“Vacation All I Ever Wanted”

…Vacation had to get away”

The Go-Go’s? Anyone? Bueler?

Ok…So anyways I am on vacation! Bryan and I (and #LilFitt) are in Gulf Shores, Alabama with my parents and brother and sister for a whole week!…which ends tomorrow. Womp woooomp.

Pause: I think in the midst of the chaos of packing and whatnot I forgot to post for the blogging world that #LilFitt is a BOY! More on that later.

Back to vacation. My family and I have been coming here for over 10 years. We pretty much have this whole beach vacation thing down to a science. Relaxation: check. Great seafood: check. All of the fun bars and hot spots: check.

Also on the vacation docket this year? Big feelings and heart change, apparently. Leave it to Jen Hatmaker (If you’re new to my little corner of the interwebs, you should know and will probably pick up on the fact that I am obsessed with her.) and her words and feelings and convictions to completely wreck me inside. AND ON VACATION.

Truthfully though? I am loving it. I’m halfway through the book and I love that it has made me cry actual tears while sitting on the beach. I love that it is giving me a basis for the 7 experiment that I and my friends did through her guidance. I love that it provides a channel for God to kick me in the butt and get me moving.

I swear, I have read my mom like half of the book aloud. I’m making her resent it before I force her to read it. Probably not the best strategy. Oh well.

That’s all for now on an update! I’ll post vacation photos soon…promise.

Love, Alex

Advertisements

Clothes.

clothes

I know, I know. This has taken me entirely too long. I’ve had all of my 7 stuff saved as drafts forever, but I keep having new thoughts and ideas and aaaaah! I have a lot to say, ok?

Anyway.

Recap: The girls in my Community Group took Jen Hatmaker’s book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and did our own experiment. No, not the one she orchestrated with another book on making your own experiment, because apparently none of us though to check that. So we did the extra work and made our own. Do we get bonus points for that? No? Ok. Sorry for all the links.

Clothes was the second chapter that we tackled in our 7 experiment. I didn’t necessarily think it would be hard, I just thought it would be annoying and a giant hassle. Let’s look at her rules:

  • 7 articles of clothing total, for 1 month
  • Undergarments do not count.
  • 2 pairs of shoes count as 1 item of clothing (leaving you with 6 more to choose)

Our rules:

  • The exact same, but for 2 weeks instead of 4.

Thaaaaaat’s right people! We got brave on this one and played by the rules. I should clarify. When I say “We,” I mean the majority of us. There were exceptions to the rules in some cases. For instance, Jen Hatmaker is a writer and speaker, but otherwise, a mom who works from home. She had the freedom to wear the same thing over and over without worrying about having to look (too) professional. Heather is a counselor and Raven is a graphic designer, so they still limited themselves, but had to expand their wardrobe a bit for work-times.

This happened to be the same week when my kidneys decided that growing E Coli might be fun times, so they gave it a whirl. I was home sick with pyelonephritis for half of the first week and in the hospital for the other half. I tried very hard to wear the 7-sanctioned casual clothes while I was at the hospital, but clothes get dirty (weird huh?) and the idea of trying to explain in my drugged up mind what I could and couldn’t wear to someone else seemed cruel for both of us, so I gave in. I rocked it the second week though!

So remember when I said I thought it would be annoying and burdensome? It wasn’t (aside from the *minor* hiccup there at the beginning) AT ALL! It was actually pretty awesome.

No having to decide what to wear.

No pressure of accessories.

No feeling like my clothes didn’t look good on me.

Best of all: No one asking me “Didn’t you just wear that yesterday?”

Wait, Whaaaat? I’m serious! I thought that people would notice and tease me about wearing the same clothes over and over, but my ego was forced to take it down a notch because NO ONE CARED. Even at work. No one even seemed to notice.

