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The three environments outlined in this month’s tenet, “We live and promote a life culture within the womb, the home, and our ecological environment,” remind me of three personal experiences, one focusing on each of these related environments.  

First, I remember holding Heather, my first baby, and feeling awed and a little shocked about the miracle of birth. In that moment I finally understood the power of parental love. I understood how much my parents loved me and would never have done anything except things to promote light and abundance in my life. I can hear my mom saying the first time she held Heather, “Conception and birth is a miracle. How can anyone hold a new baby and doubt that there is a god?” I also knew in my heart of hearts that I was one of her miracles.

The story of a culture of abundance in my home also comes from my wise mother. When I was in junior high, most of the patients in our family’s nursing home were suddenly removed, causing significant financial struggles. We had enough to sustain life, but my young heart was troubled. I remember asking mom as she was cooking hamburger patties for our dinner, “Are we poor?”  After a short pause she answered confidently, “No, we are not poor. We are rich in love, rich in family, rich in memories, rich in blessings, but right now we are a little bit short of money.” Truer words were never spoken, and I have never forgotten the comfort they gave me.

I grew up in a rural community and loved the mountains, the creek, the fields of crops, and the bright stars in our unpolluted skies. I’m afraid that living in suburbia where someone comes and hauls away my garbage had dimmed my reverence for the earth. Recently, Elizabeth DiVall, a young adult who was a cashier at my corner grocery store, asked me, with a kind smile, if I had brought my own bags for my groceries. Chagrined, I admitted that I usually carry them around in my car and often forget to bring them in the store when I shop. I could tell that she was devoted to protecting our ecological environment. As a result of her thoughtful encouragement, I now usually remember to bring my own bags and ask for recyclable paper ones if I forget or don’t have enough.  She made me feel like I was doing her a personal favor each time I remembered, and she always thanked me for doing so. As a result, in my own home, the mountain of plastic bags has stopped growing!

I asked her why she cared so much about the environment. She replied, “Ultimately it started with my family. They fostered my love for the outdoors, took us to the mountains to camp and taught us the importance of taking care of nature and making sure we left the area the way we found it.”

In junior high she took up backpacking with her dad and uncle, a forestry service worker. Uncle Dodge shared his knowledge about conservation and made her realize the impact people make on the planet. Her final comment is a page right out of our Big Ocean beliefs:  “It may seem like as one person you can’t make a huge difference, but in the end you either add to the problem or take away from it. There is power in individuals.”

As with each tenet of Big Ocean, if we each add our drops of goodness, we can be part of a wave of change for good–from the womb, to the home, and to the world. What simple thing will you do this month to create and share a culture of life and abundance in your corner of the world?