>My baby, Abigail, is 7 months old today.
Time is going by way too quickly. How is it possible that she’s only 5 months from her First Birthday?
>My baby, Abigail, is 7 months old today.
Time is going by way too quickly. How is it possible that she’s only 5 months from her First Birthday?
>I love this story. Hope you enjoy…
This week’s promise: God cares for the persecuted
Turning evil to good
Don’t be intimidated by you enemies.…you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him.
Philippians 1:28-29 NLT
Finding God in Russia
In the 1930’s, Stalin ordered a purge of all Bibles and all believers. In Stravropol, Russia, this order was carried out with a vengeance. Thousands of Bibles were confiscated, and multitudes of believers were sent to the gulags where most died for being “enemies of the state.”
Years later, CoMission sent a team to Stavropol. When the team was having difficulty getting Bibles shipped from Moscow, someone mentioned the existence of a warehouse outside of town where these confiscated Bibles had been stored since Stalin’s day.
After much prayer by the team, one member finally got up the courage to go to the warehouse and ask the officials if the Bibles were still there.…The answer was, “Yes!”
The next day The CoMission team returned with a truck and several Russian people to help load the Bibles. One helper was a young man—a skeptical, hostile, agnostic collegian who had come only for the day’s wages. As they were loading Bibles, one team member noticed that the young man had disappeared. He had slipped away, hoping to quietly take a Bible for himself. What he found shook him to the core.
The inside page of the Bible he picked up had the handwritten signature of his own grandmother. It had been her personal Bible. Out of the thousands of Bibles still left in the warehouse, he stole the one belonging to this grandmother—a woman persecuted for her faith all her life. He was found weeping—God was real.
R. Kent Hughes in 1001 Great Stories and Quotes
Adapted from The Prayer Bible Jean E. Syswerda, general editor, Tyndale House Publishers (2003), p 1285.
>We didn’t go to church this morning because I don’t feel well. Because it would contain TMI, I’m not going into it, but let’s just say that it’s the worst since I was in the 8th grade, and that only 1 person in this world would understand that, but she doesn’t read my blog.
I miss church. I hope to feel well enough to do something. I’m tired of being inside. When will warm, wonderful weather come to where I live?
>Apparently so, even though my brain keeps telling me it’s Monday, Not Green Tuesday. Ha! I’m wrong. The calendar clearly states that today is Tuesday, March 25th.
Since I last checked in, my life went something like this: I had the stomach flu, then Paul, then me again, a little bit, then we went to Cincinnati for a check up (drove 200 miles just to pay a $15 co-pay!), went to a birthday party, enjoyed Easter, went to visit my grandmother, who had knee replacement surgery (yesterday), worked with Abbie’s occupational therapist (today). Whew! I’m worn out!
Anyway, my green idea for today is reusable shopping bags. You can find some here, or now, Target is starting to sell them.
Also, today I accomplished finding out what I would need to do to get my teaching certificate. I can enter a Post-Bach(elorette) program and take 8 courses, 3 hours each, and get my teaching certificate. I can also get my MAT (basically, my Master’s) by taking 39 hours. I can enter the Post-Bach program, get my certificate, then complete my Master’s, which to me sounds like the best option. I have 7 years to complete my Master’s if I so choose.
I had hoped to get my Master’s from WVU, but I don’t know that they do education masters courses here where I live. I will be looking into this.
Ok, I’m now going back to my life, which still includes cleaning out closets and various storage space, at a very slow pace, and pricing all my garage sale items. I really hope this pays off! I’m planning on using my profits to get the girls’ summer clothes. Wish me luck! The sale is scheduled for May 3rd.
>It’s nearly 3 am and I just watched “I am Sam” on TV. Insomnia sucks, especially when I have to be up in a few hours with the girls.
Anyway, I wanted to share a bit about the “green” products I use, some of which were named in the article in Tuesday’s post.
The first such product I ever tried was Method Tub & Tile cleaner. I started using this last year, immediately after seeing the O show. A couple reasons I chose this were, 1. I hate a dirty bathroom and 2. I preferred using a safe bathroom cleaner while being pregnant. What I loved most, other than the fact that it worked and cleaned my bathroom was that it wasn’t aerosol and didn’t have a chemical smell. While I’m not exactly crazy about the eucalyptis & mint smell, it’s far better than the chemical odor other cleaners have. Besides, Method has other scents in almost all their cleaning products, so when I’m finished with this bottle, I’ll try another until I find the “smell” that fits me most.
