Free to Be Green: 10 Steps Towards Green Living

Screen shot 2009-10-22 at 9.05.40 AMPhoto by Denis Collette

This talk was prepared for a live presentation I made on Wednesday, October 21, for a local mom’s group. I post it here for reference for these ladies in addition to inspiring others to join us in pursuing a good stewardship lifestyle.

Aaron and I and our two little ones took a weekend vacation to the beach in Sept. I have had a life long passion for the ocean. Growing up we would take annual vacations to the beach and enjoy the beauties of the Oregon Coast. Watching the rhythm of the waves, cuddling up and enjoying a good book, digging for agates, hiking, and exploring. It is simple and beautiful. We find rest and refreshment in the beauty of God’s creation. Nothing brings me as much pleasure as just being out in nature. Fall is here and we see the glorious changing colors of the earth.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…and it was good. He made man in His own image, in His own likeness and gave him dominion over the birds of the air, the fish of the seas, and called him to care for His creation, to steward it, to protect it, because it was good! “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry around the ground.” (Gen. 1:28)

There is a truth in this first command that is often overlooked! God has made us rulers of the earth and we are to be stewards, caretakers of the world around us. What does it mean to “reign” as Genesis describes?

Cornelius Plantinga’s says it this way in his book, Engaging God’s World:

“God gives human beings authority in the created world, what we might call ‘responsible dominion.’ Let them take responsibility for keeping the earth, for respecting the integrity of kinds, and times, and seasons. Christians and others have sometimes taken dominion as justification for the ‘conquest’ of nature…the Bible speaks of dominion, not in the sense of conquest, but in the sense of stewardship…To have dominion is to act like the mediator of creation. This means that a human steward of God’s good creation will never exploit or pillage; instead, she will give creation room to be itself. She will respect it, care for it, and empower it. The person who practices good animal husbandry, forest management, and water conservation shows respect for God by showing respect for what God has made.”

Did you catch that? When we care for His creation, we are showing honor and respect to the Creator. This is a high calling…a royal assignment! Being good stewards and caretakers of God’s glorious creation is a wonderful privilege entitled to each person on this earth. Not just me, not just you, but all of us together as a united force.

As Christians, we cannot ignore our environment. I use to make fun of those environmentalists out there to save trees…but the more I meditated on this passage, the more I realized the significance for us as Christians to take the lead in caring for the world around us. This is our opportunity to be a witness to the world around us that we serve a Creator God. When we demonstrate careful concern for the earth, we are opening up doors to communicate why with a lost world around us. How can we think to share the truth of the gospel with others if we are not concerned about the things they are concerned about.What opportunities to share the gospel!

As Romans 1:20 says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for knowing God.”

Isn’t that a beautiful reminder that God’s truth is communicated as we observe His glorious creation? He uses His creation to draw people out of darkness and into His marvelous light as they see His beauty displayed in His landscape. Should we not together actively seek to preserve the beauty of His creation by good stewardship?

Martin Luther once said, “Now if I believe in God’s Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, apples, as I reflect that He is Lord over all things.”

He indeed is Lord over all creation! Being concerned about His creation, the environment, is one simple way of offering up worship to our King! He entrusted this earth to man’s care from the beginning of time…let us seek together to care, grow and nurture it as He intended.

The two main concepts I want to encourage us to see is this: Our level of Consumption & Waste.

We live in a consumeristic and rushed society. We work hard, to buy more, only to find it doesn’t satisfy and run the rat race again. In the US alone, we represent only 5% of the world’s population, and yet we consume 30% of the world’s resources, and produce 30% of the world’s trash. Our houses have grown larger (the average house doubled in size since the 1970′s) as our families have shrunk in size. The more space we have the greater tendency we have to buy more to fill it. Stuff that just accumulates, needs time to be managed, cleaned, organized, and then disposed of when we no longer find pleasure in it. A never ending cycle. We receive our primary value based upon our level of consumption. We shop and shop and shop…and keep the materials flowing.We consume twice as much as we did 50 years ago. We are bombarded by 3000 advertisements per day…what is the result? We are being tempted to buy more stuff. We are not happy. We are on a work, watch, spend cycle.

Let’s talk about waste. Do you know how long this stuff remains in our homes? Only 1% of the products we consume are still in use 6 months later. Each person disposes of 4.5 pounds of trash per day! In the US alone, Americans generated nearly 390 million tons of trash last year. Almost 100 landfills across the US closed last year because they were crammed to the brim. Most of this trash will not decompose anytime soon and some waste is releasing toxic chemicals into our soil, streams, groundwater, and ultimately back to us.

