a vegan couple: eating; running; living–minimally.

return of the LDP (2017)


Starting in 2013 we began a project dedicated to living deliberately, to acting and consuming in a conscious way. In this the Living Deliberately Project, or LDP, was born. You can see the criteria from the 2013 LDP and from the 2015 LDP.

We did not do the LDP in 2014 or in 2016, and I can personally say I missed having the constraints and criteria that come along with the LDP. Yes, they are self imposed, but there is something psychologically motivating in setting, writing down, and self-monitoring a set of goals. It helps to keep you honest and accountable, which is why I felt it was important to get back to doing the LDP.

This year’s attempt will follow the general format of previous years, but it will also try something new: it will include a variety of lump funds as well as a monthly stipend for “extravagances.” In this way will take a different approach and try to set aside money up front that we know we will probably spend.

LDP 2017 Criteria

Yearly Discretionary Reserves
$300 (each)

We have decided to allot each other $300 for the year for any purchases that we might need or want. We can spend it all up front or in small amounts. When it is gone, it is gone.

Monthly “Extravagances” Stipend

The stipend is meant to cover those items that we don’t need but which we really really enjoy having. It could cover meals out, muffins at the local cafe, or those luxury snacks we just throw in the cart. For instance, Miyoko’s cheeses. Do we need it? No. Do we really really love it? Damn right we do.

The Hattie Fund

We have a kid. Kids grow. Kids need new things. Now, this doesn’t mean new toys or fancy gadgets or fancy-shmancy kid electronics. It could mean water shoes, new pants, or a lunch box. We want to acknowledge that unexpected things will occur, and we want to allow some leeway to accommodate those unpredictable events.



We usually stick to the formula: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. We will not be including Christmas 2017 in our LDP expenditures; just note that these gifts will be their own money not accounted for yet.


Limiting monthly spending is important, but we know that there will be times that we want to go and experience something, go see something, hear something, drink something, revel in nature…That is what the entire LDP is about, really that is what life should be about. That said, we will allow for those times to come and not fret about spending money if need be.


I (Jon) started work on a half sleeve this past summer. I have been saving money to  continue work on it this summer, so the LDP will need to make room for my tattoo.

My 2016 Reading Goals

Half way through this past year I decided to layout a set of reading goals. Partly this was to read new material and give myself a break from being focused on strictly academic reading; more significantly, however, I wanted to expose myself to new ideas, new points of view, and new life experiences that were neither white nor male. To that end, I devised a modest list of 5 goals, which I’m sad to say I did not complete.

My criteria were simple: (a) choose books that were distinctly non-white and non-male; (b) crossover between goals was acceptable; (c) choose authors I hadn’t already read (save for goal #4 [see below].)

  1. Read two Latino Authors
  2. Read two African American
  3. Read one female author
  4. Annual reading of To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. Read someone else’s favorite book

With that said, here are the books that I read. I’ve included the # of the goal that each book fulfilled.

Junot Diaz, The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao (1)


Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming (2, 3)


Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism (2)


Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1, 3)


I was unable to finish my annual reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, which really bummed me out. It is my favorite book, and I have been doing an annual reading for the past four or five years now. This year I began doing prep for my Spring class so I had to divert my energies towards that rather than continue reading Mockingbird. Some people can have multiple books going at the same time, but I’m not that kind of reader; if I am reading a book I devote myself to it. (This is also why it too me so long to finish The House on Mango Street, which I did two days before the end of the year.)

Lastly, I did not read someone else’s favorite book. I know Katie’ favorite book (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) and oddly enough most people at my work either didn’t have a favorite book, “didn’t read” (whatever that means…slackers), or couldn’t think of a favorite book. Perhaps I can add this goal to 2017’s list.

Look for my 2017 Reading Goals here.

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