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This isn’t exactly a pretty post, but I have full faith that it can be. A dear friend and neighbor of my dad’s is about to lose his small dairy farm to the bank. The economy has not been gracious to him in recent years and the bank, being a business, has run out of patience. If nothing changes, this man, his wife, and youngest son will soon be homeless.
Will you do me an enormous favor and click over to read the whole story? Please donate if you can, but most especially pray that they will be wrapped in love, encouragement, and surety that there is One who cares for them. Also please, please, please spread the word by tweeting, facebooking, emailing, and blogging this link. There will be a hearing over the phone tomorrow (Thursday) with the bank and we are uncertain how things will look after that. Depending on how donations go, we may be able to buy some more time, so every little bit of help we can get will go a long way toward meeting our goal. Thank you so much!
I’m ending this week with prayers for humility and patience, selflessness and mercy so that I may see with the eyes of my soul and Savior rather than the eyes of my desires.
It seems that most of my life is sacrificed protecting and enhancing a home that is supposedly not my home….How would you answer the questions, “Do I live for heaven?” or “Do I live demanding that life be like heaven?” Your answers will determine what you will spend your life fighting for. (Allender qtd. in A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of God. Heald 217)
What an inspired idea to mandate roofs full of vegetation. Way to go Copenhagen! I can only hope (and presume) that other cities will begin to adopt their policy. Wouldn’t it make city life so much more lovely if all of those boxy, utilitarian buildings were blooming on top? Would you like to see this in your city/town/village?
Thanks for all the encouraging comments re my guest post and last week’s photo. You ladies brighten my week!
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and that as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
-George Bernard Shaw
Hello, friends! You may have noticed that I removed the non-violent war discussion from yesterday. I was really enjoying what everyone had to say, but my conscience had been pricking me all day and after talking with Sean, I felt it would be better for me to remove the entry. My motives for posting were not exactly in the right place. There are people we know who are fighting or will be fighting in Iraq, so the subject is very sensitive for everyone and I don’t think that telling people what I believe is very productive. However, you are more than welcome to post further comments or discussions here. I can never hear enough from you all!!! Also, I would be more than happy to email you yesterday’s discussion if you missed it and are interested, or point you toward resources for learning more about non-violent war and why so many Christians believe it is Biblical (based on the Bible, of course). Meanwhile, I will be looking and praying for ways that I can get actively involved in this issue and may share opportunities from time to time as they arise. Oh, and Avatar discussions are not off-limits here either! Thanks everyone!
P.S. Non-violent war is NOT the same as diplomacy. Sean suggested that maybe that wasn’t clear from before, so I thought I’d mention it just in case.
Food is such a dilemma. I like to ask lots of people what they eat and how they do it. Do you eat the same thing every day, do you eat out, do you subsist solely on coffee and vending machine staples? I know that one day our frozen chicken quesadilla rolls and tator tots will no longer melt off my body just by taking a little afternoon walk or twirling digital hula hoops on Wii Fit. I know too that there is a tempting selection of organic and whole foods in our grocery store. I think it’s worth it to spend a little more (or twice as much) on real food to preserve my body and look like Martha Stewart when I’m 68. (I can do that, right? Don’t answer.) I don’t handle our finances. Sean does. He wants to wisely save money which involves using coupons and checking out the processed food aisles. I have never seen a coupon for non-processed foods. You can understand my frustration.
So for now, and as always, we compromise. I cook one meal a week – that is about 90% more than I cooked the entire first year of our marriage. Somehow bigger countertops and more cupboard space equates willingness to stand in the kitchen for an hour or two. And I buy organic or all-natural when the cost happens to be similar to our usual products. And I learn to calculate better, formulate new ideas, read articles like this one and this one which are both interesting and provoking.
I am thinking that no-knead bread is in my very near future since I love crusty bread and can never seem to find sliced bread that I like at the store. Also, I may try substituting my Post Cranberry Vanilla cereal for my own concoction of toasted rolled oats, dried cranberries, and vanilla. And hopefully the extra time, energy, dishes, and ingredients will not outweigh the benefits. Hopefully. I will try to let you know.
Photo by Amalia Ulman whom I love because she is nice enough to register her beautiful photos under a creative commons license.
I just found out that some of my friends in Manila, Philippines where I worked and visited a couple of years ago, were hit very hard by the flooding from one of the biggest tropical storms in decades. One community in particular, Tondo, is extremely poor as you can see from the photos and from what I’ve heard it was basically destroyed. My heart absolutely aches for them. Please be in prayer for their safety and well-being and especially that the church there would have extra strength to reach out and show God’s compassion even while they are experiencing so much personal disaster.