How can we stop this cycle? Now is your time to jump off the rat wheel and focus on the important things in life…relationships, service to others, etc! Our family vision is to live simply in order to give generously. We want to cut back on our spending, so we can give more to bless others, through monetary giving, hospitality and service. We have more time and energy to serve and bless others because we have less stuff that consumes energy to maintain. Consuming less is better on the environment, and better for our marriages and all our important relationships.

I also find I save money by seeking to be a good steward! Isn’t that interesting? Frugality and good stewardship of our environment go hand in hand! I want to share ten steps towards pursuing a good steward lifestyle. I am going to give you a lot of information…but I want to encourage you from the beginning…just take one step at a time. Refer to this list at home and prayerfully seek to make your own list, step by step. Don’t try to do it all at once! Don’t try to change everything. This will only lead to stress. Let it just become a hobby! Make a goal to make one change each week or each month. Figure out what works for you.

Your part is valuable! We are the body of Christ…we can make a difference!


So we dispose of 390 million tons of trash…We can help lower this amount of trash through careful recycling. Recycling is definitely helpful, but it does not eliminate the source. It starts at the level of consumption.

It starts with a change of heart. It starts by changing your mindset. We go by in life just seeing everything as something to be consumed and disposed of.

It starts by asking yourself these questions before you ever make a purchase: Is this a need or a want? Write it down and take a month or two to evaluate it. What purpose will it serve? Can this item serve multiple purposes or is this just another little gadget that takes up more space? Can it be reused? Do we ever consider the long term impact of each decision to purchase something? It starts by stopping the consumption. It starts before you make the purchase. Christmas is around the corner…how can you begin now to adjust your mindset? Can you cut back on your budget, focusing more on spending quality time with family this year?I keep a running amazon wishlist. I never buy right away. More often than not, if I take time to think about it, I realize it really is not a need. This is another reason I avoid malls and browsing outings. I avoid the impulsive buy. We also got rid of our credit cards. This significantly cut back on our consumption.

I want to encourage you to take a little more thought to the longterm implications and consequences of each decision. Use discernment. Pursuing a more green lifestyle is a way to serve the next generation. The more things we have and money we pursue, the less grateful and more stressful we become. That is the result of consumerism. My challenge to you is to simplify.

2. CHOSE REUSABLE OPTIONS instead of disposables.

Before buying those paper towels, consider using some old kitchen towels that have lost their glamor. Before picking up those napkins, consider buying a set of cloth napkins that can be used again and again (or make your own). They also add elegance to your dinner table. Ask yourself the question, “is their a reusable alternative to this? Will this just be going into the trash after one use?” This is what green living on a budget is all about – it saves money! If you do not want to use reusable napkins, paper plates, etc. look into biodegradable or products made from recycled products. Just pick one item per month to begin replacing with a biodegradable or reusable alternative.

- Ziplocs - although the company wouldn’t want you to reuse ziplocs (because they want you to buy more!), you would be surprised how many times these storage bags can be washed and reused. I buy a box at Costco and it lasts me an entire year. Read more tips on preserving the life of ziplocs here.

- Razors - Small thing, but each item adds up. We love Mach3 razors and just buy the replacement blade pack at Costco.

- Menstrual products - Yes, I was with you…turned off at this one! But let me just tell you…reusable actually makes that monthly cycle far more comfortable. 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are disposed of annually. Tampons and pads are expensive! Individually, easily spend between $300 and $400 every 5 years on these products–over $10,000 a life-time! The health hazards of disposable products is also worthy of evaluating. Diva Cup or GladRags are great alternatives, depending upon your preferences.

- Cloth diapering - Diapers made up 3.4 million tons of waste, or 2.1 percent of U.S. garbage, in landfills in 1998 — the last year this information was collected. Despite popular belief, the biodegradable alternatives offered through companies like Seventh Generation do not decompose. They are safer for your babies bottom, but don’t help the waste issue. Cloth diapering has advanced! There are diapers available on the market that are just like disposables! No pins any more! Read more recommendations here.

- Nursing Pads - reusable options are so much more comfortable! Learn how to make your own here.

- Grocery Bags – reuse your plastic bags, or even better…buy a few canvas totes and keep them in the car. These bags are sturdy and can handle anything (especially IKEA editions!)

- Produce Bags- instead of collecting all those plastic produce bags, check out green bags! They are a great alternative that is reusable for a much longer period and will also preserve your produce longer.

- Reusable water bottles (Kleen Kanteen) AVOID BOTTLED WATER. Plastics leaching into your water is not a pleasant thought, plus they really cannot be recycled. It isn’t good for you anyway! We use Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Colored Water Bottles for Aaron and I and NALGENE Tritan Grip-N-Gulp BPA-Free Water Bottle for kid’s sippy’s (does not leak like others we have used!).

