Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Raising Money

We all know there are countless good causes & a ton of need in the world. While no one individual can save the the world on their own, we’re called to do what we can to serve others. Raising funds for your favorite cause can be a great place to start getting involved.

So with a few energetic people and a great idea, it’s can be quite simple to raise thousands of dollars for your favorite cause. Why not consider holding a fundraiser with members of your church, small group, book club, or mom’s group next year. Here are some great ideas which might be quite easy and raise a lot of money!

1) Hold a Bake Sale full of baked goods, hot chocolate mixes, canned jellies, soup mixes & more!
2) Prepare a pancake breakfast or soup-and-sandwiches lunch. Sell tickets in advance.
3) Make small, handmade gifts or cards and sell them.
4) Have an International Potluck Dinner and charge admission. Make each group responsible for food and decorations appropriate to the country or region assigned to them.
5) Host a 24 hour fast. Money that would have gone for food can be donated.
6) A Cake/Dessert Tasting Event
7) Since we are in music city, someone very ambitious could put together a country music compilation cd composed of popular artists.
8) Selling a really cool t-shirt, tote bag or other merchandise

More ideas can be found here, here or here. >carrie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Non-Violent Response?

A sad story out of Colorado Springs Sunday. As you know, a gunman killed two people at a mission center and another two at a church. He was ultimately shot by a security guard at the church.

Last night I also heard the story of a man who shot two immigrants who were burglarizing a neighbor's home. News stations played a 911 call with the shooter as he reported the burglary and told the operator that he was going to go shoot the robbers.

These are two very different stories with somewhat similar outcomes. I often wonder about non-violent responses in such situations and whether the end (saving additional lives or, less importantly, property) justifies the means. I am not sure how I would react in a life-threatening situation, but would hope to respond in a non-violent manner, as modeled by Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi and others. However, I rarely have good solutions for difficult situations such as those above.
So I ask:
How could these tragedies have been avoided?
Are there "redemptive" alternatives to the actions taken?

- David

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Simpler, Greener Christmas

Here are a few ideas to have a simpler, greener Christmas:

1. Make a natural statment. Give homemade goodies.
2. Say NO to plastic. Give wood or fabric toys.
3. No batteries neccessary. Give toys that don't need them.
4. Time waits for no one. Give a coupon book of ways to spend time together.
(Source: gdiapers)
I am looking forward to making food and delivering them to shut-ins and finding more oppurtunities to serve others during this holiday season. Thank you all who have given your creative ideas for a simpler Christmas and look forward to hearing more!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shoeglue for the Shoeless

We will gather on Thanksgiving and feast on food that will overflow on our plates. Our bellies will be full for the rest of the day after only one meal! While we sit around and enjoy this abundance of food and time with family, please take time to remember that there are many around the world who are without both food and family. There are also children living on the streets and because they cannot find food, they are turning to sniffing glue in order to escape from their hunger pains and the reality of their hardships. We could easily sit back and criticize their abuse of this drug but I wonder how many of us realize that we may be the cause of this devastating addiction.

David and I just finished watching a movie entitled Glue Boys. I was quickly taken back to my memories of being on the streets of Nairobi and seeing this addiction first hand. My heart has been so saddened at this reminder. We would love for anyone to borrow this movie from us and learn more about this tragedy.

"In Kitale, Kenya, among countless other towns in the developing world, many street children have found an escape from their emotional and physical pains by becoming accidental consumers. Orphaned, barefoot, and malnourished, they habitually spend the scarce money they earn from odd jobs and charity not on food or water, but on a more immediate fix – glue – incidentally the same solvent-based kind that the wider world uses to cement shoes together. With plastic bottles perched at their mouths, the children breathe in the glue’s neurotoxic fumes until they pass out or fall asleep forever.
Equally naturalistic and investigative, “Glue Boys” contemplates the future of the world’s estimated 150 million street children and documents the day-to-day plight of a handful in Kitale. It also unveils the distribution chain of their addiction to sniffing glue, from the small-time street dealers who facilitate it, to the authorities who enable it, to the massive multinational corporations that profit from it. Not overlooking the deeply entrenched reality of the developing world, the film presents the illicit adhesives market with a sense of urgency and intricacy, bringing awareness to a growing global giant but also providing a framework for change." (Source:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Buy Nothing Day

It's easy for all of us to get caught up in the "spirit" of Christmas and want to buy that perfect gift for each person on our list. It's also hard not to turn from the "best" sale this year and the "cheapest" price this season. I am challenging all of us to join others this year in the "Buy Nothing Day" that for the USA falls on this Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). The UK is also participating in this day on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I realize that we may still go out and buy our presents on other days but wouldn't it be a great message to NOT participate in the most consumeristic day of the year?
"While critics of the day charge that Buy Nothing Day simply causes participants to buy the next day[5], Adbusters states that it "isn't just about changing your habits for one day" but "about starting a lasting lifestyle commitment to consuming less and producing less waste." (source: Wikipedia)
To read more about this cause, see the links below:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gift Bag Reuse