I think that was the biggest lesson for me. I get so concerned with what other people think of me, and that binds me to a lot of my materialistic tendencies. I want people to think I’m cool. I want people to think I’ve got great style. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I want people to be jealous of me and what I have sometimes, as if that will make my insecurities magically go away.

I realized that if I were to sell all of my clothes and keep only my favorite ones, no one would give a tiny rat’s you-know-what. That is so freeing. It’s also so humbling. This realization kind of forces you to get off your high horse and pay attention more to things that matter and less to things that–try as we might–will not last.

Next up: Stress.

Have any of you done the 7 experiment? Or just sold a bunch of clothes and had a panic attack about it? Tell me Tell me!

The Daily Fav Day 14: Valentines Day

Aren’t we cute?

It may seem convenient and cheesey that I am claiming this as one of my favorite things on Valentines Day, but it really is! This is one of the other exceptions of holidays I can celebrate without feeling stubborn about it . I don’t care that it’s a “Hallmark Holiday,” and I don’t care that it’s a giant scheme for retailers to take my money. I just think it’s cute ok? So today I am giving you a list within a list:

My top 5  fun facts of Valentine’s Day (in no particular order):

1. The movie Valentines Day! As you know, I am not much for sappy lovey movies, but romantic comedies? Get over here. I am especially fond of the ones where they take a lot of different story-lines and connect them all together. Ahhhh I love it! (I-don’t-caaare)

2. I don’t usually do cards. As someone who claims to be an excellent gift-giver, I somehow always manage to forget a card. I do this with everything though. I am the queen of “Oh, that’s from me, sorry.” at showers. It’s weird, you’d think I would remember, but you’d be wrong. I have trouble spending $2.50 on something when I can just say it or write it down on the cute colored blank cards I bought at Target. (Shout-out to my homie Target!)

3. An excuse for a super-awesome date night. For real, y’all. Why NOT celebrate it if only for this reason? I hope that in my marriage we always do something special and give each other little tokens of affection for Valentine’s Day, even if the something special is cooking/devouring a meal at home or giving each other intangible gifts cause you know, sometimes you gotta save for a house or something.

4. Even before I had a permanent Valentine, my mom always made V-Day Special. Every morning we’d wake up and find super cute mom-stuff gifted to us on our place-mats. She did this even when we were in college. I don’t have a place-mat at their house anymore (Nor do they use place-mats anymore), but she still called me this morning and told me that she has chocolate for me. I love it, I hope I can be 1/2 as awesome with my kids as she was/is with us! Oh and one time, my dad brough all the ladies of the house flowers on V-Day and it literally made my year. That was so cute and sweet!

5. Bryan Fittin makes me feel like a queen every day of the year. I like to think I’m not super high-maintenance. It truly doesn’t take much to make me happy. However, though I’m not into getting attention in general, I am a big fan of being the center of Bryan’s attention. I definitely have been known to jokingly whine “Ahhhh pay attention to me!” And he takes the cake on this, you guys. He is so thoughtful and sweet in just the right amount in awesome. Since I am not fond of super sappy stuff, he somehow masters being sweet in ways that I can appreciate so much! That man could seriously give me a picture of flowers on Valentine’s Day and I would think it was hilarious and perfect. Ok I’ll stop being mushy.

My Valentine 🙂

 

I have to add this here at the end. Social Media has become ridiculous on days like today. It’s fine if you don’t like Valentines Day. I really do get it. But please consider whether or not you are doing anything more than being a Scrooge for the rest of us on Facebook. If you think of it as just a normal day, TREAT IT LIKE A NORMAL DAY.

That being said, I have a giant place in my heart for those that have lost their Valentine, and for whom this day is super hard. I won’t even try to say it better, so I will just refer you to Jen Hatmaker’s blog on this subject. My prayers go out to you. You are so strong, and because this is literally my greatest fear, I have so much respect for you all.

Happy Valentines Day you guys!

Money Money Money Mooonay (Mooonay!!)

