Thursday, December 31, 2009

my 2 new policies

Let me start by saying these policies are bound to fail, yet I've forged ahead with implementation.
First, the "reap what you sow" policy. I'm tired of hearing "He hit me! She hit me! Maegan called me poopie pants; Spencer said I'm stinky butt." I looked at them today and said, "Go ahead, beat each other up. Go ahead, let each other have it. Hit away!" They looked at me shocked and then declined; fearful of what the other might do when given license to unleash their fury. I hadn't really thought this policy out, but it seemed to work. I'm just not sure how this will play out later when they decide to start punishing each other again. (Oh, it just happened, Maegan hit Spencer. So, she sowed and I reaped...or she sowed and reaped...or she just paid the piper.)
Second new policy: the "keep it real" program. As most of you know Doug knows most everything (except his colors). This unending knowledge and skill set benefits most everybody. But, there are occasions when I want to be the final authority on a subject (which has been limited so far to music). So, I thought a "keep it real" program would be good to keep Doug humble (a quality we all really want). I'm just not sure how this policy is going to work because I need some ammunition, which means he needs to be wrong about something...I'll wait patiently and then pounce.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vote Love 146

Vote to give money to Love 146. While you are there vote for the 6 other causes at the bottom.
(click on the words Love 146 to get to site)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Destroyer and the Knuckle Head

Ok, the destroyer in our house is a precious little 3 year old boy. I'm seriously looking for advice on how to preserve our belongings before we loose it all. Many of you know he broke the LCD a year ago. In the last week here is the list of damage (which usually happens when we have little friends over): several broken ceiling tiles in the basement, coloring on the basement wall in two places, ceiling tile grids taken down to serve as swords, busted fluorescent light, broken picture glass in picture frame, destroyed basket, many toys, and physical damage to his own body from stunts. Seriously, besides our many lectures about how daddy has to spend endless hours working to make money, then hours working on the house to just have him destroy everything....what are we supposed to do. I'm sure we could start taking away his stuff (and breaking it as Doug threatened yesterday), but I'm not sure that would really help him understand.
Just think, we have another boy coming up in the ranks of destruction and mayhem. I think we'll wait until they are all out of the house before we buy anything nice.
Oh, the knuckle head part. I'm the knuckle head. I bought Spencer a light saber and Nerf gun for Christmas. The light saber is going to be opened at the grandparents in Terre Haute. The grandparents who have thousands of dollars in antiques in the house. Oh dear!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If you knew...

We all have heard, and some even make jokes, about the products we purchase being made by enslaved children, women and men. I believe as we are given information about this issue we will make changes in how we shop. You don't have to spend hours in research to get this knowledge. Here is some information to get you started and a few links to check out.

As we learn more about the connections between slavery and the products we buy, it becomes difficult (even frustrating) to go shopping for items we need. What is slavery-free and what isn't? And how can you tell?

In the book "Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It" David Batstone writes, "Today's slaves are not free to pursue their own destinies. They are coerced to perform work for the personal gain of those who subjugate them. If they try to escape the clutches of their masters, modern slaves risk personal violence or reprisals to their families."

None of us wants to be a part of such a violent, unjust system - even indirectly (i.e. purchasing an item made by a slave). But are there alternatives? Yes!

Just in time for the Christmas shopping season, here's some help: lists some fantastic companies that are doing their part to make sure slavery and exploitative labor conditions aren't a part of the products they produce. lists some not-so-fantastic companies that carry one or more products in their stores that are tied to slave labor or poor working conditions. I'd recommend avoiding the problem products and finding alternatives at other stores. Depending on the extent of the problem, you may even want to consider avoiding some of these stores altogether (please read the full report - it's not very long - before deciding). is a broader report. Part II contains an extensive list of products that are tied to slave labor or child labor in specific countries. For example, artificial flowers that come from China have been tied to slave labor. However, artificial flowers from other countries are not connected to slave labor. Bananas from Belize, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Philippines are likely harvested by children under the age of 15. However, there are no indications at this time that bananas from other countries are harvested under exploitative working conditions. I'd recommend printing off pages 29 - 44 and taking them with you when you go shopping. It's a fantastic way to use your purchasing power to avoid items that come from countries where these products are tied to slave labor.

I'm challenging you to do whatever you can to bring a little more justice into your Christmas celebration this year. Maybe it means making sure that a percentage of your purchases are slavery-free. Or you might accept the challenge of having a completely slavery-free Christmas. In either case, please know that your buying decisions carry a lot of weight. The gifts you buy this Christmas cannot only bring joy to the receivers, but also to the men and women who produced them!

Below is information about companies that are actively making life better for the poor and the oppressed by hiring girls who've been rescued from sex slavery, paying their laborers Fair Trade wages, hiring adults who've escaped labor slavery, or who are donating portions of their proceeds to abolitionist organizations.

Buy Responsibly:
Chain Store Reaction:
ASSET Campaign:

Clothing and Accessories
Freedom Store:
Cross Cultural Connections:
Paper to Pearls:
Better Way Imports:
Freeset Bags:
Nightlight Jewelry:
Toms Shoes:
Abba House:
Invisible Children:
The Love Alliance:
We are Overlooked:
DCZ Beads and Designs:
Global Girlfriend:
Pendant Star:
Butterfly Mama:
Heaven’s Attic:
The Hunger Site:
Global Goods Partners:
Autonomie Project:
Pants to Poverty:
Green Heart:
World of Good:

Bath and Body
Peace Keeper Cause-Metics:
Thistle Farms:

Home and Play
Ten Thousand Villages:
Made by Survivors:
Global Exchange:
Fair Deal Trading:
Pillow Dreams Project:
Trade As One:
Fair Trade Sports:
Good Weave:
Ethical Superstore:

Mai Thai Coffee:
Divine Chocolate:
Equal Exchange:
Alter Eco Fair Trade:
TransFair USA:
Fairtrade Labeling:
Pristine Planet: