Wednesday, 29 January 2020

More pics from Nancy's place

Nancy sent me some more photos of her home, and I thought you'd love them as much as I do.

That stove and the brick wall behind it! It's so lovely! And your row of Really Useful mugs — fab! And look at that copper kettle on the hearth! Oh, your place is lovely, Nancy.

The fireplace is very much like the one in my friend Rebecca Sylvan's home, at Hopewell in New Jersey. Brought back happy memories.

May your home always be happy and blessed. 

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Nancy's place

I wonder if you also read the comments threads that develop from the posts on this blog. If not, I really do encourage you to do so. It's always a thrill for me to find someone's comment on any post, bringing a perspective I hadn't thought of, shining a new light on the topic of the post. And sometimes, of course, a person makes themselves known here for the first time — maybe someone who has been travelling along with us a long time but never before spoken up. That's always lovely, too.

Since I put my email address in the sidebar near the top of the page, more readers have been in touch whose comments didn't get through so they couldn't introduce themselves before. And an email can always be lengthier and more personal that a comment on a blog, so it's been a happy time of making new connections. Thank you for writing to me.

In the last few days I've met Nancy, who has known and loved my Hawk & Dove books, and is a particular friend of Father Peregrine — I think you'll remember him if you've read those stories. 

It was wonderful to meet Nancy — she has lived so many adventures (you can read about her life in her long and interesting comments on my previous post). She tried to attach some photos with her comments, but Google Blogger doesn't offer that facility, so Nancy took the trouble to email them to me instead.

Here's Nancy, with her husband:

They are missionaries, and they live in Poland.

What I specially wanted to show you is Nancy's home. 

When they moved to the village where they live now, they bought two old log cabins — one to live in and one for guests to stay over (if I've understood correctly) — and put them back together in their new location.

Some of you who read here, like me, prize the beauty of simplicity, and have a real love for small and simple dwellings. I think you will immediately fall in love with Nancy's kitchen-living-room:

Isn't that lovely? To me, it just says, "home". All by itself it's the definition of what home should be.

And here's Nancy's guest accommodation:

It has a living roof.

It's a good thing for Nancy I'm not a guest there — I'd never want to go home!

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you my instant response of "Oh, wow! Look! How gorgeous is that?" Because I thought you'd love Nancy's place as much as I do.

Thank you, Nancy, for sending the photos of your home. 

Sunday, 19 January 2020


Increasingly I'm having difficulty leaving a comment on other people's blogs. I can't always let you know, if I don't have your email address.

I can't comment on Beth's blog, or Lynda's, or San's or Kat's, or Rebecca's, or Mike's (and I'm so sorry you've been poorly Mike; hope you're on the mend). So far my comments have always gone through fine on Jen's and Nearly Martha's and (until today) Julie B's. Can't remember if my comments take okay on Daff's.

Equally, I often hear from you that your comments don't stick on my blog, too. Tony has trouble, Tonia's comments don't work here, and other people have said the same.

I did a Google search for answers, and one woman (also on Google Blogger, as I am) said she fixed the problem by going into her settings, to "Posts and Comments", in there to the Comment Location section, where she changed the comment location from "Embedded" to "Pop-up Window". 

I thought this might be worth a try. Mine was set to "Full Page", so I've changed it to "Pop Up Window". Let me know, if you can, how you get on with that. Better? Worse? Same? 

Of course if you can't leave a comment then you can't let me know. I may delete this info after a few days, but my email address is — so if you wanted to comment and never can, then let me know. Or if you wanted to get in touch with me but couldn't leave a comment to tell me so, make a note of that email address because I may delete this whole post shortly.

A good boy.

Today in the supermarket I saw a good boy. Well, I think we all did — heard him, anyway.

He stood two checkouts away, with his mother. His head was about the height of the counter-top, and he was a sturdy little kid, so I guess he was maybe two-and-a-half. 

With concentrated anguish, through tears, loudly and with increasing desperation his head turning slowly to right and left but his eyes fixing on nothing because his interior world had entirely overwhelmed him he kept grinding out insistently that he was a good boy.

His mother, ignoring him studiedly, stood in determinedly relaxed mode beside him, chatting to the cashier. She looked as if she had been here many times before, the veteran of a never-ending series of outbursts and meltdowns. 

