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Please note that priority will be given to books and publishing houses with a positive focus that encourage readers to become more self-sufficient and build better communities. American Virtue Magazine is not interested in reviewing titles with a partisan or exclusive denominational bent. We welcome inclusive titles that target a faith-based audience but do not limit consideration based on faith or denomination thereof.
Looking forward to getting to know you and helping our readers support American business venture!
“France was a land. England was a people. But America having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter – it was the graves at Shiloh, and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart.”
Are you a small business owner based in the USA? Do you manufacture or market a “Made in the USA” product line?
Leave a comment here to be interviewed for upcoming features on our blog. Featured businesses will also be considered for publication in our e-newsletter and in American Virtue Magazine.
Selected businesses will be contacted via email, so make sure you provide an email address and website so a member of our editorial team can contact you! Please note in your comment if your company is veteran-owned/operated to receive information on our military-specific policies. American Virtue Magazine / Taking the Hill blog will also consider publishing press releases of interest to our readership as space allows.
Looking forward to getting to know you and helping our readers support American business venture!
“Sabbath celebrates repentance by acknowledging our changes. But far more, Sabbath celebrates the God who frees the heart from slavery. God has not only redeemed us from Egypt, but he has turned our hearts toward eternity. This turn from the past enslavement to the future hope creates a new present. We call this turning repentance. Repentance is far more than merely saying, ‘I am wrong, and I am sorry.’ It is certainly no less. But it is a radical movement from where we have found life (Egypt) to the hope of the Promised Land, thus enabling us to wander as foreigners and strangers in a land that is not yet our own.
“The truest fruit of repentance is always hope, even in the face of overwhelming and unrelenting dour circumstances. Hope is not mere optimism; rather, it is moving forward in anticipation of redemption in spite of the improbability of rescue.”
~ from Sabbath by Dan B. Allender, a title in the Ancient Practices series published by Thomas Nelson ~
American Virtue Magazine invites readers of all beliefs to share inspirational thoughts. Each Sunday we will feature a quote that we hope will edify and encourage our staff and our readership. Know a quote that qualifies? Leave us a comment and let us know where we can find it. Atheist/agnostic readers: we want to hear from you too! A quote need not be from a religious leader or faith-based author to be considered; we believe all Americans can practice the discernment to glean what is good and wise from others not exactly like them.
As Allender states in Sabbath:
Celebrating the Sabbath is not about being Jewish, Christian, a follower of Baal, or a Buddhist — it is woven first and foremost into creation as a way of being that is true for all people whatever they believe. All human beings are created to enjoy the freedom of the Sabbath.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Quarter-Acre Farm. I originally looked for it on Amazon because I saw a comment by the author, Spring Warren, on a Facebook post about the White House garden, where she mentioned her new book. Once I found it and saw several positive reviews, I decided to get my own copy. I had a horrible time deciding between buying the Kindle editionso I could have it RIGHT AWAY or the print version so I could see the illustrations other reviewers mentioned. I finally sprang for the print version and am glad to have done so – Spring Warren’s storytelling is wonderful, but Jesse Pruet’s pictures add a whole new level of fun and intrigue to the book.
Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracleis the standard I hold a lot of “homesteading” books to. That book taught me SO much about so many subjects that it’s an excellent yardstick for me. Kingsolver’s book is highly educational, makes me think, makes me feel involved due to her tone, and offers recipes that are approachable and “doable” for folks like me who aren’t going to become pro chefs any time soon.
Warren’s format in The Quarter-Acre Farmis similar to the format of Kingsolver’s book; a chapter full of personal stories and interesting insights and research, along with a recipe to top off each chapter. How did Warren bump Kingsolver from my top 3? With her humor. While Kingsolver shares some fantastic stories, Warren’s tone is more approachable and less professorial. Even her chapter titles bring fun to the read: “Pole Dancing” (which gave me a chuckle but then taught me very important things via her pumpkin trellis experiment) – “Magical Fruit” (yes, that would be the beans, of course!) – all sorts of things made me chuckle, smirk, and in some cases try to roar with laughter as quietly as possible so I wouldn’t wake my sleeping children.
