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25 September 2009

Title? Who needs a title?

Coming home up the mountain yesterday we saw a bear on the hillside. It was a very steep, rocky place & the bear (not too large, probably a yearling) was descending very rapidly. I was a little afraid he was going to slide right down in front of us, but then he saw us ("big grey bear traveling fast" Duane said) & began to scramble back up the hill. We didn't get any pics. Didn't have a camera handy & it was only a few seconds before we were past him.

It was a black bear. The brown bears, grizzly bears, have long been eradicated. Big Bear Valley was named for all the grizzly bears, but they were hunted & killed many moons ago.

A blog i follow called Keeper of the Home has a post (re-post) today called I Choose Hope. I mostly agree with her. It is her perspective that many of the things we do here are not our ultimate goal. As Christians our ultimate goal is to prepare for heaven. To long for Jesus. On that i do not disagree.

However, i know too many people who use this as an excuse. Because we will have a new heaven & new earth & this one is to be destroyed, some folks think that we don't have to take care of this one. I may have said before, our church has "fellowship" every Sunday. It is beyond coffee & donuts, more like a mini-brunch. And we throw away many, many, many trash bags of paper plates, styrofoam cups, & plastic utensils. Not to mention plastic containers food was in & a lot of food as well. This disturbs me deeply.

We also throw away single serving communion
cups every week. I know when i was growing up the church used similar communion cups that were glass - meant to be reused. I suggested doing that here - even said i would be willing to wash them all myself each week i was there, but the idea was shot down. I was told too many people are afraid of "germs" to allow things to be reused. Of course i also suggested we find alternatives for paper plates & plastic utensils & styrofoam cups, but that was shot down as well.

So, the only option i have is for Duane & i not to contribute. We keep washable plates there. On the rare occasion i have tea or cocoa (we don't drink coffee) i go in the kitchen & get a mug to use. I do use the plastic utensils, but i wash & re-use them weekly. At least until they break. It honestly feels like i'm not doing much at all. Two less plates out of 60 or more, but it is all that i can do.

I also am a big believer that many of the health issues effecting our country are related directly to the things "we" eat. So many things are processed & fortified with chemicals & synethetics. Then more chemicals are added to fool our bodies into believing these things taste good.
Many of these faux-foods are also served at our church. I read the label on one such item & nearly fainted. But when i commented on it, the response was, "Oh labels! You can't read labels or you'd never eat anything again." In other words, it is so common & normal that you just have to ignore such things. And so people get sicker & sicker & are puzzled about why.

I mention these things, because while i agree with the sentiment that my focus is to be longing for Jesus & the world to come, i still am part of this world & my choices do effect it. Now, the writer is not saying we should not be striving for better choices. I've been following her some time (she's one of the first health blogs i found). But she is saying that being healthy, taking care of the earth, eating good foods, cooking at home, etc. are not the ultimate end goal. And on that i 100% agree.

Another blog i follow, The Good Human posted today on a number of things, climate change among them. Now, i 100% agree that we need to reduce the load we are placing on our earth. We have become a throw away society &
to produce many of our goods we are putting nasty chemicals & things in the atmosphere & environment. (Going down to OC weekly makes me rather nauseous to see all the nasty stuff in the air.) This needs to change in order to protect the earth on which we reside. We are not being good stewards.

However, protecting our earth is not my end goal. What is more, while i agree we are doing truly horrific things to our environment & the climate is changing, i don't necessarily equate the two as cause & effect. Studies have shown that the climate goes thru changes naturally over the centuries. It seems to me rather egocentric to believe that this is only occuring because of humans. And, if we are not causing it, it is especially egocentric to think we can stop it.

Trying to stop climate change is not my ultimate goal. Nor, as much as i long to be healthy, is my search for health. It is a goal, so that i can be more productive, but it is not my ultimate goal. My ultimate goal won't happen here on earth. It is simply to be with Jesus.

On a side note, do you think that when the Bible says there will be a new heaven & new earth it is talking about HEAVEN, where God is? That had never occurred to me before. Someone else, i don't remember who, pointed out this wording recently. I'd always assumed it to mean heaven as in "the heavens" they sky that we can see. If i was still into Greek research i'd probably look this up to see what the original meant.

Stuff Christians Like posted a guest post today on Evangelizing on trivial things. They were talking about product. Like telling others how superior Starbucks coffee is over others, or how this ball point pen is the best, etc., etc. Nothing they mentioned hit a chord with me at all, but in thinking it over, i think i am similar in other areas. For me it would be about pharmaceutical companies, or vaccines, or the limitations of doctors. It would be about pesticides, & chemicals, & processed "food."

