Monday, May 21, 2012

twenty four

Every year since I was 15, maybe earlier, I have stayed up late the night before my birthday journaling reflections on the year and hopes for the news ones. This night it is a little different, but typing that makes me so nostalgic for the paper and ink that I guess I will still pull out my old journal tonight and see what flows forth.

It's a crazy week - with celebrations, gatherings, party planning, graduation, meetings at work, board events and saying goodbye to some really dear friends who are moving on. In the past few weeks I've spent a lot of time reflecting as I was given the opportunity to share a few thoughts on seminary wife life at a gathering last month, and was also asked to give a devotional and share some memories with the wives of the seminary board members who will be coming out this week. (Maybe I'll get to putting some of those in a bloggable format after the craziness dies down.) 'Tis the season of sharing memories, celebrating milestones, and saying goodbyes and it's starting to all sink in.

There is so much I'm ready to do and explore this year. Mid-twenties seems like a great time to figure out what I'm doing with my life (ha), but in reality I do think this year is going to clarify a lot of what will come in my and our future. For now, it's just enjoying (surviving) the next few weeks of celebrations until the dust settles. And I do love to celebrate.

Birthdays are reminder of the great gift of life. Ultimately, I'm thankful to God for his faithfulness for another year of it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Days 2-3 on Live Below the Line: What Counts?

Living Below the Line (see here)

By day two, we were already facing a big dilemma - what counts?

It's very difficult to determine what to consider part of the $1.50. For instance, if I have a bag of m&ms I got on clearance after Easter that cost me $.49 - I can eat 1/4 of the bag as a snack, right?
If my aunt gives us a dozen grapefruit and oranges from their backyard tree that I didn't pay anything for, or I pick broccoli, radishes or lettuce from the garden - do I calculate my $1.50 based on their value in a grocery store, or not factor them in to my cost?

Conversely ,we've made a [moral] decision to purchase only organic, cage-free eggs, which cost $3 a dozen. Can I pretend I bought the $.99/dozen version for the purpose of my calculations, because I could get eggs for that cheap? I can handle buying cheaper bread, non-organic milk, etc because those are a matter of nutritional value and personal preference, but do I change my moral standard for a week-long exercise?

The types of food you can eat on $1.50 a day are basically bland and/or carbs. Rice and lentils. Lentils and rice. Pasta and oats. Oats and more rice. White bread. Minimal spices, minimal vegetables. Basically no meat. I really wonder what kinds of food you can purchase in third world countries with $1.50. If it's much more or much less than what we can get here. The quality of food you can buy here on that amount is abysmal, so all we've really purchased is rice, oats, lentils, vegetables on sale, and combined that with whatever we still have in our refrigerator. Costco packs of crackers and cookies for snacks, because the only way to afford a snack is if it's processed, and purchased in bulk. I miss variety, and flavors, and meat!

This was a tough week to try living below the line, as E has all his final papers due, and he wasn't getting enough brain food to finish strong. So we've supplemented with extra  food we have on hand at home(I would still imagine he's under $2-$2.50 a day).

This whole thing it not easy and it doesn't feel that great, but it is a really eye-opening experiment!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Below the Line

This week, E and I are attempting to live on $1.50 per day for food. We're participating in a campaign called Live Below the Line to help raise money for organizations that help fight extreme poverty. 1.4 Billion people all over the world live on less than $1.50 a day for food and we're seeing what that is like, firsthand.

When this campaign came through my BzzAgent profile, I wasn't sure how interested I would be in it. I'm not entirely sold on the idea of giving up food, just because others are hungry. But we realized that if we do live off of $15 for a week, instead of the usual $50-60 I spend on groceries a week, we could afford to donate that money to one of the sponsoring organizations in the campaign, which help some of the population in extreme poverty all over the world.

We're one day in and it's been more of a challenge than I thought. Working out is getting put on hold because I can't afford to consume enough calories to sustain a workout. Carbs like rice and pasta are the cheapest options, so they're staples at most meals.
I thought I'd record what we eat and share the approximate cost so you can get an idea of what you can afford on $1.50 a day.

IMG_0648[1] IMG_0650[1]

Day 1
Breakfast: 1 c. oatmeal with 1 tbs brown sugar, splash of milk + cup of coffee $.55
Lunch: black beans and tomatoes with chips $.45
Snack: 2 oreos $.08
Dinner: pasta with homemade pesto of radish leaves, and radishes from our garden. $.51
Day 1 Total = $1.49

We both felt hungry and lethargic throughout the day, but we're drinking a ton of water - almost twice our usual intake. I'll post another update soon!

p.s. If you're interested in donating, you can do so here:

p.p.s. This isn't a sponsored post and I didn't receive anything to blog about it. I'm participating in the campaign for personal reasons, and just wanted to share!

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