So as I talked about in my last post, the ladies in my small group (Becca, Heather, Raven, and Dia-these names will come up a lot, there will be a quiz later) and I – and two of our husbands… kind of – decided to do an experiment based off the one found in “7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess” by Jen Hatmaker. We did things sloppily and out-of-order, and we changed some of the rules, but learned so incredibly much.

So it begins. This one is a little embarrassing to start off with, as it was our trial run, our practice round, if you will. We didn’t really know what we were getting into and had not read the entire book yet. We at first thought we’d do each experiment in the course of a week, so that is how long this one (sort of) lasted.

Her rules:

  •  She and her family would only spend money in 7 places total for a whole month. Let’s first establish how wonderfully crazy this chick is. Her places were:
    A farmer’s market
    Gas station (just one!)
    Online bills
    Stuff for her kid’s school
    A limited travel fund (she is a speaker as well)
    Emergency medical stuff
    Target (which she severely limited herself to using only in emergencies )

Notice there are no restaurants, movie theaters, or any other type of entertainment, which if you know anything about me, is such a buzz kill. Since we were only doing it for a week, we decided that free reign of 7 places in 7 days was a little on the lenient side, so we decided to change it up.

Our Rules:

  • 7 transactions ONLY in 7 days.

Yeah, I know. That’s not a lot. This is especially true when it’s your mom’s birthday and you have agreed to dinner, a manicure, and a movie. Bam! 3 transactions. 2 hours.

This was my downfall, people. Right out the gate. This is a pathetic way to start off the telling of my experience, but it was the first one we did. And as you know I am both a rule follower and extremely type-A, so to do things out-of-order would have me twitching. Ask Bryan how it goes for him when he suggests we watch a show or a movie in a series out of said series, I dare you.

Raven stuck it out for 2 weeks and didn’t cheat, and for that, we celebrate. If only this were a relay where when Becca, Dia, Heather and I failed, we could have passed a proverbial torch to Raven and celebrated the group win. C’est la vie.

You’ll just have to trust me that it gets better from here. The funny stories, the complaining anecdotes, the accidental lessons learned, all still to come. While bated breath won’t be necessary, I know the edge of your seat will be worn down by the next blog post, amiright?

Anyway, I did learn stuff. Just from reading and failing, I learned how much we Americans spend on crap. I am only tiptoeing into bleeding heart mode when I say that there are soooo many other things we should be focusing on.

Her statistics are eye-opening, saddening, and, if I’m being honest, embarrassing. We are turning a blind eye to so much suffering and heartache in the world while we buy our 15th scarf, $50 moisturizer, and newest pair of shoes. I know what I’m saying is controversial, but read the book and learn what I’ve learned and try not to feel convicted.
This is still overwhelming to think about, and I’m on the home stretch of the experiment! So yeah, hang in there with me. The stories get funnier and the truths get stronger. Sorry I failed on this first one, but in keeping with my first post  I’m not going to beat myself up over it. 🙂

What do you think so far? Ready to try it for yourself yet?

How My Faith Was Ruined

Preach it George!

Preach it George!

What? I’m the only one who breaks into song when almost every word ever reminds me of one? Especially one from the man who also begged us to “wake him up before we go-go.” No? Ok, moving on.

Once upon a time, there was a girl in her early 20s, we’ll call her… crap, nothing rhymes with Alex. It was me, ok?

Anyway, “she” was living her life doing that thing that Christians do, where they live how they want and then feel like bad Christians and then they remember that they go to church, have quiet time more often than not, try to avoid cussing, and watch what they spend their time doing and then feel better about themselves. This is of course until God used Jen Hatmaker and her book “7” and a few other methods to screw everything up for her. THE WORST. (That was only semi-sarcastic, you should still be afraid of standing next to me because lightning.)

