Trish’s history of compassion towards animals

I remember the first experience with feeling empathy towards animals started with our dog Inky when I was about seven (which was fifty-five years ago). I may have been the one to find her dead in our garage. Knowing that she was dead was devastating to me. My parents thought our neighbors might have poisoned her. Thinking that people could be so cruel affected me deeply and I felt overwhelmed with sadness for our old cocker spaniel who had been so kind and loving.

When at age nine I finally was able to have my very own dog, a friendly and affectionate golden retriever I named Goldy, I was thrilled. But only a few months after she became my companion, vicious bulldogs attacked her. The bloody wounds in her stomach looked so painful, and for some reason, my parents did not take her to the vet. She ran away, never to be found. I sat in my second story room, looking out my window, hoping to see her feathery tail wagging. I was crushed by this loss.

 

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When at age nine I finally was able to have my very own dog, a friendly and affectionate golden retriever I named Goldy, I was thrilled.

 

Probably to avoid being so hurt again, I never wanted a dog or a cat that I called my own after this painful loss. But I still loved animals and felt connected to their pain. One book that deeply affected me was “Beautiful Joe” based on the true story of a dog who lived in Canada. The book’s opening scene where a dog was being cruelly treated by his owner, and then was saved by a beautiful and courageous woman, touched my heart deeply. I cry even now when I think about the examples of animal abuse described in this book. At age twelve, reading the heroic adventures of the young lady who helped save animals she saw were being abused, this book inspired me. “Maybe I could help to alleviate the suffering of animals and humans,” I thought. But probably because of societal influences, for most of the rest of my life my focus was on alleviating the suffering of humans.

 

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When I was seventeen I had an epiphany while watching the well-known television show, Lassie.

When I was seventeen I had an epiphany while watching the well-known television show, Lassie. I was having a particularly hard time with people who were treating me in hurtful ways. When I saw the unconditional love that Lassie had for Timmy and other people, from seemingly out of nowhere I had these thoughts:

 

“Most dogs are kind to people. We don’t eat them. Most cows are kind to people. We eat them. People are unkind. We don’t eat them. Therefore, I don’t want to eat animals. They are kinder than people. I don’t want to hurt animals. They don’t deserve to be hurt.”

I instantly became a vegetarian for ethical reasons. I was committed to this lifestyle up until about two years ago when I happened to be at the Comic-Con Conference in San Diego. My daughter and I had some free time and decided to take a trolley down to this event to see what was happening. We walked by a friendly woman who offered us a dollar to watch a three-minute video. Because a dollar was a lot to me at that time, I was willing to take her up on the offer!
The video was made by Farm Animals Rights Movement (FARM) and was very well done. Even though I had wanted to give up dairy and eggs for the past few years, somehow I couldn’t take this next step. However, when I was asked how many days I would be willing to give up all animal products, I said, “seven days a week”.  Since then, I have been a committed vegan.

I thought that just being vegan was a huge contribution to helping alleviate the suffering of animals. Besides, other issues were tugging at me for attention. I decided to pour all my efforts into the animal rights movement when I met Barbara Hulley when I was visiting the Bay Area last year. I had finally found my niche after searching for the past 43 years.

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We walked by a friendly woman who offered us a dollar to watch a three-minute video about animal welfare.

 

Funding came forth from a sponsor who generously helped Jesus Vegans get off the ground. We continue to receive money in order to move forward with a staff, an event center, and an eco-village (which is in the process of being built). Being able to attend the Creature Conference in London last March, and connecting with people like Daryl Booth who founded Sarx (a Christian animal welfare organization based in the UK) has also been amazing. I have found that people who are both Christian and vegan have more in common with me than anyone else I have experienced. This gives me a lot of joy because I love working with like-minded people who are both passionate about their cause and share my core values.
My heart breaks for the suffering of animals, especially farm animals because their deaths are so unnecessary. I am surrounded by people who eat meat and animal products. I don’t condemn them because of their habits. After all, I ate animal products that produced great suffering in animals (dairy products and eggs) until only two years ago. And most of them accept my preferences and even support me in my efforts to build Jesus Vegans. Yet I yearn for a day when all can wake up and see that their eating habits directly hurt other creatures who have emotions just like we do.

Recently, after getting marvelous feedback about our website from Sarx director Daryl Booth, Chris (my son who works for Jesus Vegans full time) and I came up with a revised mission statement which gave me hope that we can make a difference in helping people wake up. Here it is:

“Our mission is to empower vegans, animal rights supporters and those who care about the earth to cooperate, build communities, and increase unity.”

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In this way, I can utilize my life-long experience in organizing events, people, groups, meetings, structures, and communities. I can also use my communication skills and facilitation skills as well.

I feel grateful to be able to work full time on fulfilling this mission, and now the only things missing are passionate, emotionally healthy people who want to use their talents to help make this mission a reality. We are able to offer a work exchange program which you can learn more about here.  if you want to explore the possibilities of living and working to produce events at our event center and build our eco-village.

