a journey rekindled

It’s been 2yr since I’ve started this blog and I sheep­ishly have to admit I’ve lost focus and gone far off from my main premise. How­ever, by grace I’ve been reminded of my core val­ues. Now, from the other side of the spec­trum, I begin my jour­ney back to the path I had set out for orig­i­nally. Per­haps this time it will inspire a whole dif­fer­ent group of people.

The jour­ney begins with more to come soon…

why you’re not my “friend” on facebook anymore

Face­book has been in my life for a long time. I was one of the few who had an account when it was only open to those with school email addresses. I watched as it went pub­lic and the social net­work­ing world boomed. Regard­less of the social realm, I was a born net­worker and thrived on con­nect­ing with as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble. By 2011 I had nearly 1300 friends which isn’t as many as some have but dou­ble of the aver­age user.

As I’m get­ting older, the value of friend­ships is being impressed heav­ily on me. I rec­og­nize the need for solid friends that encour­age and sup­port each other. I’ve been seek­ing out ways to become more inten­tional in my rela­tion­ships. When it came to social net­work­ing, a prob­lem pre­sented itself because it was impos­si­ble to be inten­tional with 1300 friends. Many of those so called friends I hadn’t talked to in years, and all they did was clut­ter my news feed with info that hid those I truly cared about.

If I was truly going to be inten­tional with my true friends, I needed to be able to con­sis­tently fol­low what was going on in their lives. Beyond that, I needed to take my inten­tion­al­ity a step fur­ther and only use Face­book as a cat­a­lyst to reach deeper into the lives of my friends by fol­low­ing through with phone calls, emails, and meet­ing in per­son. If I have no inten­tion of doing one of those 3 things, then they’re truly not “friends”, they fall more under the cat­e­gory of “acquain­tance” (though at one time they may have been more of a friend).

How do I net­work with those who don’t fall under “friend” but I want some vir­tual con­nec­tion? I use other social net­work avenues such as LinkedIn (for busi­ness) and Twit­ter (though I can’t define how I use it dif­fer­ently than fb, but I do).

Let me empha­size, though, that even if you elim­i­nate peo­ple on your social net­works, that doesn’t auto­mat­i­cally mean you get more qual­ity out of your rela­tion­ships. It takes dili­gence to go beyond press­ing the “Like” but­ton and using what peo­ple post on Face­book to spur con­ver­sa­tion on a deeper level. The most impor­tant of all is to “con­sider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

To date, I’ve gone from 1300 friends to 134. My name is Andrew Ran­dazzo and I’m more than just an avatar online, and I choose to be intentional.

I might be on to something.

An old college buddy of mine just wrote on my Facebook wall last night. He said, “So, while packing, the thought occurred to me, “stuff is bondage.” And then I thought, “Maybe Dazz [one of my nicknames] is on to something…”.

I’ve gotten a fair share of comments like that from friends over the past year and a half. When I first declared myself as a minimalist or one who chooses to live by simple means, I got a lot questions. It seemed radical to others, and in a sense it was in certain areas of my life. However, I had the opportunity to explain and live out my ideals to those watching, and what I stressed was that simplicity looks different for each individual. I think that message is finally starting to sink in with most people.

Joshua Becker is true when he says, “Surprisingly, I have found that the principles of minimalism resonate with most people…I always enter with the mindset that I am on stage to simply remind the audience of what they already know to be true”.

Simplicity is great, and I believe the more so, the better. If you can be as radical as those who complete the 100 Thing Challenge, then you’re experiencing a freedom I have yet to taste, but then again not everyone is in a position to do that (i.e. families). However, every person should strive for simplicity in one degree or another. Constantly reevaluating their lives to see how they can improve to make living a more enjoyable experience. And for those of you who still haven’t caught on, money is not the enabler.

Stop Calling Me a Minimalist

I just finished reading Everett’s latest blog post “F*** Minimalism“. He’s come to some realizations that minimalism isn’t the end all. It’s a good reminder to those of us who’ve claimed the hip tag of “minimalist”. I specifically chose Live [Simply] Free because my life isn’t just about minimalism. That was just one part of living free through simplistic means.

Unfortunately, something about the reckless abandonment of minimalism attracts the most attention. Well, minimalism is part of who I am, but I’m done minimizing. I can’t go any further. I’d like to think there’s a lot more to my life than just getting rid of stuff. That reputation needs to change.

My blog’s name is Live [Simply] Free. If we’re to be known as anything, let it be this.

