no buy zone: i’m in the majority?

Today one of my favorite writers, Shauna Niequist, posted that her dad’s newest book was being released today.

And what I really wanted to say before my blog post so rudely ran off and posted itself on Facebook and everywhere else is that I made a comment on Shauna’s blog. She is giving away 20 copies of her dad’s book, Simplicity, and I thought I might get lucky. There were some comments already posted, but I threw my hat in the ring, so to speak, and followed Shauna’s directions: Tell me what you’d simplify.

No doubt about it, I want to continue to simplify my life by getting rid of my excess and that’s what I wrote. Posted how excess hit me in the face after one of my 3-month stints in Africa. Posted that I wanted to continue to give stuff away and not replace it–hence my No Buy Zone.

And, I signed up to have any follow-up comments emailed to me. I wanted to see what was plaguing other people. Curiosity. What was I thinking?

Over the course of the day I received 592 emailed comments. 592 does not include the hundred or so that were already posted before I made my comment. I repeat, what was I thinking?

Did I read them all? Of course not. But I did read a random sampling of them this evening. Want to know what the most common answer was? I’m going to tell you anyway.


happy 32nd. where’s the missing piece?

I feel like I’ve been waiting  f-o-r-e-v-e-r  to tell you about my son’s 32nd birthday. Just  f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

Truth? About 2-1/2 weeks.

Ry turned 32 on July 28. That day was surreal for me in so many ways.

I started my day by reflecting on the events of 32 years ago when I was showering and dressing to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant. Those of you who are mothers know that motherhood is all about sacrifices. Mine started that very night when I traded nachos and tacos for ice chips and extreme pain. But such a deal–insurance picked up the tab.

Six hours later our little girl (we’d had 3 sonograms), miraculously turned little boy, was born. OJ got the first glimpse of his son and would have been a goner if it wasn’t that a very observant nurse shoved a stool under his backside before he could hit the floor. My take? I say OJ lost it because Baby Kristen came out as Baby Ryan, and OJ saw a little thingamajig when he was expecting to see a you-know-what.

Fast forward thirty-two years. Baby Ryan has been married for 2+ years to a woman he met while they were both serving on the Africa Mercy in West Africa. Both have finished grad school, they’re looking for their dream jobs AND we’re having a special dinner with special friends to celebrate his 32nd birthday. Before the guests arrive, his wife declares we are having a theme party and sprinkles puzzle pieces on the table so we can play a game before we eat.

Dinner is ready, but first we have to put together the birthday puzzle. There are 11 of us, ages 7 – 77, working on this puzzle. The way we carry on you’d think there was a big prize at stake. We’re trying to be crazy fast–maybe because we’re hungry. Lots of hands and confusion, loud banter, connecting pieces, but it finally came together. SURPRISE! in big letters. Finally. We’re done! Wait. Where’s the last piece?

Ry was holding the last piece. It did NOT say birthday on it.

–scroll down–











day 3: frogs, pirates, bluebirds and beer

Day 3. Still road-tripping with my friend, The Shopper. Today was Downtown Bend. Walked the streets, shopped-the-shops (me, window shopping; friend, real shopping), lunched at Deschutes Brewery, coffee-ed at Bluebird Coffee Company.

I have literally been in more stores in the last 3 days than I’ve stepped foot in the last 12 months. Yes, God’s got a sense of humor.

But I resisted.

Wait. An alarm clock that sounds like a frog and pirate wrapping paper doesn’t count, right?  Really, it wasn’t for me.


hemp in a latté?

IMG_1951Ironic that I spent almost the entire second day of my No Buy Zone shopping. Road-tripping with a friend who is NOT in a No Buy Zone, and who knows her stuff when it comes to shopping. She did well. Are you dying to know how I did?

I went into REI, Newport Market, Gymboree, Ginger’s Kitchenware, and Wonderland Toy Shoppe. I did purchase. I had baby gifts to buy and they were having a storewide 40% off sale at a Gymboree. Bought birthday gift for 4-yr old, baby gifts for Sept baby boy and Sept baby girl. All allowed because they’re not for me.

Did have my first hemp latté at the Backporch Coffee Roasters–but I didn’t pay. It was a treat from my road-tripping friend. Don’t read too much into “tripping.” She had the local Kombucha instead of the hemp so no THC for her. Actually, here’s the scoop from the hemp milk package: “THC? Never had it. Never will. There is 0.00% THC in our products.” It was tasty and I actually liked it better than my usual almond milk. Too bad because hemp milk has 3X as many calories as almond milk.

And here’s the fun stuff from BackporchFounders Dave and Majell Beach have 2 four legged dogs, 1 three legged dog and a lovely little girl named Scout. They say “Serve coffee in a way that honors the farmers who grew it.” Don’t know exactly what that last part means, but I loved my hemp latté.

