Monday, January 18, 2010

I've made the jump...

I was going to redirect this blog to my new website, but the warning message about the jump is a little scary. I've hopefully transferred my feed correctly, but in the event I haven't, you can find the blog at...

It's still a bit of a work in progress, but if I keep messing around without moving on over, I never will do it! Come on by. Tell me what you love and/or hate!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Perfect Pairings: 1 John 3:17

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? ~ 1 John 3:17

A young earthquake survivor carries high protein biscuits distribued by the World Food Program at an aid distribution point in Port-au-Prince, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. Relief groups and officials are focused on moving aid flowing into Haiti to survivors of the powerful earthquake that hit the country on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Play along with Baloney. Post your own perfect pairing!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Feature: Tea, tea and more tea

I know I blogged on my favorite medicinal teas a few weeks ago, but that is not the only tea I enjoy. I also enjoy The Republic of Tea and Rishi teas. Fortunately, these teas are committed to sustainability, though in slightly different ways, which fits in with my goal of increasing fair trade purchases.

The Republic of Tea is a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which is working towards a sustainable and fair tea industry. While not all teas sold by The Republic of Tea are certified as fair trade, I feel as though their efforts in this area are worthy of the purchase.

Rishi is a fair trade certified tea. I especially enjoy their white tea.

One thing I like about both brands-- loose leaf tea. It is completely different than bags. I still like the bags-- especially for work-- but at home, I drink more loose leaf tea. And no offense to the iced tea drinkers out there, but I like mine hot.

In an effort to not drink much caffeine, I do tend to limit myself to one or two cups of leaf tea per day and then drink herbal for the rest of the day. There is nothing quite like a cup of tea to keep me feeling warm and hydrated. Additionally, there more tea is studied, the more the health benefits of tea come to light-- especially green and white teas!


My friend, Bethany, is having a contest to win a basket o' tea goodies. Swing by her place and comment for an opportunity to win!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A little poem...

I was sent this poem to my inbox by a friend before Christmas, and then I saw it on another person's blog, so I thought I'd share it here too. I've been sick and so has The Boy, so my motivation to write and be creative is a little low right now.

Some sites claim that it was written by Maya Angelou, but Snopes says otherwise. The words are often time changed by others, but here is the real deal.

When I say, "I am a Christian"
by Carol Wimmer

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perfect Pairings: Matthew 25:40 & 45

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

You can play along too. Post your own Perfect Pairing and then visit Baloney's blog to let people know it's there. :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Feature:

I had long been looking for a way to track what I have been reading, find good books, and figure out which books I own (or don't). Along the way, Bethany pointed me to, and it has been all that and more! I can now track which and how many books I read and own. There are many ways to organize my "shelves," and the best part is that it is super easy. I can even save my favorite quotes. Ahh... life is good and my book organizing, at least from here on out, was simplified exponentially!

Another feature is that I can see what my friends are reading (and they what I am reading). I have found some great books this way!

I hope you will join me on goodreads. :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why Fair Trade?

As you read in my 2010 goals, one of my environmental goals is to work towards purchasing of more fair-trade items. Truth be told, if I am not willing to pay the fair price for an item, then I probably do not need it.

So-- why fair-trade? Why now? [Not so] Oddly enough, I read a book titled Red Letter Christians: A Citizens Guide to Faith and Politics by Tony Campolo, which had me shaking my head yes a lot (admittedly sometimes no too). Leaving what I did and did not like behind, I have to say there was one area in which I felt especially convicted by my own actions...or inaction... and that is when he discussed minimum wage and fair-trade. When I read this line--
"But isn't it time for Christians to admit that we should reject bargains if they are gained by the exploitation of the poorest of the poor in developing countries? Isn't it time for Red Letter Christians to state loud and clear that we are willing to buy less in order that justice for oppressed workers can become increasingly possible?"
-- all I could do was shake my head and asnwer, "yes, of course!" However, as if that challenging question was not throught provoking enough, scripture backs up this call in James 5:1-4 (hence Sunday's Perfect Pairing):
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.
Some might argue that the workers make good money for the country they are living in, but when exploring the difference between market driven wages and that which is called for in the Bible, I cannot in good conscience continue to purchase the way I have in the past. Paying a worker $5 per day while selling a shirt for $30 when the worker produces many shirts per day is unreasonable and unfair.

Laissez-faire economics has long been a problem for me, and I think it has been obvious on this blog. The market, especially in unregulated capitalism, fails to capture anything that is not a dollar (externalities, such as the environment, etc), and when it comes to minimum wage and fair-trade, this is not the exception but the rule.

