one month.


One month down. Eleven to go. Today’s March 27th, which marks one month that I’m “shopping-free.”  On February 27, I decided to not buy anything for a year. I had 3 categories….clothes, purses and costume jewelry. You can scroll back and read the full post.

Today on the show, I brought up that it’s been a month. I’ve been to the mall maybe twice. I did go to Loft to exchange a pair of jeans I’d bought in January. Colored jeans are in, and I had bought a mint green pair, but the more I tried them on the more I realized the color is too pale for my legs. Darker denim is much more flattering on me. So, I exchanged them for a periwinkle color. Other than exchanging those jeans, I’ve not shopped. But before I give myself a gold star, 3 weeks of March was pretty much consumed with a trip to Atlanta and 2 weeks worth of FriendRaiser. At the moment, I’ll just acknowledge I’m off to a good start.

But now the journey has taken a twist.

7, an experimental mutiny against excess

7, an experimental mutiny against excess

In the course of the conversation today on the show – and because most times I do NOT think before I speak – we (me, Dave, Bill) are now doing a “7 Clothes” challenge for the month of April. In Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7, an experimental mutiny against excess, Jen identifies 7 different areas of excess in her life: clothes. shopping. waste. food. possessions. media. stress. In Chapter 1, she eats only seven different foods for a solid month. In Chapter 2, she identifies seven different clothing items that she’ll wear for a month.

But back to today’s show.

After reading several different excerpts from Jen’s book, The Morning Cruise (TMC) are choosing seven clothing items tonight, to bring to the show tomorrow. At 7:07 (get it?), we’re going to show what 7 garments we will wear from April 1 – 30. Dave didn’t even have to think about it. He was in for the challenge, not stressed, and is ready to start. One listener kidded that he’d probably have to go buy a few pieces just to get to 7. Dave is a minimalist and he prefers and chooses to be this way. On the opposite end of the spectrum resides Bill and me. And I’m not sure who is struggling with it more. No, actually I do know. It’s Bill.

You will find this hard to believe, but Bill packs a bigger suitcase than me. And when we go out of town as a show, he brings more shoes than I do. And no, I am not kidding! If you don’t believe me, ask Dave. True story.

Dave did give us a couple of caveats.

Mine: I am on a panel at a Women in Radio Summit on April 19. I get a free pass that day, and can wear anything I want.

Bill’s: He leads worship on Sundays, so Sunday becomes his “feast” day. He can wear something different each Sunday for the month of April.


1) Shoes are one category, but we are choosing only 2 pairs.
2) undergarments don’t count.
3) workout clothes don’t count.
4) pajamas don’t count.
5) coats don’t count.
6) we have a handful of station events in April. Staff shirts don’t count. But we are choosing 1 black shirt.

These are a couple of variations from how Jen did it in her book, but the spirit of this experiment isn’t to do exactly what Jen did, or to be super legalistic. The spirit of this experiment is to choose intentional reduction, and to recognize we can live on – and with – less. We are a consumption society. We are an instant gratification society. We are a wasteful society. We are a spoiled society. And please don’t hear this as me on a soapbox or making indictments against anybody. I’m not here to judge. Nor will I.

What I am here to do is open myself up to allow God to work out some entitlement tendencies in my own heart. I let the words “I need” roll off my tongue as if I’m telling someone what the weather is gonna be like today. And no, it’s not needs. It’s wants! I’ve become so desensitized to wants vs. real needs.

I want to intentionally reduce. Reduce the stuff. Reduce the clutter. Reduce the noise. And REPLACE it with gratitude. Replace it with more time with Jesus. More space for Jesus. When I’m aggravated I only have 7 things to wear this month, I want to stop and count the blessings I do have. I want to pray that God helps me with my critical spirit. I want to pray that He helps me with my cynicism. I want to surrender my ability (and tendency) to rationalize when I want something to go my way. I want to be less selfish. I want to think of others more. I want to be more tolerant. I want to remember that slavery still exists in this country. In this world. I want to remember the ones that truly only have 7 clothing items, and wouldn’t need a challenge to succeed at our challenge, if you get what I’m saying. Oh, I could name a hundred more things…but, as you can see, God has a lot of work to do in me still.

I get this may seem silly/radical/legalistic/fill-in-the-blank to some, but for me, it’s about losing the blurred lines between wants vs. needs. To live gratefully. To live more simply. And with a more healthy perspective.

This scripture passage jumped off the page at me:

1 John 2: 15-17 NLT

15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

And here’s The Message version:

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

Alrighty, I’m off to pick my 7 items. I’ve talked a good game above. Now let’s see if I can walk my really good talk. No doubt this is gonna be rough. Anybody wanna join us?


11 Responses to “one month.”

  1. Patricia Peak March 28, 2013 at 12:24 am #


    Thank you for this post. It really resonates with me at this point in my life. I too am scaling back.

    I just resigned my job of ten years because it was consuming my life and extremely stressful. While I love my job and the people I work with, it was taking over the place that both the Lord and my husband should have in my list of priorities. I was not honoring either of them.

    God called me to this job 10 years ago when our first was a senior in high school and about to enter college. In December our youngest graduated with her MBA and both are working at good jobs. While I had assumed that I would work until we got through any upcoming weddings, it’s clear that the Lord has other plans.

    We have always lived very frugally and while this job has afforded us (me) some frivolous extra income, it has recently come at the expense of things that are more important in my life. So I too will forgo some things I know that I can do without in order to recapture the balance in my life.