Way back at the beginning of the year, Molly asked me to research and write about fair trade. At the time, I was busy trying to figure out the whole “going green” thing and I knew that once I researched this other issue I would be responsible for acting on what I had learned. But then my supermarket graciously stepped in and provided an entire section of green products which I now consistently use so I no longer had a valid excuse to put off working on a different set of ethical shopping habits.
But before I go any farther, here is your warning if you are of the sensitive, idealistic sort who happens to really like the mall and you shake at the thought of no longer browsing the racks every weekend or picking up a package of chocolate at the grocery store (i.e., you’re just like me). I give you permission to run away and come back again on a day with a safer topic.
Okay? Here we go.
First I started my research with the items normally associated with fair trade: coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, wine, sugar, etc. The thing about them is that if your local grocery stores don’t have them, you can’t just order a bunch of fair trade bananas from some website. With the exception of possibly some coffee, tea, and chocolate if your store doesn’t carry things in fair trade variety you’re out of luck. Most large supermarkets will have a very small selection of certain fair trade items, however they’ll be significantly more expensive (for good reason of course). Look for the fair trade certification mark which I’ve included here. You can also talk to grocery store managers to get an idea of where your products are coming from though they probably won’t know specific details. It may come down to deciding whether the thing you want to buy is worth supporting unethical labor practices – I’m still working on that.
Other than that, simply sending a polite letter to the owners of your store and letting them know where you stand and then making a decision to always buy at least one thing (dark chocolate or tea for example) fair trade will be a good start. It’s very true that each dollar you spend is a powerful vote. I always look for a fair trade mark whenever I buy dark chocolate for a treat or if I’m shopping for tea now, though I don’t always find it. The more people who do this, the faster things will change. You will be happy to know that Starbucks is the world’s largest buyer of fair trade certified coffee, so you can feel pretty good about supporting them if you wish. Just choose fair trade options whenever you can and buy local, buy local, buy local!
Global Exchange has a list of fair trade companies here, though it’s still sadly short. Other good resources are: TransFair USA and the Fair Trade Federation which offer more extensive shopping and other options for getting involved. I would also suggest reading this article for a basic overview of ethical consumerism if the topic is new to you.
Phew. It’s a long and boring subject, I know, but I think it’s important to at least know what’s out there and begin thinking of ways that we can help alter our own negative impacts. Tomorrow I’ll talk about the big one – clothes!
Flowered Enamel Picnicware from Viva Terra
Maybe I’m more than a little biased, but I would love to see Food, Inc. do more than inspire Americans to rethink their food choices. Could it, just maybe, regenerate support for small farming once again? I think my dad has been waiting for that to happen for 30 years and I know there are others. It’s about time we spread the word for wholesome, organic, local foods.
Did any of you ever leave May baskets on your neighbors’ doorsteps on the first of May? I think I wanted to one year, but my mom said the neighbors (the ones not related to us) would just think I was strange!
I hope each of you has a delightful weekend. I’m going to pick a huge bunch of lilacs and search for abandoned robins’ eggs. Below is something to consider over the next few days. Let me know what you think, please!
I must have thought about it 100, er, 25 times. It was such a small thing. It would have added no more than 6 seconds of effort to my life per week. Probably less. It was a good thing. Something I knew I should do, but with perversity of human spirit I begrudged it. I could not bear to reach my hands behind my nightstand and just get it over with. Why do we fight these things when there’s really no point?
I don’t know what clicked today. Suddenly, in a second’s time, I unplugged my cell phone charger.
By Rachel via Heart of Light
I felt a little sad about missing a post on Earth Day, but I think this will make up for it. I saw these pretty glass straws on Heart of Light and was super excited to read that Glass Dharma is offering coupons for a free one + shipping for the month of April! Depending on how sturdy they are, I’m seriously thinking of carrying mine in my purse so that I don’t have to deal with the guilt of using a fresh plastic one at every restaurant.
I was going to post a link to a website of pretty stationery that I found and maybe I’ll do that tomorrow, but today I’m wondering – or perhaps God is whispering – what if, when Jesus told the rich young ruler (Mark 10: 17-22) to “sell what you have and give to the poor,” he was talking to all of us. I make lists of things that I see and want to buy so that I won’t forget, but what if serving Christ His way means actually selling what I have and giving the proceeds to those who need it more? What if that passage isn’t talking about not idolizing our worldly goods while remaining comfortable as we often hear in church, but instead it’s a command that if we are to serve God He calls us to give what we don’t need to those who do?
In my quest to hear God’s heart on this today, I found a sermon of Shane Claiborne’s and I’d like you to listen to it. Shane graduated from my school, Eastern University, long before I attended and he has made a point of living radically, exactly as Christ called His disciples to live. This video is a little long, but I hope you listen anyway because it will convict you.
I’ve been meaning to read his book The Irresistable Revolution and now seems like a good time. Anyone willing to join me?