- Change your shower curtain liner- polyester or hemp are great reusable alternatives. PVC, the toxic chemical in many plastics, is that horrible stenck you smell when installing a new shower curtain liner. Polyester is a frugal reusable option that works beautifully. Croscill Fabric Shower Curtain Liner is what we use and it has been a great product.

These are just a few ideas to get you started!


Repurposing is just a creative word for reusing. Emilie Barne’s in her book More Hours in My Day, tells the story of her mother, who made a beautiful dress for her for special occasions.  As the dress wore down, it became an everyday dress, and as she grew taller, rows of rickrack were added to the bottom. Then it became a play dress for outdoor play and then an apron, and finally it was torn into strips and made into a mop.

Every single part of this dress was used until it was no longer usable. There was no room for waste. Everything was valuable. Nothing was lost. How far we have strayed from this old-fashioned and yet much truer concept of frugality! How quick we are to discard of something that no longer suits its original use. To skillfully make use of all that God has blessed us with, and to ensure that each item is used to its full potential, rather than taking the easy way out by tossing it in the garbage because it no longer works for the original purpose.

- Composting - you can use all your food waste and a lot of your trash waste to make good soil for the earth. You can use cardboard, paper, tea bags, coffee grounds, and so many other things and produce great soil. Learn how to make your own composting bin here with a simple tote bin.

- Reuse Glass or plastic jars with lids – Old canning jars and glass jars from various food products work beautifully as food storage containers. I keep an assortment of quart, half gallon, and pint jars along with Wide Mouth Plastic Caps and we are set. They are incredibly useful for many other uses from organizing craft materials, office supplies, and other uses. In our home, we have replaced all tin foil and saran wrap with a useful collection of jars.


This may be more of an expense up front, but in the end it will save you time, stress, and frustration. Buy things that are recyclable! When you buy quality, you are stewarding your money wisely. Cheap junk is a waste of money and resources.

- Chose lasting toys- less is more! Avoid the cheap battery operated toys that will be disposed of before the next birthday or Christmas. Wooden toys may cost more money, which will encourage you to buy less, which in turn will help teach our children contentment, and not building unrealistic expectations. If you limit your toy purchases, you will also train your children to be creative and content.

- Make sure it will serve multiple purposes. Instead of buying a copier, scanner, and printer…choose the 3-in-1 option! It takes up less space, works effectively, and if it does die, it would be less waste. I use a Bodum French Press for making tea and coffee…rather than having two or three different gadgets to make these beverages for ourselves.

I have already gone through two blenders while making my daily green smoothies at our house. I finally came to the conclusion it was time to be smart. Buy something that will last. I wanted something that would be durable plus be a multi-tasker. Enter…Blendtec Home Professional Total Blender! This was my birthday present this year after saving for the past year. What an awesome investment it has been! Takes the place of 9 different appliances. Less waste, less clutter, and all at a cheaper price than buying 9 individual purpose appliances. I can make ice cream, soup, grind grain, make peanut butter, salsa, and various other things with this one durable tool.


Check out your used options before you buy new – Craigslist, Freecycle, goodwill, garage sales, consignment stores, etc. Prevent others from wasting by reusing their products. We do this for appliances, furniture, children’s clothing, and decor. I love that quote from the Jim Carey version of the Grinch that Stole Christmas, “One man’s garbage is another man’s potpourri!”


The EPA estimates that indoor air is 2 to 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

- Use non-toxic cleaning supplies – simplify & save! Baking soda & vinegar can do it all! Check out our household cleaning supplies here. Another new favorite is soap nuts for all our laundry needs. The cleaning agent that grows on trees!

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, vinegar is a disinfectant. Shaklee’s Basic H2 is another option that we are just beginning to use and enjoy. It is a frugal all-purpose cleaner for everyday cleaning, windows and the like. I have also used club soda as a simple frugal window cleaner. You really don’t need tons of different products!

- Use houseplants – According to Renee Loux in Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home: “Two small plants or one medium size plant per 100 square feet will provide fresh air and healthy, mold-free humidity in any room so everyone can breathe deeply with ease.”

- PVC in shower curtains – Again, replace those shower curtain liners with a non-PVC alternative!

- Safe No-VOC Paint – Did you know that while adding color to a room, you are also slapping on lead, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene and xylene-all potentially hazardous to your health? Check out safe alternatives here.


-Hang your laundry! Did you know that 6-10% of the nation’s electric bills are due to clothes dryers? How about 15 deaths, 400 injuries and 15,600 house fires caused by clothes dryers! What can you do to lessen this price? Let it all hang out! Clothes get disinfected by the sun and last longer! Even if you just hang one load a week, you are helping to reduce your consumption of electricity and cutting down your bill at the same time.

- Use less water at the sink.

- Wash in cold. Wash full loads.

- Take shorter showers.

- Turn lights off when you leave the room.

