Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

A believer is an evangelist primarily by who he is and how he lives–not by what he says. What he says is important; but unless his speaking tallies with what he is and does, he had better keep quiet.

~Joseph Sittler
[I discovered this quote on an interesting blog, Wonder of Creation]

Friday, November 27, 2009

Green Journeys

Erin at The Conscious Shopper is hosting the APLS Carnival for December (I'm jumping the gun a bit here).   Her questions revolved around how we became green and how we are continuing that journey.  Here's my response:

In some ways, I've been trying to live close to the earth my entire life. I chalk that up to growing up in Southern California. As an adult, I've slowly adopted a greener lifestyle. There have been times when I've had a wakeup call that made me realize how far I have strayed from my beliefs. One major turning point was when I took a required class in college. One of the first books we had to read was How Much Is Enough? by Alan Durning. This book opened my eyes to how unsustainable the American lifestyle is and how greedy we appear to the rest of the world. Later, a bad case of food poisioning made me return to my vegetarian roots and got me reading books like Fast Food Nation.

For many years, I was alone in my quest to green my life and to influence others to do so. I've recycled for years and have used recycled paper products or rags whenever possible. Most of my personal care products are all natural and I try to use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. My husband would roll his eyes at many of my green practices. However, when we moved back to his home town, he began to embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. One of his biggest joys is his compost pile! Now my biggest struggle is plastic. I feel guilty every time I get a "to go" beverage because I know the the plastic lid, plastic straw, and (sometimes) plastic cup are so bad for the environment. I did a bag-free month back in October and am trying to do that as much as possible by keeping reusuable bags in my car. Now I have to remember to bring my own cup with me where ever I go.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing all of my readers a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Reminder

Rachel, at Bramble Trails, reminded me that Friday is Buy Nothing Day.  Stay at home and enjoy your time with family and friends.  You don't really need all that *stuff* and neither do your loved ones.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Farm News

Last Friday I was in the hen house filling the feeder and waterer and collecting eggs.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of our black hens chasing off one of the barn cats, which I thought was a bit unusual.  I continued working when I heard a flock of birds outside.  Since it was late in the day, about five o'clock, I wondered what the birds were up to.  Looking outside, I saw a beautiful sight:  the black hen had nine little black and white chicks scurrying around her feet!  Our cat must have gotten too close to the babies so, being a good mother, the hen chased off the cat.  I ran back to the house to grab a camera but by the time I returned, the chicken family had gone into hiding.  I had no idea that one of our chickens was roosting in secret.  This is the largest *batch* we've ever had - and they were hatched without human intervention.  Now we know, when a hen goes broody, just leave it alone. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Book

I recently read a wonderful book, The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns, the president of World Vision.  Mr. Stearns shares his life story and faith journey, from his conversion to Christianity, his rise to CEO of Lenox, his realization that the church has lost its way, his decision to accept the position at World Vision, and his journey to embrace the entire gospel. 

I want to share Mr. Stearn's own translation of Matthew 25:35-36:

"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed.  I was thirsty, but you drank bottled water.  I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported.  I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes.  I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness.  I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved."
It really makes one think, doesn't it?  This book puts the spotlight on the church and how we have lost our way.  We've become more about "us" and less about those who Christ has told us to care for.  While reading this book, I couldn't put the highlighter down.  

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quote for the Day

"When will we be ashamed to call Christian those who trust in the sword?"
~Emil Fuchs

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Local Seasons

Today I realized a new season has begun - hunting season.  It's that time of year when a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of deer gutting.  It's a time when spring/summer wardrobes are carefully put away and the camouflage is unpacked.  After several years of living here, I'm starting to learn some of the nuances of dressing for the season.  For example, I now know there is a difference between city wear and country wear.  For city wear, one usually wears a camouflage t-shirt, camouflage overalls, and heavy boots that may or may not be camouflage.  Depending on the weather, one might wear a camouflage jacket on top.  All of this is topped off with a camo cap.  However, for country wear, it would be a major faux pas to wear this; the camo cap MUST be exchanged for a nice blaze orange cap.  It is very important to have the blaze orange cap in the country to prevent other slightly inebriated hunters from shooting you as you (and sometimes your dogs) stake out your territory - usually on private property.  It would be very embarrassing to shoot your buddy in the face (as we know from past news stories).  Of course, the landowners also have to wear appropriate garb when relaxing at home.  They may forgo the camouflage but either a blaze orange cap or vest is de rigueur.  One or both of these items is necessary to save a hunter from the misfortune of shooting you on your own property.  Heaven forbid someone living in the country would walk outside his or her own home without appropriate garb.

Speaking of heaven, about a year ago a large, nationally-known sporting goods store opened in our city.  My husband and I visitied the store one day; I think he was in search of some fishing gear.  As he perused the isles of poles and lures, I decided to venture out beyong the yoga wear section.  I stumbled upon red neck nirvana!  Camouflage everywhere!  There was a whole department devoted to everything camo.  It almost hurt my eyes to look at it.  It was then that I knew that despite the economy, despite the high prices, this store is going to succeed in our community. 

