Thursday, June 30, 2011

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Support Local Food Growers

Bidwell Farmer's Market - Buffalo NY

Honey from a local farmer

Strawberry season - a wonderful time of the year

With the 4th of July fast approaching, now is a good time to get your menu set for the day. After all, food is usually one of the biggest parts of the celebration and the fresh foods of summer make a great addition to the day

The Kitchen Gardener’s International (KGI) has declared July 4 “Food Independence Day.” They encourage everyone to support local food by growing some of your own food and supporting local food producers and growers in your area.

Kitchen Gardeners International is a non-profit group that focuses on healthier food and a healthier planet by promoting home or “kitchen” gardens and providing information and resources for those who do this. There are about 20,000 kitchen gardeners from over 100 countries who help each other out via blogs, forums and social networking, and who organize activities all over the world inspiring people to grow their own sustainable food.

Spearheaded by enthusiastic and tenacious kitchen gardener, Roger Doiron, the driving force behind the successful Eat The View Campaign that gathered 110,000 signatures to encourage the White House to replant a Kitchen Garden.

So as you make plans for your cookouts give some consideration to buy local.As KGI points out, even though July 4th only comes once a year, every day can be Food Independence Day if you support local food. As they say, “local foods are patriotic, whether you’re buying them from producers in your area or growing some of your own. They’re good for our local farmers, our economies, our health, and that of the planet. Best of all, they taste great because they’re fresh from the soil.”

Monday, June 27, 2011

Poet - Paul Laurence Dunbar - Born June 27, 1872

by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals--
I know what the caged bird feels!

I know why the caged bird beats its wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting--
I know why he beats his wing!

I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,--
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings--
I know why the caged bird sings!

We Wear the Mask
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,--
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to gain national
recognition. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, on June 27, 1872, to Joshua and Matilda Murphy Dunbar, freed slaves from Kentucky. His parents separated shortly after his birth, but Dunbar would draw on their stories of plantation life throughout his writing career.

By the age of fourteen, Dunbar had poems published in the Dayton Herald. While in high school he edited the Dayton Tattler, a short-lived black newspaper published by classmate Orville Wright. Despite being a fine student, Dunbar was financially unable to attend college and took a job as an elevator operator.

In 1893, Dunbar self-published a collection called Oak and Ivy. To help pay the publishing costs, he sold the book for a dollar to people riding in his elevator.

Later that year, Dunbar moved to Chicago, hoping to find work at the first World's Fair. He was befriended by Frederick Douglass, who found him a job as a clerk, and also arranged for him to read a selection of his poems. Douglass said of Dunbar that he was "the most promising young colored man in America."

By 1895, Dunbar's poems began appearing in major national newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times. With the help of friends, he published the second collection, Majors and Minors (1895). The poems written in Standard English were called "majors," and those in dialect were termed "minors." Although the "major" poems outnumber those written in dialect, it was the dialect poems that brought Dunbar the most attention. This recognition helped Dunbar gain national and international acclaim, and in 1897 he embarked on a six-month reading tour of England. He also brought out a new collection, Lyrics of Lowly Life (1896).

Upon returning to America, Dunbar received a clerkship at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and shortly thereafter he married the writer Alice Ruth Moore.

In 1898, Dunbar's health deteriorated; he believed the dust in the library contributed to his tuberculosis and left his job to dedicate himself full time to writing and giving readings. Over the next five years, he would produce three more novels and three short story collections.

Dunbar separated from his wife in 1902, and shortly thereafter he suffered a nervous breakdown and a bout of pneumonia. Although ill Dunbar continued to write poems. His collections from this time include Lyrics of Love and Laughter (1903), Howdy, Howdy, Howdy (1905), and Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow (1905). These books confirmed his position as America's premier black poet.

Dunbar's steadily deteriorating health caused him to return to his mother's home in Dayton, Ohio, where died on February 9, 1906, at the age of thirty-three.


As a young woman I had never heard of Paul Laurence Dunbar until I met a person who had graduated from a high school in Alabama that was named after the poet. I researched the poets work and enjoyed his poetry. I am still a fan today.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bread Art

You're not going to cut my head off!