Next, I tried Method Wood for Good and the microfiber cloth. I LOVE the almond scent… light and not overpowering, but clean smelling.
Also, during this time, we started using the Method Bloq, a square-shaped body soap. WOW. I love it. It had oatmeal in it and felt wonderful on my quickly expanding belly. It cleansed and scratched at the same time. 🙂 We love and will likely buy it in the future.
The last time I was at the grocery store (Wal-Mart), I found phosphate-free Palmolive. I never only bought Cascade… I would play around with brands, though I always felt that Cascade Complete was the best. But, I’ve changed my mind. I think I’ll always use this or another eco-friendly product. I just wish they would come out with an earth-friendly version of Jet Dry!
Also at Wal-Mart, I found a laundry detergent, Simplicity. Perfume and phosphate free, it seems to be doing an ok job. I’m going to try to find a detergent I really love, though. And I’m looking for liquid fabric softener, too. And, a good toilet bowl cleaner as well.
For more info on the products listed above, go to:
Other products I’d LOVE to try are:
If you have found other products you love, please share them in the comments section!
>I was kicking around this idea to share “Green Tips” on a weekly basis, if for no other reason to remind myself of what I can do and to help me get in the swing of things on this new endeavor.
I posted in a comment below, but will say it here, for those who might not read comments. For a long time, I thought that recycling and “going green” would be a pain in the neck, so I just didn’t do it. Add to that, that Hollywood (and one former Vice President) is now the Global Warming Prevention Committee, and I was really turned off by it. I don’t do things just because celebrities say it’s a good idea.
While I don’t jump on the Oprah Winfrey bandwagon every time she talks about a topic, book or cause, I do have to say that her Earth Day 2007 show really opened my eyes. I had no idea that it takes 100 years for a glass jar to break down. As a mother, I’ve bought more and more items in glass jars: applesauce, grape jelly, etc. Having a 4 year old who regularly consumes those items, we use more glass containers now than ever before.
I found a really insightful article I’d like to share. I’m not sure how long I’ll have “green tips” but maybe this info might convince others out there to try their hand at going green.
*Note: Emphasis in the article below is mine.
This page can be found on the web at:
Green Guide gginnews The Green Guide in the news
Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis)
Friday, November 2, 2007
By Stacey Wiedower Special to The Commercial Appeal
OK, I’ll admit it. I’ve succumbed to the latest trend.
I’m an all-out follower—believer, even. Whatever you want to call it, just know that if it’s chic to be green, I’m totally chic.
I didn’t follow Leonardo, Cameron, Brad or even Al down the path toward an eco-friendlier lifestyle. My green obsession sprang from a more practical reason: I became a mom.
Once my little guy was mobile, the dangers lurking around every corner of my house were glaringly apparent, none more so than the toxic chemicals (known as cleaning products) hiding out behind my cabinet doors.
I realized that for me, simply stashing them on higher shelves out of my baby’s reach wasn’t enough. After all, if they’re harmful for him, they’re probably not good for the rest of us, right?
A little research verified my suspicions that many of the household cleaners I’d believed my entire life to be harmless—the same ones advertisements show being used by smiling, happy families in sparkling clean homes—are decidedly not.
Along with posing various threats to the environment, a lot of the cleaning agents we
commonly use pose serious health risks—and not just when they accidentally fall into the hands of toddlers who don’t know they’re not safe to drink.
“Chemicals in cleaning products can cause asthma, respiratory illness, skin irritations, even some types of cancer,” said Emily Main, senior editor of “The Green Guide,” a resource published by the National Geographic Society for consumers of green products . “The most compelling reason most of our readers switch to green products is because of their health.”
And when Memphis-based home cleaning service 2 Chicks and a Broom opened for business in 2002, owner Candace Mills’ research into green living led her to a bold business decision—to go green before green was cool.
“People who clean houses for a living tend to have higher rates of cancer and bronchial problems, and it’s been linked back to the chemicals in the products they use,” said Tiffany Watts, who helps Mills run the growing company that uses only all-natural, nontoxic products in clients’ homes.
In the beginning, Watts and Mills faced a lot of doubt from prospective clients who questioned whether green products could get their homes as clean as traditional cleaning products. But now, more clients are coming to the company because of its dedication to natural products.
“It’s amazing what you can do with all-natural products,” Watts said. “You really don’t need the chemicals.” She cited tea tree oil and lavender oil for their germ-killing properties.
