10 Reasons to Support Local Farmers

Why Should We Support Local Farmers

There are so many reasons to support local farmers, for instance our health, economy and way of life would be some of the many areas impacted by loss of farmers. In the following paragraphs, I will go into more detail about how these areas are impacted.

10 Reasons to Support Local Farmers

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Finally…Updates for Replenishing Stillwater

Finally...Updates for Replenishing Stillwater, and some other things too...

It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks around here. The group I’ve been mentioning Replenishing Oklahoma raised about $700 in donations for the animal shelters in Oklahoma and that’s only working in two cities. We’re not done yet! We will set up at the Stillwater Wal-Mart on Perkins from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 30th and we’ve gotten donation boxes set up all over campus. Continue reading

5 Ways to Give Back to Our Furry Friends

Stray Animals Affect Everyone

Animal lovers unite! If it weren't animal shelters getting stray animals off the street, there would be a very real problem for everyone. It's time for us to give back to those who give so much to us and our community. Here's how!

This post contains affiliate links.

There are two types of people in the world: people who love animals and people who don’t. The funny thing is taking care of animals is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone is responsible for making sure animals are off the street, spayed and neutered so there aren’t more puppies and kitties than we have homes for, properly medicated with flea and tick medication and up to date on immunizations.  Otherwise, they cause problems for EVERYONE, whether you love animals or not, it might be your children who are bitten by a stray that could have been prevented, if people did their part to help with this problem. It might be your dog who is attacked with fleas and ticks because a stray dog came a little too close. It’s everyone’s problem.

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Meet the Replenishing Oklahoma Litter Crew

Meet the Replenishing Oklahoma Litter Crew! Replenishing Oklahoma is a Facebook group working to make Oklahoma a cleaner, healthier and better place to live. Their first project was April 2, when they picked up litter all across the state.

About a month and a half ago, I started a Facebook group called Replenishing Oklahoma. When I first created it, I basically wanted it to be a group from all over Oklahoma posting about different non-profits, service organizations or just service projects from their neck of the woods. Other than that I really wasn’t too sure what I wanted from the group.

I realized pretty quick that I wanted it to be more than that. I wanted the group to be actively making a difference in its own way, so once a month, we have a service project of our own.

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Ditching Disposables With Stillwater’s Birth Connection

Ditching Disposables with Stillwater's Birth Connection

This post contains affiliate links.

Why do we rely so heavily on disposables? Is there a better way?

A few decades ago, the word disposable wasn’t even in our vocabulary. Our grandparents brought their lunches to school and work using cheesecloth or wax paper instead of plastic bags. Milk bottles were drained then collected to be refilled and distributed again. Back then it was all about efficiency and frugality. What cost the least amout of money? What about the environment? Maybe most concerning of all, what about the health of ourselves and our children? These are the things they were the most concerned with.

This past Tuesday, I attended a discussion hosted by Stillwater’s Birth Connection at the First United Methodist Church. Typically, mothers or expecting mothers attend these discussions, which range from birthing options to parenting advice and the importance of play. There is more information about this group at the end of this post, if you’re interested. Although, I don’t fit into the aforementioned categories or interests, I was interested in their March discussion on ditching disposables.

These disposables alternatives discussed (pictured below) included:

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These are the giveaways they had at the meeting

The point of the discussion wasn’t to ditch all disposables at once, though one lady did say cloth diapers were the gateway drug to all other disposable items, but to slowly make changes, adjusting your comfort levels as you go.

A few reasons why you might consider replacing disposable items with their alternatives is to save money, save resources and because they are generally better for your health.

The cost of disposables is clear. For just one example, the School Nutrition Foundation conducted a study (PDF) in 2009 that details the cost, labor, and environmental differences between reusable and disposable trays. In the two southern school districts studied, it cost less to wash the reusable trays than to remove the disposables. Add the cost of the disposable trays, and the total cost is about $8,000 more to serve 100,000 meals, which is about 8 cents per meal.

Although this is one type of disposable, you can see an inflated cost in other areas as well. Women really seem to get the short end of the stick because their disposables are more of a necessity than the average paper plate or cup. The average women will foot a bill of up to $1,773.33 for her lifetime.

But those costs add up in more ways than one. The average American office worker goes through around 500 disposable cups over the course of 12 months. Americans even toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.

Diapers, one of the major topics of our discussion, have even more outrageous numbers.

