Suzy & Spice

a pinch of this, a dash of that

Archive for September, 2008

Bravo, Harding University

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 26, 2008

As the editor of three weekly newspapers, I get dozens of news releases a week. Most of them are via e-mail (thank God), but, even though those don’t waste paper (or kill trees, as I refer to it), sometimes I just hate sorting through the backlog in my inbox. And, to be honest, I delete some of them after a quick skim.

This one was a wonderful exception. Because Harding University is in Searcy and outside our circulation area, I knew we wouldn’t run it in any of my papers, but I asked the university’s PR person for permission to reprint it in full here. She wholeheartedly agreed.

September 18, 2008

Go Green initiative progressing at Harding University

SEARCY, Ark. – Green is the new black and gold for Harding University. On April 22, Earth Day, the University announced an initiative to “Go Green.” Environmental efforts have made such rapid strides that every day is now an earth-friendly day on campus.

To formally oversee these efforts, the University formed an environmental stewardship committee, which is chaired by Dr. Jim Carr, executive vice president of the University. Students, faculty and staff can contact this committee with questions, requests and ideas by e-mailing gogreen@harding.edu.

Carr stated, “I am personally very excited to chair this effort at Harding. We are going to do our best as a committee to mobilize the entire University community to be good stewards of our limited resources and to preserve the terrific environment we have been given on our campus, in Arkansas and in our beautiful country. Our progress in just six months has been nothing short of remarkable. We have already recycled thousands of pounds of paper, aluminum and plastic and have made plans to plant hundreds of new hardwood and pine seedlings in our area.”

According to Greg Tatera, committee member and director of Facility Services, a high level of excitement is also evident among students on campus. He said, “It’s been a long time coming. There’s been a lot of momentum building behind this, and we’ve seen huge strides for the program.”

In an effort to promote conservation, the University cafeteria no longer offers trays. Food Service Director Judy Hart reported that this simple action saves nearly 600 gallons of heated water per meal period, reduces food waste by 20 percent per consumer, and helps prevent cleaning agents from polluting the water supply. The University saves more than $83 per week on water, electricity, sewage and chemicals.

Additional environmentally friendly initiatives abound on campus. Danny DeRamus, director of Physical Resources and environmental stewardship committee member, said that since installation of programmable thermostats, “The price of usage has stayed the same, even with the addition of buildings over the last several years.”

New or recently renovated buildings such as the Ulrey Performing Arts Center and Center for Health Sciences are fitted with thermostats that can only be shifted two or three degrees at a time. This saves energy costs by decreasing the workload for air conditioning and heating units and has also cut down on the number of maintenance calls. Furthermore, the new Center for Health Sciences is the first building on campus to reap energy benefits from a motion detector-based lighting system.

Since its recent inception, the recycling program has expanded from three trial containers to more than 200 bins across campus. Paper recycling is available in nearly every office, and the University will soon collect used ink cartridges and cell phones, old batteries, and discarded CDs and DVDs.

An upsurge in the number of recycled goods picked up from campus illustrates eager participation in the new program. The University has recycled 2,417 bags, or 49,000 pounds, of materials since May 15.

Tatera is encouraged by the success of the recycling program, but he further hopes that this new emphasis on environmental stewardship will reach beyond recycling. He said that students and faculty must learn to rethink usage as well. Perhaps professors can offer more information online instead of copying handouts. Social clubs and campus organizations should ask themselves whether it is necessary to print 200 fliers to spread the word about an event.

Tatera sees environmental stewardship as a mandate. “We have to be good stewards with what the Lord has given us,” he said. “This is what we can do. This is what we have to do.”

-HU-

This kind of stuff makes me want to stand up and cheer!

Go green. Go, Harding!

Posted in environment, inspiration | 1 Comment »

Hate vs. Hate

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 19, 2008

This morning my co-worker was talking about the protesters on the street corner a block from our office. She had seen them on her way in.

Apparently they were serious about their “mission,” because they were still there when I drove home this evening. Traffic was heavy, so I inched up slowly over the course of three red lights. That gave me plenty of time to read their signs. Once I made it through the green light, I had to fight tears and nausea all the way home, after overcoming the urge to roll down my window and say something that might be perceived as equally hateful. I just couldn’t think of a loving and gentle way to say what I was thinking, especially because it would have had to be loud (so they could hear me) and fast (as I drove directly past them).

I turned on the radio, and they were the topic on the local talk show. These protesters are famous. They have come from a congregation in another state to spread their hate. I’m not going to be more specific because I don’t want anyone using a search engine to find them through my page. They have, in my opinion, received enough publicity by spreading their hateful, sickening messages.

Their signs listed many of the things God allegedly hates. Some of the lifestyles and particular acts mentioned on the signs are, yes, deplorable — things directly addressed in the Scriptures. But to make signs with these hateful words, to TRAVEL TO OTHER STATES with those signs, to stand on a busy metropolitan street corner and espouse these views … well, that takes a lot of hate. Most of these signs were professionally made, not something scribbled on a piece of poster board with a permanent marker. They spent good money on their signs.

These people are professional haters.

