"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure." Psalm 71:14-15

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why being GREEN is a matter of FAITH and what YOU can do about it

STOP!!! THIS IS NOT YOUR NORMAL EARTH DAY POST!!! Before you brush me off as some tree hugging, hippie, liberal??? Christian!!! (BTW, thank you for the compliment), please give me just 5 minutes and read the rest of this post.

Most of you who read this know that I am a very passionate environmentalist. I want to take this opportunity on Earth Day 2009 to tell you WHY. Many bloggers are telling you things that you can do to "be greener," and by all means feel free to take their advice!!! But I want to do something a little different and talk about my values (hard to imagine I know).

I am, unashamedly, a follower of Jesus. I am a Matthew 25 believing, red letter Christian, who tries to put her FAITH into ACTION as much as she can. I believe that we are commanded as Christians to do what we can to bring God's kingdom "on earth as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10 But as we know, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 I'm not perfect. I can't do it all. But I can do something, and I hope today I can do something for someone reading this.

No matter whether you believe in the literal translation of the Creation story, or believe it is a poem written to reflect the expansion and evolution of God's creation, or some other view in between. If you have Judeo-Christian faith, you believe "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground...God saw all that He had made, and it was very good." Genesis 1:1, 28, 31a

We as Judeo-Christians are scripturally charged with caring for God's creation. There are a finite amount of resources, a finite supply of clean water, a finite supply of coal for energy, a finite amount of space for trash. This Earth is the only part of creation that God gave us as humans to inhabit and care for, and it hangs in a delicate ecosystem balance. Whether you DO or DO NOT believe in global warming, you must admit with the number of people living on this Earth that eventually we will AT LEAST run out of places to put trash! And arguably, at some point, this planet will not be able to support its population with adequate supply of food, water, space and air (some say we have already passed sustainability).

To ME, I see this as a faith issue. I believe in the scriptural commandment of STEWARDSHIP. Those of us who have heard many sermons on tithing know what stewardship means, but for those who haven't, Christian stewardship is the management of resources (most commonly financial) in a way that glorifies God. I believe that we are also commanded to be stewards of the Earth's resources as part of God's perfect and good creation. I see our trips to the recycling center, purchase of Energy St*r appliances, and use of non-toxic cleaning products to be just as important as our bi-weekly checks to the church in our Christian stewardship.

We are even told in Luke 8:1-3 that many women traveled with Jesus and His disciples "proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God...These women were helping to support them out of their own means." We as women, who for the most part run things around the home, have the opportunity and the responsibility to use this role to glorify God and be good stewards in every aspect. "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." I Peter 4:10

Each of us can do simple things to be good stewards of God's creation, and we should. "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." I Corinthians 4:2

Here are some helpful websites to get you started:

You don't have to do EVERYTHING all at once, but BABY STEPS can make a big difference. Picking one or two things is a good start.
(if you are a little intimidated by all the lingo, this is the best place to start)

To learn about how to GREEN your workout, this is a great article THE LEAST we can do is invest in a reusable water bottle that stays in our gym bag!!! I was excited to read about recycling old sneakers to make the surface material for basketball courts!!

We pay a small fee to Tonic Mail Stopper to cut down on all the junk mail that comes to our house (and also saves trees, yay for oxygen)!!!

www.freecycle.org is a great website to list your stuff you don't want but is still usable to someone who can use it. It keeps it out of a landfill!!

Simple tips from me:

*Use scrap paper* If someone has already gone to the trouble of cutting down a tree, might as well make the most of it! When I'm printing out all those online coupons for my crazy couponing adventures, they usually only take up the top part of the page. Save the bottom for notes at work or at home.

*Reuse envelopes* All those "reply" envelopes for the bills I pay online, I write my shopping lists on the back and gather my coupons for that trip and put them inside. That way I don't have to lug around my coupon sorter through the store! THEN I recycle the envelope!!

*Use reusable bags* This one isn't original to me, but it's the best practice. It saves oil and keeps the plastic bags from killing our marine life.

*Contingency plan for when you forget your resuable bags* If you happen to make it home with those God-awful plastic bags, you can use them for other things. We use it to line the plastic trough on the automatic litterbox (so we don't have to constantly buy those plastic recepticle things). We also have dog-friendly parks all over the city with freestanding poopy bag dispensers. It's up to park users to fill the dispensers with grocery bags, so whenever we take the kids to the park we also take a load of bags for picking up poop!!

*Use cloth napkins at dinner* This is my favorite one. It doesn't take much effort at all to put out cloth napkins at the dinner table. So take a few bucks to www.etsy.com and stock up on about 12 cloth napkins (or make your own).
It saves trees, they go in with the rest of your laundry, and it just makes dinner time a little more special!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Praying for Stellan

Prayers for Stellan

Stellan had heart surgery today, please pray for him!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My first model!!