Do you have gift bags that are just collecting dust? I'm taking all my saved bags to the gym next week for free pickup to someone who will use them. If you, like me, have a big old closet full of gift bags you'll never use, please let me know! It's a good feeling to pass these along, without sending them to the dump. Anyway, If you live in the area, please let me know if you would like to pass your bags along. Thanks! >carrie.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ending Poverty by 2015

The Millennium Development Goals set a framework for how the world could see the end of extreme poverty. In September, 2000, The United States joined with 188 nations to affirm a set of international development goals in the United Nations Millennium Declaration. The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reflect an understanding of the devastation caused by global hunger and poverty and aim for a world that is free of such suffering. They have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. Our leaders committed to these goals and it is up to us, as Americans and ONE supporters, to make sure that America keeps its promises to the world’s most vulnerable people.

MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS: Click links below for more info.
1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality among children under 5 by two thirds
5. Improve maternal health - Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development


Monday, November 12, 2007

A Death Penalty-Free World?

At the UN General Assembly (UNGA) 62nd session in October 2007, a resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions was introduced as a step towards the abolition of the death penalty. Endorsement by the UNGA of a global moratorium on executions would be a significant milestone towards achieving the goal of a death penalty-free world.

A total of 133 UN member states, from all regions in the world, have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006, 91percent of them in just six countries -- China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the USA (note that the U.S. is listed along with other countries having very poor human rights records). Europe is a death penalty-free zone, with the exception of Belarus.

Executions have been carried out by the following methods since 2000:
- Beheading (in Saudi Arabia)
- Electrocution (in USA)
- Hanging (in Egypt, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Pakistan, Singapore and other countries)
- Lethal injection (in China, Guatemala, Thailand, USA)
- Shooting (in Belarus, China, Somalia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam and other countries)
- Stoning (in Afghanistan, Iran)

One of the primary reasons for support of the death penalty is that it purportedly deters crime more effectively than other forms of punishment. Recent crime figures from countries that have abolished the death penalty, however, fail to show that abolition has harmful effects. In Canada, for example, the homicide rate per 100,000 population fell from a peak of 3.09 in 1975, the year before the abolition of the death penalty for murder, to 2.41 in 1980, and since then it has declined further. In 2006, 30 years after abolition, the homicide rate was 1.85 per 100,000 population, 40 per cent lower than in 1975 and the second lowest rate in three decades.

The death penalty is inhuman, violates the right to life, is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent. Emperical evidence does not prove that it deters crime more effectively than other punishments. For these reasons, please consider signing this petition calling for a world-wide moratorium on executions (over 5 million people have already signed -- you might need to change the language in the upper right-hand corner of the webpage):

- David
(Data taken from Amnesty International)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Kindness in Kenya

An excerpt from the journal of Molly Welch (an intern at Made In The Streets, Nairobi, Kenya)
Salon Day With The Mothers…

On Monday I put together a day of relaxation for the mothers in Eastleigh. I had supplies for washing and drying hair, facials, and manicures and pedicures. I took five girls from here that work in the hair salon to help me out; Nancy, Halima, Lucy M., Lucy W., and Patricia. We get there, set up, and just as we are bringing in the women the electricity goes out! T.I.A. (This Is Africa). The day was planned to be outside in the open courtyard, but it meant there would be no washing and drying hair. Oh well, you do what you can. Truthfully though, God knew what he was doing. We had more women there than ever before, almost thirty. We spent over three hours just doing nails and facials. If we had tried to wash and fix hair like we had planned we would have been there at least another four hours. For the first hour I kept praying for the electricity to come back on and then I realized that sometimes unanswered prayers are really good.

Including Ann and I we had a total of seven people working on the mothers. We had three people scrubbing hands and feet, two people cutting and filing the nails, and two painting the nails. I helped paint the nails. It was amazing to watch the girls scrubbing the women’s feet. They spent so much time with each lady, they were gentle, and they did not rush to get it over with. These girls once lived on the streets and they know how special something like this is. The feet were dirty (the American thought of dirty does not even come close to African dirty) and many of the nails were black and brittle. Each mother was made to feel special.
They have done manicures for the woman before, but most of them are new since I have been here so the majority had never had anything like this done before. The only person that had washed their feet was themselves. The only color that had ever been on their nails was black from the dirt and dead nail bone. The women were grinning from ear to ear and no one left without saying thank you. Ann was filing and cutting nails and afterward she told me that she had scrapped years of dirt and dead skin off of some of the women. Also several women thanked her because they had never had their nails cut before. Can you imagine?