From birth to toilet training each child will use approximately 5,300 disposable diapers. It takes 440-880 lbs. of fluff pulp and 286 lbs. of plastic (including packaging) per year to supply diapers to a single baby. Behind newspapers and beverage containers, they are the 3rd largest single use product in the waste stream. In Canada and the US more than 20,000,000,000 disposables are discarded into landfill sites each year.

Landfill sites do not provide the conditions necessary for diapers to decompose. They are in effect “mummified” and retain their original weight, volume and form. This is a problem because human feces can contain harmful pathogens and when feces are placed in our landfill sites, as with disposable diapers, there is potential for public exposure (via rodents, pets, insects, birds or groundwater).

Add that to the fact that disposable diapering uses 37% more water than cloth diapering and you get a pretty strong case for cloth diapers.

Waste water from washing cloth diapers is relatively benign, when you consider the waste water from pulp, paper and plastics contain solvents, sludge, heavy metals, unreacted polymers, dioxins and furans.  Although cloth diaper use also emits air pollution, the air pollution from the manufacture of disposables is far more noxious. Pulp bleaching emits dioxins and furans into the air, as does incineration because it often produces toxic air emissions and toxic ash.

These kinds of chemicals, which are present in other hygiene products that are constantly touching our skin, have additional health costs too.

For women this might mean more intense PMS symptoms, increased heart diseases, birth defects, cancers and other health issues. But an added bonus of cotton hygiene products feel much better on the skin.

For babies, common health issues associated with disposable diapers are an increase in rashes, the most common side effect, but there could also be issues with their nervous and respiratory systems, and other health problems.

Cloth diapers come in all shapes, sizes, types. Some require more effort than others and you can learn more about that here.

If you’re interested in supporting local Oklahoma businesses, Green Bambino and The Changing Table are good places to start.

During the discussion Lacy Henry mentioned Green Mountain Diapers, which also has excellent resources, if you’re confused about the many cloth diaper choices available.

Another added benefit is children that are cloth diapered potty learn 6-12 months sooner than those in disposables. This builds confidence, independence, and stimulates development.

I very much enjoyed learning about these alternatives to disposable products and the friendly group discussion. Many of the women brought their kids and were so very kind in answering any questions I, or anyone else, had.  If you’re interested in learning more about the Birth Connections group, here is a link to their Facebook page, which is very active in helping to answering any questions you might have about mothering and parenting. They also have a cloth diaper loan program, if you’re interested trying them without forking over a bunch of money.

At the end of this post, is a list of all their upcoming meetings, which are on the second Tuesday of every month at the First United Methodist Church. They are having a special meeting March 19 at 10 a.m., location to be determined, for anyone interested in learning more about cloth diapers.

Stillwater Birth Connections 2016 Events

 

Ditching Disposables with Stillwater's Birth Connection

5 Books to Help You Stop Throwing Your Future Away

5 Books to Help You Stop Throwing Your Future AwayI had another opportunity for a guest post, this time for a book review blog called Lilac Reviews, a blog for any those who love to read and write. Definitely check it out, if you’re a book worm!

Here is a small snippet from that post:

I grew up in a small, conservative town in Oklahoma. As you can imagine that wasn’t the best incubator for a little environmentalist. Despite my mom’s best efforts to have good organic food in the house and tread lighter on the Earth, I wanted nothing to do with it until I was forced to take an environmental class. Long story short, this class totally changed my whole perspective on environmental issues, however, Oklahoma wasn’t the best place to cultivate the new passion I had.

Although there are many concrete environmental causes (not like global warming no one can see and the research is askew, but like water pollution, depleting forests, etc.) for some reason, reducing our waste and over consumption called my name. From that point on, I read every piece of information I could get my hands on.

Click to learn more about these books that changed my view of ‘trash’ forever.

Waste Not, Want Not: 5 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste

Waster-Not-Want-Not-5-Ways-To-Reduce-Food-Waste

I had the opportunity to write a guest post for The Best of this Life. It’s a cute little blog that you should definitely check out, if you interested in gluten-free recipes, personal style, family life, women biz tips and making every day a celebration.

I’ve added a small snippet from my article:

Everyone knows what a problem food waste can be, as it makes up about 25 percent of our household waste. But the good news is with just a few small changes we can make a huge dent in that number.

More than 40 percent of the food produced for human consumption in the U.S. will never be eaten. Food waste is still rising, having almost doubled since 1974. We are wasting more than 1,400 calories per person per day. That’s almost enough to feed an entire person! Don’t let the news fool you. There is not a food shortage.

