Monday, September 30, 2013

Health Insurance Thoughts

Because my husband and I are self-employed, we have to purchase our own health insurance.  Now that the so-called "Obamacare" is almost here, I'm looking into our options and I don't like what I see so far.  Don't get me wrong; I believe universal health care is essential, just like universal education.  What gets me is who is included, and benefits most, with this package - the insurance companies.  And I wonder - why are they even necessary?  That is, if the ultimate goal is health care for everyone.

I've skimmed a bit of what the government has released and my understanding is that each state offers a pool of "approved" insurance companies and packages.  A friend of mine who is struggling as a single mother told me that she spent a lot of time seeking out a policy that was both affordable and suitable for her situation and now she has learned that package will no longer be an option.  My husband and I have also done the same and, although we don't like the cost of the premiums, we like the package as it provides all we need.  Since we both believe in preventative and alternative health care practices, avoid pharmaceuticals, and (at least at this point in our lives) do not believe we would take chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer if ever faced with that decision,  the high deductible, few bells and whistles package works for us.  I'm still not clear on whether or not we can continue with our chosen policy.  

In skimming some of the information that has been released, I see that there are four tiers of coverage, with insurance companies required to offer at least the two highest.  Trying to make sense of the program makes my head spin.  Although I haven't been able to digest the details, it all sounds to me like, unless you qualify for medicaid/medicare, you will have a number of out-of-pocket expenses (including your health care premium) until you prove your income on your tax forms and then get a tax credit.  For those who qualify for reduced premiums, the program requires the purchase of the "silver" level coverage which is more expensive than the bronze.  So you have to buy more in order to pay less?  Call me crazy but with all of the red tape and rigid requirements, it seems that it will ultimately hurt low income families and individuals rather than help them.  

One thing I have noticed is that, although this change has been in the works for a while, they're still rolling out the details or, to paraphrase a meme I saw on facebook last year, they're making this sh*t up as they go.  Details are being worked out, with the government and insurance companies gleefully rubbing their hands together as they maximize both their input and outcome, ensuring gainful employment and increased profits for years to come.

And the idea that we are all forced to enter the "marketplace," to "shop" at the "exchange" seems designed to feed into our consumer culture.  We're going to be guided by "navigators" who will help us make our "purchase."  None of this sounds like a program designed to help simplify health care and make it more affordable for everyman/woman.  Now we have yet another layer of government, at the state and federal level, to implement this program  (think of all the "navigators" and others working for the state governments and the increased numbers of IRS agents and employees, all hired to explain this complex program, to track us to ensure that we actually make our "purchase," to determine if we're entitled to tax breaks, and to enforce fines if we don't comply.)

Part of entering this "marketplace" involves yet more government intrusion into our lives.  I will have to go to a government website and enter personal information that includes my income just to learn if I'm eligible for the program.  I have no idea if I will be able to continue with my current policy or if I have to enter that "marketplace." 

This article from USA Today has my stomach churning.  It talks about sticking with insurers that are familiar.  So do we have to worry about the new ones going under, taking our money with them?  And it says that physicians can still turn away patients if they don't take their particular insurance plan.  If my plan goes away and the new one that is affordable to me isn't accepted by my physician, does that mean I'll have to go elsewhere, trashing a trusting relationship I may have built over the years?  As someone who is educated, this whole process seems daunting; I wonder how someone with a high school education (or less) will be able to navigate this new system.  

A single payer system would have been simpler.  In Canada citizens have their Social Insurance Number that proves their eligibility for coverage and guarantees access to health care.  In the US, we're still going to have our premiums, insurance cards, claim forms, and additional tax forms.  We're told that it's for our benefit - but really in the end there will more complicated hoops to jump through with the true benefits going to business and the government.  Eliminating the bureaucracy of insurance companies (which, by the way, are among the riches businesses) and having taxpayers submit what would have been their premiums to a national program would make so much more sense.  So would encouraging and rewarding positive personal health care choices, especially in light of how much of our national health care bill is caused by entirely preventable conditions.  Personal accountability should be part of the program as it would actually lower health care costs.  Instead we've complicated the program and added layers of bureaucracy and policies that will ultimately increase our costs.  Adding more coverage and ramping up bureaucracy - how is that supposed to reduce costs?

