Think: to reflect, to reason, to ruminate, to shift

                   ~snippets for life's journey~

 

 

The world we see…

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.” Charles Dickens

The quote I read this week reminds me of the humble Bee, who, all together are little pollinators of our world. Our winter garden is in bloom with yellow wattle flowers and pink Camelia’s, with bees buzzing all around them.  As I watch from my window, I see them ever so gently touching each flower and moving on, feeding on the nectar and pollen, for their own well-being and also to take-home food for the young plus ingredients to make honey.

On reflection, it seems they don't destroy, they use what they need, add to the well-being of the flora, then very quietly and gently make honey which adds richness to their life and mankind's life.

Well this begs the question, why can’t we humans be the same? Yes, we can use what we need for our own well-being, but each time adding to the well-being of those who produce, while creating a more caring, equal world. #Fairtrade 

 

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2015-2030

We received our World Vision newsletter announcing the United Nations new vision for 2015 -2030. It is now official the old Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) have been closed and the new global vision of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have been officially signed in.

The old MDGs (2000-2015) had 8 target areas. The UN has declared them as ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’.

The target areas were –

·        Poverty – eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

·        Education – achieve universal primary education

·        Gender equality – empower women

·        Child mortality – reduce the extremely high incidences

·        Mothers – improve maternal health

·        Disease – combat HIV/Aids

·        Environment – sustainability

·        Partnership – develop global partnership in development

To learn more about the results, have a look at the World Bank’s statement on the achievements of the MGDs.

There were new goals signed in at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2016, which were set for 2015-2030.

Sustainable Development Goals ( SDG) for 2015-2030 are -

·         Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

·         Goal 2. End hungerachieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

·         Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

·         Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

·         Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

·         Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

·         Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

·         Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

·         Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

·         Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

·         Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

·         Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

·         Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

·         Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

·         Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

·         Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

 

·         Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

 

They have used the word 'sustainable' many times!

I recently read a very helpful quote " sustainbility means you keep going when the banks fail" ; very interesting. Money and having it is not something we can rely on these days; its not our backbone anymore as we have seen in recent years.... banks/financial systems do crash.

So how do we live and train for this?

 

5 simple living tips from yesteryear

1. Quit credit…if you don’t have to money to buy it, don’t.

2. Nurture positive relationships with family and friends. A support group in good and bad times is always nice.

3. Facing financial difficulties

  • Be honest with your family and friends that you are facing difficult times financially. And don't be ashamed—good people have money troubles.
  • Discover ways to barter (or share) and help each other.
  • Talk to your children about your financial crisis - You don't want to worry your young children, but talking with them in a forthright, reassuring way will be more helpful than keeping up a lie. Kids usually want your time and attention more than stuff, anyway.
  • Get adult kids to pay their share - A healthy adult child should not expect parents to pay their way. And a healthy adult certainly shouldn't expect their young children to pay their way.

4. Enjoy the simple pleasures.

·         Have fun, just not lavishly expensive fun. Eg soapbox derbies, puzzles, reading books, singing together

·         get together to discuss philosophy or pray;

·         play card games, make crazy quilts from worn out clothes;

·         play instruments and have dance at home

·         Visit the national and state parks.

·         Go out for a picnic, have a day in the bush, camp out for weekend.

5. Do it yourself.

 When money is short, choices are limited, but you still have a choice! Learning to it yourself goes a long way towards a sense of achievement . Learn how to fix and maintain things in your home, including your clothes. These skills are handy even if money is not tight; it enables us to be resourceful which gives a sense of satisfaction and be able save money for something  we really ‘want’

 

Fair trade @ home

    For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Mt 6:21

Home

Each day an endless parade of products pass through our hands. Every day we make hundreds of decisions that involve trade in some form or another. Decisions from what to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner, to what clothes and shoes should we buy to which sheets and linen should we own and everything else in-between. Big and small, monumental and minute, these everyday decisions are all part of how we steward our time, talents, and resources.

How often do we view these goods and services with gratitude?

How often do we associate wealth and well-being with having the ‘right things’?

Sometimes our judgement and self-esteem are affected by society’s standards, meaning certain goods and services identify us as being successful or not. Freedom from this is a painstaking journey of self-awareness and living with purpose.

In taking time out to work out how we make choices increases self-knowledge. It helps us recognise if we choose from habit (i.e. mum did it), or social influence or peer pressure. It assists us to see ourselves with clarity and know ourselves better.

The Bible calls us to hold all things lightly, to use them responsibly, be grateful and serve in faith. So, how do we steward all the resources we have?

How do we enjoy the daily interactions of goods and services that touch our lives?

 

Clothes we wear?

