Heading to Haiti for Fruits

Featured

Tags

, , , , , ,

Holding Haiti ChildSome of my most meaningful moments in life took place in Haiti, where I learned what desperation meant in a visible, tangible way. The faithfulness of these poor souls knocked the privilege right out of me, brought me to my knees and showed me what belief in God could “buy” you: The Fruits of the Spirit.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

Imagine sleeping in a cold, dirty, dark hut made of straw. It leaks in the rain. Wind blows through it. Bugs are attracted to it. Your babies lie in it, knowing nothing of the comforts we have. No blankets, no diapers, no clean water or milk, very little food. No safety, no toys, no electricity. There were mothers who BEGGED me to take their children, so I could offer them a better life in the United States.

They are a broken society. But with the Fruits of the Spirit, one survives. One can thrive, believe it or not. I saw it for my own eyes. The distant village of Maplat was evidence that God is good all the time…and all the time, God is good. In spite of the horrific conditions, the Maplatians are full of love and joy and they rejoice like we would at a rock concert – arms raised, jumping in excitement for His glory…loud and proud to be God’s children!

A small, but determined few of us are returning to Haiti in February, 2016.

We hope to help some children in Bible School at Life’s Path and plan to donate many pure essential oils, teaching the medicinal qualities of doTERRA for the use by the teachers, for the children. They are in great need of help for their persistent skin diseases and digestive system challenges. We are so excited to return to the special boys at Bezalel Movement, who continue to support Maplat, building homes and medical facilities, as well as teaching and ministering to the youth in Jacmel, where they live. We, from One Life Church, are partnering with Life’s Path to engage with these special souls – and something tells me we will get much more out of it than they will!

Find out more, or contribute here:https://www.youcaring.com

To purchase oils for your contribution, shop here and contact me for shipping options to get the oils in my hands before mid-January: www.MyDoterra.com/VerdeMom.

 

 

50 Shades of GREEN

Featured

Tags

, , ,

Every now and then, it’s good to zoom out and look at the big picture. Quit focusing on the details of every day and take a few moments to analyze where you’ve come from, how far you’ve come or how you’ve done. It’s empowering to affect more change, if you desire it.Austria Green farms

I decided to look at the 40,000 miles above earth view and remember the things that I do to live out my mission — “In Honor of Planet Earth”. Admittedly, I still struggle with my plastic-holic habits and remembering to unplug small appliances, but most of these shades, i.e., choices, have become a welcome way of life. The last one is the most important!

Here’s a list of my 50 shades –the green kind. They represent more sustainable choices in my environmental quest, and I welcome you to do the same if you aren’t already:

» Cut off my engine in car line.

» Flush less — I don’t like this one, but we do try to let “yellow be.”

» Don’t run the water when I’m brushing my teeth (old habits die hard).

» Unplug small appliances to avoid phantom electricity use.

» Compost.

» Take quick showers and turn off the water when shaving.

» Use no pesticides in my yard.

» Use glass storage for leftovers.

» Use less plastic in general.

» Avoid harsh cleaning products.

» Use linen napkins.

» Drink from reusable water bottles, not plastic water bottles.

» Use toothpaste with no fluoride.

» Drink high pH level water.

» Petition against my hometown water department to remove fluoride.

» Support local green initiatives as well as global issues.

» Use cotton and linen rather than manmade fabrics.

» Enjoy my bamboo towels, sheets and ceiling fan.

» Recycle everything possible.

» Collect batteries for hazardous waste day.

» Collect electronics for hazardous waste day.

» Donate to thrift shops or consignment stores (reuse).

» Use personal care products free from parabens and formaldehyde.

» Use 100 percent pure essential oils medicinally before trying prescriptions and over-the-counter meds.

» Eat organic when possible.

» Shop at local farmers market.

» Never litter.

» Pick up other peoples litter on occasion.

» Walk in the rain.

» Keep healthy houseplants to help our home’s indoor air quality.

» Change HVAC filters quarterly.

» Invest in renewable energy.

» Feed the birds.

» Don’t smoke.

» Literally hug a tree.

» Visit landmark trees when traveling.

» Turn off lights.

» Save and eat leftovers.

