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Faces of Simpler Living BLOG Year 2.5

NorthWest #161-186
  • ID, WA, OR, UT, WY
  • NorthEast #187-216
  • IN, OH, PA, MD, NJ, NY, NH, MA, CT
  • Local #217-219

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    POST #161


    Mary & Doug T. near Sand Point, ID

    Benefits of Honey

    On my trip to the Northwest, I stopped over in Montana. One woman, a 72-year-old peace activist in a small town, felt really alone and frustrated. I urged her to read our blog. Another pledged a life membership at $10 a month for eight years.

    Mary and Doug T. (near Sand Point, ID, north of Coeur d’Alene) had a supper of wonderful soup and salad from their garden.

    They live on five acres in the woods. He’s a former environmental specialist with the government in Alaska. Now he focuses on toxins and mentors school children two days a week. They work with Public Forum on Sustainability, which is currently in hiatus.

    They do no grilling because it produces carcinogens, especially the fat. They drink fruit juice.

    They work to reduce Diesel exhaust through legislation to reduce sulphur because it stimulates asthma. He recommends using the car recirculator when driving near diesel and holding one’s breath while walking.

    Resources: Consumer Reports calendar; Money Advisor; Bottom Line personal and health newsletters.

    She’s a former teacher who now subs. She says she’s still trying to find her place.

    Her son Glen serves in the Peace Corps in Senegal in horticulture.

    They use water pots on a wood-burning stove to reradiate heat at night so supplemental heat is not needed.

    Honey is a superb medicine for burns and cuts. Its an osmotic agent, the higher the sugar content the better. It’s a mechanical antibiotic. It kills bacteria by drawing the water out. Use cold water to calm the burn, tap it dry, apply honey, wrap it, change (but do not wash) each 8 hours. After two days change twice a day. No scabbing, no tissue injury (unlike mercury-based salves). Its PH compatibility (unlike salt) reduces pain.

    Huckleberries and blueberries are high in anti-oxidants.

    Read Science 5/27/06 about SADD, Light Impacts.

    She belongs to the fiber arts guild and is designing a youth activity for the County Fair.

    They subscribe to the water conservation principle: If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.

    Next time: Waste = Food

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart. If you want to be in touch with some of the folks I’m introducing here, let me know and Ill forward your message to them.

    POST #162

    xxx xxx

    Idaho Quakers

    Waste = Food
    Hippie Christmas
    Corn Syrup Obesity
    GoodWill Fashion Show

    Mary and Doug T. hosted a breakfast at Friends Meeting House in Sandpoint, ID (north of Couer dAlene). Surprisingly 20 showed up!

    The conversation:

    Compare the burkas of Islam women to American women, who wear different types of coverings (make-up, etc.).

    Composting toilets pros and cons.

    Use sheep and goats for weed control; or a guinea pig lawn mower (a frame that contains several little animals that is moved from place to place).

    Worth noting: Seed Savers exchange and Simple Living Collective that wrote the Shakertown Pledge (with Church World Service).

    Young are largely narcissistic concerned about how they look.

    Cuba is refreshing. No commercial advertising.

    Hold a GoodWill fashion show for high school.

    Hippie Christmas college give-away at the end of the school year.

    How much consumer debt do European college students have?

    Waldorf Schools do not allow slogans on clothing but the children still compete -- shoes, for example.

    William Bill McDonough: Waste Equals Food. Make recyclable products. Make corporations responsible they are run by individuals.

    The rise of corn syrup has led to obesity.

    The NAIS National Animal ID System favors industrial agriculture, harms the small farmer. Small farmer must tag each animal; corporations only tag herds.

    Next time: Sending Whose Birthday? to Students at Brethren Colleges

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #163

    xxx xxx xxx xxx

    Karen, Ken and friends in Wenatchee, WA

    Sending Whose Birthday? to College Students

    Ken N. hosted a supper at Church of the Brethren, Wenatchee, WA.

    Ken runs funding and donor development for the 1050 congregations of the Church of the Brethren. He has several staff members in various parts of the country. He plays tennis. His spouse Karen is a nurse and runner. They have three daughters: one’s athletic, another just finished her masters in viola performance from Juilliard and now wants to go to med school.

    Hi, Helen N. from former Lutheran Brotherhood days.

    Ken agreed pay for copies of Whose Birthday? booklet we send to Brethren colleges and seminaries for students.

    Baby Boomers retirements are under funded so they are at the mercy of Social Security. They will not take it lightly!

    Joe R.: There’s a growing readiness for co-housing. How about a DVD on building community?

    Carol B., Church of the Brethren stewardship leader, will refer our resources to Brethren press and COB stewardship.

    Next time: Incredible Holden Village

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #164


    The cross in Holden Village chapel
    xxx xxx
    John Marty

    Incredible Holden Village

    Gary D., a retired United Church of Christ pastor, has made a one-year commitment to be Resource Center Director at Holden Village, near Chelan, WA.

    It’s a 90-minute ferry ride and a 45-minute bus ride to get to Holden from Chelan (if you take the fast boat; the slow boat takes longer).

    The community is a former mining camp that was closed when the price of copper dropped. The mining company gave the camp to the Lutheran Church in the 1960’s. The National Forest Service owns the land.

    Everything comes in and goes out by barge.

    I worked on the garbage crew. Everything is carefully sorted, then recycled, burned, composted or goes in the landfill.

    The camp is powered entirely by electricity generated by snow pack run off. Because of global warming, there may be no run off in 20 years.

    The food is modest. The surroundings are magnificent. The attitude is welcoming.

    I attended a couple of events: one on the ALPHA evangelism program (which uses hospitality and small group model), one on global warming and our responsibility to counties that we will eventually drown. And an early morning eye-opener with John Marty on the religious right and politics. He is son of Martin E Marty., brother of Peter and Micah. He agreed to write for Whose Birthday? I hope to arrange a Marty family Christmas involving all four of them. Here's John's contribution. (See more about Peter in Blog Post #5, Year 1.) And Peter's.

    Holden is overtly open and welcoming to gays. They were having their Gay Pride parade a few days after I left and posters were up all around.

    Emily runs the garbage program and drives bus (as do many of the long-term staff, those making at least a one year commitment). She wore a T-shirt that said Left-wing Lesbian Lutheran. She had a small tattoo on her right should that expressed her beliefs in the Trinity and pagan religion.

    My late night presentation was attended by about 50. I met a couple on the ferry and they attended my talk and joined. They were retired and very encouraging. She’s on the Holden fundraising committee.

    Holden has had email since Christmas 2005 but no Internet. The staff keeps asking: What will it do to community? How about satellite radio and TV?

    Next time: When they don’t give me stuff, I love them more.

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #165

    xxx xxx

    Guests at Holden Village

    When they do not give me stuff, I love them more.

    The conversation at Holden Village, near Chelan, WA.

    Visit for a calculator on my impact on the Earth.

    When they don’t give me stuff, I love them more.

    We give a piece of white cloth, then pass it on the next year. Symbolic, no value.

    Put greeting cards in a sack and regift them.

    Have a box of simple gifts that can be given anytime.

    Hold an envelope-making class.

    Give Fair Trade items.

    When staff members leave, they share their stuff with those who stay.

    We have a high school unit on consumerism.

    My elderly mother told me: I want to hear you two daughters fighting over my things. So they put on a show for her.

    We hold a community garage sale called the Wild Goosed Chase.

    I visited an estate sale and saw a woman’s things and hobbies just like mine. I had a moment of self-realization. This is going to be me in 50 years. Now I clean out a room a year.

    Next time: Giving Up Electric Light for Lent Brings Us Closer Together

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #166


    Brad and Linda at their PizzaRio

    Giving Up Electric Light for Lent Brings Us Closer Together

    PizzaRio Builds Community

    Linda N. and Brad H. hosted a supper at the Rio Theatre, Brewster, WA.

    Linda is a general practice doctor and spouse Brad Hagen a half-time nurse practioner in this small town of 50% Anglos and 50% Hispanics. They invested their life savings to build their own clinic. Now they also own the local movie house and pizza parlor PizzaRio. They want a place for the young people to congregate.

    They’ve been married 20 years. They both run. He feeds 20 stray cats and are trying to find homes for them.

    Their mid-teen daughter Kiona attends school in a neighboring town because they are involved in a lawsuit against the Brewster school district for ethic profiling of Hispanic gangs. They supplement her education with summer camps on art, service, etc. through Johns Hopkins.

    They are Catholics, though they attended the Episcopal Church for a while when a new priest at the Catholic Church discontinued the youth and Spanish language programming.

    I met Mike L., a musician who’s issued delightful CDs. His partner Rolf has been the musician at Holden Village. His wife Carolyn is a health professional who has worked with Linda in the past.

    The conversation:

    Advertising is a problem in schools, especially cola companies and Channel One. One school is pulling Pepsi.

    One family gives up electric light (including TV) for Lent. It brings them closer.

    We are paying the penalty for our culture higher housing costs, the basic costs because of success. It’s really hard not to be in debt when you’re poor.

    More money makes more debt.

    All nations have the dilemma of rich vs. poor.

    Al Gore’s film confirms that a huge catastrophe is coming. We are not sustainable. We need a national effort to tax pollution, invest in change. The young need to feel the peril but does it lead to hopelessness? They are living in the moment. We need to change individuals. We need both national and individual efforts. They will change if they believe in the need or its cheaper. Both political parties are run by Big Business.

