Archive for the ‘ sustainable living ’ Category

Laundral Impasse: another Tweetspeak link-up

Tweetspeak Poetry invited me to write a poem about laundry this week, tossed in with an offer to be entered in drawing for a Scratch Magazine subscription. How could I resist? Laundry is so present, I might have more than one in me if you beg me to wring another out.

::

Laundral Impasse

Only walls know how I
laundered by hand and—
by back, arms, by this body—

how little I’ve laundered in compare
to the matròn bunched, swayed
over Riviere Cotes de Fer—

only my one day paused enough
to wonder why I’d relegate
this tactile communion
to a mechanical cube three
times my size when I am muscle,
I am water, I admit dirt hunkers
against the fibers—scrubbing,
wringing—

I have had enough! I sever
myself from the wash of women’s
fortitude that binds us all in

unity. I can take the grace—oh!
and couldn’t I have more?—

my Western wringing has left me
hanging for a generous Wind—

lay me limply, let me fold. I can
claim the four-four measures,
of garments in quadrants if only

to be clothed again. It is a small
preparation I can handle, this dress
over my head—

A Morning’s Work

I will have branches snatch at my hat this morning,
my muscles twisting tight to keep lumber balanced on a two-wheeled dolly.
I will wheel it back to the almost-clearing where the boys can build
a something. To play hard after such a cold lull
is to let the springtime breathe way down deep into my blood.
We’ll play hard enough to need some waterproof boots, the
kind that can withstand the spray of the hose after we
make a morning of tramping through the underbrush.

Wild Land

This year’s summer tied me to the land here more than others have.  Could it have been the scowling at New Zealand apples taken as slaves to the opposite end of the earth?  Or the skipping through the farmer’s markets to the rhythm of the bluegrass?  Could it have been the hands in my own garden soil, vegetables growing in spite of me?  Or the apples by bucketful tasting like my first summers alive?

No, it was by the creeksides I discovered the true fruit of the land — the wild ones who persist because they are grateful themselves.  The tangle of native plants were christened: sumac, hackberry, riverbank grapes.  An unfamiliar tingle of grapeseed on my tongue gave me the beginning of true wealth.  I welcomed friendly lamb’s quarter, pushing high into seed for next year’s planting.  The named shot forth because they belong here.  We are both here now, and it is necessary we intersect our lives.

Freeways pave over life that has already been rooted here, as we humans announce our presence.  Weeds of color fly by car windows on our way to happy take-out, automatic living on the cheap.

But the wilds aren’t cheap.  They’re free.  They did not call forth objection to be plowed underfoot, but silently remained where they could to continue to give forth nourishment and vitality.  They humbly raise hands to the heavens and shoot forth in profusion where unharnessed.

in which food makes me angry

Maybe it started last night when I instant-messaged my husband:

“my motivation to cook supper is falling out of the window….  can it be a palio’s night maybe?”

So we went out for pizza.  It was fine.  Under twenty dollars, easy, quick.  It was fine.

But I knew I had to face grocery shopping today, so I finished out my menu for the next week, and went on my way.  I only needed meat (yes, I know:  I never need meat) for a couple meals, so I thought I’d just knock the whole grocery list out at Whole Foods.  The list wasn’t too long, after all.

One complimentary sack of cookies, two trips to the bathroom for my potty-training two-year-old, and over an hour later, we checked out.

One hundred eighty dollars.  Seriously?  One hundred eighty dollars? I mean, sure, I picked up a few extras: a new bottle of raw agave nectar (It’s cheaper than honey.), some raw carob cacao nibs (I had always wanted these when I was on the raw diet and just found them today, only to find out I misread the package and they weren’t carob. At least they really were raw.), a new mint plant for my pot (surely it will produce mint for many months to come!), some extra Food for Life bread (it’s cheaper at Whole Foods than at the standard American grocery store).  Things like that.  They weren’t stupid, unnecessary foods.

But I left angry.  Isaiah and I were not on good terms.  I really just felt like a hamburger.  That is, I felt like eating one.  You know, I do pretty well with the whole eating-sustainably-grown-meat thing until I’m in a bad mood.  Then I think to myself, “You know what?  It is all just hopeless.  I try to be a good steward of what I eat, and I end up being a bad steward of my money.  I am a lost cause.  I may as well just eat fast food.”  Do you feel sorry for me at all?