» Use only soy candles.

» Use wall dryer balls with essential oils in lieu of toxic dryer sheets.

» Don’t buy it unless I really need it or love it.

» Limit TV to about an hour or so a day (except Panther game days).

» Open the windows and let the fresh air in.

» Talk it up! Share research, tips that help me can help others.

» Vote!

» Use no aerosol spray cans.

» Make my own hairspray with natural products.

» Buy more products Made in the USA.

» Embrace nature each day and catch every sunrise or sunset possible.

» Teach children to do 1-49.

~ Verde Mom

Best Wrap Since Sliced Bread – FLAXSEED WRAP!

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Discovering a new world without wheat….Flaxseed Wrap

Here is my new favorite “UN-Bread” – using Ground Flax!

What used to be “amber waves of grain” are now genetically modified, thick and short, altered by greedy food manufacturers for mass production and consumption and their own pocketbooks. Wheat today is not what our grandparents (or even parents) ate in the 20th Century!

Find out more in “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, M.D.

These are easy to make – and a great substitute for bread, flour or corn wraps. Now I just want to figure out how to put a SMILEY FACE on them!

Ingredients:

  • 3 T. Ground Flaxseeds (Trader Joe’s has a version that includes BLUEBERRIES!)
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Salt
  • Pinch of fine sea salt or celery salt; Try different spices for variety!
  • 1 T. Melted Coconut Oil (plus a bit more to grease pan)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 T. Water

Directions:

  1. MIX TOGETHER dry ingredients, stir in coconut oil, beat in egg and water until blended.
  2. Grease a microwave-safe glass pie pan with oil, pour in batter and spread evenly.
  3. Microwave on high 2-3 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Lift edge with spatula to loosen from pan.
  4. Fill with any desired ingredients – VOILA!

Lurking in the Laundry

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

Sicilian Lemon Oil Made from 30+ lemon rinds

Sicilian Lemon Oil
Made from 30+ lemon rinds

We all have it – DIRTY LAUNDRY. 

Figuratively and literally, we all have dirty laundry…and need to clean up our act to avoid the chemical toxins lurking in all of it. Especially harmful are scented dryer sheets and fabric softener. Try these DIY options:

Static Cling? Crumple up aluminum foil and toss it in the dryer!

Softener? Add 1/2 cup vinegar with each load of wash.

Stains? Add a few drops of Lemon Essential Oil to your wash to remove grease and oil from fabrics.

Smell? Drop a wash cloth with a few drops of your favorite essential oil (mine are Wild Orange or Lemon) into the dryer!

Happy Butts, Healthy Planet

Featured

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Below is the newspaper column I wrote in July and it has a special place in my heart. Ivy goes to the same school as my son does and her Mother, while no longer with us…is an inspiration to me. I am honored to share her story. Even if you don’t have a need for diapers, you will wish you did after reading this!

Mike Madden picture

Mike Madden carries on his wife’s legacy

Tragedy, meet triumph.

I want to shout it from the mountaintops: Cloth diapers are easy to use! They are cute, simple, with modern-day “snappies” instead of diaper pins. They are much better for babies and will potty train them 6 months earlier. They save money, make life easier, and you never have to wash them!

Their evil twin, disposable diapers (which I used, so no judgment), are a good-idea-turned-environmental-disaster. They may seem easier, but the price is too hefty, both in your wallet and in our world. But it’s not the activist in me that wants to shout, it’s the mom in me. Here’s the story that has me wanting to climb Mt. Everest with a megaphone.

Three years ago, a new mother moved from Cincinnati to Charlotte and couldn’t locate a cloth diaper service. She was accustomed to using natural, unbleached cotton on her baby’s sensitive bottom and was passionate about avoiding plastic toxins. So she started a new company and named it Ivy’s Diaper Service, after her daughter.

The revival of cloth diapering helped the company prosper, and the owner found herself busy with many new customers and a lot of dirty diapers to wash. Her favorite part of the business was meeting with new moms and playing with babies, while being able to spend time with Ivy. She was living her dream, enjoying motherhood and helping babies avoid chemicals on their skin (think petroleum/crude oil).

