’m trying to say here is that we should all support retailers and brands that are supporting good causes and not ripping off shoppers to make large profits.

Here’s a photo I had in a gallery showing a few years ago I thought you might enjoy.

Blog post sponsored by trashsociety.com, a division of iembracechaos.com, and a subsidiary of the guy that designed and owns the original smiley face. ©®™♥


May 31 2010

mexico [day 3 & 4]

I’m leaving Mexico right now and what an incredible weekend.  Going to Casa Hogar Elim (and surrounding areas this time) is always incredible and I never want to leave.  Being there sheds a whole new light, well, maybe not new, but a recent light on the challenge.

I really don’t struggle with any desire to shop while in Mexico unless it’s something for the orphanage or food from the Sorriana.  I didn’t do any shopping, nor did I have a desire to.  I decided to help the ‘guys’ with the construction projects, as that’s more up my alley than cooking or shopping anyway.

Now I have as many power tools, if not more than the average guy, but I have to admit, I had some power tool envy going on.  I happened to mention that to a few of the guys, and counting the days until I could buy tools.  Finally, one of them asked, “If you’re counting down the days until you can buy stuff, why are you doing this challenge?”  I pondered that for a bit and after a period of time, I now have even more reasons for doing this and an added perspective on it.

Here’s an example of the positive change the challenge provides.  Without the challenge, I would have probably bought a grinder.  Could I use a grinder?  Yes, I actually have many uses for it.  Do I want a grinder?  Yes, I do and I have for a while.  Do I need a grinder?  No.  This challenge will not only save me money (which is not at all my intended purpose), but it will make me really think about want versus need and I will accomplish not collecting more stuff.

The second thing I thought about is the ‘new way of living in community’.  I already do this some, but now I want to be more intentional about it.  If I need to use a grinder for anything, I can borrow one.  If someone needs something I have, I can share as well.  What would it look like if we all did that?  And did it all of the time, before we ever considered going shopping and making a purchase of any kind?  I have all the tiling tools available to mankind and I frequently lend them to people so they can do work themselves and they don’t have to buy tools that would sit in the garage for years between uses, provided the tools ever get used a second time.  Bartering and sharing should be a way of life for everyone.  It would eliminate waste in most cases, saving money for things we really need and in the process, building community and building friendships.

 

Going back ‘home’ to my fancy 1780 square foot castle with indoor plumbing, electricity and beautiful furnishings, tightly nestled in among other castles with towering fences to protect our privacy… well you get the picture.  This is not easy.  I feel more comfortable in Mexico in areas where there’s no plumbing or electricity.  A place where it is dangerous to go at night, where gangs steal things and sexually assault women and kids.  A place where a home is made from leftover plywood scraps and maybe some old mattress springs.  A place where pure beauty exists.  A place where you are family even if you don’t speak the language. A place where you are welcomed and accepted.  A place where you could stay if you had no other place to go.

So you might be asking the question, “What’s so beautiful about a dangerous place with no modern conveniences, built out of junk with a few nice inhabitants?”  Simple.  It’s the people.  The people are beautiful, and a village built out of what we (in America) might consider trash, to me, is a very attractive representation of God’s love and my family through Christ.

How could you leave a place like that and want to go home, much less go shopping?