Sunday, January 24, 2016

Thank God for Clothing

Today I am grateful for clothes.

Clothing is something that people in First World countries typically have plenty of. My wife and I hate shopping, and we do as little of it as we can get away with. Yet somehow, it seems we've always got at least a few items to donate whenever a donation truck comes by looking for clothes. We are by no means extravagant--we typically shop at the same thrift stores that we donate our clothing to--but we definitely have far more clothing than we really need. I count myself very fortunate, because there are a lot of people in the world who make do with little or no clothing.

Even if we ignore the impact that clothing has on our outward appearance, let's consider the practical survival impact of clothing. Having a clean change of clothes is a crucial factor in avoiding lice and various skin diseases. When working, clothing can protect us from scratches and other wounds. Most importantly, in many climates, having proper clothing is a necessity for survival, as it protects us from cold weather that could otherwise be lethal.

If you dress in layers, clothing can be adjustable: you can remove some articles if you start feeling too warm, or add layers if you're feeling cold. You can save money and natural resources by adjusting your thermostat to a moderate temperature and using clothing to regulate your comfort level.

Clothing does not require batteries, a plug outlet, or fuel. In a major emergency, you may have to go without heating, power, or water, but your clothing will keep on functioning. How cool is that?

Tell me why you're thankful for clothing in the comments below.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Thank God for Ovens and Stoves

This is the second in my series of gratitude-oriented posts. Several of my posts will be about modern appliances that are so common as to be taken for granted here in the United States. This one is about ovens and stoves.

Some people say that our ability to cook our food is what made it possible for us to be human--that without pre-processing meats and vegetables via an external heat source, we would never have been able to feed our brains the number of calories they require in a day. And over time, human beings have come up with a wide variety of ways to cook food.

Most cooking methods throughout history were smelly, dangerous, and expensive. In rural areas, people had to spend an enormous amount of time gathering and chopping wood. As more people moved into cities during the Industrial Era, many people still couldn't afford their own ovens--except when they paid a baker, their menu was limited to that which could be cooked in the fireplace, perhaps with a pot or spit hanging over the fire. The lucky ones would "slave over a hot stove" (literally the same stove that they used to heat their homes--it would have been very uncomfortable) all day to make food for their family. And it was not at all uncommon for people's stoves or chimneys to burn their entire house down.

Most people throughout history could never have even dreamed of being able to simply "turn the oven on" when they were ready to cook food. That's not even mentioning the other standard features of a modern range: a temperature control, timer, window, and adjustable racks; multiple stove-top burners with separate temperature controls--heaven!

If you live in a first-world country today, you most likely own a gas or electric range, or at least a little toaster oven. So let's spend a moment thinking about how much more difficult life would be without it. Let's also remember that many, many people in the world today still don't have that luxury. And let's thank God for this magnificent appliance.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Thank God for Snow

One of my New Years Resolutions for 2016 is to spend more time feeling gratitude.
To this end, I will be writing a series of blog posts dedicated to highlighting things I am thankful for. This is the first of those posts.

Thank God for Snow

Thank God for Snow!

Snow comes at the time of year when we receive the least warmth and light from the sun. Covering the ground, its whiteness reflects the sunlight back up at us from all directions, brightening our day and spirits. Its crystalline facets glisten in the sunlight, giving us the impression of walking through a world blanketed with diamonds. What beauty!

Snow also comes at the coldest time of the year. Forming snow from the water in clouds is an exothermic process, releasing heat into the air, and keeping our winters from being quite as cold as they might otherwise be.

Snow serves as a natural insulator. Snow on your roof helps to keep the heat in your house from escaping into the sub-freezing outdoor temperatures. The layer of snow and ice on a lake protects the hibernating aquatic creatures beneath from the worst winter temperatures. When temperatures drop low enough, people and animals will fare far better in a snow cave, or in "robes beneath the snow" than they would exposed directly to the elements.

At high elevations, snow becomes a natural reservoir. As temperatures rise, it automatically releases water to the lower lands during the spring and summer months when it is most needed. This is particularly poignant to people like me, living in a desert valley at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, but it affects everyone downstream, all the way to the coast--not to mention those who buy food that was grown using that water.

Thank you for taking some time out of your day to read some of my reasons to be thankful. Why are you thankful for snow? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.