Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Your dog or you

I live on the northern coast of California. So far north, I jokingly call it "southern Oregon".
Before moving here a few years ago, being a southern California girl,(SoCal for short) I had no idea how different the coastline would be from what I was used to.

Apparently, the large number of sea stacks offshore are responsible for causing the waves to break and bounce in ways that create extremely dangerous and unpredictable currents in these super cold waters. It's just not safe to go swimming in the Pacific above San Francisco.

The reason for the mini geology lesson in this post is unfortunately a tragic one.  This past weekend, here on the North Coast, three members of a family lost their lives.
A mom, dad, and 16 year old son drowned in an attempt to save the life of their family dog, who got swept away in the treacherous ocean waters while playfully trying to retrieve a stick. Their dog was ultimately able to swim to safety.  You can read the story here and here.

I was sharing this with a relative out of the area and their response was one of sadness and disbelief.
In addition to that though was their amazement that someone would be so foolish as to put their own life at risk to save an animal.   I tried to explain that many people view their animal companions as part of the family, but the very idea that someone would do this was still incomprehensible to them.

This got me thinking.  I wondered if this presumption about animals and their worth(or lack of it) was fed more so by religious belief or cultural background?  The black community as a whole is not known for fighting for the cause of animal rights.  Some might say that blacks have been fighting too long and too hard for their(our) own civil rights to worry about dogs and cats are treated.

But I'm curious. If you're a non-vegan person of color and/or religious, would you risk your life to save your family pet?  Why or why not?
I especially want to hear from those who are not vegan, because right or wrong, I assume that we who are vegan and/or vegetarian for ethical reasons would indeed risk our own safety for the animals in our care.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A New Evangelical Manifesto, a book review and a confession

Manifesto: A written public declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.

"If you've never changed your mind about something, you may be dead.."
-Richard Cizik. 

My beliefs have evolved quite a bit over the years.  Ideas or philosophies that I once accepted without question, have been seriously unpacked, deconstructed, reassembled, and expressed in whole new ways.

For instance, I was once a (wait for it..) registered Republican. Now, I suspect that my more conservative readers may have just gasped, assuming that I've now fallen off a moral and philosophical cliff and into the "left-wing abyss."   My more moderate or liberal readers, especially those who know me in person, may be equally mortified learning of my recent conservative past.   While it's true that I am no longer a Republican, neither am I a Democrat.  Both political parties feel too extreme for  me.  I'm an Independent.

Since my gradual changes over the years, I've become more open to different ways of looking at issues than I might have been in the past. 

One of the advantages of this is discovering some awesome books that really challenge my old ways of thinking and present ideas that I believe have helped me to become more compassionate in how I live out my faith.  I must say though, that I am in no way implying that those who hold to one political side or the other are not compassionate, just that this is what I have experienced in my own life

So with all of that, it's been really cool to come across great books like the one I recently had the opportunity to read and review.  It's an anthology entitled A New Evangelical Manifesto: A Kingdom Vision for the Common Good, edited by David P. Gushee. 

A New Evangelical Manifesto: A Kingdom Vision for the Common GoodDavid is one of the founding members of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good (NEP), which mission states:
".. exists to advance human well-being as an expression of our love for Jesus Christ, which is itself a grateful response to his love for us and for a good but suffering world."

I love anthologies. To hear several voices in one volume on a plethora of related topics makes my brain happy.  And this book does not disappoint.

I was only familiar with one of the authors when I began (Brian McLaren), but have now become intrigued with everyone who contributed.  Of course I have my favorites.