    A grandmother laments that her children sent their child to day care at three months. They want two incomes to buy stuff. She will influence her grandchild as she can.

    Driving though the beautiful mountains, the streams, rivers and trees remind me of the vacation trips that my mom, dad, sister Cathy and I took when I was young. All three of them are gone now.

    Next time: Share Implements

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #167

    xxx xxx xxx

    Hosts Dennis and Mary Ann

    Share Implements

    Dennis and Mary Ann T. hosted a supper at their home in Mount Vernon, WA (north of Seattle). 18 attended, mostly Episcopalians.

    Dennis T., now 58, has worked in the medical profession since he was 13. He’s a reserve chaplain, does hospice work. He is deacon for five churches in a local cluster, four Episcopal and one Lutheran, focusing on justice work. Mary Ann is a concierge, doing whatever needs to be done at the hospital. He plans to retire in two years, she in three or four. They have on son in his early 20’s.

    The conversation:

    We give live plants as gifts.

    Pastor and physician Kenneth L. Bakkens video series Journey Toward Wholeness deals with healing.

    We’ve stopped buying cards for each other. We go to the card store and read some together.

    Develop synergies, e.g. with Beach Watchers, the University of Washington extension; waste wise coordinator gives talks on saving water, to cut down Earth abuse; monitor the beaches, maintain park trails. Sign-up for backyard wild habitat, provide shelter, food and water for wild life. Though not religious, it has a commonality with simple living and sustainability.

    Set an example. Use your own cup at gatherings instead of Styrofoam. Ride a bike with a cart instead of a car.

    Share implements.

    Extend 1-for-1 rule to gifts. When you accept a gift, give something away.

    Tithing clothing once a year by category give away 10% from each clothing type (slacks, shirts, etc.)

    Turn down the corners of items you like in a catalog on Monday. You’ll be less interested by Wed.

    Use an electric lawn mower.

    Local buying, local food.

    What halts my consumerism is looking at all the packaging Ill have to deal with when I get home.

    Lane Community College, Eugene, OR, teaches a class on simpler living each quarter., a Lutheran in Anacordas, has written a book On Being Human aimed at the unchurched. He has a radio program by the same name (iPod). He speaks to Democrats about being spiritual.

    Give used books as gifts or only those you’ve read.

    Next time: Mustard Seed Associates

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #168


    Author Tom S.
    A Life member from Seattle
    Jessica wrote an article for Whose Birthday? Read it here.
    Jill & Matt, guests at Mustard Seed Associates, Seattle.

    Mustard Seed Associates

    Tom & Christine S. hosted an outdoor luncheon at Mustard Seed Associates, Seattle, WA.

    They have a chaotic English garden at their home/office. They grow about 60% of the produce they consume in their urban garden.

    A new edition of Dr. Christine’s book Travel Well was issued in 2006. Its primarily for people going into international service. Her book Sacred Rhythms has been reissued as God Space.

    Tom, author of the classic Mustard Seed Conspiracy is working on a new book. We need to reinvent the American Dream, redefine the good life, become cultural creatives, add celebrations, not just simplify living.

    Urbana will be held in St. Louis right after Christmas for 30,000 college students, mostly evangelicals with a concern for care of creation and global missions.

    The CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) started by John Perkins is held every year at the end of September in Philadelphia. Usually 200 attend. It has more African-American involvement that Urbana.

    New monasticism has been started by Shane Claiborne in his book Irresistible Revolution. The Simple Way: People Against Poverty and Apathy is held in Kentucky.

    Matt, associate pastor tentmaker at Capital Hill Church, is an Intervarsity staffer.

    Mission Moving Mountains confronts materialism among African-Americans.

    Seattle University had an academic theme on poverty and consumption led by an African-American professor.

    The new quarterly Geez is edited by Aiden Enns, Winnipeg, Canada.

    Jill is a sophomore a Princeton Theological Seminary. She handed out our material at an alternative gift market.

    Bart Campolo began the urban ministry called Mission Year.

    The Christian College Coalition: American Studies deals with global issues, justice. It includes all evangelical colleges on North America. Contact Ron Sider.

    Investigate Christianity Today eNewsletters. Good use of graphics. Quakers Tim and Heather Burdick publish The Simple River eNewsletter. 24/7 Prayer Network, Viva Network, Grist. Courage Circles.

    Young adults prefer video. Consider a video blogging (log) series, e.g.

    Read Mustard Seeds newsletters in the archives. Their conference attracted 150. They are planning at retreat on Celtic worship. They want to start Christian conversation groups. Their events allow for creativity time.

    Matt and Tom recommend an annual catalog of creative celebration ideas fresh content and design for young adults.

    Read Tom's Advent/Christmas reflections here.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #169

    xxx xxx

    The Bells, guests at Pat’s in Port Angeles, WA

    Artists, rangers and blueberries

    Pat M. hosted a potluck supper and conversation at her home Port Angeles, WA.

    I learned that the Bellingham, WA, Co-op offers training. The farmers are building local community.

    Seattle is #1 in the nation in education (degrees).

    The Heatons are blueberry farmers in retirement. Greg H. attended seminary but did not become a pastor. He led a Marcus Borg study group.

    Rochel is an Americorps worker from Ohio. She works with homeless young adults at Serenity House. Earth Ministry has three modules for Caring for Creation at home, on the road and at the table.

    Transportation is a topic to bring in new people bikes, for example. New car technology is not sustainable.

    Barter is taxable.

    David and Elizabeth C. run the youth group at Holy Trinity. He’s chair of Holden Village and she’s a doctor.

    Tracey B. works at a Montessori School during the school year and at Hurricane Ridge National Park seasonally. Her degree is in art. She'd like to become certified and start another Montessori School. Bryan B.’s full time at the park.

    The Printery in Port Townsend is Fair Trade certified. Tracy gets her art cards printed there.

    Two Seconds till Midnight is a PBS special from the mid-90s worth investigating.

    Next time: Mindfulness Cures Wastefulness

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #170

    xxx xxx

    Guests at St. Andrews Episcopal, Port Angeles, WA

    Mindfulness Cures Wastefulness

    Bryan B. & Tracy B. hosted me at Adult Forum, Holy Trinity Lutheran, Port Angeles, WA.

    Ideas: Get rid of billboards, like Vermont. Promote Land Trusts. They make for affordable housing.

    Deborah H. hosted a social hour get-together at St. Andrews Episcopal, Port Angeles, WA.

    Conversation: We’ve grown accustomed to be lied to, for example, exaggerations in advertising. We’ve also grown accustomed to violence in the media.

    Children are overloaded and overstimulated in the classroom.

    Adults have trouble being alone. They are cocooning and having fewer social events.

    How about one membership level -- a prepaid shipping crate to get rid of some stuff?

    Many social justice issues get bogged down in details.

    Elsa is a storyteller.

    Promote mindfulness as a cure to wastefulness.

    Next time: Hurricane Ridge

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #171


    Pastor Ted
    Barb N. at Hurricane Ridge National Park, near Port Angeles, WA

    Hurricane Ridge

    Pastor Ted M. hosted an afternoon conversation at First Presbyterian Church, Port Angeles, WA.

    Create authentic communication.

    How can teachers subtly promote simple living?

    Promote permaculture.

    Reverse culture shock happens because we have so many choices.

    Operation Shoe Box: This church fill shoe boxes with suggested items and an agency ships them over seas.

    Were becoming sensitized to the effects of stress.

    Barb N. from El Paso, TX, has worked as a park ranger at Hurricane Ridge National Park near Port Angeles for many years. She’s a retired financial aid administrator at the University of Texas, El Paso. She’s now a bum -- taking care of her yard and playing Romantic classical piano music.

    She put me in touch with Pastor Ted at First Pres. She wasn’t able to attend any of the local events, so she invited me to the park for a supper picnic. She told me about the wild flowers.

    Next time: Friends of the Carpenter

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #172


    Host Rodger S.
    Pastor Duane at Friends of the Carpenter

    Friends of the Carpenter - learn from the homeless

    Rodger & Ruth S. hosted a lunch at Friends of the Carpenter in Vancouver, WA.

    Friends of the Carpenter is a ministry to the homeless run by Presbyterian Pastor Duane S. and wife Julie. This 10-year old-ministry was given a building and lumber so that volunteers and homeless friends can come together to make items of wood. They have a mailing list of 2200, an annual auction, a fund raising dance and a monthly newsletter. They try to thank each donor seven times from generically in the newsletter to personal letters, notes and phone calls.

    The hosts are both retired. He had a heart attack a few years ago and designed and built an extensive backyard garden as therapy. He also cooks at Sharehouse, a homeless residence that serves three meals a day. He’s Methodist; she’s Jewish, a former political scientist from England.

    Guest Debbie is United Methodist Women District president and member at Vancouver Heights UMC. The UMW is having an event with a simple living workshop.

    Charlotte lost her husband about 16 months ago and inherited money from her father. She’s confused because she doesnt want it and doesnt want to give it to her children who, she fears, will waste it. Because she’s Lutheran, I recommended the Lutheran Community Foundation. She’s interested in whole life stewardship.

    A well-traveled friend with many beautiful objects says, I’m not going to be the keeper of this junk! Despite this testimony, she can’t bring herself to give anything away.

    Stuff gives us security, says Duane. It’s humbling to learn from the homeless.

    Visiting the Congo on a relationships building trip taught me that people can be happy though they have nothing, says Debbie.