And this system is almost all about illness.  Only "preventative" measures that involve the traditional medical system are rewarded - physicians, hospitals, vaccines, drugs.  Money spent related to eating organic food, avoiding toxic cleaners and personal care products, using natural supplements, herbs or other alternative medicine, getting exercise to keep hearts healthy and weight down, and similar lifestyle choices don't enter into the equation. 

Another issue I have with both our current system and the new one is that health insurance is linked to employment.  Health insurance is the only insurance that is treated that way.  The reason it got linked to employment was that it was added as a perk as a legal way for corporations to entice people to work for them when labor was scarce.    Although we are required by law to have minimal insurance if we drive a car, we don't depend on our employer to take care of it and we don't worry that, if we lose our insurance at work, we won't be able to afford to drive our car anymore because we can't afford insurance.  Now, my understanding that, even under "Obamacare," companies can cut a worker's hours in order to avoid paying for health insurance, thus forcing those individuals to enter the "marketplace."  Doesn't sound like a good deal to me.

This whole deal points to ensuring that Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Medicine, and Big Government get their piece of the pie.  I'm pretty sure, with the little I have read, that because there is a minimum level of "acceptable coverage," my premiums will rise and I will be forced to purchase extra coverage that I neither want nor need, lining the pockets of organizations that I don't support.  And all so we can avoid "socialized" medicine.  Thanks a lot.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Quote for the Day

“This is what you shall do:   Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”  
~Walt Whitman

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Social Justice Saturday: Food

Here's an infographic showing how to make a difference with food:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Farm Friday

We're off to a two day conference at Duke Divinity School called "Summoned Toward Wholeness," which is on the topic of food and faith.  A keynote speaker is Joel Salatin, who describes his way of farming as "beyond organic" and has been featured in a number of films, including Food Inc. and Fresh.  We have heard Joel speak at other conferences and he is always entertaining and inspirational.  Part of the conference is visiting the Anatoth Community Garden, which describes its mission as "cultivating peace by using regenerative agriculture to connect people with their neighbors, the land, and God."  It's always refreshing to know there are people of faith who hold our values, stressing the importance of caring for the land and our bodies.  

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Here's a reminder that it's not just what you put in your body that can cause serious health problems; it's also what you put on your body:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Climate Change

Since I live in a world where theologians and politicians seem to know more about the science of what is happening to our globe, I thought I'd share a graph from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration):


Whenever we have a cooler than usual summer or winter, naysayers mock those individuals (and scientists) who say the earth is getting warmer.  I think the overall trend depicted here speaks for itself.  But of course, I might be wrong.  Maybe going to Bible college or getting elected to public office makes one smarter than those who have PhD's in various scientific fields.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Morning Amusement

My only question is:  Why?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quote for the Day

Today's quote is to commemorate yesterday's International Day of Peace, which is part of the 2013 International Peace Weekend:

"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Quote for the Day

"The truly holy person welcomes all that is earthly."
~Hildegard of Bingen

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Social Justice Saturday: What the Frack

While I was tabling an event for our local anti-uranium mining/milling group, I talked to a number of people who pointed out that the uranium propaganda - promise of lots of jobs for an economically depressed area - is similar to that of fracking.  Fracking - the technique used to extract small amounts of natural gas and oil from deep within our earth's crust - takes place in poorer areas because those communities are desperate for jobs, any jobs.  However, just as with uranium mining, these jobs come with serious risks.  Here's a brief video that, while I understand doesn't get some of the details right, (see Grist's article), pretty much covers the basics:

Fracking requires a lot of resources and causes ground water contamination, especially in poor areas, in order for us to temporarily get cheap power.  Once again, low income individuals and communities pay the price, both environmentally and physically, for our consumptive lifestyle.  More people need to understand that this is an issue that, while temporarily being out of sight, out of mind for wealthier communities, will come to haunt everyone.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Farm Friday

This week I'm going to share a few odds and ends of what I've been up to lately.  

