Customer Responses, 1999



I am looking for information about "Consumo Must Go!" It sounds like something I might want to use with the kids at our church this fall.

Consumo and your website were mentioned in a denominational mailing that I receive (Church of the Brethren). Actually I used some of your stuff years ago for a youth lock-in, but you had slipped out of my mind. I have used the "Whose Birthday" booklet, too, but wasn't aware that you folks were responsible for that, too. I ordered the Consumo Kit on line. Thanks. Keep up the good work. Take care & God bless. Linda Logan

[The Consumo Campaign Kit is $5 postpaid. For more information about Consumo on our website go to "catalog:" "cover:" "main editorial."]



"Unplug the Christmas Machine" meets a need to avoid commercialism. Great service. - Andrea Edwards-Hughes, Washington DC


Hello. Thanks for your work on protest against the commercialization of Christmas and focusing on Simplicity! I have enjoyed reading "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" since 1990. The last two years I have been blessed to be able to teach the course "Unplug the Christmas Machine" here in Reykjavík, Iceland, in Icelandic. My husband (Jón Baldursson) gets your Occasional Brief E-mail Newsletter and forwards it to me. But I would like to get it directly from you instead. Be blessed, Kristjana G. Eythorsdottir


I did a workshop using "Break Forth Into Joy" yesterday...I expected about 12 people; 33 showed up...some were standing some sitting on the floor. Maybe "Simple Living" is becoming an important message. I had bought 20 copies of "Whose B'day Is It Anyway" to use as a handout and now need to order more for those who did not receive it. Shalom, MaryLynn




Comments on Simplicity Sp@mmer #11: Alternatives Challenges Consumo


GREAT piece on "Consumo." Bouquets to author! I'd like to pass on "Consumo" to others. Hope all goes well. Quite sure you're at least as busy as you want to be... happy "Consumo" season! - Richard S. Webster, Worthington, OH


Thanks! I've submitted it for our newsletter at the San Diego 1st Church of the Brethren. :) LKW Linda K. Williams



Very creative and thought provoking! - Elysha Iversen, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN


Your recent dialogue with Consumo was great. David Zahrt, Turin, IA


I wonder if you realize the subtle irony of your recent e-mail. I'm sure you have thought about it - and I'm sure that other people may have brought it to your attention, but it is interesting that you portray marketing and consumption as the evils of the western world, but then attach an addendum regarding the availability of items to "purchase" in order to fight "Consumo".

So the alternative to consumption is consumption. Hmmm....

Maybe it would be worthwhile for your Simplicity Spammer articles to include recognition of this fact, and then some reflections and response to it. In that way, you might recognize explicitly the grey-ness of the issue, rather than portraying the dichotomy of "ConsumoAlternative" in such black & white terms.

In Suffering & Joy, Clint Schnekloth (email)

[Greetings, Clint, You recognize our dilemma. In a perfect world we would make our materials available free of charge. Or we would not even need to be here! So we follow what we consider ethical business principles, including: 1. We are a non-profit, mission driven organization, not a profit driven one. 2. We use recycled paper in everything that we produce.

We use humor, such as "Consumo," "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" etc. In creating the supervillan Consumo we use language in that style.

Thanks again for your insightful note. We value your opinion. Peace, Gerald]




I thought I'd respond via this handy email system.

We ordered 50 copies of "Unplug the Christmas Machine Participant Manuals." I ordered them on the 6th by telephone. We received them the 10th -- you always have very fast service! We are always pleased with your materials.

We plan to use the manuals in a workshop in a Catholic parish. We have given a few of these workshops the past couple years.

We will continue to offer this as a workshop out of our office for our parishes.

I personally became familiar with your materials from Sr. Geraldine Hedinger when I started working for the Catholic Diocese of Evansville two years ago. Since becoming familiar with your materials, I have ordered several books from you to use with our Social Action Commission at my home parish. We plan to use these materials to write articles for our bulletins and newsletters (giving credit to the author of course when cited and to give your phone number and the Alternatives name so our parishioners can order materials for themselves if they wish).

We also plan to put the books we ordered in our parish library.

I have also become aware of your bulletin inserts because I have the day by day calendar. I have, for almost two years, tried to have our parish put these inserts into our bulletin (with no luck). I have come to acknowledge that our parishioners aren't ready for some of the ideas suggested in the calendar. But, who is ever totally ready? Anyway, we plan to do the articles for a year or two, and then maybe do the calendar inserts, after they've had

some preparation.

