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Quote of the Day: Jessica Prentice

November 13th, 2011

Abundance is something we feel, not something that we have. Those of us who have gone traveling to a so-called poor country and encountered an amazing spirit of generosity and a true sense of abundance can attest to this. We find it surprising and charming and quite exotic. Without a sense of scarcity, there is no sense of abundance, because there is no perspective.

Jessica Prentice
(from: Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection)

I’m very thankful that I was brought up in a third world country and was able to see true scarcity. There aren’t a lot of people in this country that have seen anything like it. We’ve definitely lost our sense of what abundance really is, which is really sad since we’re some of the richest people in the world.

When I read about one in five New Yorkers being on food stamps and of officials estimate that $75 million to $135 million of New Yorks food stamp benefits are spent on sodas or sugary drinks I kind of feel sick (see this article). I think back on the poor people I’ve visited that would kill their last chicken to feed you a meal while going hungry themselves. I’m thankful I’ve had this experience and as a result I know what true abundance is and I strive to share some of the abundance I have with others.

Please consider doing without something during the month of November and donating the funds you save to a charity that helps the poor around the world. As we start thinking about Thanksgiving and planning our big feasts, please don’t forget to think about those around us and the world don’t have the abundance we do.

14 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Jessica Prentice”
  1. Tee on November 13, 2011 at 8:38 am

    We are thinking the same thoughts, friend.
    My time in Guatemala and other places has shown me and taught me a lot about how abundant we live….
    I would love to hear about some of your favorite charities….

    Reply to Tee's comment

  2. Grannie M on November 13, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Well said. Thanks for the reminder.

    Reply to Grannie M's comment

  3. Nebraska Dave on November 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Susy, I haven’t lived in a third world country but I have traveled on my mission trips through out Central America. I can truly identify with the Jessica Prentice’s statement. Unless we have something to compare our lifestyle with, we truly don’t know how good we have it. There is no child care, food stamps, low income housing, or any other government assistance in those countries. I also can identify with your statement about killing their last chicken to feed you when they will go hungry. In many ways we can learn from those poor and humble folks. It’s been a great experience for me to see what life is like outside the United States.

    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  4. Wendy on November 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Susy ~ Thank you for this post. Absolutely beautiful! And we can learn so much from those who would give their last piece of livestock to gift us with a meal…how open are my own hands and heart?? I love the pictures, too. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings ~ Wendy

    Reply to Wendy's comment

  5. KimH on November 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I was born & raised about 3 miles as a crow flies from Mexico, at the very bottom tip of Texas, near Brownsville, and I too have seen what it is like for many many people in Mexico & Central America since we traveled there occasionally. Even within the lower reaches of South Texas, that kind of hardship lives for many. :(

    As a teenager, moving to North Texas, I would hear people complain about people coming here from 3rd world countries to work and I hated hearing it. I always spoke up & shared what I had seen, the heart aches I had as a child when I would pass a legless mother on a body board with many small children surrounding her. The sadness and poverty on their faces was enough to haunt a soul..

    It was a blessing for me as well because I saw a way of life, a way of a people that I would never have seen having been raised elsewhere.
    I would like to think I wouldnt have been immune to the hardships of others, but we never really do know.

    I’ve always said I would personally welcome anyone who wished to come here to work, to make a life for themselves and their families. One of my dear friends family lives in Mexico, and he works here to support them. They do what they must do. I imagine his family lives very well off there, these days.

    I have always said if I had to run away to another country someday, I would run for the mountains in Mexico.. Not only are they beautiful, they are abundant in edible wildness.

    I give regularly of my abundance, here in this country and others as well.
    I have always felt the desire to help others in many ways and do whatever I can.

    I always thought I might be a missionary, but it has never come to pass.. I know, as long as I live, there is still a chance.. You just never do know.
    What I do know is, my life is filled with great abundance, physically & spiritually.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  6. Sincerely, Emily on November 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Oh, I can relate to this. When we lived in Kenya we experienced exactly what you mention and show in photos. The people we knew were thrilled to invite you into their homes for a meal or a drink, sharing what little they had. One way we found to share with them, without hurting their pride, was to give them our perishable food when we traveled (so it wouldn’t spoil by the time we returned home.) They were happy to take it. I would make sure I had things I knew they regularly cooked with.When we left Kenya, we rounded up the guys that we worked with and divided up everything we weren’t bringing home with us (shoes, clothes, pots & pans, etc). We made it clear that these things where now theirs and that they could keep or sell them – what ever they wanted. I am so thankful for these experiences.

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

  7. KimP on November 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

    It has long frustrated me all the junk that can be bought with food stamps! I know our country as a whole would be healthier if the food stamp program were more like the WIC program that specifies what kind of nutrient-dense food can be purchased instead of an open checkbook.

    Reply to KimP's comment

    • Deborah~jean on November 16, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      I was shocked to find out Papa Murpheys Pizza, because you order your pizza and take it home to bake it,you can purchase it with foodstamps….there pop,salads and desserts,I think out to eat is an extra for a special occasion if you have extra money….The foodstamps would go much further for a needy family spent better then this…..

      Reply to Deborah~jean's comment

  8. Barbara on November 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you for saying it so well.

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  9. MAYBELLINE on November 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I am thankful that I grew up without scarcity (or at least I wasn’t aware of it) yet can appreciate all I have and share. Here’s to helping others.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  10. Johanna on November 14, 2011 at 10:56 am

    First off, I have to say I LOVE reading your blog and I’ve learned so much about a simpler, healthier lifestyle and organic gardening from it. Oh, and every single recipe I’ve ever used off of your blog has turned out fantastic and is on my favorites list :).