For other energy efficiency tips, check out: Kitchen Energy Saving Tips


Did you know that most food travels 1300 miles to get to your dinner table, that can be seven to fourteen days before arriving at your supermarket (that’s a lot of preservatives)? This is a huge impact on the environment with all that carbon dioxide output. Buying locally provides you with the freshest food and ingredients, making it significantly more nutritious and a better investment of your money. It is also beneficial for your local economy.

- Start a garden. Container gardens are great alternatives if you don’t have the property.

- Dine locally. Some of our favorite date nights have been to restaurants here in Vancouver and Portland that support local farmers and have seasonal menus. The quality and taste is superior in every way. Our favorite restaurants here include: Woody’s Tacos, Burgerville, Mon Ami, Heathman Lodge, Roots.

- Make it yourself. Cooking from scratch can help reduce packaging waste, and provide you with more nutritiously dense food at the same time. This is how I seek to live naturally on a budget, I explore learning how to make my own butter, bread, deodorant, etc.

LOCAL FRIENDS: Check out my local food resources page for a complete list of where I find the majority of my food, local restaurants, and other resources. Check out the Chinook Coupon book with tons of coupons for making green natural living possible on a budget.

The Chinook Coupon book also makes editions for Seattle, Denver, Twin Cities, East Bay, and Silicon Valley. So if you live in any of these areas, check out this resource!


- When you buy organic, you can be assured that it is free of pesticides and chemicals that are not only harming the food we eat, our bodies, but also hurting our soil and contaminating our waterways.

- More nutritionally dense for your money…more value for your money!

Michael Pollan shares in his book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, “In addition to higher levels of minerals, organically grown crops have also been found to contain more phyto-chemicals – the various secondary compounds that plants produce in order to defend themselves from pests and diseases, many of which turn out to have important antioxidant, anti inflammatory, and other beneficial effects in humans. Because plants living on organic farms aren’t sprayed with synthetic pesticides, they’re forced to defend themselves, with the result that they tend to produce between 10 percent and 50 percent more of these valuable secondary compounds than conventionally grown plants.” pg 120

- Dirty Dozen - There is a helpful list online called the Dirty Dozen. It helps you evaluate which produce items are more important to buy organic based upon the level of chemicals. Green peppers, pears and peaches for example should be purchased organic, whereas bananas, avocados, squashes, and such can be purchased non-organically.

- If organic is not an option, ask about pesticides. There are many excellent farmers that cannot afford organic certification but practice eco-friendly gardening.

- Watch out for organic junk food. Organic pop tarts are not real food. It may not have HFCS, but it lacks any nutrition.


If we do not in turn pass on the vision of being good stewards to the next generation, than our efforts will be in vain.

- Start with the Word of God. Start with teaching the cultural mandate. Study God’s creation, emphasizing how He made us stewards of it. Teach them that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and thus it is important to eat well and exercise. As we teach more about His glorious creation, we can begin planting seeds of valuing the earth as we see His glory on display through it.

- Begin practicing it yourself and they will follow.

- Exercise and Cook healthy meals together – again, doing things together can teach these ideas! Practice what we preach and they will catch a vision!

- Creatively Reuse – be creative and get your children involved in thinking up creative ideas for reusing things in your household before throwing them out. Have an old sheet? What could we make with that? Cloth napkins maybe? Washclothes? You can search practically anything on the web and find alternative ways to reuse it.

- Pick up trash together – Carry a trash bag around with you wherever you go. If you taking a walk and see trash around the pathway, pick it up and dispose of it properly. As our children observe us doing it, they will follow.

- Buy less stuff for your children – the less you buy the more you allow the creative juices to flow! Your children will be more content and learn good stewardship of the little they have. When you choose to buy something, make it yourself or buy from a local or homemade source ( for example). Encourage savings.

Many of these ideas may take more work…but is our goal convenience or good stewardship? Many of these options will provide a more healthy and safe environment for your family as well, thus you will be taking good care of your family!

Let him who possesses a field, so partake of its yearly fruits, that he may not suffer the ground to be injured by negligence; but let him endeavor to hand it down to posterity as he received it, or even better cultivated. Let him so feed on its fruits, that he neither dissipates it by luxury, nor permits it to be marred or ruined by neglect…Let every one regard himself as the steward of God in all things which he possesses.” – John Calvin

Lastly, stay focused on the goal. The goal is to be a good steward. To consume less. To cut back on waste. To simplify in order that you might spend more time and energy on the important relationships in your life and in order that you might live more generously….for the sake of others and the next generation. And remember, baby steps!

May God bless you in your journey towards being a good steward of His creation!

Recommended Reading:

I highly recommend the following materials for further learning, ideas and knowledge!

