Friday Favourites 4

Lifelong Learning

I am the Youth Sunday School teacher at Church, and this week, we’re learning about… learning. Going back to school has really made me appreciate the opportunities I have been blessed with to get an education, and consequently, the whole idea of learning makes me geek out a little bit. (Okay, a lotta bit…) In preparing my lesson, I read this great quote by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, one of the Twelve Apostles, and it really resonated with me:

Beyond increasing our occupational qualifications, we should desire to learn how to become more emotionally fulfilled, more skilled in our personal relationships, and better parents and citizens. There are few things more fulfilling and fun than learning something new. Great happiness, satisfaction, and financial rewards come from this. An education is not limited to formal study. Lifelong learning can increase our ability to appreciate and relish the workings and beauty of the world around us. This kind of learning goes well beyond books and a selective use of new technology, such as the Internet. It includes artistic endeavors. It also includes experiences with people and places: conversations with friends, visits to museums and concerts, and opportunities for service. We should expand ourselves and enjoy the journey.

                                                            – Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the 12 Apostles

North Ronaldsay Sheep
“North ron sheep” by Ian Caldwell – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons


A few weeks ago, my Bishop told me about a show called CountryFile on BBC. I watched an episode about rare breeds and learned about this amazing breed of sheep called North Ronaldsay Sheep, which eat seaweed for most of the year! I’m currently taking a livestock module, and one of the assessments is to make a livestock management plan for a hypothetical organic livestock production system. We can include any livestock we want, and I’m seriously considering making mine about rare breeds that need saving! (I’m not sure if my non-UK friends will be able to watch this show, but if you can, it’s definitely worth it. Very interesting!)

Bespoke Travel Map

I’m (ever so slowly) working my way through a travel photography course through Matador U. They send me weekly newsletters, and one of them had a link to this awesome Customizable Travel Map maker. Mine is pretty empty just yet, but I’m stoked that there are two more countries on there than there used to be! (Edit: My grand adventure with Leslie has changed that a little!) You can keep updating it as you travel, so expect this to change. Haha! Get your own travel map here, and feel free to share your links in the comments!

Jess’s Travel Map

44 Horsey Things To Do Before You Die

You may have noticed that I added a link to my ever-evolving bucket lists on the navigation menu. Horse and Hound released a list of 44 horsey things to do before you die, so I have a feeling some of these will find their way onto my lists someday soon… I’ve even done a few of them already, like 32 (albeit not in Montana) and 35 (albeit not in Vienna)!

And speaking of horses, this is an excellent article about the push to get more riders to wear helmets. I will admit that I don’t always wear a helmet when I ride, but I know from personal experience that I should. Helmets have literally saved my life twice.

Can Organic Farming Feed the World?

My cousin Jessica posted this to Facebook this week, and I’m stealing it. It’s a great video about how we grow enough food to feed 11 billion people, but half of it goes into livestock feed and ethanol production. When one of the biggest arguments fans of conventional agriculture like to bring up against organic farming is their belief that “organic can’t feed the world”, it’s important to recognize that it most definitely can. We just need to learn how to better use and allocate the resources that we have. I’m all about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, but while biofuel claims to be a means to that end, it (1) still uses resources that might be better used to feed the people of the world, and (2) requires heavy applications of synthetic fertilizer to optimize corn growth, and creation of that synthetic fertilizer requires fossil fuels…


    1. Cool! Thanks for sharing, Jess. Thank you especially for posting Elder Oaks’ quote. I love learning, always have. That’s a big part of why I’m looking to become a teacher. But one thing that I have avoided for the longest time is doing any reading/learning outside my habitual realm of history or environmental science. I have had several moments where I have thought, “Maybe I should be reading more about parenting and child development”, but then I think “Aren’t the Scriptures enough?” They certainly say a lot about how to raise children (if you know what you’re looking for). I don’t want to become one of those parents that espouses any of these newfangled parenting programs at the expense of my flexibility to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and the scriptures seem pretty straight forward and simple in their parenting advice that I feel like they would be all I really need. But reading that quote you posted helped me understand that it is a good thing to read outside sources on a variety of topics (and it didn’t escape me that one of the topics mentioned by name was parenting) as long as you continue to learn from the scriptures and tandem with the good things you learn elsewhere. Such learning can help dampen the effects of any overly polarized parenting strategies. I guess I need to go to the library.

      Also, question: How would you suggest that a low income family such as Taylor and me jump on the organic foods bandwagon? I know you were excited about how cheap the organic food is where you are, but that’s because you live in an area where they have learned to grow it more efficiently and can therefore charge less. Here in the states, the label “organic” just seems to be an excuse to raise the price on certain products and apparently that label can’t even be trusted. Those who market certain products have seen the writing on the wall about the coming wave of organic food and have begun labeling their food accordingly and the FDA hasn’t found an effective way to police such dishonesty yet. So, not only is it still more expensive to purchase organic food, it also requires a great deal more research to discover which brands are truly “organic”. What do you suggest we do? Wait until you come home and turn the American food production industry on its ear?

      1. That’s a really good question, and one that I’m still trying to figure out the answer to. I will think on it a bit, and perhaps I will make a whole post about it! <3

        As for the labeling issue, the more I learn about the USDA's standards and policies, the more I trust the labels. The trick is to look for the USDA organic seal. As long as it has that seal--or if it's an import, the seal from its home country's certifying agent, like the Soil Association in the UK--it's organic. Here in the UK, it can't even SAY it's organic unless it really is. I'll do some digging to see whether that's true for the US as well, or whether the whole "they can put whatever they want on labels in the US" argument is really true.

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