On the other side of the street were the people who hated the first haters, although it was a bit difficult to be sure that all of that side of the street was against the first group. They, too, talked about things God supposedly hates. Things you eat, things you wear (He hates polyester?), things the other people stood for. The people on that side wished, via their signage, that the people from the first group would cease producing offspring, among other things. The kindest thing the people in the second group said in their signs was, “Girl in purple shirt is cute.” This was a sign held by a boy who looked to be about 13. He was displaying his sign to the group across the street — the first group of haters. Yeah, he really understood what was going on. Who knows, he may have just stumbled upon the situation and decided to chime in with his own opinion; his sign was handwritten, as were most of the ones on his side of the street.

But the saddest part, I think, is that the people on the first side of the street had their CHILDREN out there holding those signs. Little children, much younger than 13. One little boy looked to be about 7. His sign not only talked about certain people God allegedly hates, but it depicted a particular act that God hates. Can you imagine making your child stand on a street corner and hold such a sign? To make him hold such a sign, wouldn’t you have had to explain to him what the sign depicted? Fortunately, the people on the sign were stick figures; maybe that helped a little.

Here are a few things I think God hates: self-righteousness, name calling, pretending we speak for Him when we haven’t a clue what we’re talking about (ironically, just writing this makes me vulnerable to the same accusations).

Jesus condemned self-righteousness. Here is a short commentary on some of the things He said in the Sermon on the Mount.

Even some of the words Jesus spoke in this sermon are misinterpreted by those of us who follow Him. We twist things to fit our view of the world, to make us more comfortable, to help us feel righteous. But as Paul said in Romans 3:10, “No one is righteous — not even one.” No human has the right to condemn or judge another. Only God, the Righteous Judge, holds that authority.

Freedom of speech is one of the greatest privileges we have in this country, but unfortunately it carries with it the freedom to spread hate and misinformation. This is abuse of that freedom, pure and simple.

Misrepresenting what He wrote to us has dire consequences. Heaven help us all if we fall into that trap.

The good news, even if we want to hate these haters, is that Jesus died for them just as he died for us. On our own, no one is righteous — not even one. We ALL need a Savior — every last, self-righteous one of us.

Posted in God | 3 Comments »

Give

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 18, 2008

Jimmy Pritchett, the homeless coordinator for the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, wore this shirt Saturday at the Homeless Outreach Event, which he co-chaired.

Pretty much sums it up for me.

I believe I’m required to let you know that this photo is technically the property of Central Arkansas Newspapers. I took it on my own but later decided to write a story for the papers I edit, so, because we used it in two of the three papers I’m responsible for, my employer now owns the rights to the picture.

Posted in inspiration, reaching out, volunteering | Leave a Comment »

think. pray. live.

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 11, 2008

I’m always stealing links from Sarabeth’s blog (this is the second time this week) but she finds some really good ones, so I don’t think she minds. This one is from Quinn Cummings (who is also listed under “Blogs I visit” at right — you’ll have to scroll). I read Quinn because she’s hilarious, but this one is more thoughtful. I hope it makes you pause, too — especially as we stop to remember what happened seven years ago today.

Posted in friends, inspiration | 1 Comment »

Homeless

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 9, 2008

Our community is holding a Homeless Outreach Event this weekend. Click here to find out how you can help. And join us Saturday under the Broadway Bridge in Little Rock.

And if you want to look at being poor in a way you haven’t looked at it before, click here. When you’re finished, maybe it will make you pause the next time you’re tempted to think “we” are very different from “them.”

Posted in frugal living, inspiration, reaching out, volunteering | Leave a Comment »

Doctor visit update

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 9, 2008

Before we got to Bruce’s appointment Monday, the abscess burst on its own. The doc said that was a good thing — saved the surgeon having to go in and drain it (and us a lot of money — my thoughts, not the doc’s). Bruce can walk a little better now that the swelling has decreased, but he did have to take pain pills over the weekend, something he hasn’t done in several months. The doc told him to finish the antibiotic and call him in a week. He adjusted a couple of Bruce’s other meds (increased one dosage, decreased another).

Just as we were leaving for the appointment Monday afternoon, the home health people called. They were the ones who were supposed to administer the new medication that we’ve been waiting three weeks for the insurance to approve. Home health found out that the insurance has turned us down.

Not like we haven’t been down that road before, but it’s awfully wearing on both of us, not to mention our doctor, who has said he will fight with them if we want him to. We love him so much. Not once has he ever indicated that he isn’t willing to tackle all the mess of paperwork we throw at him. The closest he came was to scrunch his face and stick out his tongue when we told him that the insurance won’t approve the Cimzia.

We also love his nurse, Brandi, who has been ever patient with our questions, requests for paperwork, prescriptions, last-minute appointments …

We are blessed to have such good care with our doctor and his staff.

Posted in Crohn's disease, family, health, medical | 1 Comment »

If, ands and butts

Posted by Suzy Taylor Oakley on September 6, 2008

This weekend Bruce started experiencing worse symptoms in his rear — the same problem he had in December, when he passed out in the bathroom as the abscess burst. We had his doc paged at the Ole Miss game this afternoon, and he put Bruce on antibiotics until we can make an office visit Monday. If the antibiotics don’t work, he may have to have surgery again. Only time will tell.

The day Bruce was discharged from the hospital last month, the doc said he wanted to try a new drug. We are still waiting for insurance approval for the drug. Monday, it will be three weeks since it was prescribed.

Bureaucracy is a pain in the butt sometimes.

Posted in Crohn's disease, health, medical | Leave a Comment »