Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas



Advent is almost over and I haven't said what I thought I was going to say. I've been too busy recovering and haven't been able to spend too much time on the computer. I am leaving for India on Friday and will be there till the 16th of January, maybe posting will pick up then. Merry Christmas!
This is Ryan and I with our good friends Robin, Dustyn, and Jimmy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm home

I am home and on the road to recovery. I do not feel great, but it's nice to be in my own apartment.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

In case you haven't heard


I've been in the hospital since Thursday the 15th. No idea when I'll be returning home, but have wireless in my room, so feel free to message. I don't spend much time on the computer, but do check my e-mail from time to time. No reading, no blogging, not much conversation... just laying in bed.

I'll update you when something changes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Story from the Grist

Grist, which is one of my favorite website published a story this week that originally appeared on the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors website. It discusses issues on the Gulf Coast two years after Katrina, long forgotten by the media. Take a look.

Stories from the Forgotten Coast
With the Katrina-anniversary media gone, the hard work continues

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Prayer of Bishop Romero

The following is a prayer that is contributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero who was assassinated during a mass in San Salvador in 1980. While, in fact these words were written by someone else, and never spoken by Romero, they are said to encompass his spirit. They certainly have been helpful to me over the last few months and I wanted to share them here. I hope you enjoy.

It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of
the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about:
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own. Amen.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Below is my contribution to Blog Action Day which is taking place today.

There are close to 20,000 blogs participating today and you can check them out here. This includes people like me, but also big names like Google.

Environmentalism as an act of Prayer

I think it would be helpful for us as Christians in the 21st century to take advice from our first and second century Desert Mothers and Fathers when they said to "pray always." The mothers and fathers weren't encouraging each other to sit in silence and stillness and pray all day, although they did do this on occasion. What they were encouraging was the act of prayer to intersect with their daily lives. Most Mothers and Fathers did tasks throughout the day that helped them live, weaving was one of these tasks. And as they weaved they would pray, as they ate they would pray, and as they would participate in the taking care of those in need, they would pray.

How would this life of prayer fit into your daily routine? Do you posses the discipline it takes to "pray always?" It sounds daunting, if not terrifying, however some daily tasks are not far off from acts of prayer.

This is where the environment comes in. Have you ever thought about environmentalism as an act of prayer? Let's think about a few aspects of a daily life, that as people who care about the environment might take part in.
  • The first thing that comes to mind is gardening. Tilling the earth, planting a seed, and then tending a garden. The earliest monastics did it and some still do today. This garden provides for those who are tending it as well as perhaps those that are not able to plant their own garden. How can this not be an act of prayer? If you have spent much time in a garden, you know the connection that one develops with the earth, the earth that God created for us. So in the garden, pray a prayer of thankfulness for the ability to provide for ourselves and for others, as well as the enjoyment of just being among God's creation in the Garden.
  • What about planting a tree? This is close to tending a garden but slightly different. Planting a tree is more of a long term commitment. You are saying to God that you love the creation God has given us and are will to participate in the upkeep of creation for the long hall.
  • One that you probably haven't given much thought to is the act of recycling. Much like the repetitive task that the early Mothers and Fathers had in weaving, we find ourselves constantly sorting, bagging, and moving recyclables. What do you think about when you are participating in the act of recycling? Most likely you are going over daily plans in your head, or thinking how dirty of a job it can be sometimes. What if instead you prayed? You prayed to God and told God that you are not going to let Creation go to waste, that you are going to do what you can, where you can, to preserve this great gift.
  • On of the biggest and most effective ways we can turn our environmentalism into an act of prayer is by simplifying our life. When we own and use only what we need, share with others in our community, cut down on our meetings, appointment, and shopping sprees, we have that much more time to pray. Again I'm not talking about sitting still and in silence prayer, I'm talking about the daily act of prayer, meeting God where we are. It is hard to meet God when the cellphone is attached to our head, and the television is blaring in the next room. By cutting down on what we consume we are also opening up opportunities to meet God.
These are obviously only few suggestions, I know there has to be many more out there. But think about them, reflect about them, and pray about them. Your relationship with God and the earth can change if you use environmentalism an act of prayer.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

100th Post, A little about myself

In preparation for Blog Action Day tomorrow, I've been going over in my head what to write. I want it to be important and thought provoking. However, what is important to me might not be important to the next person, so I decided to write a little bit about myself so you, the reader, can decide if your morals, values, and priorities are anything similar to mine.

First and foremost I'm a Christian. I grew up a Christian, I have no spectacular conversion story or stories about hardships in my life before I came to the church. It's the way I was raised. I can't offer any insightful images of being raised this way, all I can say is that I was loved, made to feel special, and taught how to live a Christ-like life. This is what I strive for, to live in the way Jesus exemplified in his life.

Which brings me to another important aspect of my character which does not stand apart from my identity as a Christian. I am an environmentlist! (yes I said it..) Many Christians cringe at this word... Some even feel that environmentalism is anti-Christian. But let me point out, that the fact that I am an environmentlist shows that I value God's gift of Creation.

Many people are not sure how to handle my environmental tendencies. I can remember at 11 being called Crunchy for the first time. I had no idea what that meant, but as I grew up I found out. Some call my weird, some call me a hippie, some call me crazy, most commonly I'm called a treehugger, but most recently I've been called an earth muffin. These names don't hurt my feelings so if you are going to use them don't be upset when I'm not offended.

I've worked a very long time to model both Christ and Environmentalism in my life. It's who I am, and by being who I am, I hope that I can open up a dialogue between those Christians who don't believe in Environmentalism and those Environmentalists who don't know what to do about all those Christians.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hey Friends, I haven't been so good at this. Mostly because I've been extremely busy with school, work, and field ed. My next post is going to be the 100th, so I promise for something good. Hope all is well with everyone. Peace.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I might be dumb

There is quite a list of blogs that I read weekly if not daily. And I would LOVE to be one of those people who wrote all the time and had a faithful readership. It probably won't happen, at least until I'm done with my degree, but it doesn't mean that more people shouldn't read my blog. The only problem is that I don't understand how to do that? Any suggestions?

In Full Swing

Life here in Ohio is in full swing with little time for leisures like blogging. I finished my third week of school and feel proud that I have made it through and am not behind in any of my classes. I've figured out that to graduate with my MDiv with a specialization in Christian Education I will need to attend for four more semesters after this fall. I will be done with my graduate education in December of 2009. Now, I only have to figure out what happens next.

In the meantime, I got a job as a part time nanny for two amazing children. They are smart and full of love which makes going to work a real joy.
I am also interning at Terra Nova this year, I will be experiencing many aspects of the church and am really looking forward to learning more and contributing to the wonderful community that is Terra Nova.

The last few weeks I have really come to enjoy living in Delaware. It's a great town with a lot of resources. I haven't talked about this much because things have been up in the air for many months, but Ryan and I are trying to buy a house here in Delaware. While there are not many plans beyond school here in Ohio, we know that we will be here at least for the next five years, but most likely beyond that. We have some great friends and I we are hoping for opportunities present themselves when they are most needed.

Anyways, like I said things have been busy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Blog Action Day

I hope that you will notice that I replaced the stopglobalwarming.org banner with a banner spreading the word about Blog Action Day. On October 15th, bloggers will unite to write on one topic. What topic is that you might say?? Well none other than one of my favorites, the ENVIRONMENT. I have signed up and hope to have a special post prepared for this day.

I encourage you to take a look at the site and if you feel so moved, please sign up to participate in the day. I'm looking forward to the environmental buzz.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some of Mississippi

I wanted to take a few minutes and post some pictures from our most recent trip to Mississippi. I did not get any pictures on the job site because of the nature of the work...just imagine what would happen if you tour your walls and ceilings out of your house...now imagine if you house had been underwater, you waited two years, and then tour your walls and ceilings out... that was the situation we were in.

This is the Friendship Tree on the University of Southern MIssissippi's Gulf Park campus. It is estimated to be over 500 years old and although all her leaves were stripped during the storm survived Hurricane Katrina.

Pretty artistic photo of the beach.

The Gulf Coast is so Beautiful.

The End is Imminent

That's right. School starts MONDAY. As I see it, this situation has it's pros and cons. The care free days of summer are slipping away (CON). I am being given the opportunity to learn (PRO). I will have to forgo my recreational reading for required reading (CON). I am getting closer to obtaining my masters degree (PRO). I will have to write papers, attend classes, and participate in unpleasant discussions (CON). I will get to travel to India at the end of the semester (PRO).

It's no secret that in the past year I have not been a stellar student. Life often seems to get in the way of what I would ultimately like to achieve, as well as the fact that I am sometimes just lazy.:) I have been spending the last few days pondering how, this semester, I can become the student that I am meant to be. I have not received any answers, so if you have some insight on this feel free to drop me a line. I feel that only through determination, hard work, and prayer will I make it through. Hopefully the long hard journey will be worth it.

I will be doing my field education this year at Terra Nova Church where Ryan and I have been attending since January. It is an unpaid internship but I'm hoping to learn something. I'm also hoping to realize a little bit clearer what it is I'm being called to do.

