Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's on Your Dinner Table??

First, let me say, I am NOT a vegetarian, nor am I a PETA member. However these pictures are appalling! If you want to research this any further pick up a copy of The Ethics of What we Eat: Why our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer.

Battery Cages where egg laying hens are kept. Note - not only can they not move, they are debeaked.

Debeaking - beaks are seared off with a red hot blade. One reason this is done is to prevent them from pecking their neighbor to death....

Another look at the caged hens.... and their waste.

And this is how the "Free Range" Boiler chickens are kept. Their only freedom is that they are not in individual cages....

The above two pictures are "Free Range" turkeys. Also debeaked. Like many "free-range" and "organic" animals, these young turkeys are crowded together in a filthy shed and will not see the sun or breathe fresh air until the day they're taken to slaughter.

In today's Turkey Farms, the turkeys are bred (and drugged) to grow quickly and maximize the "white meat." Because of this they are often crippled under their own weight, and can not mate naturally.

These are the "Pig Factory" farms. Again - horribly crowded. Pigs are social animals and very intelligent. On these farms there is no mental stimulation, which often leads to insanity and compulsive chewing of the metal cages.

The gestinational pigs don't fare much better, often kept in these confining cages for their entire life.

I was gonna show you the cows, but it was just too heartbreaking. Especially the veal calves. And the pictures of beef cattle walking in waste halfway up their legs. The feedlots are abominable. The confinement of beef and dairy cattle in shoulder to shoulder conditions is awful. The cows look at you with human-like eyes....

One other thing - the waste of these animals (way too many animals for the size of the area they are confined in) kept on these farms is destroying the air, water and soil around them. To say nothing of the waste and indigestion produced gases that contribute to global warming. I'm just saying.....

So, I will leave you there. I encourage everyone to become educated about the food you eat, so you can make wise choices. There are ethical farms and companies out there, it just takes some work to find them.....
A couple other good books are: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, 101 Reasons Why I'm A Vegetarian by Pamela Rice and a book I have just purchased, and hope is good - The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan.

Then, there's corn........

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not in My Backyard.....

So, yesterday in church we were talking about the Great Commission and what that means for us, today. Practicalities. What each of us as individuals can do to make the world a better place; how we can be Christ to others. And, the excuses for why we don't.

After church I pretty much forgot about the discussion. Until this morning on the way to work. As I was driving down the street the school is on, the state of the neighborhood shocked me. I guess I have been driving down the street with blinders on all year. What really hit me was a house with a FOR RENT sign in the front yard. "WHO would want to rent that dump?" I thought......

Now, keep in mind it wasn't all that long ago that I lived in this very neighborhood. For fifteen years. We had a modest house, a good-sized yard, and relatively good neighbors. And then, the neighborhood changed. Quite rapidly. We stuck it out for a couple more years. After all, the kids could walk to school; I could walk to the store and we had just finished our basement. But suddenly I became uncomfortable there. With the type of people the neighborhood was attracting. The fact that most were immigrants, many illegal, living two or three families to a house, the fact that they didn't care what their house, or yard looked like. The fact that I didn't understand them, or their culture, or their poverty. I didn't get that they were just trying to get ahead and make life for their families better. Trying to scrounge up a piece of the American Dream. And truth be told, I looked at the bottom line - would I be able to sell my house and still make a profit? I mean we were rapidly losing value weren't we?

We put the house on the market. I remember sitting on my porch one day, wrestling with the fact that I was doing that. That I was not content with my present circumstances. That my neighbors didn't have that option. How I was one to talk about going to another country to work with the poor on a mission trip, when here the poor and needy were coming to MY NEIGHBORHOOD! I struggled with it. It nagged at me. Stay here and be hands and feet to those in need? Or move to where my kids felt safe, and not looked down on for were they resided. I weighed my feelings and my family against what could possible be an opportunity to love and minister to those around me. And my family won. Well, in one sense of the word. But they lost even more. There were great teaching opportunities there. A chance for my kids to see Jesus in action. A chance to teach them that life wasn't all about them.

