Archive for September 25th, 2013

A few months back I saw a news clip about an environmental group picketing at the corporate headquarters in the middle of a busy, bustling city. As I watched the reporting, I was struggling to rectify the good message of concerns with the environment in contrast with the delivery of the message.

Those carrying well-designed, professionally made placards were yelling angrily at the people as they entered the building, some carrying a sign in one hand, and a cardboard coffee cup (of another corporation) in the other.


I shook my head in disgust and disbelief at the hypocrisy I was observing. Then someone came to mind who, I believe, personified environmental responsibility far greater than any hired picketer ever could.

My grandmother was a simple, hard-working, God-fearing woman. She never had much, but she always had enough.

She thought that she was rich when she got her Canada pension in the mail each month, and mourned that such a cheque was not available to those raising young children.

She quilted pieced together quilts, for ‘the rich ladies’ she knew, and called that income her ‘fun money’ which she often spent on trips to visit relatives who didn’t live nearby.

She had a garden to share her home grown goodness with neighbors, until my grandfather died, and then she simply enjoyed the sense of community each harvest time, as her neighbors would call and let her know they had too many beans, or peas, or beets, or potatoes.

She made bread, by hand, every Saturday morning … and if I close my eyes I can almost smell it baking while spending the weekend in her spare room.

And her spare room … the register was always closed, as was the door, unless someone was staying over … no need to heat an unused room!

When the winters got really cold, she didn’t turn the heat up higher, she wore warmer clothes.

When she wanted cookies, cakes or pies, she made them.

When she had a weeks worth of left overs, Friday night became a left-over dinner.

She darned socks with holes, and when there were too many holes, they became rags.

When she washed her clothes, on the outside line they were hung.

When she needed to call long distance, she waited until the cheaper evening hours.

When she needed a poster … she made it out of an old cardboard box.

She re-used:

egg cartons for crafts and organizers

plastic dishes food came in, for left overs

plastic bags milk came in, for freezer bags

newspapers for packing, starting a fire, etc.

candles for new candles

and, most amazing of all (to me), when she had home baked goodies that were getting stale, she would soak them to soften, then use them in what she called ‘garbage bread’ … the most delicious homemade bread that never tasted the same twice!

She may have used her fair share of Styrofoam coffee cups, but she didn’t throw them out after one use … she would take them home and use them to hold her sewing pins, or gum drops, or to catch the last droplets of shampoo, before discarding the bottle.

She never had to hold a sign, and shout angrily to be environmentally conscious. She simply did was “anyone with the good sense God gave them” would do.

Oh, and God, environmentalism was His idea in the first place!

“God our Savior,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it;

    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.”
Psalm 65:5-9


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