I want to begin by apologizing for not quite keeping up here with the comments and posting these last few months.  I want everyone to know I read every comment and respond in my mind (Hopefully, I will be able to do better about posting those thoughts as we get back into a healthy post holiday rhythm).  I very much value the interaction on this blog and the others I read.  It’s nice to have online community.

So, we just got back from Cincinnati visiting some family there.  We went to the zoo’s Festival of Lights and saw an amazing light display, some neat animals (an eastern screech owl up close and personal, shown by a delightful caregiver, and some spectacular insects), and an outdoor show by the Madcap Puppet Theater in about 10 degree weather. 🙂  It was their Christmas present for the girls, and I am so grateful for it.  Both Deladis and Ivy were in high hog heaven. 🙂

But… the highlight of the trip for my personal self was a trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up on some hard to find grocery items.  I had read various women sing the praises of Trader Joe’s on internet forums, and I had never experienced for myself.  I have fallen in love, and I want to know how you can get a store like that to come to a rural place like this.  The first surprise was the size.  It was a tiny, quaint store.  I didn’t know what to expect, and while I didn’t see shelves and coolers filled with a crazy variety of food like you would at a Whole Foods store, I saw just enough.  It was almost perfect – almost.  The prices were the kicker for me.  I found Trader Joe’s bacon that was nitrate/nitrite/MSG free for $3.99.  I bought 4 packs.  Here you pay $4.99.  Frozen blueberries for $2.99 (12 oz.).  Gluten Free Mac-Cheese for $0.99 a box!  I found whole milk yogurt with a higher fat content than Yo’ Baby, and when you have a picky toddler who loves yogurt that is a blessing.  Ivy needs all the fat she can get.  It was wonderful.  I bought four large canvas bags full to the top of good food for $137.00  I can’t believe how excited I get over food.  I want a Trader Joe’s in the mountains.  I pay twice the price for some of the things I bought today on a regular basis.  I think that once local people saw the food was affordable, they’d be happy to shop there.

Yee-haw!!!

2010 is a good year.  Heck, every year is a good year.  We are blessed with life!  I have been inspired in these last weeks, and I know without a doubt that I am being led, and I am taken care of.  It’s nice to be assured of that.  It’s freedom.  It makes you want to do something about it.  Over on a blog I found a few months ago a challenge is being held – Hip Mountain Mama (One Small Change) .  She is encouraging people to make small changes in our living to create sustainability and positively influence our impact on the environment.  John and I try to work on this every day.  It is of a great deal of importance to us as energy issues impact our everyday life with the coal industry being a crucial part of the economy of the mountains and living with the impact that has on our surroundings.  We know that this isn’t a stable energy source, and it won’t be possible to fuel our local economy off of it forever, and John and I both believe we mountain folk need to start making those changes now and learn what we can do to sustain ourselves here.  However, we know that coal provides about 80% of the nation’s electricity, so it is up to all of us to begin that change.

I probably won’t be able to keep up with the blog deadlines she has set, but I’m going to participate in my own way.

Here is what I want to change:

1.  There is no recycling center in our county.  The closest is about 30 miles away.  Because of this we have stopped recycling.  (And John watched a Penn and Teller BS episode and feels it might not be so bad. I don’t know.  I’d have to revisit that episode myself.)  So, in lieu of that, I’d like to reduce our waste.  We have it down to about 1 garbage bag a week.  The next change I think I will make it making some napkins to use in place of paper towels for eating and some mess clean up.  I have some old sheets that would work perfect for that.

2.  I’m going to make it a point not to buy bottled water when I am out and about.  I plan to purchase a stainless steel water bottle and fill that to carry around.  We use water we collect from the watering hole for consumption and cooking at home.  Carrying that with us won’t be hard.  Plus, after hearing about the movie Tapped, I am motivated.  It is hard to think about when the local water supply can hardly be trusted because of recent petroleum spills and other such industrial pollutants.  Praise God for our watering hole.

I challenge everyone to make one small change.  Something you can feel good about.

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