Monday, July 13, 2009

Becoming Unimportant in a "Being Busy, Being Important" Society

This was written by Abott Christopher Jamison from his book Finding Happiness. The following excerpt comes from some reflections on the Beatitudes. What do you think about this?

We see that Jesus is speaking about the people who do not participate in the 'being busy being important' culture: the poor in spirit, who know that they are unimportant; the meek, who are by definition not self-important; the peacemakers, who are modest; the pure in heart, who are unassuming. Jesus is describing an alternative culture where nobody is important and everybody has time for those who are insignificant. This is His Kingdom, a place for those who do not fit into the busy culture. One of the core tasks of the church is to be the shadow side of the 'being busy being important' culture: a community of people who are unimportant, and yet who make everybody who comes feel significant. Each of us needs consciously to find ways to lay aside the tendency constantly to 'be busy being important'. We can do this by wasting time creatively, such as playing with our children or by giving time to those who at the material level give nothing back, such as visiting he sick or the lonely. We can do this by wasting time spiritually, spending time in meditation or reading spiritual books. We all know the such 'wasted time' makes us happier than any amount of 'being busy'. The reason is that these are acts of loving kindness that come from a pure heart.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oh, Don't I Wish!

I saw this article on the NPR site and had to share. I don't know if anyone is even reading my blog, but what the heck, I might want to read this opinion article again sometime! LOL!

Foreign Policy: Meat: The Slavery Of Our Time
by Jim Motavalli, June 5, 2009 ·
I have a prediction: Sooner than you might think, this will be a vegetarian world. Future generations will find the idea of eating meat both morally absurd and logistically impossible. Of course, one need only look at the booming meat industry, the climbing rates of meat consumption in the developing world, and the menu of just about any restaurant to call me crazy. But already, most people know that eating red meat is bad for their health and harmful for the planet. It's getting them to actually change their diet that's the hard part — and that's exactly why it won't happen by choice.

Going by the numbers, eating meat is pretty hard to justify for the even moderately health-conscious. A National Cancer Institute report released last March found that people who ate the most red meat were, as the New York Times put it, "most likely to die from cancer, heart disease and other causes." The biggest abstainers "were least likely to die." Those who eat five ounces of meat daily, (the equivalent of one and a half Quarter Pounders or Big Macs) increase their risk from cancer or heart disease by 30 percent compared to those who eat two-thirds of an ounce daily — a stark difference.

The environmental impact is also crystal clear — and similarly appalling. "Livestock's Long Shadow," a 2006 report by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organzation (FAO), found that livestock is a major player in climate change, accounting for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions (measured in carbon dioxide equivalents), or more than the entire global transportation system.

The obvious solution to both health and environmental disasters is to stop eating meat altogether. But this is easier said than done. Even the studies addressing the impact of meat on the planet downplay vegetarianism, as if the authors are nervous to press it on people. Going veggie is not even proposed as one of the FAO's "mitigation options" (which instead include conservation tillage, organic farming, and better nutrition for livestock to reduce methane gas production). Nor is it emphasized in "Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry," a report by Danielle Nierenberg at the Worldwatch Institute. The study's author is herself a vegan, but she told me, "Food choices are a very personal decision for most people. We are only now convincing them that this is a tool at their disposal if they care about the environment."

She has a point: Giving up meat is tough, and arguing people into it is probably a losing proposition. Even with all the statistics out there about the dangers of meat, there are fewer vegetarians in the world than you'd think. A Harris poll conducted in 2006 for the Vegetarian Resource Group found that only 2.3 percent of American adults 18 or older claim never to eat meat, fish, or fowl. A larger group, 6.7 percent, say they "never eat meat," but often that means they only avoid the red kind. Worldwide, local vegetarian societies report high participation in just a few places - for example, 40 percent in India, 10 percent in Italy, 9 percent in Germany, 8.5. percent in Israel, and 6 percent in Britain.