Food waste accounts for about 18 percent of municipal solid waste, and what’s even worse is the annual food waste – just at the retail and consumer level – in high-income countries nearly equals the entire annual food production in sub-Saharan Africa.

Here is a great video with more information.

Read how you can drastically reduce the amount of food you waste here.

For the Love of the Handmade

For the love of the handmade

Today is the beautiful day that we celebrate love in all it’s various forms. I spent yesterday having a “Galentine’s Day” with my best friend. She was Leslie Knope and I was Ann. We spent the day looking for a Ron, but alas, that did not work out.

Today, I will spend some time with my family before traveling back home.

I have so much family, friends and cat (yes, one cat) that make my life complete. The love they showed me and the Earth helped me find a love that changed my life. The love for handmade things. I have shared my love of upcycling, but this love is one has been a part of life since I was a child.

Both my grandmothers have a love for art and handmade things.

My dad’s mom would always make these blankets and quilts. She also crocheted beautiful and warm scarfs and wraps. When she passed away, I got to have her leftover yarn and creations.

On my mother’s side, everyone has a passion for feeding people. Their soul purpose is to feed others and they show love by feeding people. When my dad’s mom was too sick to make these handmade things anymore she gave my boyfriend a beautiful blanket. It had meant so much to her and though we never talked about it, I think that’s how she expressed her love. She wanted to make things to keep people warm. I still use her blankets and quilts, and when they are too tattered to use in the original form, I’ll repurpose them, another plus to upcycling.

Here are two of my favorite quilts made with my grandmother’s love. Cheerio enjoying the warmness as he looks out the window:

Cat enjoying quilt love- valentine's day

On my mother’s side, I come from a long line of crafters and artists. My great-grandmother, passed down a love for cooking. My grandma, mom and aunt will feed you till you can’t eat anymore, make you do jumping jacks then feed you some more. I never leave any of their houses without a bag full of extra food to take home.

They can also just about build or create anything. They all kind of have their areas that they specialize in. My great-aunt can build a dresser and chairs from scratch, my grandma can paint, sculpt, crochet, make jewelry, anything you name it and she can do it like no one’s business. My aunt can sew (although she doesn’t care to), crochet, build things, she’s now making soaps, etc, but she is just really good at coming up with creative ideas from nothing.  My mom makes the sweetest scrap books, beautiful jewelry and suncatchers, but I, of course, think her chocolate chip cookies are the greatest masterpiece, but everything else she makes is delicious too.

I have many other crafty members but these are ones I’ve had the most contact with over the years.

Needless to say, I have had my share of handmade items. I always enjoyed them, even when I was younger, but not anywhere near as how much I love them now. Now, that I’ve made similar things, I can really appreciate how time and effort it takes. The hand made gifts are way more individualized and tailored specifically for what I like. Since I have become such an advocate for repurposing, my family goes to great lengths to give me repurposed gifts.

Although my mothering and feeding genes haven’t quite kicked in, I did get the crafting bug from them.

Although I loved crafting when I was kid, but I kind of lost it as I got older. But when I discovered upcycling  and the consequences of conventional products or the over consumption of them. It set me on fire for a cause that involves a lot of crafting and handmaking skills, which my family gave me a strong foundation for. There are so many creative things we could do before getting a mass-produced thing from the store and so many things we could do instead of throwing things away.

Last year, my mom’s family decided to have a drone building contest. As you can imagine, it didn’t turn out too good for all of us, but it led to next year’s contest. A contest to see, who could make something for the homeless. Creativity, practicality and usefulness are all judging categories. These kinds of things just prove that it doesn’t take a lot of money to show someone love and compassion. Talk about love for the handmade and its application to solve real world problems!

I spent so much time trying to learn to crochet, but to no avail. I had given up and became disinterested, but then my grandma made my beautifully awesome bag, which lit the fire once again.

plarn crocheted bag

It’s made from plarn. Let me tell you, it uses a lot of plastic bags. Every year, Americans reportedly throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags.  The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. These bags are considered the American flag because they are found everywhere, wreaking havoc on plant and animal life. The local landfill pays a hefty fee to keep them cleaned up around the landfill. Of the bags that make it to the recycling programs, only 1 percent are recycled. They often clog the machine because they are so light weight.

