My friend in Zambia provides for his whole family each month on less than my weekly grocery budget. That means his family's yearly income is less than two weeks of Scott's salary. And the argument that "things are less expensive there, so they don't need as much" is not convincing me. When he is trying to scrape by and care for his family, and also trying to minister to the people in his community, watching children starve all around him, it's not simply a matter of inflation in our economy.
So, when I read Jen Hatmaker's new book 7: An Experimental Mutiny on Excess, I knew I had found a way to shift my focus from simply feeling burdened to taking action.
I sped through the book in only two days and, after talking myself out of selling everything I own and moving to Africa (which would completely throw off the adoption, by the way), I talked to a couple of my girlfriends about doing a book study, going through the book month by month. There were some changes my family made immediately, like...
1. Parting with jewelry I don't wear, by holding an auction on facebook to raise money for the adoption. (That auction raised over $800!!!!)
2. Recycling! Look at just two weeks worth of recyclables, and our area has a very limited list of things to recycle.
3. Composting! And no, it doesn't stink. It smells like coffee, since we put our coffee filter and grounds in every morning! We keep it 50/50 with wet and dry items, so we're actually keeping up with our shredding, since we need to add it to the compost to keep it dry enough.
Between recycling and composting, we cut our trash in HALF! We used to put two absolutely full trash cans out at the curb, but the past two weeks, we've had only one can of trash, and we'd have less if our area offered more recycling options, like more plastics and glass.
4. Shopping local! Look at my great spread from the farmer's market and meat shop uptown. I love knowing where my food came from!
Today begins the month of September, and the book study's first month of 7, which deals with food. In the book, Jen Hatmaker limited herself to only 7 ingredients for the whole month. I took an idea from some of her girlfriends, who also followed the seven months with her, and our family will be eating traditional meals from seven impoverished countries/regions.
It's my plan to share the recipes and photos as the month goes on, probably not every day, but definitely our favorites!