I've been working on slowly identifying and learning about wild plants that grow on the farm.  A few weeks ago I attended a natural salve-making class and learned a bit about plantain, a plant that grows all over our farm.  Apparently, this plant is extremely useful.  Earlier this week I researched another plant that is plentiful - goldenrod.  This plant was used to make what was called "Patriot tea" after the Boston Tea Party.  It can also be made into a tonic that is, among other things, an immunity booster.  Sumac (NOT the poisonous kind) is on my radar now and I'd like to make sumac "lemonade" from it.  

I've also started making kombucha.  After trying some at a friend's farm, I asked for one of her "mushrooms" and so am experimenting with making it.  I've been putting too much sugar in mine so decreased the amount for the latest batch.

Last weekend I attended a wellness festival in neighboring North Carolina, representing the local anti-uranium organization, to let residents know about the danger lurking just over an hour away - most people didn't know about it, mainly because as long as Virginia has the ban in place, it's a non-issue.  

We've harvested some figs from my mother-in-law's house and boy are they delicious!  

The weather has been turning chilly lately - I'm not looking forward to the winter.  However, given the crazy weather we had over the spring and summer, who knows what we'll get for the fall and winter.

Yesterday I harvested some of the basil I grew and made some vegan pesto to freeze (I should have chosen a better backdrop for the photo to make it look more appetizing):
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Recycling Redux

According to this article on Daily Kos, the world of recycling has changed, especially for Americans.  Up until recently, quite of bit of our plastic recycling (mainly plastics number 3 through 7) have been exported to China.  However, China recently adopted the Green Fence Policy, as part of a strategy to reduce their carbon emissions. This policy bans imports of plastic for recycling (and can you blame them?) and leaves Americans holding the bag - or the bottle - because we don't have the infrastructure for recycling most types of plastic.  Some Americans see this new policy as an opportunity for businesses.  

In the meantime, while we wait for entrepreneurs to come up with a plan and set it in motion, plastic waste labeled 3 through 7 will go to landfill.  So for those of us who felt that little damage was done when buying items packaged in these plastics because "we recycle," we need to focus more on the refusing and reducing part of the sustainability equation.  Even if we're able to recycle those plastics in the U.S., it's still a good idea to minimize their use because the manufacturing process alone creates toxins that are released into our world.  Recycling doesn't erase that fact.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

As part of my month-long detox, I've given up wheat.  My holistic MD had me do that years ago and I felt so much better.  However, since wheat is so ubiquitous in our food system, I slowing began increasing the amount of wheat I consumed until it was just a regular part of my diet again.  I've again discovered that I have so much more energy and drive without wheat in my diet.  I've even given up my daily afternoon nap!  While this strategy probably won't work for everyone (and I'm not a physician so I can't give medical advice), it gives one something to think about.  Especially after I read this article on Rodale News.  I'm copying it in its entirety below because it has so much interesting information.  

Is This "Healthy" Plant Wrecking Your Health?

Doctors explain exactly how modern wheat could be making you ill.


