Ever since the straw ban earlier this year, there has been a noticeable increased interest in environmentally friendly options in every area of life. People are buying reusable straws, composting more, and giving up single use plastics left and right.
And that’s great! Once I heard about the straw ban, which doesn’t even effect me, I knew I had to step up my green game too. So I bought some stainless steel straws, and a thermos so I could reliably keep what I was drinking hot or cold.
I already had reusable bags, but I made a point to use them more, too. And I ditched paper towels and opted for reusable washcloths, even cutting up some old shirts that had holes in them to use as reusable cleaning cloths that I wouldn’t mind bleaching after a really gross job.
Now I’m looking at other areas of my life where I can be environmentally friendly, and there’s a big one coming up sooner than you realize: Christmas.
Specifically, Christmas parties, but some of my tips below will be useful for the entire holiday season!
So I want to have an environmentally Christmas party. I want to waste as little energy and food as possible, and I definitely don’t want to encourage the use of single use plastics. Those are my number one enemy right now.
So here are some tips I’ve found that will help us all have a more green Christmas celebration.
Use reusable utensils and dishes
It’s so easy to go to the Dollar Tree and pick up some plastic forks and spoons, some paper plates and napkins, and just call it a day. There’s minimal clean up after, that’s for sure.
But that convenience comes at a heavy ecological cost. Those plastic forks make up a huge part of the 6 MILLION tons of single use plastics that get thrown out every year.
China used to buy a lot of recycled paper, plastics and other scrap materials, but China decided they don’t want to import foreign garbage. The stuff you’re recycling doesn’t have a place to go, and in the end it just gets thrown away.
The fact is, if you want to save the planet, you can’t rely on recycling. You have to rely on reducing. And single use plastics have to go.
In fact, LED lights are up to 80% more efficient than incandescent or fluorescent lights. 95% of the energy spent by LEDS is converted into light. That means only 5% of that energy is wasted!
On top of that, LED lights have no toxic elements and distribute light better, meaning you need fewer lights. And the kicker is that LEDs have a longer life span, which means you’ll need to replace fewer bulbs when you pull your lights back out next year.
Send e-invites instead of paper ones
Personally, I hate Christmas cards. They’re clutter that comes with guilt because I want to throw them away instead of display them.
I’d rather get an invite through text, email, or on social media than a physical Christmas card inviting me anywhere. Seriously. Skip the paper, save on stamps, and just send a digital invite. You’ll be doing everyone, and the environment, a huge favor.
Paperless invitations don’t have to be cheesy and ugly, though. They can be just as thought out and loving as a paper one, just without the waste.
Here are a few websites to check out:
Paperless Post has beautiful, easy to use e cards that can feature moving elements. They’re gorgeous and realistic, so when your guests receive them they’ll almost feel like they’re holding the cards in their hands.
This website isn’t free, but 30 “stamps” only costs $5 (cheaper than Forever Stamps!)
Evite is a tried and true paperless card option. And their cards are free, so don’t pass this website up. You might be surprised by some of the awesome services they have.
Pingg is a lot like Etsy, in that they give artists the ability to upload their card designs to the site.
Their cards are free, though card recipients will see ads when they get their invite. There’s a $10 membership option if you want to remove those ads.
Choose a real Christmas tree
Christmas decorations aren’t the same without a Christmas tree. But which is more environmentally friendly? Fake or real?
But even if you don’t want to replant the tree, you can get a real tree and sleep easy. Christmas trees are a crop, so cutting them down doesn’t contribute to deforestation. For every tree a farmer cuts, they’re likely planting four or five more to ensure they get a healthy tree to be cut down in a few years.
Those farms are also a habitat for birds and other wildlife and contribute to the local economy.
The worst option is a fake tree. Made of plastic and metal, there’s a huge process that goes into making them that takes up energy and likely produces polluting byproducts. They have chemicals in them that are unsafe, and if it’s made from China or somewhere else then you have to account for that tree being shipped to you.
If you must have a fake tree, you should take care of it so that you can use it for more than 20 years. Otherwise, you’re hurting the environment.
Recycle and compost after
If you have waste at the end of your party (which you probably will, so no judgment here), then you should find ethical ways to dispose of it.
If you have food waste, you can compost it and then your Christmas party will be contributing to a healthier garden in the spring.
Other items can be reused. Wrapping paper scraps can be turned into origami or bows, or shredded to be used as packing material. Boxes can be reused as long as they’re in good shape pretty much indefinitely.
And if you do have some plastics or paper products to get rid of that you can’t reuse, then you should recycle it. It might end up in the landfill anyway, but at least you tried.
If you have a lot of people heading to your house, you should try to help organize carpooling options for everyone. That means fewer cars in your driveway and less gas wasted. And if they can carpool through a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft, that means someone can still go home early if they need to without being a burden on the rest of the group they came with.
