Ne Si’Ka — Food From the Heart

One of the reasons I adore Twitter so much, is that I make connections with people I might not have otherwise met in real life! 

That isn’t profound or anything, but there’s beauty in the simplicity. 

I was hanging out on Twitter on Friday night, when a Timber’s supporter I follow, Mike, retweeted this: 


I don’t want to be all “I told you so,” but…. Twitter really is wonderful in this regard. I immediately went looking for more details, and what I discovered was Ne Si’Ka. Which takes the conversation to a whole new level of beautiful. 

Ne Si’Ka is a Portland based initiative raising money to create a “pay as you go” restaurant that both confronts hunger and food insecurity as well as fosters a greater sense of community. 

The goal is to create a completely non-biased and comfortable atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable and has a seat at the table with food and family. Our broader intention is to create and foster a greater sense of community while we help alleviate hunger and food insecurities. via Ne Si’Ka

See, beautiful. 

So, right about now, though, you’re wondering about that scarf. I was too, so I did some emailing and James, the Director of Operations for Ne Si’Ka, was quick to fill me in on the details. It turns out, they have a wonderful volunteer named Rhonda. I’m going to call her Saint Rhonda and you will too when you hear this: she’s making these scarves. By hand. And only charging $20. And then donating the proceeds to Ne Si’Ka

I cannot get my thumbs to talk to my fingers more than just to type, so I cannot imagine being able to knit something (or is it crochet) like this. Much less, be willing to make them for pure strangers! 

And that’s when this whole thing just explodes with beauty. Because, when you buy one of these scarves from Rhonda, you are not only supporting Ne Si’Ka and its mission to feed people and build community: you’re FULFILLING it. You are no longer a stranger to Rhonda. And what she gives to the world, well, you’ll be wearing it. That makes you connected. Through the internet. Via people you don’t know. From the vastness that is Twitter. Mind Blown.

These are tiny connections — but these tiny connections are the foundations of the change that is desperately needed. Oregon is a hungry state. Those of you who read Mireio regularly know how close to my heart these issues are. Any chance I get to speak out on preventing hunger and food insecurity: well, I’m going to use my voice to do.

But now you’re tired of hearing me talk… and want to know, “How can we buy that scarf, already!?”  You’ll need to email Rhonda directly. She can then invoice you via Paypal. She’s not set up a button, because these scarves do require work and she wants to make sure she can actually fulfill your order before taking your money.

You can also support Ne Si’Ka by making a donation directly on their website. And, of course, someday in the future, we can all meet up for a meal and a lively conversation.  

Why We Craft


Remnants of a glorious past: At Shively Park in Astoria, Oregon.


Yesterday, I shared a story about why we craft over on my facebook page. It’s an amazing story, and I hope you’ll pop over there to read it. 

However, it’s not my story. And it occurs to me that the why of what we craft is as deeply individual as the what; like the things we make, our impulses to be creative are ours. And there’s never just one reason, is there? 

(Whispering: I was raised with that old axiom, “You should never talk about religion or money in polite company”. . . and I’m about to break it on both fronts in this post. I still think y’all are polite company: but I hope you’ll read on! )

In my case, I shuttered Mireio last year because I was overwhelmed by a new job. It was so much to absorb, I didn’t think I had enough energy to work, volunteer, and be creative. Today, I’m working 3x as much–though I think I understand my job better! But in reality, there should be even less time to be creative. It’s plate spinning 101: if you run fast enough, perhaps nothing will drop?

But I missed it. I missed making. I missed photographing my adventures. And, I won’t lie, I missed the revenue. While money isn’t the only reason we make, it’s often a big part for those of us who choose to sell our wares. Or, maybe it isn’t for you — but I need the money, and making is just one way I can contribute to our household’s bottom line.

This year, my adorable 16 year old decided he wanted to go to college rather than spend 2 more years in independent study as a homeschooled student. “Ok, we said — you’ll need to pass your GED”. He took up the challenge and passed with honors in May. So, a deal is a deal? Right? And while we’re beyond proud of him, there is the reality of college tuition and books. Geo opted, due to his age, to go to our local community college: so, there is that! But even so, it’s an additional $500 a month.

Ok, so now I’m not just talking money, I’m talking numbers. I’m officially gauche. 

Here’s the thing: the part of all this making that scares me the most is the part where I have to sell what I make. I really despise that part. Every post I put up, telling you what I’m up to, I have that old axiom in my head: whispering in a fine southern drawl that feels more like a shout. I feel bad to intrude on your life, on your facebook page, on your twitter stream (I don’t even talk about it in person, even when people ask I demure) because I’m petrified of breaking a very old rule.

