Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest Author - Lesley from "My Turn To Talk"

I'd like to introduce you to one of my newest "bloggy" friends, Lesley from My Turn To Talk. Lesley is a freelance writer and one visit to her site will have you giggling in no time. In her very first post, she talked about a discussion her parents had with her older sister about what the newest member of their family should be named. Here's how Lesley describes it: "Our last name was Dale, and she thought a perfect first name would be "Diarrhea." Fortunately, her parents didn't take the suggestion but ... it seems that Lesley's birth started a lifetime of creative, witty, and funny writing.

Visiting Lesley's blog would be worthwhile just for the "grins and giggles" but ... she's also doing something else ... something "green". She's embarked on what she calls BNNY (Buy Nothing New Year). As some of you may remember, early on in our Change The World Wednesday challenges, we tried a "No Spending Diet" for a week. Lesley, however, is doing it for a year. Along the way, she's writing about it, sharing a lot of tips.

Lesley has graciously agreed to talk to us about her BNNY resolution. Here's what she has to say:

I'm a shallow person. I admit it. I live in a comfortable house, in a comfortable Dallas suburb, with a comfortable lifestyle that allows me to take virtually everything for granted.

But over the course of Thanksgiving weekend, my perspective changed.

It started at church. Instead of a normal service, our pastor gave a short sermon and then sent us out grocery shopping. We were going to "be Jesus" to the community by stocking up the local food pantries. Very cool.

Fifteen churches in the area did the same thing. The results were amazing. Thousands of people went shopping. Tons of food were collected. Trucks were filled. The food pantries estimated that all these supplies would last them ... three weeks.

I was stunned.

My next little revelation came on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I had my eye on a new TV, so hubby and I got up at 3:45 am to hit the sales. So did everybody else in the metroplex.

If you like to shop, Dallas is the place for you. There are three huge malls, at least five WalMarts and who knows how many Target stores within 15 miles of my house. Seriously. I can walk to a Super Kroger that looks like a food museum, and they just built a Super Duper Kroger a few miles up the road that I've heard has a furniture department. Really. Swear to Gucci.

Anyway. You'd think, with all these stores, that the Black Friday crowds would be pretty well dispersed. But when we got to Target at ungodly-thirty a.m., there were hundreds of people in line. By the time I yelled at my husband "GRAB THAT CART! IT'S THE LAST ONE! GOOOOOO!!!" - the entire electronics department was empty, except for a couple of DustBusters and a small, crying child.

We went to Best Buy two days later and got my TV. No problem. No crowds. No big deal.

But I now had two pictures in my mind. The first picture had hundreds of people in it, rushing into a store to buy anything and everything. There were shopping carts with 2 or 3 TVs, and aisles full of toys, and racks and racks of clothing. There were credit cards whipping out of wallets left and right.

The second picture was an empty food pantry.

That was when my idea began. What if I gave up shopping for a year? What if I bought nothing new, and donated the money I saved to a worthy cause? What would that be like? What would it teach me?

And so, my Buy Nothing New Year began. We are almost a month into it, and I've made a few adjustments so far.

Ebay is my new favorite activity. I have discovered a used book store and the public library. And I unsubscribed from umpteen email lists which were sending me not-so-subliminal messages on a daily basis.

I received a catalog from J.Jill yesterday, and I had to throw it away without looking. They used to call me whenever they had a sale. They'd even have little wine and cheese parties sometimes. The sales girls know me by name ...sigh ...

Told you I was shallow. But I'm working on it.

A huge thank you to Lesley for sharing her BNNY adventures with us. Now, everyone, run over to Lesley's place and follow her ... it's going to be great fun to follow her journey.

As always ... I would love to hear from you!