The company expanded into a warehouse to use commercial-sized washing equipment, but Garrett Burfield, the mom with a passion for “healthy butts and a happy planet,” continued to do all of the laundering, sales and deliveries, even throughout her pregnancy with her second child. In August of last year, tragedy struck. Garrett and her unborn child were killed in a car accident in Cabarrus County while delivering diapers. The community and her family mourned.

But the story, and Ivy’s Diaper Service, didn’t end there.

It would have been easy for Garrett’s husband, Mike, to close the business in his hours of grief and sudden status as single dad. But within a few days he decided to fulfill his wife’s legacy and make sure all the baby customers got their refill orders. He knew they didn’t have options and he needed to act quickly. With the help of family and friends Mike was able to pick up the pieces. It became and still remains a labor of love for Mike as well as for Garrett’s friend, Jessika, who handles new business and meets with customers, in memory of her dear friend.

Ivy’s is now the only cloth diaper service in the Charlotte market. They have diapers made from cotton, bamboo or organic hemp and a new compostable diaper made from wood pulp and corn sugar, a great disposable option to avoid dyes, fragrances and other synthetic chemicals.

You can find more information at www.realdiaperassociation.org. Did you know the average child uses 6,000 diapers in their first two years and contributes 1.5 tons of untreated human waste each year to the landfill? The plastic will take 250-500 years to break down. More importantly, disposables contain dioxin (listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals) and TBT, a pollutant known to cause hormonal problems.

What would Garrett think of Ivy’s Diaper Service now? She would be very proud. She also might get a laugh out of the fact that it takes four or five employees to handle the workload that she single-handedly managed, at nine-months pregnant with a toddler at bay. Either way, she would know that because of her passion to protect her own children, many more babies have “healthy butts” — and the planet is a happier place because of it.

Top 5 Reasons Pampers are Evil Sign

Environmental Journey in T-shirts

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figure a half dozen pictures are worth a short story.

Here’s my environmental journey, as depicted by t-shirts I photographed at the Organicfest in Asheville, 2011.

My favorite:

Organicism (n): or-gan-ic-ism: an experience-rich lifestyle in which you are not fooled by approximations of reality, pesticides, exploitation and half truths; a life where you live happily ever after by leaving the world better not worse.

Touch the Earth Gently t-shirt

Touch the Earth Gently

Totally Organic t-shirt

Conservation is the Key t-shirt

Conservation is the Key, Mission Playground

My Gas is Ozone Friendly t-shirt

Save Planet Earth bag

OK, so this last one isn’t a t-shirt but it was priceless and had to be included…

Save On!

Buildings that invest in wellbeing see healthy returns | Building Design + Construction

The 40-hour work week is actually longer, it turns out. According to Gallup, the average American worker spends an average of 50 hours a week in the office. At the same time, we are facing a health crisis in North America; in Canada, one in four adults is considered obese, and—no surprise—a leading cause of obesity is a lack of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Source: Buildings that invest in wellbeing see healthy returns | Building Design + Construction

I’m Hurrying to Alaska, Here’s Why!

Tags

, , , , ,

Photo Credit to © Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

Photo Credit to © Jiri Rezac/Greenpeace

My newest resolution is to see Alaska and the remaining glaciers before they melt. I can’t wait another year, it could be too late, and since Exxon was approved last week by our government to mobilize and start drilling this summer, I’ve got to hurry. Nothing like an oil spill to ruin a vacation.

The whale watching expedition might not be the same with dead carcass. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see a polar bear in the wild – but what if it’s black with crude oil when I finally get the chance? And with less ice than ever measured this year, ships are moving in at a rapid pace to take advantage of the incredible resources in the area. With over 55 ship casualties in the Arctic Circle just last year, compared to only 3 a decade ago, there is already too much human traffic, and wreckage, and evidence mounts. The chances grow exponentially with each invasion for a major disaster in the form of oil spills and tragic pollution to land and sea. I’ve got to hurry.

The Arctic cannot handle any more abuse. By it’s own admission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA.gov), says that the changes in the Arctic in the last decade are “continuing, major and unprecedented”. So now, we want to add insult to injury?

