Friday, March 27, 2015

Earth Hour 2015 Turn out the lights on March 28th

For the past few years, my husband and I have enjoyed participating in Earth Hour. For one hour, we purposefully turned off and unplugged nearly everything in our house (except the refrigerator and furnace). We turned our heat way down, so the furnace wouldn't kick on. Then we planted ourselves in front of the fireplace and played Bananagrams by candlelight. We enjoyed it so much, we rarely turned on the lights until well after 10 or 11 p.m.

Unfortunately, this year, I will be on the road at 8:30 on Saturday night and will not be able to participate. So Bill and I will just have to find an alternate evening to honor the Earth. But that doesn't mean you can't participate!

After all, people have committed to reducing their carbon emissions for this one hour all around the globe. They're raising their voices, in the darkness, to demand strong action from world leaders. 

Won't you join them in a collective display of your commitment to creating a better future for the planet? Turn off the lights at 8:30 p.m. local time and take a stand against climate change.

Click here for more information

And click here for more fun ideas of what you can do in the dark. I wonder how many Earth Hour babies there are.

Weekend Quote: Notice it.

Life is full of beauty.
Notice it. 
Notice the bumblebee,
the small child,
and the smiling faces.
 Smell the rain,
and feel the wind.
Live your life to the fullest potential,
and fight for your dreams.

~Ashley Smith 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TBT -- Is the grass always greener?

It's Throwback Thursday. The melting snow and emerging grass reminded me of this poem I wrote and posted back in 2010. So here it is again.

Photo by George Hodan
How foolish it is to succumb to the temptation of the greener grass.
Don't you know that winter always comes?
But fresh new grass emerges from the melting snow of spring,
thriving and growing in the light of the sun.
Embrace the faded browns of winter grass
and patiently wait for the spring thaw.
There is something unplumbed in the perennial.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

50% off Tiny Prints!

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Choosing your energy provider

Disclosure: I received product and/or compensation in exchange for this sponsored post.

Photo by Robert Lynch

Remember how simple life used to be. Back when we didn't have so many darned choices. But having choices can be good, especially when it can save you money and/or let you live according to your convictions.

Energy choice was something I hadn't given much thought to. Then I talked to an electric company rep at the Allegheny Green and Innovation Festival and learned that having a choice is a good thing. I was able to go with a green energy company and not only save money, but do my part in saving the environment as well.

In addition to environmental standards, there are a few other things you should look for in a utility company. 

1. An Established Brand

One of the first things you want to look for in a utility company is an established brand. While this can have a broad definition, it typically refers to a company that has been in operation for several years and has maintained a stellar reputation for offering the public excellent products, expedient services, and cost-effective rates. When you start your search for an established brand in New York, consider Columbia Utilities. This company has been in operation since 1938 and has a reputation for offering great services to great people. 

2. Reasonable Prices

Most of us are on the look out for ways to save money. Although you're probably interested in getting dependable energy services, undoubtedly, you don't want to pay an arm and a leg for them. In recognizing this reality, it's important that you carefully compare the costs and fees charged by several utility companies before you determine whose services to use. This way, you'll be able to get the most cost-effective pricing on the market. Also keep in mind that the utility industry is highly competitive, which means some companies may be willing to match or beat the prices of other brands in order to attain and retain your business.

3. An excellent Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating

One final characteristic you definitely want to look for in a utility company is an excellent BBB rating. The BBB has earned a solid reputation for providing consumers with excellent, accurate information regarding how effective specific companies are in operating within the marketplace in an ethical manner. For this reason, it's a good idea to visit their website and see if the utility company you're interested in has attained a favorable rating from them. 

When it's time for you to start investing in utility services, it's important for you to locate an energy provider who will offer you the absolutely amazing services you deserve. To make it happen, be sure that you check out the above recommendations as a start.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Home Called Place

It's been over a year since we sold my childhood home. Yet I still struggle with a deep aching to go there. This has disturbed me. After all, in some ways, it's just a house, right? With Mom gone, I can't help wondering why this place has such a hold on me. Place. That's the secret... and I figured that out on Thursday as I was reading the day's devotion in Our Daily Bread. I read it. I paused. I read it again.

"A thousand strands of time, events, and people weave into a tapestry we call place. More than just a house, place is where meaning, belonging, and safety come together under the covering of our best efforts at unconditional love. Place beckons us with memories buried deep in our souls. Even when our place isn't perfect, its hold on us is dramatic, magnetic."  ~Randy Kilgore, A Place to Be

That's it! It's not about the house; it's about the place!

While it was home for my entire life, it was just Grandma's house to my niece, nephew, and daughters. It was Grandma Gene's to the her great-grandchildren. None of these people could call it home the way I did. But they loved it just the same. I've struggled with the reasons why. And then, on March 19th as I sat reading my Bible and this short devotion, I had my answer. 

How we all long for this place. Yet I'm encouraged by the words of Jesus, who said, "Let not your heart be troubled. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:1,2) 

I will find my place again someday. And when I get there, I'll settle onto the couch with my mom, my sisters, my dad, my daughters, niece, nephew, grandkids, and more... We'll crowd around the kitchen table and share stories, like we always did, and once again, I'll be home.

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