Live. I’m a Christian and therefore am compelled to live by a different set of standards found in the Bible.

Simply. To keep my eyes on the cross, it takes getting rid of distractions (material and mental)

Free. True freedom is found in Christ. And freedom equals happiness. And when living for Christ, life’s adventures are limitless, and the mundane becomes extraordinary.

Traditional Minimalists Live In a Bubble

This past month has been very eye open­ing in my quest for min­i­mal­ism. One of the biggest things through­out this jour­ney has been defin­ing what min­i­mal­ism is to me. So speak­ing of defin­ing, let me define what I mean by “Tra­di­tional Minimalism”.

Tra­di­tional Min­i­mal­ists — those who try to pair down their items to as few things as pos­si­ble includ­ing items of sen­ti­men­tal value; com­mon themes exist such as the “100 Thing Chal­lenge”; seek­ing to obtain sim­plic­ity through shun­ning materialism

Off the bat, it would seem that I am try­ing to accom­plish the same things, but I would strongly dis­agree by argu­ing that there is a foun­da­tion dif­fer­ence between Tra­di­tional Min­i­mal­ist ™ and Chris­t­ian Min­i­mal­ists (CM). I’ve writ­ten about this before in my post “Not Your Aver­age Min­i­mal­ist”, so I don’t want to rehash every­thing. But to sum it up, TM is focused on self sat­is­fac­tion while CM is focused on God and get­ting sat­is­fac­tion through serv­ing Him.f

The rea­son I say TMs live in a bub­ble is because the expe­ri­ences I’ve had this past month has led me to real­ize that I will never be able to obtain that lifestyle and accom­plish cer­tain goals. For exam­ple, I’ve been in the process of mov­ing out, and one of the big rea­sons is so I can exer­cise hos­pi­tal­ity. There is no way I can expect to have peo­ple over if I only own 100 things. I need kitchen­ware for cook­ing and serv­ing, and I need fur­ni­ture because not every­one I’ll have over is young like me and can sit com­fort­ably on the floor. Those are just a few examples.

Also, for those of you who aren’t aware despite the num­ber of posts pre­ced­ing this one, I’m cur­rently in Kenya. I’ll be here a month and this is a look at what I packed. I feel my pack­ing list was well researched and I did not over­pack in the slight­est. Every­thing I brought has been crit­i­cally use­ful, and on the flip side I feel there is noth­ing I don’t have that I wish I had taken.

That being said, many of the things I packed were bought specif­i­cally for this trip and are not things that would be used on a reg­u­lar basis (if at all) in Amer­ica. So, my list plus the other things I have at home exceed 100 things, but there’s no way around that. Sure, I may not be able to just pick up and every­thing, put it in a back­pack, and move when­ever I want. But at the same time, I enjoy a bit of stability/​establishment and I have the abil­ity to do things that some­one with 100 things couldn’t do.

Maybe I can’t put all my belong­ings in a back­pack, but I’m still in a posi­tion to get up and move any­where just as quickly (liv­ing in Kenya is a good exam­ple of that with only 3wk notice). I also have the means to live any­where in a world with items such as solar charg­ers, water puri­fiers, and the such. A TM couldn’t do that.

Do you see the irony? TMs attempt to live sim­pler lives and by so doing live more freely, but really they’re lim­it­ing them­selves in what they can do. I live with a lit­tle more and my pos­si­bil­i­ties are endless.

I really believe that the focus shouldn’t be on how many things a per­son has, but really on the value that is placed on pos­ses­sions. You’re going to hear me harp on being con­tent rather than try­ing to obtain a spe­cific goal because things change in life, and we can’t always keep the same objec­tive. I’m going to have to have more stuff when I get mar­ried and have kids, and though I will try to live min­i­mally, I don’t want that to be the mes­sage I con­vey to my kids. I want them to hear that in what­ever sit­u­a­tion they are to be con­tent (Phil 4:11).

That’s why the baby boomers com­ing out of fam­i­lies who were in the great depres­sion are so mate­ri­al­is­tic. And now my gen­er­a­tion is the by prod­uct of those mate­ri­al­is­tic fam­i­lies, and we many of us have swung to the other side of being min­i­mal­ists, and if we’re not care­ful to teach the right prin­ci­ple, our kids will swing back to the other side of materialism.

I don’t want to be a TM like Everett Bogue or Leo Babauta. I want to be a CM that fol­lows bib­li­cal prin­ci­ples that are bal­anced and have the right moti­va­tion. Because Jesus said, “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32), not simplicity.