This previous Christmas, my mom made a package for the homeless around her town. It was a ziplock filled with socks and snacks. Bags are extremely handy for homeless people to carry their stuff in, so it gave me the idea to make market bags from plarn. This is the pattern I am using, but I’m not getting the shape quite right, so I’ll be trying something else for the next round.

plarnbag-01

My plan is to make one a month (yes, I’m a ridiculously slow crocheter) and then give them away next Christmas. So far I’m on schedule with my misshaped bags!

I love sharing my love hand made things with everyone and I hope you found some value in this post. Check back in a few months, so see, if I’m still on schedule. Do you have any stories of handmade love in your life? What is your favorite handmade thing you’ve ever received and who did you get it from?

Happy Valentine’s Day! And you’re needing some extra love this weekend, stop by my friend’s blogs to see what they wrote about the subject:

5 Ways to Love What You Do

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Top 10 Romance Novels By:

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How to Care for God’s Creation

How to Care for God's Creation

For the past few years, I have been a student of environmental issues, more specifically reducing our trash by means of reducing, reusing and recycling. Have I found a way to make a living doing this or somehow related? Nope, but without a doubt, this is the cause that God has called me to. I have felt closer to Him than I ever have and whenever I sit down to work on an upcycling project, there is a certain calmness that settles over me.

The idea that even something ordinary, discarded, unwanted, even ugly can change into something beautiful, useful or both is an idea that keeps me going even when all seems lost and hopeless. We see it all the time in nature with butterflies, the different seasons where trees are losing their leaves, go to sleep and then wake up refreshed and flourishing, or a seed germinating to make a beautiful flower or something yummy to eat.

We all are ordinary, unfinished, inadequate, but that doesn’t mean God can’t use us and give us purpose.

For years, I struggled with my relationship with God. I couldn’t understand or even connect with Him in any meaningful way and it frustrated me, which distanced me even more.

Through the years, I have come to believe that God is not a one size fits all kind of God. I believe He made us all unique and that means He presents Himself to us in different ways- He meets where we are, He doesn’t force us to fit ourselves in a box to have a relationship with Him. He gives us different strengths, passions, gifts, even weaknesses and struggles, which all serve the ultimate purpose of bringing glory to Him and helping others find Him, all in different ways.

He gave me this passion at a time when I was so lost and cared about absolutely nothing. I was depressed and broken- all I wanted was to quit school, lock myself in my room and sleep until the end of time. God doesn’t want that for His people. He wants them to be engaged, alive and compassionate. He gave me something that could get a hold my attention, wake me up and fight for the unspoken for.

The only problem is I have failed to be able to connect this passion with the church. Of all, people I would think, Christians would care about the environment. After all, they believe God gave us the Earth and there are many scriptures telling us to be good stewards of what He gave us. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when I have brought up this subject in a church setting it’s usually met with a kind of annoyance or shrugged off as unimportant. I’ve never heard any sermons on this subject either.

Disclaimer: No, I’m not saying that everyone should stop counseling a woman going through a terrible divorce and sit down, cut up some plarn and crochet a market bag. Nor am I saying that if you’re having 80 people over to make food for the homeless, you should use real plates and silverware instead of the paper plates. I’m also not saying everyone should be as completely gung ho about the environment and do it 100 percent of the time. All I’m asking is a for a little more consideration in our choices and how they affect our fellow humans. And of course, all of this from my experience, what people have told me and my personal beliefs. All of it could be wrong and some one from another walk of life will see it completely different. There are plenty of Christians working on these kinds of issues, so I will probably work on a part 2 and add these solutions along with any relevant feedback I get from this post.

As Christians, I think we should support each other’s God given causes. Why does it seem, we are so narrow minded and have tunnel vision when it comes to what is classified as God’s work?

Genesis 1:28-30

God gave us the Earth and said 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.

This verse is where a lot of the controversy comes in. God says we should multiply and subdue the Earth, but in Genesis 2:15, God says “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

God created the Earth, the animals and then He created humans to take care of these things. His creation wasn’t complete until He made man but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t care for His creations. Subdue does not mean use until there is nothing left. It means do what you have to, to ensure your safety, make it livable, but take care of it. God expected man to use the products of nature for his sustenance, but also to be responsible in that use and to preserve the life-giving systems and creatures of the creation.

In God’s Covenant with Noah, He tells Noah to multiply, He gives Noah every living and moving as food to eat, but He also makes a promise to Noah and every living thing that he will not to flood the Earth again. He makes the promise to Noah and every living thing on that boat because he cares not only for the humans, whom He made in His image, but for His creations that He made for humans to enjoy and care for.