He didn't fall to the floor, and though his wails were full of despair and his eyes full of tears, he held it together enough to use words — as, in our family, my daughter always reminds her own son to do. I think this little lad was probably using every ounce of strength he had to convince his mother in the supermarket that he was a good boy. "Nevertheless she persisted", not listening.

I wonder what had happened. 

I guess he saw something he wanted and couldn't have. Maybe he'd been promised a treat if he would be a good boy. In the world of grown-ups, a good boy is quiet, patient, responsive, obedient, waiting quietly and following on, standing aside, standing back, standing . . . standing . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . What no boy ever has been by nature, especially at two-and-a-half, under pressure of the universal stimuli of a supermarket.

I guess his mother ran out of patience, and when his behaviour failed to conform to requirements, the treat was withheld, put back on the shelf. Or maybe he just wanted some sweets and he'd already had his allocated amount for the day.

He reminded me of my grandson, who melts down similarly in anguished tears. I remember the day his mother was struggling to preach in our chapel while he larked about and got into a fight with another child over which one of them got to play with her visual aid. I took it away. He was distraught. He summoned all his control to ask for it back politely — and I said, no. So he curled up on a chair next to his mother (nevertheless persisting with her sermon) tears streaming down his face, glaring at me in helpless rage. And I glared back. I am the wrong kind of adult for this kind of child. I am implacable. So is he. Even so we love each other, and respect each other immensely — it's just, neither of us ever gives in. I believe in it as a strategy, and I think I may be completely wrong.

Today in the supermarket, as I listened to the futile protests with their concentrated misery, "I'm a good boy . . . I'm a good boy . . . I'm a good boy . . .", my heart hurt for him. And for his mother. For all humankind.

On the way home, I thought about how they say God is our Father, and I wondered how this played out with me and Him. I cannot imagine myself insisting, before an implacable God, that I am good. I don't feel good; nor bad, either, particularly. Most of the time I am just afraid — of losing Him if I take my eyes off Him for one second, of automatic doors closing between us and shutting me out, of losing hold of His hand in the crowd. Am I a good girl? How the hell would I know? I am only lost without Him, because I belong to Him, I have nowhere else to go.

I prayed for the little boy on the way home from the supermarket. God agreed with him, he is a good boy; but he is a good boy with ADHD or ASD or something, in a world swirling with traffic and sugar and tempting, brightly coloured mass-produced plastic objects — a world where it's no longer safe for a little boy to roam and run free. I prayed for God to help him out, to bring some kind of a positive outcome from a miserable afternoon.

God bless that good boy. I bless him with the love of the Lord. Please give him a break, Father. Please help his mother. Please give them both what they need. And may both of them, their whole life long, manage to hold on to a firm belief in their own goodness.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

What was it she cooked?

So we have been steadily watching our way through the nine series of Taskmaster currently available on catch-up.

There are ads as it's a commercial channel, but not a great variety of them — in fact the same ones come round with monotonous regularity.  The black horses. The woman with a cat and a toaster finally buying her own house. The woman eating her lunch at the bus stop as nosy onlookers encroach on her personal space. The fat-free milk. The not very exciting oaty breakfast bar. The special rebellious whopping burger advertised because it is plant-based (!) but which, due to shared cooking equipment (so it says in the small print on screen) may not be suitable for vegetarians.

And then there's an ad for a weight loss organisation. 

As we are currently halfway through Series 3, we have now seen this ad zillions of times.

We still can't figure out what the dickens this particular woman has cooked.

Is it a really thick frittata with half beefcake tomatoes? Is it the most colossal baked cheesecake with poached half peaches? 

We have no idea.

There is a longer ad that shows the woman squeezing something — a lemon? an orange? We don't know — onto the top of this creation, but I can't find that longer ad. 

Whatever is it she's made?

Social contracts, social myopia, and "I'm doing this".

Watching events unfold locally, nationally and globally provokes deep reflection, does it not? "Whatever can we do?", is the question that springs most readily to my mind and to my prayers. John Wimber said he knew only three prayers, as follows:
"Oh, Lord!"
"Oh Lord, help!"

Now seems to be the time to engage them.