Thanks so much for reading my story. I would love to hear your feedback as well as hear about your stories.

Weekly Menu

This is so encouraging! Thanks, Sarah.

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Every Saturday evening, I sit down with my calendar for the upcoming week, a stack of my favorite cookbooks, my laptop, and a pen and paper. Twenty minutes later, I have a menu for the week and a grocery list.

I’ve heard from a number of friends and family that one of the biggest hindrances to eating vegan is not knowing what to cook. I’ve also heard from friends who are in a food rut. 

So, I might not do it every week, but when I can, I’ll post our weekly menu here. I’ll miss the mark sometimes, but most will be kid- and budget-friendly, fast, and filling vegan meals. I work full-time, and I often work from home. If a recipe needs a little extra time in the stove or oven, I pause in the late afternoon and then get back to work while the food does its thing in…

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Description of Patricia’s efforts in grassroots organizing which led to a tree sit

I am very grateful that Anita Schnee could be there from the beginning of the tree sit. I am reminded that I do have quite a few talents and a lot of persistence so I want to help all the great things that are already happening in the animal welfare movement be even more effective. That is what I am good at.

Patricia Mikkelson's Life Journey

I met Ms. Mikkelson over a year ago, when, as a lawyer, I was called on to mediate diverse grassroots resistance to an unlawful development project in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she and I live. I myself, hindered by circumstances to do any more than the briefest community work, would be greatly reassured to know that Patricia Mikkelson would be doing the same thing for the Arctic Refuge as she did for Fayetteville

Patricia sparked the resistance movement at its beginning stages. It was she who began organizing against the city’s connivance at tree-preservation ordinance violations in favor of a huge mall development. The resistance grew to include tree-sit action and substantial civil disobedience of over twenty people.

Through a protracted and tense summer and at great personal cost, Patricia applied her considerable talents wherever she was needed. She initiated and participated in email bulletin boards and chat-lists that were vital…

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Recommendations for Trish: Getting to Know Her

Hey friends–I am a new kid on the block, so to speak, when it comes to animal rights and such. But I am experienced helping movements grow, and working with people to help empower them to work together and capitalize on their strengths. I also have been a follower of Jesus for the past 16 years, and continue to grow as I am an apprentice to Jesus, doing my best to be more like him in every way.

I thought you might like to read some things that people have said about me and my abilities. I was inspired when I re-read them! God is so good. He has given me the ability to organize and the opportunities to hone that skill.

https://iammeetupvicepresident.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/recommendations-for-patricia-mikkelson/

Here’s one about how I used open space technology to organize a gathering: https://patriciamikkelson.wordpress.com/2007/12/08/community-gathering-testimony-from-staci/

Here is one specifically about my involvement with spearheading a tree sit in Fayetteville, AR. https://patriciamikkelson.wordpress.com/2007/12/06/description-of-patricias-efforts-in-grassroots-organizing-which-led-to-a-tree-sit/

Sarah Withrow King of CreatureKind.org: her story

I’m starting a series of stories of how Christian animal advocates came to their revelations of how important it is for us as Christians to treat animals with great care. Creaturekind.org, of which she is co-director, is partnering with Jesus Vegans to produce the Christian Animal Welfare Summit.  She also wrote the fabulous book Vegangelical: How Caring for Animals Can Shape Your Faith. I love her story.

Missio Anima

Creamy Hemp Seed Dressing: Easy, oil-free, and nutritious

When I went to visit my brother in San Francisco back in March 2016, I tasted hemp seed dressing for the first time. Friends of his who were vegan wanted to meet me (vegans like to meet each other when ever they can!) and so this lovely couple and their one year old daughter came over for dinner. Joe and Stacy seemed like old friend from the start. Joe brought the entire meal, and the hemp seed dressing was the tastiest dressing I have ever had.

I have yet to ask him for the recipe, but I am enjoying this one. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know how it turns out.

http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/23/ultra-creamy-hemp-salad-dressing-nut-free-oil-free-delicata-squash-salad/

Sociocracy 3.0: Our Governing Structure

Have you ever heard of the tyranny of structurelessness? When I heard that phrase which was the title of an excellent article, something inside me jumped for joy. For so long, people would tell me that my desire for a good structure which could help organize a group was about control. But the fact is, when there is no structure, someone is going to do some controlling the organization. And it will be hard for a person like myself, who loves to get involved with groups, to know how to participate effectively. The lack of structure will also be toxic and demoralizing.

So when I found Sociocracy 3.0 7 months ago when was living temporarily in the Bay Area, I was thrilled! I felt as if I had finally come home. This is the structure we at Jesus Vegans are using and sharing with others. http://evolvingcollaboration.com/sociocracy-3-0-in-a-nutshell/.

We have found a way to work together that really aligns with one Jesus highest priorities: love your neighbor as yourself