    Roger says humor can reinforce simple living, for example, making a virtue of necessity. I was born with nothing and I still have most of it. I urged him to collect and send us some materials. Roger will tell more of his friends about us.

    Next time: Morning Song Acres

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #173

    xxx xxx xxx

    Myron & Audrey at Morning Song Acres

    Morning Song Acres

    Audrey and Myron B. hosted a supper at her Morning Song Acres Bed & Breakfast, Lyle, WA (near the Columbia River Gorge).

    Audrey is an AIM and Music Director at Our Redeemer Lutheran in Good River. Myron is a retired Lutheran pastor. They cool their B&B with a geothermal heat pump (water is a constant 58 degrees).

    They are considered liberals in an archconservative area.

    Guests Tom and Ondine, in their mid-40s, live off the grid. They put their energy into their Yurt home instead of their mortgage. They practice permaculture and feel the freedom to be creative.

    Ted & Myrt are hikers.

    Cindy M. from Our Redeemer is a financial coach. She has a couple of free eBooks. We can live meaningfully if we know who to handle our money. She’s single with kids 14 & 18.

    Rhonda from Murdock was helped by Your Money or Your Life and now helps others by giving them encouragement and a copy of the book.

    Joel Salitens book Holy Cows and Hog Heaven is about buying locally and sustainable agriculture.

    Our grandchildren are inundated by commercial hits.

    Promote simple traditions, for example, tuna casserole for Christmas. They are still meaningful, says Cindy.

    Young don’t see credit card debt as a problem.

    Ondine says, when condescending friends tease her, I can’t change the world but I don’t want to be part of the problem.

    Check out Mary Hunt: Financially Confident Women and Debt-Free Living.

    Audrey teaches the grandkids the 80-10-10 rule: spend, share, save. Cindy suggested that grandparetns match the 10-10.

    Cindy says Halloween is a problem, so at school they have book character week instead.

    Audrey practices clothesline yoga (clothesline aerobics).

    Morning Song has a half dozen program weekends. At Kids in the Country the kids have no junk food or TV for a week. They focus on a different theme each day soil, people, etc. At their former parish in Portland they had Inherit the Earth: Simple Living Festival with sausage making and apple pressing, etc.

    Next time: Simple Living Network

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #174


    Simple Living Network

    Dave W., founder of Simple Living Network, Trout Lake, WA, is a 45-year-old neat freek. His organization is virtually paperless. He got the idea for the network 12 years ago. His server is in Hood River with Gorge network. Between Christmas and New Years each year he guts his life, taking it apart and putting it back together to prevent clutter and get reorganized. Anything he’s unsure about he puts in a box and dates it one year ahead. If it hasnt been opened by the date, he gets rid of it.

    They keep at least one copy of each title they offer in stock and order just in time from Ingram. About 10% of their orders come in by phone, 90% by internet.

    In FAQ they ask their customers to consider the social and political consequences of ordering from megaBiz like Amazon.

    In his new site, a few other people can make changes. Up till now he has held tight control of the site. Eleven volunteers run the online discussion groups.

    His mentor is Steve VanMeter who runs the Institute for Earth Education (not environmental education, which has become quite industry driven). Dave graduated from George Williams College (YMCA) which is now closed. He ran the IEE mail order catalog for several years. IEE has 185 volunteers in six countries. He resigned as Executive Director and they now have a center in West Virginia.

    He worked with the local Turtle Island Foods, the world’s largest producer of tempeh (Indonesia’s alternative to tofu).

    He has just been named as Performa Director of Your Money or Your Life and he has a new board of directors. He held a four-day conference that produces a 45 page proposal. They plan to treat the book and CDs as archival documents and promote the nine core steps in a new vessel a flashy, interactive web site. Participants can track their progress on line. They expect to offer the site for three to six months for free, followed by a nominal fee.

    He recommends staying a year or two behind technology to see what’s going to be in demand. (Flash, for example did not pan out.)

    Watch Current Network (Google TV promoted by Al Gore). VS Squared are 5-15 minute viewer created documentaries.

    Simple Living Network is a colleague organization of Alternatives. Dave maintains the web site for The Simplicity Forum, of which Alternatives is a founding member.

    UPDATE: closed its doors at the end of 2010, about the same time Alternatives did. Dave now works at an organic farm.

    Next time: Youll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #175

    xxx xxx

    Ed B. and another guest

    You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.

    Carol C. hosted a supper at a Trinity Lutheran Church, Dallas, OR (15 miles west of Salem).

    Three things to save the Earth and preserve health: avoid products containing corn syrup or petroleum based, and refuse clothes that display hits (commercial icons or slogans).

    When both of my folks died, I tried to downsize. I don’t want to burden my kids with my stuff. You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.

    Three children and nine grandchildren come together to give the gift of cleaning the garage.

    The kids keep a journal in the parents home of items they want from the parents stuff.

    Give heirlooms as gifts while the elders are still alive and share the stories behind them.

    Next time: Take a Picture

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #176

    xxx xxx xxx


    Take a Picture

    Marilynn P. hosted a lunch at Tillamook United Methodist Church, Tillamook, OR.

    The conversation:

    Schools make relationships difficult by having sports practices during supper. Ugly cultural effects include being out late to meetings and terrible eating habits.

    The high school youth group goes to Mexico each year and comes back changed. They see a happy though impoverished community. They say, Don’t let me forget what I saw.

    Children can be overwhelmed by options at the mall. They really prefer community. Ads at age seven make they want everything.

    Robt. Banks book on consumerism tells how ads foster discontent.

    What Ghanaians miss in resources they make up in spirit.

    A positive TV ad from Keizer Permanente health care, Imagine! Mini-size me.

    Craigs list is free service. The price to sell it, world peace (from a TV interview). Also,

    Mark’s kids must ask before buying something, Where will it be in four months? He planned an elaborate scavenger hunt before a family trip to Seattle to see Lion King on stage. It was a memorable event for Christmas morning.

    Members of an unclutter support group go from members house-to-house to help. They are detached, so they can make decisions about what to get rid of.

    Before getting rid of a sentimental piece, take a picture of it. That will be sufficient to bring back important memories.

    I get depressed when I can’t declutter. I feel frozen, powerless.

    Join Clutterers Anonymous. Call another member to rejoice when you accomplish something or when you cant get started.

    Read Irradicating Global Poverty study guide from the World Council of Churches.

    Next time: Perpetual Lent - Schedule Car-less Days

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #177

    xxx xxx

    Participant and Fr. John

    Perpetual Lent - Schedule Car-less Days

    Fr. John M. hosted an evening conversation at Holy Trinity Parish, Beaverton, OR.

    Father John started a nonprofit for AIDS caregivers in the San Francisco Bay area before coming to the Portland area. When he retires he would like to be a hospice worker or retreat director. He feels that somebody-moved- my cheese the attitude toward the priesthood has changed significantly.

    He says, God is present, bidden or not. He recently attended a Rachel Vineyard Retreat for abortion survivors and was deeply moved by their stories and their rituals to forgive themselves. His deceased mother had a greeting card ministry.

    He ordered a customized version of Whose Birthday? for the parish.

    Nike headquarters is just down the street form the parish. Many of the parishioners are too busy to attend Mass.

    Ken C., a contemporary composer and musician who works for Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) is one of their music leaders.

    Most of the parishes in the Archdiocese of Portland have websites. Reach out through them and the diocese newspaper. Each parish receives email from the archdiocese each week. How to tie in? Send Fr. John information. He will use it in his bi-weekly blog and share it the new head of Social Justice. Because the Archdiocese has financial problems staff have been let go.

    Vicariates or clusters meet at least bimonthly, usually all staff members. The Archbishop, John Vlazny, has a regular column in the Sentinel.

    The parish belongs to JOIN, which helps get families and individuals off the street. The parish has strong charity outreach but is reluctant join justice organizations.

    The conversation:

    Let people know about community volunteer opportunities, for example, a community garden to help kids see the importance of sharing.

    At family night, listen to the kids. Ask, What is your plan for tomorrow and how can we help that happen? Leave intentional blank spaces in their schedule don’t over schedule.

    Share produce each week at church, especially for people who don’t have gardens.

    Schedule car-less days. Have regular meat-less days (perpetual Lent?).

    Now that gas is $3 a gallon, the local mass transit billboard and TV campaign is Drive less, save more.

    Explain to kids how TV makes them desire things. As they get older, add more topics, such as how sex sells to Middle Schoolers.

    If an item is 50% off, you can get 100% off by not buying it at all!

    Model reading to kids. Only one TV in the house.

    Meet a new friend come to Mass. Also, recruit more greeters.

    Mormons are good at food storage, especially bulk. Put bay leaves and dry ice in flour to keep the bugs out.

    Portland Magazine current issue very helpful How Green Are You?

    Use Freecycle and Craigslist. Get recycled paint on Swan Island. Support the needy through CFCA in Kansas City Christian Foundation for Children and Adults.

    Closer: form a circle, introduce self and give a one-sentence summary of what I learned from the workshop. Examples, Do I really need this? Clutter is a moral issue. Simple living is Gospel living.

    Next time: Simple Living Research

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #178

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    Diana and her folks

    Simple Living Research

    I had lunch with Diana F. at Cornucopia in Eugene, OR. She is interested in intentional living. She has a catholic background and is now forming her own faith.

