Let’s Not Get All Riled Up About Roundup

Reconsidering Glyphosate

gly·phos·ate

ˈɡlīfəˌsāt/

noun

a synthetic compound that is a nonselective systemic herbicide, particularly effective against perennial weeds.
Let’s get one thing out of the way:  I realize this is a hot button controversial topic, and it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever written.  If you are a friend reading this, and you are against the use of glyphosate, I still consider you a friend, and I hope you still consider me yours.   I would think that this issue should not affect our friendship in the least.  Let’s just agree to disagree, okay?  But if you are willing, please hear my side.  

Roundup QuikPro-6.8 lb 

I’ve seen numerous posts  and pictures memes floating out there on social media against glyphosate by people who don’t know the whole story. To me, this is personal.

When all the negative publicity about modern agriculture in the United States started floating around 10 years ago (at least in my world) about  topics such as organic produce, anti GMO’s, anti pesticide/herbicide), it really bothered me. After all, I was a brand new mom and, perhaps, conscientious to a fault. I wanted to protect my baby and make sure that he had the best possible start to life.  I certainly didn’t want my child exposed to toxic chemicals, and was wondering if it was worth the extra expense and effort to buy organic food for our family.

On the other hand, my dad is a third generation farmer on a dairy farm which was started by my great-grandfather. He has invested his entire life’s work to care for his family’s land.  It has always been his goal to help the farm produce good food for the dairy cows, to be successful, and provide for his own family.

sam's pics 102

When my son was newborn, I first brought up the topic to my Dad to ask what he used on his crops, and find out his perspective. I was surprised to learn that he is the person on the farm who is the certified pesticide applicator, which allows him to purchase and apply commercial grade herbicides. Do you think he would want to be out there on the  family farm, spreading something that would hurt his family and causing harm to the soil and his dairy cows?   

If you know my dad, the answer to that is  a firm “no”. My dad, his brothers and the nephews who are now continuing the farm, all truly care about the fields, the cows and their own families. Dad’s favorite part of farming is being out on the land, planting crops, watching them flourish and harvesting them. He would not want to hurt his land, poison his own animals, and much less harm his own grandchildren. 

I learned in talking to my dad that there are many benefits in using glyphosate. The points below are definitely not exhaustive.  They are a few brief summaries.  (Please see the links at the bottom of this page for much more specific information.) 

  • Glyphosates control weeds.  Controlled weeds help provide higher yields.
  • Higher yields can allow more food to be produced while using less land.
  • Less land utilized means the land can be used in diverse ways, and it conserves soil.
  • Glyphosate is actually  more safe and less toxic than some products used by organic farmers. 
  • The alternative for glyphosate would likely mean more frequent tillling to control weeds.  This would reduce yields, cause loss of moisture, and it also stresses and erodes the soil.
  • If glyphosate is restricted, there would be less crop yields and food prices would increase.
  • Glyphosate has been studied numerous times throughout the world over the past 40 years and they have not been found to be harmful to humans.
  • Dad says when they first started using glyphosate it was a great improvement compared to using more dangerous and poison herbicides that they previously applied, such as atrazine and alochlor.

 

I know that “organic” sounds like a good word, and ‘herbicide” sounds like a bad word, but that doesn’t mean all herbicides are bad.

I know the argument is that natural is better, and for the most part, I believe that too.   

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My dairy farmer dad with his grandchildren

The men on my family’s 100 year old dairy farm are continuously aware that they are stewards of their farmland.  They do everything they can to give good care to the land so that it will flourish.  Yes, weeds and thorns are part of the curse in the Bible (see Genesis 3:17-19), but we are also told to fill the earth and subdue it (Gen. 2:15).  God gave us dominion over His creation (Gen. 1:26).   Taking dominion means that we make good use of the land, and  I personally believe that using  glyphosate doesn’t compromise that in any way.   The truth is that there have been numerous studies and glyphosate has not been shown to be harmful to humans.  It helps conserve the earth and allows for a safe, productive food supply.    

Yes, you are welcome to disagree.  Remember my first paragraph above? Feel free to comment below.  (All comments are moderated before they are published.)  I have provided some links below that explain facts and details about this issue much better than I can.  I hope you will read some of them if you are still skeptical:

  From Scientific American:  Mythbusting 101:  Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture

A recent Yahoo news story:  Large U.S. Farm Study Finds No Cancer Link to Monsanto weedkiller

The study from the story above:  Glyphosate Use and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study

This article is fascinating, citing studies that show how glyphosate has reduced CO2 emissions and increased soil conservation:  Everything in Agriculture is a Trade-Off

From The New Yorker:  Roundup and Risk Assessment

From Genetic Literacy Project:  Is Glyphosate (Roundup) Dangerous? 