Hollye Conway kept the kids in another room while we were with the mothers so it was nice and peaceful. I have never heard it that quiet at the center before. The women were quietly waiting around, smiling, and watching in amazement. Although I was painting nails non stop for three hours, it was the most peaceful day I have had in Eastleigh. The mothers were happy and carefree, at least for a little while.
This challenges me to want to something like this here for single mothers. Possibly we could do this for some of the mothers at WRCCC.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's the Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us. I love the holidays and the thought of Christmas songs, putting up a tree, and drinking eggnog stir up warm feelings inside me. It's easy to get caught up in all the excitement around a holiday. I tried not to go overboard with dressing Asher up at Halloween. I used a bear outfit cover (given to us) as a costume and made homemade facepaint for his nose. Even as I tried to keep things simple, I was quickly reminded that even the little I had done was more than what the kids who came to my door that night were able to do. I was saddened each time I opened the door to a yound child who simply had on what he had probably worn that day and a simple bag to gather candy. It's easy for me to use things around my house to be creative in creating a costume but it may not be as easy for the single mom or the grandparent raising the grandchild.
I want to do things differently with the holidays approaching. I want to begin now so that when Asher is old enough to understand, he will see that the time for celebrating holidays is not all about getting presents or eating as much great homemade food as we want. However, I am not sure where to begin. I do feel challenged to finding a way to give costumes at Halloween next year to kids who do not have any.
It's easy to just give money to things around the holidays but I would rather do something more personal that our family can participate in together. Does anyone have any ideas?

Monday, November 5, 2007


Mitsuyoshi Toge was born in Hiroshima in 1917 and was in the city when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. He died twelve years later. Toge wrote this poem about what he saw on that August day; it is taken from Hiroshima-Nagasaki: A Pictorial Record of the Atomic Destruction (1978).

How could I ever forget that flash of light!
In a moment, thirty thousand people ceased to be,
The cries of fifty thousand killed
At the bottom of crushing darkness;

Through yellow smoke whirling into light,
Buildings split, bridges collapsed,
Crowded trams burnt as they rolled about
Hiroshima, all full of boundless heaps of embers.
Soon after, skin dangling like rags;
With hands on breasts;
Treading upon the broken brains;
Wearing shreds of burn cloth round their loins;
There came numberless lines of the naked, all crying.
Bodies on the parade ground, scattered like jumbled stone images of Jizo;
Crowds in piles by the river banks,
loaded upon rafts fastened to the shore,
Turned by and by into corpses under the scorching sun;
in the midst of flame tossing against the evening sky,
Round about the street where mother and brother were trapped alive under the fallen house
The fire-flood shifted on.
On beds of filth along the Armory floor,
Heaps, and God knew who they were …
Heaps of schoolgirls lying in refuse
Pot-bellied, one-eyed, with half their skin peeled off bald.
The sun shone, and nothing moved
But the buzzing flies in the metal basins
Reeking with stagnant ordure.
How can I forget that stillness
Prevailing over the city of three hundred thousands?
Amidst that calm,
How can I forget the entreaties
Of departed wife and child
Through their orbs of eyes,
Cutting through our minds and souls?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Commentary on Society

Photographer Chris Jordan makes visual statements about American consumerism which are beautiful and astonishing. He says, "The pervasiveness of our consumerism holds a seductive kind of mob mentality. Collectively we are committing a vast and unsustainable act of taking, but we each are anonymous and no one is in charge or accountable for the consequences. I fear that in this process we are doing irreparable harm to our planet and to our individual spirits." Here are a few of his pieces, followed by a few detail shots:

Depicts 2.3 million folded prison uniforms, equal to the number of Americans incarcerated in 2005.

Depicts two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fair Trade Month

Since October is Fair Trade Month, I wanted to share a few online retailers to get you started early on your Christmas shopping! Fair Trade empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. Here are some awesome gifts that you’ll feel great about buying. >carrie.

-The Acacia Wood Bowls (pictured above)from
-Woven Rattan tray from
-a lavendar bracelet from
-jersey wrap dress from
-Bamboo & Leaf Journal from Ten Thousand Villages

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

International Justice Mission

Sarah and I went to a benefit dinner for International Justice Mission last week. IJM fights human trafficking in developing countries. Today more people around the world are in slavery and sold in the sex trade than ever before in history. It's good to see somebody trying to do something about it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


