Simple Living Works!

Archive for September 2013

3-A513Our daughter Elysha gave me a lovely African-style shirt when she served in the Peace Corps in Kenya. I wear it for two reasons. First, as a symbolic gesture to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world. Wouldn’t it be great if our church choirs wore clothes like this instead of sterile choir robes? (I was a Minister of Music for 25 years, so I know about sterile choir robes!)

Second, I wear it to promote Fair Trade. You may have heard of Fair Trade coffee and now Fair Trade chocolate. I l-o-v-e dark Fair Trade chocolate.

We practice Fair Trade for two basic reasons. First, to make sure that farmers and artisans in non-industrial countries get a fair price for their goods. And secondly, to EDUCATE US. Through Fair Trade we learn from the world community (Living More with Less Life Standard #2).

Rita and I have gotten involved with Sharing the Dream, a Fair Trade organization based in South Dakota.

We visited Guatemala for ten days a few years back to meet the Mayan artisans. It was a life-changing trip. Now we can tell their stories. Guatemala suffered through a 30-year civil war between the indigenous Mayans and the Ladinos, the descendants of the Spaniards. Many of the Mayan women lost their husbands, so they make beautiful crafts for North Americans, to support their family and send their children to school. (School’s not free in Guatemala.)

We organize several display/sales each fall. We have had considerable success because 1. It’s a good cause, 2. We have a relationship with the sponsoring churches (we’re usually members), 3. We’re assertive. We don’t wait for them to come to us. We work with the church to publicize the event in advance through posters, newsletter, email blasts, pulpit announcements – all which we provide. We make it easy for the church. On the day of the event, if we’re not set up in the narthex, one of us – the “hawker” – stands in the narthex and in friendly way urges people to go into the display area.

Fair Trade is educational. The crafts can be given to children and others. Each comes with a story. They can help us understand another culture.

Testimonial from Debb Lutz

Gerald, You and Rita came to Mifflinville, Pennsylvania, years ago now to speak to a group of my friends. I still strive to impress upon folks the importance of less stuff. I remain the coordinator for our church’s Alternative Gift Fair. This event has encouraged nearly $130K of monetary gifts to 30 different charities in the last nine years. That money could have bought a lot of “stuff” but folks gave it to help others. Thank you for YOUR work in keeping us on the right track. Peace, Debb

Read about our visit at Debb’s church at Travels year 2.5. (Scroll to post #214.)

OCTOBER, Fair Trade Month, aims to raise awareness of the reasons why fair trade is important, and to promote buying and using socially and commercially sustainable, fair trade products in place of commodities which may harm the environment, the economy, communities and disadvantaged individuals.

Fair Trade Resource Network  is an information hub designed to grow the fair trade movement. Together, we can create a market that values the people who make the food we eat and the goods we use. Advocacy Resources Offered by Several Organizations & Campaigns

Here’s help with a variety of similar events.

For encouragement see and read about Micah 6 Action Team I met in the St. Louis area. They organize an annual alternative Christmas church fair. (Scroll to post #109.)

Podcast Reminder

You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3). Listen through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent). SUBSCRIBE through iTunesStitcher.com or your favorite podcast service.

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

#5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-2

#6: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?-1 (of 6)

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

GRAPHIC: Spirit of Simplicity: Art: #3-A513

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UnplugtheChristmasMachinSome folks plan ahead, some don’t.

So, to meet the needs of those who do, I’ll make lots of suggestions in advance and then I’ll repeat some of them in more detail closer to the date for the “spontaneous” folks.

Investigate a few that might meet your personal, family or congregational/group needs. They’re all FREE.

Probably the best-known: UNPLUG the Christmas Machine Workshop Leader’s Guide (audio and text)

Treasury of CelebrationsCreate Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth is a compilation of the six earlier Alternate Celebrations Catalogs. 

September-December | ADVENT | CHRISTMAS

10 Tips for Simpler, More Meaningful Celebrations
Planning an Alternative Christmas Workshop
How to Organize an Alternative Christmas Community Festival

Many Alternatives’ following audio shorts are also part of the upcoming “Whose Birthday?” podcast series.

