A mammoth task – and some words of wisdom.

I have finished sorting out the photos on my computer!

Instead of being in date order I have now classified them into Subject folders – which makes life much easier! Instead of guessing when that photo might have been taken I can (should be able to…) go to the appropriate folder. Particularly useful if I want pictures of the cats as they were all over the place!

In the process I came across lots of photos of Dear George – although Jasper-Cat is lovely, we still miss our George so much!


Still, what can one do?!

Of course, this will only be a success if I continue to classify the photos as I save them! Otherwise I’ll end up with a backlog again…This is rather typîcal of me, I’m afraid, I sort out something, but then fail to keep up with it – my craft shelves, my ESL resources, my paperwork etc. Never mind. Let’s see what happens.


Here’s an interesting thought, garnered when listening to a snippet of The Infinite Monkey Cage, a BBC Radio programme that Mr FD enjoys. Rufus Hound, a comedian, pointed out that…

If you mock failure, you mock trying, and therefore discourage experimentation.

 I thought this was really worth noting down. So often people do mock failure, but as we know, if one’s efforts are denigrated, then next time one is less likely to try as hard. I certainly found that when teaching in primary school. Support a child who is making efforts – even if they are not succeeding – and they are willing to continue making efforts. Denigrate what they are doing, and they will soon stop trying. It happens here too – mock my efforts at speaking French and I won’t bother. Encourage me, and I’ll keep trying!


On the Kermode & Mayo Film Reveiw programme on Radio 5, there is a running theme that Mark Kermode says reassuring words “Everything is going to be okay”. However, it was felt that Tom Hanks would be even more reassuring, with his lovely voice, so they asked him to say reassuring things (I can’t find a clip on t’internet. Sorry)

However on Friday night’s “The Last Leg” the wonderful David Tennant was asked to be reassuring – in the face of the world news – and tell us that everything was going to be okay. Which he did, admirably (though using some slightly smutty language) but the words that stood out most for me were…

It’s up to us to make it okay. It’s time to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive…

There were other such epithets – it’s worth watching

…if only for David Tennant’s lovely accent!

This is it. Back to Ang’s words

I want to have the courage to speak out for what is true and just
I want to have the strength to stop and help those in need, not pass by on the other side
I want to have the faith to say ‘this is wrong, and we can work to change it for the better’
I want to have the hope that believes things will be different
and above all
I want to have the love that says ‘OK you are different from me in some way – but I still care about you, and want the best for you’

I want to be positively rebellious and rebelliously positive.

I want to live a different way.


A timely reminder

Ariel reminded us of Mother Teresa’s words: a timely reminder I think


“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~Mother Teresa


PS Please don’t forget to help me decide.

Lend With Care – help me choose!

For a couple of years I have been interested in this charity, but never done anything about it! A blogging acquaintance who lives quite near us, Keith, has even written a guest post about it during 40 Acts in 2014.

Here I reproduce his words, so you know what the charity does:

I spent a couple of years during the early 1980s living and working in Africa, specifically in Nigeria in the west and Tanzania in the east. I recently saw a comment from one of my on-line friends, who told of his decision to become involved in a micro-financing initiative with Care International. I looked at the web site (lendwithcare.org) and immediately found that I could make a difference to a family in Africa – shades of bicycle fundi. If you ask me really nicely, I shall go into what that means and, more particularly, what it means to me, at a later date.

When in Nigeria, I was often overwhelmed by the number of beggars in the streets. Clearly, I couldn’t help all of them. Were I to give one cent to each of a hundred beggars, it would have had no impact, but if I gave a Naira to one man, it would have enabled him to buy a meal. That would have made a difference, and that is part of the reason I support Lendwithcare.

For a small investment, which will be repaid, provided the business doesn’t fail, we can contribute to the success of a small entrepreneur in Africa (or Asia, or South America) and help that person to lift a family out of poverty. When the loan is repaid, it can immediately be applied to another applicant. This arrangement appeals to me on two levels:

  1. This is not buying a man a fish, this is not even teaching a man to fish; this is lending a man the money to buy fishing tackle – he already knows how to fish, and
  2. We know whom it is helping.

When you sign up with Lendwithcare, you have access to a list of people who need funding. Behind each individual or group is a story, explaining what the person or group is aiming to do, how much cash they need to do it, and what the prospective outcome is. That makes it personal, and that’s good.

Loan amounts start at only £15. You will be told when the loan you are helping to provide is fully funded and there will be a repayment schedule. Repayments will be made to your account with Lendwithcare, from where you can use it to make another loan, donate it to Lendwithcare to help with their running costs, or transfer it back to your own bank.