An oil spill in the Arctic – an expansive ecosystem that stabilizes our global climate – would be an environmental nightmare that couldn’t be undone. Why are we risking it? For more crude oil that we don’t even need? According to the Guardian, “If the world’s nations keep their pledge to combat climate change, the analysis finds the prospects are bleakest for coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels. Globally, 82% of today’s reserves must be left underground.” It’s like they have been drilling forever, so why stop now? Politicians have on blinders, oil giants have their wallets open and the drill rigs are getting ready to ship out. I’ve got to hurry.

Exxon spent $35 million lobbying this argument, visiting Washington 19 times in the current President’s administration, and as recent as last week, our chosen representatives caved to the pressure. In one breathe, the President agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and in the next, approved exploratory drilling in the Arctic waters, saying the reward is worth the risk. Sure, there is substantial economic opportunity in the Arctic, as diamonds, gold and crude oil are being extracted, and I know there are proponents counting the dollars. However, according to a landmark UN analysis, rolling out clean energy infrastructure on a global scale would only shave a tiny fraction off the economic growth currently projected by using fossil fuels. But either way, if we don’t control our climate and preserve what little ice we still have, the economics won’t matter.

I can’t wait to meet some Eskimos in their native land; remote from my comfortable, air-conditioned world, they have inhabited the Arctic for over 9,000 years in treacherous conditions and represent a true picture of living off the land and yet, many of them have left their fishing and hunting businesses to work in the oil fields and it’s supporting villages. I’ve got to hurry.

I’m proud to see that right here in my home town, there are solar farms being planned. Solar power is an exciting alternative! In the past six years, one company (Strata Solar) has built 70 of these solar farms in North Carolina, and I’m a firm believer in solar power as a viable option. It’s renewable (the sun is strong enough even on the cloudy days), it’s non-invasive (glass panels can be easily hidden, don’t make noise or pollution and are easily removed) and it’s not going to harm the world. In fact, it won’t hurt a bit. I applaud the local authorities for approving the projects and hope everyone would get on board to embrace solar power. Write your congressmen, and tell them they’ve got to hurry, too!

Paper and Electronics: Our Wastes are Growing!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Paper can consume our lives. Books. Magazines. Receipts. Coupons. Trash bags. Bills. Schoolwork. File folders. Junk mail. Photos. Tax forms. Sometimes it feels like a never-ending task to manage all the paper!cropped-tree-with-reflection-for-biz-cards-from-vista.jpg

We all have a desire to eliminate waste and handle less paper clutter. Southern Home Organizer President, Melinda Anderson, says that paper is the #1 challenge in most homes and managing it will not only help the environment, it helps relieve stress, saves time and can improve a home’s air quality.

We all want to save the planet and have no desire to kill trees and demolish forests so that we can have paper. Many of us see “Please consider the environment before printing this email” as a daily reminder. None of us want junk mail and know that phone books are a complete waste of time and energy. But are we ready to go completely paperless? And should we?

Here are a few ideas on reducing the excess paper from our lives – eliminating unwanted phone books, junk mail and catalogs, etc: http://www.independenttribune.com/community/columnists/going-paperless-the-possibilities-and-the-problems/article_b68cfe64-cbed-11e4-8d7e-13ad1fce54d9.html

In the opposite corner of the rink:What is the possibility of a true digital age? And is that something we want? Is digital really more environmentally friendly than paper? Are we making smart choices with our electronic devices?

Did you know time spent on the internet is taxing on energy loads around the country, and results in CO2 emissions? It goes WAY beyond our devices – our choices and their ultimate consequences affect the illustrious “cloud”, the massive servers we never see, and ultimately ends up damaging our atmosphere. All because we simply logged on and surfed. Who knew?

Then, there is the problem of e-waste. With digital devices being replaced every couple of years, e-waste has become a monumental problem on a global scale. The first time I wrote about E-waste just 5 years ago, we generated between 20 and 50 million tons per year and according to Environmental Leader, 93.5 million tons of electronic waste is now accumulated each year. Dealing with the proper disposal of these toxic products is an environmental nightmare. Do you know where your last computer ended up? Or just how many cell phones you’ve already been through?