Fewer cars being used during the commute-heavy holiday season means less traffic, fewer emissions, less money wasted on gas, and better air quality. And I think that’s something we can all agree is a huge benefit to everyone.
So if some of your guests live near each other, figure out who has the greener car or set them up with Uber or Lyft to bring them all to your house.
Carbon offsets reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in a few ways. They can capture and destroy green house gases, produce energy using clean and renewable resources, or capture and store greenhouse gases to prevent their release.
So if it’s an option, choose Lyft over Uber this holiday season.
Skip the host gift
It’s common courtesy to bring a gift to whoever is hosting a party, but if you don’t really need another 10 bottles of wine, you can encourage your guests to bring something to donate.
My suggestion? Ask your guests to bring a toy to donate to a kids fund. It’s a feel-good option that doesn’t make your guests feel awkward for arriving empty handed.
Or, you can choose a zero waste host gift.
Some zero waste gifts include:
Fresh bread that you baked yourself. No packaging, just love and some hard work.
Olive oil. Great for anyone that cooks.
Plants, but only if you know the host can take care of it!
Raw, local honey. If your host loves tea or really just likes honey, this is a great idea. You can help support a local apiarist and their bees!
Plastic free food wrap. You can make or buy bees wrap that is biodegradable and reusable and just as good for saving food. You can also choose a silicone option.
Reusable straws. A couple of straws that never need to be thrown away, plus a cleaning brush? Sign me up!
A hard wood cutting board. If treated well, these boards can last a lifetime and will save your host’s counter tops.
What to eat
This is going to be a tough one. If you want a really eco-friendly Christmas dinner or party food, you’ll probably have to insist on vegetarian or vegan options.
But if you don’t want to do that and your guests are bringing a dish, you can send your guests a list of in-season food and encourage them to choose local foods!
There are a lot of great options that are in season in December. The whole dish doesn’t have to be local and in season, but a few pieces can make a difference.
What’s in season does depend on where you live. If you live in Florida, you have more options than someone living in Michigan.
Here are a few things to encourage your guests to get or to buy yourself:
Going green is a big adjustment, and we can often fall into the trap of trying to do everything at once. But if you’re not used to this lifestyle yet, you’re better of choosing one or two things to focus on this year.
Starting small means you’re more likely to choose environmentally friendly options for longer, making it a life long habit. And those long term habits are what really help the planet. If you give it up too fast because you got overwhelmed, you’re not helping anyone at all.
This year, I’ll be focusing on using my reusable utensils and dishes, plus getting LED Christmas lights to replace the ones that are broken. And, because I hate Christmas cards, all of my invites will be sent out digitally.
So what will you choose to do to make your Christmas parties more eco-friendly this year?
The benediction that falls upon the homes of a country is like the gentle rain that descends among the hills. A thousand springs are fuller afterward, green is greener and the flowers pour out richer fragrance.
Homes are the springs among the hills, whose many streamlets, uniting, form, like great rivers, society, the community, the nation, the Church. If the springs run low the rivers waste; if they pour are full. If the springs are pure the rivers are clear like crystal; if they are foul the rivers are defiled. A curse upon homes sends a poisoning blight everywhere; a blessing sends healing and new life into every channel. Homes are the divinely ordained fountains of life. It is not by accident that men live in families rather than solitarily. The human race began in a family, and Eden was a home. The divine blessing has ever rested upon nations and communities just in the measure in which they have adhered to these original institutions and have kept marriage and the home pure and holy; and blight and curse have come just in the measure in which they have departed from these divine models, dishonoring marriage and tearing down the sacred walls of home. Back of the home lies marriage. The wedding day throws its shadow far down the future; it may be, ought to be, a shadow of healing and benediction. In a tale of mediaeval English life a maiden goes before the bridal party on their way to the church, strewing flowers in their path. This was meant to signify that their wedded life should be one of joy and prosperity. Almost universally wedding ceremonies and festivities have some feature of similar significance, implying that the occasion is one of gladness. In some countries flowers are worn as bridal wreaths. In some they are woven into garlands for the waist, the tying of the ends being a part of the ritual. In others they are carried in the hand or worn in the hair or on the bosom.
