Customer Responses, 2000



"The Alternative Wedding Book" is exactly what I was looking for - an aternative to contrived ceremonies with too many costly trappings. I'll use it as a planning guide for my November wedding. Fits my values. - Linda Albert, Shoreline, WA


"Women Prints" and "Speaking for Ourselves" gives the information desired in my work with United Methodist Women. I believe in your outlook. - Georgia Lee Colby, Rockton, IL


"Affluenza" and "Break Forth into Joy!" videos are just what I wanted. Simplicity is a nice link to spirituality. - Teri Hall, Gaylord, MI


Thank you for your latest [email] letter. Under the Free Catalog options, I would choose to receive the Fall issue only on paper. You are doing a great job! Gratefully, Sr. Mary A. Smith




Thanks for the photocopy option and the Spanish. - Iglesia Congregational Unida UCC, Albuquerque, NM


I am so glad "Rebirth of the Family Farm" and another copy of your catalog arrived today because my daughter will have time to work with them and incorporate some of the ideas into her presentation at our church next Wednesday evening. What a great set of values your material embodies. And it's high time Americans started thinking about rampant consumerism ("Affluenza"). All the best. - Barbara Heinrich, Environmental & Peace Education Center, Fort Myers, FL


Keep up the good work! - P. Leamans, Lancaster, PA


I am a storyteller. I plan to use your children's book in my programs. -Donna Spaude, Penwaukee, WI


Wish I could contribute more. Keep up the good work! - Judy Carter Muncrief, Silver City, NM




LOVE the slogan for LENT! "Half the Stuff-Twice the Joy!" - Earthpeace, Joyce Rouse


I am 84 and have failing eyesight, etc., so my membership will be "inactive," but I surely believe in the cause! - Willard Garred, Des Moines, IA [10 year member]


I have learned about your organization in New Internationalist magazine. I am a Kenyan novelist interested in poverty alleviation. Kindly send me more information about your activities. Sincerely, David Karanja


I plan to watch "Escape for Affluenza" and share it with interested friends. I'm interested in the simple lifestytle. You have excellent service. - Karen Gutjahr, Denver, CO


I plan to use some items for my own edification, some for church programming and donate some to the Public Library and some to a group study. I have asked our city library to purchase some of your materials. They will buy newly published material for collections at patron request. -- Myrtle Nygren, Fremont, NE




Your existence is inspirational; I hope you know that! - Chandra Peters, Honolulu, HI


I would like to have a copy of the Calendar for Any Year. Thanks for helping us all stay focus on the real thing! -- Kathryn Spry, Nashville, TN.


I love your intent! I am a Pastor and am sharing your values with them! I think it is making a difference in their lives and in ours too! Thanks so much for your wonderful work. Happy Simple Holiday, Patricia Spooner, Aptos, CA


I use "Alternative Weddings," "Treasury of Celebrations" and "To Celebrate" in my own life to create more meaningful rituals and celebrations and to help create a wedding that is personal and reflects who we are. Your resources help motivate me to live the kind of life I believe in. I wish your books were available for library loan to truly promote simplicity and non-consumerism. - Karen Dorf, Minden, NY




I plan to use "Lenten Stories and Reflections" and "Who's Risen..." for worship planning and preaching. Good, thoughtful material. --Wendy Joyner, Americus, GA

I think the Lenten Calendar is valuable. We redesigned it for our Mercy Justice Committee but used the content and paid for those we distributed. --Mary Smith, Albany, NY

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

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

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

I would like to have a copy of the Calendar for Any Year. Thanks for helping us all stay focus on the real thing! --Kathryn Spry, Nashville, TN.



We plan to use Passover Seder, 40 day Lenten calendar on Change and the Lenten Poster Sampler in Sunday School. I first used your resources 10 years ago. You have the right world view. Make sure your address, phone number are available through mainline denominations offices! - Rev. Lisa Telsmen, First UMC, Lombard, IL

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

By the way, my goal this spring is to "clean out" the house -- getting rid of all the stuff we don't use. Our family is growing and people keep telling me I need a bigger (read larger mortgage payments) house I keep saying I don't need a bigger house -- just less stuff and people look at me as if I'm nuts. Terry Abdoo King, Arlington, VA

I have read the article regarding simple living i.e., celebrating Christmas and Easter in the Catholic Herald this week. This article is very helpful for me to fight the desire to constantly want want want. Do you have other articles that you could perhaps send me via e-mail? Thank you. - Anna Howell, Fairfax, VA



The enclosed check is for copies of the Lenten calendar I made. The remainder is for a "Thank You for your good work." - Peggy Smith, Olympia, WA

I plan to watch "Escape for Affluenza" and share it with interested friends. I'm interested in the simple lifestyle. You have excellent service. - Karen Gutjahr, Denver, CO

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

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

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

Your existence is inspirational; I hope you know that! - Chandra Peters, Honolulu, HI



We ordered resources for various Lenten services and general use and found the staff courteous and the response prompt. - John and Ellen Wachowski, Titusville, FL

Thank you for your quick response, by mail, to my request for info on Environmental tithes for Lent. I also appreciate the Easter list I just received by e-mail. I would be happy to receive only the fall catalogue in paper, and continue to hear from you by e-mail.