This is Rubye Kate Puckett modeling the gown I made for her! Isn't she just precious???

And how about her gorgeous Mommy? Can you believe this lady gave birth a week ago? Doesn't she look great?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Redneck Remodel

Most of those that read this know me and know that I bought the house that Matt and I now share 3.5 yrs ago when I moved to Chattanooga. As soon as I bought it, I had 2 main remodeling goals: bathroom & kitchen. Well, I bought it with one of those horrible ARMs and did an 80-20 split to finance the down-payment. It's not that I had bad credit or couldn't afford the house, I just had NO credit. I used the 2 yrs to build my credit and I was one of the lucky ones who was able to refinance and get out from under the ARM before the bottom fell out. When I did, I payed off my credit cards and got some cash back for the bathroom remodel. That was fall 2007.

Well, all that was left was the kitchen, and we all know that kitchens are WAY more hassle and expense to remodel. The main reason (other than the totally non-functional design) is the fact that I had no dishwasher. This is the first place I have EVER lived without a dishwasher, and it happens to be the first home I ever purchased. UGH. Well, it was a pain but it wasn't THAT big of a deal when I was single. I cooked 2-3 times per week, not too many dishes - I could stay on top of it pretty well. I still haven't figured out how you go from 1 person to 2 people in a house and the dishes and laundry multiply by FIVE. This baffles me. I know that I cook about 3-4 times a week, but it seems the dishes have multiplied like freakin' rabbits.

Matt has been unhappy with the dish situation since about week 3 post-honeymoon. UM, HELLO 3.5 YEARS!!! And now that he is in school and can't help with the house work as much, he feels extremely guilty working on school work while I clean (isn't that sweet?). So the other day, he had a genius idea. If we got rid of our washer and dryer, bought the kind that you can stack, then we could put a dishwasher in the space where the washer was and let them all share the water lines and drain pipe. We crunched the numbers and figured out that we could swing it, so we started shopping around and researching the fabulous Energy Star front loading washers and dryers (SWEET, just in time for Earth month!).

Our friends Daniel and Meghan were given a new dishwasher by her grandparents when they got married, and their old one has been sitting in the garage for over a year with no place to put it. We spent date night pricing the W/D we wanted (we are SO blessed to have a Sears outlet store here, it's like scratch and dent appliances for way cheaper) and buying all the fittings and hoses to hook up the dishwasher. We wanted to make sure that the set up worked before we dropped the $$ for the W/D. We got everything hooked up on Saturday for the dishwasher, did the test run, watched and prayed... DOH! That SOB leaked! (Incert explatives here).

Well, by this time we were SO excited and had our hearts SET on getting a dishwasher into the kitchen, we had to get a new one! So we went BACK to the Sears outlet store; paid for our new W/D and dishwasher, loaded the dishwasher in the back of Matt's Eclipse (yes it was funny, no I don't have pictures), and came home. WOOHOO, this is gonna happen! Not so fast. We get the dishwasher in place, leveled with lines connected, and open the door... CRASH. Well, not crash, but the dishwasher is so front heavy that it came flying toward us, back off the ground, and drawers sliding out. This freestanding dishwasher was harder than we thought. So, still wanting to make this happen, this is what we came up with...

Yep, the clips that normally get drilled into the countertop were used to anchor it to the wall with caribeaners and cable running through an eye-screw-thingy (that's a technical term, look it up) screwed into a stud. Matt tested the cable and it holds up his weight, so we assume it will hold a diswasher full of dishes! YES, it is rigged, and NO I DON'T CARE!! I don't ever have to wash dishes by hand again (except for china and pots and pans like everyone else).

After church today, our SWEET friend Daniel gave up his afternoon to help us haul off the old dishwasher to the dump and pick up our W/D with his truck! Then he stayed around to help us hook it all up because he bought a set similar to ours when he moved in to his house.

So, without further ado (drumroll, please), our redneck remodel...

Checkout the waterlines and drain rig:

Please don't call building codes on us (although I wouldn't have done this if I didn't think it was safe). This is only a temporary fix. We plan to do a TOTAL kitchen remodel, maybe even take down a wall, in a year or so. This will just get us by until then, so that dishes don't rule our lives. Daniel had a great idea of hanging a shelf or two for laundry stuff and, putting up a spring rod with a curtain to hide "the rig". I think we are going to do that in a few weeks (after Matt's semester is over). WOOHOO!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I feel

I feel like a mangy dog that no one wants around, so they just keep kicking it until it gives up and leaves.