Is wheat bad for you? You wouldn't think so, given the advice you hear to load up on whole grains. In today's world, whole-wheat spaghetti is heralded as a healthy alternative to white pasta, with organic, sprouted wheat bread the choice for health-conscious sandwiches. But the truth is, modern wheat—all of it—could be eating away at your health, according to a growing number of doctors.
In a recent opinion piece in the Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, the editor-in-chief of the publication, Joseph Pizzorno, ND, outlines some of the groundbreaking research on the detrimental health effects of wheat. Much of this research is a credit to an award-winning doctor, pioneering wheat and celiac disease researcher Alessio Fasano, MD, clinical professor of medicine and founder of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.
Through his work, Dr. Fasano has demonstrated that most—perhaps all—people develop increased intestinal permeability when exposed to the gliadin protein of wheat, explains cardiologist William Davis, MD, author of the New York Times best selleWheat Belly. "This is the first step towards experiencing autoimmune diseases, the 75 conditions unique to humans, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and many others—many, perhaps all, getting their start with wheat consumption," Dr. Davis says. "Consumption of wheat underlies an astounding amount of autoimmune disease."
Humans have been eating wheat for about 10,000 years. But the situation became much worse in the 1980s when the new high-yield, semi-dwarf strains created by geneticists were introduced into the food supply, says Dr. Davis. (They aren't genetically modified, just intensely crossbred using methods that wouldn't normally occur in nature.) That, Dr. Davis says, is when we saw an increase in calorie intake due to the appetite-stimulating effects of the new forms of gliadin protein in wheat, increased intestinal permeability due to this same gliadin protein, along with increases in autoimmune conditions, increased intestinal toxicity from changed forms of the wheat germ agglutinin protein, and increased allergies due to new proteins changed by these genetics efforts. "This highlights a fundamental problem in agribusiness: A crop can be changed—dramatically, even using extreme or bizarre techniques—but questions regarding continued safety for human consumption are never raised," Dr. Davis notes. "These crops are just sold, no questions asked."
And wheat is everywhere—hiding out in the majority of processed foods, including taco seasoning, frozen dinners, salad dressings, roasted nuts, sauces, and even licorice. Today, many Americans consume wheat as the source for 50, 60, or even 70 percent of their calories, an extremely "unnatural and perverse situation," Dr. Davis notes. "I would argue that the incorporation of wheat in virtually all processed foods is no mistake," Dr. Davis says. "I believe that smart food scientists figured this out years ago, understanding that the new gliadin proteins of wheat stimulated appetite. Rather than warn us, they put it in everything. You eat more, they sell more."
More Than a Gluten Thing
Asked if he could bust one wheat myth, Dr. Davis says he wants people to know that even if they are not gluten sensitive or living with celiac disease, consuming wheat is still not a health-conscious move. Why? Even people living free of these conditions are still susceptible to the gliadin-induced effects on intestinal permeability, the increased appetite gliadin sparks, the bowel toxicity from wheat germ agglutinin, and the sky-high blood sugars from the amylopectin A of wheat, among other issues. "It is misleading to view wheat as nothing more than a vehicle for gluten; as you can see, wheat is much more than just gluten.
Eating Wheat: A Modern Experiment
When you look at the time humans spent on Earth and break it into percentages, it's pretty easy to see we're in uncharted waters when it comes to eating wheat. "Wheat was not part of the diet for the first 99.6 percent of the time we have inhabited this earth; in terms of evolutionary time, wheat was added only 0.4 percent of the time ago," Dr. Davis explains. "And it was bad enough when we first added it, as humans developed rampant tooth decay, facial deformities, iron deficiency, and other health problems. The situation was simply magnified with the modern habit of allowing wheat to dominate the diet and the changes introduced into the wheat plant by geneticists who thought they were doing the world some good."
For more reasons to ditch your wheat habit, read The Dark Side of "Healthy" Wheat.
I encourage you to click on the link for the companion story as it, too, has some information that you might not be aware of.  For instance, it describes how modern wheat was developed:
Plant breeders changed wheat in dramatic ways. Once more than four feet tall, modern wheat—the type grown in 99 percent of wheat fields around the world—is now a stocky two-foot-tall plant with an unusually large seed head. Dr. Davis says accomplishing this involved crossing wheat with non-wheat grasses to introduce altogether new genes, using techniques like irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high-dose X-rays to induce mutations
Definitely not your typical hybridized plant.  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I discovered a graphic (as in graphs, not in horrendous) representation of world-wide protests that have taken place in the last few decades.  I've included this graphic, along with the article about it, below (here's the link for the original).  Eye opening, isn't it?