In the next few months you should look forward to posts relating to my school work and internship. Hopefully we can all learn something together.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Harvesting

This spring people here at the seminary started the plans for a community garden on campus. After awhile it seemed that it wasn't going to happen, but in June a plot of land did get plowed and I put into motion what will hopefully become the Methodist Theological School in Ohio Community Garden. Only one other family participated in the project this year, but many showed interest and I'm hoping that it will develop into something next spring.

I mention this because I often talk about eating local foods, a practice that is EXTREMELY environmentally friendly. A lot of people in this area do not have the resources to grow their own food, however there are many other options to chose from, which I will discuss later.

After being away for a week Ryan and I adventure into the garden last night, which is mostly over grown with weeds, to see if there was anything worth harvesting. To our surprise some areas of the garden are doing fairly well. Our tomatoes are overflowing, our leeks and green onions are thriving, watermelons are small but getting bigger, and the pumpkins are blooming. Not everything is as prolific however, the corn almost didn't come up and some that did got chewed on. Beans are sparse and the potatoes are dead.

We picked the tomatoes that were ripe, four beans, a leek that could have used some more growing, and we dug up the potatoes that grew before plant death. This is what they look like.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Reporting Live from the MS Gulf Coast

I thought I would have been more efficient at getting a post up here while still on my trip. Ryan and I have been in Long Beach Mississippi since Saturday and will be leaving this Saturday morning. We are working with the folks at Camp Coast Care which is run by the Lutheran and Episcopal Services in Mississippi and funded primarily through the Episcopal Relief and Development.

Among many things it is hot in Mississippi, the heat index for the past few days has been well over 100 and the sun has been shining very brightly. I spent today not feeling well, as I have been sick to my stomach since arriving on Saturday.

I have also not taken many pictures because of the nature of the job I have been participating in. When I was here in June I took great pleasure in laying ceramic tile, and although it was hot and slightly strenuous it was not all that difficult.

This week I have had the opportunity to learn what it is like to rebuild your life from the ground up. After the storm many people were not able to return to their houses for many reasons. The house we are working on lost it's roof so received water from the top and the bottom. After the roof was replaced the family moved back in but was soon trouble by illness caused by the mold that was present from all of the water damage. The only way to fix this problem is to completely gut the house, spray down the studs and floors with bleach and start over. So this is what we did, ripped up carpet, tore out drywall and paneling, scrapped up tile, etc. It was hot, dusty, moldy, smelly, and uncomfortable. I don't think that I've worked harder in my life. But it is well worth it. The woman who was living in the house with her son has not had a normal life for quite some time, she's been through a divorce, lost most of her money to her husband, had to pay back taxes she thought were taken care of, lost her primary home and all her possessions in the storm, and dealt with the illness from living in the house. She has had some amazing friends who have helped her get back on her feet, and now some great volunteers from all over the country will help her move back into a home.

I will take some pictures of Mississippi away from the job site and post them soon.

Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm Off Again

I will be heading to Mississippi for the second time this summer, this time with my hubby Ryan. We are leaving tonight and hope to be there sometime Saturday evening. We are staying at the same place I did in June and will hopefully get to do some sight seeing while we are there.

I am taking my computer with me this time, so I hope to write a few blog enteries while I am down there. I've been slow with the posting lately so if you are all caught up on what's going on in my world, I have some suggestions for you to read today.

If you look to the right of this post you first see the list of "Usefule Links." Check those out, they include the Beatitudes Society who has a very good blog as well as a wealth of other information. The B@ts are the group that I went to MS with in June and are an organization of divinity students from across the country. If you are a divinity student you can become a member for $10 and you recieve a free book chosen from the reading list, plus all the other benefits of learning about conferences, fellowships, etc. If you would like to supporter of such a wonderful organization you can click on the donate button.

Other links will take you to Camp Coast Care where I will be for the next week, Terra Nova the church Ryan and I attend, Treehugger and Grist which are websites I visit daily, and my school MTSO.

I also want to encourage you to read the news stories that I chose to share through my Google Reader. You can find those under "Important Reads." They are mostly environmental based because that's what I read and are very informative.

If you don't already, read my friends blogs, they would love to have you.

I believe that is all that I have. Next time you hear from me I will be at the Gulf Coast.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From the Chrsitian Science Monitor

Controversy erupts over Endangered Species Act

Congress and the Interior Department investigate whether the Bush administration undermined federal protections.

By Brad Knickerbocker | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Endangered Species News

Julie MacDonald, who was Bush's appointee over the Fish and Wildlife Service, resigned in May after being accused making decisions that favored industry and were detrimental to endangered species. Eight of these cases are now being reviewed by the Department of the Interior. While over 200 decisions were made during MacDonald's five years with the agency, only those cases which would most likely be overturned.

A New York Times article says that MacDonald "browbeat department biologist and habitat specialists and overruled their recommendations to protect a variety of rare and threatened species." And they say she may have "inappropriately bent the process to fit her political agenda." I am not sure how you can "bend" scientific information about endangered and threatened species, but I'm glad that someone is taking notice now.

This is only a small part of the conflict between science and politics that is taking place in Washington, the article also pointed to issues of oil exploration, timber rights, global warming and public health.

Read the article: U.S. Agency May Reverse 8 Decision on Wildlife

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Endangered Species Act of 1973

I've noticed recently that news about the Endangered Species Act has been popping up in my news feeds. Most notable was the removal of our national bird the Bald Eagle from the endangered species list. The Bald Eagle was close to extinction in 1963 with only 417 documented birds, compared to the 10,000 that are counted today. The Bald Eagle was one of the most publicized and best funded on the endangered species list and is now the success story of the act that was signed into existence in 1973.

But what about other species that are nearing extinction? What kind of attention are they receiving and will we be hearing similar success stories in the future? The answer is most likely no if things continue as they are in the current Bush administration. The current administration has put fewer species on the list than any other administration since 1973. According to a article from Reuters a mere 57 species have been listed since 2001 compared to the 512 species listed during the Clinton administration and 234 species listed during the four year term of our current president's father. They have also removed 15 species from the list.

There is now a waiting list of 279 species waiting for recognition by the Endangered Species Act. At least two species have met their demise during the Bush administration, a rare plant known as the Hawaiian Haha and a fish native to Washington state known as the Lask Sammamish Kokonee according to a report by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The problem doesn't seem to just rest on the head of the Bush Administration. I have read reports about fighting within the ranks of the endangered species staff, as well as problems with litigation from environmental groups including the Center for Biological Diversity. It seems to me there some people just can't manage to get along even for the sake of our nation's endangered species.

It's not all bad news however, even with species waiting to be put on the list, others who have already been identified are starting to thrive. Today the El Segundo blue butterfly is back from the brink of extinction and residing along bluffs on Redondo Beach near Los Angeles. As early as last month these butterflies were only in existence in special preserves, but now are in plain sight for surfers and beach goers to observe. Good news for the butterflies I suppose, bad news for the Haha and Lask Sammamish Kokonee.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

This makes me very angry.

A Washington Post article about FEMA trailers that hurricane victims have been living in for the past two years. I don't understand how government agencies can be so blatantly destructive.
FEMA Knew Of Toxic Gas In Trailers
The Federal Emergency Management Agency since early 2006 has suppressed warnings from its own field workers about health problems experienced by hurricane victims living in government-provided trailers with levels of a toxic chemical 75 times the recommended maximum for U.S. workers, congressional lawmakers said yesterday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

For the Love of It

I have to admit I have been EXTREMELY lazy the past few weeks. I am not working this summer and am currently staying at my parents house and sleeping in the room I grew up in. Because I admit this is lazy, I wonder if I really should be doing something else with my time. I don't think so. Over the past week or so I've got to see old friends, spend quality time with my niece who will be 12 this summer, and swim in the ocean, something I haven't done in two years. I think this little break from reality has been well worth being labeled as a bum.

Tomorrow I will head to my alma mater in Selinsgrove to the American Arachnological Society meeting at Susquehanna University. Not that this subject interests me terribly, but I'm hoping to see some old friends and Ryan will be doing some valuable networking. Saturday I will spend the day at a family reunion/birthday party for one of my relatives where over 80 people are expected. I will be making a Cous Cous Salad. Could I have done this if I was working? Probably not. I love being a bum... I couldn't ask for anything more. I have a few more camping trips planned, followed by another week in Mississippi, and then I assume I will have to return to the real world of graduate work and employment. But for right now I can take pleasure in the fact that if I woke up tomorrow morning and didn't want to get out of bed I wouldn't have to. But I will beacuse there are things to do and people to see and I will love it all.

I would love to reflect on this all day, or write about my observations of the summer...but really that wouldn't be in character of what this post is all about. Perhaps in a few weeks I will write something meaningful, but for now you will all just have to find something to keep yourself busy... or lay on the couch and read a book which is what I'm about to do right now.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Money Money Everywhere

Thanks to Matt at Absolutely No Spin for his encouragement in continuing to write about my experiences at the Gulf Coast. After awhile the emotions get to be too much and it's hard to write about something so serious all the time. However I believe it is really important and I will keep talking until the word gets out there.

Today I came across an article from the Christian Science Monitor that said Private Dollars Leading Recovery of New Orleans. I of course had to read it, I think I've pretty much every news story about New Orleans and the Gulf Coast since being back from my trip.

