Everyone Should Watch This Movie

We watched I.O.U.S.A. tonight and I highly encourage everyone to watch it! I’ve included the movie trailer below.

Our Backyard Birds

We have a crape myrtle in our backyard that a pair of Northern Mockingbirds have made a home in… We watched as they built their nest from sticks and other yard items. This past Tuesday, Ian noticed that there was an egg in their nest! A beautiful one, at that. Then yesterday (Thursday) we saw there was another egg! It is fascinating to watch the birds protect their nest and babies as squirrels attempt to get at it. Something that we learned in home school last year was that gray squirrels like to steal eggs to eat (A great book is The Burgess Animal Book for Children). It is truly amazing to see the defense and attacks that take place on the utility wires that run high above our back fence… the squirrel is chased away by the swooping, attacking bird (we think it must be the daddy bird). To learn more about Northern Mockingbirds (which happens to be Florida’s state bird) click here. God’s creation is amazing! Enjoy the pictures (courtesy of Ian)!

The Crape Myrtle... The nest is in the very center.

The Crape Myrtle... The nest is in the very center.

Bird on a wire

Bird on a wire

The beginning stage of their nest.

The beginning stage of their nest.

The nest... complete!

The nest... complete!

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Their eggs... they are beautiful!

Their eggs... they are beautiful!

Blessed Earth Day!

When I told my son that Earth Day was today, he asked me, “Isn’t everyday earth day?” Out of the mouth of babes (or a 9 year old)! We plan on going to the UF campus to see the celebration they have going on today honoring this blessed planet that we live on. I also wanted to share with you an excellent book that has just been released this month called, Go Green, Save Green. Nancy Sleeth (wife to Dr. Matthew Sleeth who wrote Serve God, Save the Planet) authored the book and what a great book it is! Go Green, Save Green is a practical, hands on approach to starting the “greening” process… anyone can go green! There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly action plans given on a variety of everyday life subjects. Home, Lawn & Garden, Automobile, Work, even throwing parties or special celebrations! This is a book that can be picked up again and again to find new ideas and ways to save money and the earth as well as receive encouragement and scriptures that point to God’s heart for His creation. I highly recommend buying Go Green, Save Green and getting started with saving money and more importantly, caring for the earth! After all, it is Earth Day… everyday!ggsg-cover

Further Steps to Greener Living

Reilly Clothes Line

Reilly Clothes Line

So, Mr. Reilly (aka Ian) built this wonderful clothes line for us last weekend. I have been amazed at how enjoyable and easy it is using this as our sole method for drying laundry! We went the entire week without using our dryer and we wash a lot of loads throughout the week (probably about one a day). The kids also enjoy helping hang the laundry and being handy clothespin assistants! :-)

One wonderful element about drying laundry out doors is the time spent simply being outside… listening to the sounds of nature (the Robins are in full excitement and anticipation of Spring right now!). It does not feel like “work” to hang laundry… it takes time and slows me down for a bit. Allows me time to reflect on many things… God’s beauty, the sun and it’s warmth, my day so far. Having a chance to pause and think is truly a blessing. Another advantage is once the clothes are dry, it is easy to fold them as you pull them down one at a time. Then they are ready to be brought inside and put away easily (unlike our past habit of letting clothes sit in a basket for a day or two before we got to folding them). Every little bit we can do towards eliminating fossil fuel usage is a forward momentum towards saving our planet.

I challenge your family to consider ways to “go green” and set goals or develop a basic plan. Here are several ideas from the back of The Green Bible:

1. Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving.
2. Turn the thermostat up three degrees (in summer) and down three degrees (in winter). In the spring and fall, open the windows as often as possible.
3. Wash dished by hand in a dishpan and only run the dishwasher with a full load. Do not use heat for the drying cycle.
4. Wash clothes in the coolest water possible.
5. Turn off lights, TV, music, and digital entertainment when leaving the room for any length of time.
6. Take a day of rest – no shopping, no work, no driving – once a week.
7. Recycle everything possible; don’t buy overpackaged items.
8. Donate a box of books to the library twice a year.
9. Hand-wash clothes instead of dry cleaning them whenever possible.
10. Clean out closets and donate clothes not worn in the past year.
11. Memorize one Bible verse about God’s love for creation, such as Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it.
12. Install low-flow showerheads. Take showers instead of baths (they use less water).
13. Replace incnadescent with compact fluorescent bulbs.
14. Clean or replace air filters throughout the house.
15. Disconnect the ice machine in your freezer, especially if you have two or more.
16. Unplug the TV and other electronic equipment when not in use or put them on a switched power strip.
17. Donate old cell phones, computers, and printers to a good cause or recycle them.

“Parables from Nature” Part II

So I’m finally getting back to writing “Part II.” I know that I’ve been in need of a refreshing of my soul and mind… perhaps through sharing what I have enjoyed and loved learning from this latest chapter in Parables from Nature that I will have a renewed peace and joy myself. I just want to say thank you to those of you who do read what I lay out in such open space (I mean, really… this is the world wide web!). I truly value and appreciate all comments and feedback. You all have been a blessing to me!

Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:6

The chapter is entitled The Voices of the Earth from Parables from Nature. The author’s creativity in sharing a new perspective of nature having thoughts and yes, purpose, is so enlightening. The two elements, the Wind and Earth (Mountains and Valleys, etc), are in conflict with one another. The wind is basically frustrated with the world and longs to “cease to be”. The Mountains and Valleys declare to the maddened wind, “[you have] the privilege of refreshing the earth and its inhabitants, why turn aside to hold judgment and condemn? Enough that thou fulfill thine own appointed work, and, in so doing, exist to the glory of the Creator.” Yet the Wind decides to share it’s burdens and misery.

“It is for the honour of man, and the glory of his Creator, that I am so troubled…For even now, in these my days of misery, I carry out unwearyingly the great decree. Still I bear aloft from tropical seas, in ceaseless revolution round the world, those vapours which must descend in northern latitudes a dew, or rain, or snow. Still I labour – still I love to labour in the way ordained. But woe for me! another burden than labour is upon me now! Woe for the pollution I have suffered, since the earth was overspread by the wretched race of men! Woe for their civilised lands, which I must needs pass through! Woe for the cities, and towns, and villages, their haunts and habitations, which I cannot avoid! Woe! for I bear thence in my bosom the blasphemies of the multitudes, and am laden with the burden of ingratitude, denial, and doubt. Woe that I must spread these black results of misguided reason from pole to pole! Woe that I must carry up the jests of the scorner and the oaths of the intemperate, as incense from man to his Maker: from man formed in His image, and boasting in his faculties of sense! Oh that I could pass away and cease from being! and that with me might perish these fruits of an evil heart of unbelief!”

Wow. What truth is written in these words. There is discussion back and forth between the Wind and Mountains and Valleys, the Mountains and Valleys always pointing towards God and the good that is on Earth. In a final outcry, the Mountains and Valleys share:

“Count the laughs of frolic childhood. Count the murmurs of happy love. Count the stars if thou wilt, but thou canst never count the daily outpourings of common earthly joys. Alas for those who judge of life only by startling periods, and are deaf to the still small voices, which tell of hourly mercies, hour by hour!

This chapter was full of realities of our world today, yet abounds with hope. Hope for a better tomorrow, for mercies afresh, and for love to prevail, as God’s Word proclaims. What will the Wind carry from your city? Or your neighborhood? What about your home? And even from your own mouth? These are difficult questions that cause one to ponder their purpose and daily living. What can I do to make a difference? I encourage to first ask God, seek Him in His Word (the Bible) and pray. There are many opportunities to join Him in His work wherever you live. I challenge all of us to set a goal that will honor our Creator. Even just one step, one change, can make a difference in this World. I pray that you are refreshed, encouraged and have a new sense of hope!

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in His holy name. Let Your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in You. – Psalm 33:20-22


“Parables from Nature” Part I

A book we occasionally read in school is Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty. I have truly enjoyed the stories or parables creatively written (probably more than the children :-) ). I’d like to first share a section from the Preface that helps explain the premise of the book…

“There are two books, “says Sir Thomas Browne, in his Religio Medici, “from whence I collect my divinity; besides that written one of God, another of His servant, Nature – that universal and public manuscript that lies expanded unto the eyes of all: those that never saw Him in the one have discovered Him in the other.” And afterwards, as if giving a particular direction to the above general statement, he adds: “Those strange and mystical transmigrations that I have observed in silkworms turned my philosophy into divinity. There is in these works of Nature, which seem to puzzle reason, something diving, and hath more in it than the eye of a common spectator doth discover.”

How amazing that God, in all His majesty and glory, reveals Himself to us, mere human beings, through spiders spinning a web, trees glistening with dew, wind causing the leaves on trees to dance… the list goes on and on. His Creation is calling to us and this book beautifully shares perspectives of Nature and their call to us to look to the Lord.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.
-Romans 1:19-20

Butterfly on flower

“Serve God, Save the Planet”

I finished it. The book. Last week I read the last pages of Dr. Matthew Sleeth’s book, Serve God, Save the Planet. I want to read it again. Ian is in the process of reading it now and I am excited to discuss it with him! I highly recommend every human being who is a Christian, believer in God, person of faith, whatever you may call yourself, to read this book. I believe that it can change your life…

Visit the site Serve God, Save the Planet to see a preview of the book. Also, for a thorough review click here.

I hope to share more soon!

“The Commercialization of Childhood”

Marketing and Advertising towards children has grown and become a huge money making industry. An organization that I’ve recently found that helps battle the outrageous advertising that is used to sell children outlandish toys and products is the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC).

Don’t get me wrong, we have been duped into buying toys that are the latest, greatest and best new thing. However, we are learning the value of simple pleasures and gifts that last. It helps that we don’t watch television that often and therefore aren’t tempted by the commercials that bombard us when the TV on (even for just 30 minutes). Choosing to place our heart’s desire on God and His kingdom has been the reason for “scaling down” and simplifying gifts and toys. I am still yearning to even become simpler with our “stuff” and purchasing… to be able to raise our children with hearts that are focused not on themselves, but on serving God and helping others.