Just wanted you to know you've already affected the amount of toothpaste and bath water being consumed in our house. I hope for more progress in our home and in our church! Thank you! Godspeed! Lisa Caldwell-Reiss

"Simplify Your Life" is very real and helpful, a blessing. The "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

I use "Alternative Weddings," "Treasury of Celebrations" and "To Celebrate" in my own life to create more meaningful rituals and celebrations and to help create a wedding that is personal and reflects who we are. Your resources help motivate me to live the kind of life I believe in. I wish your books were available for library loan to truly promote simplicity and NON-consumerism. - Karen Dorf, Minden, NY

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



Hi, I found your website and was really pleased that I did. My husband and I are members of a Mennonite church and are trying to work out a simple lifestyle while living in a suburban area where a lot of professional people live.

We don't have a whole lot of money but I would be so thrilled to talk to some one else who actually takes this seriously. I found your website while browsing. My dream is to have a kitchen garden and be able to hang my wash out back and no one will complain I'm disrupting the ambiance of the neighborhood, or maybe have a couple chickens. Thanks and God bless for the quick response. - Ann Bond, Glenside, PA

"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

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



Thank you for your prompt response to my request for more information about your resources for cooperative games for young children. God's peace and blessings to all of you there. -- Madeline Douglas, Lubbock, TX

Yes, I would be happy to distribute your wonderful catalogue. I already gave mine away to a co-worker who was commenting on her harried Christmas. I told about a change of priorities after meeting Alternatives. I gave her the catalogue as an encouragement.

How many? I do not know what to ask for, not wanting to be greedy. About 200 people work in our building and then there is the library, the home schoolers, the folks at church....you decide. Send them to me at work and I'll take it from there!

I was just getting my Valentine box out and saw that I had a stack of bulletin inserts from Alternatives. I have kept them for a long time!

I love you all so much. I will be ordering because I would like to send gifts to my relatives for upcoming birthdays.

God bless you. -- Socorro Luna, Chandler, AZ



Thank you Alternatives! Dear Alternatives folks: Thank you so much for the good and meaningful work that you do! Your work is inspiring! Please add me to your email newsletter. -- Page Bradbury


Thank you for the wonderful resources. -- Martin Kearney, Social Concerns Director, Diocese of Scranton, PA


Really do appreciate what you are doing. Sincerely, Lauren Reimer


Please add me to your email list. Thanks and God bless your work. Rick Zemblin

I am 84 and have failing eyesight, etc., so my membership will be "inactive," but I surely believe in the cause! - Willard Garred, Des Moines, IA [10 year member]



A friend had a catalog from your organization. It was so wonderful she wouldn't let me borrow it. Can I please be added to your mailing list? -- Sarah Spencer, Sumner WA


[When we trade mailing lists with other like-minded organizations, we indicate the source on the mailing label, unless the other organization prefers not to be listed.]

Thank you for making this clear! This honesty enables me to plan an order with an unsolicited catalog. - Dorothea Buck, Davenport IA

Enclosed is a money order. This comes to one-half of my commitment. I will send the other half as I am able. I appreciate your commitment. This is so needed by our society. It's too bad more aren't aware. I try to spread the word. - Mary Hayenga



Responses to Simplicity Sp@mmer #14 (email newsletter)

thank you. -- Rebecca Meany

Thank you!!!! -- Bill Reichel

Thank you for putting me on your mailing list. Keep up the good works!!!

Love from Sandy River

Please add me to your mailing list. I was very excited to find your resources on simple living. Exactly what I was looking for! I'll be back to order resources. --Jack Marder

I have learned about your organization in New Internationalist magazine. I am a Kenyan novelist interested in poverty alleviation. Kindly send me more information about your activities. Sincerely, David Karanja (email)



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

Thanks for the freebie material. By the way, the songs and stories of simple living cassette is TERRIFIC!!!!! I am sending you another $15. I will give away the extra one as a gift. Thanks again for all the great material.

Thanks for all the info on bulk pricing/special events. Finally, are you still offering some of the free resources -- To Celebrate, Those Who Speak, Shalom Connections? Thanks very much. -- Christine Leonard-Osterwalder, Murrieta, CA

Editor's note: Yes, "freebies" are listed on p. 43 of the Winter Resource Guide and on the Website.



The "Beyond the News: Money" and "Affluenza" videos both have excellent content. We're very pleased with them. --Janet Nelson, Seattle, WA

Simple living runs through my blood... desire to live more simply each day. Please send me some knowledge and Thank You. May I reprint, so as to spread the word to my kin and friends? --Liz Batson, Wilminton, NC

Editor's note: Members can reprint (but not sell) any past resources copyrighted by Alternatives. Current resources may require a small royalty payment. Contact us for details and permission.