We are, so far, helping three people: two men in Togo, one of whom wishes to grow his small vehicle spares business, the other needs to repair his truck so he can get back to work and provide for his family; and a lady in Ecuador, who wishes to expand her small grocery store to include a restaurant. When those three repay, that money can be re-circulated back to three new entrepreneurs – it just keeps on working.

Although we applaud, and support, other charities, none gives us quite the personal involvement that this one does. It goes beyond “your money will help people like Jim”, and says “your money will help Jim”. I commend it to anyone who will listen.

Every year, Keith and his wife Clare, offer some gift vouchers for people to take part in supporting an entrepreneur. I was lucky enough to receive one this year, & pledged that I would match it. So I have two lots of £15 to invest, and I’d like my readers to be involved.

I have chosen 6 possible people to invest in – I’d like people to help me choose by saying who they think I should support.


Mr. Sokhom is 38 years old.  He is married and has two children, 9 and 11 years old.  They are at school. Sokhom lives in Kamrieng District of Battambang Province and grows ed cassava on ten hectares. In ten months he will get a yield of 30 tons per hectare. He has been farming cassava for the last 10 years and he knows there is ongoing demand. He hires around 30 villagers to assist him on planting and chopping the cassava root and each of them earns $5 a day.  Sokhom is applying for a loan to purchase commercial fertilizer, pesticide, weed killer, ploughing costs (one hectare costs $100) and to pay wages of the 30 villagers he hires.



Gloria Angamarca lives in the community of La Esperanza, Cantón Ibarra. She is married and has two adult daughters who have families of their own now as well. Gloria has been making roof tiles for houses for 20 years now, with her husband as her business partner. Now, she is applying for a loan in order to start making special roof tiles with a special finish that are in high demand. She needs the loan in order to buy firewood as fuel for the oven and to hire two people who will help her daily. Gloria has managed over the years to build up and keep a large and varied client base who go to her with their needs, as other artisans don’t produce the same kind of tiles as her. Gloria is committed to paying back this loan in 18 months.



Pedro Ochoa lives in the neighbourhood of Santa Bertha in the Imbabura region. He lives with his wife and their 4 children. He is employed by a company as a bird feeder, but his salary is minimal, so he decided to start raising pigs as an additional income.
Pedro has requested a loan to be repaid over 18 months. He will invest $900 buying 16 piglets and $600 in feed for the animals. In 4 months they will be ready to sell, which will be a significant income for him. Pedro saw an opportunity to raise animals, and a few months ago built a trough for them. He hopes to continue raising them, expand the pig pen and save more capital.  What he wants is that his children can have a more promising future, and this is why he supports them in their studies.



Favour is a large group with 19 members, based in the Katete district of Eastern Zambia.  The average size loan for the women of this group is $205 USD.  They run small scale businesses like salaula (second hands clothes), selling shoes and grocery stalls. They started their businesses mainly to provide for their families including the provision of food and payment of school fees for their children. In most cases, the women care for orphans from deceased relatives or members of the community. (Malaria and HIV are the main causes of mortality in the region.) The group has accessed three loans from the MicroLoan Foundation and this will be their fourth loan. One of these women is Rachel Banda. She is 38 years old and has five children who go to school. She runs a grocery stall selling bathing soap, washing soap, sugar, assorted biscuits and assorted drinks. She would like this loan to top up on her business capital and order more stock for her grocery stall. She has found the MicroLoan Foundation training useful, in particular the section on setting savings goal. She believes it will help her achieve what she wants for her business. From the profits she hopes to build a house for her children.  the loan will be repaid in 6 months,



Abakorerahamwe CARE Group which can translate “Those who work together” is a voluntary savings and loan group created by Care Rwanda in 2012. The group is made of 25 members: 15 women and 10 men. The group needs this loan in order to buy more sheep and goats for resell, this way, the group members will have money to pay school fees for their children, and they will also buy seeds to do good farming. On average, the group members have five children.  Mrs Martha Uwizeyimana, a group member, (3rd lady from left to right in the picture, green dress with large flowers) explains that they came together after seeing positive change from her neighbours who had joined CARE Rwanda. She attended CARE’s financial literacy program and there, she met other actual group members. They started saving as small as $0.25/week. In the future, they would like to be a registered cooperative, and they would like the members to continue their income generating activities and pay health insurance and school fees for their children. They will repay the loan in six months



Ameer Hamza is 20 years of age and runs a tandoor (an oven usually made of bricks or clay, common in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries). He makes and sells naans and chapattis – locally eaten flat-breads – at the tandoori. He works from a shop that he owns and has been running the tandoori for almost two years. His monthly income is 17,000 Rupees ($162), on average. Ameer Hamza is single and lives with his parents and four siblings.  Two brothers and two sisters. Only his youngest sister is receiving education currently. His older brother also works with him at the naan shop. With the responsibility to provide for his parents and siblings, his monthly earnings are extremely insufficient to provide for them adequately. Hamza wants to expand his business by increasing his production of naans. However, he lacks an appropriate capital to invest in his business and has therefore requested a loan. He needs to buy additional quantities of all-purpose flour and other materials to increase his production of naans and chapattis. He is confident that he can manage to increase his sales and consequently his profits after improving his output. He promises to repay the loan in 17 installments.


