Have Nots Foundation

on July 24, 2009 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 20 comments by

It’s about time I came out with my own foundation.

[I don’t know why that statement is true. It’s actually probably not true. But I’m keeping it.]

And this foundation isn’t going to be “raising money” or “an actual foundation” or anything like that. So don’t worry.

But I was taking with my friend Marie Claire this week and we had a revelation.


You don’t HAVE to do anything.

Don’t you feel freed up? You’re welcome for that.

Sure, I need to be working on a writing project, and prior to HNF [Have Nots Foundation, obviously], I would have said, “Gosh, I have to quit blogging because I have to work on this or that.”

No, I don’t HAVE to quit blogging. I should make the choice to quit blogging.

Not because I HAVE to work on a project. But because I need to work on the project or face the consequences of turning said project in after the due date.

There is not a situation where you can say that you HAVE to do something.

Example: I HAVE to use the bathroom.

No, your body needs to eliminate waste so you are choosing to do that in the proper location. [And that’s a good choice.]

Example: I HAVE to go to the bank before I purchase groceries.

No, your checking account may get a huge overdraft fee because you bought groceries before you deposited your nanny money [just for example, of course], but that does not mean you HAVE to go to the bank. It just means smart people would.

Example: Are you sure you HAVE to leave the party?

No, you don’t HAVE to leave. You may need to leave, want to leave, or be choosing to leave.

But we live in America. Where freedom reigns. And you. don’t. HAVE. to. do. anything.

So I’m going to quit saying it.

No more will you hear from my mouth “I HAVE to….” “You HAVE to….” etc.

[I will, on the other hand, continue to use HAVE in the possession sense- “I have a computer.” Because, in fact, I do have a computer.]Β  Do I HAVE to use my computer to be a writer?

Some would say yes.

But those of us in the HNF would say NO. I do not HAVE to use the computer. I could choose to use the computer. Or a typewriter. Or a quill and ink well.

So join me, won’t you? You don’t HAVE to, but it is an invitation. Try, for real, all day to eliminate the HAVE in your vocabulary. Let me know how it goes. Or, give me a challenge: can you think of a situation where the only correct term would be have? [I‘m honestly curious- Marie Claire and I could not find one example where have was the only option.]

If you agree with me, then welcome to the Have Nots Foundation. It’s the best kind of foundation- you don’t HAVE to do anything to be a member and you don’t HAVE to show up to any meetings.

[Disclaimer: This is what happens in my mind when I spend the day writing serious things. It’s ridiculous and yet I’m laughing out loud and rolling my eyes at my own self. I can’t decide whether to embrace this post or apologize for it. Either way, here ya go. We’re still friends, right? Hope so.]


  1. Carter R
    posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 5:58 AM  |  reply

    Sounds like Hakuna Matata. I like it.

  2. Laura
    posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 7:19 AM  |  reply

    I’m sorely dissapointed that you will not be hosting HNF meetings. I think its necessary. Maybe weekly. Not sure when we can squeeze it in but any excuse to hang more often w/ you + friends makes me uber happy.

  3. Merideth Schoolcraft
    posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 7:22 AM  |  reply

    Annie your disclaimer cracked me up. Well, actually the whole post did, but you also make a really good point. We don’t “have to” do things, but we often feel like we don’t have a choice. I know that while I was reading your post I didn’t feel as free as I probably should have at the thought of not “having” to do things. I wish I did, but my heart feels disbelif and says “no you do have to do” fill in the blank. But, in reality, our country and God give us freedom to choose(my fave freedom, by the way). Just hard to remember sometimes.