The day I spent in New Orleans was education and sad to say the least. Our guide Mary who is the director of All Churches Together (ACT) a PICO organization discussed with us, among many things, the money situation. There are millions of dollars coming into New Orleans, but people are not benefiting from it all that much. Mary described over and over again, how it has been the people in the neighborhoods that have brought the spirit back to New Orleans and how the government has not been very helpful.

This article describes the situation in New Orleans, as I know it to be, very effectively. It discusses what has been done by the government (including the rebuilding of the Superdome, which to the best of my knowledge no one lives there), and what is being done in greater numbers by the people themselves.

Take a few moments to read the article, become educated about the situation. Note the sidebar on the last page giving you "recovery by the numbers." While there is a large number of street signs, light poles, and storm drains that have been repaired you would not notice these things during a drive through the city. What you would notice are the closed hospitals, schools, libraries, and the vacant houses.

One last statistic: The article says that $117 million in US funds have been allotted for the long-term community recovery program to rebuild public works such as libraries, sewers, and schools however $0 has been actually received by the city so far. We are coming close to 2 years since the storm and people are living with out the things that most people in the US take for granted, our libraries, schools, and don't forget our sewers.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Too Much

I am still trying to adjust to life after being in Mississippi, knowing that I can never go back to "things as usual." The scope of what is going on down there or rather what isn't going on down there is almost too much for me to handle. What can I do? As an unemployed seminarian in Central Ohio there is not much. I can sit here behind my computer and tell you what I witnessed, but I'm not sure if my words are nearly sufficient enough. I can also share my pictures and my stories and encourage others to take a week and see for themselves what needs to be done. But until everyone who experienced what I did starts to spread the word, most of the United States is going to be clueless to the condition of our Gulf Coast.

Two news articles were brought to my attention this week, one about the workers of New Orleans, and one about the safety of the city from flood even after damages have been repaired.

These are both New Orleans specific issues, however it is not just New Orleans who are being treated unfairly after the storm. For NO, it's a government problem and as we know government problems are hard to solve. For the rest of the Gulf Coast, such as in Mississippi, much of the problems are coming from the insurance companies. I don't even know how to begin to describe what the insurance companies are doing to the people that they are suppose to be helping. Someone pays insurance on their property, not for small incidents, but for large catastrophes like Katrina and then they never see the money they are entitled to. An Episcopal priest that I had the privilege of talking to while in Mississippi went as far as to call the insurance companies Satan... those are strong words coming from a very loving and understanding man. Lawsuits (like this one) are raging and people are still not seeing their money. I also found this attorney's website helpful in finding more information about the insurance companies. Keeping in mind that he is running a business and will be making money on any client he attracts through his website, I think it gives a pretty good picture of the problem at hand.

That's probably enough information for ya'll today.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Environmentalism

I haven't been too environmental in my posting lately. But, just so you know if you look to the right of the page, there is an area where I share news stories from Google Reader. There you can find environmental news stories that I find interesting and feel the need to share. This works well for me, because often I have no more to say about the issue than what the article itself says. It saves me time writing posts, and saves you time by taking you directly to the source. When something comes up that I feel is necessary to comment I will post. Until then, happy reading.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FEMA Trailer


FEMA Trailer, originally uploaded by pnkwoobie.

Until recently I thought a FEMA trailer was a trailer like you would find in a trailer park. However, my eyes were opened that these so called trailers are what I call a camper. The kind you take on vacation. Depending on where you are some of these trailers are fifth wheel types, and some look like the one above. But they are certainly not large enough to accomodate a family full time. This is the trailer of the Shehorn family. Mr. and Mrs. Shehorn were living in their double wide trailer with their son Charles who had bought it for them in their retirement. Since the storm, they have had to move in with their other son and family, while Charles is trying to live life in the governmet provided trailer. I don't think it has to be said, but going to the bathroom in this trailer is challenging... I experienced it. Can you imagine living your life in this trailer?

The Gulf Goast is dotted with these trailers, with entire families living in them. I drove past on lot that had two kids playing outside with a basketball, their trailer sitting on the empty concrete slab where their house use to be. These kids went from living in a house where they probably had their own rooms, to living in a trailer with their entire family. And their family was lucky they could stay on their property. Some families living in FEMA trailer parks, where each of these trailers are lined up against a fence with enough room to park a car between each. If they are lucky they have a picnic table or chairs outside, otherwise they live their lives in these trailers.

Realizations

After being back from the Gulf Coast, there are things that take place in my everyday life that remind me of my life of privilege, and how things could be different if more people would take action.

On Saturday Ryan and I were driving towards the mall to purchase new cell phones before visiting his sister in Cincy. The fact that we have a mall to go to and that we can afford new phones is amazing in itself. However, while driving the back way on Old State Road, I observed housing development after housing development that seem to appear in a matter of months. Delaware County is one of the ten fastest growing counties in the country, and most people who live here are proud of that.

If you were to drive on highway 90 along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi, you would not see housing developments, or shopping centers, or large apartment complexes. You would see empty concrete foundations where houses, shopping centers, and apartment complexes use to be.

If developers can build houses in a matter of months, there is no reason that we should still see so much emptiness on the Gulf Coast almost two years after the storm. It doesn't make sense to me. Why build houses for people who already have some place to live in Delaware County Ohio, when you could build houses for people who are living in FEMA trailer parks in Harrison County Mississippi?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but if it was up to me development in the United States would stop until people in the Gulf Coast region had some sense of normalcy returned to their lives. Katrina was a natural disaster and it should be considered a National disaster, but most people go about their lives considering it as one of the many things in the list of "not my problem."

After being where I was, I am overwhelmed by a sense of sadness every time I step outside of my air conditioned 600 square foot apartment. Several weeks ago we were trying to buy a house, because for some reason I didn't feel that this place was sufficient enough for us. But it's bigger than a FEMA trailer. I have a grocery store near by, and a church to worship in, and my neighbors have a school to send their kids. How can my apartment be any more sufficient than that?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Last 7 Days

The last week is almost too hard to describe. I've found that sitting and writing about it isn't the way the story relates the best. For one, my writing skills are not up to par with what I've experienced. These experiences are best expressed in the form of a conversation. I hope to dedicate the next week or so trying to get the details out in writing, meanwhile discussing it all with those who will listen.

For those of you who didn't know I spent a week on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in a town called Long Beach. I participated in the ongoing task of rebuilding everything that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, which occurred in August of 2005. While New Orleans has gotten the most press, for many good reasons, there are parts of the Gulf Coast that have been affected drastically and are in need of as much aid as possible.

I was offered the opportunity by The Beatitudes Society, where 15 amazing, progressive, Christians gathered for a trip to Camp Coast Care. We were from across the United States with many different gifts. We came together to be the hands and feet of God in this world and to show the love of Christ to others.

We worshiped, slept, ate, worked, and laughed along side each other for 6 days, and shared hugs when it was time to depart. We carried the spirit of the Gulf Coast back to our homes, with hopes of effectively sharing our stories and the stories of those we met on our short trip.

However, this is only the setting for the story and does not begin to reach the meanings of what I experienced in Mississippi and since I've returned home to Ohio. Please be patient with me as I process all that has happened and post here what I can.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Out of Town

I'll be away in Mississippi for the next week on a service learning trip with The Beatitudes Society. Please pray for us as we are God's hands and feet in the world.

Presidential Faith

It's been a few days, but I wanted to write a few thoughts about the democratic candidate forum on faith and politics that happened on Monday. It lined up John Edwards, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton moderated by Soledad O'Brien in a special edition of the Situation Room on CNN.

I was disappointed that it allowed each candidate fifteen minutes to talk about topics so big as faith and poverty. However, I was pleased with what each candidate had to say and learned a little bit about their faith lives.

Edwards and Clinton were both asked to address their prayer lives. Edwards was asked about how he distinguishes between God's voice and his own voice in disguise. He laughed and said that he prays daily for the strength to hear God's voice and to do God's will. Edwards spoke more about his personal faith than the other two and had a lot to say about how he has experienced things as a person of faith. He made the distinction between personal faith and the responsibility of the president, saying that it is important for all faith beliefs to be recognized and that the government can not dictate decisions by faith institutions, such as the right for gay marriage. He displayed a lot of ambition towards eliminating poverty, which Jim Wallis referred to as a Biblical Priority. Edwards said as president that it would be necessary to mobilize the nation and take concrete steps such as a living wage, opening poverty centers for education and action, organizing unions, and universal health care. He called for a plan that would eliminate poverty in 30 years. Ambitious but smart.

Clinton whose second question dealt with the infidelity in her marriage handled the the issue of faith slightly differently. She acknowledged that her faith played a major role in getting her through the tough times and that her faith was tested. Admitting to be extremely private about her faith, she said that she was was raised in a tradition where she learned to be suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeves. However, she believes it is essential be grounded in faith. When asked what she prays, she said prayer is a daily part of her life where she prays for discernment, strength, friends, encouragement. She also admits to pray for trivial and self serving things. For the privacy she displays, she also shows that she has considered and reflected about her actions in relation to her faith.

Obama who landed between Edwards and Clinton in the discussion took a different approach to the conversation. He was asked if God takes sides. He referenced Abraham Lincoln and said that we should be asking if God is on our side, but if we are on God side, ware we following God's dictates. He acknowledge the theological issue of good vs. evil and said that evil does exist in our world and that we have to act against it forcefully. He said of the theory of just war, "simply because we've engaged in something just does not mean we do not act unjustly." He discussed this in relation to the Palestinians and Israel, saying that it is hard to get out of the immediate anger of a situation, but that is where faith can say forgive. While making small references to faith, he did not speak about his personal faith like the others. He spoke more of moral obligations than of faith issues.

