Tom

5:07pm
18 March 2017

New Site New Blog

I finally got around to making my own website. Guess what the address is…

That’s right: tomfrench.com.au

I’ve moved my blog over there. Hopefully, this will be my last blog move ever. I’m going to aim to be blogging more regularly. If you want to follow the new blog the address is blog.tomfrench.com.au. At the new site you can also find my preaching, subscribe to my podcast and book me to preach. You’ll be so excited!

If you’re an email subscriber or you follow the blog through wordpress.com, I’ll be working at moving your subscription across to the new site, but currently, WordPress isn’t playing along, so we’ll see what happens.

Thanks for all your reading over the years. I’ll see you at the new site!




Andreana

8:44am
6 March 2017

Limited Places

Vincent van Gogh - Church Pew with Worshippers

Vincent van Gogh - Church Pew with Worshippers

In our church people generally sit in approximately the same places each week. It reminds me of growing up when Mum and Dad always sat at their established ends of the table, with the kids lining the sides in predetermined spots. These days Dave and I have set sides of the bed on which we sleep: I'm on the left, he is on the right. 

Established spots have practical advantages, but they also operate to keep things predictable. It’s a kind of subconscious agreement; a cooperation with everyone else in the room that says, “Let’s just keep things the same. I won’t change if you don’t change.”

I have been reading Martin Buber’s ‘I and Thou’, which is about relationship. So often we relate to others as an ‘It’. We have decided what they are like based on our past experiences of them; they are contained by our limited imaginations. When we relate to others as ‘Thou’, however, we see them as part of a much greater eternal reality, where anything is possible.

Our fused places at church, at the dinner table, in bed are physical manifestations of the limits we place on ourselves and each other, where we decided who we were and the roles we played long ago.

What happens when we switch it around? What if I shift slightly, and some dormant seed suddenly has room and sunlight in which to bloom?


Luke

11:14am
25 February 2017

What I've learned about habits while living on less

As promised, here’s the next instalment of what I’ve learned living on less.

If you haven’t yet read the prequels this may make very little sense to you. Go read them first. I’ll wait.

The power of habit

While doing this challenge I re-read one of my all-time favourite books, The Power of Habit. The timing couldn’t have been better reminding myself how habits work really helped me get through the first two weeks especially.

Part of the reason living on less than $2 was so hard for the first few days was that so many of my habits were working against me.

I’m sure you can empathise – just imagine these scenarios and see if they’re at all familiar:

  • Every morning after my ride… I crave a coffee.
  • Having friends over for a BBQ… I crave a beer.
  • After 40km on the bike or at 3pm in the office… I crave a snack.

habit-loopUsing the ideas covered in ‘The Power of Habit’ I was thrilled to find ways of replacing the routine part of the habit loop that were within my budget.

For these three habits I managed to use about 1-2 tea cheap tea bags per day to replace both coffee and beer (iced tea!). Making a large thermos or jug helped my sanity enormously for only a couple of cents of ingredients. For snacking I introduced peanut button on white bread – not the healthiest but I would be in serious calorie deficit without substituting my snacking with something half-decent.

Fortunately I was already equipped better than some people to take on this challenge because of the habits I already formed prior to starting it.

I’m already a very frugal guy, I do a lot of mental maths and love my spreadsheets as well as things like packing my lunches, cooking in bulk, traveling by bike and drinking less alcohol. I also have a daily practice of gratitude, journaling and mindfulness that helped me keep my brain in the right place for this (reminding myself daily what I am doing, why I am doing it and what actions I need to take).

Restricting my spend would have been much harder had I not found ways replace various routines in the habit loop with sufficient replacements and started with a few helpful habits already.

What about you?

Do you have any stories of habits you’ve changed – or any ones you’re struggling with?

Let me know in the comments below and I’ll send one of my favourite books to the author of my favourite comment.

Shameless plug

Please donate to help end poverty, read about what I’m doing, check out the other blog posts, and share if you haven’t yet.


Ryan

6:34pm
10 February 2017

Australia must become more like failing economies

"Study after study has demonstrated that Australia relies more heavily on company tax revenue than other comparable countries and that the 30 per cent tax rate is increasingly out of step with global trends" - Phillip Lowe

Britain and the US are cited as examples of countries with lower tax rates. Which is possibly troubling unless one remembers that both of those economies are tanking and have been for some time. It's possible that a heavier dependence on company tax (which many companies don't) is what has helped the Australian economy survive the last 10 years with hardly a blemish. It also may be entirely unrelated, but there still remains no reason at all to be modelling our economic policy on Britain or the US. Soz imperial overlords - no offence intended.


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