Armed with this information, I began my personal quest to baby-proof my home. I examined labels of products ranging from glass cleaner to furniture polish to dishwasher detergent to find out what they contained. And what I found was pretty much nothing, at least in the way of listings of ingredients.
I found plenty of warnings plastered on these cheerfully painted containers, but very little information about what specifically caused them to warrant the skulls and crossbones buried in the fine print. I learned there isn’t a federal law that requires manufacturers to disclose the exact ingredients of cleaning products.
That scared me a little.
And it sent me on a hunt for the safer products I knew were out there. Luckily, the fact that “going green” is hot, means manufacturers and retailers are starting to sit up and take notice. And that means consumers increasingly have more choices when it comes to green products.
“I think some aspects of the green movement are going to become more mainstream,” Main said. “I think the hype we’re seeing now is going to have more and more impact on how businesses develop products.”
So, ironically, our consumption-based lifestyle might actually have a positive impact on the green movement’s reach. As the trend toward greener living gains wider acceptance, consumers will demand more green choices at better prices. Businesses will respond to consumer demand, and that—with continued help from our Hollywood role models—might be what it takes to create change.
It’s certainly made it easier for me to switch my household from harsh-chemical cleaning products to all-natural, organic, biodegradable ones.
Assuming—incorrectly as it turns out—that it would be hard to find green products in the stores I regularly shop, I started my search for green cleaners online. That turned out to be a good move, because I got cleaning products for my whole house (all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, dish soaps, toilet bowl cleaners, furniture polish—you name it) for less than $40 at drugstore.com. (The site has sales often and offers a lot of e-mail discounts. Everything I bought at the site was on sale and with free shipping.)
But I’ve since realized that most of the products I purchased are now available, not just at specialty stores like Wild Oats, but at mainstream stores including Target and Kroger. Another surprise was that green products are affordable. Prices are a little higher than traditional cleaners, but not much.
“If you’re willing to spend that extra 50 cents and know that your health isn’t being compromised and you’re also not compromising the environment, it’s sort of worth the extra 50 cents,” Main said.
And most importantly, these products work. I’ve done my own testing on at least 15 different all-natural, nontoxic cleaning products, and I’ve pored over consumer reviews at reputable sites like epinions.com and sustainlane.com. I’ve also listened to what the experts have to say about how to interpret the sometimes tricky claims on product labels to identify a product that’s truly green.
“You want to look for the most specific information you can find. Not environmentally friendly or earth-friendly, but nontoxic,” said Linda Chipperfield, vice president of marketing and outreach at Green Seal, an independent nonprofit that evaluates and certifies products that meet its strict environmental standards for production and use. For example, look for: ‘100 percent recycled plastic’ or ‘this product is nontoxic to humans and animals.’
” ‘This product is environmentally friendly’ doesn’t mean anything,” she said.
Green Seal, whose label (or seal) is found on many industrial green cleaning products, is in the process of certifying products that meet its new standard for household cleaners.
“This fall there will be several products that will be certified under the standard,” Chipperfield said. “Several of our cleaning manufacturers with industrial products that are Green Seal certified are looking to get household cleaners certified as well—and these are the products you can buy on grocery store shelves.”
For consumers who are interested in greening up their cleaning supplies, Main offers some advice on getting started: “The best thing to do is to look at what you use the most often,” she said. “Usually that’s dish soap. And those are relatively comparable to their traditional counterparts, price-wise.
“Mainly, don’t be discouraged if you try one brand and it doesn’t work as well as you’d like it to. Try more brands and you will find something that works.”
She adds that the biggest obstacle for many consumers in making the switch is perception.
“People want that scent—that chlorinated odor—that makes them feel like they’re getting their dishes clean,” Main said. “But it doesn’t add to the quality of the product; it’s just esthetic, really. That’s the hardest habit to break, though, because people really want that ‘clean’ smell and feel you get from the harsh-chemical cleaning products.”
Personally, I’m happier now that I’ve scrubbed that “clean” smell right out of my house. And I’d like to think my baby boy will thank me for it.
In my quest to detox my cleaning supply cabinet, I sampled about 20 all-natural, nontoxic products. Here’s the short list of my favorites:
Method omop non-toxic microfiber floor love: $24.99 at Target.
This all-in-one hardwood floor cleaning kit includes a simple-to-assemble “mop,” three compostable sweeping cloths, one microfiber mop pad and a 14-ounce bottle of omop wood for good almond non-toxic floor cleaner.