I also walked right by the Naked Winery Tasting Room without stopping. Think I did OK on Day 2.



today’s the day

It’s July 1. See that black box on the right? The one that says 12 months to go?

So this should be the day that I post something inspirational and witty.

A friend and I road-tripped yesterday to Sunriver. Arrived, unpacked and started our adventure with an early dinner at the Sunriver Brewery. Next up: Visiting all the new shops that always seem to spring up in The Village in honor of summer. My friend bought the cutest hat and picked out all the potential purchases she wants to re-visit while she’s here.

Me? I saw so many cute things. I fondled chunky jewelry. I looked at so many maxi-dresses and thought to myself you know these are the new in-item and you don’t have even one–and after midnight tonight you won’t be able to get one. I had 4 hours before my shopping privileges would be suspended. That really cute maxi-dress could have been mine. I could have gotten the chunky necklace to go with it.

But I was frozen. Totally stuck. So now it’s July 1 and I don’t have to think about it for how many months? Oh yeah, TWELVE.

too many?


No Buy Zone Pt 1 July 1, 2012 thru June 30, 2013. Just back from three months of volunteering in West Africa, I felt smothered by the excess in my U.S. life–too many clothes, too many shoes, too many products, too many choices. Too many and too much of everything. Living in a Third World country had pushed the excess in my life front and center so that it became impossible to ignore. Quite frankly, it disgusted me. So for one year, NO non-essential purchases for myself with only two freebies: regular haircuts and occasional pedicures. And thus, No Buy Zone, Pt 1. I lived to tell about it, although toward the end I was really holding my breath waiting for my whole backside to be exposed as I continued to go everywhere in my two pair of worn-thin jeans. I was doctoring up my multiple black tops with a Sharpie. (BTW, I have not been able to bring myself to wear those jeans or the Sharpied tops since.)

I also committed to give away one thing of value everyday for 365 days. It had to be given to someone who really wanted it–bags to the Goodwill didn’t count. Because of my travel schedule, it didn’t happen that I literally gave away something every day, but I did keep track of the items and ended the year gifting 450+ items. It was so fun!

No Buy Zone Pt 2 July 1, 2014 thru June 30, 2015. Although I never intended to have a Pt 2, I am. To be honest, I’m lacking in enthusiasm this time around, but I’m making the commitment anyway feeling confident that I’ll rediscover the freedom and joy that I felt during Pt 1. I am allowing myself a few additional freebies this time around. In addition to haircuts, I’m going to allow myself limited purchases of second-hand clothing. I’m still going to meet-up with friends for coffee, glass of wine, or food. As with the first time around, I’m NOT stocking up prior to.

I’m also not committing to give away an item a day this year, mainly because in the past month we’ve already made 6 trips to Goodwill, put multiple items on Butte County Yard Sale and Craig’s List. Thanks to our DIL, OJ and I have made incredible headway on clearing out even MORE excess. Moving it all on to the next owners.

Now ready to start Pt 2. I’ve just inventoried my underwear and (thank God!) I’ll be good until 2015.

Really. How many watches does one person really need.

You can come along for the ride without getting on the roller coaster.

she’s lost her mind… again.


A couple days ago I declared to the world–well, really only Facebook & Instagram, but I guess that could be the world–that I was about to move into the No Buy Zone Pt. 2. I declared it publicly because my enthusiasm was feeling ho-hum and I needed:

• A self-inflicted kick-in-the-butt
• A way of initiating accountability
• A dose of inspiration to tackle Pt 2

When I glibly said “Anyone want to come along for the ride?” I really didn’t expect anyone to respond with much more than “Have a good time. See you on the other side.” But, instead responses went like this:

The ADAMANT – “Nope.” “I will love following your journey but I’m not even tempted.” “No way Jose!”

The UNDECIDED – “I may jump on that bandwagon!” “Your last episode definitely inspired me to buy LESS.” “I am definitely interested in hearing more about this.” “Count me in for the info.” “Tempted.” “I am SERIOUSLY thinking about it.”

The QUESTIONS – “Does No Buy include going out to breakfast or lunch with friends?” “Where can I read about it?” “…what would you suggest for a single person?”

My FAVORITE – “I feel like the little kid who said You be Jesus (when told that taking the smaller half of the sandwich is what Jesus would do).”

I tried to find an appropriate quote about NOT doing things alone and how good it is to have support and community. This one doesn’t really do it, and it certainly isn’t a measure of anyone’s level of friendship, but it is the quote that made me laugh the most…

Good friends don’t let you do stupid things… Alone. ~Unknown

Stay tuned for the Rules of Engagement for my July 1 2014 thru June 30 2015. (2015? Aye-yi-yi!)

Along for the ride doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get on the roller coaster.