Dear Jerry,
Thank you very much for the great phone interview you gave for the Contact radio show entitled 'Simple Living.' The information you converyed was educational and inspiring, and will challenge our listeners to live more simply. Thank yopu also for providing me with local contacts; those interviews also turned out well.

'Simple Living' will be broadcast on April 30th.

Thank you again, Jerry. You are a gifted speaker with a vitally important message. May God continue to bless you and the work you do. Happy Easter!


Catherine Cavin, Producer, CONTACT Radio program, Jesuit Radio Productions

Short version | Regular version



Keep up the good work. It is important to keep the message of 'simple living' alive. I am afraid civilization will become extinct from pressure to buy more, do more, etc. --Marjorie VanderWagen, Downers Grove, IL

Yes, we are satisfied with your resources, which we will use at a special service. Yes, we will you use our resources again. --Unity Christian Fellowship, Houstin, TX

Although "'Tis a Gift to Be Simple" "preaches to the choir" it is inspiring. "Living More with Less" is wonderful for its specifics! We're of the same mind and it's so wonderful to know there's an organization out there like yours. I miss your Joy Calendar. --Bishop, Rangley, ME

I heard about "Alternative Wedding Book" in the Catholic Register. I gave it as a gift to my daughter. --Marilyn O'Neal, Beattie, KS



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

The Alternative Wedding Book is exactly what I was looking for - an alternative to contrived ceremonies with too many costly trappings. I'll use it as a planning guide for my November wedding. Fits my values. - Linda Albert, Shoreline, WA

"Women Prints" and "Speaking for Ourselves" gives the information desired in my work with United Methodist Women. I believe in your outlook. - Georgia Lee Colby, Rockton, IL

"Affluenza" and "Break Forth into Joy!" videos are just what I wanted. Simplicity is a nice link to spirituality. - Teri Hall, Gaylord, MI



We used "Simpler Living, Compassionate Life" with our college student group. --Westminster Pres., Charlottesville, VA

"Let's Say Grace" is the best meal time I've every found. --Linda Sartore, Sherwood Park, AB, Canada

I would like to thank you for your policy of giving your customers the option of NOT paying by credit card for telephone ordered merchandise. I appreciate being trusted to pay for things ordered when I receive them. It seems like a simple thing, but goes a long way in 'humanizing' this one bit of commerce. Thanks for your wonderful catalog and the way you run Alternatives. --Ann White, Union, SC

I plan to use "Living More with Less" and its Study Guide in Sunday School. - Wendy Fisher, Bethel, PA

We're in sync. - Lyle Wilhelmi, Richland, WA



The adult class I taught on "Living More with Less" went very well. Used Presbyterians Restoring Creation and "Break Forth into Joy!" video to help examine the 5 life standards. A friend used "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" video for discussion. Thanks for your encouragement. --Sue Letizia, Independence, MO

I got both "365 Activity" books, "Soul of a Citizen," "Remember the Time" and "Heart of a Family" for personal use and the church library. Prompt, courteous service. Good resources." --Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, Atlanta, GA

I am a member and have been pleased with all the books and resources I've ordered from you, most recently, The Alternative Wedding Book. - Peg Bradley, Fond du Lac, WI

You have some great resources, like Poems by Wendell Berry, which I plan to use for personal reading and in meditation with others. - Dave Mowry, Riverside, CA

I'm a lector. I need new materials to read as a monologue in church, like "Tell Me a Tale" and "Speaking for Ourselves." - Jeanette May, Park Ridge, IL

I plan to pass "The Alternative Wedding Book" on to our son and then to our daughter, who will wed in 2000. - Roy Wolff, St. Paul, MN

I keep your Simple Alternatives calendar at my desk. - Patricia Rusin, Geneva IL



I am loaning the catalog you sent me. If you have a few extra catalogs, I might be able to find homes for them.

It's good to know you're out there. I recently heard of a local businessman who is building a 28,000 square foot home and the kicker is he owns a chain of Christian Book Stores. Am I doing something wrong? --Wayne Chambers, Midwest City, OK

It's great to have so many gathered in one place and described so well too. Your catalog is more than a listing tool - you help people with ideas and a sense of alternative community. Content is consistently good. Design is pleasing. It does help to see covers of books in the catalog. Love your calendars too. For some hard cover kids books I can get them discounted in NY but your prices are reasonable and the range is good. Service is consistently excellent and warmhearted. Thank you all for your wonderful work! If I lived closer I'd show up at your doorstep to volunteer and help do office work. - Lily Wu, Forest Hills, NY

I plan to use Sadako and "A Prayer for the Earth" as children's sermons at church. I like your resources. - Marian Pouncy, Fort Worth, TX

Thanks for your fast service! I'll tell others about your great books for simple living. - Linda Reckling, Bellevue, NE



I believe in simplicity. I sent the "Alternative Wedding Book" to my son and his fiancee. Price and design are 'user friendly.' Service is considerate. I have avoided/challenged consumerism all of my life! --Florence Winkelman, Alexandria, VA