Overall it was a positive event, and hope that this opens up the public forum for faith in politics.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Beekeeping ( A second try)

I guess the frequency and the shortness of my posts can say a little bit about how life has been going lately. Even when I do have the time I do not have the concentration or the energy.

So, as I was saying before...Summer is here.

Over the last year or so many beekeepers have been losing their bees. The causes and symptoms are unknown or disputed. They are referring to it as Colony Collapse Disorder.

In my recent internship for the Stratford Ecological Center, I was able to try my hand at some beginner beekeeping. Aware that this phenomenon has been taking place, I wasn't expecting anything too spectacular. Last year Stratford lost their bees to a more well known diseased called Foul Brood. So when we ordered new bees (twice because the first batch died out in the cold snap of March), I was able to set them up in their hive. This was a challenge, getting into some beekeeping equipment, trying to practice my fine motor skills in leather gloves to my elbows, and a large brimmed netted hat. After shaking (yes, actual shaking) the bees from their travel container which consisted of no more than a few pieces of meshed stapled to a wooden frame, we inserted the queen and her worker bees into the hive. The queen comes encased in a box with a candy like substance that the bees eat through to get her out. After feeding them sugar water, because not many flowers and pollen were not out yet, we went to disassemble a hive from last year.

Much to our surprise there were bees living in it! It was a decent sized wild swarm that had taken residence in the empty hive. While other beekeepers were losing their hives, we were catching new ones!

It was a lucky time to see them, because we were able to witness a rare occasion of a rainbow in the comb consisting of honey, brood (or eggs) and pollen.

After that day we got busy on the farm and did not get out to see them much. My boss would check on them from time to time, but I did not suit up again. Then last week (when I originally started to write this post) something exciting happened. Another wild swarm made its way into the machine shed and into some unused hives were were storing in the loft. This gave us a chance to suit up again!

This time however, I was wearing shorts and a tank top. With the two beesuits alread in use, I put on a hat and a pair of gloves. Not wanting to let a beekeeping opportunity pass me by, I thought I would take the chance. We moved the hive outside and let the swarm settle in. This gave us the opportunity to check on the other hives.

The original swarm that moved in during early spring was now thriving and outgrowing their hive. Bees were all over the outside of the box and clinging to the grass outside of the entrance. The insides were full of honey, pollen, brood, and pupa. It was beautiful!

While I was standing outside of the hive and two other people were opening it up, I was able to just stand in the sun, bees swarming around me, in shorts and a tank top completely comfortable. I did not get stung, I was not afraid, in reality I was at peace with the bees.

Anyways, I just found this all fascinating, I hope you did too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Beekeeping

So it's pretty much summer here in Ohio. Wildflowers are bloomed and gone, the garden is greening, my skin is satisfyingly brown (and slightly pink), and it's HOT.

With finals over, I've had slightly more time on my hands. Still spending my days at Stratford, I was able to go to Alum Creek after a hot day on the farm. Alum Creek State Park is about 10 minutes from our house and offers a fabulous swimming area on the lake. There was a large number of sailboaters and four swimmers doing laps in wetsuits. I didn't blame them, it was chilly, but it felt good to stick my feet into the water and bravely dunk myself enough to get my head wet.

So life is good and the weather is perfect. Looking forward to the summer, camping, softball, baseball, and beer.

I need to go shower and get the lake dirtiness off of me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Absence

So Yeah, I haven't posted as much as I would like to recently, but I have a lot going on. Last weekend was my Step It Up Rally that went very well. This week I've been busy with school and work. Not to mention the ever so exciting news that we are trying to buy a house! Yes, we will be settling in Delaware for awhile. This decision came for the most part because it's close to the things we love (except home) but it's not so busy as the city. Also, we plan on being around for awhile and rent just sucks you dry with nothing to show for it. We looked at 6 houses yesterday and have a pretty good idea of what we like. We will have to see how the next few weeks go.
Besides that I know I have news that my mom would roll her eyes at, but this week my friend Christa put my hair into the beginnings of dreadlocks. It's something I've wanted for a very long time, and right now just seems to be the perfect time to get them. They look silly at the moment and will take a while to get established, but I love them and am glad I made the decision. It's a process and I plan on being dedicated. I just washed them for the first time today so we will see how they dry.
We went to the OSU Spring game today, it was so BEAUTIFUL and I got a little pink, but it was a day well spent outside.
That's about all for now, will be resting because I am exhausted.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Scarlet


It's been a few weeks but I wanted to introduce you to the newest member of the Bell family, Scarlet LuLu.
She is a sunglow albino red rat snake and was born and bred in captivity. We bought her from Captive Born Reptiles on Morse Road.
We estimate that she is about six months old and is the size of a pencil and slightly longer. Currently she eats pinkie mice, which our baby mice without hair. She eats them dead, so we buy them in bulk frozen and thaw them out in a cup of water before we feed them to her. She is eating about every 10 days and gobbles her pinkie as soon as we put it in the tank.
Most red rat snakes live approximately 20 years and will grow to be about 4 or 5 feet. She is quiet and clean, and we love her very much.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Yeah Staples

With all the school work that needs to be done, I also have a rally coming up in one week with much to do. Yesterday, with a day off from the farm I headed out to get some art supplies to paint a banner. I now know that Michael's does not sell banner or poster paper...which boggles my mind since they are a craft store after all. However I did get nostalgic for my cheerleading days when I bought several large bottles of tempera paint.

The nice British man that helped me at Michael's said I could find large rolls of paper at Staples, which sits only a few stores down the sidewalk.

When I walked into the store I was greeted by a nice man who took me directly to the paper I needed. I then decided I would look around, since I do enjoy office supply stores. What comes next was extremely exciting to me.

As I made my way through the office furniture, I came to the corner of the store where they sell coffee, candy, and paper products. This always strikes me as funny, but I understand that folks with a Staples account probably find it much easier to get this stuff here while they are picking up their office supplies. And after all every office needs toilet paper.

The toilet paper is what makes me excited. Every roll of toilet paper they sell there is made from recycled paper! I couldn't believe my eyes. Not only toilet paper, but also paper towels, and tissues. How fantastic?! The particular brand Staples carries is Marcal, which I've read good things about. When I'm out shopping and find something this great, I like to encourage the company and buy some recycled or environmentally friendly products.

I bought 48 rolls of recycled toilet paper for 23 bucks!! I also bought 3 boxes of tissues, but the price was pretty average. Needless to say, I will not need to buy toilet paper for quite some time. Shout out to Staples! Woot!

Friday, April 06, 2007

I've been on vacation

So I've been poor at updating lately, I hope no one is dissapointed. I've been on vacation, I didn't actually go anywhere...just haven't done much but work. Which I've enjoyed very much. Will get back to posting regularly soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Peace Witness

I've been racking my brain trying to find the right words to speak about last weekends Christian Peace Witness for Iraq.

Sadness is all that I can come up with. While riding the bus for 9 hours to the National Cathedral, participating in worship, and marching to the White House this emotion boiled up within me. Sadness for those who have lost loved ones, have lost a limb, have spent precious time away from their family, and for the innocent Iraqis who have been so damaged.

Also, over 3,000 Christians came together in those few hours, and I'm not usually this pessimistic, but it's hard for me to not feel sad for the little difference we made.

After coming back to Ohio, again I felt sad because I didn't now how to talk about the war, how to give good answers to people's questions, what I thought we should all be doing as average citizens of the United States of America, and most importantly Christians.

So I'm sorry that there is not much more that I can say about the event, but it's been so hard for me just to say this much.
Peace.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Under the weather

I wanted to share my reflection from the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq with you, but have been feeling ill. As soon as I am back to normal I will continue to post.
Peace

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Farm Bill

I haven't said anything about the Farm Bill which is up for renegotiation this year because I don't really know much about it. However, I do understand its importance for the small farmer and poor rural communities. This NY Times article is just a short summary of something that the Bush administration might be doing right. Take a moment to read it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Some information about eggs.


MK says that she is educated every time she reads my blog, so here it is.

The eggs that Stratford sells are brown. As a rule white chickens lay white eggs and brown(ish) chickens lay brown eggs. Now there are many varieties of chickens and it might be hard to tell what color egg a chicken would lay if you saw it walking down the road. For instance we have some white chickens at Stratford, but they lay brown eggs. This is because they are part of a brown breed that has a recessive gene and are white. To tell what color egg a chicken will lay one just needs to look at their ears. The color of a chickens earlobe will closely resemble the color of the outer shell of the egg they lay.

When brown chickens are forming their eggs, the brown pigment is not secreted or applied till the final layers of the shell are formed. It has been compared to that of an ink jet coloring the egg. Which means the brown color can be removed by soaking it in vinegar which dissolves the outer layer of the shell (Chicken Breeds and the Color of their Eggs).