Easy Green Living: The Ultimate Guide to Simple, Eco-Friendly Choices for You and Your Home by Renee Loux
Clean House Clean Planet by Karen Logan
Home Enlightenment: Create a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home by Annie Bond
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck
Simplify by Paul Borthwick
Our Father’s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation
by Edward Brown

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

40 Responses to Free to Be Green: 10 Steps Towards Green Living

  1. plumber April 23, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    I have to say that for the past couple of hours i have been hooked by the impressive articles on this website. Keep up the great work.

  2. Emirhan N. August 8, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    I am curious to find out what blog system you are using? I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest site and I’d like to find something more safeguarded. Do you have any solutions?

  3. Becky December 12, 2010 at 7:19 am #

    Comment on Fewer Toys- I believe that fewer toys (and less TV time) during my childhood helped me to develop my imagination and encouraged me and my younger sister to learn to get along and become close. We didn’t have many toys that had buttons or made noises, so we had to use our imaginations more when we played. We didn’t ask for toys when we went shopping because we knew the answer would be “no”. Now that I’m married and don’t have the money for everything I want, it’s ok, I’m used to it. I can be creative and be happy with what I have :) .

  4. amy manning November 11, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Hey there, just wanted to let you know that I just wrote a post on finding really cheap baking soda.

    I hope you find it useful. Enjoy!

  5. BettyK June 27, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    I very much enjoyed the article! I love to buy organically as much as possible, especially of the dirty dozen. My husband and I also practice Natural Family Planning (which is being aware of my fertility and abstaining that week) instead of being on the birth control pill, Depo-Provera etc. One thing I never understood is how someone can buy all organic foods so as not to eat chemicals and pesticides, yet they’re daily taking a pill or a monthly injection LOADED with terrible chemicals and synthetic hormones? Any thoughts??

  6. Tarah November 16, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Hi Lindsay,
    My vitacost order came in today! I was wondering at what age you started Titus on the ‘Children’s DHA’. Niyah is 4mos and I wasn’t sure if that is too young to start her on it. The bottle says to consult Dr prior to use of children 8mos and under. What have you done? Thanks!

    • Lindsay November 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

      Nourishing Traditions recommends starting to use it at 4 months, so I am sure you are perfectly safe to do so. Titus started around 6 months of age, only because I didn’t get my act together before then! ;)

  7. Diana (Ladybug Limited) October 31, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    So if you ever have reason to come to Corvallis (a bit far, I know), I’d love to have you give this talk to our MOPS group, too!

  8. Christine October 26, 2009 at 7:58 am #

    Hi Lindsay! I love this article on how we can live more frugally and more environmentally friendly! I have been slowly moving towards this in my own home as well. In the past year we have switched from using disposable paper towels to reusable cloth unpaper towels and unpaper napkins. I’ve also been using cloth pads (mama pads) for over a year now and they are wonderful! They lessen my flow, lessen my cramps, and have shortened my cycle to 3 days! Moving towards using more cloth items is wonderful because they are all machine washable and dryable so you can use them over and over again, saving SO much money!

    I have a sewing business where I make homemade cloth items to sell to other families to help them save money and the environment. I sell homemade mama pads, nursing pads, unpaper towels, diaper bags, cloth baby wipes for cloth diapering mamas, and much more! You can go to my website to check it out and get more information on these items!

  9. Tanya October 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    I feel a pull towards simplicity, and an awakening towards choosing “what’s good – not what’s easy”. I’ll be honest and admit this path can seem overwhelming. I enjoyed your points and their connection to scripture. We absolutely cannot pick and choose the parts of the Bible that we like but leave the others out. Great work!

  10. Fruitfulvine2 October 25, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    I am so much more inspired after reading this post. I’ve been doing some of the things you mentioned like using baking soda and vinegar for cleaning and conserving energy and water and some others. I’ve also learned a few more things that I can do like the shower curtain replacement and plants inside among others and will be checking out some of the links you posted.

    This is a great help to me in my journey to a greater level of stewardship and health. To God be the glory for what He’s accomplishing through you.

  11. Lisa October 24, 2009 at 2:25 pm #

    Great post! I’m a Quaker and I’m always to trying understand why more of the Christians around me don’t see that we are called to care for the earth.

  12. Katie Newman October 24, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    I love your blog! Thank you for your hard work and thought into it. I just wanted to let you know that I have been searching for a CSA/co-op in my southern california area and just came across something- in case you wanted to let your CA readers know, it’s throughout the central and southern parts of CA. It is Abundant Harvest Organics- I was super excited to know there was something in this area and they have raw milk and different meat add ons as options each week.

    Thanks again for your great blog! I find myself coming to it and doing a lot of word searches when I need to check something out :)

  13. Jennifer October 23, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    Keep up the great work Lindsey! I am continually impressed AND inspired by your motivational posts on becoming better stewards. Now if your next give away could just be “A Day with Lindsey” to see how you get it all done! I so appreciate your humility and encouragement as I take small steps in the right direction.