    In spring, 2008, she expects to finish a double masters and a certificate in nonprofit management. She hopes to enter academia, do research or be a change-maker. Now she carries a full load and teaches three classes. She’s willing to share her papers with us.

    She explained research protocol to me and I signed a release to have my name and interview used in her research paper.

    The economy is a subset of the natural world. A shift in perception is needed. Adam Smith says that capitalism works toward equitable distribution, something that’s not happening now.

    Her boyfriend is a Lokota Shaman who studies transpersonal psychology. She’s experienced a sweat lodge and prayers. They have four sessions and go in a circle. It’s a lot like church.

    Rites of Passage emphasize consumerism. Many give wedding gift to guests. One couple gave carbon-offset credits for the guests travel to the wedding.

    Some debate which motivates people -- attitudes or economy (like faith or life)? Both. Each affects the other.

    She has a pack rat mom. All that stuff is not organized or useful. She broke her leg -- a teachable moment. But that wasn’t enough to change. She’s rarely open to suggestions. She wishes the house would burn down so that she wouldn’t have to deal with it all. But she’s unable to untangle herself from it by herself.

    Ask, What would I absolutely keep? Keep photos and journals because they help access the memories.

    It’s more meaningful to go through the items together, ceremonially. Pick out the few that are meaningful. Donate the extras later.

    The PBS special Persuaders shows how advertisers harness cult loyalty for brands. The consumer community, being part of the pretty crowd, appeals to the desire for community.

    Next time: Jesus Message Is Radical.

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #179

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    Matt & Robyn

    Jesus' Message Is Radical.

    Pastor Robyn Eddy hosted a supper at Central Lutheran Church, Eugene, OR.

    The conversation:

    Composting toilets save water but they make much extra work.

    Wealthy contributors make a splash. The best givers are modest.

    Denominational government affairs offices translate church social statements to the government.

    Debt load is a life killer, not life giving. We are happier if we are not controlled by stuff. More people in the U.S. commit suicide in January than any other month. Results of debt and weather.

    Zoning and building regulations complicate simpler living.

    Churches need photo-voltaic technicians.

    Use manual push mowers.

    There’s a resurgence of do-it-yourself: knitting, vegetable gardens, canning. Learn the grandparents wisdom. Promote the Master Gardener program.

    Time is central. Moving away from a rapid existence requires commitment. Slow the pace, affirm family and friends.

    Jesus message is radical. We water it down and enshrine culture values.

    The big teachable moment is global warming. We may not be able to travel in the future.

    The young want more than a sound bite. They are disillusioned. They want freedom from debt and materialism. They realize they are being manipulated.

    Next time: Epidemic of Busyness

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #180

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    Guest at First United Methodist Church, Eugene, OR.

    Epidemic of Busyness

    Lyda P. hosted an evening conversation at First United Methodist Church, Eugene, OR, which was using our curriculum The Good Life for vacation Bible school.

    The conversation:

    Non-conform means not being a clone, not part of the herd. That's attractive.

    Share information about colleges that have simple living values and programs. Not a certification program.

    Distribute a list of places to visit that educate, like Real Goods. Heifer HQ holds an Elderhostel at their model farm. Work with extension services and country fairs.

    The ideal curriculum on simple living themes would earn badges, be a Bible-based club, include service projects (such as green programs at schools).

    We have an epidemic of busyness.

    There's so much divorce. Let's nurture marriage through a workshop. Ask, What are we missing?

    Overscheduling kids leads to boredom.

    In our climate of fear, we must escort kids everywhere.

    Promote Buddhist sense of detachment. Meditation time alone with self and God.

    Next time: Meeting Milo

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #181



    Meeting Milo

    I finally met Milo Thornberry, former director of Alternatives, in Southcentral Oregon. He’s serving on United Methodist conference finance committee. He’s leading a continuing education week in Alaska.

    He’s finished his novel Not Yet What We Shall Be, based on an African-American saying. Its historical fiction about racism in 1957 in Central Texas.

    Retired from the ministry, Milo's now a house husband. Connie's a potter and provides foster care for cats through the humane society. She’s digging wells in Uganda with a friend through their own organization Bless the Children. They are raising $10,000 each for three wells. She'll do a health survey while there to form a baseline for the impact of the wells for leverage for foundation money in the future.

    Next time: Enough for Our Needs, Not Our Greeds

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #182


    Some guests in Halfway, OR

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    Ann and Bill in their garden

    Enough for Our Needs, Not Our Greeds

    Bill and Ann S. hosted me at a community supper at Pine Valley Presbyterian, Halfway, OR.

    Bill attended San Anselmo (San Francisco) Seminary. They've been in Halfway for 17 years. Previously he closed a church with dignity. Ann is a former Alternatives board member with Milo and Grace Winn in 1985. The board met once in Mexico City. Their son is a carpenter. Their daughter is in graduate school at University of Oregon family and marriage therapy.

    The young don’t know that simple living concept. It doesn't compute, cell phones, for example.

    The Christian message has become so materialistic with sound systems and big screens.

    The young can understand need in the world. They do care, they are compassionate but they don’t know what to do.

    Bill's summer work crew learns to work to the glory of God. The program is support by Jacob's Dream resale store.

    The young don’t support anything. Rural people tend to give seasonally.

    Ann is willing to make calls to former Alternatives board members.

    Ann substitute teaches. Bill paints and salvages. They live comfortably on a household income of $35,000. They have big garden. They leave all their doors unlocked at home and church.

    Being a pastor is more important than being a prophet.

    The conversation:

    When showering, turn down the hot instead of turning up the cold.

    Eat whole foods instead of processed. It has less packaging.

    Opposite of sustainability is collapse. (from Omnivores Dilemma)

    Fluorescent lights can cause learning problems with kids. Use natural light.

    It's a good feeling to know that you're giving instead of taking. God provides enough for our needs, not for our greeds.

    Next time: Quiet Garden Movement

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #183

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    Hosts Martha and Ed with guest
    Santiago and family. Santiago is president of the Idaho Human Rights Education board.

    Quiet Garden Movement

    Martha & Ed K. hosted me for an outdoor community lunch in Boise, ID, where the Ann Frank Human Rights Memorial is located.

    They display some of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Symbolically the tablets are cracked. Ed wears the T-shirt Advice from a Tree.

    Ed was a teacher, then a Presbyterian pastor. He retired at 55 to do community work. Now they attend a United Church of Christ church that's open and affirming.

    Their three-acre family home is in a Land Trust, which will be given to the Boise Park system at their death. It may become a community garden. They are part the of Quiet Garden movement. It contains a labyrinth and is an unofficial retreat center.

    Boise is 50/50 progressive/conservative and has a simple burial association.

    John Barret from Smart Growth, a five-year nonprofit advocacy organization that works statewide with technical information, communicates ideas about responsible planning and development.

    Research on relationships indicates that people are one person away from being alone. Do you have anyone you can confide in (usually a family member)? Friends are those who have refrigerator privileges.


    Conserve water. Keep a bucket in your shower and use the water in your garden. Promote xeroscaping and red fescue.

    The Boise County planning and zoning is innovative. The courthouse is silver certified. It is heated by geothermal and collects rainwater.

    The Junior Master Gardner from the Univ. of Idaho comes from Texas A&M.

    A no TV house is a challenge. TV changes relationships. Turn it down, move it off to the side, limit the enemy.

    Send letters to the local newspaper editor about the good Earth and good people.

    Use Christmas one-for-one anytime. One item leaves the house for every item that comes in.

    Determine our priorities, such as the list from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Discover and deal with your Eco-foot print. Concern needed about population control.

    Next time: Ecology Adventure Camp

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #184

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    Bob, Carol and Anna

    Ecology Adventure Camp

    Carol D. hosted a Sunday breakfast at Springville Community Presbyterian Church, Springville, UT (near Provo).

    Carol's family feels like a pocket of Democrats in a sea of Republicans.

    Bob is a gardener, river rafter and a medical doctor specializing in diabetes.

    Carol is the church lady, part-time Talented and Gifted teacher, weeder.

    She drives a Prius, he an SUV.

    Elder daughter Julia (23) serves in Mali in Peace Corps. Youngest daughter Anna (20) is an environmental studies major at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, with interest in communications and education.

    The conversation:

    The Mormon (LDS) church effectively promotes Church Family Night in homes on Monday nights.

    Older people need to move to smaller places and downsize.

    The way the young communicate is complicated: cell phones, online, less face-to-face, in an electronic bubble. The tools are useful but are still things. Young and younger are using them. They need to learn how to use them and be affirmed that simple activities are OK. Eletronic games are huge to elementary school kids -- a cultural identity, competing, learning (but not reality). Then they live out violence at recess.

    When kids get together, they talk and play. No movies or electronic games are allowed. That's harder to enforce with teens.

    Annas Dream: an ecology adventure camp.

    Next time: Plural Marriage

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #185

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    My host Amanda with a young couple
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    Large gathering of Mormons in Utah

    Plural Marriage

    Amanda R. hosted an evening gathering at the MLA Chapel, Rocky Ridge, UT (south of Provo). Over 100 attended, including all ages infants, children, teens, and adults.

    Husband Casey, RN, practices Integrative Medicine, blending traditional and Energetic Medicine using meridians and Chakras.

    He recommends biofeedback to cure carpel tunnel syndrome. Lemon grass essential oils resonate with the body. The magi gave Jesus essential oils.