Let Jesus Come, Let Santa Go: audio workshop

The Celebration Revolution of Alexander Scrooge

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Carols with Justice sing-along

What Does Jesus Want for Christmas? (pageant)

Let’s Get Off the Christmas Roller-Coaster

Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? (5 of 24 editions have audio versions)|Submission Guidelines

Other TEXT Resources (no accompanying audio/visual)

15 Christmas Packets

An assortment of Advent/Christmas Calendars

Christmas Anthologies to read alone or aloud

Christmas Campaign Kit

Advent/Christmas Articles Index

Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art: Celebrating Advent/Christmas

Worship Alternatives: Advent/Christmas

Thematic Index: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany

EARLY WINTER FESTIVALS

Podcast Reminder

You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3). Listen through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent). SUBSCRIBE through iTunesStitcher.com or your favorite podcast service.

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

#5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-2

COMING: Whose Birthday? series

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

3-A0888

You’re welcome to contribute to our most widely-read resource, “Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway?” for Advent/Christmas. Though it’s no longer printed on paper, it is published online since 2012.

All 25 editions are still available on the SLW! site. Because of Creative Commons licensing, individuals and congregations can reprint articles without further permission. The articles are carefully indexed.

The current edition will be updated as new material arrives, so send ideas and items anytime. Prepare something now while it’s really on your mind. An item may be new or not, original or not. (If it’s by someone else, include a complete description of the source.) We prefer items of 250 words or fewer (one page double-spaced). We reserve the right to edit.

  • ART (line drawing, photo) that depicts the tension between faith and culture, especially at Christmas.
  • PERSONAL EXPERIENCES (especially intergenerational ones) related to simplifying Christmas or finding meaning and happiness in relationships instead of stuff.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITIES, rituals or worshipful ceremonies for Advent, Christmas or Epiphany.

We reach many through our website, blogs and other media. Sorry, we cannot pay for any submissions.

Read past editions in the archives.

Please send your submissions by email to SimpleLivingWorks AT yahoo DOT com. If you need to send something by US mail, email us and we’ll send you a mailing address.

Thanks!

Podcast Reminder

You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3). Listen through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent). SUBSCRIBE through iTunesStitcher.com or your favorite podcast service.

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

#5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-2

Many Alternatives’ audio shorts are part of the “Whose Birthday?” podcast series upcoming soon.

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

GRAPHIC: Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art: Celebrating Christmas #3-A0888.

937-Cut Credit CardAlternatives produced a big resource for simplifying celebrations, such as Thanksgiving, Halloween and Advent.

Treasury of Celebrations is the last edition of a long-standing Alternatives staple, The Alternate Celebrations Catalog.

This last edition, a compilation of the six earlier editions, is called Treasury of Celebrations: Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth (published by Northstone, a division of Wood Lake, BC, Canada, best known for its Season of Creation curriculum).

QUICK OVERVIEW: Treasury of Celebrations

Part 1: Making Choices
• Simple Living
• Gift Giving
• Food and Celebration
• Getting Started

Part 2: Gifts

Part 3: Celebrations – Rites of Passage, like birthdays and weddings

WinterSpring and Summer celebrations

In the fall, September-December:

• Labor Day
• Autumn begins
• Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year)
• Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
• Sukkot (Festival of Booths)
• Thanksgiving
• World Food Day
• United Nations Day
• Halloween
• Remembrance Day: see Memorial Day
• Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication)

ADVENT

CHRISTMAS

10 Tips for Simpler, More Meaningful Celebrations
Planning an Alternative Christmas Workshop
How to Organize an Alternative Christmas Community Festival
UNPLUG the Christmas Machine Workshop Leader’s Guide

Alternatives’ Legacy Resource: Voluntary Simplicity Study/Action Guide also deals primarily with celebrations.

Read a few articles that might be helpful to you, your family and your congregation or group, all FREE and complete.

* * *

Podcast Reminder

You can access all the SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3). Listen through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent). SUBSCRIBE through iTunesStitcher.com or your favorite podcast service.

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

#5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-2

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

GRAPHIC: Worship Alternatives: Art: Christmas #937

BreakForthIntoJoyVideo
Brief Show Notes for episode #5 of SLW! Podcast:

Break Forth Into Joy: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle, part 2 + Simplifying Festivals with Treasury of Celebrations

Hear the first part of Alternatives’ award-winning program Break Forth into Joy: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle, and then hear about a big resource for simplifying festivals, like Christmas, New Years and Epiphany.

Break Forth Into Joy! itself is 15-minutes. In this episode hear three additional 10-minute bonus segments: freedom and possessions, family and children, and taking action. Relevant to Christmas. Free study guide and Video Version (on YouTube)

SIMPLIFYING FESTIVALS

Treasury of Celebrations is the last edition of a long-standing Alternatives staple, The Alternate Celebrations Catalog. This compilation of the six earlier editions is subtitled Create Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth.