Anyway, as it turned out, there was no mouth-watering hamburger joint between Whole Foods and home, so we got tacos.  Isaiah liked that.  And I sucked in my Coca-Cola like it was a drug.

On the drive home, I decided that at the soonest opportunity possible, I needed to take a course in organic gardening.  Really, it seems to be the only reasonable way to be be a good steward of earth, body, and money.  And I have failed enough in my own gardening that I think I could use a little help.  It was a little spark of hope, thinking about taking a gardening class, but still… I still had one hundred eighty dollars worth of groceries in the trunk of my car.  Today it didn’t make me feel much better.

Isaiah spilled his fast food water when we got home.  I yelled at him, which hurt his feelings, so he cried.  I felt more like a hamburger than ever.  That is, I felt as lowly as ground beef between two pieces of bread.  So I told my little boy I was sorry, held him a few moments, and admitted to him that it was only water.

We were on better terms when it was finally naptime.  Isaiah smiled at me before I left his room.  He forgives and forgives.

I set off to the kitchen to do some baking.

Sometimes I slap myself over the head for thinking I have to make food from scratch* — like the pecan rolls I want to serve to some valiant moms of toddlers tomorrow.  I mean, pecan rolls?  Really?  The expense is no less than a simple can of Pillsbury whatever-rolls.  And the work is enough to make me dread my entire day.

But then, in the middle of kneading, I looked down and saw my hands working the dough on my wooden board.  My arms hurt; my breath came out in little puffs.  The exertion grounded me.  I felt human again.  It was like the simplicity of hands in dough — working it, working it — washed away all my guilt and self-hatred for failing again and again in the food department.  If I could only only make bread, and see a few ingredients and a little elbow grease somehow turn into this beautiful, simple staple of the human diet, I could see transformation in grocery shopping, in growing food, in my rocky rollercoaster of a soul.

*One exception to this — an occasion when I never feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew — is when I make this beautiful recipe for crusty, chewy artisan bread.  It is so easy.  Believe me. You should try it at least once.  And the result is something you might buy in a good bakery.  And the best part is that it makes four loaves, only you don’t have to bake them all at once because the dough stores in the fridge for up to two weeks!  Mmmm.  I am salivating right now.  Oh, bread, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

finally, some political conclusions

“Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” (Margaret Mead).
Foreword:  I wish I had the time and energy to respond to each of you separately, but again, I can only thank you for the time and thought you put into your responses to my last post.  It all was food for thought.  Some of it angered me; some of it challenged and changed my convictions; all of it was appreciated.  I believe such candid discussions bless and refine our communities.
Thanks to Jill‘s link to Jim Wallis’s article on listing one’s own “faith priorities,” I have made my own list of non-negotiables — issues of faith that I believe should not be compromised in politics.  It’s this list that’s guiding me as I go into the voting booth tomorrow.  I come at most of my faith priorities from an obviously Christian viewpoint, but I have realized that no candidate can fulfill all of the items on my wishlist.  Jesus could, I think, or at least He could change my mind to see where I’ve misread His priorities.  I foolishly maintain that Jesus is the answer for everybody everywhere, and the only reason we can’t figure out how to run a nation with perfection is because we don’t have enough of Him and His philosophy.  (Speaking of Jesus, I really want to read Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw’s book Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals as soon as possible!)
My Non-Negotiables

1. A pro-life perspective.  On war, abortion, and life-threatening diseases, I will support a presidential candidate who not only protects the life of the unborn without reservation, but also protects the lives of its citizens, even those in the military.  While military troops may be willing to give their life, I believe a President should only risk those lives if absolutely necessary, and furthermore will not abuse his power by choosing to go to war without the proper support of the other branches of government.  Life threatening diseases are of particular concern in third-world countries, and I will support a presidential candidate who makes foreign aid (either through the government or through the American people) a priority.  I also believe that the death penalty should be abolished because I believe in forgiveness and redemption.

2. Care for the weak.  Based on many verses scattered throughout Deuteronomy, the Psalms and verses like Luke 3.11 (“[Jesus] answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.”), it’s obvious God cares for the widow, the orphan, and the poor.  He asks me to care for these groups of people regardless of how much they deserve it.  They do not supersede His importance (see Mark 14.7), but especially now that Christ is not with us in flesh, we are called to represent Him to the poor, the widows and orphans, and to all the world.  God cares about those with little strength, and I can support a candidate who respects God’s perspective in this.

