Monday, January 2, 2012

Hopes for the New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope it's a really good year for you- in all the ways that matter.

We saw our house today, and were so grateful to find that it was clean and the tenants had left. There are a few repairs that can't be done with us living in the house, so we can't move in just yet, but we're hoping to move in on Thursday. As we see our place and the fairly urgent repairs that are needed, I started to think about two somewhat related, somewhat unrelated things:

1.) Michael Reynolds and his Earthships (don't you just want to call your friends and say "hey guys, want to meet up back at the earthship?):
Recycled tires and old glass cleaned up good!
A few years ago, we watched a documentary "Garbage Warrior"about this renegade architect who has been trying to make truly sustainable homes his entire career. He uses old tires and rammed earth and old glass and otherwise rejected wood. He comes across as a somewhat crazy genius in the documentary, and you can't help being inspired by off-the-grid living that seems to be warm (solar and geothermal), filled with running water and most modern conveniences. He's extremely critical of mainstream construction and architecture for the amount of waste it produces. My favorite feature of his houses is his use of glass bottles as skylights. The light pours in, but there's no actual window.

While the "earthships" seem very much a rural phenomenon- in the city the best thing we can do is (I think) make a very old house very livable and hospitable, for as long as possible, I still draw inspiration (maybe we'll call our house something crazy and insist other people do too). As we figure out repairs and paint and making our house homely, I feel inspired to be creative about using waste and trying to make do with unexpected objects.

2.) We don't need much, but having or not having is not really the point.
It's been quite ok not having much the last few months, which makes it easier to gradually get stuff and think through repairs to our house. What I would have considered "the basics" a few years ago feel less important. It's all very exciting. And I talk about it a lot, to anyone who will listen.

That said, stewardship in the context of home ownership shouldn't stand alone as an idea. "Living well on less" is awesome, but it still fits into the category of "living well", which is not really a fully encompassing life goal (unless you interpret it quite broadly, then it might be- but I'm talking housing here).

My hope is that I can be about stewardship for something. It's a big part of our life right now as we start to figure out our home, but it's not life-giving in and of itself. This year I'd like to use the Bible verse, Micah 6:8, as one guide to the bigger things- to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Those are at once comforting and pretty intense (that I've taken completely out of context so forgive me for that). That's a half-finished thought, so forgive me for that, too.

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