  4. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 7:52 AM  |  reply

    My blog is called “I Get to” (and the story is on there as well) about how God changed my life in a HUGE way 5 years ago when He showed me how I was viewing the responsibilities in my life as “have tos” and not “get tos”. It’s truly was transformational. I don’t “have to” do anything but I “get to” do things like serve my family…b/c when we serve others, we are serving the Lord, right? Anyway…like I said, it changed my life. The blog is on 2/6/09 if you want to read it. πŸ™‚

  5. Southern Gal
    posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 8:56 AM  |  reply

    I would scare myself if I kept count of all the times everyday I began a sentence with “I have to…” It will be interesting to be mindful of it today so I can CHOOSE instead of Have to.
    Thanks, Annie.

  6. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:27 AM  |  reply

    I’m going to try to be mindful of my “have to’s” – should be interesting. So many of mine are the result of poor planning – maybe there WAS another choice, but I chose to let that other path pass me by & now I HAVE to do it this way. Hmmm – I’ll have to think about that πŸ™‚

  7. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:43 AM  |  reply

    This is something I really believe is true. Most people are in a self-imposed prison because of the things they think they HAVE to do.

    I think it is related to the whole needs vs. wants issue. So of course, you know there are a very few HAVE to’s: I have to take a drink of water. I have to eat a bite of food. and I have to get in a shelter out of this -30degree snowstorm. Oh, and to use your example, I have to eliminate this waste from my body.

    Oh, I just re-read your article. I see you are phrasing these things as ‘I need to…’ Oops.

    Well, I still think it is related because so many of those things that people have categorized as ‘I have to’ they actually think of as ‘I need to.’ Bad sentence, but I hope you get my drift.

    Thanks for your great blog, Annie.

  8. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:48 AM  |  reply

    You are too funny, but now I am CHOOSING to get back to work so that I don’t lose my job, LOL!

  9. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:04 AM  |  reply

    What about if you have the chicken pox*? Because you don’t really own them or need them or choose them.

    *swine flu, leprosy, coalmikinosis, etc.

  10. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:22 AM  |  reply


    I happened on your blog and love your writing! I often struggle with living in the land of ‘have to’ instead of the freedom of what I really mean.

    I do use this ‘have to’ concept with my students. When they get all in a huff about ‘having to do an assignment’ I remind them that they do not have to do the assignment. They have a choice in the matter. If they choose not to do the assingment they are also choosing not to cook in the lab the next day, earn points towards their grade, etc. but it is a choice.

    I generally find when I tell them they don’t have to do something, the quality of their work and how much they willingly do goes up!

    Now, if only I could learn this lesson in my own life!

  11. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 10:46 AM  |  reply

    We will be HAVING a meeting soon, and fund-raising will begin. But even if you join, you don’t HAVE to come and you don’t HAVE to donate. Will you be kicked out if not? Yes. But there is still a choice there.

    Oh, the freedoms we HAVE in America.

  12. Jennifer
    posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 11:21 AM  |  reply

    you kill me……..and my brain hurts. :- )

  13. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:51 PM  |  reply

    Love it…count me in!

  14. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 2:50 PM  |  reply

    The only thing we have to do is die. Everything else is optional, with consequences of course. πŸ™‚

  15. posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:17 PM  |  reply

    Hmm, good point. I wrote about trust earlier and linked to your post from the beginning of the month in it, hope that’s ok. πŸ™‚

  16. Julianne
    posted on Jul 24, 2009 at 8:26 PM  |  reply

    Love it!

  17. posted on Jul 26, 2009 at 10:36 PM  |  reply

    I totally need to be a part of this! πŸ™‚ I tend to focus on what I think I HAVE to do. If I actually stopped myself every time I have a thought about something I think I have to do, I would probably be shocked at how many times a day I get stuck in that. And the disclaimer made me smile! πŸ™‚

  18. posted on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:38 PM  |  reply

    you crack me up annie, that’s why i love you so!! sry, but i ****to go πŸ˜‰

  19. posted on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:45 PM  |  reply


  20. posted on Jul 29, 2009 at 7:15 PM  |  reply

    I am loving this… I’m thinking about branching off from this into a “should nots foundation.” Was thinking about it just today actually, while remembering your post. Very insightful.

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