    Life gives life means no processed food. Focus on air, water, sunlight, relationships, trust nature, exercise, passion. Recharge by being in touch with nature. Transfer energy with hugs and massage.

    Instead of masking symptoms, a (Mormon) Word of Wisdom is how to hold your life, how to eat, how God made us to work, which is left out by science.

    Whatever brings you closer to God is our real religion.

    When the washing machine broke, Amanda used a washboard. The children began to value their clothes.

    Rocky Ridge is a polygamist Mormon community. Plural marriage is not a basic teaching, like prayers and Scriptures. Abuse must be prosecuted.

    Amanda loves to can. They have videos but no TV.

    They are survivalists, and separate themselves from traditional Mormons and especially Jack Mormons. They do not proselytize.

    Topics included health remedies, like using a banana for gangrene and a raw egg in place of a suture.

    Also, the physical benefits of living simply. Avoid depression by wanting less. How to get teens involved. Tile instead of rugs. Burn sentimental stuff as a ritual.

    Next time: Education and Reminders Needed

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #186


    Guests at Green River, WY.

    Education and Reminders Needed

    Sarah C. hosted a lunch at St. Johns Episcopal / Union Congregational, Green River, WY.

    The town has no recycling of glass and other materials. Paper, aluminum, etc. must be dropped-off. No curbside pick up.

    My grandkids are so privileged that I can't think of anything to give them. So I gave half their gift to Heifer. They enjoyed the concept of giving to others and the animals.

    If you choose to use no disposables at coffee hour, education and reminders are needed.

    The church runs a food bank and thrift store. The money goes to a nearby Indian reservation.

    They use Beneficio Fair Trade coffee from California because they can order in small quantities.

    Next time: CWS HQ

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    END NorthWest Tour

    Return to Table of Contents (top)


    POST #187



    Passing near Elkhart, IN, I met Bill Wildey, the new Director of Development for Church World Service. He is former New England director of CWS.

    In the past CWS had a representative on Alternatives board. He will try to find one. He will discuss cooperation with us at a staff meeting the next day.

    Alternatives has offered CWS beautiful wall calendar and global greeting cards.

    Next time: Short-Term and Long-Term Costs

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #188

    Guests in Cleveland Heights

    Short-Term and Long-Term Costs

    Rita and I stayed with Susan G. in Cleveland Heights, OH. She’s a midwife. Her husband Pat M. is a doctor, teacher and researcher in gerontology. He is one of eleven children. They are in their early 60's.

    They were visited by his youngest sister, her husband and their two children, 5 and 3. A few days earlier they had a family reunion to rededicate the Catholic Worker House in Dayton to their parents, who were peace activists. The father's deceased and the mother still is active in Florida with Pax Christi and other groups.

    The sister teaches part-time at a community college near Kalamazoo, MI. The husband has a PhD. in entomology and works for Tillers, International. They live on a seven-acre farm, raise some of their own food and live simply. Tillers trains interns from the developing world how to use pre-modern technology with draft animals.

    They recommend Peter Maurin Easy Essays. He is co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement with Dorothy Day.

    They recommend showing pictures of conveniences like cigarettes and lattes and their short-term and long-term costs so that young adults can see how much they are really spending.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #189
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    Jan R.

    UCC HQ

    Jan is responsible for Public Education Justice as part of the Justice and Witness Ministry Team. She gave UCC material to Rita about No Child Left Behind.

    She talked about Patient vs. Impatient people as an example of prejudice. She recommended Working

    Kate Huey is minister stewardship. Her programs include Neighbors in Need (the Justice offering), Financial Wellness (America Saves) and Coffee Justice. She ordered a variety of our resources and will consider including our material in their stewardship mailing.

    The UCC has four covenanted ministries: General Ministries (administration ), wider Church Ministries, Local Church Ministries, and Justice and Witness. Consumerism is less of an issue than formerly.

    Wally, of Cleveland economic justice team, offered his college senior son as a board member prospect. He’s a photographer and cool.

    Ken, an African-American, stopped briefly. He is responsible for youth empowerment.

    Kate told the story of a group of wealthy women friends from an Investment Club getting together for a new puppy shower and going hundreds of dollars to the Humane Society.

    We need a recover program from ovedrconsumption.

    Might the UJCCC use the UMC model for distribution of Whose Birthday? The UCC doesn't have connectional ministers, so we need to contact the conference ministers. Jan is thinking about this.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #190

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    Guests at Church of the Saviour UMC

    Credit Card Horror Stories

    Marty has a huge hug collection of bears, books, signs, etc. Her husband Rolf is Grand Master of a fraternal Swedish Society, a retired lighting engineer and a Gideon.

    Their church is part of the International Hospitality Network that houses the homeless at a different church each week.

    They have one son and one grandson.

    Five attended refreshments at Church of the Saviour United Methodist Church, CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH.

    The conversation:

    They showed much interest in Earth-friendly technology.

    Sponsor a Compassion Child for Fathers Day.

    Offer Add Justice to Your Shopping Cart. May be too old.

    The best video for kids about stuff is Madame Blueberry of Veggie Tales.

    They may distribute Whose Birthday? at their October Flea Market.

    Cleveland is a generous city. Muslims are only required to give 2%. Christians are urged to give 10% but don’t even give 2%.

    Thy told numerous credit card horror stories.

    Investigate Berea College, KY, eco-village.

    Liz would be a good board member. She’s 40; has daughters 13 & 16.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #191

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    Bucky's Cook

    Ten attended the luncheon in WASHINGTON, PA (near Pittsburgh) hosted by Clair and Joel C., almost all from local Episcopal church.

    He is a professor of physics at Washington Jefferson University. They are moving to San Diego for six months for his sabbatical.

    Bob E. teaches environmental studies and is working to move the university toward sustainability. He has seen the value of shelterbelts in farm land to preserve top soil. He worked in East Africa for ten years, served in the Peace Corps in Kenya.

    Her family has money. She’s inherited many large heirlooms because her orphaned father grew up with a famous French author (Secret Garden, Little Prince, etc.)

    He see's a negative attitude toward Judeo-Christian values on the environment in almost all college textbooks.

    What is needed is a comprehensive site for links to other sites where people can find technical information about living simply, such as buying a hybrid car. One stop shopping. Bob E. will send his many links.

    Clair was a cook for Bucky (Buckminster Fuller) one summer when she was younger. He owned an island off of Maine.

    Our relationship with Christ is primary. We can't let Simple Living detract us from that.

    We fill lost of voids with stuff.

    Read The Journey of Desire by John Eldridge.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #192

    Free Spirit

    Bobbie H. hosted us for supper at her home with 10 friends in GREENSBURG, PA.

    Bobbie coordinates the annual Pennsylvania Sings! Concert. She's a free spirit, ordained in the American Baptist Church, she has served Methodist, UCC and Presbyterian churches.

    She married Tom, a local doctor, in her mid-40s and they bought a huge old house which they are gradually and somewhat grudgingly fixing up.

    One animal rights activist says, I won't eat anything with which I can long maintain eye contact. That eliminates chicken and fish. This comes from a former priest who has taught medical ethics.

    Several have been touched by the emphasis on relationships modeled by the Bruderhof.

    We miss out on benefits when we don’t use credit cards.

    We benefit from corrupt corporations.

    The preparation for Christmas seems to start earlier each year.

    Much interest in Earth-friendly technology, especially solar panels.

    One older couple was serious bikers, placing second in international competition.

    Bobbie said of Life Membership, I think we can do that.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #193


    Janet R.

    Rescued from a Wreck

    We visited Hershey, PA, and we were on our way Lititz to see the pretzel factory when we were rear-ended at a high rate of speed. The car was totaled. We rented a car and are looking for a replacement. I have a sore right foot.

    Janet's assertive, mid-40s, Lancaster, PA, has been remarried 7 years to Kevin. Her daughter, 20, and her boyfriend may be board prospects. She has an interesting story to tell about her first failed marriage and the challenges of raising her daughter alone. She’s an RN now doing research on health issues among the Amish.

    Check out Mennonite Your

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #194

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    Guests at Grace UMC

    Car Ministry

    Grace UMC, SHREWSBURY, PA, has a car ministry. A group receives car donations, repairs them and gives them away to needy families (mostly Screened by a social service agency).

    Do Justice needs to be one-on-one in our daily lives. Touch those whom you wouldn't normally touch.

    The Angel Tree is a mixed blessing. Poor kids get gifts but it also promotes buying and desire for stuff.

    George and Sue L. are UJSO volunteers, meeting returning soldiers.

    Offer a premarital course before the couple gets into debt. Investigate Dave Ramney Money course and Oprah's Debt Diet.

    Challenge of merging two families traditions.

    Balanced living better than simple living?

    The Swinglers, our hosts have a joy garden ministry a Victorian garden for teas, receptions, parties, etc. Interested in becoming part of the peaceful garden movement. He works for a military contractor building tanks. She’s given workshops on discerning your spiritual gifts, such as hospitality.

    Rita sprained her ankle.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #195

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    Hosts Stuart & Leslie S.
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    New Hope

    Our host Debbie H. at Thompson Memorial Presbyterian, New Hope, PA, is attending Palmer (formerly Eastern) Seminary at 50 to enter the parish ministry. Patrick is a chemical engineer with Pfizer. He and their two teenage sons are catholic.

    The churches intergenerational Sunday school is studying the s/heroes of the Bible, this week Esther, using a four part agenda: introduction, dramatization, activity (journaling, craft or discussion) and what did we leaned/what can we change.