For a short while recently I paddled in the shallows of social media after a long break — went back onto Facebook, which in my case turned out once more to be Can't-Face-Book. As I sifted through the political opinions of my friends and of the masses, the information about social and ecological change and development in my country and worldwide, my heart broke again and again. I left, again. Sometimes leaving is my only way to survive. It's not intended as turning my back; leaving is my only way of staying, if you see what I mean. Much more of the ecological and political news washing in great waves over the flimsy walls of my defences, and I'd have been making plans to leave altogether. I don't know about you, but I find the idea of global water shortages,  global food shortages, escalating war, drought and flood and fire, lawlessness and poverty, terrifying.

Since retreating again from social media, I've been mulling over what I've read and heard and seen, and out of the primal soup boiling in my soul, three things have risen to the surface.

Whatever you vote, whatever you believe, you are involved in social contracts. This is true even if you decide to live in isolation in a croft in the Scottish highlands, grow all your own food and medicine, make your own clothes and equipment and die a solitary death, letting the ravens pick your corpse clean at the end. If you do that, your contract with the rest of the human race can be summarised as, "I will not help you. I will withhold my love and tenderness from you. I do not want you. I will fold my arms and let you die, because I do not care about you. Signed, Me."

I'm assuming, though, that your life is more inextricably mixed up with your fellow citizens — that you buy fuel for a car or house, food to eat, clothing (or the makings thereof) to wear, domestic equipment; and that you have your trash collected, expect to receive medical help if you are ill, drive on metalled roads, and have a fire service and schools and police in your neighbourhood. That sort of thing. You are part of it.

As you'll know, in the UK we had an almost 50/50 vote about belonging to the European Union. In the campaign for that referendum, those advocating that we leave (including our now Prime Minister) told some outrageously flagrant lies, which for some inexplicable reason people seem to have believed. The vote just crossed the line to commit us all to leaving. Since then, what I have heard from those in favour of leaving has mainly been along the lines of "Get over yourself; your side lost," as if this were a game of football on a Saturday morning. There's been much arguing and struggling, but it seems that going we are.

Puzzled, I've asked here and there why people wanted to leave the European Union. What possible advantage could there be? Those who wanted to leave seemed able to summarise their position in fairly simple terms, along the lines of "We're sick of those bureaucrats in Brussels telling us what to do."

I feel this is ill-considered. What were we thinking? Did we imagine the British Isles to be able to maintain the standard of living to which we have become accustomed, in self-sufficiency? Growing all our own food, doing all our own manufacturing, sourcing all our own raw materials and labour? Of course we will have to enter trade agreements with other countries, and naturally this will involve a degree of abiding by their regulations and cultural habits as well as our own. So, much the same as trading with Europe but without the pre-agreements that make life easier — and, of course, relinquishing the opportunity for our way of seeing things to influence our neighbours. Evidently we don't care about the possibility of making a difference, of making a positive contribution.

What are the irksome restrictions we wanted to avoid? Maddening Health and Safety regulations, perhaps? Or food standards? So we would be free to keep our animals in concentration camps and feed them detritus if we want to? Is that admirable? And if you take away Health and Safety regulations, that is usually with a view to enjoying less actual health and actual safety, not more. I was once pastor of a church where the builder working on the high back wall disregarded all sensible safety cautions, fell off his cherry-picker scaffold and died, leaving his widow to take care of their children on her own. I, personally, want less of that kind of thing, not more. Just like I want less human trafficking and child labour, and fewer sweatshops. And to enforce that in the teeth of Mammon, we'll need regulations, right?

Mulling over all this, watching and listening, brought a certain degree of frustration about social myopia. This impairment is by no means restricted to the right or the left wing in politics. You can observe it all over the place.

For instance, some years ago when Natalie Bennett led the UK Green Party, she was asked what the future of the monarchy would be, the Green Party having a strong leftist tendency in its politics. She answered that the Queen could probably be found a council house to live in. 

Now look, this is the Green Party. Right there, smack dab in the middle of Central London, the Queen has an enormous organic garden. If you go through society with your political machete, mowing down the aristocrats like the French Revolution and making everyone live on £700 a month in a council house, who will build and maintain the organic gardens at the heart of the city? Where will you get the visionary initiatives like the Duke of Cornwall (Prince Charles) has spearheaded? Who will inspire worldwide undertakings like the Jubilee Forest? Not only that, but think of all the artisans — the carriage makers and stone masons and whip makers, the people who make bespoke shoes and chandeliers, the milliners and jewellers . . . Doesn't it matter if we lose them all? Do we really want Walmart to reign supreme? We'll still have a monarchy of sorts, just what sits on the throne will be the vulgar and commonplace and cheap. Is that really what the Green Party wants? Have they thought this through? Every artisan I know relies on other people's private wealth to make a living.