The topics dealt with range from alternative ways politically active evangelicals can work towards common ground solutions to less abortion(a departure from the "winner take all" attitude of many from the religious/conservative Right),to reexamining the death penalty, the world's poor, human trafficking, peacemaking, gender issues, and so much more.
Here is the chapter list:

Introduction. David P. Gushee

Section I: A New Kind of Evangelical Christianity…
1. The Church in America Today (Brian McLaren)
2. Where the Church Went Wrong (Steven Martin)
3. A Disenchanted Text: Where Evangelicals Went Wrong with The Bible (Cheryl Bridges Johns)
4. My Journey Toward the “New Evangelicalism” (Richard Cizik)
5. A Theology That “Works” (Paul Markham)
6. God’s Vision for the Church—Kingdom Discipleship (Glen Harold Stassen)
7. Kingdom Community (Steven Martin)

Section II: Leading to Holistic Love of Marginalized Neighbors, such as…
8. Those Trafficked and Commodified (Jennifer Crumpton)
9. Those Suffering Preventable Diseases (Andi Thomas Sullivan)
10. Our Muslim Neighbors (Rick Love)
11. People of All Races (Lisa Sharon Harper )
12. Women (Jennifer Crumpton)
13. Children (Laura Rector)
14. The Dying (Scott Claybrook)
15. The Global Poor (Adam Phillips)

Section III: …And Redemptive Approaches in Public Life
16: Ending the Death Penalty (Timothy W. Floyd)
17: Making Peace (Paul Alexander)
18: Abolishing Nuclear Weapons (Tyler Wigg-Stevenson)
19: Overcoming Global Warming (Jim Ball)
20: Reducing Abortion (Charlie Camosy)
21: Resisting Consumerism (Jennifer Crumpton )
22: Standing Fast Against Torture (David P. Gushee)

I mentioned that I had my favorites.  I want to highlight a couple of them. 
The first is one of the founders of the NEP, Richard Cizik.
His essay entitled My Journey Towards the "New Evangelicalism," caused me to take the longest bunny trail from reading the book than any of the others.  When I read how Richard was encouraged to resign(or fired) from his position as Vice President for Governmental Relations of the National Association of Evangelicals, that was just too intriguing for me not to investigate further.  He got into some trouble for sharing his evolving views on an NPR radio program called "Fresh Air".  It's worth it to ditch my blog for a few minutes to take a listen, trust me.  Here is the first interview from 2008 and when they had him back on in 2010.

In case you don't want to or don't have the time to check out the broadcasts at the moment, I'll give you the shorthand version.  In the first interview, Richard shared how he was working to educate fellow Christians on the impact of climate change, supported civil unions for gays and lesbians, and government funding of contraception to reduce abortions. But the icing on the cake and perhaps the most offensive to his bosses and other conservative leaders, was his admission to voting for then Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 Virginia primary.

The story of the devastating effect his forced resignation had on him and his family is heartbreaking for sure.  But out of that experience was born the NEP, an important voice in the public arena.

The other essay that caused me to happily trail off was by filmmaker Steven Martin.

In his chapter entitled, Where the Church Went Wrong, he shares the premise of the three films he made on the role of the Church during the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany.  While it's true that during the Holocaust, many people of faith rescued and hid Jews at great personal risk.( Corrie Ten Boon comes to mind) And there were even organized resistance movements involving the likes of celebrated martyrs including Sophie Scholl and Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

But what I had no idea of until I read this volume, was that much of the Christian church in Germany at the time leading up to the Nazi takeover,were complicit in the government's making scapegoats out of the Jewish community. And in many cases, actually leading the charge in using theology to "prove" that the Jews were evil and the cause for all that was wrong with their country.
One such individual was Karl Themel, a pastor from Berlin who used his skills in administration and organization to decipher church baptismal records for Nazi advantage.  Themel acquired a special office, with the church's support, and went to work.

   This guy, so convinced he was on the right side of political and spiritual power, actually used what he discovered in church records to find those baptized Christians with Jewish ancestors. Then, turned over this information to the government. Over 2,700 people went to concentration camps as a result.  Pretty evil stuff..

Not a happy-go-lucky chapter. But one of great importance. A warning of the horrors that can arise when the Church is seduced by power instead of obedience to Jesus.

Every chapter has challenging, thought-provoking points to make. But I also found this book to be encouraging. While it does point out many of the Church's mistakes, it also shows a way that Christians can be engaged in a more holistic way with society.  A way that is more loving and nuanced as opposed to simply "black" and white" thinking and what we're against.

As is often the case, the very people I might think need a book like this the most, wouldn't come near it with a ten-foot pole, citing that it's "too liberal" or lacking a true biblical perspective.   
And a few years ago, I might have felt that way as well.   But to those out there with those feelings I say give it a chance. Give these writers a chance. 

