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Sep 22, 2015

“GMT”

GMT

1100hours GMT on 22 September 1955

That’s the precise date and time that Treena and I were married in St. Mildred (Anglican) Church in Tenterden, Kent, England.

If you were not already aware of my fascination with metaphor and analogy, then I will need to confess that I tend to “suffer” from them…like allergies.

Treena will tell you that I do not suffer…other people do…so usually I will consider backing off…but in this case, I simply cannot!

An acronym is another preoccupation? (I really should be in government) and so, GMT caught my eye. It is, of course, Greenwich Mean Time and is used as the way we measure time…at its starting point. I stumbled over the acronym as I planned for our celebration of the 60th anniversary of our marriage and how we might focus our attention in our time zone of PST (Pacific Standard Time), which is nine hours behind GMT. This meant that we had married at 0200hrs our time…the romantic idea of getting up at that time quickly faded.

Being married and its pure joy has not faded! I remain as firmly wedded to this wonderful woman as I was just 60 years ago and now I have so many added reasons to celebrate.

Three of them are, on this date, gathered about us. Kareena, our youngest, came in from Tennessee; Andy, our son, from Montana. Tessa, with her husband Scott, are part of our “home” team. It is also Tessa’s birthday…a brilliant piece of family planning in our first year of marriage. We all celebrate this day that seems forever both close and distant.

Looking back over so many years I am aware of one amazingly constant thread…

TREENA’S WILLINGNESS
It’s a truly wonderful gift and it has made the world of difference to all our lives. I even found an acronym for DOW –Degree Of Willingness.

Daily I hear the radio reporting the “DOW” as a barometer of the stock market’s kneejerk reactions to the global economy. I always let the word “Dow” help me to reflect not upon our financial investments but upon Treena’s gentle touch, her every dear and loving smile and I am caught up in a thermal of gratitude.

A wise man once said, “The business of life is to prepare for a joyful death.”

Every day with my beloved Treena helps me plan for that inevitable day with a grand ambition that when my time has come…I shall look back (and forward) and smile.

Oh yes! and then there is the real meaning of GMT…Graham Married Treena

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Sep 13, 2015

An Update on Treena

“It is called a “guarded” situation by the medical profession. Treena is in the midst of a great deal of loving care, both professionally and with our immediate family, all our children are with us today…and, of course our fellowship of believers and dear friends from way back are in prayer.

I find a small quote from a favorite store of sermons by Alexander MacLaren a great comfort as we face the many choices that our advanced technologies provide.

“it is in trying to do what we cannot do that we do best what we can do”

Our lives, over the past 41 years, having been”‘trying to do” the will of our Father and to finish the task of testifying to the grace and glory of God. This, whilst we have breath, remains the greatest desire of our hearts. Humanly it’s hard but in “continuing to try” our prayers are that we may “do best what we can do” and that includes being comforted with the love that we are receiving for us by everyone who cares so deeply.

It is far from an empty phrase to say the the outcome is in our loving Father’s hands. That really is the reality in which we live out our lives and with that our family is being strengthened, encouraged and comforted.

Please do join with us that His will be done.

Love Graham.

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Aug 18, 2015

The Soap Slip Saver

On the first Thursday of every month I have lunch with my gardening mentor Andy Anderson. He is a grand guy with well over 30 years of experience as a soil scientist and general plant expert.

At our last lunch I told him that I was starting a weekly blog and that I had a mind to begin with the way that I used the last slip of soap in my shower by fixing it to a new bar. He immediately gave a deep chuckle, for which he is famous and said “I do the same!”

I really didn’t think that I had come up with a new idea but it felt really good to know that someone I knew and respected so much was also a soap slip saver.

If you are not a member of this “exclusive?” set, may I suggest a hint or two?

It helps if the unused bar has a slight concave base and matching curved top. As it gradually wears away it tends to retain its original shape.

When the time comes it is easier to keep on lathering until it’s almost too late, it’s easier to fix.

SoapSaver

 

My example here is almost too large and needed to be warmed and scrubbed with an old toothbrush…no longer in use…but could always be re-employed if you have used a word that you have come to regret?

When the newly joined are left overnight I find they do well, even when secured one after another, again as shown.