Music comes in also, always joyous music, implying that the ceremony is one of peculiar gladness. In some places, too, wedding bells are rung, their peals being merry and gladsome. All these and similar bridal customs indicate that the world regards the wedding as the crowning day of life, and marriage as an event of the highest felicity, an occasion for the most enthusiastic congratulations. Yet not always are these happy prophecies fulfilled. Sometimes the flowers wither and the music grows discordant and the wedding peals die away into a memory only of gladness. It ought not to be so. It is not so when the marriage has been true, and when the wedded life is ruled by love. Then the bridal wreath remains fresh and fragrant till it‘is laid upon the coffin by the loving hands of the one who survives to close the eyes of the other; and the wedding music and the peals of the bells continue to echo in tones of gladness and peace until hushed in the sobbings of sorrow when the singers sing in dirges and the bells toll out the number of the finished years. Marriage is intended to bring joy. The married life is meant to be the happiest, fullest, purest, richest life. It is God’s own ideal of completeness. It was when he saw that it was not good for man to be alone that woman was made and brought to him to supply what was lacking. The divine intention, therefore, is that marriage shall yield happiness, and that it shall add to the fullness of the life of both husband and wife; that neither shall lose, but that both shall gain. If in any case it fails to be a blessing and to yield joy, and a richer, fuller life, the fault cannot be with the institution itself, but with those who under its shadow fail to fulfill its conditions. The causes of failure may lie back of the marriage altar, for many are united in matrimony who never should have entered upon such a union; or they may lie in the life after marriage, for many who might attain to the very highest happiness in wedded life, fail to do so because they have not learned the secret of living happily together. To guard against the former mistake the sacred character and the solemn responsibilities of marriage should be well understood and thoughtfully considered by all who would enter upon it. Marriage is a divine ordinance. It was part of God’s original intention when he made man. It is not a mere human arrangement, something that sprang up in the race as a convenience along the history of the ages. It was not devised by any earthly lawgiver. It is not a habit into which men fell in the early days. The stamp of divine intention and ordination is upon it. As a relationship it is the closest and most sacred on earth. The relation of parent and child is very close. Children are taught in all the Scriptures to honor their parents, to revere them, to cleave to them, to brighten and bless their lives in every possible way. Yet the marriage relation is put above the filial, for a man is to leave his father and his mother, give up his old home with all its sacred ties and memories, and cleave to his wife. After marriage a husband’s first and highest duties are to his wife, and a wife’s to her husband. The two are to live for each other. Life is to be lost for life. Every other interest is thenceforward secondary to the home interest.
Then the marriage relation is indissoluble. The two become in the fullest, truest sense one. Each is incomplete before; marriage is the uniting of two halves in one complete whole. It is the knitting together of two lives in a union so close and real that they are no more twain, but one; so close that nothing save death or the one crime of infidelity to the marriage bond itself can disunite them. Marriage, therefore, is not a contract which can be annulled at the will of one or both of the parties. It may be discovered after the marriage has been formed that the parties are ill mated ; one may find in the other traits or habits unsuspected before which seem to render happiness in union impossible; the husband may be cruel and abusive or the wife ill-tempered, thriftless or a burden; yet the Scriptures are very explicit in their teachings, that the tie once formed is indissoluble. There is one crime, said the pure and holy Jesus, which, committed by either, leaves the guilty one as dead, the other free. But besides this the teaching of Christ recognizes no other lawful sundering of the marriage tie. When two persons stand at the marriage altar and with clasped hands promise before God and in the presence of human witnesses to take each other as wife and as husband, to keep and to cherish each the other, only death can unclasp their hands.
Each takes into Sacred keeping the happiness and the highest good of the other to the end of life. In view of the sacredness and indissolubleness of this relation, and the many tender and far-reaching interests that inhere in it, it is but the simplest commonplace to say that the greatest care should be taken before marriage to make sure that the union will be a true one, that the two lives will sweetly blend together, and that each will be able to make the other at least measurably happy. Yet obvious as is the fact, none the less is it profoundly important that it should be heeded. If there were more wise and honest forethought with regard to marriage, there would be less after thought of regret and repenting. A word may fitly be spoken here concerning the marriage formalities. The wedding day is one that should ever be remembered and held sacred among life’s anniversaries. It is the day whose benediction should fall on all other days to the end of life. It should stand out in the calendar bright with all the brightness of love and gratitude. The memory of the wedding-hour in a happy married life should shine like a star, even in old age. It is surely worth while, therefore, to make the occasion itself just as delightful as possible, to gather about it and into it whatever will help to make it memorable, so that it shall stand out bright and sacred among all life’s days and hours. This is not done when the marriage is secret ; there are no associations about the event in that case to make its memory a source of pleasure in after years. Nor is it done when, on the other hand, the occasion is made one of great levity or of revelry ; the joy of marriage is not hilarious, but deep and quiet. On the wedding-day the happy pair should have about them their true friends, those whom they desire to hold in close relations in their after life. It is no time for insincerity; it is no place for empty professions of friendship. Everything about the circumstances, the festivities, the formalities, the marriage ceremony itself, the congratulations, should be so ordered as to cause no jar, no confusion, nothing to mar the perfect pleasure of the occasion, and so as to leave only the pleasautest memory behind. These may seem too insignificant matters for mention here, yet it is surely worth while to make the occasion of one’s wedding such that it shall always be remembered with a thrill of delight, with only happy associations and without one smallest incident or feature to mar the perfectness of its memory. But it is when the wedding ceremony is over, and the two are