The largest e-waste dump in the world is reportedly found here, with some very disturbing images. It’s a humanitarian problem with far reaching implications, not just an industry that “provides jobs and opportunities”. See for yourself:http://www.theguardian.com/environment/gallery/2014/feb/27/agbogbloshie-worlds-largest-e-waste-dump-in-pictures

How do our daily lives need to change to be less taxing on our environment? Turn off or limit the electronics? Refuse or recycle the paper? Plant a tree? Hug a tree? Write a letter? Or a Blog? Nothing seems to be enough, all the answers hit a brick wall. Somewhere, though, we have to find the right balance. We have to stop growing waste.

Becoming a Consumer of the Word

Tags

, , , ,

stronghold journey from captivityThe game of OPERATOR – where the first child whispers a sentence to the second, who whispers to the third, etc. – always ends with the wrong message. We simply aren’t programmed to repeat things word for word and get them right every time. Naturally flawed in our attempts to memorize, repeat, and have it truly stick, we just can’t remember every word.

Bible scriptures have been spoken and read to me all my life. But I admit, I haven’t memorized very many of them. Why not? I figured I could always find a Bible to get the words, that’s easy enough, right?

When I read Beth Kinder’s STRONGHOLD, the answer came to me.

I don’t need to memorize scripture, I need to CONSUME it, live it, use it, believe it. Write it on my hand to help throughout the day. Otherwise, I may misrepresent the Word of God or misunderstand exactly what He wants – and that is a burden I don’t want to bear! We all have the responsibility of sharing our good fortune, the Good Words we know, so we should get them right!

If memorization helps you to consume the Word of God so that you can use it in your everyday lives, go for it. Just double check your source regularly!

When Eve showed the devil that she didn’t know her Word and she doubted it, that is when she caved. He, the evil one, recognized her weakness and lack of faith because she didn’t KNOW the word, she hadn’t CONSUMED it. Hearing it from others doesn’t cut it – because our doubt, our uncertainties will show through. The crack in our armor will deepen, if we don’t fill it with the righteousness of God’s wisdom.

WHY DO WE NEED THE ARMOR TO BEGIN WITH? It provides us freedom from captivity – strength to get through the tough days – wisdom to pick up the pieces and grow in spite of our shortcomings and the bumps in the road we all face.

So when your friend says something hurtful, you can recall Jesus’ words about forgiveness. Or if your coworker takes the credit you are due and gets the raise you deserve – Turn to Psalm 37:7-8 (“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their way, when they carry out their wicked schemes.) When your mind is reeling and your TO DO list is overwhelming, – turn to Psalm 46:10 – and try some meditation (“Be still, and know that I am God”). When everything is DARK and the worst possible thing you can imagine happens, God tells us to consider it pure joy! Seems crazy, right? But read James 1:2-4 to see how perseverance through your faith will bring you through it.

He has given us all the tools to live a happy, long and prosperous life and the answers are found in the Holy Bible. It’s our pleasure, our privilege to consume them all.

Our Secret Holy Weapon

Tags

, , ,

Psalm 18:1–2 says, “He is my fortress, my safe place, my refuge and my stronghold.”

 

Stronghold FortressDecades of church going…pews under my bottom, scripture read and re-read, life groups, small groups, baptism. But it wasn’t until I read Beth Kinder’s Stronghold that I realized what the Holy Spirit does for me. Stronghold has opened my eyes to the powerful role of the Holy Spirit and it’s relationship to God, the Father and His Son. Knowing that my relationship, my response, to the Holy Spirit is the way that I can live a life of freedom and grace gives me more hope than ever, that my intimacy with the Holy Spirit will provide me with great power! Defeat is removed from all equations when the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us and we engage. There is no greater joy than to know we have the power of the trilogy fighting our enemies for us, and it is available to us all, as a gift from above. It is, as Beth says, our “secret weapon”. A more powerful weapon than any other, earned by His blood shed on the cross, even though we may not feel worthy, it is ours if we desire. My fears, doubts and uncertainties? They are all His to bear. I surrender, armor in hand.

Find out more about the book here:  http://remade-ministries.org/2015/02/behind-the-book-stronghold-2/