QUICK OVERVIEW: Treasury of Celebrations

Part 1: Making Choices
• Simple Living
• Gift Giving
• Food and Celebration
• Getting Started

Part 2: Gifts

Part 3: Celebrations – rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings

winterspring and summer celebrations (later episodes).

I will bring some of them up again in future episodes at appropriate times. If you’re eager, you can read them now or anytime for free online in the archives of SLW!

September-December | ADVENT | CHRISTMAS

EARLY WINTER FESTIVALS

Many Alternatives’ following audio shorts are part of the upcoming “Whose Birthday?” series.

Let Jesus Come, Let Santa Go: audio workshop

UNPLUG the Christmas Machine: Workshop Leader’s Guide (audio and text)

The Celebration Revolution of Alexander Scrooge

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Carols with Justice sing-along

What Does Jesus Want for Christmas? (pageant)

Let’s Get Off the Christmas Roller-Coaster

Whose B’day? (5 of 24 editions have audio versions)

Other TEXT resources (no accompanying audio/visual)

15 Christmas Packets

An assortment of Advent/Christmas Calendars

Christmas Anthologies to read alone or aloud

Christmas Campaign Kit

Advent/Christmas Articles Index

Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art: Celebrating Advent/Christmas

Worship Alternatives: Advent/Christmas

Thematic Index: Advent/Christmas/Epiphany

Alternatives’ Legacy Resource: Voluntary Simplicity Study/Action Guide also deals primarily with celebrations. Also, To Celebrate: Jan.-Feb. (catalog #6).

Podcast Reminder

The Plan

We intend to produce a half-hour podcast twice a month, hopefully educational and inspiring for you, your family and your congregation or group.

How to Listen and Comment

We can listen to  podcasts at a time that suits us. I subscribe to my favorites so that they’re automatically downloaded into my computer. Then I simply plug my iPod into my computer and easily transfer them into my iPod for listening. I can also listen on my computer.

Key “Simple Living Works” into the search box at the upper right of the iTunes Store page or click here. There are numerous podcast services, such as Stitcher.com. iTunes can be used on PCs or Macs. It’s no more complicated than your browser for your email. SmartPhones and iPads (or tablets) also have apps to listen to podcasts.

You can access all the podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3).

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

#5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-2

We’ll send you an email when each episode is posted when you click the box at the bottom of the show notes. I hope you’re feeling comfortable accessing them, fitting them into your life and feeling their benefits.

When you go to the show notes — the written introduction — for each podcast episode, you’ll see an outline of the program plus lots of links to related or supporting material on the internet. Your comments are welcome, either here, at the show notes, on the SLW! Facebook page, or by email at Podcast AT SimpleLivingWorks DOT org. You may want to comment on the content, the production values (like voice quality), the helpfulness of the show notes, etc.

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

2-A3042Rita recently read “His Brain. Her Brain.” It explained something that annoys me.

When we’re in a small group of men and women, I hope that everyone gets time to speak, gets a turn, that no one dominates. Everyone listens while one person is speaking.

Not so in small women’s groups. They’re constantly having side conversations, sometimes on an entirely different topic. Rude! Rude! Rude!

The authors say that women’s and men’s brains are wired differently. Men tend to focus on one task. We’re work-oriented. Women are more alert to what’s going around them and responding to it – originally for protection of the family.

OK. I still don’t like to be interrupted. If it’s my turn to talk, I want to be heard. Yes, I believe that I have important thoughts to share. And in return I offer the same courtesy.

In fact, if someone interrupts me, I may stop talking mid-sentence. You may think that’s passive aggressive. Actually, I bookmark my place, and when I have an opening, I may go back to my place, so I can complete my thought, even if the interrupter has changed the subject.

Some folks follow the Native American tradition of the Talking Stick. The stick is passed in a circle and no one interrupts the one who has the stick.

If we’re shootin’ the breeze, maybe it doesn’t matter who’s talkin’. If we’re discussing something important, we take turns! Otherwise we’re just filling time waiting for the end.

Podcast Reminder

SLW! Podcast episode #4 — Break Forth Into Joy: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle, part 1 + Simplifying Fall Festivals with Treasury of CelebrationsCreate Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth [free study guide | Video Version on YouTube]

QUICK OVERVIEW: Treasury of Celebrations

Part 1: Making Choices
• Simple Living
• Gift Giving
• Food and Celebration
• Getting Started

Part 2: Gifts

Part 3: Celebrations – rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings

winterspring and summer celebrations (for later episodes).