one, that the life begins which has so many possibilities of happiness, of growth, of nobleness of character, of heroism in living, of tender romance in loving. Angels hover about the marriage altar and hush their songs while hands are clasped and holy vows are plighted, and then spread their sheltering wings over the happy pair as they start out together on the voyage of life. The greatest blesscdness, the highest development of character, the noblest manhood and womanhood, the most perfect attainments in Christian life, are to be reached in the marriage relation, if it is made what God meant it to be. It will be the fault of those who wed, of one or of both, if marriage proves aught but a blessing, and if the happiness of either is wrecked in the voyage together. Yet it must not be concluded that the bridal gate opens essentially into a garden of Eden. Marriage is not the panacea for all life’s ills. It does not of itself lead invariably and necessarily to all that is noble and beautiful in life. While its possibilities of happiness and blessing are so great, its possibilities of failure must not be ignored. Only a true and wise, only the truest and wisest, wedded life will realize the blessings of the ideal marriage relation. The first lesson to be learned and practiced is loving patience. It requires some time to bring any two lives into perfect unison, so that they shall blend in every chord and tone. No matter how intimate the relations may have been before, neither knows much of the real life of the other until they meet with every separating wall and every thinnest veil removed. In China the bridegroom does not see his bride until she is brought to him on his wedding-day closely veiled and locked up in a sedan chair. The key is handed to him when the chair reaches his house, and he unlocks the door, lifts the veil and takes his first look at his treasure. Brides and bridegrooms with us are not usually such strangers to each other as among the “Celestials.” they see each other’s face often enough, but it is doubtful whether as a rule they really know much more of each other’s inner life. Even without any intention to hide their true selves or to appear veiled, it is only after marriage that their acquaintanceship becomes complete. There are graces of character and disposition that are then discovered for the first time; and there are also faults, peculiarities of habit, of taste, of temper, never suspected before, which then disclose themselves.
It is just at this point that one (f the greatest perils of wedded life is met. Some are disappointed and discouraged by the discovery of these points of uncongeniality, these possibilities of discord, concluding at once that their marriage was a mistake and must necessarily be a failure. Their beautiful dream is shattered and they make no effort to build it again. But really all that is needed is wise and loving patience. There is no reason for discouragement, much less for despair. It is entirely possible, notwithstanding the discovery of these points of friction and uncongeniality, to realize the highest ideal of wedded life. It is like the meeting of two rivers. At first there is confusion, excitement, commotion, and apparent conflict and strife as the two flow together, and it seems as if they never would blend and commingle; but in a little time they unite in one broad peaceful stream, rolling in majesty and strength, without a trace of strife. So when two independent lives, with diverse habits, tastes and peculiarities first meet to be united in one, there is embarrassment, there is perplexity, there is seeming conflict, there is the dashing of life against life at many points. Sometimes it may seem as if they never could blend in one and as if the conflict must go on hopelessly forever; but with loving patience the two will in due time coalesce and unite in one life, nobler, stronger, fuller, deeper, richer, and move on in calmness and peace. Perfect harmony cannot be forced in a day, can not indeed be forced at all, but must come through gentleness and perhaps only after many days.
There must be mutual adaptation, and time must be allowed for this. The present duty is unselfish love. Each must forget self in devotion to the other. Each must blame self and not the other when anything goes wrong. There must be the largest and gentlest forbearance. Impatience may wreck all. A sharp word may retard for months the process of soul-blending. There must be the determination on the part of both to make the marriage happy and to conquer everything that lies in the way. Then the very differences between the two lives will become their closest points of union. When they have passed through the process of blending, though it may for the time be painful and perilous, the result will be a wedded life of deep peace, quiet joy and inseparable affection. Another secret of happiness in married life is courtesy. By what law of nature or of life is it that after the peals of the wedding hells have died away, and they have established themselves in their own home, so many husbands and wives drop the charming little amenities and refinements of manner toward each other that so invariably and delightfully characterized their intercourse before marriage? Is there no necessity for these civilities any longer? Are they so sure now of each other’s love that they do not need to give expression to it, either in affectionate word or act? Is wedded love such a strong, vigorous and self-suflicing plant that it never needs sunshine, rain or dew? Is politeness merely a manner that is necessary in intercourse with the outside world, and not required when we are alone with those we love the best? Are home hearts so peculiarly constituted that they are not pained or offended by things that would never be pardoned in us if done in ordinary society? Are we under no obligations to be respectful and to pay homage to our dearest friends, while even to the rudest clown or the veriest stranger we meet outside our own doors we feel ourselves bound to show the most perfect civility? On the contrary, there is no place in the world where the amenities of courtesy should be so carefully maintained as in the home. There are no hearts that hunger so for expressions of affection as the hearts of which we are most sure. There is no love that so needs its daily bread as the love that is strongest and holiest. There is no place where rudeness or incivility is so unpardonable as inside our own doors and toward our best beloved. The tenderer the love and the truer, the more it craves the thousand little attentions and kindnesses which so satisfy the heart. It is not costly presents at Christmas and on birthdays and anniversaries that are wanted; these are only mockeries if the days between are empty of affectionate expressions. Jewelry and silks and richly-bound volumes will never atone for the want of warmth and tenderness. Between husband and wife there should be maintained, without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness. Coleridge says: “The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.” These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which might have been for ever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.