In Leviticus 25:8, He gives the people 6 years to harvest, but calls for the 7th year to be a year of rest for the land. This was so important to God that He punished Israel for not keeping the land Sabbaths. There are many things that God commands or requires of us that don’t always make sense in the direct ways, but indirectly, they are for our good. Many people know harvesting the same crop on the same land for too many years will deplete the land of its nutrients. Not only did He want us to care for the land, but he knew that it made sense to let it rest, so it could continue to supply with nutritious food.

He continues this call to care for the land.

Leviticus 25:23-24 says: 23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers. 24 Throughout the land that you hold as a possession, you must provide for the redemption of the land.”

The land is ultimately His and we are the caretakers.

Numbers 35:33-34 You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”

This represents a point a preacher acquaintance of mine made: All is sacred. The earth is a footstool for His feet. He dwells here. As some Christians take nice care of their churches because it’s His house…in all honestly He dwells everywhere so we take care of everything like He is right here with us.

This theme that the land is God’s is continued to the New Testament.

Colossians 1:16-17 

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

As the psalmist indicated in Psalm 147, He cares for nature. He has given all the stars names and he feeds the cows when they call.  God pays attention to the life and death of even a sparrow Luke 12:6.If God cares so much about nature, we must too.

But also God does not want us defiling the land. We could take this literally and say defiling it with blood from the people we’ve murdered, but so many of our choices have consequences we will never know about.

How to Care for God's Creations Matthew 25:37-40

Matthew 25:37-40‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

The electronics industry always comes to mind when I think of this. From the time the materials are mined, to the when they are built in the factories until we throw them away or recycle them, electronics are a human rights and environmental nightmare.

Many, if not all, electronics are made in factories that use child labor and workers that have to work impossible hours at ridiculously low wages. Many of the product lines have leukemia causing substances like benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic and radioactive material. In addition to hazardous working conditions, medical services are not covered through these companies.

Not only do these company use sub par conditions to make the electronics, but they also have to mine for these materials. Commonly used materials are copper, cobalt and coltan and children between 5 and 14 are commonly used in these mines. The numerous health risks associated with mining these materials are why the UN’s International Labor Organization called mining one of the worst forms of child labor.

This woman lost her hands making LG flat screens, which shed her blood, I’m sure, but she can’t work and she was never paid a decent wage, so she could save money. Unless, she wins the law suit, her life is basically over. There are many other people who have lost their lives as a direct result of our greed and overconsumption.

Once, we are done with our electronics, many of them go back to these countries. The problem is the the numerous toxic materials leach into the water, ground and air, which contribute to the health problems in these countries.

As Christians, are we not responsible to love those people, to live simply so they might simply live. These people, especially in the factories, never have time to sit down to look at their Facebook, let alone have time to sit down at a sermon to hear about the love of Jesus. Instead of the hope of Jesus, their only hope is that someday they might win the lottery.

Christians, along with the rest of the first world, are responsible for that, but as Christians, do we not have a responsibility to give up some of our worldly possessions and conveniences, so that these people will be treated properly. We can’t possibly say that we care for our fellow man, when are responsible for funding the industry that treats them that way. We don’t need to give up these things, as they have many benefits even in the church, but prioritize, use what we have or used, or support companies with sustainable practices when we need to buy something new. We could argue that our overconsumption gives them jobs, so they earn roughly $130, but if we rewired our brains, there are so many other ways we could help them. We are not doing them a favor by letting them make our electronics or other products. If we vote with our dollars, which is a economic concept proven over and over, these companies have to listen. After all, we pay their bills.

If we are spending so much time loving and serving God that we can’t even give a second thought toward God’s creations, why do we have time for all these things anyway?

There seems to be two major reasons, for the apathetic or impervious attitudes Christians seem to have when it comes to God’s creations. I set out to find out why this is so.

  1. Ultimately, if Christ is coming to get us, and if God is in control, why should we worry at all about the state of the environment?

In that case, why care about anything at all? Why have a nice car, nice clothes, a cell phone, a tablet, dessert, anything? Why bother saving money or investing in the future? Because it helps US in THIS life? Makes it livable and more comfortable? What about the future of others- do they not deserve the same opportunities? Our reward for fighting the good fight is not on this Earth, but we have to care for our fellow humans and future generations.

2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 13 And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.

In this case, he is arguing that they shouldn’t be idle in the sense of general wrong doings. But the same case could be made for caring for the Earth.