Why are most eggs we buy in a grocery store white? (Excuse me while I step up on my soap box) White chickens are easier to raise in cages and therefore are more cost effective and convenient for the commercial chicken farmer. The chickens that lay brown eggs are larger and eat more, but I would rather be able to see my egg producers roaming healthily across the chicken yard, then have the convenience of cages. I believe that there is also a difference in taste, because free range chickens have access to a healthier and more natural diet of bugs and other things than those who are raised in cages.

However, brown eggs are not healthier than white eggs. I searched many sites on this subject and it's pretty clear that there is not a difference. However, perhaps the way the chickens are raised to produce brown eggs is healthier for the environment. I also came across and blurb that suggested brown eggs promote genetic diversity. Brown chickens are in the minority because of the ease of raising white chickens, by raising the demand for brown eggs, we are protecting the diversity of brown chickens.

Did you know some chickens even lay green or blue eggs? Pretty crazy stuff!!

As always I'll leave you with a brief article to do some reading of your own. Which Came First--Brown Eggs or the White.

Also check out the Egg Nutrition Center for nutritional information about the incredible egg. The delicious, nutritious, affordable fast food.

Almost too tired

But I knew I needed to write tonight because so much has happened in the last week, and you need to know about it. I worked a 6 day work week, followed by my first gig talking about climate change in a church. Needless to say I am exhausted, plus I am suffering from allergies or a cold, which has left me sore throated and light headed. But, I don't think I could possibly be happier about the way things are going.

For starters I am quite certain that my internship ROCKS and I would not want to be any place else right now. I have learned so much in the last 2 weeks. After spending my entire life being creeped out by snakes, I finally touched one on Thursday. It wasn't too bad, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. However, seeing that it is an exciting learning opportunity for the kids, I decided to bite the bullet and reach into the cage and pick it up. His name is Sundance, he's a red rat snake, and is about three and a half feet long. I like him, as much as I can like a snake and I hope he never decides to bite me.

I am excited because I will get to learn how to keep bees as part of my internship. The hives have died out at Stratford but we will be getting new ones on April 1st. I am excited and will obviously post more when the time comes.

We had our Maple Sugar Festival over the weekend and probably saw close to a thousand people including children. The weather was wet in the morning, but was warm and the sun came out. I spent the day reading stories and talking about Sundance. Ryan spent the day in the kitchen making sausage in pancakes. It was fun, and I hope to be around to do it again next year.

Hopefully this week I will be learning more about the barn animals. I learned about barn chores, and collected my first eggs on Tuesday. I also brought home my first dozen eggs and they are yummy. It's amazing how strong some of the smaller eggs are, I had to really bang on them to get the shells to crack.

As far as the church gig goes, I believe that it went ok. It is hard to read a crowd, especially on full of people that I do not know. They seemed to respond to some things better than others, and what I was really trying to do was facilitate a conversation and that seemed to happen. It was a good experience and I will be able to build on my notes for the future. So, if you read this, and you are interested in hearing me speak let me know, I would love to come to your church, youth group, or Sunday school class.

I am going to write a little informational blog about eggs, since MK says she gets educated every time she reads my blog.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Christian Peace Witness For Iraq

I will be taking a bus to Washington D.C. for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in two weeks.

Please pray for this witness in the coming weeks as plans and preparations are being made.

If you cannot attend the witness be praying around 7pm on March 16th when an ecumenical worship service will be held at the National Cathedral.

I will follow up with a post after the event.


Peace.

Read the News

Just about every time I read a news article on-line I want to blog about it because I think it is something worthy of noting to people who care about the same things I do. However this is just not possible, and it's also very redundant. So following in the footsteps of my good friend Matt at Absolutely No Spin I have started using Google Reader and sharing items of importance on my blog side bar. I encourage you to read what you can when you can.

Also, I'm looking to read more blogs of interest. So if you read this and think I would enjoy your blog, drop me a line. If I like it a lot, I'll put you on my sidebar.

Peace.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Maple Syrup

I love my internship, I'm only 4 days into it but I'm pretty sure I will always feel this way. Mostly because I get to spend so much of my day outside. Even now as I sit at my computer shivering because I haven't warmed up yet I feel grateful for so much exposure to the wonders of Creation.

My first task that I undertook this week was hauling maple sap from the trees to the sugar shack. I made several trips with a bucket in each hand loaded with about 20 pounds of sap. I enjoyed the chance to exercise and to learn about the practice of maple sugaring. That was Monday.

Today I was able to taste the fruits of my labor after the first batch of syrup was poured. And it was DELICIOUS!! My boss Christa likes to tell the kids how we talk nicely to the trees when we are drilling them and how sometimes we like to thank them for what they produce. Today was one of those days when thanking was in order.

I wanted to post some information about sugaring, but really didn't feel comfortable with writing the information myself. So if you are interested you can check out The Sugaring Story.

At Stratford they use mostly traditional methods for sugaring, including "quiet" drilling, which means the use of a hand drill. The sugarbush is larger than ever this year, consisting of about 150 taps.

Take some time to read about Stratford Ecological Center, as it is a really neat place. The website needs updating, but they are working on it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jeremiah 36

I just turned around from my computer to see my husband standing in the middle of our living room holding his Bible. While happy to see him using it, I was a little perplexed at the choice of position to study scripture. When he got done reading he filled me in on what he was doing, and it's a good observation.

Dave Horn, a professor at OSU, Maggot coach, and friend, commented today that God has commanded us to back up our files. Most lab folks were pretty confused, and he urged them to look it up in Jeremiah 36...also commenting to Ryan that he thought I'd appreciate it.

While not necessarily a command it is an interesting passage giving good reason to make more than one copy of our writings. When God tells Jeremiah to write all the words thatt God has spoken and show them to the people of Judah as a warning, he does so but the king burns the scroll and God tells Jeremiah to do it again. Think of allt he work he could have saved if he simply would have backed it up on jump drive or CD...... Look it up, it's a good lesson.

1,000 Visits

So my site meter reached 1,000 today. That's pretty cool.

I started my internship this week and am really enjoying it. I've learned about maple syrup production and have enjoyed the large amount of time spent outdoors. It really great to see kids in nature and enjoying it. A preschool group came out today and they all had snow suits on, so cute.

I'm reading from Manure to Medow to Milkshakes, which is about sharing environmental education with kids. It's pretty neat if not a little hokey. I really feel like I will learn a lot on this internship even if it doesn't turn into a permanent job.

Woot woot!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

always busy

Most of my recent posts have been brief and to the point. That is because I've been busy as all get out. But when someone comes up to me and says they read my blog, it gives me inspiration to write more. So I thought I would do some updating on how things are going in my life and get some things off my mind.

Last week we were off of school because of snow, and now this week it is melting like crazy, causing ALOT of wetness. I like it though, I'm a fan of weather in general. Which brings me to my next point.

Weather has nothing to do with the climate. What I mean by that is just because last week was cold and would be what we consider "normal" winter weather for this area, by no means does it rule out climate change. The activity of daily weather is so unpredictable that it does not say anything about the condition of our environment in one weeks time.

I got an internship at the Stratford Ecological Center, which I'm really looking forward too. I'll be teaching kids about sustainable agriculture and working outside everyday. I also have an interview for a more permanent job there tomorrow, keep your fingers crossed.

I have had my first invitation to speak to a church about global warming. I am very excited as this is where I am feeling called in my ministry. I have a lot to do before March 11.

The plans for my rally are coming a long nicely and I've reached a kind of state of rest as far as major planning goes. It will kick back up in the next few weeks. My other projects outside of school work are moving along slowly, but I have not lost hope and am still looking at them as turning out positively.

So I suppose that is all for now. Peace.

Scientific Evidence is Clear

The American Association for the Advancement of Science made a statement about Global Warming at their annual gathering today.
The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.


To read the whole statement you can follow this link for the AAAS.

I would like to point out that this is a report from SCIENTISTS, imagine that! Getting our information from the world's leading scientists instead of our favorite religious leaders or journalists.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Green Valentine's Day

All my daily websites discussed ways of having a green Valentine's Day and earth friendly gifts. I am convinced however that a truly Green Day would be not really celebrating at all. We had a snow day, so we spent some time being lazy, then went snow shoeing. I made a dinner out of things that were already in our freezer and were not purchased for a special occasion.

Also, because of the cold I came to the realization that the long underwear I've been looking for are now being worn my a good friend. Which is about one of the best way to treat clothing that you are no longer wearing, giving them to friends and/or those who need them.

So Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

School is CLOSED!!

I'm like a little kid. MTSO is closing at NOON, which means since I don't have class till 2 I don't have school today! I'm rather excited, we are getting lots of snow here, predicted upwards of a foot. Which is three times the amount of snow we've seen since living in Ohio!! I'm a kid of the Northeast and LOVE the snow. Too bad Ryan will probably be stuck in Columbus and won't be able to enjoy it with me. If you want to check out what is going on here you can look at the website for NBC4, they know their stuff.
I'll be in bed under my flannel sheets for awhile, and then I'll do some reading....oh and eventually I will have to clean a little house. Such is life. Enjoy your day.

And...someday I will write something important on my blog.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Could I Be Any Cooler!