Most of my friends promote their wares endlessly. And I’m not appalled by it. I’m in awe of them! I wish I could be so brave.

So, this spring: when it became clear that our son was going to pass his GED and embark on his college career in September: I reversed my course and began reimagining what Mireio could be. I reopened my doors and I started talking to you about what I as up to.

Not as much as I can. Probably not even as much as I should: but here I am.

And here’s the thing, (this is the religious part: or the faith part as I’d like to think about it!) I’m not the only one who needs the money. I’ve talked about it before on this page, (My peas were an abysmal failure, le sigh) Oregon is a HUNGRY state, our county one of the most hungry. As I’ve sat with how to make my little store more profitable, I’ve also sat with the paradox of how blessed we truly are as a family. Despite our penny pinching, we are still able to put food on the table! There are others in my community who are not as fortunate. So, when a woman shared in church a few weeks ago that the food bank cupboards were bare of anything protein related and that there was a dearth of personal care items like soap; I knew I had to make Mireio count for more than just my little family’s growing fiscal need. 

Faith is believing in what cannot be seen. But that doesn’t mean God denies us the tangibles too! And here they are:

You don’t have to buy from Mireio. That’s ok. But when you do, I want you to know WHAT you are buying.

  • You’re buying books for a bright 16 year old who has dreams of changing the world as well as paying for his tuition.
  • You’re buying food for very hungry kids here in Clatsop County.*
  • You’re buying something beautiful to hold and keep; or give — that was made with love and care and a whole lot of faith. Faith that believes even a small gesture can change the world.

This, this is why I craft. I would love to know why YOU craft. 

More numbers: just how MUCH to the Clatsop County Foodbank? I’m donating 10% of the purchase price of each item sold on Mireio. I’ll be buying protein, mainly. And soap when I can find it on sale, so that the money goes FAR!  In real terms, when  you buy a $35 Buckwheat Hull Pillow, $3.50 will go to the foodbank.  The rest will go toward my kid’s college tuition and restocking supplies so I can keep on MAKING! 



No, I didn’t mistype the title: I’m SOWING! Read on! 


My friend from Seminary, Becka, is now a minister in La Grange , IL. Her church came together, raised $5000 and gave 50 church members $100 to make a difference in the world. It didn’t matter how they spent the money, just as long as it was used for good! 

Becka, (now the Reverend Rebecca McClintock) envisioned “Plant-a-palooza!” She asked her friends and colleagues to join her. If we signed up, she would send us seeds. Seeds to plant food for those who are hungry. 

The North Coast of Oregon is a tough place to garden. Sunlight isn’t always around. And then there is the neighborhood deer population to consider… but in truth, Oregon knows hunger. 13.6% of our population  suffers from food insecurity, while 5.9% suffers from low food insecurity, also known as hunger — many of those are children. While I’m not sure I can GET food to grow, it’s certainly worth the effort. Because no one should go hungry. And I want people to have access to good food, nutritional food. But in a world where money is tight, and cheap food is unhealthy, maybe giving back by growing good food is a way to make a real difference? 

So I signed up for Plant-a-Palooza. 

My peas arrived this week. I’ll need to find a place to plant them where the deer won’t help themselves. The back porch, maybe? With the right planters?  But it’s a start, right? I’ll keep you updated with a Peas Progress report from time to time. In the meantime, if you could pray in the direction of my peas, I’d sure appreciate it! 

Would you like to help me sow food: good food for those in need? Send me an email with your address and I’ll send you some seeds to plant that will grow in your area. Let’s multiply this good food and feed the multitudes.  

Ways you can share your veggies with those in need:

  • Donate to a food pantry/bank 
  • Make a meal for a neighbor in need 
  • Share with a single mom or dad or a family that might be struggling
  • Talk to a domestic abuse or homeless shelter to see if they could use some fresh food
  • Organize a cooking day to cook meals for shut-ins
  • Meals-on Wheels and Loaves and Fishes. Enough said!

So, join me? Let’s feed our communities this summer. I have utter faith and a can of organic deer repellant that says we CAN! 


*Friends, I can only send seeds to addresses in the US. Unfortunately, international customs typically won’t allow plant matter to be shipped in the mail. But, you can still join the effort… and I hope won’t let a few pesky shipping laws keep you from participating in your own fashion.