Tag Archives: gratitude

More About Eating Meat

The Universal Pantheist Society has a “Ning” site and we have a group about Ethical Eating.  There was a post with the following quote:  

“Food for us comes from our relatives, whether they have wings or fins or roots.  That is how we consider food.  Food has a culture.  It has a history.  It has a story.  It has relationships. ”  (Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth)

Here are some of my thoughts about it.  I get that about our food having wings or fins or roots and have lived it for my whole life, albeit with some years of inner turmoil over the suffering, the violence. It just no longer serves me and my inner peace to eat food that causes suffering to a creature who can look at me, hear and respond to me, feel pain, suffocate, cry, mourn, smile, or sing.  And how do we as a society, or an individual, decide which animals are fair game for food and which are not?  Which are okay to wear and which are not?  In the last few weeks and days, I’ve made a decision to change my eating habits, not perfectly enough to suit hardcore vegans in terms of every single ingredient or item in my house, but certainly a big change in what I feel is the right direction for me and the animals and even the planet.

Years ago, my now ex-husband was a deer hunter. By the time the meat got to the table it was packaged in various forms. I cooked it and ate it and enjoyed it. Then one day he brought home the whole dead deer, and I saw that beautiful face, the eyes still open, and that was it for me and deer meat. Never again. We each have our moments. I have not eaten veal, the other side of the dairy industry, or pork for years. I know my daughter stopped eating pork when she read how intelligent pigs are, like a 3-year-old child. We each take our steps and have to live with ourselves. But I seriously do believe that eating food that’s a product of violence contributes to overall violence on the planet.

I’m just here to share my own position and any info I may have picked up along the way, not to convert people, at least not yet as, again, this has been a serious and big struggle for me for years and isn’t an easy thing, and I get that.  Like many others, I’ve gone back and forth, guiltless for awhile, then racked with guilt. But now my physical and most importantly mental/spiritual health depend on me making a change.  Each person has to decide for themselves about the food they eat and the clothes they wear, but I can provide facts and my perspective.

Regardless of what we eat, though, I think it’s good to sit down to our food with an air of gratitude for all that went into it, human and other animal efforts, earth, sunshine and rain, everything.  Here’s a special grace that I love and have shared with Pantheists before:

“Bless our hearts to hear in the breaking of bread the song of the universe.” 

(Father John Guiuliani)

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2017 by Raindrop Ridge Press

Internet

Well, this wasn’t my intended topic of gratitude today, but I’m thankful for the Internet that lets me connect and stay connected (most of the time at least) with family who live away or I don’t see often, old friends, and new friends.  It gives me a chance to share these little thoughts I write down with a few people who would never know me or anything about western North Carolina.  So many of us do banking, shopping, sharing photographs (and some pretty inane or incendiary things, too), looking up all kinds of information and keeping up with politics, even going to church from the comfort of our couches and pajamas.  It’s like a library and a big open diary of people’s lives all at the same time.  Sometimes I feel like I’m privy to things I shouldn’t probably know and it makes me a little uncomfortable.  Everyone has a big voice for their opinions now, and all of a sudden everyone has become a photographer, sometimes to a ridiculous degree.

I was one of the first people in my small town to be online back in the day many years ago, AOL my only choice of social sites at that time, with the very slow and noisy modem that took forever to download a single page, had a little picture of rabbit ears on it, but it was addictive and intoxicating, the “you’ve got mail” voice making me excited in anticipation, and talking in chat rooms around the country and the world.   I remember trying to explain AOL to people who had no idea what I was talking about.  Then the next thing, pretty much everyone I knew was “online.”  Of course, it has grown exponentially since then with computers and tablets and smart phones.

But I also work from home on the internet and for the last couple of days, my connection has been very sporadic, which is frustrating and I find myself talking out loud a lot to the computer.  Like many things, we don’t always consciously appreciate them until they’re gone.  Sometimes it still boggles my mind how people came up with this whole Internet idea and how it works, but mostly I just enjoy it.  When I was in junior high school in Columbia, South Carolina, back in the sixties (I know, I can’t believe I’m almost older than God!), we toured a General Electric plant and saw one of their computer rooms.  The computers were about the size of one of the bedrooms in my house!  It printed out a picture for us made of little x’s.  We were fascinated, of course.  Then in college I took a computer programming course with punch cards.  Even then, I never thought computers would be in our hands like they are today, but some people already had the vision and it was on the move.  I’m also grateful for people like that, inventive and creative and so dang smart.  Sometimes I get mad at things I see online, sometimes I laugh out loud.  There’s always something to love and learn and appreciate and think about and just look at the world from a different perspective.  I’m very grateful for all those things. Now, if I can just stay online long enough to send this!

