Lately: The Economics of Giving

On the final run down to Christmas 2012, and possibly the last post for the year (given my record lately!), I thought I’d share a good commentary on gift giving I read lately… Enjoy.

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“With just one week till Christmas … we are reminding ourselves of the gift that we have been given at the first Christmas.
Continue reading “Lately: The Economics of Giving”

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Fair trade stuff costs more… is that fair?

Its funny how things come to your awareness… You may have never really thought of something ever before, then all of a sudden it’s everywhere you look. I like to call this the ‘Yellow Laser’ thing – back in high school when we were all getting our first cars, one of my mates got a bright yellow Ford Laser… I’d never seen anything like it before, but once it was on the mind, I seemed to see so many yellow Ford Lasers cruising around! Either they were giving them away, or my mind was just locked into the awareness of ‘yellow laser’, so something triggered when I saw one!

Ford Laser

My current ‘Yellow Laser’ is about the source of stuff – I’ve been challenged to think about where the things I own or buy come from, and also how it is made – as a general concept I suppose you could call this ‘fair trade’ (though from what I can gather, the issue is potentially much bigger than what some would define fair trade as). Continue reading “Fair trade stuff costs more… is that fair?”

What do we learn from death?

No one really likes funerals, because no one likes what they represent – death. A bit of a morbid subject indeed, but we had our Nanny’s funeral earlier this week so I have been reflecting on these things a little more lately. There are so many things that death exposes and stuff we learn about ourselves and others that we might never have been known before.

Nanny

Nanny’s funeral was beautiful; sad, but also joyful and comforting. We heard stories about Nanny that we’d never heard, learnt things about the family we’d never known. We cried, we remembered, and we certainly laughed. One thing that particularly stuck in my mind from one of the speeches was that Nanny was a very contented person, never one to complain of not having enough, or fussy about having the latest and greatest, the biggest and best. On reflection this was clearly evident in her life. I think it was definitely part of her beautiful character, and also a product of her generation and upbringing. Most people have no idea what hardship is like… those, like Nanny, who went through the great depression know exactly what it’s like – it shaped their life and taught them to be frugal, wise and not wanting, but appreciative of the basic things in life. This is something we really have no concept of in today’s western culture of ‘never enough’. Continue reading “What do we learn from death?”

“Micro-Generosity”

There’s always lots to read and write about global poverty, “Third World problems” and the massive efforts taking place by international aid organisations, but sometimes it’s good to hear about local action taking place – you could call it “Micro-Generosity” (similar to micro finance) – not ‘micro’ as in a small amount of generosity, but in terms of generosity taking place on a smaller scale, by individuals or small organisations or groups.

These days there are some great tools around that allow people to raise money for just about any cause. Everyday Hero is a great Aussie website that does just this – build your own fundraising page to raise money for over 1200 charities. It’s very popular with over 20,000 ‘heroes’ in action today! Another big one is Causes where “anyone can change the world” as they say. And it’s true – they’ve raised over $40 million for 27,000 non-profits! Continue reading ““Micro-Generosity””

Countdown to a Miracle

Scans of "Button"

Baby #2 (affectionately known as ‘Button’) is due anytime now. I’ve finally just started to get into the ‘baby-having’ mindset and think about the amazing but intense experience we are about to go through. As I reflect on the whole pregnancy and birth experience, I can’t help but be drawn to the bigger picture by recent experiences of friends, and also what I know about some sad experiences of pregnancy and birth that happen in the third world.

I feel so blessed to have one beautiful child, and to be on the verge of having another – if you have kids, stop for a moment and give thanks for them (even though they may drive you up the wall at times!), because it is a miracle that you were blessed with them. Speaking with my mate who recently lost his baby girl an hour after birth, we were reflecting on how the whole birthing and pregnancy experience is something that is seriously out of our control, and very much in the hands of God. Even amazing doctors, with access to the best medical resources, are sometimes powerless – they couldn’t save his little treasure. Continue reading “Countdown to a Miracle”

(Dis)contentment and Perspective

Ahhh to be content!! I recently heard a great talk at church on… you guessed it… contentment. I thought at the time that it was a ‘timely’ message for me… but on reflection, any time would be ‘timely’ when talking about contentment… I mean who isn’t seeking contentment everyday?

(DIS)CONTENTMENT

I’m thankful for so many blessings in my life, and content with lots of things, but there’s definitely a few things that I’m currently discontent with… meet my car…

Pulsar Continue reading “(Dis)contentment and Perspective”

Money doesn’t stick to my hands

Motivation for Giving & Sticky Hands

An interesting question I was recently challenged with – Is giving just for the benefit of the receiver of the gift?

I heard a talk from George Müller, an amazing man with great faith in God who started an orphanage from nothing, and ended up housing thousands of kids and impacting many lives.

In a talk I heard from him, George suggested that giving is not just for the benefit receiver, but also for the giver. He told a story of a poor widow who had received an inheritance and wished to donate it all to the orphanage ministry – he refused to take the money since she was so poor, but she insistently replied: “do not deny me the blessing of my gift”. Continue reading “Money doesn’t stick to my hands”

Bite off more than you can chew…

HouseSomeone once gave me this advice regarding getting a home loan:

“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew as hard as you can!”

I think that is a good strategy for getting ahead, affording the house you want and exactly what this society would encourage us to do. We have a growing family and we are fast running out of room in our 2 bed house. Ideally we’d love to buy a 3+ bedroom house to fit the kids (let alone all their stuff!), but living in Sydney, with the highest housing prices in Australia, affording to do this is proving to be a serious challenge! What to do?

Continue reading “Bite off more than you can chew…”

Charity at work

I got an email at work the other day about a an encouraging response to a sad situation. One of our staff members nephews has cancer and is undergoing surgery to have his arm and shoulder amputated…! Full on stuff for a young kid to go through, and on top of that his mum has recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. This sort of thing tends to give me perspective, and makes me think how lucky I am, even when I have a rotten cold (like I currently do!), it’s really nothing to complain about compared to what some people are going through.

Continue reading “Charity at work”

The goodies pay off!

I walked into the kitchen at work last week and found this note on the goodies fridge… My first thought was that it might be a notice to say that there would be no more goodies…! You see it’s based on an honesty system, where you put the money in the when you take the goodies… But some naughty people have not been paying for their treats, so Sue sent an email round last week asking people to be honest and pay for what they take… Seems fair enough since all the money is going to a great charity! Continue reading “The goodies pay off!”