  14. melissa October 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    This is a great subject, one I have been tuned on to recently and am already making changes in our lifestyle. Just a note on diva cups. I’ve been using one for almost a year now and love it. I got mine from, a site a love for vitamins, hygiene supplies, supplements, etc. If you’ve never ordered from them you can use the code MIS969 to get $5 off your first order. No limit to how many people use the code so spread it around. Thanks!

  15. Marjorie October 23, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    I found a tutorial on how to make your own cloth pads. While I am personally a diva cup fan, I plan on making a few of these for days when I don’t need the full on diva cup, but don’t want to use a disposable liner (or ruin my undies!)

  16. Cindy Wilson October 23, 2009 at 9:39 am #

    Thank you so much. I really enjoyed your article. I look on your website everyday. I look forward to your next article. I will be reading the book that you are recommending soon.

  17. Sarah October 23, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    Thanks for the link for the shower curtain liner! I’ve been wanting to replace ours, but I didn’t want to purchase a hemp one that I saw that was over $30.00. Definitely a much more frugal option :)

  18. Paris October 23, 2009 at 7:10 am #

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m going to save it and work on a few things at a time. Your blog is such a blessing to me and I’ll be sharing it with others often!

  19. E.E. October 23, 2009 at 6:06 am #

    Thanks, Lindsay, for another insightful post. I agree with so much of what you’ve said, but have one comment (particularly after watching the online video “The Story of Stuff”). We need to be careful as Christians to not get swept along in the propaganda that the world tries to feed us regarding care of the Earth. Global warming is not taking place. It is okay to use the resources God has blessed us with. The Earth will one day be destroyed, no matter how conservation minded we are. We cannot “save” the Earth. Only people can be saved through Christ. My family does all that we can to limit our environmental impact, and we are always implementing more. Let’s keep sharing with others how to do the same, and keep emphasizing good stewardship of God’s creation, rather than how we can “save the planet”.

    • Lindsay October 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm #

      Yes, I wholeheartedly agree! I went ahead and removed the link to the video because it has presented much controversy in this light. My motivation in sharing it again is only to encourage people to see how much we really do consume and how much we waste. I specifically don’t talk about what the media presents as problems in our environment but stress the importance of good stewardship. We are doing this to show respect to our Creator, not because we are living in fear. We serve a Sovereign God! Thank you for sharing!

  20. slawebb October 23, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    Thanks for this post. It is great and gives me more ideas on what to do to cut down on my use of “stuff.” My biggest problem is 2 fold. How do I get rid of the “stuff” we already have. As in my kids like all their stuff and don’t like it when I go through and get rid of it. When asked to help they just say they want to keep it all. The other problem is, how do I get others to stop giving us stuff we don’t need and I don’t want. Two of the three sets of grandparents seem to always give the kids more stuff when ever they come for a visit or for the holidays. Most of the stuff is just that, poor quality stuff. And for some reason they seem to buy it in bulk! I’ve tried explaining my feeling on it but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I guess I just do what I always do. Wait until the novelty wears off and get rid of it. The problem is most of it is not worth giving to others. :(

    • Lindsay October 23, 2009 at 6:01 am #

      I would encourage you to check out my series of posts on simplifying. I have a specific post on simplifying the toy collection that may be helpful to you. They are lots of suggestions in the comments as well. I always weed through my daughter’s things when she is napping or in the other room. She never misses them. With relatives, you graciously appeal with your heart’s desire for less stuff and more quality and then you leave it at that. Preserving the family relationships is more important then stressing over the stuff. You are doing the right thing. When the novelty wears off, you pass it on. Goodwill takes everything and you never know who might be enthralled with it down the road.

      • CultivateMom October 23, 2009 at 8:36 am #

        Oh my goodness, I know what you mean. My kids have five adoring Aunties and two sets of grandparents. All of my kids are so close in age that one new toy can easily be shared by all. Some of the things that have worked for me are:
        1) Having an ongoing gift idea list going for each my kids. There are items on there that they really need and things for homeschooling, my sister just got each of the kids money for 4 shows at the Seattle Children’s Theatre. So fun! My relatives are getting better and better about asking about the list first.
        2) Not letting the kids open the packaging on the gift until after the thank you note is written, this buys me some time to figure out if I will exchange it or move something out of my house first. By the time that is done, they usually can’t remember everything they got.
        3) Once a week we buy, make or give things to our church’s low income ministry and the kids are starting to get really excited to be a part of this.
        4) As for me, I don’t give them allowances. They earn play money and spend it at my “Chore Store” each week on things like “Family Game Night Coupons” and granola bars. :) I don’t buy birthday gifts for them, but the whole family plans a beautiful party for weeks to celebrate their life each year so they feel very loved on their big day.