While David and I lived on the farm in Kenya with Made in the Streets, a sweet girl named Lucy Wanjko came to live there as well. Lucy had made the decision to change her life of living on the streets into a life living at Made in the Streets that would give her hope for her future.
Lucy came to us with a difficult past. She had been living on a "base" (a place where a group of street kids call home) that was near a pile of garbage. She lived there with her mother and father and sister. We know that Lucy sniffed glue and had to overcome that addiction upon her move to the farm. We don't know if Lucy was ever raped but the majority of girls living on bases usually have been (and usually more than one time). Lucy thankfully did not carry the AIDS virus.
I had the responsibility of tutoring English and math during my stay and Lucy was my first student. She later became David's student. David and I both struggled to teach Lucy. She was competitive with her learning but struggled when others did better than her. She struggled with handling the teasing that teenagers often do.
Lucy would strike out at the boys who would tease her by hitting them or name calling. One night, a girl in the kitchen teased Lucy and Lucy, not knowing how to handle her insecurities any other way, stabbed the girl in her wrist with a kitchen knife. We prayed unceasingly for Lucy to change her ways. Her decisions were now endangering the lives of the other kids, who needed to feel safe at MITS. Lucy apoligized to this girl and we thought she was changing.
David and I returned to the US and continued to hear of Lucy's struggles. I wrote her a letter of encouragement to change and to remind her of all the beautiful qualities that I saw in her and how I hoped for her to find a new life free of her past struggles.
Soon after this, we learned that Lucy could not change. Her past was too webbed inside of her and she could no longer stay at MITS. She was returned to her family and to a life living on the streets.
We just visited with a dear friend of ours who continues to work on the streets of Nairobi, rescuing other children from this street life. He gave us news that he has seen Lucy and that she now has a son named Joel. The good news is that she comes to the mothers program and her father has told MITS staff that her time with MITS did change her for the better.
I share this story to remind us all that some people have a past that is so diffcult to free them and while we so desparately want them to have a "normal" and "successful" life, we may need to change our definitions of these standards and in every oppurtunity display mercy to those who need it the most.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What the Bible Says about Healthy Living

Several months ago, on the recommendation of a midwife friend, I read the book What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Dr. Rex Russell. Jessica’s reading it now. I was skeptical at first because of the title, wondering what, besides books, this guy was selling. But, I was pleased to find that to make the nutritional changes he recommends, you don’t have to buy any recommended supplements (like Dead Sea Algae Capsules) or prepackaged “holy” foods. Instead, his approach is to recommend that we keep the dietary guidelines of the Mosaic Law.

His story is that he and his family were chronically run down and plagued with chronic illnesses – diabetes, arthritis, deterioration of his eyesight, cavities, among others. Even though he is a doctor, and was following the recommended treatments, he wasn’t getting much better. He tried other non-traditional treatments, like eating a fistful of vitamins every day, to no avail. Then he had the epiphany to give the Mosiac dietary laws a try. He found that in his own family and eventually in his patients that tried the same approach that many of these chronic conditions and others went away or diminished.

He distills the Levitical lists of eats and don’t-eats into three principles:

Eat only the foods that God created for human food – No scavengers like pork, shellfish, fish with skin not scales, birds without a gizzard, etc. These are nature’s trash collectors, full of toxins. Eat all the fruits, veggies, whole grains, seeds, and nuts you want.

Don’t alter God’s design – Eat whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Drink water. Avoid meats that have been pumped full of antibiotics and hormones (which, because of price constraints and the minimal amount of meat your body really needs, means greatly reducing the amount of meat you eat). The food and drink that have been chemically altered, stripped, enriched, colored, preserved, hydrogenated, and fortified lose their nutritional qualities and fill you up with chemicals that have bad or unknown effects on your health.

Don’t let any food or drink become your god – Practice fasting to give your body its needed rest and to break any food addictions, like sugar and, ahem, caffeine.

He weaves in medical statistics and cases to back up his points. Those stats seem plausible to me, but more convincing is the theology and simplicity of the approach.

On the theology front, he opens the book quoting Moses’ speech to the Isrealites in Exodous 15. Moses is telling them about how God will bless them if they follow His Law. These blessings, Dr. Russell explains, are not just a matter of being cosmically square with God, but are tangible blessings of a better life: avoiding some diseases, relationship problems, property disputes, etc. that can be avoided. I’m with him on this point. And he doesn’t overstate it. No “health and wealth” claims of a charmed life. Some diseases and bad situations you simply cannot avoid or cure. He still has diabetes, though it has gotten better on the new diet. And, he doesn’t claim that eating this way makes you righter with God. And, you don’t have to keep a kosher kitchen, too tall of an order for me.

On the simplicity side, the principles pretty well knock out all of the food in the middle of any grocery store, where all of the processed, mass advertised stuff is. On this plan, you pretty much shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and buy things with price tags uninflated by advertising dollars. Eating this way can stretch your grocery dollar, keep you away from the doctor and dentist, and cut the amount of time you spend in the grocery store. Educating our children and communities to eat this way could benefit public health and allow the poor to eat and feel better.

We’ve started eating this way, and its not been absolutely easy. Convenience foods are pretty much eliminated on this plan. No more Create-a-Meals or Hamburger Helper, so stuff takes longer to prepare. And, we’ve switched to organic milk and as much as we can to organic meat, which are more expensive. But we have seen a net reduction in our grocery budget as a result, and we can feel the health effects of reducing processed sugar, white flour, pork, and other things. When we eat these things occasionally now, we can tell almost immediately that they make us feel worse.

-The Schweigers

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blessed are the Meek

I am currently doing a study on The Sermon on the Mount. In the study, there were different attributes of God we were to study. The first one was "God is sovereign; God is in control." I must confess that I have trouble with the statement God is in control. I especially have trouble with this statement when I read this verse "He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap (1 Samuel 2:8)." My questioning is if God is "in control" than why are still a billion people still living on only a dollar a day and over 2 billion without access to clean water. Why has God not lifted these poor people up?