I just did something very reminiscent of the tool box incident. If you are not familiar with the story, I shall tell you. In the fall of 2005 I had a day off from Dick's Sporting Goods and I was cleaning our apartment in the Buckeye Village. With very little room in the apartment things were stacked on top of each other in the closet. When I bent down to get the dust pan I smacked my head on a tool box. To make a long story short I ended up going to the OSU emergency room about 24 hours later, they told me I gave myself whiplash and I had a facial contusion. Basically I had a big bump that made me look like Frankenstein. I got some good drugs and it was better in a few days.
Well, I was just getting some string cheese out of the drawer in the refrigerator. Apparently my head was too far in and I hit it on the freezer door. Now I have a bump on the back of my head and my neck is sore. UGH.

I have a paper to write but it's very short. Besides that I'm ready for the week, so hopefully I'll be feeling better.

Friday, February 09, 2007

After yesterday

So I've heard from several people about yesterday's rant. All in all it had to be said. I feel better and have accomplished many things over the past two days.

I would just like to comment that the previous post has no reflection on the nature of MTSO as a whole. I love this place and feel very blessed to be here. In no way would I like to create bad publicity for my wonderful school and that is not what I was intending to do.

I do however think people need to wake up and realize how their everyday actions affect the environment and other human beings. This includes not only taking steps that are environmentally friendly, but also being aware of the way humans are treated in the process of getting consumer goods into your hands.

Lately there has been talk about steps the Walmart company is taking to become sustainable, but how are they treating their employees. Does this new "green" outlook take into account providing a living wage and the people working in the sweatshops that their products are made in.

So while my main concern is for that of the environment and what is happening to it, you CANNOT over look your fellow human beings.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

This is a rant!

Everyone around here hates big ideas!! I'm so disgusted it makes me want to vomit. I've been working consistently on this Step it Up project for almost a month now. Everybody is fine with it as long as it doesn't affect them. They think it's "such a great thing" and they are "so glad I'm doing it."

What I don't get then...if this is all so wonderful, why when I bring ideas up for other projects no one wants to have any part in them! There is always something to complain about, or something that isn't going to work and I'm sick of it!

We can't continue to live the way we are living now, because eventually we are going to run out of natural resources. So we could chose to do something about it, or we could sit around and wait. From what I have gathered, everyone here at MTSO wants to sit around and wait.

And now you know I don't mean everyone, because most likely if you are reading this you care about the things I care about. This is not to you. This is to the person who gave me attitude when I asked what brand of copy paper we use and how much it cost. Who said, for the quality of the machines and documents we could not use recycled paper. This is to people who, when hearing a good idea they find ways to complain about it and about some of the good things the school is doing. This is to everyone who doesn't "think" to recycle their pop bottles during class. YOU ARE ALL PHENOMENALLY STUPID!!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lots of comings and goings

The last few days have been hectic, but I feel that I have gotten a lot accomplished. Last Thursday I met with the president of the seminary to discuss the environment and the greening of MTSO. It went very well and I received overall support from him. I doubt that he reads this, but if he happens to come across it, THANKS JAY!

I will be working on some new projects in addition to the Step It Up project I have already started. I am getting much support from community members and environmental organizations and it is going very well. A few weeks ago I would not have thought I could do any of this, but God has provided.

I got an internship at the Stratford Ecological Center that will start at the end of the month. I will be an education intern and it will last for three months. As part of my stipend I receive free eggs and produce which I am stoked about. On another high note, I am still in the application and interview process for a longer more permanent job at the same location as the Field Trip Coordinator. I'm very interested in this and feel that I would gain a lot from the experience. Please keep me in your prayers as it will still be a few weeks before I hear anything.

I'm trying to work on my writing skills. Which means I'm trying to write more intentionally before I post it on my blog. It did not happen today, but I am working on a meditation on "Being the change you want to see in the world." I hope to have it done by tomorrow.
Peace.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Revolution of Love

Ryan and I attended Terra Nova (new ground for your spiritual journey) today for the second time. I was not looking forward to going outside, as our thermometer read 6 degrees. Brrrr..... But I'm so glad I did. We began a new series today called Revolution of Love.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as your self. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Matthew 22:37-40


How can we be a church if we do not love God and love others?

And what does a church look like if they do love God and others?

Terra Nova is a new church, and over the next few weeks they are deconstructing and reconstructing the meaning of church. I'm really looking forward to it.

On a side note, I mentioned that it is cold today. And all you good Methodists will recall Wesley and his experience of having a "strange warming" in his heart. While my warming might have not been to the caliber of the Wesley experience, I did enjoy the hot tea and comfort that Terra Nova brought to me this morning.

Peace.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Climate Panel Issues Urgent Warning to Curb Gases

John P. Holdren, an energy and climate expert at Harvard University, said that the “report powerfully underscores the need for a massive effort to slow the pace of global climatic disruption before intolerable consequences become inevitable.”


In other words, stop crapping on the earth!!!

Read the full story from the New York Times.

And visit the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

busy busy

Extremely busy in my first week of school.

This semester I am taking World Religions at the Pontifical College Josephinium, Hebrew Bible, and Church History II. I have tons of reading to do, but it should be an EXCELLENT semester.

I'm especially excited about the Hebrew Bible class. I think the Hebrew Bible is an amazing place to start talking about the environment. To begin with Genesis 1 is where humans are granted dominion over creation, and it's great to discuss the theological and ecological implications. All those laws and guidelines give pretty good explanation of how we are suppose to treat the earth and the Psalms say some pretty spectacular things.

Our first CEEN meeting is Wednesday, be looking for a huge amount of environmental discussion. It will be an ecological smackdown!

Suppose to be SUPER cold this weekend, but it's all ok, warm blanket and my sweatpants!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Good to know!

Maybe my Hebrew Bible professor will read this and give me an A.
You know the Bible 100%!
 

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Monday, January 29, 2007

The old title is back

So, I couldn't come up with anything better for my blog title. Plus my good friend Jim tells me that Ohio is definitely the midwest. I changed the tag line however, because that's really what I want to see this blog become. There will be a large spattering of daily life, but my daily life is being more and more focused on environmentalism.

New project: Brought to you through the ideas of Dr. Linda Mercadante. Hopefully available soon will be paper recycling bins for each regular garbage can in individual offices on campus. This might take a few weeks, but it will be happening.

I have a meeting with President Jay Rundell on Thursday, we will be discussing the environment and it's implications for MTSO.

Classes started today. My first class will be tonight at 6:30. It is World Religions and it is taking place over at the Catholic seminary. Should be a good time, there are several MTSOers that will be there, including some of my favorites like Michele and Tim.

I haven't really talked much about my weekend. I went to a Christian concert on Friday. While I'm not really interested in contemporary Christian music, I had a pretty enjoyable time. The message that the speaker gave was very appropriate and moving. Steven Curtis Chapman was my favorite. And I had the opportunity to sign up to sponsor an orphan through Holt International, who I've referenced in the previous post.

Saturday was a completely lazy day. Ryan and I spent time together, I did some dishes, and then I made potato pancakes, which were awesome.

Sunday Ryan and I attended a new church here in Delaware, it's called Terra Nova "New Ground for your spiritual journey." Ryan said it reminded him of the Kind Cafe in Selinsgrove, which he said wasn't a bad thing. They had coffee, and everyone wore jeans, and they read from their Bibles. I enjoyed it. There was a lack of gender inclusive language, but I feel that it wasn't intentional. We will return this week to get use to the setting and see how we feel about it.

I suppose that's all for now.
PEACE

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I've been tagged for a MEME

So, I'm not exactly sure what a MEME is, but according to Matt's blog it's five random things about me. So here it goes.

1. I haven't cut or colored my hair for almost a year now (after I buzzed it.)
2. I am sponsoring a little girl names Yao Dan in China until she gets adopted through Holt International.
3. I dislike almost all vegetables but want to work on an organic farm.
4. A life goal is to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, and I'm afraid of wild animals.
5. I have two professional goals of not dressing up everyday and not working in an office everyday.

I'm not sure who I'm going to tag, I might have to get back to you. Peace.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Spiritual Growth

In the last couple of weeks I've had a growth spurt. After hitting 18 or 19 people stop growing taller, but they never stop growing spiritually.

I've learned what it means to be a faith-based environmentalist, which has implications for my time here at MTSO as well as my future.

I've spent more time in prayer, than probably the last year combined. And I've learned where a lot of my priorities are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

I've learned that I can do things, even when my self confidence tells me that I can't.

And I've learned that working in the secular world can be just as rewarding and spiritual as working in the church, and that the two don't have to be separated.

Moving on with 2007 should be pretty amazing, rewarding, and nourishing. Peace.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm SOOOOOO bored

So not really that bored, I just had a busy day where I got out of bed at 8am and didn't stop. Now I'm sitting, waiting for my bread to rise. If you know me, I'm not a waiter. But, there's no getting around it.

I'll have another busy day tomorrow, looking forward to meeting with some pretty neat people on the worship committee, which is what I'm making bread for.

I had an interview for an internship today, but I don't really want to talk about it much until I hear more news. It went really well and it's out of my hands now, keep your fingers crossed.


I did hear from the Central Ohio Sierra Club this morning, who will be participating in Step It Up MTSO! Woot for being productive.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Step It Up MTSO

I suppose I should mention a project I am working on here at school and the blog I have started to fuel the fire. You can check it out here. Thanks.

A New Name

So I had to change the name of this blog. It just didn't fit. At the time I was making it, maybe it did. I was on a recruiting trip and somewhere between Grand Rapids, MI and Columbus, OH I got to see the sunset. It was pretty amazing. However I've moved on to bigger and better things.

