Archive for December, 2010

I am fortunate to have friends and acquaintances who are smarter and more advanced than me, in many things.  Recently, one of these acquaintances turned me on to Kiva. To be fair, a very dear friend of mine showed me this organization several years ago, but as with many things, it got lost in the hustle and bustle of my life.

I spent some time going through the Kiva website and I liked what I saw. In a nutshell, Kiva allows a lender to loan as little as $25 (microfinancing) to entrepreneurs in developing countries. That money is used by the entrepreneurs to further themselves and their families and is repaid on a pre-determined schedule. Once the loan is paid back, the lender has the full amount returned to them, to do with what they will.

What a great concept. I love the idea that I chose where my money goes (I pick my entrepreneur). I also like the idea that the person receiving the funds will use it and repay it; this motivates them to succeed.  To quote the Kiva website: “The poor are highly motivated and can be very successful when given an opportunity”. Call me naïve, but I believe this. I think that many of the poor in developing countries are not that way by choice; they are that way by circumstance. What a great opportunity for me, who can afford the nice things in life, to make a real difference.

It is not a handout, but a hand-up. What a refreshing idea – making a difference through accountability.

Making a difference through accountability.

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New Year’s Un-Resolutions

Last year, almost to the day (Dec 30th post – “A New Year’s Resolution“), I posted about new year resolutions and why I never make them. But I got to thinking today that there are a few things I’d like to work towards in 2011. Thinking of Alice In Wonderland and unbirthdays made me realize that I could make un-resolutions as something to work towards — no pressure or obligations, just general goals. So here goes.

My Top Five New Year’s Un-Resolutions:

5. Be healthy. And I don’t just mean to lose those last 10 pounds. This year, I want to run a 10km road race, go from intermediate to advanced yoga poses, and work towards making more meals completely from scratch (I’m at about 70% scratch right now).

4. Learn to be still. This one will be a challenge for me. I’ve realized lately that I have a really hard time just being and not doing. For example, I struggle to just sit and watch a program on television. I have to be writing, cooking, baking, cross-stitching, making a to-do list, organizing a drawer, etc. at the same time. Why? Because I feel like I can’t or shouldn’t just be. I think that learning to be still is a talent and an art. Like being Zen, or living in the moment. I intend to work towards this one, this year.

3. Exercise my brain. Today’s media does very little to stimulate my creative thoughts. Media stories are superficial (famous people’s escapades) and repetitive (same old political posturing). I’m looking for things that pique my interest; articles about new and true leaders, art, philosophical ideas, and worldly discoveries.  A new source of inspiration to me – The Walrus (magazine). I plan to subscribe, to read, and to learn.

2. Cultivate my garden. And I don’t just mean the roses in my backyard. I think people are a lot like gardens; we need sunshine to smile, food to grow, and we need to ‘weed’ the bad out of our lives so that our roots aren’t choked out and we can continue to reach upwards. This year, I want to cultivate my life, while trying to smile more, feed my body and soul, and ‘weed’ the bad out in order to give myself the room I want to grow.

1. Practice Stoicism. I say ‘practice’ because I think it is going to take a good deal of practice to learn this one. In a nutshell, stoicism is the ability to avoid destructive emotions (anger, impatience, envy, etc).  This year, I want to be more patient, more forgiving (both towards myself and others), more tolerant, and grateful for who I am, where I am, and what I have.  I also want to be less concerned with what others think of me and more in-tune with how I behave, as a direct indication of my morals and values.

So there they are –  my un-resolutions for 2011. Happy New Year!

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The Absentee Blogger

Hello, world! It has been about eight thousand years since I last posted. Or at least, it feels that way. It’s actually been about thee months. The top blogging sites will tell you that it’s suicide for you to be a periodic poster or an absentee blogger. However, since this blog is largely my outlet, for me, I apologize to you, my readers, but I’m not too worried. I do this to help me as an outlet for my stress – not to generate more stress in my world! So when the pressure started to rise… something had to give.
Those of you know me know I’ve had good reason for ‘being away’. As I posted awhile back, I have gone back to school which is taking up an inordinate amount of my spare time. I have also been having good success at work  – which, while good, means a tired girl when home-time comes along. When things got to be a bit too much… the easiest thing to get away from worrying about was when my next post would come or what it might be about.  And so, the blogging stopped. But I’m missing it, and so — I’m back.

To keep this post short and sweet (since it is largely about nothing), suffice to say I’m around once again and going to do my best to be more consistent at posting blogs (however, I will still step back again if life starts to overload). I am also considering a second blog – one focused on technical writing. A second blog, you say… when I can’t even post consistently on this one? Yup. A second blog. Only time will tell… But it’s something that I’m passionate about (my writing, that is) and I’m not sure tech writing blog posts belong here…

At any rate. Merry Christmas to those of who celebrate the holiday. To those of you who don’t, happy holidays — or a happy and peaceful time to you and your families. To all – Happy New Year. Here is to creativity, following your passion, and taking the time to feed your soul.

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