Then I think about the Beatitudes and Matthew 5:5 that says, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." Meek in Hebrew means humble, afflicted, poor, oppressed. So here is Jesus challenging ME to help the poor and oppressed to inherit the earth. So maybe God is "in control" in the sense that He has empowered me to live out these challenges of Jesus.

So maybe all 6 billion of us on the planet can't make a difference but many of us can. We have one life that God has entrusted to us and we can either give back to His creation or we can live each day just for ourself. I am thankful for something I learned about today. Bill Clinton has begun the Clinton Global Initiative (and by the way, if you are a Republican, please get over the fact that this was a democratic president heading it up). Today marks the fifth day of the United Nations General Assembly meeting and the day that the Clinton Global Initiative is meeting with 1600 leaders around the world. Many have already made commitments and many more today will be made. You don't even have to be at the meeting to make a commitment. This initiative focuses on four areas: education, alleviating poverty, energy and climate change, and global health. To read more about it go to this link:


Thursday, September 20, 2007

What the World Eats

Check out this interesting photo essay produced by Time Magazine, entitled "What the World Eats". Pictured above is The Aboubakar family in Chad, who spend $1.23 per week. Now - How does that compare to what you spend on food per week? >carrie.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wall Street Money Drop w Shane Claiborne

If you read the Irresistable Revolution and, like me, wondered what the money drop on Wall Street looked it is.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mark Your Calendars

Mark your calendars for October 6th and 7th for the Celebration of Cultures! The event is FREE and will be at Centennnial Park. The Celebration will include musice performers, exotic foods, world market booths, and children's activities (including the Nashville Zoo, urban wildlife, and others). This year they are adding a section called The Villages (not like the movie, sorry) that will share a typical day in other parts of the world.

Also, on October 6th before the Celebration of Cultures begins, there will be a "Walk As One" that will begin at 9am.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Dark Night of the Soul

"..Jesus retreated periodically to lonely and abandoned places to find refreshment and strength in intimacy with God, and invited his disciples to do the same. In the garden and on the cross, he experienced the deceptive feeling of abandonment which is the shadow side of desert experience and the "dark night of the soul" that comes before the dawn of the promised New Day experienced by everyone called to seek God alone." (Source: School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism)

I have experienced this "dark night of the soul" on two occasions. The first was when David and I relocated to Kenya. It was in the first few weeks while we were adjusting to our new life that we confronted this feeling of abandonment. The feeling of "what have we done?" I believe we felt this the most on a night when the electricity had gone out (again) and we were struggling to cook a meal in our home that at the time had big, black rats that came out in the dark, and we realized that our friends and family were no where near.

The second occasion was also a time of relocation when we decided to move downtown to a more diverse neighborhood. Again, I felt this abandonment that we had chosen to live in an area far from friends and family and in a neighborhood that took time to overcome preconceived fears.

"Relocation expresses conversion and commitment, the decision to resist imperial pressures and rewards of conformity to the way of all empires: pride, power, and reduction of all values to the "bottom line." It is a coming out from under, a liberation, and a real challenge." (Source: School(s) for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism)

Looking back at these two occasions I can now see how these relocations gave me liberation and real challenge! Both have given me a new focus in life and have caused me to want to live out a life of compassion and service for the kingdom of God.

Have any of you had a "dark night of the soul" that at first look felt like abandonment but with time and commitment became an experience of new focus?

Friday, September 7, 2007

Reduce Your Exposure

"[I]f you consume canned soups, beans and soft drinks, organic or not, you also may be swallowing residues of a controversial chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) that can leak out of the can linings into your food. Nearly all can liners contain BPA, says Geoff Cullen, director of government relations at the Can Manufacturers Institute. BPA has also been found to migrate, under some conditions, from polycarbonate plastic water bottles.
Plastic water and baby bottles, food and beverage can linings and dental sealants are the most commonly encountered uses of this chemical. Unfortunately, it doesn't stay put. BPA has been found to leach from bottles into babies' milk or formula; it migrates from can liners into foods and soda and from epoxy resin-lined vats into wine; and it is found in the mouths of people who've recently had their teeth sealed. Ninety-five percent of Americans were found to have the chemical in their urine in a 2004 biomonitoring study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."
8 Ways to Avoid Harmful Chemicals in Plastics and Cans
1. If you already own polycarbonate bottles, including the Nalgene bottles popular on college campuses, labeled #7 on the bottom, wash them by hand with mild dishwashing soap, not in the dishwasher, to avoid degrading the plastic and increasing leaching of BPA (see
2. Even plastic does not last forever. Look for cracks or cloudiness on your reusable clear plastic bottles. See The Green Guide's survey,
3. Use glass baby bottles or plastic bag inserts, which are made of polyethyelene, or switch to polypropylene bottles that are labeled #5 and come in colors or are milky rather than clear.
4. Choose soups, milk and soy milk packaged in cardboard "brick" cartons, by Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc, which are made of safer layers of aluminum and polyethylene (#2) and also recyclable.
5. Choose canned foods from makers who don't use BPA, such as Eden Foods (
, which sells certified organic canned beans and other foods.
6. Eat fresh foods in season and save the canned foods for convenience or emergencies. The exception is some canned fruit such as that found in smaller fruit-cocktail cans, which do not require a liner, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.
7. Buy or can your own fruits and vegetables in safe glass jars.
8. Some wines have been found to contain up to six times the BPA of canned foods. While most wines probably don't, it's another good reason to drink in moderation.
(Source: "The Bisphenol-A Debate: A Suspect Chemical in Plastic Bottles and Cans"
by Catherine Zandonella, M.P.H)
Here are a few more helpful sights:
or from:
Soulutions to reduce plastic and toxic exposures:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Reducing Junk Mail

