Family Mission Statement – Part 5: Freely

Family Mission Statement – Part 5:  Freely

In 2010, Joelle and I had the chance to spend a summer in Orlando, Florida.  We couldn’t have timed it better!  Just a few weeks prior, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had opened at Universal Studios.  How could we resist the opportunity to channel our inner Dumbledore and Hermione!  We went and it was packed – in fact we waited near an hour just to get into that portion of the park.  Besides the simulated ride through Hogwarts and drinking my first butterbeer, our other fondest memory was our mystery line.  With the masses of people in the park, lines were everywhere.  At one point we jumped in a line thinking we knew where it led.  We asked the people around us in line and no one could give us a definite answer.  In all, we waited in this line for over an hour, it only moved a few feet, and still to this day we have no idea what the line was for.  Somebody pass me another butterbeer, please!

We eventually got out of our not so magical mystery line.  One thing I couldn’t help but notice was how many remained in the line.  How long, I wondered, would they continue to stand there with no clear direction and such little forward progress?  Either way, walking away gave us a new sense of freedom to explore!  I think we left Wizard World and enjoyed the rest of the park where there were no lines at all 🙂

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Family Mission Statement – Part 4: Basic

Family Mission Statement – Part 4:  Basic

Every Wednesday is garbage pick up in our neighborhood.  Everyone loyally wheels out their cans of trash and recyclables to the curb and a paid service comes to take it out of sight and out of mind. The can, often filled to the brim with multiple overflow bags sitting next to it, is a very real measure of waste going out.  While the large boxes from new appliances, kids toys, and other household items are measures of the stuff coming in.  A constant exchange of goods and trash that, if we want to or not, feels helpless to escape.

When we sat down with pen and paper to write, “We live with our basic needs being met and not abundance” as part of of our Family Mission Statement, we didn’t necessarily have trash pick up in mind.  But our own, once invisible, habits to accumulate an abundance of stuff, along with our society at large, have become overtly clear even in the most common routines of life.  See the heaps of trash scattered along any major roadway.  Boxes filling barges with unwanted, used clothes being shipped off to developing countries.  And most obvious for me, look no further than the garage!  We live in inescapable abundance.

Or, so we thought – adopting one philosophy has helped us combat this deeply embedded tendency.

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Family Mission Statement – Part 3: Produce

Family Mission Statement – Part 3:  Produce

Sustainability often calls for tried and true practices passed down from generation to generation that allow a particular group of people to flourish in their environment.  In more recent and developed human history, tossing out the tried and true to make way for the newest process or technology has become common practice.  What’s defines one generation may be in no way applicable to what defines the next.  So much so, that just a few generations removed and the entire way of life for say our great grandparents has become all but lost.

As we’ve considered this phenomenon, a chief factor that rises to the forefront is outsourcing.  A year ago, one lone thought would have come up when I heard the word outsource – sending off our local jobs to places like Mexico and China for cheaper labor and therefore cheaper products.  But, when considering the unprecedented turnover of values, thoughts, and methods each individual generation is experiencing in our modern world, we’ve discovered the definition of outsourcing to be much more vast.  It penetrates deep into our societal fibers with so few even knowing where to look!

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Family Mission Statement – Part 2: Serve

Family Mission Statement – Part 2:  Serve

We all have a story of service that has humbled us and shaped our category of what it really means to be a servant to others.  An example of a servant that often comes to mind for me is my Dad.  Whether it was shoveling the snow on our neighbors driveways, volunteering to coach my little league teams, or always going well beyond the call of duty during a big move to a new house, my Dad has a proven track record of going out of his way to serve others.

Most recently, when Joelle and I undertook a major house renovation project, my Dad spent a few weekday evenings after work each week along with weekends for several months coming over to help and he lives about 45 minutes away.  Talk about sacrifice!  And I’m thankful to have both benefited from it and had this modeled before me throughout my life.

When it comes to what we talked about in Part 1 of our family mission statement, Jesus blew the doors off any category we have for service when he said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).”  Crazy!  With service being driven then by love, we can see that the bar is set very high on how we are to serve others.  Namely, the giving of our lives…. Which is exactly what Jesus did in serving us.  Hence the back half of the opening sentence of our Family Mission Statement that because of Jesus laying down his life for us, we similarly, “desire to compassionately serve others.”