I look at people now that live in comfort and prosperity, who sell their homes, pick up their families and move to the inner city, or neighborhoods like the one I lived in. I missed the boat. We were already there. And I couldn't wait to get out.....

Within a week our house sold and we packed up and moved to a more "acceptable" neighborhood. Hey - I was only looking out for my kids, right?

So - would I make the same choice today? Have I learned anything? I would like to think that I would do things differently, but honestly, I don't know. This is part of my ongoing struggle to love. To be Jesus to a hurting world.

Just not in my backyard.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Curiosity Killed the Cat......

OK - time to fess up. I see the numbers going up on my blog.... and I see the dots getting bigger on my map - and yet I only see a few people brave enough to leave evidence that they've been here. So, if you don't want to leave comments, I understand. Really. I lurk a lot too. But maybe, just maybe you wouldn't mind at least letting me know who you are? So here's your chance. Let me know you're here, and you're reading. That way those anonymous dots and hits won't bug me anymore...

The ties that bind.....

When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Peace Of Mind

Mindy Smith

I need peace of mind
and a hopeful heart
to lose this rage
and move out of the dark
I ain't looking for rainbows
or shooting stars
just some peace of mind
and a hopeful heart

I need a peace of mind
and a lullaby
cause theres an angry voice
in my head tonight
tellin' me to do things
that can't be right
I need peace of mind
and a lullaby

and a miracle
for this broken soul
a little miracle
for this broken soul

I need peace of mind
and gentle hand
as I try to change
the way I am
and God forgives me
when I can't
I need peace of mind
and a gentle hand

or a miracle
for this broken soul
a little miracle
for this broken soul

I need peace of mind
and a hopeful heart

Friday, October 19, 2007

Our Kentucky Trip - Day 2

For anyone who is interested, Dana has part 2 of our road trip posted over at her blog. Yeah, I'm lazy - but just think of the thousand words implied by my pictures.... ;)
(Includes Sander's Motor Court, Ale 8, Mundts Candy, and Lynn's Paradise Cafe.)

BTW - Dana didn't mention getting her first sweet tea - tho I might not have either if the only place you could find it was McDonalds. And I didn't mention that while she was getting said sweet tea I was encountering a restroom at a McDonalds that was worse than ANY gas station restroom I have EVER been in. Restrooms on this trip were, um, interesting to say the least.

Did we mean it?

This morning, for some reason this hymn popped into my head. I remember singing this often in the church I grew up in, but I have to wonder - did we get it?? Did we mean it?? Or, did we twist it to mean if we "convert you" and you are specifically, even denominationally or theologically like us (a true heart) then we are all one in Christ......?

Just my thought/question for the day.....

In Christ there is no East or West,
In Him no South or North;
But one great fellowship of love
Throughout the whole wide earth.

In Him shall true hearts everywhere
Their high communion find;
His service is the golden cord,
Close binding humankind.

Join hands, then, members of the faith,
Whatever your race may be!
Who serves my Father as His child
Is surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,
In Him meet North and South;
All Christly souls are one in Him
Throughout the whole wide earth.

Will­iam A. Dunk­er­ley, 1908.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Give thanks for unknown blessings

already on their way.

Native American prayer

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clockwise or counter clockwise????

If you think she is spinning clockwise you are supposedly "Right-Brained", and if you see her spinning counter-clockwise you are supposedly "Left-Brained". Huh. click here

What does that mean? The left side of the brain controls things like logic, facts and language. The right side is more creative, controlling things like imagination, emotions, images and symbols.

OK - so try as hard as I might I can NOT get her to spin counter clockwise. I have tried off and on all day. Just how right-brained am I anyway???

Anyway - it's fun. Try it!!

EDIT - I finally can see it turning counter-clockwise... after a lot of hard work and closing my left eye......