This is an explanation on how to reduce unwanted mail. It should take 10 minutes tops for you and within 6-10 weeks your mail should be reduced by 70-80% if I remember correctly. It will save a tree, reduce waste and reduce the risk of stolen personal information. - Lance

DMA (Direct Mail Association)
E-mail address opt-out - Does not apply to business addresses and you must reply to an e-mail they will send you or it doesn’t stick.
Mailing address opt-out - Lasts 5 years and you must do it for every new address. It also costs $1.
Pre-screened credit card offers opt-out - I opted out for 5 years. To opt out permanently, you have to print something and mail it in.
Really helpful overview

4 Credit Companies (Equifax, etc.)
Credit Reporting Companies Removal (firm offers of credit and insurance)- May be the same as the credit card removal above. Super creepy auto system but takes only 2 minutes. 1-888-5OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688)

ADVO - I opted out for 5 years.

Epsilon’s Abacus Cooperative Database
- Send email to:
Text of e-mail: Please remove me from your list and do not sell my addresses (and then proceed with any applicable address).

Monday, September 3, 2007


The UN estimates that approximately 1 billion people around the world live in slums. By 2050, the UN says, there may be 3.5 billion slum dwellers, out of a total urban population of about six billion. Cities around the world are growing at an unprecedented rate and much of the growth is attributable to people moving from rural to urban areas, lured by the promise of new opportunities. Unfortunately, though, many of these new arrivals end up in living in the slum areas, steeped in dire poverty. For example, of the 500,000 people who migrate to Delhi, India each year, it is estimated that 400,000 end up in slums (Mike Davis, Planet of Slums, p. 18, 2006).

Slums are typically not found in the developed world, as evidenced by the map below. They are characterized by conditions far less habitable than "projects" or government housing -- slums are evidenced by severe overcrowding, inadequate access to safe water and sanitation and insecurity of tenure. In the sums of Kolkata (Calcutta), India, an average of 13.4 people are crammed together into a single room and, in the Dharavi slum of Mumbai (Bombay), India, an incredible 18,000 people per acre somehow dwell in 10-by-15-foot rooms stacked on top of one another.
I wonder how many people could comfortably live in our house. Sometimes we feel cramped here with just 3 of us; and we even have air conditioning, reliable electricity, 3 bathrooms and a refrigerator. I know that at least 1 billion people would love to trade places with me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It's easy for me when I am sick to feel sorry for myself. I think how it would be nice if I could have someone come take care of my 5-month old so that I could sleep longer or how I wish my husband could get home earlier from work or even stay home with me to complete the daily housefold tasks, like cleaning and dinner. I think how I wish that my refrigerator was full of "get well" food like pudding and jello.

And then I remember another time of when I really felt sorry for myself....We were living in Kenya and I had a stomach bug, which is not fun to have when your toilet is wedged in a corner that barely gives room for your legs when you sit down or when you can't even lay on the couch because you just have a love seat and chair in your ~300 square foot apartment. Not to mention there were not even crackers on our shelves or Sprite to ease my upset stomach or a doctor close by to help me if the "bug" thing got worse.

But then I stop and remind myself AGAIN of how rich and easy I have it to be sick. For one, I have a husband and plenty of friends and family who would drop anything to help me if I really needed time to recover. I also have access to medical care and medicine that I can afford and easily jump in my car and drive to the pharmacy to pick up. I have a bed (actually we have two in our home) and a couch (two of those as well) that I can lie on. And, even when I was in Kenya it was easy to be sick.

I can't imagine what it would be like to be sick and be a single mom. I can't imagine what it would be like to be sick and be a single mom and live on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya. I mean how bad must it feel to have to lie on the side of the road (or if you're lucky on a make-shift bed in a shanty that you share with your seven children) and not know where you can even get clean water. How bad must it feel to know that the tuberculosis you are suffering from is curable with daily treatments that is now free in your country but you cannot afford the daily bus fare to take you to the clinic that has it. How bad must it feel to know that no one is going to come at the end of the day to take the child from you to give you a break but instead you must find a hiding place to keep the man who may come by from raping you.