3. Freedom.  As a Christian, I find true freedom through Christ, but insofar as the Constitution claims to protect its citizens’ “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (as well as some other freedoms), I will support a candidate who will uphold these rights.  Specific freedoms on my mind (by no means exhaustive) are the freedom of speech (so that I may spread the gospel) and the freedom of homosexuals to marry.  American freedoms should only be limited when they endanger another person’s freedom (as in the needful arrest of a criminal).

4.  Environmental care.  The earth is the Lord’s; we are its stewards.  I will support a candidate who does not promote further tearing down of God’s Creation, but allows it to be sustained and nurtured.

5. Inclusiveness.  This concept mainly deals with immigration.  If our nation is to live by moral, just principles, we should embrace those who wish to join our social experiment.  Deuteronomy 10.18 says, “[God]… shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”  We need a nation that will allow this type of open door philosophy.

6. Cultural regeneration.  Political officials should applaud healthy family values and the necessity of quality education over economics.  I will support a candidate who does this.


Choosing a Candidate
I’ve come to a conclusion whom to vote for, by the way.  Want to know who it is?  Well, my friend Tami sent me a few notes after my original political post, assuring me that a vote cast for a third-party candidate would not be wasted.  She gently introduced me to Chuck Baldwin, a Constitutional party presidential candidate endorsed by my old favorite, Ron Paul.  Baldwin is a little unrefined, his website unpolished, and has held no government office.  He fails to mention poverty or the environment on his site, which bothered (bothers) me.

But he has some interesting things to say about abortion:

“Republicans tout themselves as being “pro-life.” Yet, the GOP controlled both houses of Congress and the White House for six years and did absolutely nothing to overturn Roe or end abortion-on-demand. If the Republicans were really serious about being pro-life they could have already ended legal abortion in America. Obviously the Republican Party and most GOP politicians are not serious about ending abortion, but are, regrettably, simply content to perpetuate the issue to manipulate pro-life voters.

Under my administration, we could end legal abortion in a matter of days, not decades. And if Congress refuses to pass Dr. Paul’s bill, I will use the constitutional power of the Presidency to deny funds to protect abortion clinics. Either way, legalized abortion ends when I take office.”

Having read that, I was wondering: What exactly is the saving grace for the Republican party, if, as Baldwin claims, the pro-life agenda is only a campaign point for them? If McCain will cut my taxes, won’t Baldwin, as a small-government, unbending Constitutionalist, cut them more?

And so my thinking spiraled into a series of what if questions:

  • What if I had more money to give to the world’s poor, or to give to the perpetuation of the gospel message, or to give to the building of a more environmentally just future?  Would my dollar — and the dollars of those who care for social justice — stretch further than if it were in the hands of the government in the form of taxes?
  • What if there were more competition in the health sector?  Would natural health remedies be more common and celebrated?  Would necessary prescription drugs be more fairly priced?
  • What if “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for?   What if “we are the change that we seek?”  If volunteerism and “every man for his neighbor” were philosophies that began to blossom throughout our country, would we need the government to do the jobs of poverty-fighting and carbon-taxing?

And then on the flip side, I wondered:

  • Isn’t Constitutionalism a bit ruthless?  Without the regulation of the government, won’t Americans all the more seek their plastic castles at the lowest price possible?  Won’t they cease to care about how their food is produced, or from whom their oil comes?

But it turns out I believe in the triumph of good over evil (I know, I know, that’s a big, assuming statement!).  I really do believe in grassroots movements to spread messages of love and change.  I believe that by picking trash up in the park, I have done my part in reducing the need for government (and I’ve taught my son something about caring for the gift of nature).  I have hope that our nation’s financial struggles and health crises and embarrassment of an educational system will be recognized through the voices of the passionate.  New remedies can be sought be more easily when freedom is at its height.

So, in the end, Chuck Baldwin will get my vote tomorrow, for a few reasons:

1.  I like the idea of voting for a third-party candidate.  If we look toward the future, hoping for a party that conforms more accurately to our political priorities, one of the best ways to make that happen is to stop voting for the Big Elephant or the Big Donkey, and vote for a human instead.  (Please don’t take offense at my facetiousness!)