I have a great enthusiasm for your materials, and I suggest them

every chance I get. --Donna Gish, Assistant Director, Office for Adult Formation, Catholic Diocese of Evansville




I used "Unplug the Christmas Machine" Leader's Guide as a two session Sunday School offering. It's good quality and promotes values we need to embrace. - Renee Rico, Wasatch Presbyterian Church, Salt Lake City, UT


We will give "Whose Birthday...?" to church families. Great material. It's raised my consciousness! - M.L. Campo, Millan, GA


We plan to use "Unplug the Christmas Machine" and "Whose Birthday...?" for Advent, Sunday School and family ideas. - Cathy Eckert, Prairie Valley, KS


I ordered "Whose Birthday...?" for personal use and Sunday School. I am always looking for new ideas and materials. Your prices are good and service, too! I want to get back to a Christ-Centered way of celebration in church and my life. - Brenda J. Lee, Scott City, MO



I plan to use "Christmas Angels" for Church School class and activity period for children and grandchildren. Price a bit high for copies. Alternatives has wonderful, creative resources. Service excellent. I love the bulletin insert "Santa doesn't come to the poor. Jesus did. Will you?" and others from the 1980's that depict secular abuse of Christian holidays. I still use them for church bulletin boards. - Joan McLellan, Alexandria, VA


I plan to use "Whose Birthday...?" individually and with my family. - Bruce Kittle, Madison WI


I plan to use the Global Angel Garland Advent Calendar with women in a devotional. Excellent focus. - Janet Hogstrom, Missouri City, TX


I plan to use "Whose Birthday...?" as a resource for Earth Ministry colleagues. Alternatives is very useful in our work. - Tanya Becker, Seattle, WA


I plan to use "Whose Birthday...?" for Junior High Liturgy. Love the message it sends. - Saint Michael Religious Education, Wheaton, IL




"Whose Birthday...?" is just what I wanted for our Advent brunch. I will also read it and play the games with grandchildren. I think we all need simpler lives. Much good info, reasonably priced, timely receipt. - Alyce L. Pinnola, Kenosha, WI


I received the children Christmas books and "Whose Birthday...?" to educate myself about removing the commercialism from Christmas. - Ellington, Vale, NC


I heard about "The Alternative Wedding Book" from a friend who had used it. I plan to use it in planning a wedding. - Rachel A. Eash, Wichita, KS


We distributed your Advent calendar to all church members in our monthly newsletter. Good quality, faith based, easy to order. - Marnie Abraham Russell, Jeannette, PA




I am distributing "Whose Birthday...?" to various departments for Advent resource and passing your catalog on to the Elementary School Principal. You're doing a great work! - St. Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, MN

Thank you for wonderful catalogue with a wealth of ideas and practices to live by. - Pastor Lisa Bodenheim, Alma, WI


We gave "Whose Birthday...?" to families in our congregation. - La Crescenta, CA, Presbyterian


Thank you for going out of your way to see I got the materials fast. God bless. S. Madeleine Perkins, Aurora, IL




I'll probably turn "Whose Birthday...?" over to a parish committee. - Ralph Lee, Arcadio, MO


I plan to use "Whose Birthday...?" with my children for evening devotions. - Elizabeth Murphy, Springfield, VA


I plan to give copies of your resource to pastor and friends and use them in our family. I heard about them on the American Baptists Web page. - Mildred F. Peck, Clifton, NY


I plan to use the "Alternative Wedding Book" for my daughter's wedding. - Carol Higgens, Vicksburg, MI




I shared "Whose Birthday...?" with my prayer group. I'm recommending your work to our Parish Director of Formation (who also pays the bill). - Sr. Mary Kornely, Milwaukee, WI


I'm using "Unplug the Christmas Machine" and "Voluntary Simplicity" for personal growth. I am becoming a simple liver. Thank you for your ministry! EXCELLENT SERVICE!! - Lauren Cogswell, Decatur, GA


I plan to share "Adviento" and "Whose Birthday...?" with local families. Thanks for the Spanish resources. - Rev. Ed Brandt, Oregon Farm Worker Ministry, Dallas, OR


I am giving out "Whose Birthday?" to parishioners at two church locations. It's useful material. I am pleased with publications that use specific denominations and cater to their beliefs, wordings, resources, etc. - Jane Cheyne, New Haven, MI




I received "Whose Birthday...?" to simplify my life and give of myself to others more. To try to get Christ back into the center of Christmas and our lives. - Judy Lemler, Bourbon, IN


Good to have information on simple lifestyle/alternative celebrations/community all in one place. I hope to encourage our small Catholic mission along these lines. Peace! Thanks! - Polly Duncan Collum, Tippah County Catholic Community, Ripley, MS


"Whose Birthday...?" has good new ideas on how to avoid commercialism. Maybe a little over zealous, for instance, avoiding Christmas music. I feel some music even makes things more spiritual. - Julie Small, Carrollton, TX


We use your material for C.E. and other church projects. - Ruth Woodruff, Niles, MI




I received a gift certificate from friends as a wedding gift. I use "Before and After Christmas," "Simply Organized" and "May I Have This Dance?" personally, with the family and possibly with our house church. I totally agree with your for existence!! - Janet Reedy, Lancaster, PA


I plan to distribute Alternatives' catalogs and "Whose Birthday...?" to contacts I make as a rep of the ELCA woman's program in Washington state. I like what you have and support what you stand for. I like the latest catalog, as always. Appreciate the 1999 calendar and comments on some items. - Diane Armbrust, Olympia, WA


Hi. Go ahead and keep me on your spam list. I put out a newsletter to Quaker Sunday School teachers in New England, and I recently had a page of my favorite catalogs, and I put in a blurb about Alternatives:

"Alternatives for Simple Living carries titles that promote our mission, support and encourage all of us to live more simply and that best represent the five life principles of voluntary simplicity: Do Justice, Learn from the World Community, Nurture People, Cherish the Natural Order, and Non-Conform Freely." What's not to love? They even make their catalog part of the message; for instance, for their Fall/Holidays catalog, they included a calendar with thoughtful quotes and pictures. Join their organization if you can. 1-800-821-6153.