But the social myopia also afflicts the right. In the UK, operating in some incomprehensible dark night of the imagination, we just voted in Boris Johnson and tossed aside Jeremy Corbyn. Among the victorious right-wing voters were many, many Christians. I have failed to understand this entirely. If you look at what Jeremy Corbyn actually says and actually does and the manifesto actually put together on his watch, you get an almost perfect match for the New Testament. You get a look at consistency, integrity, compassion and tireless work for peace and the common good. If you then look into Boris Johnson's life, you get flamboyance, incompetence, the Bullingdon Club and its attitudes, and a steady stream of very serious lies. 

In the first week after their re-election, our increasingly right-wing government cut the benefits of six hundred and fifty thousand disabled people. On their watch mortality is rising and health care is increasingly struggling. People — even in work — are descending into poverty and relying more and more on food banks. Economic inequality is steeply rising.

Now here's the thing I don't understand. Take a chapel, any chapel, could even be my own. Imagine it to have members who voted for this right-wing government driving people into poverty and dependency on food banks, and voted for Brexit with all the turmoil and further economic difficulty it will bring in its wake. Then perhaps the chapel gets a few slipped tiles, a hole in the roof, water ingress, urgent building works needed. What will the members do? Pass round the hat, put on a fundraiser, ask for money. So the people who voted for standing on our own feet, opted for isolation and self-sufficiency, chose separation and independence and the withdrawal of support from the poorest and most vulnerable, want help from other people to finance their chapel when the roof leaks. And they aren't even joking. If that isn't social myopia, I don't know what is. Where do they think the money's coming from if the chapel members have been both driven into poverty themselves and are having to help out their even worse off neighbours?

As I was turning these things over in my mind, the news broke about Harry and Meghan wanting to opt out of their place and obligations in the Royal Family, and live a private and independent life. Who can blame them? 

I asked my husband what he thought he'd want to say to them if he were a member of the Royal Family, and he (God bless him, what a sweetie) said that if he were Prince Charles he'd want to say to them, "Go, with my blessing; but the door is always open for you to come back." It would be a better world if my husband was running it, but unfortunately he won't be any time soon because the party he voted for was defeated by, among others, his fellow-Christians.

Not such a kindly soul myself, if I were in the Royal Family I'd want to say something quite different to Harry and Meghan, because I think theirs is a bad case of what I think of as "I'm doing this." 

They say they want to be independent — earn their own money, support themselves. But what doesn't seem to be in their mind is that — especially hot on the heels of the damaging revelations about Prince Andrew and his friends — theirs could be the falling pebble that starts the avalanche that ends the monarchy, as, in a country where inequality rises under the heartless regime we just voted in, people become more and more envious and disenchanted. The question they seem not to be asking is, "What about the others?"

What about their grandmother in her 90s? What about Prince Charles in his 70s? What about all the work for diplomacy and culture and ecology? If the whole lot comes tumbling down, who will take responsibility for that? Not Harry and Meghan, I imagine.

"I'm doing this" is an approach to life that was ever with us but especially afflicts our age. "It's my ball and I'm going home" is another way of putting it — along with the old Yorkshire saying, "What's yours is mine and what's mine's my own".

As is so often the case, Buddhism has something to teach the church in our current set of circumstances. Buddhism teaches that all people are selfish, but there are stupid selfish people and wise selfish people. 

The stupid selfish people just grab what they can get, look to their own advantage, separate themselves and build walls around their wealth — failing to realise that we all depend on each other, that we are part of the whole, that what we do to our neighbour and our world we ultimately do to ourselves. They sign their own death warrant. They saw off the branch they're sitting on. "I'm all right, Jack — blow you," they say; but what goes around comes around.

The wise selfish people take care of everyone. They nurture community and strengthen the weak. They protect the vulnerable. They see to it that everyone can flourish. They have the humility to recognise they are part of an eco-system and they give their very best effort to looking after the Earth, our only home.