What I love: The microfiber mop pad is machine-washable and the cleaner’s almond scent is light, not overbearing.
What I hate: The mop itself is a little hard to maneuver when I try to really scrub.
Overall take: It’s pretty great. A must-have for hardwood floors and the only product like it I’ve found.
Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel, Lemon Scent: $3.49 at Target.
This liquid dishwasher detergent is biodegradable, nontoxic and phosphate-free. It comes in a 45-ounce bottle.
What I love: I love the quote (from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy) printed on all the brand’s packaging: “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” I know it’s a marketing tactic, but it works. I feel good about using these products.
What I hate: The container is smaller than the traditional brand I used to buy, but the price is higher.
Overall take: This gets a full load of dishes clean without the residue or chemical smell I’ve noticed after using traditional detergents. But I still feel the need to keep a box of traditional dishwasher tabs handy (on a high shelf, of course) for loads heavy on pots and pans.
Earth Friendly Products Furniture Polish: $4.49 at drugstore.com (on sale, regularly $5.99.)
This product, which contains olive oil and orange oil, protects and cleans furniture, cabinets, paneling and vinyl.
What I love: It smells like oranges, not chemicals. And I’ve tried it on all types of furniture with good results.
What I hate: The consistency is kind of creamy, so if you accidentally spray too much, it streaks. A little goes a long way.
Overall take: I’ve retired my old brand of furniture polish. This works just as well, smells better and doesn’t cost much more if you shop around for the best price.
Method The Daily Granite: $3.99 at Target.
Designed for cleaning and polishing granite and marble surfaces, this product comes in a 12-ounce bottle and has a mild scent.
What I love: It easily takes water spots off my hard-to-clean, dark gray-brown marble vanity top.
What I hate: Nothing. I think this product is great.
Overall take: When I set out to find a natural, nontoxic product to clean a marble vanity top, I didn’t hold out much hope that one existed. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered this cleaner—and also pleased by how well it works.
Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, Natural Citrus Scent: $2.49 at Target.
This hand-wash dish soap comes in a 25-ounce bottle and a variety of scents. (Natural Citrus is my favorite, but Free & Clear is another good one to try—it lives up to its claim and is completely colorless and odorless.)
What I love: It works great, suds nicely and has a light, fruity smell. It’s also widely available—I’ve found it at several mainstream stores.
What I hate: Nothing. I’ll never go back to traditional dish soap.
Overall take: This was the first green cleaning product I tried and it’s also my favorite. It lathers and rinses as well as any traditional product I’ve used, and it’s mild on hands (and baby toys).
Sun & Earth All-Purpose Cleaner: $3.59 at Wild Oats.
This all-purpose surface cleaner comes in a 22-ounce bottle and a Fresh Citrus scent derived from natural orange oil.
What I love: This spray cleaner does a great job at lifting spots off countertops—even white ones.
What I hate: Though not unpleasant, its scent is strong.
Overall take: I pitted this cleaner against a mustard stain on my all-white kitchen countertop, and the cleaner came out ahead. It did a better job than a couple of traditional brands.
Earth Friendly Products Window Kleener: $2.99 at drugstore.com.
This all-natural, vinegar-based glass and surface cleaner comes in a 22-ounce spray bottle.
What I love: It gets my bathroom mirror squeaky clean and streak-free with no more elbow grease than harsh-chemical glass cleaners.
What I hate: It’s made with vinegar, and that’s what it smells like. But the odor is light and still beats the smell of traditional glass cleaner, if you ask me.
Overall take: I’ve tried several brands of glass and surface cleaners, and this is among my favorites. It gets the job done with little effort and great results.
Method Cleaning Wipes, pink grapefruit scent: $2.99 at Target.
Similar in packaging and use to their traditional brand counterparts, these convenience wipes come in a package of 30.
What I love: These wipes don’t leave your hands gritty or smelling like harsh chemicals. And they get the job done.
What I hate: When I attempt to pull a wipe out of the package, I usually pull out two, not one. I wish they came in a baby wipe-style container.
Overall take: I put this product to a tough test: cleaning grime off the seal of my freezer door. I was amazed by how easily the wipes lifted it off. They’re also great for quick cleanups in the kitchen or bathroom.
>Borrowed from Crystal at …Injuiries and Dr. Pepper in the Blogs I Read section.
The Oak Tree
by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr.