    That being said, I’m an urban homesteader in a Milwaukee neighborhood, and I personally know families on food stamps that would truly love to have a space to grow healthy food, or to be able to raise chickens and provide real nourishment for their families.

    There are such things are “food deserts” in the inner city, where there are no real grocery stores that offer fresh produce or meat within a four-five mile radius. Many of the places that accept food stamps only sell the cheapest mass-produced items available – like chips and soda. And even though gardening saves you money and is better for you in the long run, you do need to have a space to garden in, tools to work the soil/tend your plants, and seeds or seedlings to get you started in order to garden. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have a bike to get me to a community garden, a good job and a supportive husband that has allowed me to pursue that lifestyle, and parents that instilled the value of homegrown foods in me. We also have a car and money to buy gas/insurance if we need to drive to a grocery store to get what we can’t grow. Not everyone has these things in my city…and it really helps me keep my perspective when I want to start feeling sorry for myself about the things I don’t have (my own yard, a home that we own and don’t rent, etc).

    I personally haven’t had the same experience in a third-world country that you have, and I’ll be the first to admit there is still much for me to learn about poverty. But I can say that for many inner city families that are my friends and neighbors instead of a statistic in an article, lack of access to healthy living is not always 100% their fault or even their choice. I think the best response to this issue is to be a good neighbor to people; offer them food you’ve grown, advocate for local, beneficial business and co-ops, and share your own adundanceand knowledge. Anyway. Just my two cents :).

    Reply to Johanna's comment

    • Susy on November 18, 2011 at 9:47 am

      I’m well aware of the food desserts, I’ve lived in a city one for five years and I currently live in a rural one (have lived here 10 years).

      Reply to Susy's comment

  11. DebbieR on November 15, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Thanks for the quote, Susy. Our sense of entitlement as American’s amazes me, as well. It’s not that American’s don’t deserve comfortable lives, but a life of richness and comfort does not equal what is advertised in the media or ingrained in our culture from the womb. It’s not about “stuff”. After graduating with my masters in school counseling, I recently took a job at a pharmacy to make ends meet while I wait for something more professional. As I stock shelves with tons of junk made with horrible ingredients, lead in candle wicks, and BPA in packaging, I am sickened by the knowledge that the corporation sent these items because they know that the people in our community will purchase them. And as I watch patrons shop for carts of Halloween clearance, Christmas treats, decorations, and other miscellany I desperately want to ask them, “Are you sure you really NEED this? Do you realize how many billions of dollars on business psychology, advertising, and flavor enhancing chemicals have been spent to make you THINK that this item will somehow improve your life?” I especially want to ask this of those who come through the line to purchase energy drinks, potato chips, soda, and candy with their EBT (food stamp) debit cards. There are very few healthy options in our store, yet many patrons max out their EBT card in one fell swoop at this pharmacy on processed, shelved food. Sadly, these tendencies that have been taught to us as Americans, has also led to generational nutrition deficiency and lack of awareness of other food options, which is also the way corporations want it.
    As my hubby and I look forward to our first child in May, we do not want to raise our child in this ignorance that this so-called abundance is healthy. I’ve never lived in another country for an extended time but have spent a lot of time in impoverished countries, particularly in Zimbabwe, where the government infrastructure continues to crumble and nothing is guaranteed in life. In this country of nothing, the people are happy and content and feel so blessed by all they have, even if that is a little round hut with no running water or electricity. And, like Columbia, the people share everything. When you visit a home, you are treated as a prized guest. Even when there is little to give, they give. Autonomy and independence from others is not prized in this country of nothing, but, rather, wisdom and sharing with others. You work together, you share, you do whatever you can to love one another and help your fellow man because people are what really matter, not stuff. Though there may be no running water or electricity, we would much prefer to raise our child in a culture that lacks the comforts of life so that he/she might learn to appreciate the things that truly matter; that he/ she might know that she is not the most important person in the world, but only one of billions of equally important people who all share this Earth.
    As I look at family members with children who have birthday parties and receive mountains of presents that they do not need or may never use, I am honestly frightened by the thought that people will automatically do this for our child, thinking that these gifts mean that they really care about them. I am not looking forward to constantly fighting this American mindset that we need wiper warmers, and branded decorations and clothing, and anything else corporations insist we need when those I love purchase things that I know I will instantly donate because I do not have room for it or do not need it for my child.
    Thank you for posting the quote. It’s strengthening to know that others have experienced life that is truly blessed because it is about loving and realizing the value in people, not things. Have a great day!

    Reply to DebbieR's comment

  12. Deborah~jean on November 16, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    You always get me thinking….I agree with doing stamps like W.I.C. is done.Those that have a need will still be helped.
    Great pics,I have never had an experience living in a third world country. I will share,as a young girl being raised by a single mother with eight children, I know what going with out is all about.Sometimes school lunch was the only meal,sometimes nothing.I can tell you we would have been very thankful to have W.I.C. and would have never complained about what the meal was.I feel the same about food stamps,energy drinks,pop not really what I define as a need. if there is a “True need” I believe people will be thankful even if they had to choose nutrient rich items.I could go on and on talking about this subject.I will leave it at that.Thanks for sharing.

    Reply to Deborah~jean's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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