Simple Living Works!

Archive for February 2013

Gerald – I wanted you to know that you and the philosophy for Simple Living have made such I huge contribution to mine and my family’s life. Thank you for everything you do.

My family and I now live on Ambergris Caye in Belize, and I teach at a Caribbean Medical School. I just finished my blog post on Facebook about this advent time and the importance of simplicity in this time of Advent. I wanted you to know how you and your work has shaped so many decisions for us in these last 8 years. Know that you have made a difference in the lives of the Galbraith Family (Galbraiths Go Global on Facebook) and we are profoundly grateful. Humbly and Sincerely Yours, Paulette Galbraith

“Life is not lived quid pro quo. Life is lived with and for the people we love, otherwise Life means nothing” – PFG

Paulette L. Foster-Galbraith M.D., D.A.B.F.M.
The Wellness Center at Saucier TM
Committed to the Health of Your Body, and Spirit
Saucier, Mississippi

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Director, USMLE Review & Grand Rounds/Community Lecture Series
The American Global University School of Medicine, Belize
Manatee Drive, San Pedro Town
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So good to hear from you, Paulette. Unless you object, I would like to share your thoughts to encourage others. I will keep your Facebook address but remove your contact information, unless you want it included.

Gerald Iversen

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I would be humbly honoured – You have been an inspiration to my family – thought you might like the post about flying back today to the rat race. Galbraiths Go Global is all about living life outside the Rat Race and the huge insight into how that has changed our lives. Alternatives gave us the vision to do that. Have a great weekend and know you are a blessing to so many, Paulette Galbraith


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Three Green Rats: An Eco Tale

(For ages 7 to 11 and precocious adults)

by Linda Mason Hunter and Suzanne Summersgill

The Story

There’s trouble in dirty ol’ Tintown. Nature has vamoosed and mean Mrs. Misrington is getting richer by the minute. She loves the racket of cars zoomin’, taxis tootin’, trucks roarin’ and the smell of smokestacks smokin’ because they all mean that business is boomin’. Now Mrs. M has gotten it into her head to cut down the last patch of trees in town to make way for her crowning glory—a big-box store right at the end of Broken Bottle Lane.

But something is brewing and it’s not just the compost. Can three recycling rats stop Mrs. Misrington and lead Tintown back to a saner, cleaner life before the whole place goes up in smoke?

My Opinion

This book is especially useful because it shows the lead characters at ease with simple, Earth-friendly living. It is a satisfying lifestyle, not a burden or sacrifice. It also shows that non-conformists can be heroes.

Although pedagogical, the story is engaging and humorous. The climax seems a bit convenient, but it works.

Although pricey, this book is well worth it, especially if you follow the Simple Living Strategy below.

110 pages, ten short chapters plus a glossary, quality paperback (2012). Printed with eco-integrity on recycled FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) paper using vegetable based/soy inks. $18. For more info about the book and characters and to order, visit

Leaders of the Pack

The publisher HunterInk@PinnStudio is a collaboration between Suzanne Summersgill (a Canadian illustrator) and Linda Mason Hunter (an American writer). Together they work on creative projects using a “walk softly on the Earth” approach to bring attention to the urgent matters of Mother Earth. They are the best of friends and laugh together A LOT.

Linda, an award winning writer, has written and produced 13 books on architecture, design, and living in balance with nature. Her first book was reviewed inThe New York Times and she has appeared on “Good Morning, America,” CNN, Pacifica Radio, MSNBC, and the CBC, among others. She’s written hundreds of articles for national magazines, and currently hosts “The Green Zone,” a daily radio program of tips for sustainable living. She divides her time between a few square feet near Kits Beach in Vancouver, BC, and an old farmhouse in Des Moines, Iowa, where she relishes the drama of the skies.

This is her first work of fiction and her first children’s book. “Today’s children are inheriting the daunting challenge of a planetary crisis,” she says. “We need to educate their hearts as well as their minds. We need to encourage them to be compassionate, to be socially responsible, to cherish the inherent interconnectedness that binds us all.“ See

Suzanne has been contributing to the Eco movement for the last 25 years. “My creative work has always been about striving to make a difference in my own backyard,” she says. Her mandate–craft in harmony with nature.

Suzanne’s work has appeared in several publications, on HGTV, and in movie producations. She works under the name pinnstudio, illustrating for clients and her own line of prints using tossed-out papers and discarded finds. She lives a frugal life in Vancouver, BC, a few blocks from Linda’s misty retreat.

This is her first children’s book. She credits Quentin Blake (who illustrated a score of books for Roald Dahl) as inspiration for her loose quirky drawings. See

Evolution of an Eco-Tale

The main characters in Three Green Rats crept into Suzanne’s head through an open window in a dream one night. Next day, the cunning creatures whispered into Linda’s ear immediately captivating her with their charm, wit, and thrift. Once inside our heads this mischief of rats spun an improbable tale about a miracle that occurred not long ago in the sooty city of Tintown. Three Green Rats is their tale.

A Mischief of Rats

Oliver “Peeyew” Green (AKA OLI) is the janitor and most popular instructor at the new Walk Softly Community School for Earth-Conscious Living.  He organizes and sells Found Things.

Wilbur Aloysius Green (AKA WILL) teaches engineering and design at the Walk Softly Community School. He is a founder and chairman of the board of the Refresh Renew Regenerate Foundation.

Thomas Ernest Kenworthy Green, III (AKA TOM) teaches landscape design, horticulture, and mindfulness at the Walk Softly Community School. He supervises the urban farm atop the roof of the school which supplies local produce to every rat in Tintown. At sunset and sundown he can be found atop his compost heap, meditating.

Maybelline Burlingame Helena Stu (AKA MAYBEE) attends Tintown Elementary, but she’d really rather be outside.

Simple Living Strategy

I recommend buying books for your public library so they can be shared with anyone/everyone in your community. Get a copy, read it, read it to a child or grandchild (several times!). Then let others know that it’s available at your public library. Buying books to line your shelves or impress others is fruitless. Books may seem to give a sense of security but mostly they collect dust.

Or urge your library to buy books that you recommend. Then let your friends know about it when it arrives. I generally recommend progressive-minded non-fiction. Then I publish a regional eNewsletter that goes to about 750 people. If you have 25 people on your email contact list, send them a quick note when the book arrives in the library.

This is pro-active simple living. You are sharing twice — the book itself and the intentional email announcement/recommendation.


Gerald Iversen, 2/23/13

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Despite the success of Wedding Alternatives/The Alternative Wedding Book, I’d never been to a bridal fair. They seemed so commercial, so extravagant. Now that my daughter’s getting married, I get to go along to the Bridal Fair in Flagstaff, Arizona.

I didn’t want to spend two hours talking about photography packages and overpriced cakes and honeymoon locations, so I devised a plan to be a little subversive. I’d carry a copy of the book with a little sign “Free Copy?” My daughter saw right through that ploy when I asked to borrow her copy, and proclaimed, “Nothing political today, Dad.”

So, I made a little sign, “Want to Simplify Your Wedding?” The lady in charge quashed that plan. But she gave me permission to talk informally to guests there.

What should my approach be? I need to be able to tell my story quickly. I can’t expect to hold a stranger’s attention for more than ten seconds.

“Hi, I’m Jerry, father of the bride today. I’m giving away a free book on simplifying weddings. Would you be interested? It’s on-line. I can give you the address and you can read it at your convenience.”

I approached guys first, thinking they would be most interested. Then older women, then couples. Only two said no, and most of the dozen I approached were really thankful!

You could try the same thing.


Gerald Iversen, 1/26/13

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