2. I believe in the power of average citizens (and especially those powered by Christ) to bring about change.

3. I can vote for Baldwin with the least guilt, given my “faith priorities.”
How Baldwin Meets My Priorities

It is a little difficult to go into depth on how Baldwin specifically fulfills all of these (or even most of them), since many of these “faith priorities” have been placed under my responsibility because his Constitutional ideals.  Protection of life (priority 1) and freedom (priority 3) are two cases over which I have little to no control as a citizen, and Baldwin’s presidential plan takes these into consideration.  As for the others, I will try to create a picture of how most of these priorities can be played out under his presidency.

1. A pro-life perspective.  Baldwin is unapologetically against abortion, protecting the life of the unborn baby.  He also firmly stands against engaging in wars that do not directly endanger the rights of the American people.  He says, “‘Supporting the troops’ means putting their interests and America’s interests first and not in needlessly endangering them by engaging in ‘policeman of the world’ military adventures all over the world.”  I believe this is an important “pro-life” stance to hold.  As for exercising a pro-life stand in regard to life-threatening diseases here and around the world, I believe that Constitutionalism has the potential to make the greatest impact on eradicating HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, starvation, and other life-threatening conditions.  Try this on for size:  Barack Obama pledges to double foreign aid from $25 billion to $50 billion dollars by 2012 — a commendable goal.  But for the 300 million Americans to meet the same financial goal without the government as the go-between, each citizen would have to give only $166 per year.  A pipe dream?  Not if taxes were significantly relieved.  Not if this modest goal were perpetuated by a small group of committed people.

2. Care for the weak.  Again, Baldwin’s plans calls for the citizens to tend to these issues, rather than the government.  So, in a way, I’m voting for myself to get this done.  But with Darrell Castle (the vice-presidential candidate) as the founder of an organization which ministers to homeless gypsy children in Romania, I’m hopeful that care for the weak is a priority that will be supported by a Baldwin presidency.

3. Freedom.  Chuck Baldwin’s Constitutionalism sounds like the best plan I’ve heard to protect an individual’s right to freedom –for protection against slavery, for protection of rights for homosexuals, for choice and competition in education, the right to eat as one desires, etc.  His plan gives no special rights to anyone, but protects each citizen equally.

4. Environmental care.  While I think a carbon tax like Obama proposes could reduce the negative impact Americans have on the environment, it may not teach them to care about nature or understand its role in our lives.  Baldwin doesn’t address the environment specifically, but my hope is that his Constitutionalist message would increase competition for farmers, stop the subsidizing of single-crop farming (read: corn!), and promote organic, sustainable agriculture.

5. Inclusiveness.  On immigration reform, Baldwin is a bit tough on illegals, as my friend Tami warned me.  While I agree that there have to be restrictions and laws in place to protect American citizens, to ship all illegals back to their respective countries (as Baldwin wants to do) would be unnecessary if they are willing to go through the proper procedures.  Baldwin welcomes legal immigrants.  I admit Baldwin comes short of the mark on this priority.

6. Cultural regeneration.  As far as I have seen, Chuck Baldwin supports and models healthy family values.  Baldwin’s plan for education is to eradicate the Department of Education and do away with public schooling.  Can you imagine that?  He argues that the Constitution doesn’t give the government power over education, and that privatizing education would improve its quality.  I would love to be part of this experiment!
Some Final Thoughts

Some of Chuck Baldwin’s ideas seem far-fetched, and I admit, I can’t imagine living the United States he describes.  But if it happens, I want to be a part of it.  To avoid the ruthlessness of having a smaller government, to prevent the public from destroying itself, I believe Constitutionalism calls on the Christian church and other concerned and caring citizens to promote principles of health and life and love to those who are less fortunate.  In fact, I believe that’s the only way Constitutionalism will work.  We cannot look at Constitutionalism as “every man for himself” but as “every man for his neighbor.”  That’s the kind of nation I want to live in.  And that’s what I’m voting for tomorrow.

But (ding!) let me just wake up to reality and admit that Chuck Baldwin will not win tomorrow.  I still refuse to fear either the Republican or Democrat candidate.  I do not agree enough with either of them to give them my vote, but I will give them my prayers and support.  My sister Rachel posted a blog article called “Religion and Politics”, in which she shared the main points from her pastor’s sermon on Sunday.  For a Christian in this election, her thoughtful post was such good news.  To borrow her pastor’s final questions:

  • Where is your hope?
  • Are you going into Tuesday with fear or faith?
  • Most of all, is this fear or faith stoking your desire to go into the world with the gospel?

