Daniel and Amanda’s Weblog

About the Burts

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We live in Nashville, TN. We come from different backgrounds and personalities but have found a loving unity in Christ, and were married in August of 2007. Amanda is a civil engineer and Daniel is an optometrist.

We met swing dancing around 5 years ago, and still enjoy dancing occasionally. We also love being in the outdoors…hiking especially, but oh, to be able to swim in the ocean every day.  :)  Another outlet of fun for us is going “late night shopping,” (dumpster diving) and making creative things or doing fun projects with our finds.

Daniel’s family lives in Bowling Green, KY, and Amanda’s in the Jackson and Lexington, TN area. Yes, they do know about our strange lifestyle.  :)

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We realize we’re not normal, and we’re ok with that. We both feel strongly that there’s a lot wrong with the world today, not just in poverty and oppression, but also in the ways that we contribute to those injustices continuing (supporting companies who use sweat shops, hoarding resources, wasting good products, etc). And we feel that it’s time everyday people starting living differently, shouting out pleas for change.

Our lives have completely changed in the last few years due to the message of the cross and its radical call to discipleship, and also to certain people who’ve helped point that out to us. To those, whether families or communities, friends or authors, we owe you our thanks. But most of all, thanks be to God for continuing to help us give up the American dream and lose our lives, thereby gaining life and joy beyond imagination.

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23 Comments »

  1. i’m intrigued by the voice that you’ve been given. Even more so, it seems that you have not only found God’s favor, but He’s about to give you a platform. I pray that you use it wisely.

    God bless!
    kyle chowning, fellow nashvillian and Christ-follower

    Comment by kyle chowning — January 29, 2008 @ 4:07 am | Reply

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Kyle, and thanks for the blessing. Amanda and I find it easy to be nervous about that platform. ;) Please continue your prayers. I hope that, beyond the lights and cameras and “fame,” we can be used for the good of the Kingdom.

    Comment by Daniel and Amanda — January 29, 2008 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  3. I know that your website will probably explode in the next few days with the Oprah appearance, but let me say that what I’ve seen so far is amazing. I’d love to dialouge about this lifestyle and your faith – so many great references in your blogs! I have been working on simplifying my family’s life for a few years now and it’s not simple at ALL!! With six children in tow, we are hard pressed to not take the “easy way out” with convenience and uber consumerism. Interestingly enough, we are considering a move to TN in a couple of years.

    God bless you – you have now been given exposure that can help and harm your narrow path – Good luck!!

    Comment by Maria — February 27, 2008 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

  4. Hello Burts,
    I have been looking at what you are all about and the freegan movement and it is very
    fascinating. I am a photojournalism student at Western Kentucky University in Bowling
    Green, KY. I am currently looking for my next subject for a photo story in which I must tell
    the story of a person or persons through the use of photos. I am very interested in
    photographing you both and your freegan movement. I was curious as to if you would
    be interested in letting me have this opportunity to hang out with you guys and
    photograph you for close to a month off and on or so. Possibly not even that long. The
    photos would not be published in a newspaper or magazine or anything unless you would
    like me to try to otherwise. They are strictly for my photography class purpose. But I believe
    this would be a great way to get your idea on freeganism and consumerism out to the
    public and students. Thanks so much. You have my email to reply back, and I am looking
    forward to hearing from you both.
    Thanks,
    Katie Simpson
    Western Kentucky University Photojournalism

    Comment by Katie Simpson — February 27, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Reply

  5. Hey guys,
    I live in Hermitage and have always wanted to do this. My husband is very much in tow. We also share the same faith, as far as I can tell. I was wondering if we could possibly get together and maybe you guys could teach us a few things??? Or maybe we could make this a party??LOL I’ve got some ideas and a maybe a tip??? ttys. Blessings, Van

    Comment by van — February 27, 2008 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  6. My husband and 3 children just moved to Nasvhille. I asked a friend recently how to save money on groceries and she said to check out dumpster diving. I laughed it off a t the time, but all week I have not been able to shake the idea. So I looked up freegans in nashville and you guys came up. I’m also a follower of Christ. I’m sure the volume of emails to you guys is overwhelming since you were just on Oprah, but if you ever do have a Dumpster Diving party, please email me…I’m a skeptic that’s strangely eager to learn!