You have a lot of info on things I'm interested in. I talked to Pete on the phone. He was very helpful. Great customer service. I got five books and two videos for self study. Heard about you through the internet. --Lynn Wicks, Tennyson, IN

Please I would like to request a copy of your catalog. I found some pieces of a very dated one in the recycle bin. These are the kind of books I like to read since my husband and I have been living very simply (on about $8000 per year for two) for over 16 years now and are constantly fine tuning our comfortable lifestyle. We really need support. Thank you. You may share my name for additional mailing. I am particularly interested in peoples day-to-day living. I do not have a computer. (I still have a rotary phone!) - Sandy David, Grand Rapids, MI



Being a Sojourners reader we received a copy of your Fall/Holiday '99 catalog. Thanks! Please add our names to your mailing list to received your quarterly resource guide. I don't know if you're the same organization which published the Alternatives paperback book/booklet for 20 years ago from the Carolinas. I believe, whether you are or not. Thanks for being "out there" jogging the consumer mind set and encouraging creativity. Peace to you all. --John & Cathy Evans, White Bear Lake, MN

"Break Forth into Joy!" video has a succinct, insightful Leader's Guide. I use it with small groups at church and for stewardship promotion. Pertinent message. Well done. - Karen Lamberton, Louisville, KY

I plan to watch "Affluenza" and "Escape from Affluenza" and to read "Simple Living Guide," "Living More with Less" and "Tell Me a Tale," and then to share them with friends. - Helen Steassy, New Castle, IN

I plan to use "To Celebrate" for personal and family enrichment, possibly with a catholic youth group work. I'm interested in the subject matter. - Cindy Stalcup, Ashburn, VA



Good, inexpensive resources. --Aldersgate UMC, Shelby, NC

We used "One World One Earth" and "Educating for Peace & Justice" for home school curriculum for 1st and 2nd grade. --Diana Officer, Anderson, CA

I picked up your catalog at a meeting and ordered "Wedding Alternatives" for our daughter's wedding. --Jerry Sneary, Dalhart, TX

Thanks for the ongoing leadership and inspiration you're given our churches and family since 1979! --Brenda Neal, Kingsport, TN

Diversity of offerings A+. Thanks for your promptness. -- Victoria Adams, Petersburg, VA

I applaud you for focusing on justice and for using inclusive language. I just ordered the book co-authored by Cornell West about the war on parents or whatever it's called (I've already passed it on to another beleaguered parent) and I have to applaud giving voice to issues of justice for parents and children the way the book does. As a single parent, I've analyzed how society continually disempowers us single parents from a personal perspective, and my only regret is that the book makes no mention of the agonizing choices single parents must make daily - even, and perhaps especially, if they work for a church, as I do. Thanks for your publications! Sincerely, Carol Richardson



Content and design are good, prices good, service excellent. We use "Six Weeks to a Simpler Lifestyle" in small group study. Will use other resources as we continue to educate in this area. --Holy Cross Catholic Parish, Champaign, IL

I love what you're trying to do. We don't have much time in which to turn things around. --JoAnn Walker, Cumberland, MD

I love your catalog! "Tatterhood" is great! - Leigh Davenport, Bellevue OH

I plan to use "New Games for the Whole Family," "How to Teach Peace to Children" and "Earthscore" with my religious community and with teachers. I support your philosophy. - Sr. Grace Ellen Urban, Sylvania OH

The World in Your Kitchen. Very informative. A wonderful resource. - Sr. Elizabeth Glynn, St. Catharine, KY



Hi! I just read a blurb in our local paper about your website. It made me realize that I am not alone in my efforts to change what happens at Christmas and other holidays. It was a great relief to know that others see the need to stop what I call "Hallmark" consumerism. (If Hallmark celebrates, I don't.) I appreciate having your site bookmarked on my computer. Sincerely, Pattie DeBora

Your existence is inspirational. I hope you know that! - Chandra Peters, Honolulu, HI

WOW! WHAT SERVICE! I phoned Monday. Books at our door Friday! THANK YOU! We plan to use Directory of Intentional Communities, The Secular Squeeze, Sacred Trusts and The Case Against the Global Economy for serious reading, hopefully leading to deeper awareness, self-improvement and a finer attainment to this God-gifted universe! My husband will use the books as a supplementary teaching tool resource at the university level. We resonate with your mission, values and goals, and perceive your work/resources as wholesome, responsible, and creative vehicles of our trust! Love the freebies, too! Bless you, Rose Ann! - David and Carol Crawford, Southfield, MI



I plan to use the Standing Order Book Club for my self and a small group. -- Laurie Hogan, Buffalo

I believe in simple lifestyles. I would like to become a member. --Lil Worley, Homestead, FL

Thanks for the quick service! --Katharine Redpath, Willard, OH

Great ideas. Easy to use. We used "Hands Around the World" for a children's fellowship series. Good Stuff. --Mount Vernon Pres., Altalante, GA