In the fall, September-December + ADVENT + CHRISTMAS

We intend to produce a half-hour podcast twice a month, hopefully educational and inspiring for you, your family and your congregation or group.

How to Listen and Comment

We can listen to  podcasts at a time that suits us. To SUBSCRIBE, key “Simple Living Works” into the search box at the upper right of the iTunes Store page or click here. There are numerous podcast services, such as Stitcher.com. iTunes can be used on PCs or Macs. It’s no more complicated than your browser for your email. SmartPhones and iPads (or tablets) also have podcast apps.

You can access all the podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3).

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

We’ll send you an email when each episode is posted when you click the box at the bottom of the show notes. The show notes — the written introduction — for each podcast episode, contain an outline of the program plus lots of links to related or supporting material on the internet.

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald

GRAPHIC: Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art: Chap. 2 – Building Community #2-A3042.

5-A1399We take responsibility for food at home and in restaurants when we buy it. If we let it spoil or throw it away or refuse to eat it, it’s OUR WASTE.

Voluntary simplicity has a no-waste policy. It’s part of the first and fourth Life Standards – Do Justice and Care for Creation. We cannot allow ourselves to waste food when so many on the Earth go hungry. And we cannot afford to waste the Earth’s finite natural resources.

If we choose not to waste, then we don’t take responsibility for food unless we are determined to use it wisely —   in meeting our basic need for healthy food for ourselves and our families, not in over-indulging.

Unlike food, which is a consumable, we don’t use consumables that have a non-consumable alternative, like dishes and table service. Using paper or Styrofoam plates, cups or plastic forks at a church event, for example, is not only wasteful, it’s a lousy example. It says, “It’s OK for the church to put convenience ahead of care of the Earth. I guess we can do the same at home.”

When we’re rinsing the dishes, we use as little water as possible. It is poor stewardship to let a large stream of water run constantly while rinsing. (Yes, it’s OK to reach over and turn the water down – with a friendly smile — if a washing buddy is using too much water.)

Also of interest:

Eating Our Drinking Water, Wasting 40% of Our Food?

Podcast Reminder

SLW! Podcast episode #4 — Break Forth Into Joy: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle, part 1 + Simplifying Fall Festivals with Treasury of CelebrationsCreate Celebrations That Reflect Your Values and Don’t Cost the Earth [free study guide | Video Version on YouTube]

QUICK OVERVIEW: Treasury of Celebrations

Part 1: Making Choices
• Simple Living
• Gift Giving
• Food and Celebration
• Getting Started

Part 2: Gifts

Part 3: Celebrations – rites of passage, like birthdays and weddings

winterspring and summer celebrations (later episodes).

I will bring some of them up again in future episodes at appropriate times. If you’re eager, you can read them now or anytime for free online in the archives of SLW!

In the fall, September-December:

ADVENT

CHRISTMAS

Planning an Alternative Christmas Workshop
How to Organize an Alternative Christmas Community Festival

Alternatives’ Legacy Resource: Voluntary Simplicity Study/Action Guide also deals primarily with celebrations.

* * *

The Plan

We intend to produce a half-hour podcast twice a month, hopefully educational and inspiring for you, your family and your congregation or group.

How to Listen and Comment

We can listen to  podcasts at a time that suits us. Key “Simple Living Works” into the search box at the upper right of the iTunes Store page or click here. There are numerous podcast services, such as Stitcher.com. iTunes can be used on PCs or Macs. It’s no more complicated than your browser for your email. SmartPhones and iPads (or tablets) also have podcast apps.

You can access all the podcast audio and the show notes either at SimpleLiving.startlogic.com/SLW-PODCAST or at SimpleLivingWorks.org (then click window #3).

Or access individual episodes:

#1: Getting Acquainted

#2: 5 Life Standards

#3: Saga of Simply Enough

#4: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle-1

We’ll send you an email when each episode is posted when you click the box at the bottom of the show notes. I hope you’re feeling comfortable accessing them, fitting them into your life and feeling their benefits.

When you go to the show notes — the written introduction — for each podcast episode, you’ll see an outline of the program plus lots of links to related or supporting material on the internet. Your comments are welcome.

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald

GRAPHIC: Spirit of Simplicity: Quotes & Art: Chap. 5 – Care of Creation #5-A1399.


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