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"It is not down in any map; true places never are." -Herman Melville

I'm so good about giving other people advice, but I don't do so well when it comes to taking it myself. It's always easier to tell someone else how to live. Not to worry; to hang in there; to wait.
But when it hits home it's infinitely harder. Somehow I need to bring what I say into line with what I believe. You'd think if I say it often enough I'd start to believe it - but apparently that is not the case.
I'm finding trust sorely lacking right now - in all aspects of life and relationships. That affects my ability to move forward, keeping on with the things I know I should be doing. I feel like I am blind, feeling my way, no longer sure of myself or of others to help me get where I need to go. The journey has become all hills and blind curves. What obstacle is next? Will it cause me to plunge over the side? The guardrail of friendship seems to be just a suggestion of safety - will it hold if I crash up against it?
And, I seem to have lost track of my long-term goals - where am I headed? Am I going the right way? Was there an easier way, and I foolishly chose the scenic route?
It's exhausting, trying to find my way, hanging on tight to things I perceive as safe.
If only I could just stop at a gas station and buy a map, like I did in Kentucky when we were questioning if we were headed the right direction.....
I wish I knew how to tell when the things I encounter are simply roadside distractions better driven by, or if I am to take a detour and explore something, try something, learn something. To say nothing of whether I should stay on the main highway, or take the side roads where it's easy to get lost, but much richer in stories and beauty.
Pink martini drinking Elephants, abandoned dwellings, back road general stores that see only a couple people a day, but still care enough to stay open - what do these things have to say about life? What are the lessons I am supposed to learn?
I don't know where I'm going with this. The thoughts are just as disjointed and rambling as my life is right now. I am so disoriented I have no idea where to go - even if I weren't too scared and overwhelmed to move. Somehow I have to find the key that makes it all work. I have to find my compass rose.

take quiz

Monday, October 15, 2007

We took the road(s) less traveled......

Well, I realize I haven't written about our trip. Sorry. I haven't really felt like writing lately - as you have probably noticed. Anyway. I thought I would put up a few pictures with captions. Isn't a picture worth a thousand words anyway????

In order to avoid traffic we headed out going south on Rt 47 - all the way to Champaign/Urbana. Along the way we saw some pretty scenery - who knew?? I love this picture. Invokes memories of the past - especially in the south.....

Traveling on to Indy, we stopped for a very late dinner at the Mug n Bun. Apparently it's been around forever. Yummy Pork Tenderloin, hand cut/hand battered onion rings (best I've ever had...) and homemade root beer.

We found this sign across from Lynn's Paradise Cafe where we had the yummiest cheese grits - I wish I had had two bowls!

Ohio River

back roads......

I just liked this bridge.....

Dana at the Colonel Sanders museum in Corbin, KY.

farms along the way

Crab Orchard, KY - we ate at the best little cafe here. But I liked this picture better than the picture of the cafe..... :)

No bull....

Penn's General Store in Gravel Switch, KY

Penn's Privy. Apparently it was a big deal a couple years ago when it was "installed!"

Tobacco drying in Gravel Switch, KY. We saw this all over central KY, an area devastated by the collapse of tobacco subsidies and strict anti smoking policies.

Makers Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY

Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton lived while in the United States. The abbey is a Trappist/Cistercians monastery.

This was the cool sign at one of three remaining Wigwam Villages in the US. We stayed here (Cave City, KY) in Wigwam # 7.

The View outside Wigwam # 7

Three pictures of a really cool, abandoned - but fortunately still standing - "Modern Motor Court" I love this side of history. I can only imagine what it must have been like - and who might have stayed there..... It was interesting that each cottage had a car port!

I don't get it either.......

Martini anyone??

A "Big John" (as opposed to a Muffler Man") in Carmi, IL. I hear there are still a few of these around this area of Illinois.

Dana - standing in for James.....

Sun's going down, trips winding down. I'm tired. Heading home.
If you want to READ about the trip and see a few other photos - check out Dana's blog!