This time of year there are amazing sights to see.  Masses of camouflaged men congregate in grocery store parking lots - preening like peacocks.  They gather together to purchase supplies for the day:  Little Debbie snacks and beer.  Oftentimes, men bring along their sons, mini-me's swaggering about in head-to-toe camo.  In some ways I'm jealous, because these little boys have mastered something I'm still trying to understand:  how does one coordinate the various patterns of camouflage?  How do you know when it clashes or is just too much?  Perhaps a reader could enlighten me.

In the meantime, I have another question.  Why the camouflage?  Deer are color blind; it doesn't matter to them what you wear.  Once, while out for a walk on my farm, my hubby and I stumbled upon some deer grazing on the side of a hill.  As soon as we saw them, we froze.  We could tell that they sensed a presence but they couldn't see us - despite the fact that I was wearing hot pink yoga pants.  Also, if deer are fooled by the camouflage, clearly they would spot the blaze orange caps.  Ah, the mysteries of living in a different culture.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


It's been raining all week thanks to the remnants of Ida.  The creeks and rivers in our area are dangerously close to flooding.  We're situated on a high spot so if we're threatened then someone needs to start building an ark.  A week or so ago hubby switched pastures on our two flocks of goats.  Goats hate the rain but our younger flock, which got moved to the barn pasture, has been hanging out in the far corner in an attempt to be near the other goats, leaving a four stall barn empty except for the somewhat brighter horse.  In the meantime, the other goats have been nice and dry in their little run-in shed.  Last night I heard the bleating (is that the right word?) of a goat and thought one had gone into premature labor.  So, I forced myself out into the rain to check.  I found the goats all safe and healthy in two of the stalls.  The bleating must have been due to an "aha" moment on the part of one of the goats - "hey, we're out in the pouring rain when there are several nice and dry stalls waiting for us."  But this morning I found them out in the rain again - silly goats!

The rain has gotten to me, too.  I got into housewife mode to distract myself from thinking warm, dry thoughts of Florida.  One project I've been putting off (mainly because it's not really that important to me) was using a *magic eraser* to remove various marks off the walls downstairs.  I found this to be a scary project.  I mean, what are these erasers made of?  And where do they go (and so quickly)?  I guess that's a good rainy day research project....

The Ten Commandments for States

Yesterday I finished reading The Quaker Reader (edited by Jessamyn West).  I found these commandments to be a refreshing new way of applying the original biblical ten commandments since our nation legally recognizes corporations (and government entities) as having the same legal rights as individuals. 

"The morality of the nations must be as the morality of the individual writ large, therefore,

I. The State shall not exalt the false gods of national glory, national pride, national greed, for the Lord God is a jealous God, visiting the disobedience of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of those that neglect Him, and showing mercy unto thousands of those that love Him and keep His commandments.

II. Every State shall acknowledge that all men are equally the children of God, and recognize the brotherhood of all men and the rights of primitive peoples.

III. The State shall not bear false witness against its neighbours, for Christ has said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you."

IV. The State shall do no murder, nor order its subjects to kill.

V. The State shall not steal, nor keep what it gains by force, for Christ has said "It is more blessed to give that to receive." "Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over."

VI. The State shall not covet its neighbours' wealth, nor its neighbours' territory, nor anything that is theirs.

VII. The State shall not judge in its own case, for too often we fail to see the beam in our own eye, looking only for the mote in our brother's eye.

VIII. The Earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, and no State shall fear the prosperity of another, but rather rejoice in it.

IX. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind, and thy neighbour State as thine own country.

X. The State shall not seek its own life, for whosoever would save his life, shall lose it.

(by A. Ruth Fry)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back Again

This past month or so I've been neglecting both my blog and the blogs that I like to read.  Most of the month I spent promoting a contemporary Christian concert at our church.  It was my first experience as a concert promoter and, as times, the details overwhelmed me:  meals for the band members, hotel rooms, mailing flyers, taking care of special requests, etc.  In the end, it was worth it.  Every attendee we've spoken to has had nothing but positive things to say; many commented on the quality of the bands and the reasonable ticket price.  It was a very satisfying outcome.

In the meantime, I had a lot going on in my personal life.  We had many visits from family and friends.  Both of my college-age children blasted through a couple of times, friends in tow.  One of my uncles was terminally ill and I ended up spending time at the hospital, attending his funeral, and visiting with my aunt, cousin, sister, and a number of family members I had not seen in years.  It was a sad time but there was also a lot of joy as I spent time with a some wonderful people.

I'm now ready to rejoin the blogging world - both as a writer and reader.  This week I want to catch up on on the great blogs that I regularly enjoy and then dive in to adding posts to my own blog.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nov. 8 is National Orphan Sunday

There are 148 million orphans in the world. This video focuses on the plight of the orphans of one of our closest neighbors, Haiti.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jackson Browne says Bottled Water is Inconvenient!

I found this testimony over at Fake Plastic Fish ( If rock stars can do this, so can everyone.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Poem for the Day

The same force formed the sparrow

That fashioned man, the king;
The God of the Whole gave a spark of soul
To each furred and feathered thing.
And I am my brother's keeper,
And I will fight his fight,
And speak the word for beast and bird…

~Ella Wheeler Wilcox