Response 2013

Testimonial/Feedback/Comments/Response INDEX

The most current comments are at the bottom of the page.


Dear Gerald,
Please change my email address! I would like to continue to get your emails!


Subject: copyright


I am doing a little amateur newsletter of sorts and I would like to print stuff from your organization from time to time, if possible. Currently I was looking at Planning Community Celebrations. I would probably print parts of it for lack of room. I'm making no money, it's just part of the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation work that I do for my Franciscan Secular Fraternity. I can send you a copy when it's finished, if you like.

Peace and All Kinds of Good Stuff,

Joe Stefan, OSF
May God's Peace disturb you.


So glad to hear from you. The SLW! site is covered by the Creative Commons non-commercial, attribution license, which means you're welcome to use material from the site as long as you don't sell it for a profit and include the notice: Copyright Creative Commons. From SimpleLivingWorks.org.

If you want line art, look in Spirit of Simplicity and Worship Alternatives.

Please send me your newsletter electronically if possible.




I have been getting your messages for quite a few years... but I don't do internet and just barely understand all of this.

I would like very much to see/hear "Living Simply and Loving it." Is it available in printed form or on a CD or a DVD? I don't have television but I can play DVDs.

Thanks for all you do to stem the tide of "conspicuous consumption" and "over consumption."

Karen Shores

Gerald replied:

So glad to hear from you, Karen.

We hope to have CDs, DVDs and some paper copies of our resources available from the ELCA Archives later this year.

For now, I encourage you to consider listening on-line. If you receive and send email, you probably can listen to "Living Simply and Loving it," an audio program, or view video programs as well -- at home or a public library. A librarian may be willing to help you.

1. Click on the highlighted/underscored words in the eNewsletter and you will go to that resource.
2. Or visit SimpleLivingWorks.org, click Archives in the menu at the top of the page, scroll down to the resource you want to read or hear or see. Click on it. Sometimes you'll go to a list of chapters. Click on the one you want.
3. Send me a reply about your experience. I want to make accessing our resources as easy as possible.
4. Most of our audio and video programs also have a text version. "Living Simply and Loving it" does not currently. I'll make an effort to find and upload it. A video/script on the same subject is "Simple Living Works!" though the other one has more personal examples.


Feb 5

Thanks! Simple Living Works! is a blessing. No 17 is a great issue!
Ellen Fish, Raton NM
Firmly bound---Forever free

That we who need each other will find one another.
That we may follow the lines that will lead us to the kindred of our souls.
That our tribe will grow and prosper and be a blessing.
That we may be the beauty in which we long to dwell.

--Jan L. Richardson

Feb 12

I love the anytime game--Thanks for sharing it--I plan to play with friends! and grandchildren! Sandy Irving (Raleigh)

Thank you

Thursday, February 14

Gerald and all,
Thanks so much for continuing to share these very helpful resources!!
Blessings, Wayne Pence, Mountain View Fellowship

Re: SLW! #18 | New SLW! Blog and Facebook Page | Podcast #34 | Thanks!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 8:00 AM

How YOU to try to take over that Bridal Fair! Nice look to the blog, and nice tone, too -- fresh, personal, a little bit of everything. Keep at it, and try to avoid the kind of teaching/telling that simple living resource already do quite well. The personal touch is what carries folks into decision-making, and you do it well!

Bob Sitze, Chicago

P.S. Alban Institute is getting closer to finally publishing Simple Enough: A Companion Along the Way, which is a collecton of about a year's worth of the blog I've continued to write at the Web site for The Lutheran.

March 10, 2013

Thank you Gerald for the invitation. I too have been involved in the quest for simple living. Are you familiar with the John and Mary Schramm formerly of Holden Village in Washington state? They did some marvelous things including starting a religious third order: The Order of St. Martin and Theressa centered on Peace & Justice, which included simplicity of life.