So how will we become a vegetarian planet? The numbers suggest that we won't stop eating meat simply because it's "the right thing to do." People love it too much. Instead, we'll be forced to stop. By 2025, we simply won't have the resources to keep up the habit. According to the FAO report, 33 percent of the world's arable land is devoted to growing crops for animal feed, and grazing is a major factor in deforestation around the world. It's also incredibly water-intensive. The average U.S. diet requires twice the daily amount of water as does an equally nutritious vegetarian diet, reports the Worldwatch Institute. Meanwhile, there will be more than 8 billion people on this earth, and two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-stressed regions.

Sounds like a mess — and one that doesn't bode well for our cattle cravings. Meat will disappear — except as a luxury available to few — and the ethical issues will evolve, too. In the way that slavery, once a broad social norm, later became an unthinkable crime, we can expect to see a similar shift once meat-eating disappears from our planet. Perhaps, some day, the very idea of eating animal flesh will seem as remote as the idea of owning humans does now. So if you're a carnivore, enjoy now — before the inevitable vegetarian revolution begins.

Jim Motavalli is a senior writer at E/The Environmental Magazine.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Fun...and Doggy Safety

It is a beautiful, warm , sunny day in Seattle and I am headed off to a water spray park with the kids! Should be the perfect way to spend the day. As much as I'd like to bring my sweet lil' Jack Russell Terrier along since there is an off leash park nearby, I pause and think before doing so. Where would she be while the kids are at the spray park? If I leash her outside, she would just bark with all the excitement around her. Normally, on a cool day, she might hang out in the car...but NOT on a warm day like today as our favorite (?) American Idol judge wisely reminds us:

Well said, Simon. On days like today, it's best to keep our pups safe & cool inside the house.

And although we'll miss her during our adventures today, we'll be sure to make it up to her later with a nice evening walk and some good play/cuddle time too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seattle Veg Help

Eureka! I found the perfect site to help with local vegan finds:

If you're not from the Seattle area, scroll down this awesome list to find links to other helpful (and possibly local) guides:

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm in Love!

Meet the new love of my life...Dark Chocolate Dreams (peanut butter blended with rich dark chocolate). It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in a jar. Remember those commercials where the guy with the chocolate bar crashes into the guy with the jar of peanut butter? This is the real thing. Only better because it contains no cholesterol, no trans-fats, no hydrogenated oils, and no high-fructose corn syrup. It is also gluten-free, VEGAN, and certified kosher pareve by the Orthodox Union. Wow - Reese's Peanut Butter Cup can't claim that kind of goodness! I have used it in PB & J sandwiches, over Coconut Bliss or other non-dairy ice cream, on fruit, and just straight out of the jar. It doesn't separate and is so smooth & creamy!! Just the perfect thing when my sweet tooth calls out and I don't have any homemade baked goods around.

New Title...New Beginning!

After a brief hiatus, I am back! My new blog title is Veg Spirit Mama. I chose this because I think it reflects the "trinity"of my being: compassion for all living beings, my spiritual journey and my purpose fulfilled as mama and guide to three beautiful children.

Three is also my favorite number, so a title with 3 personally meaningful words seemed perfect. These words symbolize what you might find me writing about on this blog. One day it might be a new vegan recipe or find, another day it might be the pondering one of life's bigger questions, and another day might bring the reality of being knee deep in laundry, a messy house and Lego building/ mud-pie making with the kids!

So, here we go... To New Beginnings !

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today's post wherein I question the sanity of blogging

It has been quite a while since my last post. Sheesh...that kind of sounds like a confession doesn't it?

Frankly, I have contemplated whether to continue with blogging or not...something I'm sure most bloggers have done at one point or another. First, there is the realistic challenge of time between homeschooling three kids and keeping a house & garden. In walking away from blogging, I have noticed that I am more free to be in the moment & present. It's about all the things I can participate in instead of sitting in front of the computer composing.

Second, does anybody really care? I mean this in the most sincere way. Although I don't look at the blogs I read as narcissistic, I have often battled that feeling toward my own blog. Do I really add any value to the myriad of voices out there? Would it be any better if I chose one topic of personal interest and stuck to that, taking the focus off of myself (for example just vegan living, just gardening, or just homeschooling, etc. )?

I have no answers at the moment...just contemplations...and that's okay. :)