Enter a very overwhelmed child of God with her newly found give-a-crap, straddling the fence between wanting things the way they were and marching forward now that I’m becoming more “in the know.” Part of me (the part with crazy eyes) wants to take one of GOB’s “forget-me-nows” from Arrested Development to empty my brain of all of the scary knowledge of the real world behind the curtain of the western church. The other part, the goody-two-shoes of my brain, knows that this is scary and raw and painful and sad, but is saying BRING IT.

Fun game: spot the pop-culture reference. I physically cannot write without one, apparently. There have been several so far.

So this is where I am RIGHT NOW. I’m not past this or on the other side of “figuring it out” or something. KNEE DEEP. It sucks. It’s no fun to see the world through a lens of greed, hostility, and pride. It’s hard to not be able to buy anything without thinking about tightening the binds of forced and unethical labor, or who and what I’m supporting with my dollars for that matter. Guess how much fun it is to become disgusted by habits and practices that CURRENTLY DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE. Not. That’s how much.

Ugh, Change is hard! And yes, I realize this is quickly becoming my mantra. But it is!

One thing I know for certain, and I’m totally stealing this from an awesome writer:

Jesus needs new PR.

Like, bad.

There is a reason that Christians leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and a lot of other religions don’t. Christians are awful a ton of the time. I’m sorry but it’s true. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said to love our neighbors, forgive as we have been forgiven, and not to judge. Did we seriously think that those things were just entries in some sort of churchy suggestion box? This crap is on us, people. Start focussing more on damage control and less on being a hater.

Also, when Jesus said it would be hard for rich people to get to Heaven, sorry but He meant us. We may not feel rich by North American standards, but we SO ARE compared to the rest of the world. When we’re comfortable, we depend little to none on God for stuff like food and shelter and life. We get stuck in the “fill yourself up” phase and then stop, not going and making disciples of all the nations and sharing our GREAT GIFT and caring for the poor and widows and children and ALL THE THINGS.

Believe me when I say that this is where I am. I’m stuck.

It’s no fun and it feels like a swarm of emotions and things I need to be doing differently and I don’t really know where to go from here. But here are a few more things that I do know:

I am called to love people. Not only that, but I am called to love them AS MYSELF. That’s not just like a cute little thing Jesus said that one time. It is for reals, and trust me people, I love myself A LOT. It’s gotta be one-for-one. AS YOURSELF.

Another thing Jesus didn’t do: put an asterisk on the word “people” and then explain that it’s only the people who look, think, and act like us. Everyone. All of them. Even the ones who have hurt us, are criminals, or side with a different political party than we do.

Lastly, I know that caring about this stuff is a decision, not a feeling. It’s hard to always be conscientious about what you buy and how well you care for God’s creation and whether or not your time spent is edifying to Jesus. It’s not something you can either “feel convicted” about or not. (Gotta love Christianese)

These things aren’t really up for debate.

Giving of what God has given us? Puting other’s needs ahead of our own always?  Treating ALL of God’s children with love and respect?

Not “feeling” issues. Not up for debate.

It takes effort and thought to live the way God created us to. It’s so incredibly overwhelming. We live in a world where we are abundantly blessed. Even on our worst days. BLESSED. We have to decide to live the way Jesus wants us to and die to our own wills and plans and desires.

I’m done ignoring all of this stuff. The faith I thought I knew is broken forever, and I have to spend my entire life enacting God’s purpose for it. It’ll take a lot of prayer, research, and sacrifice, but what other choice do I have? To squander my life on things that will pass soooo quickly? No. NO. I have never felt more alive than I do right now. In the midst of the brokenness and confusion, I finally feel like I’m not wasting time and energy just living the way Alex wants to.

I for sure don’t have it figured out and never will. I will never be perfect at this stuff. I will literally die trying, but it’s worth it.

I’m so happy I’ve been broken, and I’m glad the faith I knew is ruined!

How has God broken your faith? And what did He use to do it?

PS: Stay turned for an in-depth look at my “7 Experiment” for further news on how my faith was ruined!