Monthly Archives: August 2014



All You Need Is Love

In 2002, we shared a story from the Atlantic Monthly called “How the Terrorists Stopped Terrorism.” The story of how these extremists were changed by giving them something to live for instead of die for is food for thought. Read the story here.


Photo by Roger McLassus via Wikimedia Commons



Lego Beach

Do you have a Lego-lover in your life?

Or, perhaps an aspiring pirate?


Photo by Ronny Siegel via Wikimedia Commons

Either way, you may not want to mention what I’m about to tell you—unless, of course, you’re ready to hoist anchor and set sail.


photo by Walt Faulds via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s just say that even the most deluxe carton of Legos will no longer quell your budding explorer’s desires.

There’s a little-known destination on the coast of Cornwall, England, that’s sure to inspire desperate dreams of departure and, curiously, Lego lust.

Puzzled? Read on …

It isn’t a matter of scenery, no matter how grand …


Photo by Tom Corser via Wikimedia Commons

The temptation is treasure, booty, loot … Lego loot, to be specific.

Legend has it (well, actually, BBC News reports) that in 1997, nearly five million Lego pieces were lost at sea when a mighty wave hit the Tokio Express freighter, bound for New York, dislodging 62 giant containers.

“Shortly after that, some of those Lego pieces began washing up on both the north and south coasts of Cornwall. They’re still coming in today,” reports BBC’s Mario Cacciottolo. “A quirk of fate meant many of the Lego items were nautical-themed, so locals and tourists alike started finding miniature cutlasses, flippers, spear guns, sea grass, and scuba gear as well as dragons.”

Beachcombing Cornwall resident Tracey Williams began a Facebook page in 2013 to document the local Lego fever.

“These days, the holy grail is an octopus or a dragon. I only know of three octopuses being found, and one was by me, in a cave in Challaborough, Devon,” Williams told BBC. “It’s quite competitive. If you heard that your neighbor had found a green dragon, you’d want to go out and find one yourself.”


Photo by Ronja Wiedenbeck via Legos Lost at Sea

Williams’ Lego Lost At Sea page has over 35,000 fans and offers daily posts, so even if you can’t cast off to Cornwall, you can delight in the finds of other treasure hunters.


Photo by Tracey Williams via Legos Lost at Sea

Granted, there’s the not-so-fun possibility of plastic pollution here, but at least these pieces are being picked up with fervent enthusiasm as they wash ashore. My kids are game, but …

setting sail isn’t really a possibly for us but this is. Did you know it’s easy to make a small dent in Lego plastic production by patronizing Pley, a Lego rental service that encourages a play and pass-it-on philosophy. Imagine how fun to find a new “treasure” in your mailbox every time you trade in a tired set?





Couch Confession

What my couch really looks like in the midst of pool dates, camping trips, craft projects, and bike rides this summer.

Photo Aug 13, 4 37 06 PM

Maybe when I finally take some time to sit down, I’ll get it all folded and put away. Where do you sort and fold your laundry?



Good News!

Good News Network reports that an orphaned baby elephant has now become the matriarch of a herd of water buffalo in a 10,000-acre Zimbabwe game reserve. The elephant was adopted into the herd after her mother was killed by poachers decades ago. For some reason, she chose to stay with the water buffalos instead of the elephant herd on the property, and she’s now become their protector and beloved buddy.


photo, Good News Network

Visit Good News Network for a daily dose of positive, uplifting news. A few of their headlines lately that caught my eye:

Women Activists Clean Up and Revitalize Libyan City

Guy Pretends to Be Homeless, Then Rewards Whoever Gives Money

At-Risk Philadelphia Teens Shatter Expectations – 98% Going to College



Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … April Choate!!!

April Choate (sonshine4u, #658) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning an Expert Level The Secret Life of Bees Merit Badge!

“My husband declared, when we moved to our property, “I want to have bees!” I was shocked, being that he was a city boy. Seemed adventurous and crazy. I was totally on board, though, because I knew the benefits! He took the short course at the University of MN in the fall of 2011, and we got our first hives in 2012. During the winter, the kids and I helped him put together the hives and paint them. We watched him read all these bee books like his life depended on it. I was so thankful that he wanted to do this project!

We got our bees and watched them build up combs and create their “city.” I helped hold frames while he checked on the queen and looked for brood. I cheered him on when the queen from one of the hives decided to disappear. That hive had to be re-queened … twice. But then the fun began in 2013, when we got to harvest the honey. Our first time harvesting was scary, but not as scary because we had helped our good friend, Joe, with his harvest the previous year. But being newbies, it was still a little daunting.


My friend Jan kept telling me that it was a really sticky mess and to be prepared to stick to the floor by the time you’re done! But the reward is so worth it. When that first comb was uncapped and just oozed honey goodness, I thought I had died and gone to heaven! When we had spun the first few frames and our 5-gallon bucket was filling up … I was more than ecstatic! It was pure gold! Watching it filter was something that I didn’t expect to be fascinating, but every part of the process was. When we were finished with all the supers, we had 7 1/2 gallons of honey! Not bad for our first harvest! I was thrilled!

Each time we had someone over, we would show them how it was all done, or if they were really lucky, they would be there to help with the fun. I had a farmgirl meeting all about bees and my hubby shared all his vast bee knowledge with the ladies. He brought out a frame that they could see and explained all about it. We played some bee trivia games, made lip balm with beeswax, and watched the movie, Vanishing of the Bees. While I’m not the head beekeeper, I do enjoy helping him out, and after reading all those great books about bees for the first two levels … I’m ready to beeeeee a beekeeper for real with my hubby. Giving honey as Christmas gifts was so fulfilling this year. The look on people’s faces was priceless!

I’m totally inspired to become more involved with the process. I thought I would be scared taking care of bees, but now I’m totally calm around them and love hearing them in my garden doing their job. Holding a frame in my hands with all those wiggling bodies doing their jobs is just fascinating! I love putting on the suit and helping out now. The only time I don’t enjoy it is when it’s super hot and then the sweat just pours down! LOL! This past winter, we lost both of our hives from the extreme cold. It was a really sad discovery. We had to purchase new bees this spring. It was really expensive. I’m hoping and praying that this winter will be more favorable. We also are looking for more ways to plant more flowers in the fields that surround our hives so the bees can continue to enjoy a toxic-free flower zone. I really am loving this bee experience. The honey is so good and I appreciate the bees so much more!”