    Matt is the church youth director, Debbie the adult ed director, Debby Gatto the children's ed director. Stuart and Leslie have sons Sam and Miles, 3 & 7. He attended Fuller. She’s a professor at Rowan (?) University. She wants to offer a simple living elective class but is reluctant to take on another responsibility. She says she’s the kind of person that tends to take on too much.

    Put her in touch with the academics of The Simplicity Forum.

    35 attended the luncheon and 45 minute presentation/discussion.

    Keep producing the Lenten and Advent devotionals. Leslie gave up desserts for Advent to feel calm, slow and different. She asked her family and husbands family for no Christmas gifts, denotations to charity instead. They complied. Now the other adult family members do the same.

    Easily available credit cards improperly handled can have an impact on getting a job.

    Use technology but avoid the temptation of the latest technology. It leads to waste and pollution.

    When we applied for a mortgage, the lender knew that we had missed a car payment 30 years before!

    The church holds spring and fall rummage sales so that families, especially kids can have cheap clothes. We give the profit ($2000+) to charity and give the leftovers to Good Will. It's fun!

    Stuart takes a 2-1/2 day retreat the third week in December by saying no to too many commitments. Now several other pastors go with him.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #196


    Presbyterian Hunger Action Enabler Shaunel with her baby and Nancy

    Average US Wedding Now $27,850

    Nancy W. hosted us for supper at her home with friends in PENN VALLEY, PA.

    According to the New York Times, the average US wedding is now $27,850.

    Rather than creating new resource on financial literacy, piggy back on the many resources that already exist.

    Simple living is a struggle. Speak to it. What works, what does not.

    People (kids) want understanding and time.

    Nancy is the director of a family foundation that helps underprivileged kids in the Philly area. She has two King Spaniels and an extensive garden. 50, widow, no kids.

    Read Shaunel's sermon here.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #197

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    Shane at The Simple Way

    Meeting Tony and Shane

    I called Tony Campolo. He was able to see me briefly at 11:30 at Eastern University, Philadelphia. He recommended three young adults for our board of directors: Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, Shane Claiborne and Brook Sexton. The first two have called together groups of young adults. We can connect with organizations through that discussion.

    Tony is willing to do a video for us, a dialog with Shane. Contact Robert G. at Tony's office for other possible videos (like Curing Affluenza which is exclusively distributed by the UMC).

    Shane speaks many places but was able to see us. (See Christianity Today article about New Monasticism.)

    Geez Magazine is doing work similar to ours. We need to seek non-Anglo board members.

    They held successful POPA Festival (People Against Poverty and Apathy) in Kentucky.

    Young adults want practical alternatives for simple living gray water, war, etc.

    We need to bridge generation gap and urban/suburban gap.

    They plan to build a bale monastery on 10 acres gifted to them in Jersey.

    He will speak at The Gathering for the wealthy in AZ.

    Sent board roster. He will consider serving on it.

    Definitely will make video with Tony.

    UPDATE: See the complete final product Simply Enough, plus many photos of the process. Or visit >> Archives >> Audio/Video.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #198

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    Guests at Marney's


    The Last Child in the Woods: Nature Deficit Disorder.

    Marney B. hosted us for refreshments and a meeting of her Simplicity Circle in BETHESDA, MD. 22 attended.

    Environmental educator says deal with embedded attitude in children. Use industrial/non-industrial countries, not developed/developing. We are primitive because we have the least sense of sustainability. Be more humble. Go to other countries to learn, not just to help. Nature must be our first priority. Those who are aware that we are part of nature vs. those who are unaware.

    Diet is important. Eliminate suffering by being vegan. It's compassionate and zero cholesterol.

    The new Network for Spiritual Progressives has similar goals and is forming local chapters.

    Offer our resources in alternative formats for handicapped, different languages.

    Sustainability depends on increasing diversity, nature's way.

    The National Building Museum shows making of Earth-friendly products.

    Reach Moms clubs, play groups with activities to draw in pre-schoolers, especially nature activities. Learn about Hooked on Nature (from Earth Home, Baltimore). They produced The Next Industrial Revolution.

    Kit S. recommends simple living entertainment, e.g., cats.

    At the local Hindu school they sell five cloth shopping bags for $5. They have classes for kids and adults. The family must pledge to use the bags, the kids pledge to remind the parents and to return them to the car for later use. Also, a refrigerator magnet reminds them to use the bags.

    Co-opt culture offer comic books and coloring books about simple living.

    Redefine profit as a benefit. Economics Textbook for the Common Good.

    CNAD has an early alternative gifts fair.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #199


    Kay F.

    Archdiocese of Newark

    Kay is working on immigration reform. The Just Faith program is a 30 week commitment for laypeople to learn the catholic social teachings. It uses books and videos. The people come in touch with reality and have a conversion of mind and heart. The group works with facilitators and other denominations are beginning to use it. Go to

    Kay mails Whose Birthday? to each pastor and CDE and campus ministries in the archdiocese. She then sells copies to parish that order them.

    Although Terry Parsons of Episcopal Stewardship could not see me, her coworker Martha Gardner, came to Newark to meet. She and Kay work on numerous projects together, such as the Bread for the World Offering of Letters. (Kay has served on the Bread board in the past.) Martha also works part-time for the Episcopal Diocese of Newark. She would like to know how many Episcopal churches order Whose Birthday? Notify her when we mail it to congregations so she can send out an email reminder.

    Both Kay and Martha will distribute material at events. For example, an environmental group can see that simple living is related to global warming. The New Jersey Catholic coalition for environmental justice has published a seven-session booklet for individuals and small groups.

    Martha would like to include our New Jersey volunteers as part of a New Jersey Council of Churches event. This could serve as a model for future support and training of our volunteers. (Like the Mass. Council of Churches and Take Back Your Time Day.)

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #200


    Lorelei O. hosted us at Presbyterian Camp, JOHNSONBURG, NJ. Eight attended, including one young adult and two Hunger action enablers (one drove 2-1/2 hours!)

    Our family of five kids donated an ark and then hung the certificate near our front door. The kids didn't resent not getting presents and guests ask us about it.

    The camp gives out a different bumper sticker each year to counselors. They end up on guitar cases and clip boards of staff.

    I give kids books for nephews and nieces.

    Tis a Gift is great for women's groups.

    I am divorced and each Christmas give less. The other side of the family is the opposite. It is a struggle.

    Purge kids toys before each Christmas and birthday.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #201
    xxx xxx xxx

    Guests and apparel

    Simple Not Harsh

    13 attended supper at First Congregational Church, VERONA, NJ, hosted by Marjorie R.

    Encourage viewership of Inconvenient Truth. Let's pressure automakers to design fuel efficient cars.

    Speak to the young. There's great potential in their energy and rebellious streak.

    Living simply is not living harshly.

    Care of Creation is not simple. It takes time.

    Subsidies to farmers and industry are a problem.

    Use Craigs List as a model.

    Use the clotheslines. Kids think clothespins are fun.

    Google pays $5000 to each employee that buys a hybrid car to cover the cost difference.

    Use excess brine water from the water softener to flush toilets.

    Marge is a research psychologist., formerly with the UCC. She runs the Population and Environmental Psychology Listserve. She’s willing to include information from the academics on the Simplicity Forum.

    Older adults are pew renters; Young adults are time share. How do we do ministry with them. (See article) Church no longer one size fits all. We need 12 flavors, mustn't be critical of the young.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #202


    Sung O-L


    Although I wasn't able to meet with Jan L. or Lois D. of United Methodist Women, Sung-O. was very interested in our work. She ordered numerous items and pledged a $300 annual membership. She runs the UMWs Green Teams and allowed me to take the list to add to our mailing list. She promotes community action through environmental and economic justice. She will write an article for Whose Birthday? 2007.

    I met Linda B. briefly. She said that Paul D., head of UMCOR, would be interested in sponsoring Whose Birthday? again if they can figure out a way to track contributions that are received from it.

    Her comment earlier that Alternatives' was "too oldie" spirred us the start the Young Adult Initiative, including a make-over of our web site and resources.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #203


    Fr. R.

    Budgeting Critical

    Father Charles R. offers mass twice daily to the 45 nuns at Mt. St. Frances, PEEKSKILL, NY.

    50 attended, mostly nuns and associates, though several came from a neighboring parish and one UMC pastor.

    The conversation:

    Budgeting is critical, whether your income is large or small.

    We are a disaster zone.

    Priest sees limos for weddings getting bigger and more numerous.

    My mom asked, "Do you really needed this?" but never "You can't have it."

    Send Wedding Alternatives to the leaders of the pre-Cana course in the Archdiocese of New York and encourage them to include it in their resource list.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #204


    Dita and Bob


    A wonderful swin and lunch with friends Bob & Dita E., MUNSONVILLE, NH. Bob hopes to fully retire in two years. They do a lot of entertaining and fundraising at their lake home for music and the Democratic Party.

    120 signed up for the Hunger Track at the Global Mission Event, in Amherst, MA. 40 showed up. We had the largest (8) of the nine caucuses. I introduced the five life standards and then we applied the ten areas of life from Living More with less to the simulation of a plant closing in Center City.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #205

    xxx xxx xxx

    GME Participants

    Global Mission Event

    We had a total of over 100 show up for our two identical workshops. At the outdoor Global we engaged over 100 people in The Anytime Game and gave away a free copy to each.