    Thank you again for this post. It’s a great reminder.


  2. Cathy S. March 28, 2013 at 12:46 am #

    As long as we get to make caveats, I am in! I will only wear seven items except when I am at work where I am expected to dress up Monday-Thursday. So, on those days, I will not participate. I too read 7 and it rocked my world. I am following several of her principles and on my birthday this month joined you in your pledge to buy no new items of clothing until my next birthday. I did go out and buy two new pairs of shoes and a lot of underwear before my birthday so feel a little ashamed that I induldged in order to abstain! Keep challenging us, Carmen! We all need to rethink how we live.

  3. Christine March 28, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    I liked your comment about not being legalistic and not doing it just like the author. I went through this exact situation last week. I’m a rule follower. I cross every “t” and dot every “i”. One of my areas is sugar and junk food. I stopped cold turkey. Not even Splenda in the morning coffee. Last week I took my girls to get yogurt. I talked to myself that I wasn’t going to have any. But I chose sugar free blueberry with fresh fruit and loathed myself afterward. God impressed on my heart that I’m not Jen and He didn’t call me to do the way she did. What freedom. I have reduced plenty of the junk food and continue to say no. Thanks for the reminder. This not about doing it to the “nth” degree but being obedient to the Father.

  4. Marie March 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    It is interesting that you bring up this challenge right now. We just has a discussion yesterday on my campus concerning dress code and business attire. There are also several people I know who have recently lost a great deal of weight which required them to purchase new clothes. As one of them was going through the process, he simply wore khaki slacks and a blue oxford button down to work every day, in smaller sizes as he reached his weight goal.

    Our new president prefers business, rather than business casual, and as a woman, I doubt I could get by with 7 items for an entire month without raising quite a few eyebrows in the workplace. Perhaps I will try another version of 7 in my life.

    So, my prayers are with you as you embark on this journey.
    Good Luck.

  5. Marti Woznicki March 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Always reaching, always teaching, you Go girl! XO

  6. Marie March 29, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    Carmen and all –

    I KNEW when I heard you talking about this effort on the air that it was an important issue, this whole item of clothing and 7 items.

    Here’s the thing, many of us already have the excess and may have lives that don’t allow us to wear only 7 items for a month, for whatever reasons. However, there are those people in our communities who are in real need of those 7 items.

    I was talking to my niece who is a special needs teacher in a title 1 school and she was telling me about one of her students who comes to school every day in flip flops because she has no other shoes to wear. One of the teachers gave her a used pair of clogs and the next day, she came to school in the and was very proud that her toes were covered, but the little girl mentioned that her heels were still cold. The teacher’s aide asked the girl why she didn’t wear any socks with her clogs. The girl said “Socks? We don’t have socks at my house.” She is 4 years old and lives in north Florida.

    So, if you are like me and are unable to wear only 7 items of clothing for a month, perhaps we could all manage to collect 7 items of clothing for a child at a title 1 school in our community?
    2 pants/shorts
    3 shirts
    1 jacket or sweater
    1 pair of shoes
    —————— below the dotten line doesn’t count :)
    1 pkg of underwear
    1 pkg of socks
    maybe even some PJs

    What do you think? Can we promote this idea to give 7?

  7. Roseanne Alvelo March 29, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    When my son was in Afghanistan for 1 year, I wore a tee shirt he gave me. # 1 ARMY MOM. I wore this tee shirt and a pair of jeans every weekend for the whole year. In my mind I thought something would happened to him if I didn’t wear it.I would go to Publix on the weekend and thought oh my I wounder what the cashiers must think, Oh here she is again with the same clothes, doesn’t she have any other outfits. But I also thought that I was treated nicer when I wore that tee shirt. You know the souldiers only ware there uniforms while they are over seas, and sometimes they don’t even get to wash them. My son hadn’t washed his for 6 months til he came home for R&R when I washed them for him. My heart was broken.
    I listen to the Joy FM every morning on my way to work. You all make me laugh. Well good luck with your 7.
    God Bless

  8. Cindy April 2, 2013 at 3:04 am #

    I am so intrigued by this concept. I have not read the book but am very curious. I know I would need a lot of encouragement. For those of us in the everyday work field… I am a teacher…. How do you respond to people who wonder if you have gone crazy?

  9. Cathy Slusser April 3, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Carmen, just sending a note to say it is only day 3 and I am already wearing wet pants to work! My boss agreed to let me do the experiment at work, but it will be harder than I thought! With a late meeting last night , there was no time to wash and dry my pants before this morning. And I can’t help but think about the people who do not have the luxury of going home each evening, putting on a pair if pjs and throwing their clothes in the washer. If we really want the spirit of 7, we’d be wearing them dirty. Thank goodness you are not being legalistic! Thanks for the challenge!

    • carmen April 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

      I love this! Thanks for sharing this note with me! Jen even talks in the book about wet jeans too!! So glad you’re doing it along with us.

  10. Lizbeth Cosme May 17, 2013 at 2:27 am #

    I just want to thank you for what you said this morning, when you talked about our fears….and I want you to know that my fear r is to die and leave my children alone ouand also to have one if them kidnapped…but today you made me realize that our fears should be put on Gods hands…and only his thank you….our fears should make us strong in the Lord and not weak….

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

ThumbSniper-Plugin by Thomas Schulte