loving our world

Blue Ridge Parkway

This morning I was writing out an “I am grateful for…” list, and God’s creation came first to my mind. This past weekend, I bought plants, re-potted others, rescued monarch caterpillars, and enjoyed walking our neighborhood. I credit my dad for gifting me with love for the outdoors and teaching me to respect our world, not litter, and pack out our trash. Spending time outside, especially away from the hustle-bustle of urban life, allows me to breathe deeply and feel at peace like no other place.

As I’ve gotten older and recognized how much I value this incredible world God provides for me, I have also become more committed to caring for this wonder. I have learned more about what destroys nature and, on the other hand, what it needs to thrive. My children have taught me a lot, and together, little by little, we have made numerous changes to our lifestyle.

A few of them:

  • Fewer chemicals/perfumes/additives in our cleaning supplies, food, and household items. Years ago, we began to substitute essential oils for perfumed candles, medicines, and cleaning supplies. We swap out for “cleaner” product options whenever we can. They’ve continually surprised us with how well they work for so many things, and we all now notice the difference in our health and sensitivity to toxic smells.
  • Recycling as much as possible. We try to avoid plastic as much as possible, but it is not easy to purchase quality items or food that doesn’t arrive in a ton of packaging. We recycle what we can through the city services, give away grocery bags to someone who creates sleeping mats for those who are homeless, and reuse other items whenever we can.
  • We like shopping thrift stores and second-hand and from companies that are careful with their ecology and people-care impact in their production. It takes some research to find alternatives, and responsible, sustainable practices often cost more, but over time we have accumulated a long list of favorite vendors that we like a lot.
  • Personal utensils and cups – We’ve been carrying reusable cups and bamboo silverware for a while now. It is sad for me to realize how many plastic forks/spoons or cups I regularly used and tossed before. We take refillable containers and cloth bags to the stores if we can (Sadly, COVID has made this more difficult for now).
  • Composting is a new thing for us. Recently we learned more about food waste and the damaging, gaseous impact food scraps have in our landfills. We joined a super-convenient, local service that picks up our food scraps and turns them into useful fertilizer for gardens instead.

I enjoy making my small contributions to caring for this world we share. It has been a step-by-step process, and I am always learning more. 

I’d love to hear from you. What kinds of things do you do to care for our world? 

raising monarchs, rising hope

Life hasn’t been easy these past days, months, year.

Much of my routine, lifestyle, and plans have turned upside down. Fears and discouragement invaded my emotional space uninvited. Working from home became the new normal.

Thankfully, after we made it through the awkward adjustments, working from home brought some positive changes to my life. The lack of commute provided more opportunities to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and pick up a few new hobbies.

Growing and savoring herbs from my patio garden and raising monarch butterflies have brought needed refreshment to my soul.

I received life-nurturing energy from learning, experiencing something new with others, contributing to the health of our world, helping to bring about new life, and being overwhelmed by the awe of God’s creation that I could not begin to comprehend.

No matter the trials, pain, sadness, divisions, and challenges of our world today, there is also goodness, joy, and hope. There is much we can do and change, in ourselves first, and then in the world around us.

Although I cannot control all the bad and the ugly in our world,
neither do I control the good.

I am a participant in this crazy world. I do what I can, what I am called to do each day. I pray. But, it doesn’t all depend on me. Ultimately, I trust and I rest in the One is who greater than I am.

Hoping this incredible natural beauty brings you hope and peace today.

What has brought you energy and life during these crazy times?