Most comfortable sandal I ever owned!

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

If It Is Thursday It's Going Green - Recycling in the Community

Remember Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair

I hope that most of you are lucky enough to have a recycling program in your community. I also hope that you and your family are participating in the process.

While recycling has become part of the daily routine for many people, the full importance of recycling is not always understood. In general, people do understand that recycling helps to minimize the drain on the limited resources of our planet. However, there are several other factors that make recycling important. Here are a few other reasons why recycling is extremely important to our world today.

One of the great things about recycling is that the process helps to minimize the presence of waste materials in our communities.Because items such as glass, paper, and plastics are being reused to create new products, they do not end up taking up space in a landfill somewhere. Since most people are not interested in having a garbage dump located near their homes or offices, recycling makes it possible to avoid creating newer and larger landfills that would otherwise be necessary to accommodate all the waste.

While many people realize that recycling is good for the environment in terms of easing the demand on our limited resources, they may not realize that choosing to reuse and recycle items also makes it possible to cut the cost of producing products significantly. For example, it takes anywhere from seventy-five to ninety-five percent less energy to produce aluminum cans from recycled products than it does to create them from raw materials. Thus, the importance of recycling not only extends to preserving raw materials but also to easing the energy needed to manufacture various goods.

Another example of the importance of recycling has to do with the creation of new jobs. As more people recycle, the number of people required to collect, sort and process recycled items continues to grow. More jobs in the community means more money spent in local stores, more taxes collected for the city or town, and in general a healthier economy for everyone concerned.

The importance of recycling also extends to maintaining a healthy balance in the ecology of the planet. By not having to mine raw materials in order to continue producing the same volume of products, there is less damage to our rivers, forests, and areas where wildlife is abundant. Since every form of life on the planet is dependent on the presence of another form of life, maintaining an ecological balance is key to providing security for the generations to come.

Think about all the reasons behind recycling the next time you begin to wonder if your meager contribution really makes a difference. The combined efforts of all people to recycle do in fact make a huge difference in our world. Look around your community and you are likely to see first hand the importance of recycling to your city or town in several different ways.

If you do have a recycling service in your community – use it. If you do not then start to petition your local politicians and decision makers to get one started in your city/town. It takes a little change in old habits to remember to place recyclable objects in another container, but guess what, it soon becomes a natural habit to separate the items.

Together we can make a difference!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy News - Group of Phil Campbells help town after tornado.......

I haven’t mentioned a ‘Happy News’ story in quite a while - there is so much negativity in the daily news. However, there is something about the following story that really made me smile.


The town of Phil Campbell, Alabama is located about 95 miles northwest of Birmingham, it began in the 1880s as a work camp established by railroad crew leader Phillip Campbell, originally from England. It was incorporated in 1911 as the only town in Alabama to have both a first and last name, a distinction it still holds.

A few years ago Brooklyn writer Phil Campbell visited the town during a trip to Alabama and decided to organize a gathering for people with the same name to be held in the town of Phil Campbell.

At the first convention in 1995, twenty two Phils and one Phyllis showed up. Plans for making it an annual event faded out. Earlier this year Brooklyn Phil and others banded together through the Internet and decided to try again. They sent out 400 invitations to people named Phil Campbell. This year’s gathering was planned to coincide with the town’s 100th anniversary celebration scheduled for Saturday June 18th.

On April 27th of this year a massive EF5 twister plowed through the city during the Southern tornado outbreak. The twister killed 27 local residents and injured twice as many, some seriously. Among the city’s 450 or so homes, dozens were destroyed and more were damaged.

One Phil, in Juneau, Alaska, took up a collection in his church and raised about $5,000 to help the Alabama town.

“Just because of the coincidence of our names we can do some good,” he said Friday as he joined several other Phils in clearing tree limbs and a shattered pavilion outside the Phil Campbell Community Center, now a distribution site serving tornado survivors.

This weekend Phil Campbells from across the globe converged on the hard-hit city of 1,150 for the “I’m With Phil” convention, a gathering meant to raise spirits, money and new roofs.