Spring Warren definitely shares plenty of insights from her own trials and triumphs in the garden that will be useful to me in my own garden; many authors in the gardening and homesteading arena do this. What she did that very few do is make everything educational AND fun to read. I highly recommend The Quarter-Acre Farm to anyone interested in gardening, whether on a hobby scale or for a full-scale local eating/self-sufficiency effort. I will be rereading this book and plan to have my children read it as one of our more non-traditional texts in our homeschool as well. I’m preparing now for the giggles from my ‘tween daughter when we go over snail reproduction. (Trust me, it’s worth a giggle – and who knew snails were that strong, too?) I suspect the story of her sister’s hair dye venture will bring forth plenty of knowing nods from my kids as it did from me.
The reviews on the back of the book say it all. One author described reading this book as being like sitting down for a chat with a friend over coffee; I would thoroughly agree, but I expect I’d be asked to weed a bit as well. (Which made me laugh all the harder to myself, because I think Warren would convince me quite easily to do so!)
I’m not certain if the Kindle editionof this book includes the illustrations; I plan to find out in the near future by ordering it. If you want to be able to see those, I would highly recommend the print copy. But if you don’t care about the pictures as much as just having a phenomenal read, get either version. Hopefully you’ll learn as much and laugh as much as I did, and walk away hoping for more from Spring Warren and her garden.
(As a side note, I’d like to let everyone know that I still adore Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and highly recommend it as well. It’s still in my Top 5 – just not my top 3. Just “down” to #4 now. *wink*)
(Disclosure: This book review was previously posted on Amazon.com and Wandering Quail Road. (C) Melonie Kennedy, Apr 2011 I purchased my own copy of The Quarter-Acre Farm. No compensation was received for this review. This review shares my own personal thoughts regarding the book and was not solicited by the author, illustrator, publisher, or anyone else involved with the book.)
With all the talk about “greening” this and “saving” that, it can be pretty intimidating to get started on being more energy efficient. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it sometimes sounds. It also doesn’t require a huge outlay of money upfront, unless you want to go through and “green” everything in one fell swoop. There are lots of little things you can do to make your home more energy efficient. Here are just a few of them:
The first step in making your home more energy efficient is performing an energy audit. A lot of power companies will do audits for free or a very low fee, so give your provider a quick call and ask them about it. They may even have a checklist they can mail you or direct you to on their website – then you can just run through the audit yourself. If you have an older home, you may be able to feel the drafts coming off of windows and under doors, so it will be more obvious what needs to be plugged or covered better. Even if you have to pay a small fee, an energy audit can help you find the power wasters in your home; you’ll make the money back quite quickly once a few changes are made.
The second step is identifying the parts of your home that use the most power. For most people, the biggest users are the appliances. But unless you are due for a remodel, you probably don’t want to go buy all new appliances. Just make a note of which older appliances can be replaced with Energy Star units and when the time comes, choose those items over others which are not as energy efficient. Until then, keep three things in mind. First of all, a full freezer is more efficient than a half empty one; so keep it filled up with food (easy if you like to do once-a-month cooking!) or jugs of water (just leave a little space so they don’t break when they freeze). Secondly, a clean fridge is more efficient than a dirty one; so at least once a year pull your fridge out and vacuum or dust the back of it. Lastly, remember that the dryer is a big power user too. Consider line drying when possible to save on the electric bill and to cut down the amount of energy you’re using in the home.
When it comes to assessing power usage, don’t forget about those power sucking “vampires” like TVs, coffee makers, microwaves, video game systems, and cell phone chargers. If it has a clock, consider unplugging it until you really need it on. Hook up the media center on a power strip that you can turn off; your expensive electronics are safest on a good surge protector anyway, so plug them all into one and turn it off when everyone has gone to bed or work/school.
There’s even a fun way to cut down on the energy bills and have some family time. Once a month – or each week – pull out the camping gear and cook up a home-style dinner by candlelight. If you have a fireplace, toast up some s’mores or share stories of your day by firelight. This is a wonderful way to heat the home and your hearts during fall and winter – no electricity necessary. Changing to CFL light bulbs is what’s in the news, but saving energy can be a truly enjoyable family affair!
Instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissension. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, that those of a good citizen; an open and resolute friend; and a virtuous supporter of the Rights of Mankind, and of the Free and Independent States of America.