And to those who may have turned their backs on Christianity or the Church because it just seemed too bigoted or close-minded, I invite you to investigate what these followers of Jesus have to say about the issues contained here and maybe even discover some common ground.

I suspect that no matter who you are, or what "side" you claim, A New Evangelical Manifesto makes a compelling case, many of them in fact, that will have you pondering for quite a while. I know it did me.

The New Evangelical Manifesto: A Kingdom Vision of the Common Good - part 1, interview with David Gushee on Patheos

The New Evangelical Manifesto: A Kingdom Vision of the Common Good - part 2 interview with Brian McLaren on Patheos

New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good
- New Evangelical Manifesto's sponsoring organization

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

God of All Creation: A Book Review

It's no secret that I am a believer in Christ, hence the name of my blog.
But the fact that I'm a Christian who values the lives of animals by not wearing or eating them, kind of makes me an anomaly among most of those who share my faith.

So imagine my delight when I came across the opportunity to read and review a book written by a fellow Christian that champions the idea of how precious and special animals and our relationship to them actually is.

God of All Creation: Life Lessons from Pets and Wildlife, by James Robison and James Randall Robison, was a refreshingly pleasant read. 

James tells the story of how he and  his wife Betty fall completely in love with a miniature Dachshund, they named Princess.  The story begins the way many do when one member of the family becomes smitten with an adorable dog or cat, but others in the household are not so supportive.
James's wife Betty when first hearing that he wanted little Princess, had a decidedly negative response.  "I don't want a dog in the house", "we travel too much", "it's too much trouble."   He was disappointed, but then decided to fight "dirty" and use their grand kids to get her to relent.  Once all four of them got a glimpse at Princess, it was over..

What I really enjoyed about this book was how the author was able to express the many parallels to how God views and relates to us and his relationship with Princess.
One instance that particularly tugged at my heartstrings, was when he shared about how sometimes his little companion gets into trouble while exploring outdoors and getting sandburs stuck in her paws. 

I love how he relates his chosen response to her getting into mischief and getting hurt to how he sees God responding to us.

 As I was reflecting on this process, I realized some profound truths. When I can tell that she's in pain, I lovingly invite her into my lap to take of it. People also need a compassionate invitation in order to gain their trust so they will come for help. Princess would never come to me if I shouted, "Stupid dog. Get out of the yard. Quit sniffing around. You're going to get what you deserve. I  told you not to go there!"  That would not make her want to get on my lap, in fact, she would probably run from me!  But this is what many children hear from their moms and dads...  This is also what we too often hear within the family of Christ. Believers can be harsh, judgemental, and unforgiving: "I can't believe you did that! You will reap what you've sown!"

Now, in all fairness I should let you know that is a book written for an evangelical audience, by an evangelical minister. Some might say televangelist. But, he and his wife Betty's ministry, Life Today, is one that reaches out to poor families and children around the world in amazing ways that include food, water wells, and rescue from sexual slavery.  

But even with it's evangelical bent and some churchspeak, I am thankful that there is a resource I can point to for many of my fellow Jesus followers that both honors their faith and the importance of seeing God's creatures as more special than they may have previously believed. It's such a sweet story. I highly recommend it.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

You're gonna do what? Stop eating meat? You are going to STARVE!

So, an online friend shared this video on my Facebook page this morning. I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd share it with you too. If you're a vegan or vegetarian and have been asked the age old question, "what on Earth do you eat?  Just break out in song and dance and tell 'em this:

I eat 

Callaloo, ackee, sweet potato
Yam, banana and tomato
Cabbage, spinach, avocado
Cho-cho, butter beans and cocoa
Courgettes, millet, plantain
Rice and peas and pumpkin
Mango, dates and guava
Chickpeas and cassava
Brussels sprouts and cauliflower
Onion, fennel and cucumber
Plum, pear and papaya
Aubergine and soya
Lime, lentils and quinoa,
Wholemeal bread and wholemeal flour
Watercress and okra
Tofu and sweet pepper
Couscous and carrots
Broccoli and coconut
Peaches, apples, apricot
Breadfruit, jackfruit, soursop
Pistachios, cashews and almonds
Walnuts, peanuts also pecan
Sesame seeds, sunflower, lemon
Orange, pineapple and melon
Bulgur wheat and garlic
Kiwi, corn and turnip
Pak choi and pomegranate
Hijiki and rocket
Berries, cherries and strawberries
Beetroot, grapefruit and celeries
You see the meat’s not necessary
We tell dem seh..

