idling myths & facts: let’s clear it up April 27, 2011
This morning as I was running through downtown, I saw someone sleeping in their car, with the window open, and the car idling. It always surprises me to see people sitting in their parked car, just idling. Now, in the middle of winter I can (sometimes) understand it here in this freezing Michigan state, but in spring, with your window open? I found these myths and facts about idling:
Myth: The engine should be warmed up before driving.
Myth: Idling is good for your engine.
Myth: Shutting off and restarting your vehicle uses more gas than if you leave it running.
Fact: Idling adds to global warming.
Fact: Idling contributes to respiratory illness.
Fact: Idling wastes fuel.
- Idling your vehicle for more than just 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine.
- Idling your vehicle for just 10 minutes can use as much fuel as it takes to travel 5 miles.
So, shut off your engine the next time you are waiting for your kids to get out of school, and help our precious environment a little bit!
A Reconciliation Journey February 16, 2011
We recently spoke about Reconciliation at church. You may have heard of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Here is my witness to reconciliation that I shared last Sunday:
My story of reconciliation is one that happened inside of me. According to Wikipedia: one definition of reconciliation is restoring mutual respect between individuals from different cultural backgrounds.
Growing up in SA, not far from Belhar, I was brought up with fears: Be afraid of the black danger, red/communism danger, Catholic danger… I had preconceived ideas about people who are different than me.
About 4 years ago, I read a book called The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew– Three Women Search for Understanding. It is a story of 3 women getting together to write a children’s book that shows the similarities in their faiths, but their journey takes a different turn and they start to get together regularly to have conversations about what they each believe. Over time, each woman becomes stronger in her own faith.
In the end of the book, they give advice on how to start a Faith Club. So here in Holland, I became part of a Faith Club. We are Muslim, Ba’hai, Evangelical and me. We come from different countries. We look different. We believe differently.
But just as in the book, I can say that interfaith dialogue made me grow in my own faith. It made me reflect on why I believe certain things. A couple of the women had babies recently, and as we celebrated new life, we spoke about different traditions surrounding the birth of a baby, and other celebrations while growing up. We come from different traditions, but we became friends.
My story of reconciliation happened inside of me, so that I now don’t see danger when people don’t believe the same as I do, or if they don’t look like I do. And my hope is that my children will not grow up with a fear of the other.
How will you choose to see in 2011? January 2, 2011
It is the time of the year when we reflect on the year past, and think of the year to come. We plan, we make lists and resolutions, we dream. But have you thought about how you will choose to see your life, and the world around you?
A friend told me her view of life: you choose to tell your story in the way you want to see it. Are you seeing everything you are missing out on, or are you seeing those things in your life that are special: special friends, loving relationships, kindness in your kids. Do you tell your story as the places you haven’t seen, or do you tell about those special places that you had the chance of visiting. Do you tell about time you don’t have (time to exercise, time to read, time to relax) or do you tell your story as special moments in a full life.
May you see your life in 2011 full of many unexpected blessings.
A month in Zambia + insights from Mma Ramotswe October 19, 2010
Our family is living in Zambia for a month. If you need a map to find Zambia: Zambia borders Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the south, Malawi and Mozambique on the west, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, and Angola to the east.
We are enjoying the rhythms of African living – waking up with the birds singing outside (at 5.10 am), and our girls playing outside every day till the sun sets.
While the kids go to school in the mornings, and Jaco teaches at Justo Mwale Theological University College, I have a lot of time to read. I’ve read good books and bad books, fiction and non-fiction, travel books and a book about a Malawian “boy who harnessed the wind”. But my favorite books have been reading (again) the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. Mma Ramotswe, the first (and only) detective in Gabarone, Botswana, says so many things that are true about life, fun, applicable, thoughtful. Here are some of my favorites:
We are all children of Africa, and none of us is better or more important than the other. This is what Africa could say to the world: it could remind it what it is to be human.
– Tears of the giraffe
Stand on your toe. That is what one said in Setswana if one hoped that something would happen. It was the same as the expression which white people used: cross your fingers.
- Morality for beautiful girls
To lose your own language was like forgetting your mother, and as sad, in a way. We must not lose Setswana, she thought, even if we speak a great deal of English these days, because that would be like losing part of one’s soul.
– The full cupboard of life
They had no idea of botho, which meant respect or good manners. Botho set Botswana apart from other places; it is what made it a special place.
– The full cupboard of life
Life was far better, thought Mma Ramotswe, if we knew who we were.
– In the company of cheerful ladies
A life without stories would be no life at all. And stories bound us, did they not, one to another, the living to the dead, people to animals, people to the land?
- In the company of cheerful ladies
Warm blessings from warm Africa! Now off to go read some more…
I’m so excited today, because I’ve been waiting and anticipating this for more than a year. The first of my wholesale suppliers (with others to follow soon, I hope!) are now selling Fair Trade Certified clothing! This means that the next batch of MotherTongues clothing will come with the Fair Trade Certified hang tag from TransFair USA!
TransFair USA is the official Fair Trade labeling organization for goods in the USA – think coffee, chocolate, soccer balls. But this is the first time that the whole supply chain for t-shirts have been certified, and that the clothing itself will have Fair Trade certification.
Read the full article from TransFair USA here:Hae Now Launches Fair Trade Certified Organic Cotton Clothing.
I just read this written by Sindiwe Magona:
Something deeper, primeval even, pulled and tugged at my heartstrings. ‘Inkaba yakho iyakulilela! Your umbilical cord cries out for you!’ amaXhosa say to explain the urge that is not to be denied – the homing instinct. The umbilical cord, buried deep in the ground after the birth of a child, marks ‘home’. And the belief is that this place has a pull on one.
I wonder if all of us have this pull?
Earth Day = 40 April 17, 2010
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
~Chief Seattle, 1855
So remember to do something for Mother Earth on this Earth Day, April 22nd.
Children’s books in a global culture February 3, 2010
I love reading to my kids from interesting books explaining our global community and connection, and learning something new myself while doing that. Here are some books I’ve enjoyed reading to them over the past month:
Let There Be Peace – Prayers from around the world: Jeremy Brooks, Judy Daly.
My name is Sangoel: Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed. Story of a boy leaving Sudan and finding his Dinka name & identity in the US.
Throw your Tooth on the Roof – Tooth Traditions from Around the World: Selby B. Beeler. The Tooth Fairy and Tooth Mouse already visit our house, so we had fun learning about other traditions!
Giving Thanks & Giving Back, and a special offer… November 28, 2009
In this time of giving thanks, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who bought a MotherTongues t-shirt, apron or tote bag this year – MotherTongues will once again donate close to $1000 ($1 per item sold) to the Center for Women in Transition in Holland, MI, and this year also $100 to the American Cancer Society.
“I will continue fighting until the end of my days for the right of women and girls to live a life free from violence and abuse.” ~ Desmond Tutu
|No shipping or handling costs on orders $30 and more – through December 13
If you would rather spend this weekend with family and friends than searching for meaningful gifts in the mall, check out these MotherTongues products:
Again, thank you so much for being a MotherTongues supporter – I truly appreciate you all! Remember to become a fan of MotherTongues on Facebook -there is a SUPER DUPER Facebook Special right now if you join, only valid till end of Cyber Monday.
– Michelle at MotherTongues