“For love will starve if it is not fed, And true hearts pray for their daily bread.”
Another important element in married life is unity of interest. There is danger that wedded lives drift apart because their employments are nearly always different. The husband is absorbed in business, in his profession, in severe daily toil ; the wife has her home duties, her social life, her friends and friendships, her children ; and the two touch at no point. Unless care is taken this separation of duties and engagements will lead to actual separation in heart and life. To prevent this each should keep up a constant, loving interest in whatever the other does. The husband may listen every evening to the story of the home-life of the day, its incidents, its pleasures, its perplexities, its trials, the children’s sayings and doings, what the neighbors said who dropped in, the bits of news that have been heard, and may enter with zest and sympathy into everything that is told him. Nothing that concerns the wife of his heart should be too small for even the gigantic intellect of the greatest of husbands. In personal biography few things are more charming and fascinating than the glimpses into the homes of some of the greatest men of earth, when we see them, having laid aside the cares and honors of the world, enter their own doors to romp with the children, to listen to their prattle, and to talk over with loving interest all the events and incidents of the day’s home-history. In like manner, every wise and true-hearted wife will desire to keep up an interest in all her husband’s affairs. She will want to know of every burden, every struggle, every plan, every new ambition. She will wish to learn what undertaking has succeeded and what has failed, and to keep herself thoroughly familiar and in full sympathy with all his daily, personal life. No marriage is complete which does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. This can be secured only by making every interest common to both. Let both hearts throb with the same joy and share each pang of sorrow. Let the same burdens rest on the shoulders of both. Let the whole life be made common. In another sense still should their lives blend. They should read and study together, having the same line of thought, helping each other toward a higher mental culture. They should worship together, praying side by side, communing on the holiest themes of life and hope, and together carrying to God’s feet the burdens of their hearts for their children and for every precious object. Why should they not talk together of their personal trials, their peculiar temptations, their infirmities, and help each other by sympathy, by brave word and by intercession, to be victorious in living? Thus they should live one life as it were, not two. Every plan and hope of each should embrace the other. The moment a man begins to leave his wife out of any part of his life, or that she has plans, hopes, pleasures, friendships or experiences from which she excludes him, there is peril in the home. They should have no secrets which they keep from each other. They should have no companions or friends save those which they have in common. Thus their two lives should blend in one life, with no thought, no desire, no feeling, no joy or sorrow, no pleasure or pain, unshared. Into the inner sanctuary of this wedded life no third party should ever be admitted. In its derivation the word home contains the idea of seclusion. it shuts its inmates away from all the other life of the world about them. I have read of a young wife who prepared one little room in her house into which none but herself and her husband were ever to enter. The incident is suggestive. Even in the sanctuary of the home-life there should be an inner holy of holies, open only to husband and wife, into which no other eye ever shall peer, in which no other voice ever shall be heard to speak. No stranger should ever intermeddle with this holy life, no confidential friend should ever hear confidences from this inner sanctuary. No window or door should ever be opened into it, and no report should ever be carried out of what goes on within. The blended life they twain are living should be between themselves and God‘ only. Another rule for wedded life is to watch against every smallest beginning of misunderstanding or alienation. In the wreck of many a home there lingers still the memory of months or years of very tender wedded life. The fatal estrangement that rent the home asunder and made scandal for the world began in a little difference which a wise, patient word might have composed. But the word was not spoken—-an unwise, impatient word was spoken instead——and the trivial breach remained unclosed, and grew wider till two hearts that had been knit together as one were torn for ever apart. Rarely are estrangements the work of one day, or caused by one offence; they are growths.
“It is the little rift within the lute That by and by will make the music mute, And, ever widening, slowly silence all The little rift within the lover’s lute: Or little pitted speck in garnered fruit, That, rotting inward, slowly moulders all.”
It is against the beginnings of alienations, therefore, that sacred watch must be kept. Has a hasty word been spoken? Instantly recall it and ask for forgiveness. Is there a misunderstanding? No matter whose the fault may be, do not allow it to remain one hour. Is the home-life losing a little of its warmth? Ask not for the cause nor where the blame lies, but hasten to get back the old fervor at any cost. Never allow a second word to be spoken in a quarrel. Let not the sun go down upon an angry thought or feeling between two hearts that have been united as one. Pride must have no place in wedded life. The must never be any standing upon dignity, nor any nice calculation as to whose place it is to make the apology or to yield first to the other. True love knows no such casuistry ; it seeks not its own ; it delights in being foremost in forgiving and yielding. There is no lesson that husbands and wives need more to learn than instantly and always to seek forgiveness of each other whenever they are conscious of having in any way caused pain or committed a wrong. The pride that will never say, “ I did wrong; forgive me,” is not ready for wedded life.
“Oh, we do all offend— There’s not a day of wedded life, if we Count at its close the little, bitter sum Of thoughts, and words, and looks unkind and froward—— Silence that chides, and woundings of the eye But, prostrate at each other’s feet, we should Each night forgiveness ask.”
A writer closes a book on home-life with this earnest word: “The great care should be so to live in the home that when it shall any way be lost there may be no accompanying sting of memory, harder to bear than any will of God. A little constant thought, self-denial, fidelity, a true life each with each and each with God, will not only save all unavailing regret and ensure the purest peace under all experience, but make the thought of reunion and life again in the Home of God chief among incentives to his service.” The only way to ensure a memory without a pang when the separating hand has done its work is to make each hour of wedded life, as it comes, tender and true as two loving hearts can make it. To crown all, the presence of Christ should be sought at the marriage festivity and his blessing on every day of wedded life. A lady was printing on a blackboard a text for her little girl. The text was: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Just as she had finished it the child entered the room and began to spell out the words. Presently she exclaimed, “Oh, mamma, you have left out Jesus!” True enough, she had left out the sacred name in transcribing the verse. It is a sad omission when, in setting up their home, any husband and wife leave out Jesus. No other omission they could possibly make would cause so great a want in the household. Without his presence to bless the marriage, the congratulations and good wishes of friends will be only empty words. Without his benediction on the wedded life day by day, even the fullest, richest tenderness of true affection will fail to give all that is needed to satisfy hungry hearts. Without the divine blessing, all the beauty, the gladness, the treasure, which earth can give to a home will not bring peace that may not any moment be broken Surely too much is involved, too great responsibility, too many and too precious interests, to venture upon wedded life without Christ. The lessons are too hard to learn to be attempted without a divine Teacher. The burdens are too heavy to be borne without a mighty Helper. The perils of the way are too many to be passed through without an unerring Guide. The duties are too delicate, and the consequences of failure in them too far-reaching and too terrible, to be taken up without wisdom and help from above. The prayer of the Breton mariner as he puts out on the waves is a fit prayer for every wedded life as its bark is launched: “Keep me, O God, for my boat is so small and the ocean is so wide.”
“Oh, we do all offend— There’s not a day of wedded life, if we Count at its close the little, bitter sum Of thoughts, and words, and looks unkind and froward—— Silence that chides, and woundings of the eye But, prostrate at each other’s feet, we should Each night forgiveness ask.”
This passage is originally from Home-Making by James Russell Miller, published in 1882 and in the public domain. It has been through minor edits.
I bought my first jar of coconut oil when I started keto years ago. I used it in my eggs. I used it in my bulletproof coffee. I used it, briefly, for my hair. Let’s just say that I love coconut oil. I have had a jar on hand ever since I bought that first jar and never let myself run out of it. Coconut oil has so many health benefits, but it also has practical uses as well. There are a lot of good reasons to love coconut oil:
Coconut oil is a good saturated fat. That’s right, I used “good” and “saturated fat” together!
Two words: Lauric acid. You know, that fatty acid that is found in breast milk? Yeah, it’s found in coconut oil, too. And lauric acid is nearly a miracle: it’s tied to weight loss, it could protect against alzheimers, and the majority of it is converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. That’s why it’s perfect in coffee: it makes an already energizing drink even more so!
Coconut oil could support thyroid function and the metabolism. This is important for people trying to lose weight!
And speaking of losing weight, consuming fats helps you to feel satiated for longer. So you can eat fewer calories but feel full for longer!
Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal and even anti-viral. There are no side effects unless you’re allergic (so be careful when you start using it).
But what are some of the uses for coconut oil? Here are just a few ways to use coconut oil every day:
Make a coconut oil toothpaste. The fats in coconut oil helps to break up all that gunk on and between your teeth, leaving your mouth fresh and with ingredients you can trust. Find a good recipe here.
Add to your popcorn instead of butter.
Mix coconut oil and a hazelnut spread together in a 2:1 ratio to make an incredible ice cream topping that will harden within a minute.
Condition wood with coconut oil. Coconut oil is especially great for conditioning your cutting board thanks to its anti-bacterial properties.