#gratitude

~Sharon

copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press

Tuesdays…..and apples

Thankful for a couple of things today.  First, Tuesdays!  I have a long work-free afternoon that’s all mine to do whatever I want to (before I go back to work this evening).  I love my Tuesday afternoons to be productive or to do nothing at all but watch Elementary or Law and Order.  It’s kind of like Saturday mornings for me, full of expectation and promise, and I get to decide how it goes.

apples

And then there are apples.  Western North Carolina is apple-growing country, and autumn is apple time.  I just now heard on the local news channel that North Carolina is the 7th largest apple-producing state in the country.  I’m not sure why it took me so many years to discover the healthy and delicious snack of fresh Gala apple slices dipped in peanut butter.  Simple and good, and right now I’m cutting back on wheat (gluten) products to see if that makes me feel better, being a little suspicious I might have a gluten sensitivity (non-celiac), so needed a new afternoon snack.  I understand from some reading I’ve been doing that that’s the fad of the moment, gluten sensitivity, but I have a lot of chemical intolerances and sensitivities that most people don’t have to deal with, and sometimes they’re downright debilitating, so it’s worth a shot.   I always feel better knowing I’m doing something good for myself like eating a little healthier, especially with heart disease also running in my family.  I’ve written about apples before in Orchard Time and Singing the Praises of Apples.  Enjoy this beautiful autumn day!  #gratitude

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press

family

Thankful for family.  I was fortunate enough to have a happy childhood and to be raised by parents who taught me things like respect and courtesy and that no one is better than someone else because of skin color or the job they have or any other superficial thing.  My grandmother (mom’s mom) lived with us in her last years of life, but all through my childhood I spent a lot of time with her and we were really close.  Both my parents have passed away now, and I still miss them terribly, think of them every day with regard to one thing or another.  Because of them, I think, and probably just my personality, too, I’ve always been a bit of a homebody, enjoying hanging out with family.  I also have the pleasure of having two daughters who are lovely, intelligent, and kind young women, who care about people and animals and treating people fairly, a son-in-law who is a great husband and dad, and two beautiful little granddaughters who are such a joy.  I know I’ve been blessed in the way of family and that not everyone is so fortunate; I don’t take that for granted.

I also have a lot of cousins, many of whom, unfortunately, I don’t know very well.  In the last few years I’ve taken an interest in genealogy, learning more about my ancestors (there’s a lot I don’t know about my dad’s side and my mom’s dad’s side), my Irish connection (maternal great-great-great grandparents), and looking at old photos.  Last week, I had a wonderful time with two cousins over in Asheville reminiscing over lunch, sharing old pictures, and just laughing a lot.  It felt so good to connect with family like that and remember special times in my childhood that give me a warm fuzzy feeling, plus learn things about aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents I never knew.   One of them gave me the picture below, which I had never seen before.  It was taken at either Thanksgiving or Christmas at my grandmother’s house in Asheville many, many years ago.  I loved her house and being around her, with lots of cherished memories of time spent there, especially summer and holidays, Christmas trees, licking cake batter, swinging outside in the back yard, shopping with her, playing under the big tree in her front yard or under the dining room table, and so much more.  I’m the youngest girl in the picture, then a cousin, and aunt.  On the left is my dad, then mom, and Mama Sister (my grandmother I was so close to).  I’m assuming my uncle was the one who took the picture.

I know it’s trite to say, but still true, that we often take our families for granted until it’s too late and as in the case of my own parents, they got sick from infections they never recovered from and spent their last weeks unable to really communicate with me at all, totally blind-sided by what happened.   Enjoy your family, no matter how small, no matter if they’re blood related, but treasure those connections in whatever ways that make sense for you and make you happy.

P.S.  Our pets are special family members, too.  I know that as well as anybody and haven’t forgotten.  They’re getting their own post later!

#gratitude

Thanksgiving3.jpg

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press

bundle of joy

Thankful for the youngest member of my little family, an almost brand-new granddaughter, a dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty soon to be two months old.  I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with her and her big sister for many years to come, watching them grow and learn and be amazed by our universe, even as I am amazed and truly blessed by them and their presence in my life.  #gratitude

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press

sweet dessert

Thankful for sweet potato pie…..filling the kitchen with the sweet scent of fall.  One of my favorite desserts, either warm after a brief cooling-off time on the counter, or cold right out of the refrigerator the next morning with a dollop of whipped cream and a hot cup of coffee.  It’s just not autumn without a slice of sweet potato pie around here every now and then.  #gratitude

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press

a little granddaughter love

Thankful for a little almost-3-year-old girl who calls me Mimi and gives me sweet kisses, who loves my banana-peanut butter smoothies, but tells me to “stop” when I stroke her beautiful long red hair.  She’s growing up too fast.  #gratitude

~Sharon

Copyright (c) 2016 by Raindrop Ridge Press