So, what’s the point and why start a blog with such a mere slip of a thing?

I want to explore, with you, ways in which we might become a less consumptive people…alive, as we are, at this pivotal point in the history of our planet.

I really don’t care how apparently small and incidental the subject may be. It’s not the attainment that matters it’s the direction. After a good number of years paying attention to what I and my wife Treena eat, I have come to the conclusion that there are no good and bad choices…the only thing that really matters is…quantity and its calories. Eating less is almost always…best.

I don’t want to leave a lifetime of food experience behind but I do want to move on a bit and have a back and forth discussion (with you perhaps?) on how we might find ways to consume less, share more and by all means try to do less harm to both ourselves, those we love, our immediate community and beyond that…to this incredibly complex, beautiful and fragile planet.

I intend to make this as personal as possible and, as a result to avoid two major traps.

I do not want to be an ANGRY activist who declares anything as totally negative, reason and moderation should always be central to this exchange. I also want to avoid preaching at you. We live in a remarkable time where we still have, for the most part, the freedom to observe what others do (as in flash of silver examples) and choose to join in or not.

There will be a time when, if we do nothing, there will be regulations that strongly urge us to consume less…let’s get there before the rules begin?

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Aug 17, 2015

UPSTREAMING…the motive behind the ‘movement’

Last week I launched this blog with a ‘mere slip of a thing’ about saving a tiny piece of soap.  It was the most minor, almost incidental example of a personal choice that reminds me, every time I shower, that there are new opportunities, every single day, to consume less, share more and do less harm…what I have come to call ‘Upstreaming’.

Today I want to lay out my reasons for this quite personal choice and why I should like to share this journey with you. Since I don’t have all the answers it seems like a good idea to ask a couple of questions.

Do the present ‘circumstances’ of the world demand any special action from the present population?

Is there a generally perceived problem facing the entire human race?

One overarching issue appears, at least to me, to be the population, which now stands at 7.3 billion and is increasing by about 14 million a year.  By 2042 we are projected to reach 9 billion and to flatten out at 10 billion by 2064.

Water would appear to be the immediate critical issue and this is rapidly effecting basic crops and the energy generation that requires vast amounts of water for both steam and fracking for shale oil and natural gas.

Industry will likely suffer from these disruptions and, as a result, fewer goods may be produced and the demands of those coming out of poverty will be harder to satisfy. This could lead to social unrest as comparisons are made between competing cultures on the web and elsewhere.

Peace and goodwill toward all men is therefor unlikely, especially if we continue at our present pace of consumption. Major evidence of this trend will, I believe, become obvious by 2020 and critical by 2040.

Is there any action that can be taken to slow this decline in the quality of human life on this planet?

Indifference could well be the primary cause of the possible decline that faces us. Many are satisfied with the status quo…(for the most part), providing that we advantaged people can heat and cool and feed ourselves at reasonable prices. We may be aware of the increasing threat to those less fortunate but we can see little logical reason to believe that a decision to curb our use of basic resources would have the slightest impact upon ‘those other peoples’ lives.

I strongly believe that there is a solution and it is centered in the word RESILIENCE.

If I begin with my own self-interest and seek out regular habit patterns that may harm me, either physically, emotionally or spiritually and decide to make changes that are of benefit to my own life and those whom I love. Then move beyond my immediate self-interest, to embrace with compassion, those who are obviously at risk and to do so in a committed, consistent manner. Then I would begin to see the global risk factors addressed, even though the effect would be minimal. Others may at least see me as a ‘Flash of Silver’ encouragement and that is how movements begin.

The great obstacle to this idea is the word IMMEDIATE and this is the urgent demand made by our present communications systems that facilitates the modern marketing machine that drives consumption beyond our global ability to sustain such growth.

As a result I feel that there is a motive that can change my perception of the world for the better. To learn how to love my neighbor as myself and in so doing to seek how to do less harm to my family, my community, my world and myself and to work toward a return to resilience in all things, as apparently, was the original design intention?

This then, is my purpose as I commit to heading upstream on purpose, with you?

My slip of soap reminds me of this commitment every day and I get to smile as I lather!

UPSTREAMING!

Graham Kerr
Mount Vernon, Washington.
“I believe that I shall see the goodness of God in the land of the living”

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