    The conversations:

    Needed resource: How congregations can live simply. Read Bob S' Beyond Simplicity series.

    Moving is costly. Complicated is destructive.

    Post a sign that says, simplify.

    Advocate for public transportation.

    Need a more effective power mower.

    Reclaim Advent, then celebrate the 12 days of Christmas; e.g. use the backs of bulletin covers for stationery.

    Have an adventure with children and grandchildren instead of gifts.

    How young adults can spend time together without cost cheap dates.

    Take trips throughout the year with relatives.


    My retirement gift to myself is to clean out my house in two years.

    Use industrial hemp instead of plastic favor cars, etc.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #206

    xxx xxx xxx xxx

    GME Participants

    More GME

    1:45 session, 35+ attended.

    Instead of a dehumidifier, use a fan and open windows in the basement.

    For a wedding gift, bring something for the wedding dinner.

    We get rid of 2000 pounds per year. You can't organize clutter.

    Getting rid of clothes and stuff is it a grace filled experience or a feeling of deprivation?

    In some neighborhoods we have a guarded attitude about our stuff.

    It was humiliating to see how much stuff we'd accumulated in seven years. Who owns whom?

    The decision to tithe frees us to say no to offers of insurance. We're freed from future fears once a portion of our income is dedicated.

    Make gifts for people crafting. Invitations say Homemade gifts preferred.

    A toddler gave grandparents glory to God as part of the Christmas story. I learned and played some classical piano pieces on Christmas morning for my grandparents who paid for my piano lessons as a child.

    The gray water from the sink can be used to flush the toilet.

    Check out the book In praise of SLOW (UK, 2005)

    Have a natural disaster birthday party to raise funds for charity.

    We give gifts while were together but not at Christmas so we don’t dilute the Christmas story.

    We spent a lot of energy moving ourselves and our supplies from location to location on this sprawling campus.

    As I was going up to my room Ed K., the Director of Stewardship for ELCA stopped me. We talked about the possibilities of including Simple Living in an assessment tool. He has done work in Iowa and elsewhere in alternative ag. (not organic farming). He will be in touch.

    The 3 Rs of stewardship (offering) Right-off-the-top, realistic, regular.

    Campaign to save water, e.g. showers.

    Sun., a.m. GME closing worship. All the worship was exuberant, using mostly music from non-English speaking countries. For the closing Eucharist, numerous breads were used, each representing needs of the world.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #207

    xxx xxx


    Zillions of Worms

    David M. hosted us at Orange Congregational Church, ORANGE, CT.

    They spend three months each year in Florida, one day a week as a tour guide at Echo. He’s a former high school English teacher who spent a couple of years as an administrator.

    David has written a book on gardening Zillions of Worms. He’s working on a new book about how our andocentric culture blinds us, e.g. about the founding mothers (see The Descent of Woman). Anthropologists tend to ignore women and children. From a religious point of view what is heroism? What formed George Washington? The da Vinci Code hits at human experience. What is the role of the Virgin Mary?

    22 attended. Let's have a circle twice a month for four months -- that's a reachable moment.

    For a non-gift Christmas give gifts of ourselves.

    A grandparent takes a child to the Garbage Museum in Stratford to make craft gifts from trash.

    Now they are making hydrogen from garbage.

    Clean electricity is not as expensive as I thought.

    The free Grist site has a sense of humor, a beacon in the smog.

    Contact the National Association of Manufacturers to get them to take back their products.

    More gold is now taken out of electronics than is mined.

    Recycle cell phones through senior centers, battered women's centers and fire departments.

    Spread success stories, whatever the reasons or motives.

    The UCC has had individual spiritual development retreats or togethers around food regionally once per month. Nationally 50 of 600 members of the Spiritual Development Network met annually. They need something to take away, an aha experience. The core group must transfer their passion. Now he’s working on how to make a profit from your passion.

    We replaced our artificial Christmas tree with a live Norfolk pine. It's pathetic but flies in the face of commercialism.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #208

    Two Thumbs Up

    Fr. John C. hosted us for lunch in SOUTHINGTON, CT with a friend.

    Father John has diabetes and MS. He’s a diocesan contemplative. He will proofread our spiritual resources.

    Pastor Wayne has an intergenerational Tuesday night Sunday School with pizza.

    When he was in Chicago recently for a conference he noticed a high concentration of young adults in Lincoln Park.

    Contact denominational young adult ministries, such as Episcopal Asst. Bishop Peter Rozaza, and CHARIS for Catholics in their 20's-30's. Also the Catholic Youth Foundation. Fr. John will send director's name.

    Be ready for the housing market collapse.

    Believing-Hearing-Doing-Living -- need all four.

    Exchange gifts on St. Nicholas Day, leave Christmas for Jesus. Hand out chocolates, or ask everyone to take off their shoes; after the service they are filled with goodies.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #209

    Reverse Peace Corps

    Elizabeth (Bunny) and Dan R. hosted us for supper with friends at their home in East Greenwich, RI.

    Bunny teaches cello. Dan is a semi-retired surgeon. They love kayaking and hiking, especially the Grand Canyon. Experience everything I need is on my back for a week. Read Desert Solitude by Albee.

    Tony L. teaches at Salve Regina University. He suggests contacting the campus ministry offices.

    Gregg D. is the faculty advisor for the Sustainability Club for the Coast Guard College.

    Focus on teens too through diocesan confirmation classes.

    Families of young children have a hard time finding people who think alike.

    A key person for a simplicity circle is probably not the pastor, more likely an interested teacher, an older adult who can manage the hospitality.

    JtA - Journey to Adulthood - travels to learn from Native Americans. Contact the Episcopal diocesan youth coordinator.

    At a birthday party bring a Teddy Bear to give to abused children.

    She likes Don Aslet's cleaning books. Find the sweet spot of balance. Minimalist can be too time and energy consuming.

    Agape Community in Ware, MA, has built a straw bale house and offers retreats.

    Richard Feyhee (?) of the catholic homesteading movement in upstate New York.

    Our son took cooking lessons and prepared a gourmet Christmas dinner for the family of 12 as his gift.

    Offer a peek inside childrens books in the eStore.

    Sell the concept of a Reverse Peace Corps to a wealthy person. Young adults learn from other countries and bring back ideas. Showcase them at a conference.

    Renewal Magazine from Waldorf twice a year goes to every Waldorf parent. Worth considering for advertising.

    Add a Waldorf school visit to a future itinerary.

    Pitch our green focus for grants to the likes of Gates/Buffet. Preselling necessary. Susan Bosworth will try to find some grant leads.

    Investigate Carla Emory's Encyclopedia of Country Living. Bunny, a catholic, uses the Mennonite Charitable Gift Fund (a CGF), PO Box 483, Goshen, IN 46527.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #210



    Alternative Christmas Gifts

    Collete W. invited us to lunch St. Stephen Episcopal Church, COHASSET, MA (So. Boston). Four attended.

    The conversation:

    Save warm-up water at the sink. Use dehumidifier water for new shrubs.

    Adults draw names at Thanksgiving for Christmas.

    I take one grandchild to the Alternative Giving Market each year. They really like deciding who will receive the donation in their name.

    I give a heifer donation certificate to staff members and Sunday School teachers with a piece of Fair Trade chocolate in a gift bag.

    We hang the Christmas ornament for Plant-a-Tree from the National Wildlife Federation.

    I put money aside for each grandchild for college; also I give book gift certificates and go with them to pick out their book.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #211


    Due to miscommunication, the event in NORTH ANDOVER, MA, did not happen. Carol R. has been working at hospitality coordinator at Rolling Ridge Conference Center (UMC) since January, so she arranged for us to stay there. She and I had a productive conversation. I met the new director, Larry P., who has written for Alternatives in the distant past.

    Carol is active in MAPA (Mision a Paradiso ahora), a mutual ministry in the Dominican Republic. A group goes there annually to provide salaries for five teachers, school and medical supplies and building projects. Although a project of the New England Conference, the volunteers are primarily from First UMC, North Andover. She wears a bracelet of prayer beads from the village where they have 85% unemployment.

    Larry sees simplicity as popular again. His programming is shifting from youth to adults at the conference center. He suggests the Board of Discipleship (Karen Greenwaldt) as a sponsor. Contract the Quakers, especially the Philadelphia yearly meeting and Pendle Hill Retreat Center.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #212

    xxx xxx xxx

    Guests at Tabernacle UMC
    Jean's three boys

    A Galvanizing Event

    Jean J. hosted us for supper with friends at Tabernacle United Methodist Church, BINGHAMTON, NY.

    Jean, a St. Olaf grad, works three days a week. Dave has been a faculty member in the geology department at SUNY-Binghamton for over 20 years. They've been married 25 years. Their three sons are a college freshman in Lancaster, PA; a high school senior (cellist) and a sixth grader (Andrew) who has gerbil named Snuffles.

    The presentation was recorded by Stephan (STEF-an) of Indymedia-Binghampton for his weekly 60-minute program on the local public access channel. He will send me a VHS copy. He says that activists need a galvanizing event, like their recent Peace Picnic or the trial of the St. Patrick Four.

    25 attended. It was so warm that I competed with a loud fan.

    Recommended book: The Gospel According to Larry, in which Larry limits himself to 75 possessions.

    Consider a summer internship program in which teams of two students would give a presentation throughout their county, region or state.