Nice design. Great content. We used "Wedding Alternatives" to plan our wedding in a sustainable, economical, tasteful & meaningful way. Great offerings. Wonderful mission. I'm so glad you exist. What a valuable organization! --Jessica King, Pittsburgh, PA

"Living More with Less," "Tell Me a Tale" and "1000 Paper Cranes" are good for church use. --Church Media Center, Concord, NH



I would like to share your catalog with a group of religious leaders. Could you please send me 40 copies or any amount of catalogs you have available. -- Eileen Peters, Homer, NY

I just love your material so much. I really really appreciate what you're doing. It's very inspiring. It's really good stuff. -- Maggie Oman, Sausalito, CA

Thank you so much for your cooperation (and your wonderful resources!) -- Sandy Trca-Black, First United Methodist Church, Ames, IA

Dear friends, I am not sure how you got my name but it's OK. It gives me a chance to thank you for your work. I am already on your mailing list and reading through your most recent publication was inspiring and challenging. Thank you. - Alan Dick, First Christian Church, Portland, OR

I'm a priest. I'll offer "Wedding Alternatives" to people I help plan weddings. They're a good tool, more options for planning. You fit my goals well. I like the loose-leaf format and price. - Rev. Douglas A. McNeill, Washington, DC

I plan to use "Simplicity as Compassion," "Sing Justice!" and "Affluenza" video as adult education materials and worship aides. Good quality materials, good prices, quick service. -- Milwaukee Lutheran Church, Milwaukie, OR



"365 TV Free Activities" helps plan kid's activities. We got one copy of "Let's Say Grace" for our family and two for gifts. Enjoy the selections. --Tracy Reiner, Lakewood, CO

I'm reading the five books. Here's my membership. --Brett Barre, Pocahontas, AR

Thank you, Alternatives, for the good work you do & the examples you teach! It has been a joy to discover your organization! Thanks so very much for the special gifts you have sent - I've really been enjoying "New Internationalist Magazine!" -- Page Bradbury, Dillingham, AK

May Love Litter Your Life with Blessings! -- Carl & Marilyn Wolgemuth, Abilene, KS

Told you folks have a great catalog. Anti-consume-'til-you're doomed message. Please send whatever. --Robert Schick, Garland, ME

I received "Your Money or Your Life" for adult education in a prompt manner. Thanks. -Rev. Dr. C. Alton Roberts, Orefield, PA



"New Game for the Whole Family" is primarily for use with my Sunday School class. The Church World Service Calendar we'll use at home. Alternatives resources promote and support values we care about. - Jane Michael, Menasha

We plan to use Ishmael with my book club, Simply Organized to help a friend. I use your resources for convenience and topics but I don't want to join as I don't want more mail. - Sharon Gitlin, Hickory, NC

Thanks for the great service. - Bev Peterson, Oakland, NE

Thanks for the photocopy option and the Spanish. - Iglesia Congregational Unida UCC, Albuquerque, NM

Keep up the good work! - P. Leamans, Lancaster, PA

I am a storyteller. I plan to use your children's book in my programs. --Donna Spaude, Penwaukee, WI

Wish I could contribute more. Keep up the good work! - Judy Carter Muncrief, Silver City, NM



I work as the Children & Family Minister in a UMC. We use your material every Christmas and enjoy your booklet, posters etc. very much. Thank you for your efforts and resources. Grace & Peace. -- Birgitte French, Atlanta, GA

I first heard about your website from a speaker in our Adult Education class at our church. We are hosting a 3 part seminar series entitled "Keeping the Christ in Christmas," and your website was actually the only one available that coincided with the topic. Many of us involved with the seminar do not necessarily want to abandon the "spirit" of the season, but are looking for more creative ways to celebrate the season - minus the commercialism. When I get a spare moment I am anxious to get back to the website and read all you have to offer! God's Peace -- Laura Woodall, Cary, NC

"Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" contains lots of good, easy-to-use material. I use it personally at Christmas and share it with my family and friends. I like your purpose - combining faith with simpler living. - Margaret Martens, Des Moines, IA



I want to get the SLOw Down info packet. I'm a public speaker (former radio deejay!) and am available to help spread the message of voluntary simplicity in my community and the area in and surrounding Mecklenburg County (Charlotte metro area). I'm excited about what you are doing and understand the need to connect with others.

I really enjoy the "Whose Birthday" booklet each year, and have used the APPROPRIATE CHRIST GIFTS QUESTIONNAIRE in my churches each of the past 3 years. -- Greg Gillispie, a Presbyterian pastor in Charlotte, NC.

Responses to email Help! appeal

Thanks! I will contact the editor of our local "Gazette." He is very community and social-justice conscious, including a July reminder of Food Bank needs.

I appreciate the good work. I have done what I can to prepare my kids (6, 3 and 4 months) regarding Christmas. They won't get a single thing they see on TV! (I buy ALL gifts, and clothes, at yard sales).

Thanks again. I'll send something to the Gazette.