Watch a Jaw-Dropping Visualization of Every Protest Since 1979
Republished from
By Jason Louv

250 million protests worldwide, from 1979-2013, visualized in one time-lapse image

Penn State doctoral candidate John Beieler has created a time-lapse visualization of every protest on the planet since 1979. And it is jaw-dropping, and I mean that in a real way, not in a BS blogger-overhyping-this-incredible-amazing-thingway. No, this is truly amazing, because what you’ll see is tiny blips popping off here and there in the 1970s—a time we think of as highly politically charged—and nearly eclipsing the world starting with the late 90s anti-globalization protests and the second Iraq War up till our present moment.

I would love to see this overlaid with time-lapse visualizations of other factors: global warming, globalization, wars, food shortage, and the spread of the Internet.

Also fruitful: Comparing this data with media coverage and treatment of protest. Why is it easy to think of the 1960s and 70s as a time of dissent and our time as a more ordered, controlled and conformist period when the data so clearly shows that there is no comparison in how much protest there is now compared to then? Media distortion much?

This is what data from a world in turmoil looks like. The Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) tracks news reports and codes them for 58 fields, from where an incident took place to what sort of event it was (these maps look at protests, violence, and changes in military and police posture) to ethnic and religious affiliations, among other categories. The dataset has recorded nearly 250 million events since 1979, according to its website, and is updated daily…

The map also shows some of the limits of Big Data — and trying to reduce major global events to coded variables. Take, for example, the protests across the United States in late 2011: Some are Occupy protests, others are Tea Party protests, but the difference in the political identity of those demonstrations isn’t reflected in the map. There are some strange things that happen when the data are mapped, as well. A cursory glance at the map would suggest that Kansas is the most restive state in the union, but really the frequent protests popping up somewhere near Wichita are every media mention of a protest in the United States that doesn’t specify a city (the same goes for that flickering dot north of Mongolia in Middle-of-Nowhere, Russia).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quote for the Day

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons.  We cease to grow."
~Anais Nin

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Social Justice Saturday: Drone War

This is a brief post about the horrors of drone war - of course a book could be written on this topic.  Since our some of our politicians seem to think diplomacy and negotiation is a fail and that "no boots on the ground" means everything will be just fine should we strike Syria.  

A couple of years ago Bill and I attended an American Friends Service Committee event called "Windows and Mirrors" in which American artists and Afghan children shared what it was like to live under siege.  It was the children's drawings that were the most powerful - blood and dismemberment as part of their daily lives.  Drones were prominently featured in some of the artwork, showing what "no boots on the ground" actually means.  I found the following video of some of the artwork from this traveling exhibit.  Although the exhibit is no longer traveling, you can see some of the artwork here.

As the warmongers on both sides of the aisle try to convince U.S. citizens that none of "our" people will be hurt and that we're "defending children," keep these images in mind:

Friday, September 13, 2013

Farm Friday

This week I got a lot of odds and ends done around the house and farm because I took most of the week off from my job, only answering a few emails that needed an immediate response.  

I purged and repotted some plants and flowers that I had on the back deck.  My plan is to tranfer the perennial herbs to one of our flowerbeds once I get the soil enriched.

I've been buying romaine lettuce at the store because I've been a bit lazy about growing my own greens.  But this week I had a small crop of sunflower greens.  These greens are packed with vitamins and minerals, easy to grow, and taste delicious.
Bill also saved some flower heads from grey strip sunflowers he grew in one of the gardens.  I harvested the seeds for later.  (I also saved some seed from some curly leaf parsley that was growing on our back deck.)