So as I sit here in my nice home feeling a little under the weather, I no longer feel sick.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Mother Theresa

I once heard Randy Harris say that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but apathy. Faith requires actions based on that faith. Or as James said, "Faith without works is dead."

Now word comes out that even someone as looked up to as Mother Theresa had here own doubts, as Time Magazine has reported. I know that there are many who have doubts about many things that we've believed or been instructed to believe. However, my prayer for myself and for all of us is that those doubts will not stagnate us into apathy, but that the actions that we take to bring God's justice and peace into His world will continue in spite of the doubts and not "feeling" God's presence.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Featured Family Friday

Larry and Hollye Conway, Missionaries in Kenya


Have you ever had the experience like I have where you were hesitant to invite someone in or over because things were not 'just right' in your home?

We often visit our friends who live on a garbage dump. The stench greets you long before our friends do. Most steps are accompanied by a ?squish? which you would rather not identify?

The welcome is always warm and genuine. Each visit is accompanied by a moment of uneasiness as they search out the right seat for you ~ a cement block, an empty radio casing or a old tin paint bucket. Greetings, news, stories are exchanged. Words of encouragement and Bible lessons are spoken. Prayer requests shared and lifted up.

I always hate to leave. They have made me feel comfortable and at home.
Wonder if I can learn from them and handle awkward moments of hospitality more graciously???
Don't you think Jesus would be delighted by a warm and welcoming invitation into our day, no matter what the state of our hearts or our lives?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

ONE Campaign in Nashville

The ONE Campaign has been working closely with the leaders of the Nashville group to put together a plan of action for the coming months, and is announcing it's first Nashville ONE Volunteer Meet-up. Here are details:

When: August 31 at 6:00 PM
Where: Hardrock Cafe, 100 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37201
Why: Find out about what the local ONE Campaign Nashville is doing, things you can do to make a difference, upcoming events, our legislative agenda, member recruitment drive...and more!

They are requesting your RSVP here if you can make it. >carrie.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Green Power Switch

If last week's record-breaking electricity consumption has got you thinking about NES's Green Power Switch, consider this:

At 3:45 p.m. last Thursday, the NES grid was pumping out 2,673 megawatts. According to NES spokeswoman Laurie Parker, to convert that whole lot to sustainable energy would require 17,280 “blocks” of green power—in just that one moment.

But in the month of July, Nashvillians purchased a meager 422 blocks of green power.

So, we've got a long way to go. But if you want to give green a try, $8 a month will buy two blocks of green power, enough to convert approximately one-quarter of the energy consumption of the average Nashville family.

(content taken from the Nashville Scene blog.) >posted by carrie.

Monday, August 20, 2007

john wesley

John Wesley, the 18th centurey leader of the Methodist movement, had a few things to say about how much a Christian should give. He said that Christians should give away all but the "plain necessaries of life" -- that is, plain, wholesome food, clean clothes and enough to carry on one's business.
Wesley stated that capital need not be given away but that all income should be given to the poor after bare necessities are met.
"Any 'Christian' who takes for himself anything more than the plain necessaries of life," Wesley insisted, "lives in an open, habitual denial of the Lord."
"If I leave behind me ten pounds," he once wrote, "you and all mankind bear witness against me that I lived and died a thief and a robber."
Do you think Wesley goes too far?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Here are two new websites to check out!

This website gives you the environmental impact calculator and great ideas for green projects around your home.

Even if you do not have a child, this website is helpful to having a healthier home. Also check out the 5 easy steps under the Featured Programs. These give some helpful tips for around the house.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Benefit Yard Sale - Sept. 21 & 22

Mark your calendars for the Yard Sale to benefit Made in the Streets , Friday 9/21 & Saturday 9/22.

Can You Help? Why yes you can! Here’s what we DESPERATELY need!
1) Your House Decluttered. Your Stuff…to Me
2) Your Help on Sale Day & Before – Pricing, Organizing, Sign Making & Posting, Watching Children, Placing Ads & Publicizing the Sale, Getting/Making Lunch on Sale Day…
3) Borrowing – Your Tables, Portable Clothing Racks (Do you know anyone with these?!), Garage Sale Flags
4) Your Plastic Bags – Oh, I can’t stand them. But they will come in handy for our shoppers!

Please contact Carrie for more info.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

mother teresa

A few thoughts from Mother Teresa:

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.

There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone's house. That says enough.

There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.

The more you have, the more you are occupied, the less you give. But the less you have the more free you are. Poverty for us is a freedom.

There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people.

