Why I Don't Recommend 7 During a Renovation (and a giveaway!)
by Jen Hatmaker on August 5th, 2014

So this is a big week. Tra la la. We have a little program on the television airing this Thursday. And my odometer rolls over to 40 that day, too. Tra la la. Nothing to see here. I thought it might be fun to break the tension by giving away free books! What is better than free stuff?

Lots of you read "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess" already. For you precious lambs who haven't, this was our seven-month experiment in which we tackled seven areas of excess and acted like crazy people. Like, we ate the same seven foods for a month and wore the same seven pieces of clothes for a month and other delightful eccentricities. (Get an idea of it here so this blog will make sense to you.)

How did the 7 values fare during a home reno? Medium to medium-low. This is perhaps not the best time to engage the practices of 7, good reader. I thought I should fess up a bit. So I give you the (few) ways 7 worked and the (many) ways it crashed and burned during our renovation in the seven areas of 7 and some giveaways for 25 lucky ducks:

  • Food: The show was the anti-7 concerning food. Oh, we probably ate the same seven foods alright, but they included PopTarts, Cheezits, and processed honey buns with condensation on the inside of the packaging because NO KITCHEN. (The grossness cannot be quantified.) If you followed me during the reno, you heard me lament this constantly. No kitchen was the very hardest thing. I don’t think we ate fresh food for weeks, and the garbage we ate is probably still lodged in our intestines. But in a delightful twist, the Buda Farmer’s Market is at the end of our street, so now we walk our little legs one block on Saturdays and pick up all the garden food we can handle. Except when I accidentally bought these this week because SUMMER, THY NAME IS ETERNITY:
  • Clothes: God love HGTV. You might remember that I gave away about two-thirds of my clothes during 7, and I didn’t really care. I am a jeans and t-shirt girl and whatever about it. Somewhere around our third week of filming, our producer was like, “Oh my gosh. Here is some money. Go buy some TV clothes.” Bless. (So I bought nicer jeans and nicer t-shirts. I don’t know, you guys.) But anyhow, our closets are all the size of a matchbox in the farmhouse, so we actually got rid of more clothes when we moved in. Fun fact: I wore “cause clothes and accessories” in every single episode. So watch for t-shirts by Help One Now, Charity Water, 147 Million Orphans, Guardians of the Children, and adoption fundraisers…and scarves and jewelry by Krochet Kids, Noonday Collection, The A21Campaign, and Not For Sale...and corresponding giveaways on my blog!
  • Possessions: We got rid of half our possessions and moved the other half into a POD for five months. We lived out of laundry baskets. We did not so much as have a chair. Plates? No. A couch? No. A dresser? No. Imagine living like a homeless person but kind of inside a house that has no heat or working appliances so you eat outside anyway. That was our life. We were squatters. One of my friends brought a gift over, and I was like Why do you hate me? Where do you think I’m going to put this? Everything we own is in a tub or laundry basket and she was all You need to get a grip and I was like: 
  • Media and Technology: Once and for all, it is time to clear my good name, because I NEVER TOLD YOU PEOPLE TO GET RID OF YOUR CABLE IN 7. I actually wrote the book and didn’t cut my own cable ever. Not even when we didn’t have a house. We had cable on our patio because we aren’t savages. So for everyone saying you made me get rid of cable and now I want to watch your show and whyyyyyyyyyy God whyyyyyyyyy? I say call Time Warner right away, for the love. My gosh, football season is about to start. How are you supposed to live without ESPN? Get your priorities straight. Tell your husband you want cable and Jen Hatmaker said you could, and let’s be honest, he never wanted to cut it in the first place so now you are a hero and he likes me again ever since I invaded your home with 7 and he lost his sports channels, God bless him.

  • Waste: We actually did pretty good on this one. First of all, old house. Second of all, we reused and recycled everything, man. The whole front of the house was a holding cell for “things we can use somewhere maybe.” We used our old fence to make feature walls and headboards, we repurposed the original shiplap so many times, our producer Nicole forbid us to use the word “shiplap” again, we restored original floors and ceilings…you guys, our carpet is made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. I kid you not. We got vanities and our mantel off Craig’s List and most our accessories from flea markets. Whatever we couldn’t use, we donated or recycled. YOU’RE WELCOME, EARTH. And I started composting again, but our chickens eat it all, because they are very naughty chickens. 

  • Spending: Ah, how is she going to talk about spending when discussing a renovation? the people ask. Because there was indeed spending involved. How do I put this? Our renovation was…a gift. Like, the most over-the-top, outrageous gift anyone could ever give you. Now, we bought the house (almost a parallel move from our last one…same square footage after the reno), but everything after that was a precious gift. I wake up sick with gratitude every single day. However, we have since discovered that a very old house is basically an invitation to spend money on improvements the rest of your natural born life. I can’t talk about the gutters. I’m pretending I don’t see the rotten trim pieces. Look! Something shiny! 

  • Stress: Well, this is a good news/bad news scenario. I’m going to admit that renovating an old house that you are living in is not a recipe for peaceful feelings. I dared take my anxiety to Facebook a few times during the reno and most of you were fab about it and some of you told me to visit an ER and find out what real suffering is and quit my whining. (Thank you for the advice I did not take.) The good news is, this house is now so peaceful that I could just spit. It literally invites me to kick my shoes off, bring my coffee outside and sit under the trees for a spell. We’ve filled it with friends and family constantly since the reno wrapped. My heart is so happy and my soul is so quiet here, I literally think we will live here until we die. The trees, the old wood floors, the butcher block counters, the quiet little neighborhood off Main Street, the naughty chickens…we do not deserve this house but we are grateful beyond words for it. 

So 7 plus a renovation is probably not a winning combination. For my readers about to take the 7 plunge, may I suggest indoor plumbing and a working oven as prerequisites? Trust me, gentle reader.
Speaking of taking the 7 plunge, my good people over at Broadman & Holman wanted to celebrate Show Week, so they are offering the e-version of 7 for only $4.99 for the rest of the week! That is less than a #1 from Chick-Fil-A, yall.
AND because I have the best readers anywhere, we are giving away 25 copies of 7 to randomly selected commenters! Yay, you! (Please do not comment if you are renovating a house. See previous content. I care about you.) But if you live indoors, leave a comment about any old thing and we will choose 25 of you to receive a brand, new shiny copy of 7!

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