    Comment by Rach — February 28, 2008 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  7. I too am interested in joining a group of “dumpster divers”! Do you have any information about groups in Nashville? Let me know! Thanks!

    Comment by Carly — February 28, 2008 @ 9:20 am | Reply

  8. I’m so glad that there is a name for my disease: freeganism. I’ve never dumpster dived for food but have for furniture, toys, etc. My favorite verses are also Matthew 25:31-46. Your comment on being different than “the other optometrist” was dead on. I have recently read many books on simplicity that I checked out from the Nashville Public Library including Foster’s. If you are looking for a good read on homelessness, check out “Under the Overpass”. It is a recount of a Christian college students decision to become homeless for roughly six months.

    I’d love to get your thoughts on Christianity today and how to address the materialism we see in the followers of Jesus, as well as the “church”.

    Comment by Chad — February 28, 2008 @ 3:14 pm | Reply

  9. Hello Burts,
    I have been looking at what you are all about and the freegan movement and it is very
    fascinating. I am a photojournalism student at Western Kentucky University in Bowling
    Green, KY. I am currently looking for my next subject for a photo story in which I must tell
    the story of a person or persons through the use of photos. I am very interested in
    photographing you both and your freegan movement. I was curious as to if you would
    be interested in letting me have this opportunity to hang out with you guys and
    photograph you for close to a month off and on or so. Possibly not even that long. The
    photos would not be published in a newspaper or magazine or anything unless you would
    like me to try to otherwise. They are strictly for my photography class purpose. But I believe
    this would be a great way to get your idea on freeganism and consumerism out to the
    public and students. Thanks so much. You have my email to reply back, and I am looking
    forward to hearing from you both.
    Thanks,
    Katie Simpson
    Western Kentucky University Photojournalism

    Comment by Katie Simpson — February 28, 2008 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

  10. […] courtesy of the Burts. Comment on this post Tags: consumption, freeganism, landfills, recycling, waste Categories: […]

    Pingback by Meet the Burts: Unlikely Dumpster Divers : Sustainablog — March 7, 2008 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  11. Daniel and Amanda, just heard you on the radio tonight. I don’t get TV so i never heard about you till tonight. I work with enochmagazine.com “street faith and the worldwide underground.” we basically are living on faith day by day financially and we try to do articles,podcasts and documentaries that inspire people in a new way for Christ. We cover ministry stuff, punk rock stuff, skateboarder, hip hop guys, etc.
    Please contact me if you would be willing to an interview or mini documentary.
    ps.. Kyle Chowning is rad. He works with Relevant Magazine and he helped me a ton when I was getting started in the magazine biz.
    carter@enochmagazine.com

    Comment by Carter Theis — March 9, 2008 @ 10:42 pm | Reply

  12. Hi I saw you on the Ophra show an it truly made my husband an I think, an we were wanting to know if you would be willing to help us get started, it is a lifestyle that we truly believe in. We are from Nashville Tn also. I really think that seeing you both on t.v. really hit home with my family.The simple life an living for God is truly the way to go. We would truly love it if you would help us get started.

    Thank You
    Gretchen,and Fielding

    Comment by gretchen — March 10, 2008 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  13. Daniel, about the poker… You got it. I’ll let you know.

    Comment by Brian Alexander — May 5, 2008 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

  14. Hi!
    I am the optometrist at the Costco in Cordova, TN (suburb of Memphis). I just recently took over this location and was told by the Costco optical that you would be a good person to contact since you too are at a Costco. The reason I took over this location is because the previous OD who had it originally had two Costco leases in the Memphis area… one of his locations did much better than the other so he chose to end his contract at Cordova and concentrate his time at the other office. So… here I am taking over a relatively slow location. I am hoping to pick your brain a little! Do you use any form of advertising (sign in Costco, newspaper add, etc)? Do you take any insurances? I realize that since we can’t sell glasses or CLs and since Costco doesn’t accept any vision insurances, it excludes me from being a provider for alot of vision plans. I do plan on getting on Spectera though. Are there any other insurances that you suggest?

    Where did you go to optometry school? I went to SCO and graduated May 2007. I love the dumpster diving thing, by the way! I found your blog by searching Oprah and dumpster diving… Costco optical told me about it!