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Family Mission Statement – Part 1: Believe

Family Mission Statement – Part 1:  Believe

We talk fairly often about our Family Mission Statement on our blog because for us, this really was THE turning point of our family living out our values.  Not to say we didn’t prior, but how were we to tell if we didn’t have a clear definition of what our values were?  You often hear it said that in order to get to where you want to be you have to clearly define the end goal or you’ll never know when you’ve reached it.  That is exactly what a mission statement is.  It becomes the lens, filter, and template that all of life gets vetted through.  

We wanted to take the next several weeks to start at the top and give a little more volume to the individual components of our mission statement.  Not necessarily because our values should be your values.  But, in the hope that as we explain the origins of our values that you may be inspired by the things we hold most near and dear to our heart.  And, that you may feel compelled to write your own mission statement, which we plan to share some wisdom on in the future.  This week, we are going to break our first sentence in half and tackle, “We are followers of Jesus Christ and because of His sacrifice for us…”

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What Do You Really Want In This Life?

What Do You Really Want In This Life?

Sitting here, poolside, in the middle of a condo community while on vacation in Fort Myers, Florida, surrounded by many in the retired community, I can’t help but think about the journey they have been on to get here.  These “snow birds” as they are called live their normal lives for 9 or so months of the year in their home state and when winter hits they head to their second home down south to escape the cold.  Sounds good to me!

Retirement is a funny thing to reflect on.  In essence, you can view it as the summation of your life goals – your true passion.  It’s the thing you worked for and toward your entire life.  Almost all of who you are as a person can be wrapped up in your retirement.  So, sitting in the middle of this community where at 30 years old I drastically throw off the median age, I wondered how many of these retired folk were truly satisfied with the newfound trajectory of their life as they neared 70 and beyond?  With that, did the path they followed in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s seem worth it to them now?  Or was it even the path they really wanted?  Did their careers move in step with their true, deep down goals, talents, passions, and desires or did these simply lay idle?  “What is my own fate as I near retirement age?” was ultimately the question that rattled around in my head while sharing some outdoor pool space with these well to do snow birds.

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Our Sustainability Story: The Real Cost of Unconscious Living

Our Sustainability Story:  The Real Cost of Unconscious Living

Living sustainably and the things we write about on this website have not always been on my radar.  Millennials are often criticized for growing up with an abundant amount of comfort and convenience, and for me it was no different.  In fact, we had not just one, but two microwaves that often ran simultaneously to get everything needed for a meal adequately heated at one time.  My closet could have housed a family of three in some parts of the world and was still brimming with clothing and other items that built up over the years.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood.  Everything was secure and abundant so why question any of it.  All of it was normal.  

Life essentially carried on this way through college and into our early married life.  We lived on a tight budget so I began couponing for our basic food and household items and could buy them for next to nothing.  I didn’t think much about quality or where things came from or why these companies wanted me to buy their products so desperately to basically give them away for free.  They were cheap and that’s what mattered to me at the time.  

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#NoShip2017

#NoShip2017

When we originally created our instagram account in June 2016, our intent was to challenge ourselves and share our journey along the way of sourcing as many locally produced items as we could.  Food being the primary thing we had in mind.  But as we’ve pondered living sustainably in today’s world it quickly became apparent food was just the tip of the iceberg.  Our challenge is now to consider everything we consume and how it impacts our own bodies and lives along with our communities, environment, and world.

One such form of consumption we have become conscious of recently is shipping.  Sure, delivering goods long distances has existed for a very long time.  But with the dawning of internet based business over very recent history the trend of purchasing a higher percentage of our consumable goods online continues to increase.  We soon began to wonder in our own lives what impact occurred every time we clicked the “Buy It Now” button and a package showed up at our doorstep a few days later.  

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“Put A Face On It”

“Put A Face On It”

When I asked the “mitten lady” how much time she put into making each pair of mittens her response of an hour and a half sounded fair.  Almost too fair for the $20, very fashionable and well crafted pair of mittens we had just bought for Joelle.  It helped put my mind at ease that we had just made a small but meaningful investment, not only in ourselves for the impending winter, but toward a skill, an art, a product, our community…. A person.

This past summer we challenged ourselves to “put a face” on our purchases as a family and this was just one of so many positive, personal, face to face interactions we had.

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