The Baptist World Aid has recently put out their latest Ethical Fashion Guide, with the aim that we all can - Be Love. End Poverty.  In it they ask ‘Does shopping ‘ethically’ make much of a difference? You would be amazed at the difference your purchasing decisions can make! Since the first edition of the Ethical Fashion Guide in 2013….’

·         30% more companies are working to trace where their fabrics come from

·         Over 20% more companies are working to trace where their raw material are coming from

·         The number of companies investing in paying fairer wages to workers has increased significantly over the last three years, (21%)

So yes, your choice to purchase ethically and responsibly does make a difference. If you want to know more, check out The Baptist World Aid website www.behindthebarcode.org.au

 

Everyday fair trade 2 home

·         Fresh, ethical, organic – fairtrade coffee and tea               

·         After school treats – fairtrade hot/cold chocolate drink

·         Evening treat – fairtrade chocolate

·         Birthday cake – fairtrade organic cocoa for a rich chocolate cake

·         Moisturising, fair trade, natural – fair trade soap

·         Eating for well-being – organic, fair trade seasoning

Being thrifty -

Means ethically sourced, bulk, high quality at an affordable price -

1 kilo fairtrade coffee packs

1 kilo fairtrade leaf tea packs

1 kilo fairtrade cocoa 

1 kilo fairtrade drinking chocolate

As John F Kennedy said, all those many years ago…

"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try"

 

 

Hygge = Happy 

I have heard that Danish people are some of the happiest people on this earth! They are second to the people of Bhutan, but then this is another story. It seems the Danes have a better balance on the work/life rhythm than the rest of us. What is it that they have that we don’t? Well, it is an intrinsic value called ‘hygge’. Apparently its part of their DNA!

It is pronounced something like – hue-gah - . There must be some Danish guttural sound included but the essence of hygge is ‘life is good’!  The hygge way of life is a habit born out of their long dark winters but evolves and extends into summer to take in the light and ability to be outdoors.

 

Work

A general rule for office hours is between 7-4pm, or 5pm the latest. Seemingly, these work hours fit in with their limited hours of sunlight/daylight from autumn through winter, which they have taken on board as an overall guide.  In 2012, ‘Shops closing hour’ was eased to extend shopping hours over the weekend, but until then the shops shut at noon on Saturdays!

Who remembers this from the bygone era of Australia?

Home

At home, the hygge factor completes the balance.

It’s time to relax for a cosy, snug get together with family or friends. Slow cooked food, mulled wine, open fires, gentle music and candles by the dozen. According to the European Candle Association, Danes use the most candles per head than any other nation in Europe. These small get togethers are where people enjoy each other’s company and talk about the next hygge happening, be it during the week or weekend, for dinner or to help paint someone’s lounge or kitchen, with a meal to finish!

So what is to ‘hygge’?

 “To hygge is to invite intimacy and connection. It’s a feeling of engagement and relatedness, of belonging to the moment and to each other. Hygge is a sense of abundance and contentment. Hygge is about being not having.” Louisa Thomsen Brits - ‘the book of hygge – the Danish art of living well’

Hygge is about intimacy and small-scale encounters. It is about creating a space or an occasion to be enjoyed by you or with others.

Being gracious is hygge too.

Hygge happens when you are gracious to yourself, when being creative and doing what you enjoy.  It is also about being grateful.  Being grateful is an inbuilt character for the Danes!  The hygge moments in life along with gratitude are the major factors which regularly vote Denmark as one of the happiest nations in the world. Another important factor about hygge is that it is about the experience rather than ‘stuff’

“It turns out Luther Vandross was right: the best things in life really are free – or at least needn’t set you back more than the price of a few Ikea tea lights.”

 “Danes have been proven to be less materialistic than other cultures – and we appreciate low-cost activities and the simple things in life, like having a coffee (fairtrade) and lighting some candles to create a cosy atmosphere,” says Meik Wiking, CEO The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen.

Denmark and Fairtrade

Along with this I discover, Copenhagen has been a Fairtrade city since 2009.

·         “Copenhagen is a fairtrade city; where everything is organic, fair trade and/or sustainable” visitdenmark.com

·          “Fair trade products make you richer in experience and provide understanding and insight into cultures of different nations in Africa, Asia and South America” fairtradedenmark

I feel so encouraged by this nation called Denmark.  Their social conscience, work and life ethic not only includes the ‘happy factor’ (meaning- contentment and well-being), but also the happiness of those who produce what they enjoy.

I love my book ‘the book of hygge – the Danish art of living well’ by Louisa Thomsen Brits. It explains this sense of hygge so much better,  clearer and generally  speaking, makes me feel good

To close, here are words at the end of her book - ‘We pass on the spirit of hygge through the quality of our presence. Ideas and values travel. Through hygge each one of us can know a sense of deeper contentment that will radiate out from us into a global web of belonging togetherness’

Have a wonderful Hygge day!