      • whitehousemom October 26, 2009 at 6:16 am #

        In responding to the issue of how to get rid of the extra stuff that the kids accumulate, I would say it depends on the children’s ages. When my son was younger, I did as Lindsay says she does. I would make things disappear when he was not aware of it, and he would never miss anything. But he is now 12 and very much aware of his ownership of his stuff, and now I would never just throw out his things. It is his responsibility to decide what he is willing to part with. I think it is important to teach our children the principles to live by, such as the ones shared by Lindsay above, and then provide opportunities to practice those principles. This way these principles will be internalized and we will eventually see our children choosing for themselves to be content with their belongings, generous to others, etc.

        For example, our church recently had a clothing drive for a missions project, and I saw an opportunity to simplify our home while blessing others at the same time. My son and I went through his clothing (of which he has more than enough) and at first he didn’t want to part with anything. But after discussing how the clothing we gave away would be used to help people in an area of the world who have very little, he was more than willing to donate the extra that he had. Or last year when we had a yard sale, he added some of his things to be sold and of course he got the money from selling those items. To encourage our 4-year-old daughter to be generous as well as to simplifiy her toy collection (which contains quite a few that she outgrew long ago), we are going through her things to find items that are still in decent condition to give to my cousin who is now expecting her first child.

        I agree with Lindsay that family relationships are most important, even the relationships with our children. Providing reasons for and incentives for simplification may be more effective at building character than just focusing on the “stuff” of life.

  21. Kika October 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    Your article is well laid out and supported and was a pleasure to read. Excellent work; I imagine your parents are incredibly proud of you and the manner in which you’re using your giftings to teach others.

  22. alexis October 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    This is a great post! I wish you lived in Indiana so you could come give this talk at our MOPS group!

  23. Carmen October 22, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    Until recently I didn’t know there were so many options for cloth diapers and menstrual pads. I ordered a starter kit of menstrual pads from lunapads and I really like them. Kinda pricey but I think I can make my own liners for them and I figure I’ll save lots in the long run. I read that using cloth will help me have shorter, lighter periods and I am all for that. Haven’t found out myself if it is true since I just got them.

    • Christine October 26, 2009 at 7:31 am #

      Hi Carmen! I’ve been using cloth pads for over a year and they are wonderful! My cycle has been shortened to 3 days and I used to go 7 days or more. I also used to get so sick I would throw up and couldn’t even walk. Since I’ve been using cloth, I haven’t had any of that happen. It also lessens your flow so you aren’t as heavy. I started using them in July of last year and began to see my cycle drastically change for the better by November. I will never go back to disposable ones again! I’m so glad you are trying them out!

      • Katie Stanley October 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

        Christine and Lindsay, I was looking at the gladrags site and was a bit overwhelmed by the selection. How important is it to by the organic cotton ones? Which do you use and how many did you buy? I’d love to try them out.

        • Christine October 27, 2009 at 8:59 am #

          I actually use homemade ones. I make them myself and sell them if you are interested in buying some from me. I do not use organic cotton ones, just cotton flannel and fleece. You can get more information on the ones I make at
          I have not really done any research on the difference between the organic cotton ones vs. regular cotton ones, just that the organic ones are a little bit more expensive. I have never had any problems with using regular cotton flannel pads. Both of them are better and healthier for you than the chemically made store bought ones.
          Right now I have 12 that I personally use and that lasts me about 3 days, changing them every 6-8 hours just like regular pads/tampons.

  24. CultivateMom October 22, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Where do you draw the line with environmentalism? I have done a lot of researching on this topic and it is based in very little science and mostly politically motivated. “The Story of Stuff” is a great example of this. For instance, Americans produce more garbage than the rest of the world, but what they don’t tell you is that we produce more of the food and goods for the world than anyone else and we do it cleaner than anyone else because we can afford to. The information in “The Story of Stuff” is very misleading and destructive in a lot of ways.

    • Lindsay October 23, 2009 at 6:14 am #

      There is definitely a proper balance…one that is concerned for the creation and yet not one that worships it. My Lord has first place in my heart. Everything I do is motivated by a desire to honor Him first and foremost as my Lord and Savior. My main goal with this talk and my vision for living more green is in order to consume less, live simply, in order to give generously, and to focus more on the important things in life (relationships, for example). Notice I don’t focus on all the problems that the media states are currently happening in our environment. That is not my motivation. My goal is to show respect to my Creator. When I cut back on my waste, that is also less waste into the environment as well that cannot decompose anytime soon and that releases toxins into our soil and in turn into our water. You cannot ignore this fact. We are producing thousands of new chemicals each year which are harmful to everyone.