Without getting in to the complexities of economics, I will summarize my position as this-- When I purchase items that are not fair-trade, I am supporting companies withholding wages from their workers, and that is no longer tolerable for me. Certainly there will be some items where a fair-trade solution is not available, and in those cases, I will definitely need to think and pray hard about whether or not we need that item in our family. I expect that the transition will be slow, but hopefully I will also find some great items to share with you all.

If you buy just one fair-trade item, you are making a difference. I hope some of you will join me down this path.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wonderfully Made

Because I could never say it better myself, today I send you to read at Dulce de leche and Life in Fast Forward. Both women end with the same point-- our (women's) bodies are designed to know what to do (wonderfully made).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gotta Get Goals 2010 Style

Because there is nothing like being accountable to around 100 friends, strangers, and everything in between, here are my 2010 goals.

Spiritual and Personal Growth. I will spend time each day in prayer and reflecting on my life, taking note of areas that need improvement and those where improvements have been made. Specifically this year, I will focus on compassion.

Financial. After doing a Crown Financial Ministry one day seminar, I have been working to ensure our financial decisions reflect what is important to us. Our goal this year is to find a balance between frugality, necessity, and giving that reflects our priorities.

Personal Fitness. Dang it. I WILL WORK OUT!!! Regularly. I love working out, but I hate that I feel like I must do it at lunch or not at all. There isn't enough time after work for me to get a workout in and care for The Boy, so I am going to find a schedule that works and stick to it!

Family. I will work to ensure we have adequate family time. In looking back at 2009, between work and friends, we did not have a lot of "just us" time, and I would like for that to change. This is not to say that we won't or don't want to spend time with friends, but rather, we need to be more diligent in doing things as a family.

Books. I read 17 books in the last half or third of 2009, so I think it is realistic to hit 40 books in 2010. I have the advantage of two book clubs, which accounts for 24 books alone, and a distinct lack of mandatory academic reading!

Academic. I will spend some serious time, thought and prayer deciding what to do next. PhD? Second Master's Degree? Research position at IWR? Who knows, but I need to really spend some time there reviewing options.

The Environment. Oddly, this is the hardest one for me, not because I have it all done, but because I am not sure which of the million things I want to do next. After a lot of thinking, I am going to work on my support of fair-trade by reducing the amount of unfair items I purchase and increasing fair-trade purchases. (James 5:1-4) I also have a goal to replace our teflon cookware with stainless steel and cast iron.

Goals. I will review my goals monthly and revise as necessary. Thankfully, Erin pointed me to a program called Things, which allows me to sent a nice reminder/to do! :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Perfect Pairings: James 5:1-4

Photo from BBC

James 5:1-4
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.


This passage has a lot to do with one of my goals for 2010 (to be posted tomorrow), and I hope to write more on it in 2010!

You can play along too. Post your own Perfect Pairing and then visit Baloney's blog to let people know it's there. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reading in 2009

2009 brought a lot of changes in what and how much I was reading. I know a large part of this was due to completing my Master's Degree, but I did not read as much as I would have liked either. Most of my reading has been done in the last third of 2009, and truth be told, I was very happy to have a break from some of the academic reading I was doing, which I never include on the list. Hmm... maybe I should rethink that one?

I rediscovered fiction, which I had not been reading for a long while because I have a hard time letting go of reality. I had been so focused on reading parenting books and doing research that it occupied all of my time. I found some good fiction with the help of friends though and am back reading in that genre.

My reading has also been diversified thanks to joining two different book clubs-- one virtual and one with a monthly meeting.  I really enjoy the groups-- both are unique.

If I had to pick one book from the list that was life changing or an "I'm so glad I read this and am going to revisit it regularly," I would pick "Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate." I don't agree with absolutely everything in the book, but overall it is a great book that led to a lot of self-reflection and significant changes in my life already. I hope to revisit various chapters on a regular basis. My favorite fiction book on the list was "Kite Runner."

Here's to more great reading in 2010!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday Feature: Traditional Medicinal Teas

When I was nursing The Boy and going back to work, I was worried about supply and pumping enough for him while I was away.  One of the things I did was start drinking a tea by Traditional Medicinals called Organic Mother's Milk. The more I looked in to their teas and tried them, the more I found that I enjoyed them and could use them in my every day life.  During the winter, I am especially fond of their Organic Throat Coat and Organic Cold Care, as well as Organic Echinecea teas.  During the winter months, you can find a seasonal sampler of their cold teas, which is nice for trying them out.

I'm not sure how many people I have recommended these teas to over the past few years, but I know that some do enjoy them, so I'm not alone!

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