And then if they haven't fallen asleep because it took you so long, show 'em this:
Yep, he's obviously starving. Someone needs to intervene, right?

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Westboro Baptist Family Update

Back in July, I did a post on one of the families of Westboro Baptist Church and their shunning of their daughter because she dared to question their beliefs and practices.

Well, I am excited to share that that daughter Lauren Drain, has written a memoir entitled Banished: Surviving my Years in the Westboro Baptist Church.
Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church

The only downside is that it's not coming out until March 2013.  This title is most definitely going to be on my book club list for next year.   Go Lauren!

My First Radio Interview

I love listening to podcasts and radio talk shows. One of my recent favorites is a show called Mixed Race Radio, hosted by my friend Tiffany Rae Reid.

She asked to interview me on her show today and I obliged.  Now, public speaking is one of my least favorite things, but I survived!  lol
Be sure to check out previous episodes on her site on Blogtalk Radio as well.

Listen to internet radio with Mixed Race Radio on Blog Talk Radio

If the grownups didn't see the black girl get bullied, did it really happen?

So, there's something you should know about black people. Especially young black teenage girls who happen to be Olympians.  They're liars.. That's right.  If they say that they were bullied and teased and called a slave, they're just making it up.  Apparently for fun.. At least that's the case if you believe the defensive comments made by those who ran the gym where Gabrielle Douglas (she prefers it over being called Gabby) got her start before heading out to Iowa to train there instead at the age of 14.

Gabrielle appeared on Oprah's Next Chapter recently, and shared what it was like to train in an environment of verbal attacks and isolation she felt was due to her race.  I read this story and was incensed.
The response of the former coaches was one of denial, saying things like "Gabby was never a victim", and "I never once heard her complain about girls being mean.."   Are they serious?

Anyone out there ever been bullied as a kid? So tell me, how many of you just marched right on up to a teacher or coach to tell them your sad tale of being picked on by fellow students, complete with names?  If you did,  how did that go?    Did those bad kids see the error of their ways and just embrace you with all kinds of love and apology?  No?  I didn't think so.

Val, you seem a bit hot over this.  Yes, yes I am.   One of those coaches expressed that Gabrielle's story is sickening.  Really? You know what I think is sickening?  These so-called adults attacking a sixteen year old girl and daring to say her experience of bigotry and pain is not true. I thought she handled the interview with class and dignity. She didn't name names, she didn't say anything publicly about the coaches themselves.
Just who do they think they are?

In a previous post, I shared a bit about my experience of being one of very few blacks in a nearly all white Midwestern middle school.  I never said anything about what I was experiencing either. My parents new nothing of what I was going through until I was an adult, and even then, I didn't go into all the details.  That was a painful time and I lived for Fridays.

Now, most often kids aren't going to bully each other within the eye and earshot of an adult, so I can't understand why these coaches are reacting the way that they are. Young girls can be pretty mean and sneaky.   But, if they did witness what was going on and did nothing to stop it, well maybe this is their guilt talking. That and not wanting their gym to look bad. Too late. Their reaction has taken care of that.

I applaud Gabrielle for being upfront about her experience and how she's risen above it. She seems mature beyond her years. A maturity that appears to be lacking back at the old gym..

What do you think? Am I getting too emotional about this?  Do you think that a young person of color would go out of their way to make up stories of racial slurs and bigotry for the fun of it?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Chocolate Slaves

Yes, it's an unfortunate play on words. And I could go into all the atrocities that are being perpetrated right now as I type, for the love of the tasty confection that has been an acceptable world wide addiction for centuries.

But, I won't. I'm going to let blogger and founder of the organization Appetite for Justice, Lauren Ornelas do it for me.
Her words are clear, strong and to the point.  Please read and learn. Then make your voice heard as well as voting with your dollar.