I'm going to be selling my aprons at a Christmas Bazaar in November so I'm slowly working on my inventory.  I finished two this week and bought fabric to make two more.
I was so excited to get Kimberly Wilson's new book Tranquilologie:  A DIY Guide to Everyday Tranquility, which is based on an e-course she does.  I love her podcast, Tranquility du Jour, and website (and wish I lived close enough to go to her yoga studio in DC) as they are always fun and frivolous but serious and important at the same time, a good balance that I need to learn from.  I haven't even cracked the cover because I want to save it for a time when I can really savor it.  Here's the book, along with the packet of ephemera she included with the order:

Tomorrow I'm going to be tabling a wellness event in North Carolina for an anti-uranium organization called Keep the Ban.  Apparently, even though the community is just over an hour away from the epicenter of this battle and so have their water supply at risk of contamination should mining and milling be allowed, the residents aren't even aware of the danger.  When I learned of the need for someone to represent the organization at the event, I was more than happy to volunteer my time for what I consider one of the most important issues of my lifetime.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Watching the following video almost brought tears to my eyes:

These rescued hens, who are about 2 years old, rather than being slaughtered as is usually the case with factory hens, got to experience nature for the first time in their lives.  Up until being brought to a farm animal sanctuary (where they came from wasn't really a farm), they had never experienced the out-of-doors.  Instead, they spent their entire lives living in extremely filthy and cramped quarters, treated as a commodity to crank out eggs as fast as their bodies would allow.  Once their egg production dropped (as what happens with age), they were slated to be killed.  I love that on our farm, when hens are no longer producing, we continue to feed and care for them, allowing them to live to a natural old age.  Earlier this week we lost one of our older hens.  Although I was sad at her passing, I was glad she had enjoyed a full life.

I believe I'm becoming more and more Buddhist in my understanding of the interconnectedness and value of all life.  I've always believed that every creature has feelings and emotions and values its life as much as we value our own (within their cognitive limits).  Having lived among a variety of species over the last decade, I see proof of the individuality of each animal and its desire to preserve one's one life.  One could say it is instinct, but the same could be said about humans.  As I know every form of life wants to live, I resort to things such as spider rescue in my house.  Of course, I do have to kill insects and snakes that are poisonous or do harm to our food supply, but I am sorry when I do.

Please learn about what happens to animals that are raised for food and, once you do, refrain from supporting the companies that are disrespectful and cruel to their animals.  If you wouldn't want your puppy or kitten treated in such a manner while alive, I would hope you wouldn't want that for a cow, pig, chicken, or any other animal used for food.  They have feelings, too.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Since one of my September challenges is to increase my yoga practice to every day, I thought I'd share some health benefits related to yoga and maybe encourage some baby yoginis:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Goats v. Herbicides

This is a great article from EcoWatch about how goats are being used in California to prevent fires by keeping down weeds.  It's a win-win situation - fire risk is lowered, goats get something good to eat, no herbicides are used, and the land is naturally fertilized.  What's not to love about goats?
Bella with a newborn

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Quote for the Day

"I have just this moment heard from the front — there is nothing yet of a movement, but each side is continually on the alert, expecting something to happen.  O Mother, to think that we are to have here soon what I have seen so many times, the awful loads and trains and boatloads of poor, bloody, and pale and wounded young men again — for that is what we certainly will, and before very long. I see all the little signs, getting ready in the hospitals, etc.; it is dreadful when one thinks about it. I sometimes think over the sights I have myself seen: the arrival of the wounded after a battle, and the scenes on the field, too, and I can hardly believe my own recollections. What an awful thing war is! Mother, it seems not men but a lot of devils and butchers butchering each other."
~Walt Whitman, in a letter to his mother during the American Civil War

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Social Justice Saturday: Marriage Equality

The Prime Ministry of Australia is spot on with his answer to a pastor on the question of marriage equality:

To me, is logic is perfect - if you believe homosexuality is a sin, then I disagree with you.  If you believe people are born with their sexual orientation, then you have to consider if it is right to deny gays the same civil rights as straights.  

