Responsible Consumerism?!?

Recently, I was introduced to some new terminology for a movement that is very popular for celebrities and the cool kids! It is the idea of “responsible consumerism,” and this may not be new terminology or a new concept for many of you. However, it was new to me. This idea consists of taking responsibility to be aware of the details of the products you buy. Details might include where the product comes from, what materials are used in manufacture, is the manufacture of said product damaging the immediate environment, what was the inspiration for the product, are the proceeds from the product just to make some suit rich or will it go for a better cause? One of the most well-known proponents of this idea is the creative genius behind Toms shoes which sends a pair of shoes to a child in need with every purchase of a pair of shoes. This idea is changing the world, in my opinion.

The idea of “going green” is not a new concept in our world, but I, personally, had a very extreme ideal of what “going green” entailed. I suppose I had this picture of someone driving a car that runs on French fry oil, someone that didn’t take showers, and who spent a majority of their time in a deeply personal relationship with a tree. I am not really sure why I had this picture in my head, and I don’t mean to offend anyone who lives this lifestyle except if you have the deeply personal relationship with the tree because that is just a little weird.

Anyway so the idea of responsible consumerism and going green converged in my head into a really simple but life-changing idea for me that has had implications in every area of my life. To me both ideologies boil down into the choice to take personal responsibility for the items you purchase and bring into your home and also for the items you take out of your home in the trash you throw away. I am not an extreme environmentalist; however, I do believe that we should be good stewards of what we have been given – that includes our world and resources. Also, in the current economic times, being aware of some of these things will help you save money. Little things that using a re-usable water bottle or coffee thermos, using cloth napkins at dinner, or using canvas bags to transport your groceries can both help the environment and save money. Also choosing to buy products that are better for the environment or have a higher cause than getting rich are becoming viable options in our world. It’s all about being educated on the products you purchase and choosing to take the responsibility.

Okay so what are the applications for this?

Number One – the food we eat. I am notorious for saying “why don’t we just pick up something (usually fast food) for dinner and not cook?” The food from a fast food restaurant can be the worst thing for you – I know from experience!!! And, most of the time you can’t be sure if that food is actually real food or some sort of chemically enhanced substitute. When you cook your own food, you get to control the ingredients and the quality of said ingredients! It’s a simple change that requires you to take responsibility for what you are putting into your body and to make a choice! Taking a good but difficult look at what I was putting into my body makes me want to cook and be more responsible for the things I eat.

Number Two – what we allow into our heads that can make its way to our hearts and eventually affect our souls. There are so many negative and harmful images that we come across in a daily basis that we must have some sort of counterbalance in our lives. It is next to impossible to avoid all that is negative unless you live in a bubble that never interacts with the outside world, but it is imperative to have some sort of import of positive. As a follower of Christ, it should be the Word of God that is the positive and the counter to all of the crazy crap we put into our heads! Romans 12:2 states, “do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” I like this because conforming to the world is something that comes very natural to us and something that can occur when in auto-pilot, but renewing your mind is something we must choose to do that most of the time goes against our very nature!

Number Three – As the executive at Toms shoes are teaching us about responsible consumerism and how what we purchase can affect the rest of the world, it is beyond time for us to realize that everything we do affects the people and the world around us. Just as we need to be aware of what is going into our bodies, we also need to be intensely aware of what we put into the world. So many times, I walk around like the things I do and the things I say do not affect anyone but me; however, that is so not the case. People watch you – not in that we need a restraining order type way but in a follow in your footsteps type way. I am the oldest of 3 girls – a fact my two younger sisters like to remind me of – and I want to be the kind of person that they want to look up to and follow. Also I work with kids during the majority of the waking hours, and if you work with kids you know that they learn much more from what you do than what you say!

It all comes down to taking the initiative to educate ourselves and taking responsibility for the people we are and our actions. If you are reading this and thinking that this will include more work on your part, then you are exactly right, but I believe the benefits far outweigh the extra work. I know that I am capable of going on auto-pilot where I am not really living but existing, and that is breaks my heart because I can’t get those days back. I only have one life, and I don’t want to look back at the end of it and regret something I didn’t do but wanted to do. I want to have an awesome story to leave behind…


Inspiration and Vision

I am such a visual person - I think in pictures.  It's almost as though there is a never ending movie reel going in my head.  When I read books or plays or well anything, I see the actions take place in my head.  (Possible explanation as to why I love history so much!)  I also love words - its completely amazing that these little things possess such power! To me, the best writers are those that make me see their vision and their inspiration with their words.  This week, I have been looking for my own personal inspiration and vision.  I found some of what I was looking for, and I thought I would share it with you. 

First, the past few weeks have a little of the dramatic side, and my amazing mother, pointed me to Psalm 37.  I love the entire psalm, but I want to share a couple of my favorite verses -
    "Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  "But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord, He is their strength in time of trouble."  Psalm 37: 3-4, 39

Also I visited with a very good friend this week who reminded me of who I am - we met in college and have been good friends for a long time.  We read through skits - which may not sound like fun and excitement for anyone else, but it was exciting to get back to what I am passionate about.  Drama, acting whether live or on video is such a powerful resource in worship - almost a modern day parable - using everyday experiences to illustrate a Biblical point. 

Finally today, it has been such a beautiful day, I went around my house and grabbed just some pictures of my greatest inspirations.  I am blessed with a crazy sister who is just as visual and more artistic than I am.  So I hope these inspire you as much as they inspired me.

The Sky - oh so amazing!

Trees - you know I have a thing for trees!

Something about the sun and the shadows and light...

Weather for capris and relaxing!

Green and sun in the window

This is the view from the kitchen window and I heart it!


new ideas

So as a self-proclaimed "history-nerd," the idea of studying ancient civilizations fascinates me.  I am so intrigued by what life was like for people in different worlds and social structures, and most often we find out what we know about these people groups through archeological digs.  These digs brings us bits and pieces of what these ancient civilizations have left behind - many times we find etchings on walls telling us a story of these people.  Now that we have so many other artistic outlets of expression and so many technological outlets of expression (blogs, online journals, facebook), I wonder what we and more specifically I will leave behind for future generations to find so that they will know what our world was like.

At different times in my personal life, I become extremely reflective - what have I done if my life, did any of it matter, have I accomplished certain goals I have for my life, what decisons in the past have led to where I am now, and which, if any, of those decisions would I like a "re-do" on?  There is this aching desire in my heart to do something important - to fulfill some sort of divine purpose.  Not necessarily a purpose that will make me popular or wealthy but something that means something to me and perhaps to someone else.  I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else, but its where I am right now.  I want my life to matter in the grand scheme of things!  And I want to do something great - again not something necessarily great as defined by our society but perhaps my purpose is that someone who reads these words today or tomorrow or in years to come will be helped, encouraged by my simple ramblings.  Perhaps these blog posts are what I will leave behind for future generations to gather a glimpse into my small world and what it might look like. 

I have a feeling in my bones that perhaps some changes are coming my way in the near future, and while change scares me quite a bit, I will do my best to be prepared to welcome change with an open heart and mind with hope that these changes are for the best!