Brian McCaffrey Chair at the Northeast Forum on Spirituality & Aging, the Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA Older Adult Ministry

[Brian, See the Shramms in Break Forth into Joy

And A Service for Ending, Blending & Beginning Christmas Traditions
March 8, 2013

Great news, Gerald! Good luck with the new, revived venture of Simple Living Works!

Cheryle Power, Director of Marketing and Business Development at PhyCare Management Services, LLC
Re: SLW! #18 | New SLW! Blog and Facebook Page | Podcast #34 | Thanks!

Friday, March 15

This is a great alternative to reading about the Sequestration and Paul Ryan Budget (and what is going on in NC--reducing UI benefits, not expanding medicaid, voter ID, reinstituting death penalty, etc etc)--ugh! Your messages brought a light breathe to my day...thanks, Gerald.
Sandy Irving, Raleigh, NC
Friday, March 15
Hi Gerald,
Please change my email address for receiving your great e-newsletter Simple Living Works!
Thank you!
Lily Wu
Feb. 10
Hi Gerald,
We met quite a few years ago at a gathering. Anyway, I just want to thank you for your emails on Voluntary Simplicity.
I am especially excited about the Anytime Game and look forward to using it with friends and family.
Nancy Shaw
Fri, Mar 29, 2013

Thanks for Lighting the Flames Again


Just read your latest collection of thoughts, and thanks again for staying the course on all of this. Even though the official 'movement' might not be as visible in the halls of power as in the past, the work goes on. And you're still at the front of it. Good for you.

One other thing: I don't have a Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest account, so can't do all the liking and befriending or whatever else we do to say 'I'm with you' in the languages of social media. Sorry about that.

As for me, I'm still waiting for Alban Institute to publish the e-book version of a collection of my 'Simple Enough' blogs at TheLutheran.org -- we're waiting for a cover design and that's the last step before publication. And I'm still posting those blogs into the months ahead. Given the inability of the Web site at The Lutheran to receive feedback -- except from subscribers -- I have no idea whether there's an audience, but I'm soldiering on.

Why? If you and I know where to look -- I think we do -- we see the signs that simple living is coming into its own. Desperate and dying institutions may not show it, but they're ready for this message again, I think. So I'm not discouraged at all. I hope the same is true for you.

Thanks for what you do!

March 30, 2013

Gerald, You and Rita came to Mifflinville, Pennsylvania years ago now to speak to a group of my friends. I still strive to impress upon folks the importance of less stuff. I remain the coordinator for our church's Alternative Gift Fair. This event has encouraged nearly $130K of monetary gifts to 30 different charities in the last nine years. That money could have bought a lot of stuff but folks gave it to help others. Thank you for YOUR work in keeping us on the right track.

Peace, Debb Lutz

RE: Progress Report on Simple Living Works!

Wow. Cool :)

I actually looked for new Simple Living resources this past Christmas!

Have you considered collaborating with the Happiness Initiative?
John DeGraaf, the 'Affluenza guy' is working on it.

Stacy Kitahata
April 10, 2013

I am pleased that Alternatives is being revived. Thanks for your work on this.

Phil Hoy, Pastor Emeritus at Zion United Church of Christ, Henderson, KY

May 1
Gerald -- great to hear from you -- and to know of AfSL rising from the dead!!! Another resurrection story! Please keep us in the loop about ways we can conspire and dream together.
Your brother,
Shane Claiborne
Thanks for your great work, Gerald! PostConsumers.com has 'liked' your post on Facebook and added SimpleLivingWorks to its Facebook page likes.
Best wishes,
Carol Holst Sunday, May 5
Thanks so much! I enjoy getting your emails and the blogs.
I will pass this on to our editorial team.
And thanks for all you support -- glad your daughter loves the Green America t-shirt. I'm wearing mine right now too, the organic cotton is so soft.

BTW, if you'll be at the Chicago Green Festival, please call or text my cell phone so we can find a spot to meet and catch up for a few minutes! Of course, all Green America members and their families come in free -- just come to the Green America ticket counter.