I have heard pastors, who have finally come around to understand that sexual orientation is not a choice, explain to congregations that homosexuals are born, that God created them that way, but that it a sin and gays and lesbians should remain abstinent, without the possibility of marriage and all the affiliated benefits.  Essentially, they tell their flock, God made some people in a way in which they should be denied intimate relationships for their entire lives.  A facebook friend once posted the following in reaction to this type of thinking:  "You people are making this sh*t up as you go along."  

The desire for intimacy is also inborn.  We all require a physical connection to the one we fall in love with.  Yet, there are those that want to deny that to homosexuals.  They deny them their right to marriage and expect them to remain celibate.  However, when you look at the way many conservative Christians behave, you realize they are not personally capable of it.  I've notices that young Christians often rush into marriage (and/or pushed by their family) out of fear they might succumb to the desires of the flesh.  That is, if they haven't already.  According to this article on Sojourners, 80% of evangelicals under 30 have engaged in sex.  For those that haven't, who found that special someone at a young age and were able to "wait" until their marriage at the ripe old age of 18, 19, or 20, well bully for you.  But for the rest, that 80% mentioned in the article, apparently they don't have the willpower that they expect homosexuals to have for the rest of their lives.  (Now for the record, I don't think that all Christians [or specifically evangelical Christians] are opposed to marriage equality.  I'm just trying to sort through some facts, statistics, and personal observations.)

Years ago, I left a church over this very issue.  The pastor wanted to put a sign on the lawn "in support of marriage" and asked the church council for permission.  I happened to be on the council at the time.  I was appalled - I was so angry I could barely speak.  This sign essentially told gays and lesbians that they weren't welcome in the church, which is definitely not part of the teachings of Jesus.  Coupled with the idea that the pastor and almost all of the council members preferred to deny civil rights to other people rather than question their own misguided beliefs, well, that was too much for me.  I voted "nay" (one of only three) and never returned.

Let me just sum it up:  sexual orientation is inborn; people need intimacy; someone else's marriage is not a threat to your own; civil rights belong to everyone.  Any questions?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Farm Friday

Here's a quick recap of some of the week's events.

Bill planted the fall gardens:

Bianca has overcome some of her shyness because she knows we will give her goat crack feed:

Once again we proved that farm eggs are superior to store eggs (guess which one is ours):

We saw some interesting things around the farm.  

These mushrooms growing at the base of an oak tree:

And this spider (hand photo included to give some perspective):

Georgia got some new clothes:

And we continue to have spectacular sunsets:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Poem: What I Will

Yesterday I discovered the poet Suheir Hammad through a posting on facebook by Amazing Women Rock.  The events that are unfolding on the international scene led me to her - one good thing, probably the only one, that will come out of all this saber rattling.  I've included the written words and her performance at a TED Talk because both are worth your time.

What I Will
by Suheir Hammad
I will not
dance to your war
drum. I will
not lend my soul nor
my bones to your war
drum. I will
not dance to your
beating. I know that beat.
It is lifeless. I know
intimately that skin
you are hitting. It
was alive once
hunted stolen
stretched. I will
not dance to your drummed
up war. I will not pop
spin break for you. I
will not hate for you or
even hate you. I will
not kill for you. Especially
I will not die
for you. I will not mourn
the dead with murder nor
suicide. I will not side
with you nor dance to bombs
because everyone else is
dancing. Everyone can be
wrong. Life is a right not
collateral or casual. I
will not forget where
I come from. I
will craft my own drum. Gather my beloved
near and our chanting
will be dancing. Our
humming will be drumming. I
will not be played. I
will not lend my name
nor my rhythm to your
beat. I will dance
and resist and dance and
persist and dance. This heart
beat is louder than
death.  Your war drum ain't
louder than this breath.