Add to pet food as a source of nutrients. One teaspoon per 10 pounds of dog is the recommended dose, but build up to that amount slowly over a month.
Add a tablespoon of melted coconut oil to your morning smoothie.
Use as a gunk remover. Get rid of sticker residue or gum in your hair.
Remove your eye makeup gently with some coconut oil.
Season your cast iron skillet. Never let your skillet get rusty again!
Fix squeaky hinges by dabbing some coconut oil onto the hardware.
Mix garlic and coconut oil for a creamy dairy free spread for bread or to use in recipes similar to garlic butter.
Use as a safe lubricant for sex. However, if you’re trying to get pregnant, you may not want to use it as it may act as a natural spermicide.
Rub some coconut oil inside of your nose during the winter to stop nosebleeds.
Mix coconut oil with peppermint, tea tree, or rosemary essential oils and apply it to your skin to keep bugs away while exploring outside during the summer.
Mix coconut oil and sugar to make a simple lip scrub.
Use coconut oil to buff and restore leather or polish furniture.
Keep a small container of coconut oil to use in place of chapstick.
Add to your coffee for a bulletproof coffee that will wake up your body and mind. Try one of these recipes.
Rub coconut oil into your nails to strengthen and condition them, making them stronger and less likely to break.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I truly hate wasting food. I always feel so guilty when I have to throw food away. Of course I know that expiration dates are mostly just suggestions, but food does eventually sour. And then there’s nothing you can do but throw it away or compost it. But there is an in between state where food has almost gone bad. That’s when it’s most important to use up your foods before they go really bad.
Here are some ways to use food that isn’t bad yet but will be soon:
Use old mayonnaise to shine stainless steel appliances. It sounds disgusting,but the oil content really makes stainless steel shine!
Did your brown sugar turn into a brick? Bring it back to life with your blender! Just blend it up to loosen it.
You can use expired pasta and cereal in art projects with your kids.
Are your veggies about to go bad? Chop them and throw them in the freezer! Then you can easily add them to soups or even improve some cheap and easy ramen with them.
You can use Greek yogurt that is past it’s prime as a face mask. The lactic acid will exfoliate dead soon cells gently. Just mix it 2 to 1 with honey. Then apply it to your face and let sit a few minutes.
Use stale bread to create croutons or to make breading for chicken and pork chops.
Overly ripe avocado isnt great to eat, but it is the perfect treatment for your hair.
Use berries in smoothies, jams or preserves.
Squeeze all lemons and limes and save the juice by freezing it in ice cube trays.
Use up milk with baking projects or a batch of hot chocolate. And slightly soured milk can be used as an alternative for buttermilk, so you can make some biscuits!
Everyone knows this one: turn overripe bananas into banana bread!
Ground coffee is great for face scrubs! Used on their own with some water or when mixed with milk, you will reveal beautiful skin with this scrub.
Turn fruit into fruit leather by dehydrating their puree.
Old eggs can’t be used whole, but if you keep the shells you can use them crushed up to improve your garden soil.
Turn peanut butter into protein bars with some oats, nuts, and dried berries.
Photograph by Kamran Iftikhar, distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
I am going to admit something right now: I am a hoarder. I don’t hoard cats, or trash, or ceramic tchotchkies. I hoard sewing supplies. Because of this addiction, I have an excess of Velcro around my house. It’s just so useful for so many projects! But now I have more Velcro than I have uses for it, and that got me wondering about other uses for this magic fastener. How else can I use Velcro than in sewing projects? What else is Velcro useful for?
Here is a list of great ways to use your leftover Velcro:
Use your hook and loop fasteners to wrap computer cords. Keep your cords under control and lessen the chance of fire!
Use as plant ties to keep tomatoes and tree branches growing the way you want.
Use Velcro to secure wrapping paper and keep it from unrolling. Christmas and birthdays just got a little easier!
Use Velcro to hang temporary window covers. I used Velcro to put up black out curtains in my toddler’s room.
Bundle fishing poles and golf clubs or any other unwieldy hobby items.
Oragnize tools in your garage.
Use Velcro to keep gate doors open or closed.
Hook and loop fasteners are great for fastening a flashlight anywhere that would be useful. They don’t have to stay in your drawers!
Put battery operated lights on walls in hallways.
Having a picnic? Attach your tablecloth to the table with Velcro! Even the stiffest breeze won’t be able to make it budge.
Use to put the TV remote in the TV or a table securely.
Use Velcro to attach your iPad anywhere that will be useful, like on the back of a seat headrest in the car. For long journeys, you can easily out in a movie for the kids.
Attach a waterproof speaker or radio to the shower so you can jam out while you get clean.
Hang pictures with Velcro if you’re not allowed to use nails in a rented apartment with sticky back fasteners.