Finally, after a lot of stressful reading and pondering, I’m happy with my answers to those questions.

mein kampf: a political testimony

I helped keep Barack Obama in his candidacy for U.S. President.  That’s right.  I voted for him in the Texas primary.  To be honest, I liked crazy old Ron Paul, but I knew he had no chance of winning when my time to vote came around.

“So how could you fall so far as to vote for ‘that one’?” my dear Republican readers wonder.

Sometime last year, I realized that Christians can vote for Democrats.  No, seriously, I did.  My highly respected Christ-following sister came out of the political closet and announced she was a registered Democrat.  And then I read God’s Politics by Jim Wallis.  And Wallis poisoned me even further.  I realized that voting on political issues was going to take much more mulling and measuring and masticating (sorry — I needed another m-word) than going with the general trend of the evangelical Christian public.  How should I stand politically as a follower of Christ to promote justice on the earth?  I had heard, you know, that line that says “God’s not a Republican.”  But really, God’s not a Republican.

In the past few months, everything has gotten hot.  I have heard people blast McCain and Palin; I have heard people blast Obama and Biden even harder (maybe thanks to my conservative background and the people with whom I associate?).  Everyone seems to have decided whom they’re voting for, and the other candidate may as well be the devil.

And in the meantime, I flounder.  Not on the issues.  But on the candidates.  Poverty is something God cares about deeply, and so I lean toward Obama, who cares enough to mention poverty among the issues on his website.  But abortion?  How do you even quantify the horror of abortion?  And yet.  And yet. Should the issue of abortion govern all my every political decision?  After all, what impact might our care of the environment have on future generations?  Would taking care of the earth keep millions more people alive in poverty-stricken countries in the coming decades?

I tried to quantify innocent deaths against innocent deaths; I compared the issue of abortion with the war.  (I am not strongly anti-Iraqi-war, since there is way too much confidential information for the average American to decide whether going to war was justified.  I do have my suspicions, though, that the war had more to do with oil than with the danger of dictator Saddam Hussein.)  Just or unjust war, “innocent” Iraqis have died — people just as precious as those aborted babies.  But those babies — there are so many.  So many more than those killed because of the US’s decision to go to war.  So if you’re comparing numbers… isn’t abortion still the greater evil?

Obama says he wants to educate women so there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.  He wants to make adoption a more viable option, too.  I can support that, although I hate, hate, hate his “if all else fails” solution — to murder a baby that God created.

On financial issues, McCain says, “I want to make every American rich!”  Obama says he wants to spread the wealth around — a biblical perspective if you ask me.  I’d like to say that Christians can do the job of lifting the poor from their suffering, independent of taxation fixes.  But the truth is, we’re not doing it.  Well, then, it’ll have to be done for us.

I have been disgusted by McCain’s haughty nature in debates with Obama.  Maybe he calls himself a maverick; I call him rude.  I have been positively influenced by Obama’s thoughtful, measured responses.  Truly.

On the issue of agriculture, I’m with Obama, too.  While McCain wants to enable farmers to compete in the worldwide market, Obama wants to make it easier for local family farms to thrive.  Obama’s focus is crucial in cutting our oil usage and keeping organic, local food at our fingertips.

I am not deeply impacted by the likelihood of Obama raising taxes.  Socialism does not scare me.  (Oh, how many of you must hate my standpoint on this!)  I wish we could have pure freedom in America.  I wish that the generosity of free humans would overflow with such abundance that poverty would be annihilated.  But it’s not being annihilated.  Those that would be generous have not been generous enough, and the poor continue to suffer.

And I think, too, that freedom on earth is just wishful thinking.  If you’re free in Christ, what does a bigger government harm you?  I realize that governments can get so big that God’s people are oppressed, and I believe that grieves God.  But think how the Chinese church has grown under Communism!  I don’t wish that for us as Americans at all, but I don’t think that socialism is the epitome of spiritual warfare.