    Thanks for your help,
    Ashley Ramshur, OD

    Comment by Ashley Ramshur — May 5, 2008 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  15. Oh yeah…. my email is aramshur@gmail.com

    Comment by Ashley Ramshur — May 5, 2008 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  16. Hi Amanda and Daniel. I was looking to see if you are on FB or Twitter, no luck. I have a GREAT photo of you from the 2005 Eye Ball. My hubby Blair was so excited to see your Oprah segment. I seem to recall a website where you could list “free” items for pick up for those with a Freegan Lifestyle? When Blair and I married, we combined households and then had two children and of course MORE STUFF. We have donated and discarded, but we would really like to be able to set items out by our garage and then alert Freegan to come shop and pick up the free trash-n-treasures. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I like to make things beautiful, but I think there is a freegan principal or two that can be applied. God Bless!

    Comment by Joanne Skidmore — August 11, 2009 @ 11:56 pm | Reply

  17. My x-boyfriend found your blog about a year ago when he was trying to talk me in to dumpster diving–and wanted to show me that people in Nashville (my home town) do it to. He worked for Sojourners at the time and lived in community. His experience has turned me towards wanting to live in community. Haha, and looking at your photos, I’m pretty sure I have been dancing with you two (lindy back in the day?).

    Anyway, I’m moving to Chile in a month and just stumbled back across your blog. I hope to be able to look through it as I turn towards a radically different lifestyle than the one I lead now. I don’t know if I’ll find an intentional living community there, but I imagine I’ll be part of quite a few umm… transitional communities. I hope to use your blog as a bit of a sounding board. Love it! Hope you will keep it up (tho the archives are good too!) And come visit us at LCBC sometime–dances are free if you work an hour at the door and free dancing at the farmers mkt the 3rd sunday of each month! haha, tho I guess I probably won’t be there at that point…

    Comment by Rebecca — November 28, 2009 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  18. Amanda is a civil engineer and Daniel is an optometrist. I am sure that Amanda is not praying that his work as an engineer ends in the same way he is coming against others trying to make a living in the market place. And Daniel is making not only simple basic cheap glasses, I am pretty sure. Is she not involved in all types of glasses cheap and high priced fancy ones. I think they both enjoy their jobs and would sure hate the idea of others trying to put them out of work. I just think that they don’t realize that their solution is appearing to be silly and extreme. If they want to go and take things out of the dumpsters and live like that then find one of the real street people and give the person the clothes off their backs because that is what they are doing to the street people. I see a guy everyday do his rounds gathering food and clothing. He needs it more than me or you so let him have it. Don’t go into their territory.I gave this guy a nice coat and he sold it for some beer. I don’t judge him for that but if I would have known I would have given him beer and gave the coat to someone who would want it.

    Comment by clarence — December 9, 2009 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  19. hey guys – i actually had the pleasure of eating with you both a couple of weeks ago! i count carlson as family, so…that’s my connection with castanea. anyways, stumbled across the blog – SO GLAD to have found it – and look forward to getting to know you guys and the community over the next little while!

    blessings, blessings, blessings!

    justin

    Comment by justin — September 14, 2010 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

    • Hey Justin,

      Great to have met you. Hope we’ll be able to spend some more time together soon. It’s been truly wonderful having Carlson around, and I know he counts you as a spiritual mentor, so thanks for being an important friend in his life. Peace!

      Daniel

      Comment by theburts — September 15, 2010 @ 11:40 am | Reply

  20. I am completely new to both dumpster diving and blogging. I also live in Nashville. I would love to hear from you guys about where the best places to go are and also hear more stories about the great things you’ve found. As a mother of 5 kids it’s not easy making sure that everyone has what they need let alone what they want. When I learned about dumpster diving I immediately said it was for me and my family. I’ve only found a few smaller things but I’m proud of what I’ve gotten so far. My best find to date has been 8 bags of Doritos, my kids were n heaven when I can home and they seen that they had chips to eat with their sandwiches at lunch time now. This could be one of the best things that anyone could do for their family and the environment :o)

    Comment by jenilynnmonroe — July 15, 2011 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • Jeni- I live in Franklin, tn pretty close to Nashville and i’m looking to get with people to go dumpster diving as well. I have 4 children so i can relate with you on putting food on the table. rely if you want to maybe get together and go diving. There are a lot of other people on meet.com that are looking for a group to join to!

      Comment by Jennifer — November 16, 2011 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  21. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this matter here on your blog.

    Comment by Next Page — April 25, 2013 @ 6:31 pm | Reply


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