Not so long ago a very wealthy Hindu lady came to see me. She sat down and told me, "I would like to share in your work." In India, more and more people like her are offering to help. I said, "That is fine." The poor woman had a weakness that she confessed to me. "I love elegant saris," she said. Indeed, she had on a very expensive sari that probably cost around eight hundred rupees. Mine cost only eight rupees. Hers cost one hundred times more.Then I asked the Virgin Mary to help me give an adequate answer to her question of how she could share in our work. It occurred to me to say to her, "I would start with the saris. The next time you go to buy one, instead of paying eight hundred rupees, buy one that costs five hundred. Then with the extra three hundred rupees, buy saris for the poor." The good woman now wears 100-rupee saris, and that is because I have asked her not to buy cheaper ones. She has confessed to me that this has changed her life. She now knows what it means to share. That woman assures me that she has received more than what she has given.

I guess I need to go pick up a broom...
- David

Friday, August 10, 2007

Featured Family Friday

Five years ago Dr. J. Matthew Sleeth and his family lived in a big house, had two luxury cars, loads of money, and lots of stuff. As chief of the medical staff at a large hospital, Sleeth was living the American dream—until he realized that something was terribly wrong. As he saw patient after patient suffering from cancer, asthma, and other chronic diseases, he began to understand that the Earth and its inhabitants were in trouble. Feeling helpless, he turned to his faith for guidance. He discovered how the timeless lessons of personal responsibility, simplicity, and stewardship taught in the Bible could be applied to modern life.

Excerpt from Serve God, Save the Planet by Sleeth:
"Over the past five years, my family and I have made significant lifestyle changes. We no longer live in our big house; instead, we have one the exact size of our old garage. We use less than one-third of the fossil fuels and one-quarter of the electricity we once used. We've gone from leaving two barrels of trash by the curb each week to leaving one bag every few weeks. We no longer own a clothes dryer, garbage disposal, dishwasher, or lawn mower. Our "yard" is planted with native wildflowers and a large vegetable garden. Half of our possessions have found new homes. We are a poster family for the downwardly mobile.
Because of these changes, we have more time for God. Spiritual concerns have filled the void left by material ones. Owning fewer things has resulted in things no longer owning us. We have put God to the test, and we have found his Word to be true. He has poured blessings and oppurtunities upon us. When we stopped living a life dedicated to consumerism, our cup began to run over. We have seen miracles."
I am currently reading Serve God, Save the Planet and have found it to be very convicting. Others who are recommending this book include: Brian McLaren and Shane Claiborne.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Paper or Plastic?

It seems that neither are without fault. Paper bag production is expensive, requires more energy to recycle & they take up more landfill space. Many plastic bags are not biodegradable, and require more oil used for production. Not to mention all the plastic bags littered across the country. So more people across the country are bringing their own.

In March, San Francisco became the first city in the country to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags in large grocery and drug stores. Similar bag-banning measures are being considered elsewhere across the country.

Locally, there are a handful of grocers who give money back when you bring your own bags. Kroger is the latest to offer savings, with $.04 off your bill for each bag you bring.

I’ve been bringing my own bags now for almost a year. After unloading my foods, I immediately put the bags by the door or right back to the car. That way, they are always in the car when I make an impromptu stop by the store. It is so easy to do & you will not believe how sturdy these bags are. You can put much more in these bags than either plastic or paper.

Where to find them? Tote bags overflow at your local thrift store. Or you can find a great selection at >carrie.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Peace Counts

Peace Counts aims to discover role models for peacemaking around the world and to bring them broad exposure by creating fascinating features and photo essays. Peace Counts is looking to provide answers to the question: How does an individual actually “make peace”?

Peace Counts publications focus on role models for peace throughout the world. Peace Counts depicts people, groups, and institutions that have supported peace processes with especial creativity, credibility, long-term commitment, and success.

The following is an excerpt from ... and on Earth Peace to Men of Good Will:

Peace has come to the once unruly streets of New Haven, Connecticut. Today children play where the bullets of gang shoot-outs once flew. Geraniums bloom in the window boxes of former crack houses. Many gang members are either behind bars or have become upright citizens who sweep their sidewalks on Saturday mornings. Since the 1990s, crime rates in New Haven have fallen by more than 60 percent. The success can be credited to an unusual style of police work – “community policing.” “Community policing” sounds harmless enough, but it was a cultural revolution. It began in New Haven’s police academy, a former precinct house on Sherman Parkway.

Along with law, criminology, and firearms practice, the future cops learn standard English, read poetry, and rehearse nonviolent conflict resolution with role-playing games. They write plays about racial prejudice and produce them with inner city kids. The calligraphy of the greeting-card rhetoric outside is set forth in the classroom. “It’s never too soon to be friendly – you never know when it might be too late.”

The “recruits” became “students” and were drawn from every conceivable walk of life: homosexuals, single mothers, Latinos, African-Americans. In the school day, the firing range ceded time to soup kitchen visits. Kay Codish brought prostitutes, hustlers, abused women, the mentally ill, and the homeless into the classroom. She drilled her students nonstop in the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A police officer needs to remember that, almost more than anyone else.”

Check out this website for more peace stories around the world!

How can we as individuals make peace in our community?