January 5, 2012

I Took Someone's Trash Today (Giveaway!) (It's not the Trash)

As I drove my kids to school today, I noticed a perfectly good mattress set lying out for trash pick-up on my neighbor's curb. I rushed back, giddy with excitement, threw on jeans and a sweatshirt (because I take my kids to school wearing pajamas and my husband's shoes), and knocked on my neighbor's door to ask for the mattress. You're an answer to prayer, I told her, as she helped me stuff them in the back of my car. A prayer only 45 minutes old, in fact. A prayer that I would be able to meet the needs of a woman. A prayer specifically for mattresses.

Because last night, I spoke to that woman on the phone, a mom of two young children, who has her first place, but only a couch and a bed to outfit it. No dishes. No pots and pans. No beds for her children. No curtains for her windows. No silverware. No kitchen appliances. Anything, she said, when I asked her what her needs and wants were, anything you can give. And she added: Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

I spoke with the woman because yesterday I emailed an administrator at my kids' school to ask a simple question: Are there any families with needs that my family or my church family can meet? She immediately responded with the woman's needs and her number.

I emailed the administrator because I read a book, Seven by Jen Hatmaker. This book may be one of the most important books that I've read in a really long time, not just because it started the dominoes falling toward those mattresses, but because it answered the rumblings and questions and concerns that have been just kind of hovering in my heart for the past year. Concerns about myself and about my faith put into action. Concerns about the excess I live in and the blindness I have to needs around me. Desires to serve and meet needs in the name of Christ, but not knowing how to start.
You must read this book. Here's what it's about: Jen (the author) did an experiment in which each month for 7 months, she and sometimes her entire family fasted in an area she felt they were excessive in: media, stress, possessions, shopping, food, clothes, and waste. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that sounds all preachy and super-spiritual and hard and you don't want to read it. Thankfully, it's the complete opposite. It is laugh-out-loud hilarious, totally real-life, 100% empowering, and 0% guilt-inducing.

You must go immediately to purchase this book and devour it whole. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Do not stop to brush your teeth or feed your children. While you're out, buy Depends to wear because you will pee yourself while reading from laughing so hard.

Some other suggestions of how to read this book: 
  • Keep a notepad handy while you're reading to write down notes and thoughts because ideas and action points will come to you like nobody's business. 
  • Do not read this book right before you go to bed because you will not be able to sleep due to the millions of thoughts running around in your brain. 
  • Read this book with your girlfriends because you'll want to take action and they will think you're crazy when you start picking up mattresses off your neighbor's curb.
So, because you now cannot wait to read this book, I have some exciting news. I have a copy of Seven to give away! Yay!!!! Just enter one (or all) of these ways by Friday, January 13th at noon for your chance to win and be forever changed.
  • I got a new blog button! (Thanks, Marina) It's right over there on the left hand side of the page. Add the button to your blog using the given html code and then leave a link to your blog in the comment section so 1) we all can stalk your blog and 2) I know you want the book.
  • Like my blog on Facebook. You can also do this right over there on the left hand side of the page. I will know if you do so you don't have to leave a comment, unless you just want to because you love me that much.
  • Subscribe to my blog and leave a comment letting me know you did.
I have some more exciting news. Jen Hatmaker, besides being my secret new best friend even though she doesn't know me, is also a church planting wife. I interviewed her about church planting life and will post it on Monday. So stay tuned.

By the way, the neighbor I took the mattress from came by my house tonight. After I told her what I was doing, she wanted to offer more things that she was replacing and wanted to give away. 

A connection with a neighbor I didn't know already.
A need met.
And hopefully many more to come.