Monday, May 29, 2017

Blackout 2017

Today is Memorial Day. We tend to think about this as a day off where we get all the chores done we've been putting off. Or a day where we visit family or take a trip. Or we think of it as the kickoff to summer.

But we know that first, this is a day to remember. Remember sacrifices made on our behalf. We remember that countless lives were laid down so that we could be so free we can work on the lawn or go on a trip or cook out or do whatever we want. They died so we could have these freedoms.

Living in a world and even in a country that doesn't seem to have as much appreciation for the sacrifices given for us, I have to wonder how much longer it will last. Our nation no longer acts like grateful upholders of freedom, rather, entitled, easily offended, distracted holders of freedom.

Because of what I see happening in the world, and even with the attitudes and entitlement of my own children and my own heart, our family is adopting a plan for June that I hope will bring our motivations and goals somewhat back into check. It's a scary plan. It doesn't sound especially fun. I'm sure we're going to have challenges in the next month as we try to make it work. But deep down within me, I feel like my children need the opportunity to realize how much we take for granted. And I want them to know what to do if freedom, comfort and ease becomes a thing of the past.

So this month, the Shisler family will be conducting a Blackout. Not a literal blackout, with no electricity or running water or grocery stores, etc, but a first-time practice Blackout.

Here's our plan:

Shisler Family Blackout
June, 2017

For the month of June, we will be unplugging and reducing our use of conveniences and electricity. The reasons for this:

1.       To honor God by admitting our comfort and entertainment may be distracting us from hearing his voice, and to pray and ask him to speak in the stillness.

2.       To learn to be more conservative in our use of power, food, conveniences and entertainment. These things may not always be around, and we need to know how to live without them.

3.       To remember that sacrifice reminds us of how much Jesus gave up for us. He left HEAVEN to live here in a very rough time and died a very rough death on our behalf. While we have been blessed to have so many comforts, it’s not what this life is about and Jesus was the one who showed us what is more important.

4.       To learn how to get along. We will use this time to focus on relationships and finding common ground without the distractions. We will focus on learning to be quiet without electronics.

5.       To learn how to work hard to survive. This may come in useful one day.

What we will be doing differently:

1.       No electronics. No computer (except for specific work and school tasks), no tv, no phones (except for calls and texts with friends and family.) Exceptions: listening to music or Adventures in Odyssey, listening to the Bible read aloud or an audio classic book, reading on the kindle. (limit to one hour a day.)

2.       We will be drying laundry on the clothesline when the weather is good. Everyone will help.

3.       We will be hand washing dishes, and reducing our use of paper and plastic. Everyone will help.

4.       We will not be making any purchases besides food and any emergency necessities that come up. No purchases for fun or convenience.

5.       We will try to live without air conditioning for at least a week, or as long as the weather does not get extremely hot. If it does, we will keep it set to 78 or above to conserve energy.

6.       We will not drive more than necessary or for convenience.

7.       We will make compost of food waste rather than throw it away. We will reduce our waste.

8.       We will conserve our use of water and electricity.

9.       We will eat less red meat, more vegetables. We will try to make our own bread and conserve our use of the stove and fridge. (maybe cook mostly on grill?)

1.      We will spend our extra time organizing and decluttering, getting rid of things that could be helpful to others.

1.      We will do at least one activity that is for the good of others less fortunate.

I     If you are interesting in joining us for the Blackout in June (or another time) feel free to use any or all of these ideas.  I'll be posting again in July about how it went and what we learned. Let me know about your experiences and ideas in the comments, and thank you to all who serve our country so sacrificially!


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