I didn’t talk about GMO’s specifically in this article, but this is a fantastic and detailed post on The Peterson Farm Blog if you wish to delve into that issue as well:  Advocating for Truth:  GMOs

 

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I married a Chicago Cubs fan

The past couple of weeks I’ve been blowing up my Facebook personal page with Chicago Cubs status updates. It was a thrill this year when they won the wild card against the Pirates, followed by a successful division series against the Cardinals.  Then there was the crushing defeat last night when the Mets swept them in the NLCS.

Truthfully, I have never been a sports person.  About 25 years ago there were sparks of enthusiasm for the high school basketball team, but the highlight was hanging out with friends on the bleachers.  It was all about socializing.  When Dad and the brothers watched their Detroit Tigers, you would have heard me complaining, because I preferred to watch my beloved Little House on the Prairie.

Years later, I met my Dean man.   He turned out to be a “sports guy”.  He enjoys watching  football and he loved playing church softball, but above all, he is a baseball guy.  And not just any baseball guy.  He is a Chicago Cubs fan.

gocubs

Dean grew up in suburban Chicago in the late 70’s.  His family had one small black and white television, complete with tin foil  antenna.  This tv could receive only one channel:  Chicago’s famous WGN.   Are you seeing the connection?  Dean, who is kind of shy, quiet, and was the only boy in the family with two sisters, tunes into the Chicago Cubs. Being a future math teacher, he started tracking  players and stats, even creating his very own game–a sort of baseball solitaire, if you will.   He was hooked. For life.

It’s no surprise that his favorite color is Cubbie blue.  When he asked me to marry him, there was one condition:  I had to attend a game at his beloved Wrigley Field first.

Karen's first Cub game

 

Since he required me to attend a Cub game, I told this city-boy that if he wanted to marry me, he had to milk a cow at my dad’s dairy farm.

misc 006

(I still consider it cheating, because he did not actually touch a cow’s udder, but merely hooked up a milker.)  I digress.

It was during our engagement that I made a decision:  This non-sports person, would become a Chicago Cubs fan too.  Of course, I was in love with the man.  But I also knew from experience that things you adore about the other person when you are dating, can easily become agitations in the future.   Since Dean loved to spend some of his free time watching 2-3 hour long baseball games, I decided I would not kick against the goads.  I would become a Cubs fan too.

We walked into our wedding reception with “Go Cubs Go” playing in the background.

Go Cubs Go!

Naturally, our first child was born on opening day.  We watched the first game of the season in my hospital room, and while you can’t see it in this picture, our son was already wearing his Chicago Cubs onesie with matching booties.

Go Cubs Go

 

We have indoctrinated our children to become Cub fans.  Normally super strict on bed times, we allowed them  to stay up late and watch play-off games the past couple of weeks.

Go Cubs!

In summary, here are some major perks to being married to a Cubs fan:

  • I can buy pretty much anything Cub themed, and my normally frugal husband doesn’t object.
  • It is a wonderful way to spend an evening.  You cannot imagine how much crocheting I can accomplish while spending time with my husband and watching the Cubs.
  • During the off season we keep track of the news, draft and trade information, so there is always good conversation.
  • We dream about someday traveling to watch the Cubs play in several ball parks across the country.
  • If Dean  is loyal to the Cubs through all their ups and some terrible downs, I have no doubt he will always be loyal to me.

Go Cubs Go!

 

How about you?  Have you become a sports fan via marriage?   Would love to hear your comments below.

Things I’ve Learned in 2014

1.  Manufactured outrage and the news.  I was taken aback this summer when a fellow Word Weaver blogger used the term “manufactured outrage” and said she wasn’t “taking the bait” anymore.  I was allowing the news stories to take away my peace. Dwelling on them tainted my thoughts with fears and negativity.

Bowe Bergdahl

The Bowe Bergdahl story was a turning point.  Bowe is a beloved son and brother who was raised by a conservative Christian family.  The family attended a church in a denomination that I once attended.  I was baffled at the feeds I was seeing from conservative outlets and the accusations against his parents.  I came across this post which describes in better words how I was looking at the story and processing it.  Seeing the memes and headlines caused me to step back from all the news, the outrage, and the craziness. I won’t “fall for the bait” with the big headlines. I feel more compassion, realizing a situation is usually more complex than anyone can realize from one news story or Facebook page blurb.  (Not that I blindly trusted everything prior to this!)  While still interested in politics and current events, I’m holding the news at arms-length and feeling more peaceful inside; less stirred up.