So in my prayers for the country where I live, in 2020, as I plead, "Oh, Lord . . . help . . . " and, "Oh Lord, help . . . ", what I'm longing for and looking for above all else is a steady flame of responsibility; the recognition that all things are connected, that we belong to one another, and that what I do to you I will eventually discover I have done to myself.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Thoughts about self-publishing

Because sometimes people come here through an interest in writing for publication, I wanted to say a couple of things about self-publishing, as it's a popular route to making books available now.

There are some benefits to it. 

If your manuscript is of great interest but only to a small group of people — perhaps family memoirs, or an account relating to a specific fellowship or other interest group — self-publishing could be the way to go. 

A publishing company will take your book only if they can make the numbers stack up for the sales forecast. If you are famous they will take on your book even if you can't write well — they'll find someone to help you put a book together. If you have a large public ministry (eg, if you are a speaker on the conference circuit) they will publish your book, especially if you can promise to buy several hundred copies for your own bookstall. If you are a good writer and the publisher believes your topic or story will catch the public imagination, they will take your book even if you are not famous. But the bottom line is always the sales forecast — if they can't sell it in sufficient quantity, they can't publish it.

So people turn to self-publishing for one of a number of reasons:

  • Maybe a writer needs a book out in a hurry. There are many stages and a sequence to follow in traditional publishing; a book can be fast-tracked but will still take months to come out after it's written. Self-publishing can dramatically reduce the time frame.
  • Perhaps the likely readership group is small. This doesn't mean the book is not good — and indeed taking this route to publication might be a way to grow the readership.
  • If a writer is serious about earning a living solely through writing, and is prepared to undertake their own marketing etc, then of course they will get to keep a much bigger percentage of sales income if they self-publish.

I wanted to alert you, though, to a couple of serious drawbacks to self-publishing, just because some people underestimate the importance of these things, and they really should not be ignored.

The first is that even if you are the new Shakespeare, I guarantee your work will be better for passing through the hands of an editor and copy editor. Even if your spelling and grammar are all they should be (and you might not be the one to realise it if they are not), every writer bar none is prone to repetitions and can do with their prose de-coking here and there. And, depending on where your intended market-place is, there might be cautions you need to observe that someone familiar with publishing will be alert to.

For instance, in editing the work of American novelists I've sometimes come across details about daily reality that don't cross the Atlantic. If you have set your novel in England and casually mention turtles, your English readers will be surprised. UK robins and US robins are not at all the same, and we don't have cardinals or blue-jays in England. Afternoon tea and high tea are not at all the same thing, and an English biscuit bears no resemblance to an American biscuit — and of course, UK writers can make similarly mistaken assumptions in a novel set in America.

If you are writing into the Christian market place, there are differences between England and America in what's morally and theologically acceptable. You may inadvertently stray into forbidden territory.

The meticulous and detailed work of copy-editing also usually zaps errors in even the most oven-ready manuscript. 

So if you self-publish, it's well worth getting an experienced editor and copy-editor to help prepare your book. Probably not a relative, who may share your cultural blind spots and be too inclined to try and please you.

The second area of caution is permissions. The importance of this cannot be overstated. If you are writing non-fiction and include anecdotes about someone else, in which they are recognisably identified, you absolutely must get their permission before you publish. If you are quoting anything from anywhere — including the Bible — you must be certain you are within the word length you are allowed to use (or else get permission, which is not always easy). As it is so very expensive to get permission to quote poetry or songs, it's usually better to find a different way to say what you want, or paraphrase. If you go the traditional publishing route, the publisher will check all this for you (or at least let you know you need to do it), but if you are self-publishing you must do it yourself without fail. If you do not, the consequences can be awful. Some writers/estates have legal people who make it their business to spot and act on infringements of copyright, and the fines can go into the tens of thousands of pounds/dollars. It could clean you out. If you self-publish, you must pay attention to this.

I just thought I'd draw your attention to these small but important things, in case they are relevant to your own writing plans.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020


Perceiving and establishing connections is a Chariklo skill. Chariklo is the lady centaur, married to Chiron the wounded healer, whose superpower is weaving grace into creation. Perceiving and establishing connections is basic to weaving. 

The art of making connections, which is kind of existential darning, weaving, spinning, plaiting, is supportive to living simply. "If this, therefore that," advances simplicity.

Here's an example.