As my pastor acquaintance mentioned earlier: The earth is a footstool for His feet.  As some Christians take nice care of their churches because it’s His house, but He dwells everywhere.

Acts 17:24 says “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.

No human made temple can possibly hold Him because He made everything and He was insulted that we ever believed we could.

2. People/other issues are more important.

To me this is the argument that makes the most sense, but it makes me sad to think how many people are completely missing the point.

Why put a mere second thought in the actions we have on the environment when people are going through divorces, are suffering from multiple forms of abuse, drug addictions, etc? Our first, primary concern should be addressing those sins that directly effect us before moving on to less critical concerns. I get it.

Most people, both Christians and nonchristians, seem to believe absolutely, people come first. Christians hold this position more because they believe people were made in God’s image and we have a soul. Non-Christians seem to believe because of our superior intellect we are more valuable.

Although, I can see how people think this kind of thought process relieves them of their duty of caring for God’s other, ‘less significant’ creations, I think its an even sadder reason to not do everything you can to save your fellow humans. Many, if not all, environmental issues are human rights issues.

One person pointed out that environmentalists and Christians are usually in conflict because they are too polarized. One spends too much time focusing on the environment, while the other focuses only on people. There are many reasons for this supposed polarization, but when it came down to it, they would rather focus on a fellow human, made in God’s image, therefore must be more important, than an the creation. If they were too focused on the creation to care for that sick (physically or mentally) person then they wouldn’t be comfortable with their priorities.

All this is completely understandable, however, my question is if air pollution, poor working conditions, unclean drinking water caused this person you cared so much for to be sick, would you consider your priorities out of whack then? If someone died before they could learn about God because of those issues would it be different? Many times this is the case. The food we eat, the things we drink, the air we breathe all impact our health, so one could argue that if we put more concern into the environment, they might not even be sick in the first place.

If they are so busy working in a factory, sleeping there, eating there, dying there that they they never get a chance to even know there is a church outside the walls of that factory, would we care then?

Then of course, there are those, who believe Christians shouldn’t be the example for the environment or anything for that matter. They should just keep doing what they are doing with no care as to what their life says to others. Why should they care when no one else does?

Christians are supposed to bring and show God’s love to the world. How can we do that if we are just like them? Just as dark, corrupt  and uncaring?  It’s not supposed to be easy, but we are supposed to be different, so we can bring change to those who need it. Yes, Christians are human. They make mistakes, but that shouldn’t stop them from trying to do their best. When you decide to claim a title, its imperative that you carry that out as best you can. The witness against you is always stronger than it will ever be with you. People are always looking for a reason to tear you down. They could argue that if Christians, the group that believes without a doubt in a God that gave His life to save humanity, and He also gave humanity the gift of His creation and they abuse it the way they do, then why should anyone care? What does that say about the respect for God or the things He gave us?

God created the Earth, the animals and then He created humans to take care of these things. His creation wasn’t complete until He made man but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t care for His creations. God expected man to use the products of nature for his sustenance, but also to be responsible in that use and to preserve the life-giving systems and creatures of the creation.

Imagine a father, who worked day and night to make his daughter a beautiful rocking horse for her birthday.  He sanded every splinter, took care to glue in every piece of hair, and perfectly shape the handles to fit her hands. As a little girl, she loved that rocking horse, it was one of her only toys, but as she grew up she played on it less and less. Maybe she got it dirty or she chipped  pieces off when she wasn’t careful enough climbing on to it or she was throwing her toys around and accidentally hit it. Maybe one day, she comes home and she needs wood for a project, so she takes the wood from the rocking horse to use. Her then older father comes home, sees what she has done and it breaks his heart. Of course, he loves his daughter and knows she has grown up since he put all that work in to make such a beautiful gift, but did he want her to respect his gift more than she would a scrap piece of wood? Probably so.

Of course, as you read earlier, it is much more serious than that. People’s lives and souls are at stake.

But again, I’m not saying you have to change your whole way of life, inconveniencing yourself, so you can’t spend as much time focusing on the path that God has called you. All I am asking to consider, just for a few minutes, that a simpler life, so that your fellow human can live, might not be such a bad thing. Accept and respect that people, who might or might not be Christians, are doing the work of God by caring for His creation. Yes, like any religious ideal, this can be corrupted. Just because they say God gave them a calling doesn’t make it so, but just because its an unconventional way of seeing things doesn’t make it wrong either. We need to use discernment for these things. Obviously, people sterilizing their fellow humans is not an ethical or Christian thing to do and I’m not supporting that. However, a fellow Christian who is has the purpose of taking care of God’s creation (which we all are created by God, so let’s keep that in mind) then who are to say we have a better or more important calling.