2.  Consistent homeschooling produces results.  When I didn’t think there was any progress, it was still happening.  My seven year old suddenly took off with reading!  We had serious concerns about learning disorders  when he was reading backwards, mixing up words and switching letters around.  We kept at our phonics workbooks day after day, week after week (seemingly mundane at times), and all of a sudden—it clicked! He apparently reached a developmental milestone and there was rapid change. Now he is reading beyond where we were with our phonics lessons.  I’m amazed how far both children have come in a year, and it gives courage and incentive to stay the course.

3. Life is precious and there is a time for mourning.  We were shocked/delighted to find out we were expecting a baby in February. There were several weeks of hopeful anticipation, followed by a concerning ultrasound, followed by a confirming ultrasound that our baby was gone.  My heart has been grieving that baby all year.  The grief has finally eased up since getting past our “should have been” due date in late October.  That baby was real, that baby was wanted, and that baby was not insignificant in the kingdom of God.  That was the lesson learned.  There isn’t a shortcut for grieving.  Heaven will be all the sweeter to meet my little ones.

4.  In researching family history,  I learned of my rich Christian heritage.  My great-grandparents were common, every day people. They were poor immigrants who were rich in faith. They came to America in hopes of a better life.

On both sides of my family, great-grandparents, grandparents and parents prayed for their offspring to believe in God, to have faith in His Son. God has heard their prayers and answered them by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is my most important inheritance (not based on relationship with my relatives, but because it is now my own through the grace of Christ).  My prayer is that my children will also have this faith.

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV)

Four generations – 2007

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome in the comments section below!

Devastated about John Balyo

June 20, 2014

I saw a news item about accusations against John Balyo this afternoon that shocked and devastated me.  We regularly listen to his radio program on WCSG  with his co-host, Amanda.

I’m angry because a child suffered this evil.

I’m angry because what he did makes every song on that station sound cheap to me today.

I’m devastated to think what his new wife might be going through.  I find it almost unbearable to think about how she is feeling.

I am most upset that this sin dishonors the name of Christ in such a massive, public way in the community.

Isaiah 47:10 & 11 ESV
 
July 7, 2014

More and more details have come out about John Balyo’s dark side.  His secret sins have left a terrible wake, and there will likely be more devastation coming.

What happened to Bethany Balyo (John’s new wife) is my worst nightmare come true.  As a mother, it brings up fears for my own children.  Perhaps many women feel this way.  This episode has brought back memories of grief and pain.  There have been some sleepless, restless nights because of getting stuck in a loop of thoughts and worry. However, along with that grief comes opportunity for more healing.

I can choose to focus on the devastation, or I can get back into God’s Word, and find peace, comfort and refuge in Him.  I am thankful for my husband and a few others who have listened to my thoughts and feelings about this issue and are helping me process through them.

Looking back,  God has never, ever failed me.  To keep letting myself go in these circles of thought and being obsessed about the case against him, does nothing but let the enemy have his way.  This results in depression and despair.  I have a beautiful family and life that has been given to me.  Satan would love to take away my joy and cause me to live in fear, but by the grace of God, that won’t  continue any longer.  I choose to cling to Christ and on His promises in Scripture.

Psalm 37:4

Chris Lemke, general manager of WCSG spoke to Chris Fabry  about John Balyo on his radio program on Moody radio on June 24.  I highly recommend listening to hour two, “Processing a Moral Failure”.  Highlights/quotes from Chris Lemke:

-He was called ‘the boyscout’ here because he was squeaky clean.
-He was married just 7 weeks ago and his bride and new step son had recently lost her husband to cancer 2 or 3 years ago…
-Saturday night I got home late and my wife and I had a heart to heart talk and she asked me  ‘Honey, how do I know I can trust you?’

Here are concrete ways to help:

Pray for the victim, and any other potential victims that are involved in this case.

Support and pray for organizations that help children and other victims of sex trafficking such as  Women At Risk, International (WAR). WAR offers many ways to get involved.

Support and pray for Bethany Balyo.

Support and pray for WCSG radio station and Cornerstone University.

As difficult as it is, we can pray for John Balyo, that  he will repent and seek God’s mercy.  He has apparently been struggling for many years and will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.  Pray that any others who are struggling with an addiction or similar issues will understand the potential consequences because of this news story, and seek out help.