Note also -- we're having some success with our local Congressional Representative regarding Year of Jubilee and forgiving international debt. If everyone calls their Congressperson it can happen! Thanks again. -- Kathy Barylski, Middletown, MD

I will help. -- Bruce Cook, Atlanta GA

I am so happy to have found your site which by the way I was referred to by Catholic Family.com. I was beginning to think I was the only one in the world who felt Christmas has lost it's true meaning and actually felt bad about it. It isn't fun at all for me. Thank you for openly expressing your views as it has motivated me to stand against the "crowd" again this year ... I was about to give in. May God Bless All Your Endeavors. Please send us a Catalog of Alternatives. -- Carl & Belinda Vaughan, Sharon, SC

I plan to use Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? to promote the program in our Women of the ELCA. -Dixie Thorsen, Grand Meadow, MN



I plan to use "Let's Say Grace" and "A Simple Christmas" with my family and maybe share them with my MOMS group. I like the subject matter. - Gregory Paul Preslicka, Savage, MN

I plan to use "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" in Church School and the Church School Christmas Program. I served in Africa for years. USA needs to consume less! - Amy Bookes-Hirsch, Ann Arbor, MI

We plan to distribute "Whose Birthday..." with the Advent Program-liturgy. Like your focus. Thanks for your leadership and resourcefulness. - Holy Name of Jesus Church, Wayzata, MN

We have used our resource before and find them to be quality materials. We will distribute "Whose Birthday..." to each family in the church of 300. Simplify and Celebrate and Let's Talk about Christmas are well written and pertinent materials. High value for the price. - M. A. Dykes, Wausau, WI

We plan to use "Unplug the Christmas Machine" during Advent. You always have good resources. Consider color as opposed to black and white. Is it an ecological issue to use color? - St Andrews Episcopal Church, Miami, FL

We give "Whose Birthday..." to each family with children in our school. We are trying to work with out congregation on stewardship issues related to lifestyle. Thanks for making good resources available, at good prices. Holy Cross Church, Champaign, IL



I plan to use "Unplug the Christmas Machine" and its Leader's Guide at a church workshop. Lots of materials sound interesting and useful;l as we strive to simplify our lives. Excellent price and service. - The Mantes, Bethlehem, PA

I heard about you through a catalog that came to the church, where I work. I'm going to try this year to make more of the information on alternatives to Christmas consumption available to people, so that catalog will be quite useful! Thanks to you and peace. -- Melissa Kirkpatrick, Director of Christian Education, Georgetown Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

We used "Whose Birthday..." and "Consumo" as part of our display at the Alternative Christmas Market. We use your resources with family and Sunday School kids. --Kathy Weber, Plymouth, MN

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. Be blessed, Kristjana G. Eythorsdottir



We used "Christmas Angels" as part of our Advent Festival. --Falcon Heights UCC, Falcon Heights, MN

We saw Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? as a valuable resource and plan to distribute at a Presbyterian Synod meeting in October. - Rev. Brenda Brooks, Synod of the Trinity, Camp Hill, PA

I plan to use "Whose Birthday..." personally and at church. This kind of literature is not readily available. -- Hetty McMullen, Sac City, IA

I give "Whose Birthday" out free at my parish. Good service!! --Keiner, Dallas, TX

I plan to use the Advent calendar as an enclosure to my Thanksgiving cards. And "Whose Birthday..." and "Simplify & Celebrate" to celebrate Christ's birthday. --Sharona Stewart, Grass Valley, CA



We gave "Whose Birthday..." to families with Sunday School age kids. We're always looking for simpler ideas. Service good, nice person on phone, good ideas, priced reasonable. --Genie Hanson, Albert Lea, MN

I plan to use "Elijah's Angel" with a after school group an Sunday School. Good quality for the price; inclusivity. --Lake Ave Baptist Church, Rochester, NY

We plan to use various items at an Advent Fair. Service was great - received them 2 days after I ordered. The materials are good and useful. --no name

May I please have the long version of the Epiphany celebration? The St. Nicholas celebration would be a great length for a temple talk, too. Hmmm. I appreciate they are written in words children can understand.

Thank you for continually raising awareness of the Christmas season and making it permissible to buck the commercialism - something our family needs help doing! Happy fall. Kimberlee Shouse, Iowa



We've used "Whose Birthday..." for many years for families. It gives us ideas to share and use at home for families. --Mrs. Warren Tonne, Mt Vernon, IA

"Whose Birthday..." is spiritually uplifting! --Dennis & Barbara Wilson, Modesto, CA

Excellent service and prices. We used the "Christmas Game" in small group devotionals. --Marian Voxland, Kenyon, MN

Could you send me the "Let's Talk About Christmas!" Worksheet? I am leading a Sunday School class on Nov.28 based on "Whose Birthday...." The worksheet would probably be a great tool for us. Thanks! Elaine VanCleave, Birmingham, AL

