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Invested {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is spending.

The weekly reckoning...
938. Being able to meet Adam for lunch
939. Discounted fair tickets at Walgreens
940. A peaceful shower and an hour at Starbucks blogging after everyone else went to bed early
941. Finishing my current design way ahead of schedule - I may have time for two this month!
942. Brooklyn gaining almost a pound in the last month, bug and all
943. A dark and stormy night, perfect for sleeping, with the promise of no alarms in the morning
944. Being in the car during the classical station's Saturday film score hour the morning they did "swashbucklers"
945. Going bowling, all together - Brooklyn was a patient and enthusiastic spectator
946. The first day of a three day weekend after several long weeks
947. Sweet hugs and snuggles from Brooklyn when she and Adam came to wake me up
948. Watching a kingfisher fish in the creek by the Armory when we stopped to get something on our way to church
949. Skip Bo and a shared bowl of frozen marshmallows
950. Sales that apply to clearance items - none of my maternity things were cold weather appropriate
951. A restful rainy day
952. Time to journal and take a hot bath while Adam was at STEP, after Brooklyn went to bed
953. Generous relatives who keep us supplied with clothes for Brooklyn
954. Back up batteries for when my camera unexpectedly dies
955. Several inches knit on a pair of legwarmers for Brooklyn while she napped
956. Wednesdays at Whole Foods - last week's sales and this week's sales both apply

957. Brooklyn being excited and thinking it was a grand adventure to go to church (instead of bed) after dinner, instead of being upset
958. New Community, and prayer circles. I wish we'd made the effort to go sooner!

Money, time, energy... we're always spending something. Even if I stopped all unnecessary purchases tomorrow, between rent and gas and bills we would still be living on far more than $2 a day. Then too, you can only really save one at a time. If you want to save money, it will cost you time and energy. If you want to save time, it will cost you money and energy. And if you want to save energy, it will cost you money and time. In the end, the best we can do is try to spend wisely what we have.

So that's what I've been trying to do, this whole month, really. This week I'm focusing on Spending, but also on Waste and Media (they're month-long), which are kind of about expenditure, as well. I'm not a huge pinner or blog reader (although, this month has definitely given me more to read!) and can't spend more than half an hour online before I start getting antsy and wanting to do something more tangible (unless I'm working on a post, but I disconnect my internet to reduce distractions while I do that).

I've also been trying to be more intentional, in general, but especially in the 7 categories. Social media can have a weirdly distancing effect on physical community, so I'm trying to make my interactions there count. The 31 Days Facebook group is a great example of online community done right - bloggers encouraging each other, providing accountability (and grace for missed days), sharing ideas, asking for advice, and spreading comment love.

But online community is easy to walk away from, either because it's time to start dinner or because something got awkward. It has a disposable escapability that physical in-real-life community doesn't have. Our church does their monthly communion service on a Wednesday night and calls it New Community. We went (for the first time - it's kind of late for Brooklyn, and it seems like that's always a bad day for us anyway) yesterday and experienced both the awkwardness and the beauty.

Walking in with no idea what to expect? Awkward.
Brooklyn being excited about staying up late and happily going to the nursery? Beautiful.
Trying to find a circle that wasn't either completely full or completely empty? Awkward.
Being waved into a circle, cheerfully welcomed, and introduced all round? Beautiful.
The first exercise of the evening being to all pray aloud what we're thankful for, church-relatedly and personally? Awkward.
One of the ladies who knows Brooklyn from having her in the nursery expressing gratitude for her and for Sprout? Beautiful.
Praying for those who were crushed by past fear or failure and crippled by self-doubt, and praying for one guy's son who we, at least, didn't know? Awkward.
Adam feeling compelled to talk to the guy afterwards, and offer some words of encouragement? Beautiful.
Going to pick up Brooklyn and loitering in the lobby for as long possible to give them time to talk? Awkward.
That they talked for half an hour and exchanged numbers at the end of their conversation? Beautiful.
Wading through a sea of people with Brooklyn having a meltdown because I wouldn't let her pet the seeing eye dog? Awkward.
Being chased through that sea of people by someone who overheard us talking and connected me to my Twitter handle, and wanted to introduce herself? Beautiful.

In the end, any worthwhile investment comes with a certain amount of risk. But I think that time spent in community, of any sort but especially in-real-life interactions with the Body of Christ, is definitely well spent and any awkwardness is worth working through in order to reach the beauty beyond.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will trust in Him.
[Lamentations 3:22-24]

Won't you join us in counting (and recounting!) His mercies anew? Just grab a journal or notebook (it doesn't have to be fancy) and a pen and write them down, then join us each week to encourage each other by sharing all of the blessings we've spotted. Catch up on everyone's posts and if you don't have a blog, feel free to participate by commenting, instead!

Check out these #NewEveryMorning hosts, as well, and don't forget to use the hashtag on Twitter so that we can find each other:
   Kayla [at] Renown and Crowned
   Kelsey [at] Faith Fun and the Fergusons

Do you tend to seek online or in person community?
[Join the conversation on Facebook!]


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31 Days of Unraveling Designs

It's that time of year again... the 31 Days writing challenge starts today! Bloggers from all over will be writing every day of the month of October on the topic of their choosing. This will be my fourth year participating - the first year I did 7 for 31, and spent a month going through Jen Hatmaker's book 7. The second year I did 31 Days of Sustainable Dwelling, and wrote about local and fair trade living. Last year I was busy but still wanted to participate, so I went the easy route with 31 Days of Everyday Beautiful.

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