Phil Campbells are cleaning up storm debris, marching in a parade, donating money to build a Habitat for Humanity house, listening to country music and just showing they care.

“We’re doing whatever it takes to be part of the town for a weekend,” said Phil Campbell of Nottingham, England.

There’s also Phil Campbell from La Farge, Wis.; Phil Campbell from Austin, Texas; Phil Campbell from Glasgow, Scotland; Phil Campbell from Palo Alto, California. A couple Phils from Alabama and two from Australia.

It gets confusing having so many people named Phil Campbell in one place. The Phils tend to call each other by their hometown or state.

“Hey California, you want a sandwich?” said Brooklyn Phil.“There’s Birmingham,” said Alaska Phil.

In those first days after the storm, Mayor Jerry Mays wanted to cancel the anniversary festivities and the Phil Campbell gathering. The thought of celebrating anything amid flattened homes and funeral wreaths seemed wrong.

“A tornado just takes everything with it,” he said. “Those 27 people who died, we knew them all.”

Then Mays heard about all the people who were planning to visit despite the tragedy. He reconsidered, and he’s glad he did.

“I got to thinking maybe it would give people a chance to get this off their minds and enjoy themselves a little,” said Mays.

Now, rather than having just another sweltering weekend in Phil Campbell, the Phils are helping in the cleanup and reconstruction. The Phils, some companies and others donated money to help the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity construct a home. About $35,000 has been raised so far, said Brooklyn Phil.

Adapted from a story by Jay Reeves -The Associated Press


Just the thought of spending a few days with people who have the same name as me is very intriguing – and to meet them while helping in a disaster relief mission would be priceless!

As I mentioned before – this story made me smile. J


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Reflection - Pentecost

Acts 2:1-6 (NIV) - The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

1. When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
2. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
4. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.
6. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Today we celebrate Pentecost as a Christian Holy Day commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible. It is also known as Whitsunday, or Whit Sunday.

Christians share their perspective about the meaning of Pentecost as well as how the diversity of languages and cultures can enhance their worship and fellowship with each another.

As recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, it was on the 50th day after Easter that the apostles were praying together and the Holy Spirit descended on them. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot.

Pentecost also marks the birth of the Christian Church. According to church tradition, Pentecost is always seven weeks after Easter Sunday, or 50 days after Easter, including Easter Day.

After reading the account of the Pentecost in the Bible I always think about how wonderful it must have been for people from various cultures to be able to talk to and understand each other. They had travelled from many lands and when touched by the Holy Spirit they were able to speak other languages.

In spite of cultural differences we are, through the power of the Spirit, enabled to understand each other and treat each other as equals, with love and mutual care.

The symbols of Pentecost are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, and a dove.

by Edward Potts

We went to Jerusalem just like He said,
For forty days we wondered what lies ahead,
We sang, we prayed, and recalled each word,
That Jesus told us, and the miracles we've heard.

There was, Peter, John, and Mary Magdalene.
Who told us of many things they had seen,
Jesus told us that in Jerusalem we would receive power,
We waited with patience for His promised hour.

"Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it know fear,
I go to my Father, but you will stay here,
I'll send you a comforter while I am away,
Just go to the Jerusalem and wait for that day.

As we sang and prayed our spirits did soar,
Suddenly the room was filled with a roar,
Great tongues like fire came like the wind,
As fire set on each one, His power came in.

We sprang to our feet and in language unknown,
We gave praise and honor to God on His throne,
Some people thought we had lost our mind,
But they didn't know we had drank His new wine.

As we prophesied in the word long ago,
God was pouring His spirit on people below,
Jesus had redeemed the world Adam lost,
That day in God's word is called Pentecost.


God blesses those who work for peace, 

for they will be called the children of God. (Matt 5:9)


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Reflection - Footprints in the Sand

Every time that I stand at the water's edge at the beach I think about the words from "Footprints."

These photos were taken at Cocoa Beach, Florida
looking out at the Atlantic Ocean.


One night a man had a dream. He dreamed 
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

written by Carolyn Joyce Carty


The Value of a Friend
9 - Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 - For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (New King James Version)


photos by peacesojourner