I just finished leading the Unplug the Christmas Machine workshop at my church and it was great and the feed back was great. Amazing when we all talked to our children about the Christmas celebration and how little gifts were the main interest or memory! We even looked at ways our church can help in this celebration and we initially came up with the idea of no meetings in the month of December. Joy for the coming season! --Vogt



I liked the basic values and ideas. I used "Whose Birthday" with my daughters and daughters-in-law. Excellent phone service. Appreciated being billed. --Robert Fuffe, Royal Oak, MI

I plan to use 'Hundred Dollar Holiday' and 'December' with my family. --M. Clement, New York, NY

We used "Unplug the Christmas Machine," "Let's Talk about Christmas" and "Christmas Game" in various Advent events, including an adult workshop. Great resources for the church. --B. Holmes and J. Barriger, Grand Blanc, MI

Great ideas. "Whose Birthday..." will be devotional books for our church members. --Trinity Lutheran Church, Akron, OH

"Whose Birthday...," "Consumo" and "Christmas packets are helpful as resource for true celebration of Christ's birthday. We plan to use them as part of worship service, Church School lessons and our congregational Advent calendar. --Byron & Lorene Moore, Springfield, MO



"Christmas Game" is so thought provoking. I believe in your ideals. I crossed my fingers before I got my cards mailed - but, NO WORRY - "Christmas Game" did not add extra weight (and price increase) to the stamp I had to buy. --Alice Merryman, Summersville, WV

I plan to use "Nativity," "Night Tree," "Christmas Angels" and "Before and After Christmas" personally. --Arlene Flancher, Eden Prairie, MN

I gave "Whose Birthday..." to regular attenders and prospective attenders. --Paul Offaus, Shelby Township, MI

I will distribute "Christmas Game" to Christian Educators in 52 congregations. I heard about it in your email." --Heidi Clark, Saint Louis, MO

I love your intent! I am a Pastor and am sharing your values with them! I think it is making a difference in their lives and in ours too! Thanks so much for your wonderful work. Happy Simple Holiday, Patricia Spooner, Aptos, CA

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 gave "December," "More with Less Cookbook," "Heart of a Family" others as gifts to friends and family. You carry the things I'm interested in and I want to support what you're doing. --S. Parchment, Grosse Pointe, MI

"Whose Birthday..." is the best, if not the only, Advent publication for families & individuals to fight the rampant consumerism of the season! It's great stuff. Affordable, well received by parish members. --James L. Kellaway, Vernon, CT

We've been using Alternatives resource for 12 years! "Whose Birthday..." is good, sound stuff. Thank you. --Presbyterian University Center, Tallahassee, FL

I plan to 'absorb' them all like a dry sponge! Some design could be better. I did not like the cover of "Whose Birthday...." Price and service MAGNIFICENT!" --Linda S. Swanberg, Missoula, MT

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 need ideas and support like "Whose Birthday..." to fight the consumeristic overload at Christmas. Many years ago at our church we did an Alternatives Advent workshop. Your organization is mentioned in our church leadership national newsletter (ELCA) and in our synod's newsletter and I checked your website. I believe you help fight the good fight. --no name

I made "Whose Birthday..." available to families for Christmas home worship. --Church of the Foothills, Santa Ana, CA

Sisters of Mercy in US have pledged to reduce consumption of resources by 10% and we hold ourselves to this. We gave "Whose Birthday..." to all residences of our congregation." --Eileen O'Connor, Snyder, NY

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

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



"Christmas Game" is inexpensive, non-threatening, small size, good questions. We sent it with our Christmas letters. Your resources are very thought provoking and humorous. We liked best "Whose Birthday...," especially the poster contrasting Santa and Christ; also the surprised look on Jesus' face when emerging from the tomb to see everyone, especially children, gathered about the Easter bunny. --Joan McLellan, Alexandria, VA

Service is outstanding and value is unbelievable. We used "Christmas Angels" for our home schooling program. --Mary Calhoun, Onsted, MI

We gave "Whose Birtdhay..." and Advent calendar bulletin inserts as free gifts to church. --M. Leonardo Campo, Millen, GA

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

"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'm happy to know of your resources. The price is right! I'll use "Whose Birthday..." personally and with a women's group. --Madelyn Tetmeyer, Des Moines, IA

We distributed "Whose Birthday..." on the 1st Sunday of Advent and with Sunday School intergeneration project of making Advent wreaths for home use. --St John Lutheran Church, Bellefonte, PA

We used the "Christmas Game" for a party of over 100 people. "Hundred Dollar Holiday" for present and future use. Good materials. We appreciate your commitment to 'alternatives resources.' Thanks! --David Embree, Springfield, MO

I liked the "Christmas Game" very much and would like to become a member. I'm enclosing $25. --Cathleen Erin McGreal, Haslett, MI

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

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



"Whose Birthday..." is wonderful. Thanks. --Juliana Crownover, Garland, TX

We used "Whose Birthday..." with our Junior Church program. --Joelle McIlroy, Alliance, OH

