Author Archive

Simplicity: Shut Up and Listen on un-hoarding

August 17, 2008

I really loved reading “Simplicity Part 2, or The Great Purge” on Shut Up and Listen.  It’s about un-hoarding or de-hording or whatever you might call getting rid of a whole bunch of stuff, but with a subtle change in perspective which I found really positive and useful.  I don’t want to give it away so you’ll have to read the post.

(For background, you might want to read part 1 first.)

Cooking with Simplicity: Not-Refried Pinto Beans

July 6, 2008
cooked beans

Beans 2/3 of the way through this recipe

I want to share some recipes which are simple, as in easy, basic, and not expensive, recipes that are good for us, and good for the planet.

On another day, I will go into more thoughts about cooking and the Testimony of Simplicity. By then, I hope you will have tried this recipe!


Most Norteamericanos are used to bland, pasty refried beans.  We buy them ready-made into “refried” beans, in cans, if we buy them at all.

But well-made pintos can be delicious, healthy and easy to make.  They don’t even have to take a lot of active preparation.  If you know what you’re doing, a lot of the work can be done while you are up to other things. You can also do steps 1 and 2, and save the beans in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for a longer period, and do step three another day.

I like to make this recipe for “Not refried pinto beans:”


Watford Quakers go viral

May 8, 2008

I have only watched one of these videos on YouTube of Watford Quakers talking about their Quakerism(s). But so far, I think it is very interesting as far as a method of outreach.

The only thing that confused me in the Introduction to Quakerism below was the moment just after halfway through, when there’s a voiceover. Friends are pictured sitting in Meeting for Worship, and the voiceover gives the appearance that they are listening to some kind of recording — which isn’t a normal part of unprogrammed meetings, and which might confuse viewers. It should probably be explained.

Other than that, the filming and editing seemed great to me, as well as the selections of speakers and what they said.

It occurs to me, having heard a bit about Quaker Quest and having seen the materials used by British Friends for this program, that the setup of the videos may be attempting to mirror the way in which Friends taking part in a Meeting’s Quaker Quest would share their views on a particular aspect of Quakerism. The themes of the videos include “Are Quakers Christians?” “What are Quakers’ Views on the Bible?” “The Quaker Testimonies.”

Or click here to see more of the srekauq videos.

I’d be interested to know what you think about these videos, and about Quakers using YouTube as outreach.


January 30, 2008

Kenyans held mass demonstrations for a second day on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008.

Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos

All Rights Reserved by Pan-African News Wire

Listen to Eden Grace on PRI

January 17, 2008

On January 16, Lisa Mullins of PRI (Public Radio International) spoke with FUM’s Eden Grace, about violence in Kenya.

Click here to listen (via PRI’s website).

I found what Eden had to say about the so-called tribal nature of the violence worth thinking about.

Here is a picture of Eden and her family from the Friends United Meeting Web site.

Jim, Eden, Isaiah, and Jesse

sabbath days

August 26, 2007

I really liked what Contemplative Scholar had to say about her rules for the sabbath:

… I will leave weekends completely open, letting myself spend some time on Saturdays catching up on whatever needs catching up on, or working further on writing. Sundays I will try to keep as “sabbath” days again — this worked for a while last fall, but fell apart towards the end and was hopeless in my ultra-busy spring (but I have good reason to think that this year won’t be that ridiculously busy again).

My rule for sabbath is really pretty simple: I ignore anything anxiety-producing but otherwise do whatever I want. Ignoring all “work” altogether is the ideal, but I do not make this a hard and fast rule. It can be hard to precisely define what counts and what does not count as “work.” And sometimes what technically counts as “work” can be fun and soul-restoring for me. But more to the point, what the sabbath is for me is especially a time for reorienting myself to being guided by the Spirit. I try to live like this all the time, of course, but my busy and highly-scheduled life can erode that sense over time, especially when things get really frantic. And so I find it helpful to have sabbath days as weekly times to “reset” how I orient my life, in case that is necessary.

My Congregational minister grandfather, in trying to preserve his family’s day of rest, is said to have outlawed all “work” on Sundays when my mom and her siblings were growing up. This was a drag for the girls who most wanted to sew dolls, then dresses and quilts. Eventually my mom and her sister were old enough to make an argument for sewing being “fun.” And then they got to do it on Sundays.

I relate this story, because it speaks to the same issues Contemplative Scholar brings up. Rest must be a release from anxiety, from everyday stress, as well as labor. But one woman’s labor is another woman’s fun. (And yes, for me, sewing definitely would be classed as work!)