January 12, 2012

letters to people: dear jen

dear jen hatmaker,

i think we should be friends forever. i have some ideas of things we could do that would possibly allow us to take over the world. or at least a medium sized country. okay, but maybe that's not our goal, just know that it's possible. we could just hang out and do austiny things like drink smoothies and ride bikes. except i don't own a bike, but stand up paddle boarding is an option because you can rent those. and that's super popular. i will probably fall into the lake, but we'll laugh about it and in the future say things like, 'remember that one time...?'

okay i don't really like smoothies. or being outside for extended periods of time, and if more people join us for a hang out i might freak out and become socially awkward. thanks in advance for loving me through my quirks. maybe, let's just go to brunch a lot.

anyway, i just finished reading your book 7. you made me laugh (a lot). you made me cry (rude). it inspired conversations with me and Jesus, which was i think is the best compliment i could ever give you about this book. i'm just so....with you.

i spent some time in eastern europe doing things like mission and teaching english and learning about vodka and pickles, back in 2007. that was the first experience i had with minimalistic living. when i got back, i came to live in austin, and over the next few months i just became really sicked out over all the stuff i had. i ended up having salvation army pick up almost everything i owned when my lease was up. the only things i kept were half my clothes, a few boxes of books and my tv. all my kitchen ware, furniture...everything out the door. i moved in to this awesome one room flat in hyde park and there was zero space for clutter.

i sold my car. it was a holy experience. i'd have to say of all the crazy things i've done in my life, that was the most liberating. it felt so euro to be taking public transportation. little did i know, that God would use it for things like breaking down prejudices in my heart towards the homeless population (it's just like Him to use one situation in a million different ways, gosh). we are still working this out. i was outside all the time, walking to the bus stop, or just walking somewhere/anywhere, and i began to experience God as Creator in a deep way. it was awesome.

so now, i'm married. i live in a four bedroom house, that has three bathrooms. occasionally, i get confused and i don't know which one to use. we share a car, we don't have kids, but God gives us ample opportunity to share our space. sometimes people spend the night here that i've never met, and some that i've still never seen...i just wash their sheets and fold their towels after they leave.

7 was a reminder. it made me feel alive, and very, very aware of my lifestyle. my husband and i have talked about your experiments. it's caused tension. a lot of it. but talking about things like this should cause tension, and it should be worked through. we both continue to land on the fact that we have a lot. a lot of media, food, clothing, junk, british flags (don't worry about that one)...and if i may be completely honest, since we are basically best friends now, i'm already cheating in my head on how to get through these seven experiments, while satisfying the instant gratification monster that will most certainly rear it's fat-nasty head.

i told my small group about your book last night. it might have temporarily scared away from my life, but they will come around, or i'll beat 'em with a stick. seriously, the rodriguez family can not do this alone. but i thank you. your courage and your faith challenged me. you had an idea and you talked about it in community. you invited others into something you were already thinking about, and out of that birthed a great, intentional risk to pursue Jesus. you confessed when it was hard, and by no means gave a false impression about the trials and difficulties. that was so refreshing. you allowed people to keep you accountable for this. that is the flippin gospel, dude. i know Jesus more deeply because of your story. He has revealed Himself more fully because of 7. and i thank you.

it's pretty common that when Jesus moves, there's some kind of action required on my part. this is no exception. the hubs and i are still working through this and how this experiment might reflect Jesus the most in our family. so far this is where we stand.

1. we will be wearing only 7 clothes only in the month of february.

2. we will be eating only 7 foods in march OR since i'm constantly thinking of ways to cheat, we may subscribe to greenling's local farmstead box and then allow $10 dollars for meat or something and make that last every week. not sure. but it'd be great to support them, and save money. and be green.

3. we have ideas flowing within my church and small group on how to respond with our excess junk. right now it looks like my garage might be taken over by a bunch of volunteers, markers, boxes and tapes. we have half a garage full of leftovers from a HELP g-sale back in october. we also have some dudes in our church who just got housing after being homeless. they need our stuff. it's so easy and simple. other men and women in the future will need our stuff too.

4. i ridiculously want a genesis garden. we are meeting with someone about this at the end of the month. i wish they could make my entire backyard one. i would sip lemonade on the porch and watch peas grow and it would be the most glorious thing ever.

it's going to be challenging but awesome, bff. i am grateful for your obedience to God's calling in your life. you have ministered to me so greatly. and i know it is ministering to others as well. i'm so grateful that you told this beautiful story.



  1. So inspiring, Emily!! I want to read 7 now. And I definitely want the popover recipe!! :) So thankful we are friends.

  2. ive seen you a lot this month and had not even noticed about the clothes thing, you must be doing a good job working those 7 items! sorry i just saw this, i didn't realize y'all had started the challenge already! so how has feb been going so far? i think the ideas y'all came up with are cool! :)