An overview of the CCFC and their mission is entitled, “The Commercialization of Childhood.” If you have a few minutes, take the time to read through this and visit their site. And perhaps the next time you are in a store and tempted to purchase something for a child or even for yourself, you may ask yourself, “Do they(or I) really need this?”

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
-Matthew 6:21

A New Book to Look For

I am very excited about a new book that is going to be released in early March!  As previously written on our blog, we have become encouraged through the work and writings of Dr. J Matthew Sleeth and his organization, Blessed Earth. I am currently reading his book, Serve God, Save the Planet, which I must say that within the first 10 pages I was brought to tears and moved so greatly to get up and do something (even at 11 o’clock at night!). Well, Dr. Sleeth’s wife, Nancy, has written a book entitled, Go Green Save Green. This book looks like it will be a useful tool in everyday living, yet inspiring and down to earth (pun intended) in taking action towards living a greener life.
Book information from the Blessed Earth site:


Many people want to “go green” but put it off because they believe it’s too time consuming and too expensive. Not so! Nancy Sleeth and her family have been living an eco-friendly lifestyle for years saving both time and money. Now, for the first time, she divulges hundreds of practical, easy-to-implement steps that you can take to create substantial money savings while protecting the earth. Sleeth also demonstrates how going green helps people live more God-centered lives by becoming better stewards of financial and natural resources. Chapter titles include: (1) Home; (2) Lawn and Garden; (3) Work; (4) Transportation; (5) Food; (6) Sabbath; (7) Holidays; (8) Entertainment; (9) School; (10) Church; (11) Nature; and (12) Community.

* Hundreds of simple, easy-to-implement money-saving tips for going green at home and at the office.
* Simple cost-saving formulas that allow readers to calculate their energy/financial savings as they go green.
* Helpful “try this instead of that” charts offering money-saving green solutions for everyday living.

Inspirational Scripture and quotes from church leaders (both historical and current) that support the biblically mandated stewardship component of going green.

Pre-order the book from any of these vendors:
Barnes & Noble
Christian Book Distributors.

Our Journey towards Living Green

Through several God-ordained events, we were asked by the Blessed Earth Director of Communications, Will Sears, to share our story of moving towards greener living. We then discovered that we were to be featured in the Blessed Earth’s first edition E-Newsletter. We are truly honored and humbled to have been asked to write about our journey! If you would like to subscribe to their newsletter, click here. Below is the article as published.

Changed Lives: The Reilly Family
By Carolyn Reilly

The Reilly Family

Reilly Family - June 2008

Our family has not always been green. Some people who know us now are surprised to hear this when it comes up. Our family’s story of moving toward greener living has been a faith-filled learning process.

I guess you could say we were a typical American family: husband and wife with three kids, decent income and living beyond our means. We were recycling and thought we were “doing our part” in caring for God’s Creation, but the truth is, we were not being good stewards of all that He had given us, including our world. Over time and through different experiences we set out to save money and found that we learned along the way to be thoughtful caretakers of God’s handiwork, this planet we call home.

More and more we have come to the realization that the path to living green begins in our heart and our mind. Truly, it is a choice. We consider every purchase that we make, now thinking through the sort of imprint we will leave; whether from the waste a product has, to energy it takes to recycle something. Some of the most basic choices at the grocery store are items that are over-packaged. I have come to a point where I cannot even buy gum because of the packaging and waste that it has. I instead choose to buy mints that are NOT individually wrapped in a tin (that can be recycled). We have also stopped buying paper towels as the messes we used them for could be cleaned just as well with a kitchen towel.

Our quest toward greener living eventually brought us to composting and beginning a garden. This effort helped us save on the garbage we were accumulating, and growing our own herbs was a huge money saver for great cooking! Another way we have moved toward greener living is by purchasing used items as opposed to new. From furniture to clothing, toys and décor, there are many ways to save money by going green.

This past fall, we heard about a new Bible on National Public Radio called The Green Bible. I mentioned that I would be interested in having this and, lo and behold, I received a copy Christmas morning. After reading the Introduction by Dr. J Matthew Sleeth, I had to share it with the entire family (and several friends, too!). We were so moved by his testimony and willingness to surrender an extravagant life to care for Creation. Dr. Sleeth’s passion and zeal ignited us to look further into how can we greater make an impact, not only in our own family, but in our community, our church, and our country.

God has stirred in our family a desire to help share Dr. Sleeth’s timely message to those in our Church as I think that we Christians have been “behind the times” in acknowledging that God calls us to action in caring for the Earth. As Christians we see that moving towards green living is important for several reasons. First, we do have a planet that is in need of revival and care. Sadly, we are learning the consequences of past generations’ lack of stewardship of God’s Creation. Second, we are responsible for teaching the next generation how to be wise caregivers for creation. Third, and most importantly, we should actively obey God and honor the craftsmanship of His hands (Psalm 19:1).&n bsp; But will we? Let us rise to the call God has given us and believe that we will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).