Keep up the good work and remember your spiritual roots! pax. Chris Jorgenson




"Simplify Your Life" is very real and helpful, a blessing. The "1999 JOY Calendar" is inspirational. I plan to share these and the video "Break Forth into Joy!" with my friends and grow. You have great material, simplification uncovers the true basics of life - love, compassion, service and joy. Glad you're using recycled materials and paper. - Claire Applegate, Houston, TX


I plan to use "364 TV Free Activities" with my grandchildren and to read "'Tis a Gift to Be Simple" for myself. - Judy Applegate, Des Moines, IA


I used "Break Forth into Joy!" in a Sunday School class. Thanks for presenting me with the opportunity to work with your "SLOw Down Network." - Karen Davidson, Washington, DC


I recently used "Voluntary Simplicity," "One World, One Earth," "Play Lightly on the Earth" "365 Outdoor Activities," and "1000 Cranes" with children. Keep your good work up! - Catherine Isabel, Grand Canyon, AZ




We had a really good class, although some of the people thought "12 Weeks to a Simpler Lifestyle" might be more realistic [than 6]! And they loved the "Simple Living Calendar" I gave them for a "graduation present!" Thanks for the advice on the books and the help. Blessings, Charlie West, Grace United Methodist Church, Marquette, MI


"Living More with Less" encourages us to look closely at our lives. I plan to use it for Christian Education class. Your books help us find ways to alter our lives to stop the consumerism that seems out of control. - Marilyn Schlimgren,Powder Spring, GA


I plan to read "The Prince Mammoth Pumpkin" and "The Man Who Planted Trees" to my grandchildren and to use them in my ESL [English as a Second Language] classes with hispanics. I believe in what you're doing. Prompt, fair prices, resources whose message I believe in! - Jane W. Strange, Houston, TX




To help a worthwhile cause, we plan to give as Christmas gifts "What Is a Gift?" "Shalom Connections," "Simple Living Any Day Calendar" and "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" -Sr. Yvonne Horning, Alliance, OH


Thanks very much... everything arrived today! I've really enjoyed most of your materials immensely because they are well thought out as well as tried and true. I'm excited about using them! Keep up the great work. -- Christine Leonard-Osterwalder


Thanks for the great feature on the "Family Pledge of Nonviolence" and "Families Against Violence" resources in your Winter Resource Guide. We appreciate your support of these violence prevention efforts. Peace, Jim Vogt, Parenting for Peace and Justice Network




I looked up your web site as part of our Women of the ELCA summer Bible study based on Micah. The theme for the 1999-2002 triennium for Women of the ELCA is "Live God's Justice." One way the first of the two Bible studies told us we could live God's justice is to identify when we have enough and that indeed we do have too much. Your web site was suggested in the Leader guide as a means to help us take stock in all this. I decided to look you up and then printed out several parts of your web pages to share with my two women's Bible Studies. I most likely will order from you, but just need to check things out first before I do so. Thanks for all the hard work you are doing to help us see that simple living gives us riches beyond belief. Lois Rumfelt


Keep up the good work promoting alternatives to materialism and overconsumption! -Gary Cox


I first read about Alternatives in a "Christmas Festival" story in "The Other Side" 15 years ago and I have been your fan ever since. I am inspired with each catalog and now each e-mail. God bless you. Keep the inspiration coming! You are a blessing. Your fan in Arizona, Socorro


I plan to use "Faith the Cow" and "Call to Peace" for Vacation Bible School. I am always interested in the items you select either personally or for work at church. - Christ Lutheran Church, Fairfax, VA




"Treasury of Celebrations," "A Simple Chrsitmas and "The Heart of a Family" contain wonderful ideas. We plan to include the names of books on family resource lists and on our denominational Advent, Christmas, Epiphany packet list. - Willa Brown, Reformed Church in America, Grand Rapids, MI


We appreciate what you folks are doing and supporting, and are honored that you choose to carry our book, "Rebirth of the Small Family Farm," as part of it. Keep up the good work - truth & justice will assuredly prevail! - Bob Gregson, Washon, WA


I am considering forming a study circle and using "Simpler Living, Compassionate Life." I plan to use "FutureStories" as a family game and a teaching tool in high school. - Kimberly Hardesty, Madisonville, KY


I plan to share "Wedding Alternatives" with pre-marital couples. Good stuff. - Mike McCallum, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MN


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ALTERNATIVES for Simple Living, 109 Gaul Dr. * P.O. Box 340 * Sergeant Bluff, Iowa 51054
800/821-6153 * 712/943-6153 * Fax: 712/943-1402   E-mail: Alternatives@SimpleLiving.org

This page last updated 27 February 2003


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MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.