 

 

encouraging words…

What encouraging words help you? We all need our own healing words, hopefully you might find comfort and reassurance here.

“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass - grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence….we need silence to be able to touch souls” Mother Theresa

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” Romans 12: 12

“When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom or criticize you, REMEMBER they’re telling you their story. Not yours!”

“Don’t worry about what people say behind your back, they are the people who are finding faults in your life instead of fixing the faults in their own life”

“ There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about the rest of us “ – Edward Wallis Hoch

“Sometimes it is better to be kind than to be right. We do not need an intelligent mind that speaks but a patient heart that listens”………hold that thought, and make that ‘usually’

Beautiful gifts!  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Want them? Give them. You’ll receive them back manifold…..!

“If we can find short-term incentives that are consistent with our long-term objectives, it is much easier to make the right decisions in the moment.” – Tom Rath, Wellbeing:The Five Essential Elements.

“Often, the very people out to get us are afraid of us.”

I jotted these quotes and encouragements from various sources.

I have found it encouraging, reading them every now and then, to keep my perspective on the right track.

 

community at best...

As you all might remember, last October (2013) here in the Blue Mountains NSW, we were surrounded by raging bushfires. The fire named “Linksview” caused the most devastation. There were many tears and much wondering, up and down the mountains’-‘What on earth happened’?mignonne

That day so many people left for work, school, shopping, dentist appointments and daily chores, without having an inkling of an idea that they would not be returning home that evening. It all happened within the space of a few hours; 203 homes were totally lost and another 109 damaged. To many it was like watching a movie…but it was their lives! They lost their homes but it didn’t feel real. They wondered ‘is this a dream or is this true’? They felt - numb.

In all this surreal devastation I noticed two actions which spoke loudly of ‘when a community works together, what can be achieved’, which heartened me greatly.

In this overwhelming situation, I first noticed the Firefighters. There was a huge influx of volunteers from the Rural Fire Brigade, who came from all over the state and some from interstate.

They left their homes, families and comfort zones, all in the name of community. They were willing to put themselves in danger for the safety of us, who they had never met and then they served in the true spirit of ‘giving’.

These men and women of the Rural Fire Dept. put in an extraordinary effort to contain the actual fire, to protect us and our properties. This tremendous effort was also given by the police, ambulance and SES crews as well. They were physically putting themselves between danger and us. They willing put themselves out for our protection and actually did protect us. Yes there were many homes lost, but no loss of life. They used all their training, fought the fires and guided people accordingly, for the good of all.

All this hit me - these people were putting others first, before themselves. This was their motivation. They had volunteered for this service, were trained accordingly and now they were called for action – and here they were…most willingly!

I couldn’t help thinking, isn’t this what the Bible calls us to do - put others before yourself, willingly - I thought wow, how incredible, this is actually happening.

The second action I noticed in the middle of this great loss was the general community response. It was a generous response of loving, caring and giving. There was almost a feel of Christmas, where there is a lot of giving and receiving, but not equally. Those who were on the receiving end were finding it difficult to just say ‘thank you’ to all the free goods and kindness presented to them. Then there were all the ‘big boys’, raising a lot of money and giving very generously, but add to that the numerous small groups and individuals doing what they could to help, well it was just beautiful to see.

It was incredible to see local businesses rallying around and working overtime to serve people, for free of charge. There were individuals sharing homes, giving up holiday rental investments for people to live in, young girls going through their wardrobes and giving to friends who had lost everything. Others were going through photo albums to see if they could get copies of photos from the days of old, so those who lost all their photos could put together some sort of photo albums. There were lots of meals prepared and shared around. There were many free supermarkets where fire victims could get groceries for free in many church halls and the local bowling club. Of course The Salvation Army and Samaritan’s Purse poured resources into the area for almost this whole year. The response has and was tremendous.

Yes, the whole community ‘local and wide’- people form near and far, pitched in for the good of all. They all helped in whatever way they could and again I was struck by what the bible says; to ‘share the load’’ love our neighbour’ and ‘make sure there is no needy among us’ and to ‘care for own flesh and blood’ (Isaiah 58:7)…and here it was happening right in front of me!

It was heart-warming and deeply encouraging. It will be an experience I will treasure; seeing people being protected and those in need - loved, cared and provided for. I saw and felt God’s love on earth. This was a disaster but the spirit of seeking the welling being of others, saw us sharing, giving and working for the good of all. 