(Another aside, my MIL bought Zatarain's Dirty Rice mix,
thinking i could eat it because it "doesn't contain wheat." While i sincerely appreciate her effort, this had so many chemicals in it that i wouldn't touch including MSG & soy sauce - that usually contains wheat - that i would never eat this stuff. I thanked her, but had to tell her that many of these things were ways to "hide" that they had wheat or MSG & i wouldn't be able to eat them, either.)

I feel badly, i really do, that i can't consume things that others are providing. It just has become too much the norm to see these items as safe when they are not. I'm an example of someone who has extreme reactions, but i would imagine that for every one like me, there are 10 others who are being negatively effected, they just don't know it. In that respect, i'm one of the lucky ones because i know to look for & avoid it.

And so, i have become a preacher of sorts. I have to watch what i say to not become too overwhelming.

I was visiting with my MIL yesterday while i was waiting for Duane to come. I had been on my laptop, but then she came & we chatted about various things. But she has a hard time sitting for long & she went & got a dust cloth & her spray bottle of Swiffer Dust & Shine. I debated whether to say anything. The truth is she always sees me as so limited in food & things - i hate to look even more limited in her eyes. This is my husband's mother & i don't want her to think poorly of me. So i didn't say anything. Which was a mistake.
Because she didn't do a little light dusting. She went at the whole room. At times she was nearly spraying the stuff in my face. I made an excuse & went in the kitchen, but because we were visiting, she followed me with her heavily laden dust cloth.

By then i knew i SHOULD say something (should have said it sooner) 'cause i was choking on the fumes, but the fact that i hadn't earlier stopped me. I went outside (HOT! 90F in the shade) & tried to breathe fresh air. Also called Duane to speed him up.

I can't say i don't use chemicals in our house ('cause as my father pointed out, vinegar & baking soda & hydrogen peroxide are all chemicals) but i don't use commercially produced cleaning solutions with warning labels. (I do keep some bleach on had for rare use, but it is indeed rare.) Just walking down the cleaning isle at the store these days is a challenge;
the smells overwhelm me.

So, suggestions - what should i have said? There were limited places in the house for me to "hang out." Something like, "I hate to mention it, but that cleaner bothers me a lot. I think i'll wait for Duane in the kitchen." ???

More of Duane's wonderful pics of Yellowstone & Montana. :)



Mrs. Mac said...

A touchy situation with Mil. I agree about all the wasteful ways in our society. A sad sign of the times. Everything is for the immediate comfort. A through away mentality even with the least of these (unwanted babies).

Land of shimp said...

Yikes! That's everyone's nightmare, isn't it? How to tell the MIL something without stepping on toes. Let's see, maybe just be truthful while being kind? There's no need to go into, "That's got a warning label, and I don't use products with..." etc. I think that's the dodgy part, even with the best of intentions, it has the potential to make someone feel like their personal choices aren't as valid, or something. So, maybe it's best to kindly (while in your own home)
assert yours?

"You're the best, I really appreciate that you want to help. Unfortunately that product gives me a blistering headache. Besides, I like visiting with you. Sit down, relax!"

I guess there are other ways around it, maybe suggesting something different? "Oh, could you help me do the dishes?"

But really, just owning the problem is the most direct way. What really strikes me is to own it, you know? Don't make it about, "Swiffer dust spray is basically poison." because that will make her feel defensive about her own choices, or has the potential too. "What do you mean? I use this all the time!!" and you know, all the green information is out there, and side by side with that stuff are natural products, so she's making a choice of her own.

So, the best thing I can think of is to kindly state the problem without pinpointing the difference in choice. "I only use all natural." makes a person feel defensive if they don't. So maybe concentrating on the "the scent of commercially produced cleaners sets my head pounding."

That way it is about you, and your comfort (in your own home, no less, something to which you are more than entitled) ...while still thanking her for the impulse, and not calling what she chooses to do, or buy, into question?

That is a tough one, but that's my best guess at how to handle it, Kathryn.

Rosemary said...

I try to be concientious of what I'm doing (using less disposable stuff, etc.) and that includes what we're eating and cleaning with as well. I feel for you in this situation because it is touchy with an in-law...hmmm...I guess you could say "oh, don't worry about dusting, let's visit." That might work, but I'm bad about avoiding confrontation so I'll choose anything but getting in their face.