Want(need) to know more?  Watch this:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

You'd be healed if you just had enough faith..

Unless you've spent time in the church world, the title of this post may seem a bit odd to you. Of course, it may also seem odd if you in fact are a christian, but were never subjected to such a flippant declaration.   I've been a christian since the summer of 1976, when as a kid I made the decision to follow Jesus while we were living in the Midwest. I shared the story briefly here

Over the years, I've been involved in different types of churches. Big churches, small churches, Baptist, Pentecostal, Word of Faith

One belief that was popular in much of my past church experience is the idea that God still does miracles and heals today just like He did in the stories we read in the Bible.  Now, I have do doubt about that actually.  I do believe it. But I also believe that every situation is different and God does (or doesn't) what He's going to do however He wants and in His own time.   

Yes, I believe faith is important. There are examples in the New Testament of Jesus healing those who simply displayed faith in His power.

But what about those who suffer and don't seem to ever get better? They pray. Others pray for them. Sometimes for days, weeks, months, and years.  What about them?

I have a dear friend who has suffered for many years with a debilitating illness.  I found her story so compelling and at the same time inspiring to me.  Her name is Kellie.  Please read her story here.

Kellie is also in my blogroll under the title RSDGirl. I highly recommend you check her out regularly. 
And if you are someone who lives with chronic pain or suffering, I believe you'll find her to be an inspiration to you as well.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Well, you're just a smug urbanite who feels superior to people who consume milk..

smug: contently confident of one's ability, superiority, or correctness;complacent.

 A couple of weeks ago we attended the garden party at the home of a dear friend who has just completed her cancer treatment.  They caught it early enough and she is going to be ok.  I am forever thankful to God for that.
The theme of my friend's celebration was to bring dishes created from produce from our own gardens if possible.   Well, I'm not much of a gardener(not at all actually) and have been told that I have a black thumb. No pun intended.

But, I do have some collard trees that my dad planted for me a while back and they are just massive.

So, I made a raw collard greens dish:

But I must admit, the other dish I made that seemed to be the most appreciated, also got me in the most trouble.  My Almond Feta stuffed Zucchini Blossoms:

Trouble you say? How could something as friendly and tasty as flowers stuffed with vegan feta cheese get anyone into trouble?  And there's the key phrase, vegan feta cheese.

My dear friend whose party this was graciously shared the squash photo on her urban farming Facebook page. I am thankful and humbled that it received a largely positive response.
But apparently not everyone felt so positive about my dish.

When it was stated by my friend that my cheese was vegan, someone felt the need to chime in with  his "learned" opinion.  Just for fun, let's call him Dairydude.
So Dairydude  says " vegan feta??? That sounds like some sort of genetically modified soy concoction synthesized for the purpose of allowing smug urbanites to feel superior to people who consume milk."

Wow, that was a mouthful. And a pretty big assumption on his part. Did I set Dairydude straight?
In a matter of speaking.  I did nicely defend the fact that I was raised by a farmer's daughter and there's not much smug about me.  I talked about how many people have issues with digestion of dairy products and it is a welcome substitute for those people to have nondairy options for their favorite foods.   I came this close to pulling the race card by stating that most blacks and asians don't digest dairy very well either and was he implying that blacks and asians who can't digest dairy as smug also?   But I didn't, as I realized that that kind of response would be over the top and more than a little obnoxious.   The last thing I wanted was to come off like a jerk on my friends' page. lol

But, this blog is my own turf. Sure, I don't intend to be purposely offensive or obnoxious, but I would be less than honest if I didn't continue my thoughts on the issue of milk consumption and Dairydude's comment.

So, let's take a hard look at what the consumption of dairy entails. I don't claim to be an expert, but I do read and watch all the info I can on this and other issues of animal product consumption.
Dairydude stated that the idea of eating a dairy substitute was somehow smug and I would suspect probably elitist in his opinion.   Really?

I don't doubt that there are some smug vegans or non dairy eating folks out there, but I don't believe they're the majority.  There are other compelling reasons not to consume products made from the milk of cows.