    For Secret Santa, give notes of encouragement instead of knick-knacks. Put limits on office gift giving.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #213

    Gratitude Is the Key

    Catherine A. hosted us for lunch with eight at Quaker Meeting House, BETHLEHEM, PA.

    Catherine works for Diakon Lutheran elder care. Her bumper sticker says, We don't have a democracy, we have a auction.

    She is working on a NE Penn Synod Women's retreat, Feb 7th on Happiness -- cultural, psychological and theological aspects, with psychology Professor Elissa Wurf, who has taught courses on money. Muhlenberg College I has a Center for Jewish and Christian understanding. She taught simplicity and sustainability at Green Mountain College, VT.

    In Lincoln: Team of Rivals, Lincoln was seem wearing homemade socks.

    Contact Jubilee Partners, Comer, GA, for Whose Birthday?

    We need to be subliminal models.

    The crisis of divorce led me to Your Money or Your Life, not a spiritual motivation. I'm now living on a smaller income playfully.

    Simple Living is fun, not deprivation. It's inspiring, comforting. It limits our choices, so we're not inundated. It makes it easier to shop. Read Barry Schwartz Paradox of Choice. Share research on shopping in a simplicity circle.

    Some folks don’t see the connection of big issues and small daily decisions.

    We need to break the grip of powerlessness and apathy, as in Hope's Edge.

    Gratitude is the key to simple living.

    My in-laws are grieving not having enough money to buy things. It is exciting to choose favorites, not to buy it.

    Let's set up a toy borrowing library. Bring in three toys, take three toys. Focus on simple toys that engage kids creativity. Many children's books now require batteries.

    Redirect the creativity of shopping to something else, especially for using recycled items and materials.

    I learned Simple Living in Germany after World War II. The Green party has had a positive influence on current German society.

    A whiter Elephant gift exchange is fun. Swap gifts, then steal one you prefer.

    Young adults are concerned about debt.

    Peak oil is my main concern.

    Catherine may share these lists: 1) Simple Living Group, 2) Alliance of Simple Living, 3) Sustainable Business, 4) Retreat participants.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #214

    Mission Mall

    Debb L. hosted us for supper at her home in MIFFLINVILLE, PA. 12 attended.

    Debb's church has a Mission Mall. Deb works as a part-time office manager. Gregg works at a nuclear power plant. Debb's trying to persuade Gregg to become life members.

    Simple Living is not chaos.

    Reaching out to young adults must not be overpowering. Don’t should on me!

    Encourage kids to go outside.

    Make gifts to exchange canning, jellies, etc. Do canning together. Develop a taste for real food. Teach kids to eat and not complain.

    Grandparents can pay for pre-school.

    Experiences nurture relationships.

    We have weekly family gathering with a picnic and swimming.

    Riding bike to work and eating organically can be difficult. Colleagues tease.

    Live differently from the fast world. At first different is a loss, and then it is special.

    Experience gathering food.

    Important lesson: you pay for what you get. Local and organic food feeds self and neighbors. The same is true with furniture and other necessities. Get out of the disposable lifestyle by taking care of the things we need. Develop a long time relationship with useful stuff.

    Contact the PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture at It melds desire for the sacred with sustainability (like kosher).

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #215


    CD FundRaiser

    Fr. Paul S. hosted us for lunch at St Mark's Church, EMPORIUM, PA. He gave the proceeds from his Christmas CD to Alternatives.

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    POST #216

    Camp News

    This dinner in MEADVILLE, PA, with friends Brian & Jane M. was changed to Saturday so that we could return to Reading to buy a 2005 replacement Honda Civic Hybrid.

    Beth and her doctor husband are working to adopt a child from Tanzania. She currently is youth ministry staffer for the synod.

    80% of the congregations in this synod are not connected to the internet. Much of western Pennsylvania leads an Appalachian lifestyle.

    Augsburg has a new web-base curriculum called Akaloo (based on Greek for "follow"). They flew one representative from each synod to La Crosse, Wisconsin, to evaluate it but it was not well developed, Beth said.

    For her 12th birthday, their daughter requested only cash and gave $150 to a hospital in Tanzania.

    Lutherlyn Camp in Butler, PA, has a bale house. Pr. Randy Gullickson does outreach to local schools.

    Homestead Camp, Columbus, OH, has a bunkhouse and no electricity, does not allow electronic devices. Kids keep coming back.

    Contact Lee Lindemann at Chautauqua Camp in upstate New York.

    New parents are the hardest hit by advertising. They are made to feel guilty if they don’t provide.

    Jane Moran help with a financial literacy program.

    Allegheny College offers Third World education but it doesn't seem to catch on. How about one semester with no car, no electricity? French Creek environmental center promotes energy efficiency.

    Beth will ask synod to give Whose Birthday? to each congregation as part of the youth activity binder. Whose Birthday flyer in next issue of The Fountain newsletter?

    The Comfy Chair is a 6th-7th grade Sunday School program from Augsburg.

    Brian and Beth will send an annotated list of referrals.

    Aug. 6, Sat., OH & IN: Nice side trip to Toledo

    Aug. 7, Sun., IL & IA

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    Simple Livers need to support each other, even if they are far apart.

    END NorthEast Tour

    Return to Table of Contents (top)

    Local Events

    POST #217

    xxx xxx

    MFSA Keynote

    I was the key-noter for the annual meeting of the Iowa Chapter of Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), at Grace United Methodist Church, Des Moines. About 30 attended.

    The conversation:

    We have a generational difference. Older folks have the World War II (or Great Depression) mentality. We save.

    Our kids send money to Heifer Intl. in our names. We still give presents to our grand kids.

    We have a tension between the need for work and that work producing stuff we don’t need.

    We see kids coming back to organic farms in North Dakota. With locally produced food, we know the farmer. Organic reduces the input of fertilizers and pesticides by $100 per acre.

    Collectibles are a problem.

    Later I received the following notes.


    Thanks so much for speaking to MFSA on Saturday. We got a lot of positive feedback. People not only felt that the presentation was effective, they felt "convicted" and "challenged" in the own personal lives. Many of our programs have been "heady." Yours went straight to the heart. Thanks. Jim Davis

    Dear Gerald:

    Thanks so much for bringing your excellent program to our MFSA meeting last Saturday! I heard many positive comments, and the evaluations were also very appreciative of your message. This is an area where all of us have much room for improvement, and you not only reminded us of that, but also gave us information and ideas to help us make positive steps toward that improvement.

    With best wishes, Eloise Cranke

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    POST #218

    Northwestern College Panel

    After viewing Al Gore - An Inconvenient Truth - the previous week, about 50 students, faculty and staff in ORANGE CITY, IA, gathered for a panel discussion of the Christian response of to Global Climate Change. It was organized and moderated by Sean C., physics professor and author of a yet unpublished manuscript on the Christian response of Peak Oil.

    The panel included (from the college) an economics professor, the Chief Financial Officer, a religion professor, and two from Sioux City: me and Jim R., Sierra Club activist (and English professor from Briar Cliff University).

    What I learned is how frustrating it is to be on a panel with five other aging white guys. I met most of the attendees and handed out our summer mini-catalog. The head of the student Green group expressed interest in bringing a group down to see The Earth Dome.

    Jim and I got well acquainted.

    UPDATE: Some eight students later visited The Earth Dome in Sergeant Bluff, listened to my Living Simply and Loving It, followed by discussion. Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    POST #219


    Some of the many guests at the Earth Dome
    Sunday, Oct. 29, 4-5 p.m., I met with Pastors Gary and Michael S. of Nuestro Salvador at Spirit of Life Lutheran, Sergeant Bluff, and some of their youth for an Adviento service project and Las Posadas demonstration sponsored by Thrivent Financial.

    Thursday, Nov. 9, Thur., 7 p.m. I offered refreshments and conversation at The Earth Dome in Sergeant Bluff. Diane N., who runs Sharing the Dream, a Fair Trade store in Vermillion, SD, and High school counselor in Sioux City and her husband Ed, a SD prison minister, brought two of their friends from Univ. of SD, who became members. He uses our library for his Sunday School class. Diane travels each year to Guatemala to buy crafts and do service projects in their adopted village.

    xxx xxx

    Melinda and Zoe
    Sunday, Nov. 12, board member Melinda Z., Pete and Angela Iversen and I made a road trip to hear and meet Shane Claiborne (author of The Irresistible Revolution) in Omaha, NE, at Word Made Flesh / Beggars Society. Pete recorded the presentation, which they uploaded to their web site and which we used on our Donor DVD for our big project for 2007, Tony & Shane Explore Simpler Living. See Shane's and Tony's appeals for the project.

    Monday, Nov. 13, Mon., 6-7:30 p.m. Glenda and Gene H. hosted me for supper and conversation, with a few friends, in Sioux City.

    Tuesday, Nov. 21, I gave a brief presentation to Friends of Stone Park, at Sioux City's Nature Center, hosted by Jim R.

    Tuesday, Dec. 12th I spoke to the Morningside Early Risers Kiwanis club, hosted by Pastor Jon G. of Grace UMC. The question of distributive justice came up and I have a chance to promote the ONE campaign, part of the Millennium Development Goals of the UN (What Can One Person Do?)

    Next time:

    Why this blog? Visit post #1.

    xxx xxx xxx xxx
    Local Girl Scouts and their families help create a Environmental Demonstration Project at The Earth Dome.

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    Page updated 15 March 2013