It's a new year!

Picture of a person's hand holding a wooden brush and bowl over the sink.


Grandfather Great Spirit, all over the world the faces of living ones are alike.
With tenderness they have come up out of the ground.
Look upon your children that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the Day of Quiet.
Grandfather Great Spirit,
Fill us with the Light.
Give us the strength to understand and the eyes to see.
Teach us to walk the soft earth as relatives to all that live.

Sioux Prayer
Taken from: Earth Prayers
Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon


This week’s article is from our very first guest writer. Thank you to Sue Sack: gardener, spiritual director, theologian, dancer, farmer, mother, teacher, good listener!

It’s a new year! Time to make new commitments to ourselves, and to our homes. For many, these days we spend more time inside also give us time and incentive to clear out the clutter and dirt in the house, before we are drawn outside into the warmer days and (hopefully) sun of spring.

Although I very much appreciate a neat living space, I am not one who naturally loves to clean. Especially cabinets and drawers! But, I have learned that if I turn the process into a game, and take it a little at a time, I can get through. Clean out three drawers, take a break and eat a cookie! (Um, probably not good for that new diet, though). Turn on some music and dance while you wash three or four walls. Do that often enough, and the house DOES start to look a bit better.

But … in your washing and waxing and cleaning, what products are you using? Are you inadvertently polluting your interior space with noxious chemicals that can have cumulative detrimental effects upon your health, or that of your loved ones and pets?

I am personally delighted that many more natural cleaners are available in stores now, even if the price does seem to be a bit beyond the norm. However, the purchase of just a few basic products, many of which our grandparents used, can likely cover most of the cleanup you need to tackle. You don’t need an entire shelf-full, or spend big bucks, to live in a healthier and cleaner home!

Editor’s addition: On a completely unrelated note, did you know you can recycle holiday lights? Check your local home improvement store for drop-off locations!


Do you have white vinegar and baking soda in your pantry? If so, you have what you need to clean your bathroom – and your kitchen too – quite easily! Vinegar is a powerhouse cleaner, a natural disinfectant, and baking soda isn’t far behind. Add a little lemon juice, castile soap, and maybe an essential oil or two, and you have most of what you need to clean the place quite naturally.

Take a look at a website such as at this comparison of natural cleaning products to learn what to look for.

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