I somewhat apologize for my long windedness. It’s a complex issue and something I probably have spent too much time letting it eat away at me, instead of talking about it. I welcome any thoughts or feelings you have on this subject, so please leave a comment below!

How to care for God's Creation

 

#Let’s Make The World Better By…

14 ways to change the world

So, the other day #Letsmakethisdaybetterby….was trending. I thought it was an interesting thought. I saw all kinds of responses from:

(Which I thought could really actually make any day better) to this, which sounds nice but a little less productive, especially if it lasted more than a day:

But then I thought, why stop at one day when we could make the world better. A lot of these responses apply, so I listed them below and added a couple of my own.

  1. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy meeting people where they are and showing compassion.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy meeting people where they are and showing compassion. http://ctt.ec/8gXPb+

Wouldn’t be create a much better world, if everyone had this kind of compassion for everyone? You have no idea what people are battling at any given time. People need to learn to meet others where they are. Don’t force them to come to you and be like you, you can reach more, if you get off your high horse and meet them where they are.

 

2. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy loving the unwanted.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy loving the unwanted. http://ctt.ec/6M2c5+

Whatever you might or might not have against PETA, they get this one right. Buying animals, when there are so many available to be loved for free- except the cost of their vet bill, makes so little sense.

 

3. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy making jokes instead of arguments. Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy making jokes instead of arguments. http://ctt.ec/KSlc_+

If you argue with this then I’ll just have to laugh at you.

 

4. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy thanking those who are the helpers we look for. Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy thanking those who are the helpers we look for. http://ctt.ec/DZ3YJ+

I think we should thanking all the volunteers EVERYWHERE, EVERYDAY. Could you imagine the dark and dangerous place the world would be without volunteers. They are such beautiful people. Again, if you argue with this, I will have to laugh at you.

 

5. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy saying THANK YOU. Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy saying THANK YOU. http://ctt.ec/ycT07

Thank you goes such a long way. Volunteers need to be thanked more, employees need to be thanked more, friends and family need to be thanked more because they put up with us all the time. We need to be thankful for the life we have and things that make up that life. Thank you goes such a long way and a little more of it would definitely make the world a better place.

 

6. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy voting with our dollars. Vote for a better world. Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy voting with our dollars. Vote for a better world.  http://ctt.ec/36Ucz

This is a cause near to my heart. Wouldn’t it be great if we voted with our dollars. At the end of the day, even the president can’t change anything because the same company, ideas, money holders buy who ever is in power. Who has the money? We do. Ironically, since 1 percent of the population has 50 percent of the wealth or something crazy like that. But who gives that money to them? We do. Just find a smaller business to buy from. For example, instead of buying chocolate from a corporation that is doing everything it can to strip third world countries bare of resources, refusing to pay the workers decent wages in those countries, being completely greedy with resources needed to make their products, so he can buy his 5th vacation and have control of those resources, we could pay a little extra to find a free trade chocolate bar that we knew was grown sustainably and with people who are getting paid fairly for their labor. Instead of buying a new vacation home, we could know that we are helping a less fortunate family buy food. That sure is a world I would like to live in.

 

7. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy realizing environmental problems are human rights issues.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy realizing environmental problems are human rights issues. http://ctt.ec/MbeA8

At the end of the day, caring for the planet creates a better life for the people living on it. Clean air is good for the planet and the people who live on it. Fast fashion is bad for our pocket books, its bad for our the Earth’s resources and it’s bad for the people who have to make it. Clean, sustainably grown, organic food is good for us, for the insects who help pollinate, for the workers who aren’t dying from illness because of the pesticides, its good for us, who won’t suffer from illnesses. When the planet is taken care of, everyone wins.

 

8. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy appreciating the under appreciated.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy appreciating the under appreciated. http://ctt.ec/TGdVx

If we had better paid teachers, who weren’t having to battle parents over every decision, who could instead spend that energy on being better teachers, the world would be a much better place. Yes, I’ve had some pretty terrible or apathetic teachers in my day, but I also had some really great ones and those are the ones that single handedly taught me what 4+4 is and taught me to tie my shoe. Teachers teach the most simple of concepts and the most complex, like why Johnny had to get 71 watermelons when he went to the store or maybe why we should use our words instead of our fists.

