Sunday, September 30, 2012

Our Garden Adventure - 04

I finished spreading the first load of wood chips. The entire load covered 400-500 square feet. The first thing I do before spreading out the wood chips is mow the area where we're going to put the newspaper. Cutting the grass very short makes it easy for the kids to see where to lay down the newspaper. Fortunately, there wasn't much of a breeze today, so it was pretty easy to get and keep all the papers in place, which helps the kids from getting frustrated!

If you're wondering what the gray area is in the upper left corner of the first picture, it's the ashes from the grill. In my current little garden area, the green peas are flowering, and the mint is like a bush!

We're not done yet! Larry said he expects to have another load of good quality wood chips for me this week. Also, a friend from church has been saving newspapers for me for a few weeks. Combined with the daily newspapers from several neighbors, I've got a pretty good stash in the garage. FYI - I did call the local Embassy Suites regarding newspapers, and they said they no longer deliver a paper to every hotel room, so they were unable to help. No worries, friends and neighbors have been happy to help!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Opportunity Cost

Three years ago, I wrote a post that I said would be continued. Alas, the continuation. When is it that a profit can become a loss?   

"Whatever was profit I now consider a loss, compared ..."
There is a business principle called opportunity cost. InvestorWords defines it like this:

The cost of passing up the next best choice when making a decision. For example, if an asset such as capital is used for one purpose, the opportunity cost is the value of the next best purpose the asset could have been used for. Opportunity cost analysis is an important part of a company's decision-making processes, but is not treated as an actual cost in any financial statement.
When Paul was writing about opportunity cost, he was comparing his pedigree with knowing Jesus of Nazareth. Now, you have to keep in mind that Paul (formerly Saul) was SOMEBODY in his day. Just before the comparison, he lays out his credentials. They are weighty indeed, and he had placed tremendous value in them ... until. Until he met Jesus, and his life was turned completely upside down.

Now he's writing a letter to a group of Jesus followers, many of whom might have been struggling with their faith. Paul essentially says, "I understand. I thought I had it all. Lots of prestige. Tons of street cred. But it's just a big pile of, well, you know ... compared to knowing Jesus. In fact, EVERYTHING is just garbage compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus. Losing everything? Those things weren't worth anything anyway. Knowing Jesus? Priceless!"

Jesus once told a story about a man who found a treasure buried in a field. When he discovered it, he went and SOLD ALL THAT HE HAD and bought the field. Opportunity cost. When you find something of greater ~ surpassing ~ value than that which you currently have, you're willing to exchange it all, that you may possess that which is of far greater worth.

Check it out for yourself. Paul wrote a short letter to some followers of Jesus who were in Phillipi (modern day Greece, I believe). Jesus' story about the man and the treasure was recorded by a tax collector named Matthew.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Our Garden Adventure - 03

After getting the wood chips delivered, we set out to get newspaper. Several neighbors were very generous, and I was able to get a bunch of newspapers while at a company meeting. We were all staying in a hotel that delivered the USA Today to each room each morning, so I asked my co-workers to give me the paper when each one was finished reading it. I probably could have asked the hotel manager for all used papers for a day or two, and that's something I'm considering to do here in Bentonville. I have a friend who manages a hotel locally, so I'll call her tomorrow to check on it. If there are 200 rooms in a hotel and I'm able to get papers from 1/2 of those rooms, that should provide what we need!

The greatest challenge to getting the newspapers put down was that Isaac kept stopping to read the comics section!

A few newspapers then a few wood chips to keep the papers from blowing away.

Making progress!

Isaac worked hard. Glad we have that little red wagon!

We're getting there!

Luke and Isaac spreading out the wood chips.

Done for today!

Friday, September 21, 2012

What is Pure Charity?

If a merchant was willing to give money back to you when you shopped at their store, would you be interested? And if you could use that money to support charities around the world, would you do it?

This video will give you an overview of Pure Charity, a great way you can increase your impact in the lives of people around the world. When you're ready to sign up for Pure Charity, just click on this link!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Garden Adventure - 02

We finished moving all of the wood chips from the empty lot to the backyard. Last night, we sent an email to our neighborhood asking for all old newspapers. Some generous neighbors got the collection process off to a good start! We used some of the newspapers in the front flower beds and around the river birch in the front yard. The rest of the papers will be used in the backyard for the garden.

Here's a look at the planned garden area. We're increasing our garden size from 80 square feet to about 600 square feet!

The area that has been mowed is the planned garden expansion area.

Our current 8x10 raised bed garden has red peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, green peas, and mint.

The wood chips in the backyard.

That's a lot of wood chips! And I have a sneaky feeling that it's not enough!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Our Garden Adventure - 01

A few weeks ago, my wife and I watched the Back to Eden film. We were immediately inspired, especially since we were planning to significantly expand the 8x10 raised bed garden we constructed five years ago. Beyond that, the story from the film resonated deeply with us, so we decided to put into practice the concepts and techniques from the film.

Today, I contacted Out on Limb Tree Service to inquire about uncomposted wood chips. Larry was quite helpful and said he could deliver 12 yards in a few hours for just $40. He was just wrapping up a job and would have plenty of freshly chipped red oak for us. He was right on time, and we talked for 5-10 minutes about our adventure in expanding the garden using the Back to Eden method. He affirmed the process, saying that at his own place (22 acres), he uses wood chips extensively, and the soil resulting from the decomposing wood chips is the richest on his land. He also said he'd be happy to stop by anytime he was near our house and had some high quality wood chips ... no charge! Thanks Larry!

Larry dumped the wood chips in the empty lot next to our house, and we began the process of moving the wood chips from the empty lot to the backyard, one wheelbarrow load at a time. Thanks to our neighbor Mr. Bob for letting us use his wheelbarrow and pitchfork, and to our neighbor Davey and her two boys for helping out, and to my own son Isaac (age 10) who worked with great energy, passion, and endurance. He really amazed me!

Our next step is to get enough old newspapers to cover the area where we'll be spreading the wood chips!

Watch it for yourself! The official Back to Eden film

“The ground is a living organism. As all living organisms, God has designed and made it so it is always covered with something. It's all about the covering!” - Paul Gautschi

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Uganda Poultry Project

My friend Dylan sent me the link to this video today. He works with Forgotten Song, a non-profit that does some amazing work in war-affected areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Uganda.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

I'm back

Well, it's been 2 1/2 years since I last blogged. We moved to Rwanda ... and back. I have a new job but am involved in the same work. The kids all are older and bigger and smarter. My wife is even more beautiful through and through. I still consider myself the luckiest man in the world to get to live this life!

This weekend we watched the classic Chariots of Fire. I've found myself going over Eric Liddell's statement, "I feel God's pleasure when I run." How would I complete this statement, "I feel God's pleasure when I __________." How would you?