Ok warning. If you are one of those who call yourself cheese addicted, I'm about to ruin your day. If you are a vegetarian who believes that cows are not harmed by your consumption of dairy products because "at least I'm not killing them for their meat",(a position I used to hold) you may be tempted to put your fingers in  your ears and scream la la la la!  Sorry about that.

So what's wrong with dairy? I'm glad you asked.
Like all lactating animals, the female has to be pregnant in order to produce milk for her baby. Momma gives birth, momma nurses baby. After a while, baby is weened, everyone's happy.

Now, lets examine at what the story looks like for a dairy cow..

So that humans can have a continuous supply of milk, dairy cows must endure a yearly cycle of being forcibly impregnated.(On what the industry refers to as the "rape rack")  Once they give birth to their calf, they are separated because the milk is needed for humans to purchase.  If the calf is male(which half are), he goes immediately to auction to be sold and slaughtered.  Or if used for veal, to spend about 4 months in crates before being slaughtered.

Female calves face the same fate as their mothers and are set up for milk production as well.

If you are a parent, imagine the feeling of being separated from your child. Go ahead, I'll wait..
Now, imagine carrying your baby in your body for 9 months(or waiting nervously if you're an adoptive parent) and right after giving birth or a few hours later, someone comes and snatches your child away from you.  Go ahead, I'll wait again..

I don't know about you, but I did this exercise myself and it was a devastating thought.
"But, they're just cows Val",  you say. "They don't have feelings like people."  Really?
What about this? (scroll to the 3:11 minute mark)

Cows naturally have a lifespan of about 25 years or more, but those in the dairy industry live about 4 to 6 years and by then are "spent" from their life of constant milk production.  In their weakened state they are then sent off to slaughter.

But, you don't have to take my word for it. How about the words of a fourth generation rancher and feedlot operator?
"If your reason for abstaining from meat has more to do with an emotional attachment to animals than a concern for your health, then understand that dairy cows are truly sick, miserable, abused creatures that are fed a hi-protein diet(often animal based) counterproductive to their health. They are then often drugged with bovine growth hormone and antibiotics, and abused to provide more milk than they have been created by Nature to give, little or none of which goes to their own young." Howard Lyman, author of No More Bull,The Mad Cowboy Targets America's Worst Enemy: Our Diet.

I have to admit, I love Howard. He's lived the life of a cattle rancher. And if anyone knows what they're talking about on this issue, he does. It's often been said that he's most likely sent more cattle to their deaths back in his ranching days than any of the people still in the industry that he's debated over the years or those in the audiences he's spoken to.

I highly recommend checking out his story in the book Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won't Eat Meat. 

Now back to Dairydude.  I've made a decision to no longer take part in the suffering, cruelty, and slaughter inherent in milk production and instead find more compassionate alternatives to the foods I love. But somehow that makes me smug. Meanwhile his dismissive attitude toward those who've made a similar choice to my own is supposed to be what? More down to earth?

(Alert, race card about to be  played..)

When white British abolitionists in the 18th and 19th centuries boycotted sugar due to the fact that it was produced by the suffering and misery of black slaves, were they being smug as well?

Now, I'm looking over the definition of smug again. I don't subscribe to the superiority part, but I see nothing wrong with believing with all your heart that you are correct when siding with the oppressed.

And I suspect that Dairydude has a bit of smugness in him as well, since it seemed to me from his comment that he believes consuming real cheese is superior to my vegan version.  But that's ok. Everyone is at a different place in their journey.  I don't feel or believe I'm better than or superior to those who eat dairy.
Maybe just a bit more informed.  But, we all care about different things.  And as important as this issue has become to me and many others, there are just as many people or more who just don't want to think about it.  It's hard, it's painful and who wants to consider that their personal choices are causing harm to others?  It can feel so overwhelming.

But I hope I've given those of you who made it to the end of this wordy post something to consider.
For more info on this and related issues, please check out the links below.

  Oh and if you'd like to know what vegan almond feta tastes like, here's where you can find the basic recipe I work off of.  Vegetarian Times Almond Feta Cheese.

Humane Myth

Mad Cow Boy, site of Howard Lyman