Video: Love Stories Happen Every Day

The Campaign for Southern Equality advocates for LGBT respect in the Southern states. This video of Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory is lovely.

Last month, for the first time “an official in western North Carolina has accepted marriage license requests,” according to the Associated Press, “from 10 same-gender couples, despite a 2012 amendment to the state constitution forbidding such marriages.”

“Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory, a couple who have been together for 25 years, were the first to ask Reisinger for a license Tuesday morning as part of an effort sponsored by the Campaign for Southern Equality, a rights group. The group has been going around the state seeking someone to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples as part of its “We Do” campaign,” reports the LA Times.

Find out more about The Campaign For Southern Equality.

The Hidden World of Hermits

Thanks to Bob Sabath for introducing me to Raven’s Bread Ministry. Karen and Paul Fredette have lived an eremetical contemplative life in the Appalachian mountains for years. They also offer Raven’s Bread newsletter that allows hermits to share their experiences, questions, and reflections with one another.

I like their description below of how they live where they live. I was especially drawn to the image of Petra, the boulder. As we think about Christ as our rock and setting the homestead of the Christian community on the firm foundation of the apostles, let these images deepen your imagination:

We treasure the peaceful quiet of our home (Still Wood), set on a secluded mountain slope in the Spring Creek area of Madison County, NC. In our stewardship of Still Wood, we are accompanied by Neill and Cynda, our border collies and Merlin, our magical white cat. Our daily routine includes time for contemplative prayer and reflective reading.

In the warmer months, we make use of our outdoor chapel (Beth El Shaddai), a shaded gazebo where we are serenaded by dozens of feathered choristers, accompanied by the murmur of a small waterfall, and delighted by melodious wind chimes. We often meditate on Petra, an immense moss-covered boulder estimated to be among the most ancient rock on the surface of the planet. On her rugged surface, we feel we are seated on the knees of our Mother Earth, contemplating forests which shaded the Cherokee who inhabited these mountains for countless centuries before a white person ever beheld their lush beauty. Touching stone which has endured the changes of millenia reminds us of how brief our lifetime is; how precious are the days we have, and what a gift it is to spend them in service to solitary watchers and pray-ers around the world.

Good-bye ‘Norma Rae,’ Sorry About the Health Care

crystal_lee_suttonCrystal Lee Sutton, the textile worker and union organizer from Burlington, North Carolina, who was the inspiration for the 1979 Academy Award-winning film Norma Rae, died last month from cancer.

Norma Rae was a ground-breaking film for the American labor movement and also launched Sally Field, who played the lead, in her film career.

“Crystal Lee Sutton was a remarkable woman whose brave struggles have left a lasting impact on this country and without doubt, on me personally,” Field said in a statement responding to the news of Sutton’s death. “Portraying Crystal Lee in Norma Rae, however loosely based, not only elevated me as an actress, but as a human being.”

NormaRae fieldLinda Meric,  executive director of 9 to 5, the national association of working women, has a sobering post over at Facing South on Sutton’s death as it connects to delayed coverage from her health insurance company. Meric writes:

Crystal Lee Sutton, the woman whose life inspired the 1979 film Norma Rae, about a brave union organizer, died of cancer on Sept. 11, 2009,  after struggling in 2008 with her health insurance company.

Her insurer delayed her treatment by two months, initially by denying coverage of her medications, according to an article published last year in North Carolina’s Burlington Times News.

Her untimely passing at age 68 speaks powerfully to the continuing debate over health care reform.

Read Linda Meric’s full post here.

Substantive health-care reform includes 1) a publicly funded option for obtaining health insurance, 2) provides accessible and affordable insurance for everyone who is uninsured or under-insured, including legal and undocumented immigrants, and 3) contains clear “conscience clauses” around the issues that are morally sensitive.

Without it, we will continue to lose our heroes–known and unknown.

Do You Say to a Sister “Goodbye. Be Healthy”?

paxchristilogoHere’s a shout out to Patrick Mahon for sending me his current post on Health Care and Gospel Values.

Pat blogs for Pax Christi South, a web site for two Pax Christi groups—the Berrigan Peace and Justice Community at St. William Church in Murphy, NC, and its mission, Immaculate Heart of Mary in Hayesville, NC. Pat is a leading nonviolence teacher and retreat leader. He and his wife Joan live in Georgia.

I really like his paraphrase from the epistle of James. Check it out:

The readings for this Sunday offer further thoughts for reflection. Let’s paraphrase James 2:15-16:

If a brother or sister is unable to secure affordable and adequate health care and one of you says to him/her, “Goodbye. Be healthy!” without giving him/her access to health care, what good does that do?

As Christians we always face the struggle of discerning, espousing and working for Christian values. Pope John XXIII made the Christian value explicit when it comes to health care. It is the right of every American. Period! End the debate! Now let’s find out how to make it a reality.

Read Pat Mahon’s whole post here.

Rain Water into Wine?

rain-barrel-blowoutSo … I bought a really nice rain barrel yesterday. Cindy and Kelly from the Rain Barrel Company in Raleigh, North Carolina, dropped it off on their swing through D.C.  It’s made from a recycled Greek olive shipping container. It even has little Greek pictures and words on the side.

NOW what do I do?

I’m trying to figure out how to set it up with the rain spout in a location that is still accessible for filling up the water cans to water the front “postage stamp” vegetal patch.

Somehow all this made more sense in the Central Valley of California when it didn’t rain for months on end.

Do you think this is the kind of barrel Jesus stood over when he changed the water into wine? Hmmm.

You Won’t See This on HGTV

Outside model home decorated from thrift stores
Outside model home decorated from thrift stores

I woke up at 12:30 a.m. It’s really the best time to listen to the radio. I happened on Dick Gordon’s show on North Carolina Public Radio called The Story.

He was interviewing Terri Thompson, a marketing manager for a bank in North Carolina, about her penchant for only buying from thrift stores, flea markets, second-hand shops, or “found items/dumpster diving.” As the economy tanks, retail stores are going with it–but thrift stores are booming.

A recent survey from the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops (NARTs), 74% said that September and October sales increased over the prior year, by an average of 35%. Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit that operates 2,200 thrift stories, says that same-store revenue have increased by an average of 7% compared to last year.

Dick Gordon talked to Terri Thompson about how she makes treasures out of trash. For those who are trying to live more simply and step away from the ever-hungry god of consumerism, Terri’s story is interesting. Especially when she convinces a  local builder to give her the keys to a model home and she furnished it entirely with secondhand items.

As she tells Dick, the event was a huge success and convinced many more people of the value of purchasing things used. In fact, she raised $40,000 for local nonprofits and the near-by Habitat for Humanity ReStore saw a 30% increase in customers.

Let’s put the FUN of RECESS back in recession!
Listen to the broadcast.
See 360-degree room views from the Frugal Design Showcase Home.