It's cold. This is natural, because it's winter, and I am so glad it's cold. Year on year the government money I earn, by my solar panels feeding electricity into the national grid, is steadily creeping up — and while I am grateful for the extra dosh, I feel profoundly uneasy about it, since it's obviously a measure of the climate changing. I try not to bury my head in the sand, I try to be clear-sighted and brave about the mess we've got ourselves into, and live in such a way as to be part of the solution rather than contribute to the problem, but in all honesty, I also feel very scared about how this is going to pan out. Therefore, when it is cold in winter, when steady soft rain falls in February, when icy winds blow in March, where once I'd have hated it now it makes me happy. One more year to be grateful the seasons are exactly as they should be and we aren't stuffed yet. 

So it's cold and I am glad. I don't want to turn on the central heating, except every now and then to dry out the house, because I'm not a big fan of central heating. I prefer the woodstove, and a cold bedroom with a hot water bottle in the bed. 

There are a two principles to observe in keeping warm, if you want to live simply. One is to insulate your large blood vessels. These pass close to your skin surface at your ankles, wrists and neck. So if you wear a roll-neck sweater or a scarf, and gloves, and thick woollen socks with roll-over tops, you will insulate the arteries through which heat is otherwise lost, and stay a lot warmer. The second thing is to wear a hat. The brain has to be kept at a more or less constant temperature, and the body will rob other organs of warmth to protect the brain. So if you wear a hat and insulate your brain, your entire body will get less cold. 

In winter I also wear merino wool tights, which are brilliant — reasonably breathable, so not suffocatingly hot, but nice and warm.

These last few days as the temperature has been dropping and the air damp, though, my legs have been cold out walking. I have a wool skirt, but it's the one I keep for best, and my everyday skirts are linen or cotton. So I decided I needed an underskirt. I looked on eBay to see what I could find second-hand, and then — ding! — I remembered something.

In a box under my bed I have some skirts I feel a bit guilty about buying. They are full skirts, very pretty, made of stretchy jersey fabric, lined, and the fabric is gathered onto a yoke close-fitted around the waist and hips. The problem with them is they not quite long enough. They're 33", where I prefer my skirts to be 34" or 35". So they are just that bit shorter than my everyday skirts, and because of the style they will make perfect underskirts, and because of the fullness they will keep my legs warm. Ha! Bingo! Ready-made underskirts! 

One might think this re-purposing would have been immediately obvious to me, but it wasn't — and I think that is in part symptomatic of being steeped in consumer culture. On every side I am encouraged by corporate forces to buy new items specifically designed for one purpose only, rather than own fewer items useful for multiple purposes. 

I think part of living responsibly in 2020, which offers us the last chance to put the brakes on carbon emissions, is to give myself the time and space to look creatively at what I already have, and save some money to help the many, many people who are struggling and could use a little extra support.

Talking of which — I wonder if you remember my telling you about Mama's Healing Salve

Here she is, the Mama of Mama's Healing Salve:

And this is her son Micah.

Micah is what I think of as a sunshine person. Loving, kind, supportive — in general a blessing to his family and everyone who knows him. He is, unfortunately in a spot of bother.

The day before Christmas Eve, Micah was driving home in his truck along a road with a line of seventeen cars coming in the opposite direction. An impatient driver at the back of the line decided to put his foot on the floor and overtake them all. His car hit Micah's truck head-on at speed. As a result, Micah's legs and arms and jaw were broken, part of his gut has had to be removed and his spleen lacerated. Extensive surgeries were required and a long, slow, painful road of recovery lies before him. He's been doing well, but has a fever today. In due course he will be able to come home, but for the time being the only place for him to be is in hospital.

With characteristic cheerfulness and courage he has been doing his best. Here he is, still smiling, courtesy of his mother's Facebook photos:

Micah's family is not rich. He has health insurance, but it's not yet known how much of the therapeutic support he needs his insurance will cover — you know how eye-wateringly expensive hospital bills can be.

So his friend Leah has set up a crowd-funding page for Micah, to help cover the bills for his recovery. 

It has occurred to me that if I keep making connections — instead of throwing away one thing and buying another — then I can free up a pleasing financial margin to help when things go wrong like this. Our present political climate is deepening poverty and removing safety nets for the people who most need them. Perhaps the connections we make to weave the fabric of simplicity protecting the Earth can also weave a delicate — but at the same time almost unbreakable — fabric of love. A Chariklo shawl.

Help Micah if you can, my friends.