Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday.......
'Playing In the Shadow of Coal'

(photo courtesy of 'Pennies of promise' website)

To find out how Massey Energy and the Coal Industry are endangering the lives of these children go here.

For more info on how Mountaintop Mining is destroying the beautiful Appalachian mountains, go here.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, go here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Let The Children Come.........

....A young worshipper caught in action at church. She delighted me, as I watched her excitement and sincerity while singing praises to God. She knew all the words to all the songs we sang. And I was reminded of Jesus' words that we must come to Him like a child...... with that wonder and awe...... innocence and joy..... for He is 'Abba', our Father, who 'takes great delight in us, and quiets us with his love, He also rejoices over us with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17)

How awesome that the Creator of the Universe also rejoices over *ME*....and You... and this little girl who is so excited about her Maker! And how very humbling...........

"I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you. "
-Psalm 63: 4-5

Monday, August 20, 2007

Please Help...........

How You Can Help.........

My dear readers, there will not be many times that I bring up 'issues', so to speak, that I urge you all to act on. It's not really the purpose of my blog. But Mountaintop Mining is something that is so wrong and so destructive that I have to get the word out. It is devastating my part of the world. I think until we picture this happening in our own communities and not think of it as someone else's problem, nothing will be done. Because it's happening in some of the poorest and most isolated areas of Appalachia, the local people's voices are not being heard over King Coal's and it is a practice that has been veiled in secrecy. But there is something we can all do right now.

The Clean Water Act was enacted by Congress in 2002 to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” and prohibited the dumping of material into waterways for the purpose of waste disposal. In 2002, the Secretary of the Army changed the definition of “fill material” in order to include mining waste. Since debris from mountaintop removal is no longer considered “waste,” coal companies are dumping millions of tons of mine waste into streams, so far burying more than 1000 miles of streams and headwaters...

Representatives Frank Pallone and Christopher Shays introduced a bill that reestablishes the original intent of the Clean Water Act: to protect our waterways, not give industry permission to pollute and bury them. By the end of the 109th congress of 2006, the bill had 77 co-sponsors. If this bill gets passed, it will be a huge blow to the practice of Mountaintop Mining. Please go here to see if your representative is co-sponsoring the bill, and if not, call or write them to urge them to. Sometimes it takes more than one phone call or letter.

Also, our representatives will be home during the month of August. I have set up a meeting with mine while he is home, although he is opposed to the Act. I live in the main battlefield, where Coal Money runs our politics, but I will still continue to bug. If you live in TN, WV, VA, or KY, you'll have to fight extra hard..... and setting up a meeting in person, as a constituent, would be great. You can contact Appalachian Voices, and they can help you in this process.
This is something we all can do as a collective blogging community. Also, if you feel led, please re-post about this to help spread the word. If you do, let me know and I will link to it.

Who's Spreading the word...........

Thursday, August 16, 2007

(Mountaintop Removal is an atrocity that is taking place here in my beloved Appalachian mountains. It's a cheaper way to remove coal that basically eliminates the coal miner. But in the process, it is destroying the landscape and lives of people in rural Appalachia. Flying over some parts of West Virginia and Kentucky, you would think you were flying over a war zone. Please help me spread the word. Here is an e-mail I received and ways that you can help.)

Before Mountaintop Mining........After.........

Today, I want to tell you about a place that is ground zero in the fight to stop mountaintop removal coal mining..... a place called Coal River Mountain.

Located in westernmost Raleigh County, West Virginia, Coal River Mountain is under threat from Massey Energy. Massey has applied for two mountaintop removal permits, and is considering a third, that would destroy nearly 6,000 acres of Coal River Mountain, effectively decapitating it. They would fill 18 Appalachian valleys with toxic coal mining waste and destroy the tallest peaks ever to be mined in West Virginia.

But a coalition of grassroots organizations, led by Coal River Mountain Watch, have joined together to protect Coal River Mountain - and bring the attention of the nation to the ongoing tragedy that is mountaintop removal coal mining.

Effort to stop the Coal River Mountain project is gaining momentum at the local level. Just last week, more than 100 local citizens filled the bleachers at a public hearing held by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection at the Clear Fork Elementary School to speak their minds about the massive proposal.There has never been such a turnout to a public hearing on a mine permit in West Virginia... but even more incredibly, every single citizen who spoke, spoke in opposition to the mine.There are many reasons that local citizens oppose the mine: it will pollute their drinking water, heighten the risk of local flooding, and destroy the mountains and the beautiful landscape that have been their family home for as many as nine generations.The mine, too, would destroy the long-term economic future of Coal River Mountain. As many citizens said at the hearing, for just a few years worth of jobs and a few years worth of coal, the mine would wipe out the opportunity to build a wind power facility that could provide long-term jobs and enough power to meet the needs of more than 90,000 homes forever.

Yet despite the united - and, at the hearing, unanimous - opposition to the plan to destroy Coal River Mountain, local citizens hold little hope that their testimony alone will stop the mine - because the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has never denied a permit application for a mountaintop removal mine. Never.

Even though most Americans would never support the destruction of this beautiful mountain and irreplaceable landscape, the people living near Coal River Mountain believe that their mountain will be destroyed because most Americans simply don't know what's happening in the hills and hollows of Appalachia.

There really is no such thing as clean coal...... to learn more about Mountaintop Removal and how you can help, go to

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On paths, journeys, 100 posts....... and convergences along the way......

