Hypergraphia is a condition that causes people to transcribe their thoughts uncontrollably. I don't suffer from it in the clinical sense, but I may be borderline. My blog is the cyber-wall where I spray paint my thoughts for all to see. By the way, if you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at www.hypergraffiti.com, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Everybody's Got a Water Buffalo ...

...as the good old Veggie Tales song goes. Well, probably not everybody. But now we have one. Although with all the snow in the backyard (another 10 - 15 cm last night) I don't know where the heck we're going to put it.

Fortunately, a nice family of subsistence farmers in Asia has agreed to keep it for us, and apparently it will be a lot more useful to them than to us. It's only going to be useful around here if it can be trained to wash dishes, since we bought it to replace our dishwasher.

I see I have some explaining to do. Relax, take a deep breath. Enjoy the picture of the happy Asian subsistence farmers and their water buffalo.

I may have mentioned that our dishwasher gave up washing dishes for Lent. We have never actually bought a dishwasher; our current model came to us as the second of two used hand-me-down models. I'd always felt that a dishwasher was a bit of an extravagance, but if God was just going to arrange for someone to give us one for nothing, we'd take it.

Understandably, what with two kids and two working parents, we have gotten a bit dependent on the dishwasher and so when the latest El Cheapo (well, El Freebo, actually) broke down and Jason couldn't fix it this time, he said, "Maybe it's time we actually bought an inexpensive new dishwasher." And we added this item to our household budget.

But then Lent hit, and in addition to giving up chocolate for Lent, I also give up reading fiction. Not because fiction is A Bad Thing (it's a very, very good thing!) but because I'm such an avid fiction reader that I rarely make time for non-fiction. So during Lent, I immerse myself in a pile of spiritual/theological type nonfiction books that I would never get around to otherwise. And this year, right there on the top of the Lenten pile, was Shane Claiborne's The Irresistible Revolution, a great book that challenges Christians to live more simply and sacrificially in order to share with the poor (that's a very brief summary. My full review of the book is here, and you are cordially invited to meander through my Lenten reading list with me as I read and review the books over at Compulsive Overreader).

Jason started the book right after I finished it, and he is enjoying it to, so he understood where I was coming from when I said, "What if we don't buy a new dishwasher, and give the money to the poor instead?"

"We could do that..." he said a bit hesitantly.

Reminded of Shane Claiborne's principles about living in community with others rather than giving arms'-length charity, I suggested, "Maybe the poor could come over and wash our dishes sometimes."

In the end, however, we did opt for arms' length, but really useful, charity, because I went to the Heifer International gift catalogue and discovered that a water buffalo costs about the same as a cheap dishwasher. I will confess that I didn't research this gift very thoroughly; I picked it because a) I trust the people at Heifer a lot, and b) it sounds so incredibly cool to say we bought a water buffalo to replace our dishwasher. Only I shouldnt' tell people that, because of Jesus' whole thing about keeping it a big secret when you do good things -- oops. Here I am blogging about it. Today was a good day for charity but a bad day for humility. But maybe I can inspire someone out there to buy 1/10 of a goat instead of a take-out pizza, or to make some other small sacrifice that might make your life simpler and someone else's better.

I will say that we have not ruled out the idea of buying a dishwasher as well as a water buffalo. If the burden of washing by hand becomes overwhelming I will take it as a sign that God is going to send us either a) another free dishwasher or b) more money. But for now, we just have this buffalo.


Blogger j said...

I really liked this post. Isn't Heifer International a great charity?
Well done!

10:30 PM  
Blogger Tina Chaulk said...

Trudy, I've said it before to you and I will say it again, the secret to a happy marriage is a dishwasher. I admire your decision but feel you need a dishwasher and a water buffalo (that's a phrase I never dreamt I'd use). I love the Heifer charity (and Oxfam's which is similar) and have been planting seeds in my son's brain for a while about it. He's too young right now but I want us to save money as a family towards something like a goat. I want him to have a sense that he can do things to change the world, sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small ways.

7:14 PM  

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