 

9. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy living simply, so that others might simply live.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy living simply, so that others might simply live. http://ctt.ec/yju02

The Earth and its resources are not ours to hoard and use carelessly. They belong to future generations and they are letting us borrow them. In the U.S., we have a very bad habit of thinking everything is ours for the taking because we have a bigger army, more money and the promise of the American Dream. We strip the resources of third world countries, demanding they put their health at risk to make our electronics, jewelry, clothes and we never pay them fairly or care for them when they become sick from the work. Eventually when their resources run out, we will leave these countries with no means of making money. We will pack up our stuff and leave, and they will have nothing. We are not better then them. We do not own them. Please, learn to live simply, so others might simply live.

 

10. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy doing what we would do if fear was not an obstacle.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy doing what we would do if fear was not an obstacle. http://ctt.ec/a8yz9

Sometimes I hate this phrase because it seems like when I’m trying to be awesome and do something completely outside my comfort zone, everything goes wrong and I think why did I listen to that stupid quote. But I’m no quitter (thanks to my teachers) so I keep trying. Even if I don’t succeed, I got to learn something new. The world would be a better place, if people weren’t so afraid to fail. Our society puts such emphasis on success and making money that its hard to try something new.

 

11. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy  saying thank you for the small things and meaning it.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy  saying thank you for the small things and meaning it. http://ctt.ec/32TQ2+

Again, we need more THANK YOUS! in the world. Everyone is struggling with something. Sometimes, I just want to be thanked for getting out of bed because it was hard to face that day. There are many people who feel like they don’t matter and no one would miss them if they were gone, but that’s not true. People would miss them and if they knew that because of a simple, random thank you just for being there then the world would be a better place. There are no limits to the positive changes people can have on others when they feel appreciated and cared about.

 

12. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy paying it forward to those who need kindness more than we do.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy paying it forward to those who need kindness more than we do.http://ctt.ec/6ekWY

I’m all about random acts of kindness. Small things that seem insignificant to others can mean the WORLD to someone else. On a bad day, when a meeting ran over and then someone helps you out by putting an extra quarter in the meter. Or you just did really horrible on a test, your hair looks terrible and you’ve been running behind all day and then someone hands you a coffee, pays it forward and you get a free meal, or someone just gives you a random smile so you don’t think everyone hates you. You have no idea the domino effects you actions, good and bad, have. Just do good and be nice to a random someone and do your part to make the world a better place.

 

13. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy letting go of the things that hold us back. Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy letting go of the things that hold us back. http://ctt.ec/DeAfO+

Little did I know, but this is the tweet that started it all. Boy, this would really make a big difference to make the world a better place. I mean there would be no more wars, no anger that lasted more than a day. It’s hard, I know, but just let it go. Chances are if that person doesn’t know you’re upset or angry, then it’s just hurting you more than them anyway.

 

14. #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy living consciously to reduce, reuse and recycle what we don’t need.Tweet: #LetsMaketheWorldBetterBy living consciously to reduce, reuse and recycle what we don't need. http://ctt.ec/3EacT

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. If we did not consume so much, our resources would not be running out, the pollution made during the overproduction of products would not be made, our houses would not be overrun with clutter and landfills would not be on the verge of overflowing. Many problems would be solved, if we would learn to be happy with what we have.

There is something called the waste hierarchy and its a good rule of thumb to follow.

Reduce what you can. If you can use real plates instead of paper plates, real eating utensils instead of plastic ware, bring your own bags to the store, skip on that extra pair of shoes or that extra take out meal, then please do.

If you can’t reduce, then find a way to reuse. Use your egg shells, food scraps as compost, turn your light bulb into a Christmas ornament, reuse your ketchup bottle as a pancake squirter, etc.

If you can’t reduce, then recycle. If you can’t recycle, then you should be trying your hardest not to buy that product.

Those are my 14 suggestions on how take it one day at a time to make the world a better place.

On the documentary front, I have finished my last two official interviews.

Lorette at Sensational Silverware and Creations makes all kinds of ornaments, rings, garden markers from silver spoons. I’ve linked to her Facebook page, so you can show her support and check out her products. April from Uncookie Cutter started decorating her house when she moved to Stillwater with all things repurposed. She talks about her projects on her blog, which I linked to, so make sure to check that out. After I go back through these interviews, I’ll probably talk more in depth about their part in the documentary.

Although there are more interviews I’d like to do, I’m having a hard time getting permission, so we will have to wait to see about that.