Have a great weekend,
Alisa Gravitz, GreenAmerica.org
Friday, May 10
Jerry, I like your 'family journey.' Most interesting! Hooks one into thinking about their own.
Lee Van Ham director at Jubilee-Economics.org
May 13, 2013
Thank you. I appreciate your passion. I do my best to live simply. My guilty pleasure is books and I tend to buy them used.
Kind regards,
John Paul Engel
May 13
Trusted Advisor - Executive Recruiting, Marketing and Strategy Consulting, Speaker, Author, Man On A Mission
I like what you present. . . but what a struggle.
Warren Alderson
May 10
May 20
I'd be glad to add you to our links page - I actually should have thought of it a lot earlier since I've been getting your emails for some time and I knew that Alternatives had shut down. I was glad to see that you picked up the reins again - it's a great archive of info and your updates are very useful and encouraging.

Full disclosure - I started out in the ELCA (LCA at the time) and even went to Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary but diverted into the mental health field instead of pursuing ministry per se. Some years ago I stumbled into a Church of the Brethren after a move to a new town, and discovered their rich Anabaptist history of simple living and I ended up joining the congregation, so I guess I'm now an ELCA apostate, but it has been a marvelously enriching journey. We have since moved again to Harrisburg PA (I thought I should help to save the city from bankruptcy on my retirement income!) and joined the Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, an inner city church with a rich outreach into the community.

We also run a small puppet company, a large part of which is a puppet ministry, but we serve public and private schools and senior centers and retirement communities.

Thanks for getting in touch with me. Looking forward to collaborating.

Steve Seitz
Hi Gerald. Thanks for signing up for our newsletter, As the World Turns. We typically send it via 'real' mail, but as I just have your email address, I'll put you on a list to receive it this way, and attach the most recent edition.

Be in touch if we can be of other support--or if you have ideas to send our way. You folks are doing some good work--keep it up!


Exciting to hear from Shane! Also, thanks for the head's up on Story of Stuff #10. I also enjoy their podcasts. They've been talking more and more about reducing consumption.

Keep up the fight!

Gerald, didn't know that you and SLW (Alternatives) was still around. Check out my blog SusanVogt.net/blog about Living Lightly.
Susan Vogt
@Vogt_ Susan
Great videos. Thanks for posting.
lambchopxoxo's comment on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Thank you for your insightful materials over the years!
Stephen Bartlett

Re: SLW! blog

Good style.

Joyce Schulte
Erin McNally-Diaz, 7/29/13, Corporate Accountability Intl

Hey Gerald,
Thanks for keeping me in the loop on your blog posts. As someone personally motivated by faith to do work for justice, I appreciate your perspective. Will pass your site info along to some pastors I know who are really working to address consumerism in their communities.

Thanks for your hard work!

Responses to new SLW! Podcast

First, great job! I love the color scheme of the website. I like the sound quality of the podcasts. Fabulous and appropriate music.

Next, the podcasts are meaty. You may want to keep it to 15. . .maybe even make them shorter, but more frequent?

That's the start of my feedback. More later.

Elysha, AZ
Content: Excellent, I enjoyed getting to know you in the first podcast, learning more about you and simple living in the second, and sealing the deal in the third. The relationship is well on its way.

Production Value: Voice quality is excellent, you have the perfect pitch for audio. Background music is well thought out and pleasing. Show notes are are helpful, links are helpful and logical in fact I found myself watching videos about simple living from the past.

I can see where your passion comes from, and it's infectious. Thank you for sharing your life's work with the rest of us.

Craig Tharp, IA
This is helpful!
August 20, 2013
Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective.

A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appeal. I must say you’ve done a fantastic job with this.

Also, the blog loads very fast for me on Chrome.

Superb Blog!

-> Hi, Gerald:

I listened to episode 3 so far -- my only recommendation is to clean up the transition between music and spoken word. Other than that, it was good and your voice came through. I'll look forward to when you can interview people and be a bit more spontaneous with your comments so we can get a feel for you, not just your message. Thanks so much and I'll send more comments when I listen to the others.