"Traveler...there is no path...paths are made by walking.." -Antonio Machado

"We do not belong to those who only get their thoughts from books, or at the prompting of books... it is our custom to think in the open air, walking, leaping, climbing, or dancing on lonesome mountains by preference, or close to sea, where even the paths become thoughtful...."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

"Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate...." -J.R.R. Tolkein

This summer I sat in the back of The Floyd Country Store with Colleen. We tried to hear each other over the din of bluegrass music and the 'whooping and hollerin' of dancers having a grand time on the dance floor. She saved me from having to do the Texas two-step with a sweaty hillbilly with no regard for personal space. We talked of things of the heart and similarities in our journey.

The next night, I spent an evening with Fred First and his wife, Ann...under a canopy of old-growth Oak trees...listening to traditional Appalachian music.

It seems fitting.... the first two bloggers I met in person were the authors of the first blogs I read. The two that inspired me to start blogging.... They both add a little beauty to the world with their words, musings, photography, poetry.

Blogging has been a pleasant journey for me...a creative outlet.. a voice for my thoughts.... a world opened....and I have stumbled into an incredible community of fellow journeyman that I consider friends. Some of whom I have shared on a deeper level with....beyond blogging. And I am grateful for the new paths made and shared. This was most evident over the summer, when I had to attend to personal matters and blogging was put aside for a time. I was moved by all that checked in regularly, words of well-wishes and prayers, and thoughts and lovely words sent my way.

What an interesting world... where the thoughts of a country girl in Appalachia could reach India....and Britian.... Canada..... the Netherlands... and all points in between..... and foundations of friendships could be laid out.... journeys could be shared with people who are also climbing the mountains.... living life... dancing....leaping.. and sharing along the way.

And here's to future friendships and meetings, where our paths get to leave the virtual world and converge in the flesh.... my set date with Anna to chat over Diet Coke and a Dr. Pepper.... and perhaps some margaritas, as she has been known to boast about her skills as a margarita mix master. She's been with me from the start of my blogging journey.... and I'd be hard-pressed to find a post without an encouraging comment from her. And a future date with Moi, who lives near one of my watch cheesy Bollywood movies while we paint our toe-nails and eat bon-bons. And who knows what other encounters might follow.....

100 posts ...... 'and miles to go before I sleep'......

Monday, August 06, 2007

Nature's Bounty.......

A recent, overcast day found us picking wild blueberries just a short distance away from where we live. A tip from a local park ranger led us to just the right spot.... a huge blueberry bog in the midst of a nearby designated wilderness area. The dirt road leading to the area was windy and steep and we drove slowly up it. After about 20 minutes of driving through a thick canopy of trees, the landscape suddenly opened up and I was amazed to see the immense, wild bog.

The blueberries were at their peak, and the whole time we were picking, I thought to myself, "How lucky am I?", while gazing out at the misty mountains and harvesting nature's gift. The slight drizzle and low-hanging clouds lent to the magical feel of the day.....

The end results of our harvest proved delicious.......

Seasonal Fruit Muffins
(you can use peaches, raspberries, or blueberries)

- 2 c. flour (i mix wheat and white)
-1 T baking powder
-1/2 t. salt
-1/2 cup sugar (i use raw sugar)
-1 t. cinnamon
-1/2 t. nutmeg
-1 egg
-1 cup milk
-1/3 cup melted butter
-1- 1 1/2 cups fruit

Preheat oven to 400*. Combine first 6 ingredients (for peaches, replace cinnamon and nutmeg with 1/4 t. mace). Beat egg lightly, add milk and melted butter. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour in liquid mixture. Stir just enough to combine and then add fruit. Sprinkle with topping and cook 15-20 minutes.

-2 T brown sugar
-1/2 t. cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Thursday, August 02, 2007

(The following is a re-post. With unpacking and trying to get all settled into our new home, I decided to re-visit a couple of entries about my roots. Now I am even closer to my family's homeplaces....a mere half an hour up the road. An area I never considered living in that fate has brought us to......)

Through fate and serendipity, my husband's job has landed us within an afternoon's drive of a county that has deep family roots for me. My great-grandfather settled here and raised his family in the deep hills of Appalachia. The above farm belonged to my Great Uncle Curtis and his wife Sarah. Sarah was raised in this farmhouse, which was originally a log home (the logs can still be seen inside). She and Uncle Curtis inherited the farm and lived out their lives here- Aunt Sarah never leaving her childhood home.

Aunt Sarah and Uncle Curtis were very resourceful, as the isolation of the mountains necessitated: growing most of their food, making their own clothes, and raising animals. Sarah taught school and Curtis was a carpenter. They never had children, but raised a local orphaned boy as their own. Sarah always had homemade bread and fresh-churned butter waiting for any visitors that stopped by, visitors that included some of her students- some of whom I have run into, living close by, and they have related what a treat it was to be invited into their teacher's home.

My Uncle Curtis died in a tragic accident when I was two- felling a tree on his property, something he had done hundreds of times I never knew him. But Aunt Sarah continued to live there on the farm and teach, and we visited her numerous times growing up. I remember her wood cookstove that she would bake fresh bread in, her sparkling eyes that would light up when we came to visit, and playing in the creek running along side of the house. Memories cherished..... and now passed along in the retelling to my son, who gets to relive them vicariously through our afternoon drives to the land of his ancestors.....