So, the name is to be determined. Let me know if you have any suggestions. I'm toying with Green Spirit, but it's sounds hokey....What do you think?

Because I have poor sleeping habits

I don't always sleep during night time hours. So every once and awhile (especially since winter has set in) I like to get up and look out the front door to see what is going on outside.

I just did this, and flipped on the porch light momentarily and flipped back off. Realizing I could see better with it off, I gazed out into the filed in front of our apartment. If you've never been to our place, it's actually quite lovely with a lot of nature around.

I could see in silhouette against the maintenance barn light 4 deer walking along the road. It was really quite spectacular. They just walked single file about 5 feet away from each other, every once and awhile bending their heads down to the ground as if they were looking for food. I'm sure when I turned on the porch light I must have disturbed them, so I didn't get to see what they had been doing just before I intruded on their evening stroll. But I felt lucky, that at that particular moment in time I was able to glimpse into God's Creation without interruption of the daylight and the people that are always around.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Silly me!

I forgot to write about the snow we got here today! Ryan and I got up for church and got dressed and as we were getting ready to leave, we looked outside and there was SNOW. How crazy? We got a few inches and decided that we didn't really need to leave the house and didn't attend church. Why drive when you don't have to?
Anyways, it was nice to see some white stuff, the first we've gotten in any kind of volume since we moved to Ohio.

keeping the practice

I really don't have much to write about today, but I wanted to stay in the practice of blogging every couple of days.

One more week till school starts and I'm mostly looking forward to it. I've read a lot since being on break, and I'm hoping I can keep reading even when it's required.

I've also started a project here at MTSO. I'm organizing a rally on April 14th for Climate Change action. I hopefully will be bringing in some people to do some environmental education, and I most definitely will be showing An Inconvenient Truth. If you want to check out my blog for this project go here.

Otherwise, I'm going to eat tortilla chips and cheese.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I've got gas

Not that kind you sickos!

Gas was 1.95 at the Kroger today, which means I only had to pay 1.92 and it cost 26 dollars to fill up the truck. What a great day.

Then I went to Trader Joe's in Dublin and picked up some really good food at some really low prices. I got 100% recycled toilet paper for about half the price we pay at the Giant Eagle. And some ground turkey breast for 3.99 a pound. I also bought some Trader Joe's brand beer, just to try it out.

That's about all that's going on here, just enjoying and over all good day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

OBAMA

So, Barack Obama announced today on his webiste that he will be starting an exploratory committee for the presidency. From what I understand it means he can raise funds and hire staff. He said he will make his formal announcement on February 10th. I don't know if I can wait that long. I'm pretty much behind him all the way, but I'll wait to get my bumper sticker till he makes his formal announcement.

http://www.barackobama.com/-- check him out here

Monday, January 15, 2007

Middle Church

Middle Church: Reclaiming the Moral Values of the Faithful Majority from the Religious Right by Bob Edgar


So I just picked up a new book, on recommendation by my District Superintendant, and like my friend Jim says, it's always good to take their suggestions. I'm so glad I did.

I'm only to chapter 3 so I won't go into too much detail about the book itself. I pretty much have agreed with everything I've read so far, which has addressed stewardship of the earth and the war in Iraq. Perhaps after I read the book in it's entirety I can write some more about it.

The book comes highly suggested from me and Greg Myers (as well as Jimmy Carter) so you should check it out!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

My Cheeseburger Dilema

There was some sad news in my family today. My parents beloved dog Buddy passed away after being ill. While not the specific reason for this post, it did contribute to the problem.

Ryan and I have decided to start living more ecologically friendly and one of the steps we have taken is to stop buying red meat. When we can aquire beef from our families (grown in our own backyards) we will take advantage of that, but otherwise we really wanted to cut down.

However, everytime I get down and out I really enjoy getting a cheeseburger from Wendy's just down the road. I wrestled with this decision for quite awhile today and even consulted my friend Holly on my moral dilema. Holly says she is not much help on the moral front, but stating the issue helped me decide to eat some scrambled eggs instead. Now I do no know what the difference in impact of eating a fast food cheeseburger to eating eggs is, but I hope at least it is slightly better.

So while I was reading my daily collection of news stories, commentary, and blogs, I came across some information on the impact of the cheeseburger. I hope you all will take some time to look at it. It doesn't include driving to the establishment, the paper products used at the resturant and having "fries with that," but it is at the least interesting. It is written by a guy named Jamais Cascio who I never heard of until coming across this post. He comes to the conclusion that the consumption of cheeseburgers in America in one year is equal to the greenhouse output of 100,000 SUVs.

http://www.openthefuture.com/2006/12/the_footprint_of_a_cheeseburge.html

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The iPhone and Apple TV


So I don't normally post about techie stuff, but these two things are too good to pass up. I'm excited about them even if it's something I can't afford.

Apple has introduced the iPhone as well as Apple TV.

The Apple TV will allow you to view your iTunes movies and TV shows on your regular TV. This is great because I have not bought any movies on iTunes yet, simply because I did not want to sit at my laptop to watch them. It will sinc with your iTunes wirelessly everytime you make a change to your iTunes library. Pretty spiftacular if you ask me.

Below is a news article from the BBC, which is my preferred news website.


Apple boss Steve Jobs showed the phone to a crowd of 2,000
iPhone launch
US firm Apple has confirmed its move into the telecoms industry, unveiling the long-awaited iPhone.
Users will be able to download music and videos with the phone, demonstrated by Apple boss Steve Jobs at the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

Mr Jobs praised the phone's design and told the audience the "magical device" would "revolutionise the industry".
The phone, which will cost from $499 (£257) to $599, will be launched in the US in June and Europe later this year.
Apple is not yet saying how much the iPhone will cost in the UK, but using the comparison of a Mac mini computer the 4 gigabyte (GB) model would be about £335.

Also revealed at the Macworld Expo was Apple TV, a device to stream music and movies from a computer to the living room.

'Super-smart'

The announcement ended months of speculation about the iPhone, which has no conventional buttons but instead uses a large touch-screen.
The firm has patented keyboard technology on the 11.6mm thick phone, calling it "multi-touch".
It is essentially a computer with a blank screen that users configure so they can operate the monitor with their fingers.

"We are all born with the ultimate pointing device - our fingers - and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse," said Mr Jobs.

A full touch keyboard is available for text messaging and there is a built-in two megapixel camera.
Mr Jobs said the iPhone was a "revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone".
"It works like magic... It's far more accurate than any touch display ever shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It's super-smart."

iPod impact

He demonstrated the phone by playing the Beatles' Lovely Rita, Meter Maid.
He added: "The iPod changed everything in 2001. We're going to do it again with the iPhone in 2007."
The phone will use the network of AT&T's mobile unit, Cingular and will run Apple's OS X operating system.
It will come in two versions - one with 4GB of storage space, the other with 8GB.
Apple shares closed around 8% up after the announcement.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/6246063.stm

There is snow on the ground.

It's 4am here in Delaware Ohio and we have a nice soft layer of snow covering the grass and cars. The sidewalks and roads do not have any accumulation and the snow will most likely be gone by morning. I should be sleeping, but because of my poor living habits I am awake, tired, but awake. Of course I wouldn't be able to enjoy this special time if I was sleeping.

Since moving to Ohio I have not seen much snow. It mostly rains here, which sucks when the temp is almost freezing. I don't have much to say it being so early in the morning and all, just wanted to share with you the info about the snow.

I have lots of stuff going on in my head and I will most likely write about it soon, specifically about how my science friends don't all get religion and how my religion friends don't really understand me when I talk about environmental stewardship. I think I'm going schizo. But that is all for now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My birthday!

As promised I will now write about turning 25.
My birthday was December 18th, and now feels like it's been months since I celebrated. It was fairly uneventful and I received some useful things from my family.

Ryan and I left Ohio at about 11:30 pm on the 17th and drove over night. My mom knew I would be arriving about the time that she was leaving for water aerobics, so she waited a few extra minutes and as she was driving up the hill, we were coming down. So she knew we were home safe and sound and was able to exercise without worry.

Ryan and I had something to eat and slept till about noon, when my mom was back from aerobics and showered and all. Then I got to open PRESENTS! I love presents, I love giving and receiving. It's the anticipation of what is wrapped in the box in front of you. If you are giving, you are hoping that the receiver will like and appreciate the thought that went into it. If you are receiving you are hoping that it's something that you will really use. Needless to say I did get something I could use. I got a ice cream mixer attachment for my Kitchen Aid, which I have wanted since the wedding. And I got a new Adidas duffle, it's red with white lettering. Go Bucks! My old bag was bright orange and I wrote Schoonover and Tunkhannock on one end of it and it's very beat up. I guess Mom uses it from time to time, but I'm so glad to have a new one.

My Mom didn't bake me a cake for a whole week after my birthday. I was kind of hurt, but she finally did it. I told her it wasn't that I was upset I didn't get a birthday cake, it as just that I really wanted a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing. It's one of the only times of year that I eat cake.

But that was about it for my birthday. Worked on a paper a bit and rested.

Now I need to go sort coupons so I can go grocery shopping later...Look out Giant Eagle, here I come!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sermon December 31, 2006

I filled the pulpit of the Center Moreland Charge this past week and survived three services. I preached on Colossians 3:12-17 from The Message.