Amy Beveridge, CA
Customer Reviews (iTunes)

Great “simple” podcast! 5 stars

By Pete – Aug 19, 2013

Very simple podcast about simple living. Just what I was looking for. A little slow, but lots of inspirational ideas. Keep it up!!

[NOTE: I increased the pace in episode 4.]

I've listened to the first one.

It's a relaxing sound, slow-paced, clear. From the music to your voice. It's sort of Misterogers-like—that uncle talking about living simply in today's world.

I think you educate your listeners on what Show Notes are and where to find them. (smile)

Lee, CA

Charles Kyle, PhD: Education Policy, Strategy, Program Assessment

Hi Gerry,

My wife (Diana Eiranova Kyle, author of Till Justice is Done) and I are also Justice activists. Thank you for your beautiful gift.

Best always to you and your family in the Lord!
Charlie Kyle
So glad that you are doing this. I will mention it on my blog in the next few days. Would you mind if I reposted one of your blog posts? ) (With credits of course). I also thought you might be interested in the blog series I will host over the season - maybe you would like to contribute. http://godspace.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/advent-and-christmas-are-coming-its-time-to-prepare/

Christine Sine, Exec. Dir., Mustard Seed Associates
Return to Home Page | More Comments

Hi Gerald,
I LOVE your site!! Found it via Christine Sine. thanks for all the resources!

I work with a Christian conservation org and this is right up our alley.

Leah Kostamo

Thanks, Gerald. I really enjoyed listening to your podcasts and will order [Tony & Shane's] 'Choose Justice' DVD.
I will also Tweet and post your links. Thank you for spreading the word about my new 'Sense of Place' CD. I think it will fit with your audience well. I really appreciate you posting it wherever appropriate!

Blessings and best,
Joyce 'EarthMama'

[EarthMama contributed to Alternatives' Stories and Songs of Simple Living collection.]
Read the many responses to our SLW! Podcast at the bottom of the show notes for each episode.
Good morning. A few years ago, we were able to buy printed versions of the 'Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?' magazine to distribute to the families in our congregation. I spent quite a bit of time on your website (and it's amazing! Resources galore - thank you!) but I didn't see that a printed version is available. Did I miss it, or would you suggest that I gather and print a collection of relevant articles (with attribution, of course.)

Thank you for all you do.

Maureen Renaud
Christian Development Support Worker
St. Andrew's Church - The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

REPLY: So good to hear from you, Maureen.

I have sent out several requests for submissions for Whose Birthday? 2013, and will post them on the SLW! site.

Yes, please assemble the articles that would best serve your constituency. With a very few clearly marked exceptions, all material on the SLW! site is now covered by the Creative Commons non-commercial, attribution, share-and-share-alike license, which means you do not need permission. You may not profit from the material and you credit the source (SLW!). Please use recycled paper and send me a copy at 3430 Concordia Dr., Sioux City, IA 51104, so I can brag about you! If you want to take orders from others or post your version to a website, let me know so iI can send others your way.

The ELCA will house hard copies of all of Alternatives resources and make photocopies/CDs/DVDs available upon request for a nominal charge. I'm working to get a complete set to them by the end of the year.

I hope you will stay connected with SLW! through our various social media -- website, podcast, blog, eNewsletter (addresses on our site -- use simpleliving.startlogic.com -- under Social Media on top menu), and urge others to do the same.

Gerald 'Jerry' Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist
RESPONSE - 10/25/13

Good morning, Jerry. Thanks for your very informative email. Every year for the last 5 years I've worked at this church a Minister has asked for a current copy of the Whose Birthday magazine - I'm glad to see the movement is very much alive online. We'll be following your social media and I'll send you a copy if we make our own print version.

All the very best to you, and thank you for your good work.

Re: Abstract Expressionist Halloween [blog]

Love this information. Use it all the time.

Linda Cron, Sioux City, IA

RE: I hope you'll catch 'Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle' (episodes 4 and 5) on my new PODCAST at http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST/

Thank u for making the podcasts available!

