Everyday Advocate, reprised

A couple years ago, I wrote a series of posts on various experiments our family was doing.  Each was a way we could take a small step towards justice in our everyday lives.  Whether it was a product replacement or a spending habit, we were trying out various options that would align our daily lifestyle with the call to care for the marginalized.

We have continued that practice, and since I brought it up in my talk last week, I thought it was a good idea to revisit those topics and share what stuck, what flopped, and what new we’ve tried!

Here are the things we still do:

  • Buy organic & fair trade sugar and coffee.
  • Buy handmade soap, but we’ve switch to Sisterhood Soap, made by refugees in Iraq. (They also has a men’s line.)
  • Clean with green products, especially vinegar.
  • Use a professional car wash instead of DIY-ing it.
  • Send our clean-out items to Goodwill.
  • Allocate part of our own family budget to supporting friends around the world who do great things on small budgets.

And we added a few things–we stuck with (mostly) cloth-diapering for our two boys.  We enrolled in another organic Community Supported Agriculture program. I found and fell in love with Root Collective shoes, handmade by Otto and his staff.

View More: http://em-grey.pass.us/the-root-collective-guatemala-trip-february-2015-web-optimized-1

But there are some thing that haven’t stuck, too.  So, honestly, here are some things that flopped:

  • I was so excited about machine washable bamboo paper towels!  But…they were hard to manage:  I kept forgetting to take them out before drying, then they’d shrink.  There was nowhere to store the washed ones, so they piled up on the counter.  So we use conventional paper towels now.
  • We have not found many kids products that worked out, though we are still looking.  Many of the kids items are for older children, or just not a match with things my kids like to do.  So we have a lot more big-box plastic stuff than I imagined.

And then, of course, there are ways we need to grow:

  • Our closets are not nearly as ethical as they could be.  We’ve struggled in the young-kid season to do the research on clothing options.  (Our heights and torso lengths means that a lot of things don’t fit, so it takes some effort.)
  • Riley has been so connected to our ongoing conversation about how God loves color.  As fall displays vibrant reds, burnt orange, and cheery yellow, he readily connects to God making people different.  So now is a great time to lean further into normalizing all the different ways that God made us.
  • Curtis is a dark-chocolate lover, and it’s time for us to commit to only, always eating slave-free chocolate.  We generally buy pound-plus bars at Trader Joe’s, but we don’t know where or how it’s made.

As we head into Christmas shopping (and Riley’s 4th birthday), I’m excited to explore gift options again!  Every year they get better and better.  So I’ll share what I find here, and if you have an idea, please pass it my way!


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