Below is the text of my sermon:

Today we are standing on the edge of 2007.

I’ve started coining the phrase “Not my favorite year” for the year of the 2006. I’m sure some of you will agree. We have all encountered some “touch stuff” and we have shared grief over deaths and illnesses.

For me 2006 was the first full year that I lived away from home; from my family, friends, and all that I was comfortable with. In Ohio, I’ve had to find new friends, and in a way new family. I spent the entire year trying to find new comfort zones, those places where I could go to feel the safest. I haven’t quite accomplished the level of comfort that I feel when I’m here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, with the people I’ve known my whole life, but I’m adjusting.

What I have taken away from 2006 is the new way in which I have learned to converse with God. I have always been a child of nature. Walking through the woods, counting the days until I would get to go to camp, or even staring out the window as the car drives down the road. This year, I’ve learned that my love of nature and my love of God are very similar, and I’ve developed a relationship with God in the outdoors in the glory of all that God has created.

So 2006 wasn’t all bad.

There have been joys of recoveries and births to accompany the sorrow that we felt from deaths and illnesses. In January I began seminary and started to learn what it means to be called by God into a life of ministry. My Aunt Til Weaver turned 100 years old in June, that’s surely something to celebrate!

So, what do we do with all the emotions we have felt over the last 12 months? You’ve all had different experiences, some better and some far worse than mine. What do people normally do on New Year’s Eve?

They make resolutions: This year I will lose weights. I want to get a better job, or work towards a promotion. This year I will spend more time with my family. I will stay in touch with friends and write more letters.

These are all good resolutions, but what happens to them? By Valentine’s Day they are usually broken and forgotten. This year I propose that we make RESOLUTIONS TO KEEP!

This means several things: making realistic resolutions that are not outside of our capabilities, holding each other accountable, and asking God for help.

I think the words of Colossians are an excellent place to start!

This letter was written to the Colossians as a kind of a pep talk. They were already practicing Christians, so they are being commended for their efforts thus far and are given further instructions as Christians.

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you.” This is kind of like the “What not to Wear” of the New Testament. If you aren’t familiar with the popular TV show on the Learning Channel, the two hosts approach an unsuspecting victim who has been identified by their friends as a bad dresser. The basis of the show is not to make fun of the person or belittle the way they dress, but to help them dress in a more attractive way and feel better about themselves. The hosts lay out outfits and set ground rules before a two day shopping trip.

This Colossians are instructed to dress in: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline.

Can this “wardrobe” as it’s called be our New Year’s Resolutions? Can we dress this way every day in our New Life of 2007? What would it mean to dress in the wardrobe that God has laid out for us?

First we should look at compassion: Compassion can be described as a feeling of deep sympathy for another one who is stricken by misfortune, followed by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Mercy and tenderness are also words that are associated with compassion. Compassion as defined by this way is something that most of us posses, we feel sympathy for others and almost always have a desire to alleviate their suffering.

I want to take this instruction one step further, to wear compassion in your wardrobe you must also take actions on your feelings. While all suffering cannot be alleviated, as we wear compassion, we must evaluate our situations and take action in the best ways that are possible. This may include going into paces that are undesirable such as a strangers home or a hospital, but it is what God has laid out for us and we must wear it.

The next act of Kindness goes hand in hand with Compassion.

Kindness is something that has struck me as I have spent time in the city of Columbus over the past year. It is a fairly large city, the 15th largest in the country and while working in retail at the beginning of the year I came across many people who I would call grumpy and unpleasant. The traffic in the city isn’t always tolerable and often grocery stores and the malls are crowded. But, amongst the hubbub of city life, and the negative words of others, there is an extreme amount of kindness that takes place. There are countless numbers of programs for the homeless, including soup kitchens and free stores. And for every unfortunate event on the evening news there is always a report of outreach taking place in the community.

Outside of city life, here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, I feel that compassion and kindness is something that we do very well. But we can always be doing better. Push beyond your comfort zones for 2007 and begin new journeys of kindness, I promise that your wardrobe will look richer than any that you could buy in the city.

This semester in my early church history class I became familiar with a group of people called the desert elders. They existed mostly in Egypt in the 4th century when Christianity was becoming accepted and the Church leaders were being placed into a public form of leadership. They mostly objected to the way of life Christians were forming in the city and retreated to the desert for solitude and communion with God. This movement contributed to what we now call monasticism.

The desert elders lived an ascetic life and had several practices that they thought necessary for Salvation and an authentic life with God. Humility was one of them.

Practicing true humility is not easy. For the desert elders it was a life long experience and not something that could be mastered. Humility begins by letting go of the agendas we have set for our lives and allowing God to work through us. We should not take anything as a status symbol that would set us higher than others. Every act and ever words is a new opportunity to embody humility. Humility is a way of seeing that includes the horizon of the needs of others and the community that surrounds us.

Along with humility the desert elders also believed in a discipline, one which consists of patience. In our fast moving society we hardly encounter those who have patience. In my daily life I surely don’t have patience, I am always looking for the next thing and can hardly concentrate on the task at hand. Waiting to open presents from loved ones this week was excruciating. However, through the desert elders I am learning to practice patience in my faith life. Patience is no simply just the passing of time, but is an understanding of time itself, in God’s time is when the work of faith is taking place.

One of the things that the desert elders are famous for are their sayings, which were most likely preserved in writing after on of the elders spoke wisdom for a pilgrim on a particular subject. The sayings usually begin with someone asking for a word from a certain elder and what follows is the desert wisdom of the elder. One of the sayings is as follows. “Abba Ammonas once went to cross the river and found the ferry untended and seated himself nearby it. Just then another boat arrived at the place and embarked the people waiting there in order to take them across. And they said to him, ‘You come too, Abba, and cross over with us.’ But he said, ‘I will only board the public ferry.’ He had a bundle of palm leaves and sat plaiting a rope and then undoing it until the ferry was made ready. And he went across. Then the brothers bowed low before him and said, ‘Why do you do this?’ And the elder said to them, “That I may not always be dwelling on my thought.’”

Could you imagine in today’s world waiting for one form of transportation when there was another readily waiting? Can we change how we act when faced with impatience and how would that affect those around us who see our patience in both everyday life as well as with our faith?

It is the 5th aspect of our wardrobe- quiet strength, that we can face impatience. While at my parents’ house over vacation I checked a book out of the Tunkhannock Public Library. It is the story of a woman who in the face of addiction and almost certain death from her unhealthy living habits changed her life around at the age of 40 and began climbing mountains. She didn’t climb the little piddly mountains that we find around here, she went for the big guns, starting with Mount Kilimanjaro and eventually ending up on Everest.

While not raised in a Christian home, she met God in a facility for people with eating disorders. She was asked to turn her disorder over to God but she was not sure what to do. So perhaps in the only ways she knew how she took a bubble bath, lit some candles, and turned her life over to God.

What can be taken away from this story is not the amazing physical feats that she accomplished on the mountains, or her ability to overcome such obstacles in her addiction ruled life, but in the way that she did it. When she was on the mountain she would enter what she called her “Go Mode” and she would recite what became her prayer. “God’s love, God’s strength, God’s will, I can.”

The instructions do not end with these 5 new pieces of wardrobe. Everyone has an “all purpose” piece in the closet that they wear all the time. For me it is my Keen sandals. I wear them with everything, jeans, skirts, dress and shorts. I even wear them in the winter, sometimes with wool socks. We are instructed to wear LOVE as our all-purpose garment.

Now that we are dressed in our new wardrobe, where do we go and what do we do? We form a community…allowing the “Peace of Christ to keep us in tune with each other.” We are not to go off and do our own thing, this is where our humility hat comes in. And we must cultivate thankfulness. This can be our community garden, where we wear our compassion overalls, and our kindness gloves, along with our quiet strength for a jacket, and LOVE can be our garden clogs.

Let the word of Christ have the run of the house! Give it plenty of room. I know in some houses other things have the run: pets can often run a house, my husband and my schedule often reflects that of the TV Guide, and sometimes it can feel like your children are running your house. Make more room for the message of Christ and perhaps those other things will not seem overwhelming.

AND SING! Sing your hearts out to God. My friend Beth in Ohio can write a song at the drop of a hat, she of the uses my name in silly rhymes to sing about what I am doing at a particular moment. But truly her gift and her passion is singing for God. Most of us don’t sing nearly as well as she does, but God doesn’t’ care what we sound like, as long as we are singing!

Every detail of our lives should be done in the name of Christ, our words and our actions. And we must always remember to be thankful to God every step of the way.
This might be a longer list of resolutions than you would have liked and you are probably asking me how you are suppose to have time to make sure they are all being accomplished, but let’s review.

Resolutions number one: Combine Kindness, Compassion, and Humility and it all comes down to Loving Others.

Resolution number two: Patience and gentle strength are about LOVING GOD and allowing God to work in your life.

Resolution number three: Always be thankful and sing to God, the actions of your whole life should be in the name of Christ.

Three things are not that difficult. We must ask for each other’s help, as well as God’s. And in 2007 when we are faced with illnesses and deaths and obstacles that seem uncontrollable, we must have the patience to know we are in God’s hands. Saying every step of the way;

“God’s Love, God’s Strength, God’s will, I can.”