Carolyn Geissinger


Dear Jerry, you may remember me. I write a column called Ms. Cheap in the Tennessean in Nashville. I am working on a column for next week about things to do to make Christmas cheaper and happier. I know this is overly simplistic, but if you had to say three things you would recommend doing this season to make Christmas cheaper and more meaningful, what would they be??

Mary Hance


Good to hear from you, Mary. I'm now doing all my work through social media. I post four blogs per week and produce two podcasts, which you're welcome to mention.

Here are a couple of my quick lists from which you may choose.

10 Tips for a Simpler, More Meaningful Christmas

10 Fun, Free Family Things to Do at Christmas

Nov 7

I'm looking for an Advent resource such as Whose Birthday Is It Anyhow? Is there a resource for 2013? I formerly received Alternative Christmas materials when they were published.

Rev. Karen Gould


So good to hear from you, Pastor.

We are publishing Whose Birthday? #25 online at http://simpleliving.startlogic.com/indexoth.php?place=archives/XB/XB2013index.php

You're welcome to contribute and to draw items from previous issues, all for free. If you post your own customized version online, please send me the URL so I can share it with others.

I hope you'll follow Simple Living Works! via social media. From the link above, go to our home page and click the Social Media button at the top right. Then click your preferences and sign up -- blog, podcast, YouTube videos, etc.


Posted to Blog as Comment 11/21

HI, Gerald.
About your article: Fundamentalist not equal Evangelical

I would like to add, for many people who are down on the poor because they don't know them, what happens when they do know someone who is poor, they often decide that person is the exception, not like other poor people and continue detesting the poor as a group.

Cathy Brechtelsbauer, Sioux Falls, SD

[NOTE from Gerald: Cathy is a long-standing volunteer advocate with Bread for the World.]


Hi Gerald: I liked your 'Whose Birthday Is It?' podcast. I hope to use some of your ideas when my family gathers here on Christmas Day. We have tried to make it a simpler celebration by drawing names & giving gifts that are either used or handmade, or by giving to a charity in their name. Keep up the good work and best wishes for the season.

M. Laurel Gray, El Cajon, CA

Great job! I laughed out loud. The story you told about talking to your granddaughter about Santa was CLASSIC!

Flagstaff, AZ

Greetings Jerry! We so appreciate your efforts to keep us in your very important loop. I'm wondering if you used to live in Colorado. It seems to me that when Alternatives closed that the work moved to Dillon, CO or someplace near there. I found Godspace/Mustard Seed Associates and it's obvious that it's in WA. I'd love to hear from you.

Blessings in this Advent Season! Bill

Colorado Vincentian Volunteers
Mary Frances and Bill Jaster, Co-Directors

Let us be actively prayerful and prayerfully active.
St. Vincent de Paul.

So glad to hear from you, Mary Frances and Bill,

When I retired 12/31/07, my successors moved Alternatives to Dillon, CO. They dissolved the organization 2/11 and I revived it 11/11 as Simple Living Works! I have extended its mission through extensive social media -- eNewsletter, blogs, podcast, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and Pinterest. I offer coaching for groups via the internet. I hope you'll follow our ministry via at least one of those. Visit SimpleLivingWorks.org, click social media button at the top menu and subscribe to your preference.

I work with Christine and Tom Sine at Mustard Seed Associates (Godspace). We hope to visit their new eco-education center off the coast of Washington this coming fall.

Be well. Blessings.

re: SLW! Podcast, Ep. 10

Thank you, Gerald, for letting us know [about mentioning my new CD]. Ann will do some Tweets and Facebook posts, sharing the URL. Keep us posted whenever you play or mention my songs and we'll help spread the word any way we can.

Hope you are doing well. Thanks for all you do for our Amazing Earth!!

Joyce 'EarthMama' Rouse

Watched the Dome Odyssey video on the Simple Living Works website. I laughed until I cried. It's the funniest movie I've ever seen. Peter, you are so talented!!

Good for you, Jerry, for reaching out. I'm glad you're getting these resources out there for people. Good for you for having the guts to do it!

This page last updated 31 Dec. 2013

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