Minimalism in Action

It’s been a little quiet on this blog because I’ve been writing vigorously on a temporary blog called Mission:Kenya. Yes, it’s finally time to put my Not Your Average Minimalist into action. In 3wks I’m heading out to Kenya for 1 month. There, I’ll be using the skills God has forged me with to minister to churches, orphanages, and whole villages.

My main objective is to take my medical skills and teach villagers basic things like CPR and first-aid since there aren’t any hospitals that they have immediate access to. I’ll also be working with a midwife and supposedly help deliver a lot of babies. How many people am I going to be working with? The numbers we’ve been told are going to be up in the 5000-6000 people range.

I’ll be taking a small amount things with me that should all fit into my Osprey Aether 70pack. More info about my trip and the planning stages will be coming. For now, you can visit my blog specifically set up for the trip.

Nine Quick Tips to Identify Clutter | Zen Habits

I found these questions really helpful as I peruse my stuff on occassion. Sometimes we keep things just because we’ve had them for so long, but when you start asking these 9 questions, you realize that there’s no point keeping those things.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, writes,

As I sifted through our possessions, I identified nine questions to ask myself when I was confronted with a questionable object. This list helped me decide what to keep and what to toss, recycle, or give away.

Read more…

Minimalism Begets Manliness | The Art of Manliness

One of my coworkers sent me an article written over at The Art of Manliness blog. Reading the article was a feel-good movement for me. I’d encourage everyone to at least browse it over.

Some of the most influential men in our collective history subscribed to a philosophy of minimalism. The greatest thinkers and doers of our civilization intuitively grasped the incredible benefits of keeping things simple. They quickly recognized the awesome power of reduction and used it as an invaluable tool for the construction of their lasting legacy. Throughout their careers, they emphasized a singular focus on the essential, not just in the physical sense of material possessions, but also metaphysically as related to matters of the mind and spirit.

Read more:

Ebook: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Lifestyle

“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.”– Richard Halloway

Post written by Leo Bbauta. Follow me on Twitter.

Yes, I know it’s ironic it’s not just one page or one sentence … but I’ve just finished writing a new ebook I hope you’ll enjoy: The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life.

I could have made it a sentence – “Eliminate the unnecessary” – but I tried to make it useful, and include chapters on different problems that people will face on their journey to a more minimalist life.

What will this ebook will help you with:

* Clearing clutter and reducing your possessions
* Figuring out what’s necessary, and how to be content with less
* Simplifying your schedule, your work, and living a less stressful life
* Creating a minimalist workspace, home, computer, financial life, diet and fitness program
* How to go paperless and digitize your life

The ebook is $9.95, is Uncopyrighted.

Buy The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life here.

Here’s a listing of the chapters:

  • A small irony
  • Notes on using this book
  • What is a minimalist life?
  • Overall minimalist principles
  • How to become a minimalist
  • Contentedness
  • Rethinking necessities
  • Simplify what you do
  • Clearing clutter
  • Minimalist home
  • Minimalist workspace
  • Minimalist computer
  • Going paperless, digitizing
  • Minimalist travel
  • Wardrobe and grooming
  • Minimalist food
  • Minimalist fitness
  • Minimalist finances
  • Finding simplicity with kids
  • Dealing with non-minimalist loved ones
  • Minimalism is the end of organizing
  • Step lightly upon this world: on sustainability
  • FAQs
  • Other resources

And here’s a preview of the first few chapters, so you can see what the ebook is like. As you’ll notice, the pages are pretty sparse, so while 104 pages on minimalism might seem like a lot, the chapters are actually pretty short.

The ebook is in PDF format, is DRM-free, is $9.95 and again is Uncopyrighted. I don’t plan to offer it in different formats.

It’s my hope that this book will help you live a simpler, happier life!

Buy The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life here.

Reply to: Carry less stuff

Jonathan at We Live Sim­ply chal­lenged peo­ple carry less stuff in their pock­ets, and take a pic­ture of what they carry before and after sim­pli­fy­ing it.  I’ve already had my pock­ets sim­pli­fied as much as pos­si­ble, so I only have one pic­ture of what I cur­rently carry.  Below is the following:

  • Cara­biner with car and office keys, thumb drive, and gym mem­ber­ship card
  • Knife/​money clip with 5 cards (DL, Debit, 2 cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for work)
  • LG Choco­late phone