What I want to vote for, come November, is a candidate that will support God’s values to care for the poor and the disenfranchised and the earth we’re supposed to be stewarding.  I have not forgotten that one of the disenfranchised ones is the tiny baby who doesn’t make it out of his mother’s womb alive.  And I hurt for that child; my gut churns for that child.  It is the one issue that is keeping me on the fence.

I wish I could just write in Ron Paul on my ballot and say my vote doesn’t matter anyway, especially here in Texas.  I could just stay home and watch McCain get Texas’s vote.  But I believe I need to decide.

And so I struggle.  And so I pray.  I pray that when I cast my ballot, I will do it without guilt or regret.

Afterword:

I know you’re both out there — Obama supporters and McCain supporters.  How did you make your choice?  If your few words could convince me to support one candidate above another, what would you tell me?  Please!  I really want to hear from my readers on this one.

an update on nothing

Well, this is a post on something, after all.  It’s a much-belated update on my 30 29 Days of Nothing.

What a month this has been!  Full of blessings and bounty — far from nothing!  There was so much bounty, in fact, that I expected to look back at my five resolutions in my original post and have to tell you that I failed at nearly everything.  But today I read my resolutions again (they had always been in the back of my head, but I couldn’t have told you exactly what they said), and I realized we had met almost all our goals!

1. No lunches out except Sunday.  One dinner out per week, with no drinks or appetizers: On this one, I messed up twice, I think, with the lunch thing.  But the lunches were not unplanned splurges in a moment of weakness.  They were both lunches out with friends, for social and relationship-building purposes.  Justified, or not?  (I could have cooked those meals, after all.)  As for dinner, I think I succeeded 100 per cent on that one!

2. Meals planned around grocery store sales. Eh, I tried.  But I don’t really enjoy going through fliers.  So, how’s this?  I planned a meal, and then found the grocery store that had that item on sale — beef stew meat, for instance.  Since I have decided that buying all organic produce is not conducive to saving for an adoption, I am buying most of my conventional produce at the dirt-cheap Korean market.  Meat, though, kind of freaks me out at the Korean market.  So, I’d either bypass the meat altogether, justify a really good meat sale at Kroger or Albertson’s in the name of frugality, or when feeling particularly sustainable, I would go to Whole Foods to get a small serving of the good, organic, free-range stuff.

3. Stay under budget on groceries by at least $50. Everybody say “Wooee!”  Wooee! I am officially done getting groceries for the month.  And guess what?  I am under budget by $105.  Yeah.  I will attribute this in part to the bounty of food my parents brought from Kansas, but I could also argue that our grocery budget was more stressed because we had two weekends with houseguests.  It all balances out.

4. Limited electricity use, including air-drying clothes and turning off lights. I’d say the month was about average in this department.  I wasn’t exactly a stickler about turning off the lights — not more than usual anyway.  But just to make up for it, I am sitting in the darkness with my laptop right now.  And then there was one weekend I totally broke down and used the dryer for two loads of laundry, which I almost never do.  I enjoyed the luxury and felt little guilt.

5. Cloth diapers. The next weekend I broke down and used disposable diapers on Isaiah during the day.  I did feel guilty about that.  Other than that, I stuck to my guns.

As I’ve said, I didn’t feel very deprived during September.  I received bounty.  The hardest moments were in the late afternoon when I was tired and felt like doing anything but cooking.  Those will always be the hardest moments.  Perseverance is rewarded when I realize that in our budget, we were able to pay for a three-night stay at a condo in Breckenridge, where we’ll be two weeks from tonight.  If I had planned better, maybe that money could have gone to someone in need, rather than to give ourselves some late luxury that we missed out on this month.  But whether we had done this experiment in September or not, we still would have taken our mini-vacation in Breckenridge.  And now it’s paid for.

I believe these exercises can and will become habit for me.  In the kitchen, I have become less scared of cooking from scratch.  I have learned a little more about balancing frugal shopping with ecologically responsible shopping; I don’t have to feel guilty about buying organic milk or zucchini.

But I can do without a weekly coffee shop indulgence.  It’s a nice and perhaps much-needed reward on occasion, but I don’t have to do it to satisfy my consumerist cravings.  As Suzy recently reminded me through the words of Gandhi: “We must live simply so that others may be able to simply live.”

All discipline is hard in the outset.  But the fruit it bears will sustain not only our family but maybe also many others.  That’s my dream.