Glad to find an opponent to massive consumerism. "Simplify & Celebrate" and "Sing Justice! Do Justice!" are excellent materials! --Jennifer Baler-Trinity, Tinley Park, IL

As a Lutheran pastor I am especially interested in "St. Nicholas Day," "Landing of Sharing" and "I'll Write Peace on Your Wings" in my puppet ministry. --Larry Drumm, Baltimore, MD

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



Thanks! "Leader's Guide to 'Unplug the Christmas Machine' Workshop" is just what I needed! --Dawn Green, Hartselle, AL

We hand "Whose Birthday..." out at our church. I have a program for our church circles in December. I'll use "Privileged Conversations." I've always been satisfied with service, books, anything I've ordered. --Johuseus, Fremont, NE

We used "Whose Birthday..." with our Christmas children's program. We've used them since '93. We appreciate the focus on living more with less. Such a needed focus for a 1st world country. I served in Africa for 3 years. --Amy Booker-Hirsch, Ann Arbor, MI

We distribute "Whose Birthday..." in the congregation and incorporate some ideas in worship and programming. --Trinity Church, Telford, PA

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



Values promoted in "What Is a Gift?" --Sterling Ave Baptist Church, Martinville, VA

Wish you had an mass/RI store. I agree with your 'less is more' philosophy! I plan to make "Baby Jesus Like My Brother" as a Memorial gift to the church library. --Joan H. McMaster, Bristol, RI

Thought provoking, inexpensive, worthwhile. We will put "Shoemaker's Dream" in our Sunday School library. We'll use "What Makes a Perfect Christmas?" and "Looking Behind the Cost of Christmas" in sermon topics and group discussion. Thanks. I'll be in touch! --Iris K. Burnell, Bristoe, ME

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

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

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



Price of "Whose Birthday..." is reasonable. Service is excellent. --San Antonio Mennonite Church, San Antonio, TX

"Christmas Game" helps give options to students in a psych class during a lecture on stress and promoting health. I was surprised that the shipping was as much as the game!" -Kathleen McGreal, Haslett, MI

Editor's note: In fall, 2000, single copies of "Christmas Game" will be postpaid.


We've given "Whose Birthday..." to congregation families for 8 years. --Wekiva Pres., Longwood, FL

We gave "Christmas Game" as gifts to members of parish in Advent/Christmas mailing. Thanks for making this available. --Harry & Genelda Woggon, Asheville, NC

We distributed "Whose Birthday..." in English and Spanish to families and individuals. Top quality; appropriate for the people here. Thanks!" --Ed Brandt, Dallas, OR

"Whose Birthday" is practical to use with young adults, in small groups with college students. I believe in the more simple life. --United Campus Ministry, Fayetteville, AR



Yes!! I love your modules and what you're doing. Service was friendly and easy to use - both phone and website. We give "Christmas Game" and "Whose Birthday..." to families in our parish. Thank you!! --Gainesville, FL

I need practical ways to simplify. I will send "Whose Birthday..." to friends and relatives for holiday inspiration. I was referred to your Website by a note in our Sunday School lesson. Very prompt service - thanks! --Heather Person, Longview, TX

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 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 share "Adviento '98" and "Whose Birthday...?" with local families. Thanks for the Spanish resources. - Rev. Ed Brandt, Oregon Farm Worker Ministry, Dallas, OR



We distributed "Whose Birthday..." to family members and employees. I'm interested in simplifying my life and learning to live as God intended. --Chuck Bernard, Lafayetee, LA

"Whose Birthday..." contains excellent ideas. I hope to get ideas to refocus our Christmas celebration more on Christ. Great service/ great cause! God bless you and your work! - Nancy Osborne, Seward, AK

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

"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

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 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


I am writing an article for my church's January newsletter.

"Whatever it is that we are invited and privileged to do with our lives, is not this a time to say that with God's help and every ounce of human resolve that we have, we will do our very best to make every moment of every day as significant as possible?

"Alternatives for Simple Living, home based in Sioux City, Iowa, provides some suggestions as to how we can do just that. Here they are."

Alternatives' nine suggestions of Simple Living, "Practice the gift of listening; practice the gift of compliment, practice the gift of showing affection," etc.

Thanks for your help and these wonderful suggestions that need to be put into place in as many lives as possible as we begin a new year.

May the Christ of Christmas bless you now and always, Byron Wilkinson, Washington Farm United Methodist Church in Alexandria, VA



I plan to use "Christmas Game" with my family. --Nina Pratt, Lansing, MI

"Whose Birthday..." and "Consumo" have many good ideas. Lots of "food for thought" for Social Ministry. I will share these with the youth director, Sunday School superintendent and women's group president. --Joann M Allen, Findlay, OH



Each year I receive a copy of "Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?" through the Presbyterian Hunger Program. I always enjoy it and have mined it for ideas, both for myself and for my congregation.

I would like a copy of "An Epiphany Celebration" with the intent to use it during an Epiphany services this coming year or next. -- John W. Shedwick, First Presbyterian Church, Woodbury Heights, NJ


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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.