      Secondly, I am motivated for the health and wholeness of my family. We are also seeking to be good stewards of our bodies (Our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit) so that we can be fit and healthy for the Lord’s use. Many of these practices (especially the food related ones) are not only beneficial for the environment, but more importantly, they are good for our health, which in turn gives us energy and keeps us fit for the Lord.

      There are definitely some shortcomings to the Story of Stuff video (it must be watched with discernment), and I do not agree with everything presented, but it is definitely true to the point where it shows our levels of consumerism and waste. That is my purpose in sharing it. (Note: I have removed the link above, because it is really not necessary for this talk and it is just too focused on saving the planet and based on fear, which should not be our motivation. Our trust is in a Sovereign God, and yet we are called to live purposefully, wisely, and with a good steward mindset). Our purpose in being good stewards before this time should be to show honor to our Creator). Why does it matter so much that we produce more of the foods and goods? If we are going to other countries to get all the resources to make these goods, how does that make us better? Because we make more we can justify spending more and consuming more? If we in turn waste more than is necessary, does that make it right? Is that honoring to our Creator? When we become so consumed with more and more goods, that we displace His rightful place in our hearts.

      The point is the heart of the matter and that is what I am trying to emphasize. This is not about environmentalism so much (it’s not motivated by the fears of global warming, for example, because I trust in a Sovereign God)…it’s about good stewardship as a Christian and being a light to the world. I hope you see that in my writings.

      • amandaginn October 27, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

        Amen, Lindsay! I have heard so many attacks on my practices because people assume it’s motivated by global warming or political beliefs.

        We need to stand united in faith as brothers and sisters in Christ, a faith that leads us to action.

        I am so encouraged by your bold (yet humble) professions on this topic.


    • jessica October 24, 2009 at 12:13 am #

      if america is producing more goods, it must be american COMPANIES, not the american people…go to wal-mart, the “american” (red, white,and blue) icon and find something made in america…. i couldn’t! EVERYTHING is made in china (this for the entire clothing and toy and child accessory sections…as well as appliances and all textiles…

      Or maybe they are counting the American continent…since Brazil is destroying it’s rainforest and ecosystems, to make pastures for beef production which is primarily being shipped to NORTH america….

      I too used to listen to the “christian” radio with my mom (in the 80′s)and hear that these “tree huggers” were just wanting to issue in the “one world government”, that things were very exaggerated, that the world is for our use, not to be “worshiped”…of course you have to use your head and investigate a little….but there is a LOT to be learned/thought about. It’s not logical that we can buy a shirt for $5 that was grown in india, woven and died in sri lanka, assembled in China, labeled in Mexico, and sold in idaho! …and we own 10 while kids in africa don’t own 1! americans really need to examine their ways…

  25. Rachel October 22, 2009 at 11:56 am #

    I really enjoy these kind of posts from you. Thanks!

  26. SnoWhite October 22, 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Thank you so much for this post!! As a Christian who is also an ecologist, it’s often much of a struggle to share with other Christians why I care about “saving the earth”. You have done a beautiful job here sharing the call God has placed on us from Genesis to tend and care for His garden. I pray that these simple lifestyle changes will be motivated not out of a need to save money, or even to save the environment, but out of a growing love and understanding of God and His world.

  27. Debbie October 22, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Lindsay, this was a great article. A couple of weeks ago I started the huge project of completely reorganizing our 2/2 condo, which as you know, does not come with a whole lot of storage space. The eye-opener that made me say enough is enough? We were using one of our shower stalls for storage!!!

    I donated an incredible amount of clothes, baby items, frames, albums, etc., etc. that not only did we not use, but simply did not need. This organization renovation got me going on others areas of living a more simple life, like coupon cutting and deal finding to eliminate extra, unnecessary spending. From there I went to eliminating ‘extras’ such as a hundred different cleaners around the house to 1001 uses for vinegar. It’s like a snowball effect, which is not only cleansing our environment, but cleansing our minds as well. You really begin to see how much you don’t need to live a truly full life.

  28. Molly October 22, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    I would like to add “Stay educated” to your list! Encourage people to do their research and learn from multiple sources before changing a way of life, etc.! Don’t just take one books advice, double check that the author knows what they’re talking about!

    Also be careful about choosing something just because the packaging makes claims that its “green” or “organic”. At the moment laws are a lax on what enables larger companies to make these claims!

    I really appreciate your statment on “organic pop-tarts” as I’m currently reading “In Defense of Food” – his advice to “Eat Food” and not “eadible food-like products” is fantastic!

  29. kileah October 22, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    ok. i had to giggle at the “organic”pop tarts!! hahahaa!! mom totally bought these when we went on our family vacation to Kah-Nee-Ta! ha.