Sunday, February 28, 2010

KIVA (Microfinancing)

I just made a loan to someone in Kyrgyzstan through KIVA - a microfinancing website.

You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.

The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I just made a loan to this group of women, named Nurjan Sabyr–kyzy's Group in Kyrgyzstan.  

It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.

Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.

Just follow this link to find out more.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Love food Hate waste

I hate wasting food!

So I was very pleased to come across this site. Full of useful tips and recipes!

Tomorrow is the day when we do our weekly food shopping, so I rummaged through the fridge and cupboard and found some left-overs to plan this evening's meal with - some potatoes, a few parsnips, half a swede and some spring onions. Eggs and flour is usually stocked.

With those ingredients I made these vegetable rostis, served with bacon and fried egg. Everybody liked them. Bonus!


Fairtrade fortnight

Fairtrade fortnight 2010 runs from February 22nd to March 7th.

A great reminder that we can help those who grow and provide food for us in the developing world by ensuring that they receive a fair living wage!

We can do that by swapping as many food and household items as possible for fairtrade alternatives ( fruit, coffee, tea, chocolate, wine, sugar, rice, flowers, cotton etc) . Sure, they tend to be a little more expensive - but the extra money we pay means the producer has earned a better and fairer income.

After all, we all want to be able to provide for our families.

To get to the fairtrade page, click here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I attend my local Anglican church, and I value it greatly. As well as worshipping God people there have a heart to serve the community, and it is great to be a part of that!

However, there is also a small online community, which I am a member of.

People from different churches and none come together to share their thoughts and views, and talk about their faith.

Here is what i-church says about itself:

i-church is an online Christian community
based on Benedictine principles.

i-church was founded by the Diocese of Oxford in the UK
but has members all over the world.

This is the Gatehouse,
where you will find information about us and our activities,
and links to other parts of i-church.

The Courtyard
is the place where we interact with the world - our public forums.
We would love you to join us.

Perhaps you will come and join us ... just follow the links and see for yourself ...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prayer for Serenity

I just spoke to my mother on the phone - listening to her sobbing, because her husband is very ill and she feels so helpless. Unable to make him well, yet not able to accept the situation they are both in and the suffering he is going through.

How often do we try to change a situation for the better, when really it is outside our ability to do so, and when we would do better to try to accept what cannot be changed and move on to other things.

Easier said than done, I know. I can think of countless situations when I have done the same - knowing that all my fretting, worrying and fighting would lead to nothing.

How I hope and pray that my mother will be able to change and influence the things which are within her control, and learn to accept those things which she cannot change.

It can be hard to believe that God has a purpose, when things are painful and difficult ...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Experiences on the intensive care ward

A couple of weeks ago I stayed with my mum for a week, as my stepfather is very ill following a heart bypass operation.

My experience of being on an intensive care ward was very profound!
I was struck by the suffering on that ward.
Not so much the suffering of the patients - which I was not really witness to - but the suffering of the relatives and friends who were sitting in the waiting room.
Some were clutching the belongings of their loved ones, anxiously waiting to hear news from the medical staff. Some were almost emotionless and frozen with fear and worry, others were crying, others angry, others pacing ...
The emotions of fear, anxiety, anger, hopelessness and helplessness were clearly noticeable.

What struck me also was the desire of people to reach out to each other in that place and that situation.
Not only friends and relatives, but complete strangers too.
Small gestures - a kind word, an encouraging smile, a listening ear, offering a tissue or a drink, touching a hand or squeezing a shoulder.

I was amazed how much people managed to give, at a time when they were suffering so much themselves!
I am sure that under 'normal' circumstances many of those people would have just walked past each other.

I couldn't help but wonder that this was a miracle connected with suffering. A heightened awareness of the needs and the suffering of others around us, and a desire to help!

Despite the pain and the suffering on the ICU ward I couldn't help but find it an amazing place to be!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Enjoy the ride

Follow this link and Enjoy the Ride!

Loving others

Jesus instructed his followers with the following two commandments: to love their God and to love their neighbour.

But this is just the shortened version of his command, and sometimes we forget to look at the whole instruction:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

If we are to love our neighbours as ourselves, does that mean that we need to love and respect ourselves first; that unless we love ourselves first, we cannot offer true love and respect to others?

I wonder how often our good deeds towards others turn sour or are done resentfully or grudgingly, if we haven’t taken care of ourselves and loved ourselves first?

It reminded me that I was leafing through a book in a book shop recently, where the current Dalai Lama was asked what it was he did in his role as the Dalai Lama. His reply was “I take care of myself.”

Perhaps I will try to look after myself better, spend time doing what I enjoy and appreciate myself better (all things we often consider to be ‘selfish’) – and see if loving and appreciating others better will follow automatically.

Sounds too simple to be true, really …

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Last Sunday I listened to a sermon in church about Lent, which really touched me.

The priest who spoke, said that really Lent was about preparing (and purifying) oneself for the events of Holy Week, and about asking the question "Where do I stand with Jesus?"

  • "Am I amongst the ones the shout and jeer 'Crucify him!'?"
  • "Am I amongst the ones who spit and walk away?", or
  • "Am I amongst the ones who carry his cross for him and weep at his feet?"

Some people like to prepare by giving something up - either something like luxury food items, or things which distract us in our daily lives (such as TV or the Internet).

Others prepare by taking up a new practice, such as daily Bible reading.

Personally speaking, I feel strongly prompted to look at how I treat my family. My heart is aching with the knowledge how badly I sometimes treat others - especially my own family!

Isn't it just the way that we often treat the ones we love the worst? By taking them for granted, by taking our bad moods out on them, by being thoughtless in our words and actions ...

Jesus says:

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."

(Matthew 25:40)


If I cannot show love to those around me, then how different am I from those who spat and sneered at Jesus??

So, as Lent is about to begin, I am hoping and praying that (with God's help and grace) I will be able to

  • be acutely aware of how much I love my family; and to
  • show my love and appreciation to them in my words, my thoughts and my actions; and to
  • resist the temptation to point out their faults and flaws.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Signs of spring

This weeks I went for a walk and took pictures of the first signs of spring.

Sometimes we find ourselves in bad or sad situations, which seem to go on forever with no hope of change or improvement in sight.

These pictures are a reminder to me that  no matter how difficult things seem to be, there is always hope that things will turn out for the better! We must hold on to that hope and trust that everything works out for the good, or - as my husband likes to put it - 'it will be alright'!

For all those who are going through difficult times or who are suffering, may times of joy and peace be just around the corner for you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

A new start

Here is to my new blog!

After my knitting blog, this one will be dedicated to my own musings and pondering, and anything that goes through my head.

Who knows where it might lead me ...