A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway
“But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me
“Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew”
>Last April, I happened to be home sick on, or near, Earth Day. I tuned in to Oprah to see her Earth Day 2007 Show. It’s a show that, in some ways, changed my life.
For more info about the show, go here: http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/200704/tows_past_20070420.jhtml
Almost immediately after the show, I began looking for earth friendly household cleaners. I was shocked that a member of a family interviewed experienced awful health problems linked to household cleaners. Did you know that ingredients of the most popular brands are actually considered to be toxic waste? Neither did I. At the time, I had found a website that will perform a search on cleaners’ ingredients and you can see how toxic they are. If I come across it again, I’ll post it.
I had wanted to get some of the cleaners featured on the Oprah show, but didn’t want to spend that much money. I started out slowly, getting most items from Target, the Method brand.
After coming home from Cincinnati, I decided I’d like to start recycling. We got into practice at the Ronald McDonald House, which practices recycling. So, it was an easy transition. I had been saving plastics and cans in used grocery store bags until a couple of weeks ago, when I got some recycling bins. It’s now something I’m becoming more aware of… so many items we use so often can be recycled.
Just last week, I went shopping for laundry detergent and found phosphate-free laundry detergent at Wal-Mart. That was pretty surprising. I got some and will let you know what I think later (if anyone is remotely interested).
The next step is to get the eco-friendly light bulbs. I’ve been putting off doing that, again, because of cost, but I think in the long run, the cost won’t be as much as I think. Meaning, though more expensive now, the bulbs are supposed to last longer and save energy, hence, money, with our electric bill.
I know this will sound cheesy, but it feels good to do something that is good for our planet. In that sense, it’s doing something good for my kids, too.
>…that is the question. It’s a tough situation all mothers who work outside the home face.
We knew that things would be pretty tight if I had to quit work to stay home with the girls. We knew that pretty much, the only way we would survive is if our old house sold. It hasn’t.
I had hoped to be able to stay home with the girls until Abbie was at least a year old, thinking that in that time, she would have received the most benefits from her Birth to Three services. I mean, nearly all the “important” learning happens within the first year (walking, talking, self-feeding, etc.).
Reality is setting in, and we must face the facts. I was thinking of getting my teaching certificate so that I could have the same schedule the girls will have once they begin school. Add to that, that there is a teacher shortage that keeps getting worse in the state I live, and it seems like a logical career jump. Even if it did mean going back to pick up a few classes, having the same schedule as the kids would be a great help.
The thing is, I don’t know if I would like teaching. What I really love is PR, and there is a job opening posted in the paper. I think I would LOVE this job. There’s a part of me screaming to apply and the other part hesitates because we really don’t know what the new ortho doctors are going to suggest when we see them in May. They might suggest surgery sooner than later and it’s hard to plan long-term with so many variables.
I just don’t know what is best for my family. The financial stability of me having a job outside the home bringing in more income, or me being home with Abbie to ensure that she gets everything she needs, emotionally, physically, developmentally and otherwise.
Can I clone myself so that I could do both?
>It is currently 2:22 a.m. and the reason I am still awake is because I drank 2 cups of coffee, in the hopes that I would get some things accomplished around the house.
However, what I need to do is put clothes away and I need to do that in my room, which is currently being occupied by my sleeping husband. My REMing hubby, who is getting much deserved sleep while I have done all I can do and now must wait until he leaves for work and after Abbie’s OT visit in the morning before I can continue working.
Working on what? I’ve decided that the inevitable has arrived, and my closets must finally be purged. Had I known that the back of my closet was actually limitless and that there’s a hole back there through which tons and tons of crap keeps being loaded and pushed to the front, I would have never begun this endeavor.
But, started it I have, and with these types of projects, the only thing one can do is push on until the project is complete. I keep hoping that in the end, on the other side of this, struggling through years’ worth of clothes and stuff will ultimately be worth the stress I’m living now. Because now? Now, my house has literally been clothes bombed. Clothes we can wear go here. Clothes we can no longer wear or want go there. They must be hung this way and the little yellow price sticker must be placed in the same place for continutiy’s sake so that what I pray will be lots of people looking for a bargain will find it and say, “Hey!! I ladies’ suit for just 3 bucks! Even if I don’t need it, I have to have it, ’cause it’s three bucks.”
I’m so depserate to get rid of this stuff, I think there is a very distinct possibility that I will just put a sign up that says, “I give up. Everything is free. Please help yourself and unload this crap off of me.”