I couldn’t help thinking, isn’t this life? Isn’t this how we should be living, always? Yes, there are endless needs, but if we work together as a community, each doing our part, I wonder what can be achieved!

 African Proverb - If you want to walk fast, walk alone,

                            if you want to walk far, walk together!

 

Ideas for Green Living...(country living magazine USA..2009)

I saw this list while reading a magazine recently. While it’s based on statistics from the US, I felt I could learn from it too. Here in Australia, we have already taken some of these on board and are well on our way to make them an established item on our agenda, but others, I was surprised. Read on the see if some confirm your habits and where others might stagger you.

 

Fluorescent Light globes

Use soft-white compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), not traditional incandescent.

BECAUSE: If every American household replaced one standard globe with a CFL, we could save enough energy to power 3 million homes a year.

 

Return Hangers

Return wire hangers to the dry cleaner.

BECAUSE: More than 3.5 billion hangers reach landfills each year, amounting to 200 million tons of steel that could be put to new use.

 

Tighten Petrol Cap

Tighten your gas cap until it clicks three times.

BECAUSE: Each year in the United States, 147 million gallons (63 Million litres) of gasoline literally evaporate into the atmosphere because of loose, damaged, or missing caps.

 

Burn Soy Candles

Choose natural soy candles over petroleum-based paraffin.

BECAUSE: Paraffin emits 11 toxins; soy doesn't.

 

Freezer Temperature

Keep your freezer's temperature at 0 degrees F(-17C) and your refrigerator between 35 -38 degrees  (1.5 C - 3.4 C)

BECAUSE: Adjusting a too-cold freezer by five degrees can cut its energy use by 20 percent

 

Eat Meat-Free

Eat meat-free once a week.

BECAUSE:
Producing a half a kilo of beef consumes 145 times more fossil fuels than a pound of potatoes.

 

Bar Soap

Leave bar soap by the sink.

BECAUSE:
Most liquid soap comes in non-renewable plastic packaging. Substituting one bottle with a bar in each U.S. home would keep 2.5 million pounds of plastic out of landfills.

Have a peek at these ethically made tribes and nations soap

 

Organic Cotton Clothes

Wear organic cotton clothes.

BECAUSE: Organic cotton's low-impact production methods — which employ fewer pesticides — generate less than a fifth as much greenhouse gas as standard cotton.

 

Stop Junk Mail

Register to get your name off junk-mail lists.

BECAUSE: Printing junk mail wastes 100 million trees a year. Cancelling can reduce your intake by 35 pounds (17.5 kilos) a year. 

 

Cloth Napkins

Put cloth napkins on the table.

BECAUSE:
Eliminating disposable napkins would keep 500,000 tons of paper-based trash out of landfills each year.

 

Use Power Boards

Plug your devices into power boards, and turn off the boards when you're not using them.

BECAUSE: Some plugged-in appliances and boards use electricity even when they're turned off. But one 6-outlet strip, when shut down, uses 87 percent less energy than devices left in six individual outlets.

 

Purify Your Air

Place potted plants (like Boston ferns, peace lilies, or English ivy) on windowsills and tables.

BECAUSE: Fifteen plants can absorb most of the average home's airborne toxins within 24 hours.

 

Sleep Mode

Switch your computer display to go to sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity.

BECAUSE: Sleep mode consumes 90 percent less energy than an animated screen saver — which requires as much energy as normal use.

 

Use Reusable Bags

Stow a reusable bag in your car for errands.

BECAUSE: If every American stuck with cloth totes, we'd waste 380 billion fewer plastic bags this year.

 


Car Maintenance

Have your car's air filters cleaned and tyres inflated.

BECAUSE:
A yearly tune-up can improve your car's efficiency by 15 percent and keep more than one ton of carbon dioxide out of the air.

 

Consolidate Your Errands

Consolidate your errands into fewer trips.

BECAUSE:
Economizing your tasks into just one or two runs each week can conserve as much as 208 litres of petrol over the course of a year.

 

Interesting to say the very least. We almost never do any drycleaning, but I am still amazed at how many wire hangers I have in our wardrobe. How do I recycle them or get rid of them..? I did a bit of research, and it seems some Australian states might accept them in the recycling bin...but you would need to make sure of this as they could make a mess of some recycling machines :(

The alternative ideas might seem better..

  • Return them to the dry cleaners
  • save enough and sell as scrap
  • give them to charity stores, it will help them reduce their costs
  • sometimes local schools will accept them for projects 
  • create your own DIY project and make your own Christmas wreath out of them.

 

Join us on Facebook or email me on mignonne@tribesandnations.com.au I would love to hear from you.

Mignonne Murray

                                                                                   

 

Fair Living

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