Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reaping what was sown

I'm sure she didn't learn this at home. (It was probably on the campaign trail from liberal elite protesters!)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Got 'em, Got 'em, Need 'em

I just got back from the food bank with a couple of members. I am always amazed at the trading that inevitably follows. It never occurs to me, as someone who gets their food from normal channels that choice is a part of self definition. (See: Freewill, gift of God)

The Food bank in an effort to be democratic and frugal assigns a set amount of food as the portion for a single individual. (What exactly it will be depends on what they get donated that week) The volunteers there gather the appropriate items and parcel them up for those that come to their door. But the process does not end there.

Typically after a few of them have received their food bank items there's a sorting hat session that follows. One who hates rice, trades it for the pasta of another; Fiona doesn't use sugar twin but Carolyn does so she gives it away.

And here is where I get amazed every time. Not only do they NOT horde everything (after all you can only go to the food bank once a month and it's not even the 15th yet) but they willingly give away things they have (and could somehow leverage as a trade item).

In spite of their needs, in spite of their considerable limits, they are generous.

See below: Deut 15: 7-11

When you happen on someone who's in trouble or needs help among your people with whom you live in this land that God, your God, is giving you, don't look the other way pretending you don't see him. Don't keep a tight grip on your purse. No. Look at him, open your purse, lend whatever and as much as he needs. Don't count the cost.

Don't listen to that selfish voice saying, "It's almost the seventh year, the year of All-Debts-Are-Canceled," and turn aside and leave your needy neighbor in the lurch, refusing to help him. He'll call God's attention to you and your blatant sin.

Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.


I came across this wonderfully peaceful little flash game. easy as pie to play and the music is lovely.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Your swedish furniture name

Click the title for the link.

I knew they had to have a formula for that!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The poverty of Fairtrade coffee

Here's an excerpt from the article.

"Fairtrade's supporters blame the plight of coffee farmers on world prices and ruthless multinational companies. But supporters ignore the real causes of poverty among growers. Farmers I interviewed in Kenya told me that the problems they face are not caused by global influences but their own government's interference. They are forced to use milling companies granted regional monopolies, who fleece them. They want to boost productivity by using fertilizer, but they cannot afford the inflated prices demanded by the government fertilizer monopoly. Imported tools and machinery would transform their output but are subject to punitive tariffs. Police roadblocks slow their goods and involve money exchanging hands."

Big problems for the little guy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Photoshop Express

Finally, free online a lite version of the standard for photo enhancement and dabbling.

Presets to all of your online social networking tools (Facebook, MySpace etc.)

Too easy to ignore. Sign up is free sure it's not anywhere close to CS3 but you don't know what a brush preset is and probably will never need too.

Take it for a test drive here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More than 2 miles

I was talking to one of our guys here and he said he was tired of going to the pharmacy. That's always a bit of a red flag because members taking their medication is a good thing (most of the time) so my ears pricked-up.

He went on to explain that he was all for taking his medications but that the walk to the pharmacy was wearing him out. It's a three mile walk for him round trip - he has eight scripts all with different refill dates.

Based on my math he's walking about 50 km a month just to and from the pharmacy. Would any of us drive to the pharmacy eight times a month because our doctor, or insurer, or government, deigned it to be so?

I think not.

This is how those stuck in poverty are typically victimized - not through malicious ill-will, but through inattention and indifference. Those in morbid need often don't know enough to act on their own behalf (or how to act, or who to contact) so it becomes a "S2Bu" (Sux to be you) situation and nothing changes.

If you are looking to make a difference, try and fill that need for someone near you.

Remember, poverty is about need - not money.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2 miles in their shoes

I just got back from the store. I bought a few things for the Center, some discounted pastries and fresh fruit for our coffee club today.

Typically, I would have ridden my bike, since our trusty old Volvo is getting her voice back. (muffler trouble) However, my bike chain broke yesterday, and as a result I had to walk. It was a nice walk and my bones needed to get moving anyway.

I thought about yesterday's conversation at the Center about the rising costs of cab fare. It is now $12.00 round trip in town and when you don't have a car, or a friend with one.....

While that price might seem an inconvenience to some, and a pittance to others, it is a monumental price tag to the folks I work with each day.

I took a minute or two to map out some incidental costs in St. Stephen:

Coffee/Pop: $1.50
Doughnut: $1.00
Hot dog or Fries: $2.00
Cab fare: $12.00
Medium Pizza: $20.00

Since everything we buy is just a small part of what we have to spend. I used those numbers to make some percentages, relative to their total monthly income of about $600. Then I went to Stats Canada and took the average total income for unattached individuals from 2004, and watched the numbers.

What follows is what the Center's member's see when they look at the "everyday" costs we barely regard:

Coffee/Pop: $7.13
Doughnut: $4.76
Hot dog or Fries: $9.52
Cab fare: $57.00
Medium Pizza: $95.02


The walk back to the Center was all downhill. Five minutes into the trip the few items I had bought became leaden and the bags began to dig into my fingers. Two hundred meters down, one thousand five hundred to go.

How come you can never find a cab when you need one?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Re: Jordan Cooper's Sub-Culture Post

I've re written this three times.

It keeps turning into a rant that doesn't do Mr. Cooper's effort justice.

I'll confine my comments to this:

Stop freaking pretending, drop the pretense, the posing and the posturing.

Stop trying to impress the people at church, they are quite often un-impressible.

Just try as you can to be like Jesus in the ways that feel most regular and natural to you. Then watch for who is applauding your efforts. Hang out with those people.

When you find another person with whom you can be yourself, treasure that and then begin to look for another.

Talk to these people about real life and real failures and successes.

Don't settle for good enough.