Secure cushions to chairs and outdoor furniture with sticky back Velcro.
Use in between buttons on shirts that tend to gap when worn.
Attach organizers to the inside of cabinet doors.
Organize toys in an artistic way! Use Velcro on walls or bookshelves to hold stuffed animals and encourage your kids to clean up in their own.
Glue some Velcro to a magnet in a loop to create a pen holder for your fridge!
De-pill your sweaters! Gently dab some Velcro across your sweater to pick up those pills.
Hang your phone or tablet on a kitchen cabinet for easy recipe reference.
Use sticky back Velcro to attach your pets food bowl to a mat to stop the bowl from moving around.
Secure your mailbox to your house with sticky back Velcro.
Secure bird houses or feeders to trees or your house with sticky back fasteners.
Velcro some chapstick to your nightstand so it’s always handy when you most need it.
Hide external hard drives. Attach some Velcro to the bottom of your desk and to your hard drive, and it will not only be out of the way but it will also be out of sight for any possible thieves.
Attach a towel to your oven door handle. I love having towels there to wipe my hands,but they said off so easy. A bit of Velcro will stop that from happening!
Hang umbrellas by the door with some Velcro.
Keep rugs down on a carpet.
Hang kids cups on the fridge so they’re always handy.
Baby proof your home with some velcro. Use fasteners to keep your favorite decorations on your tables.
When someone thinks of climate change, they often think only of doom and gloom. Floods. Torrential rains. Droughts. Snow storms. Hail storms. The kind of weather that can kill people or leave them homeless. Tropical diseases spreading to people with no immunity and countries that can’t afford the treatments.
An artificial greenhouse effect can cause broad disruption of economies and fundamentally change the lives of every person on this planet. It’s only natural to think that there are no benefits to climate change, but when you think of the history of the world, you’ll quickly realize there are benefits.
After all, we wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for natural climate change. Climate change drove evolution and lead to all the wonderful animals and plants that exist today. From ice ages caused by incredible forests, to the warming period that allowed humans to explore Europe and beyond, if it weren’t for the constant change in weather and overall warmth of the planet, things would be very different today.
Environmental change will have its winners and its losers, as any change does. Not only will it change the physical landscape of the planet, but it will change the landscape of money and power.
With that in mind, let’s explore some locations in the world that will actually benefit from climate change (taking into account factors like inequality, infrastructure, biodiversity, air quality, and ethnicity). It’s time to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Kodiak Island Borough, Alaska
A borough in Alaska, Kodiak Island Borough has a population of around 13,000. It sits near many active volcanoes, and its villages are only accessible by boat or plane.
It’s also one of the safest places from climate change in the USA. It’s the most climate-resilient place in the country.
Kodiak Island is lucky, largely because of its natural environment. It’s abundant and basically pristine because of how few people live there, and the industry there largely isn’t one that destroys the wildlife.
Hofn, Iceland is experiencing something strange as the impacts of climate change on the region intensify: Instead of rising sea levels, they’re falling.
Arctic glaciers are beginning to melt at faster rates, and the weight is lifting from the earth’s crust. This means the land in northern regions is starting to rise.
Because of this, Hofn could become a growing city, reversing the effects of people moving from Hofn to Reykjavik.
The official home of Santa Claus, which sits at the edge of the Arctic Circle, stands to see great changes in its temperature and the growing season.
These changes could mean that the capital and commercial center of Lapland, will see a renaissance. Increased forestry and agriculture will make the northernmost province in Finland will be producing more food and renewable resources for the rest of the world.
One of the first and most dire challenges a hotter planet will face will be access to enough fresh water. As the temperatures rise, places in the Mediterranean and Africa will become drier than ever.
Places in the North, however, will probably still have about as much fresh water as ever.
Greenland as a country has so much water, that it will likely be major player by 2100.
This water will be useful not only to drink, but also to use for hydroelectric power. And that access to water will also increase agricultural prospects for the country.
Another northern city that will produce plenty of food and have access to water is in Siberia.
Siberia is home to the coldest populated place on earth, but all of these coldest places will soon be the best places to live as climate change ravages the rest of the planet.
As the temperature rises, so will rainfall, meaning land that was once barren and frozen will soon be useful for growing plants and feeding a growing population.
Not All Doom and Gloom
I’m sure some of you will read this post and think I’m crazy. “No one benefits from climate change!” You’ll cry. And you will ultimately be right: we should do everything we can to stabilize out planet and weather while we can.
But sometimes, it’s nice to look on the bright side of things. The northernmost parts of our planet will soon be melting, revealing land for agriculture and homes.
And who knows, perhaps that melting snow will reveal great archaeological finds.
While we all live in fear of a changing planet, it’s important to remember that there is always hope. even if it requires us to change too.