So, I ask my readers to help me choose… If you’d like to name two of the candidates, that you think I should support in the comments section below, I will count up the “nominations” at the end of the month and I’ll invest in the most popular two. So please DON’T JUST “LIKE” THIS BLOGPOST: MAKE A COMMENT TOO!

Thank you for your help!

Word of the Year

Apparently, the Oxford English Dictionary declared that “post truth” is the 2016 word of the year:

After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.

I have heard this word bandied about all over the place, so it’s quite nice to read a definition of it. It doesn’t quite mean what I thought it meant, and now I’ve seen what the definition is, I can understand the claims that we “are living in a post truth era” and – in part, at least, agree.

Many people in the Blogosphere choose a Word of the Year meant to sum up what they hope to achieve in the coming year, or how they hope to live. I’ve seen words such as Adventure – Creative – Grateful – Mindful…all very good ideas.

I’ve never really subscribed to this “word of the year” idea, but a blog post from Angela, over at Tracing Rainbows caught my eye a week or so ago. She was talking about the Wise Men, and how they were called by God to follow a different way home. God calls us to live in a different way. It is worth popping over to read it. She is better with words than I am. The words she wrote resonated with me, and especially her words:

I want to have the courage to speak out for what is true and just
I want to have the strength to stop and help those in need, not pass by on the other side
I want to have the faith to say ‘this is wrong, and we can work to change it for the better’
I want to have the hope that believes things will be different
and above all
I want to have the love that says ‘OK you are different from me in some way – but I still care about you, and want the best for you’

In shorthand, I want to live a different way.

So my words of the year are “a different way”. This is to remind me what God calls me to do – to live differently to the world, with courage, strength, faith, hope and love. To be a beacon that points to him. To be in the world but not of it. To bring his Kingdom to fruition in this world. To follow his ways.

No matter what is going on in the wider world, I can influence this place, here, where I am, by living a different way.

And so, for 2017 my words are:

A different way

No – really?! Advent Challenge final round up

Eeep – has it really been a fortnight since I blogged here? I am really sorry and I grovel before my regular readers. I have actually had ideas for blog posts, so have no excuses really, so all I can do is apologise.

I feel I should finish the report on the Advent Challenge series that I followed  before Christmas. I had got to N° 17 on my last post

Unfortunately the Advent Challenge pages have been removed from the site, so I can’t remember all the details. I’m taking what I can from the Facebook posts, but it’s not quite as detailed as the others…

18 – Give me a breakThe Bible describes how Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms in battle, literally shouldering his burden with him. It’s a vivid picture of how God encourages us to help others so we can all reach our goals and win our struggles. Give someone a break today!

I can’t remember what the choices of challenge were, but generally they would have been based around “going the extra mile for someone.” A little bit difficult for me – this was the day we were driving through France to the UK. Not much opportunity to give someone a break, except Mr FD who was doing the driving. I did my share – does that count?!

Of course,this is something that needs to be carried forward into the rest of my life – it’s not just “done it today. Finished!” So often we are concerned about doing our share and only our share!- making sure that others do their bit too. But sometimes we have to do more. Our generosity should know no bounds; we shouldn’t be ekeing it out little by little, but in this world we do so often think we’re being generous when in fact we are carefully calculating what we can afford to do/give.

19Our planet is a precious gift from God and the Bible calls us to look after it, for our benefit and for future generations.

Again, I can’t remember the challenges – nor what I did for this.

20The Bible tells us God wants us to have an attitude of gratitude. It’s the key to contentment.

Nope. Can’t remember this one either!

In fact, the FB pages aren’t very useful in reminding me. Two other “acts” that I did (but I can’t remember what the prompts were) were

  • give away a book that you love. I was in Canterbury, staying with MiL by then, so didn’t have access to my bookshelves.

So I went to Waterstones, bought a book I used to love telling to the children at school – “Six Dinner Sid” – and gave it to the first child of appropriate age that I saw on exiting the shop. (Well, their mother). No idea who the child was, buit that was my prompting from God…As I was buying the book, the young man on the till said “Oh, I loved this book when I was young!” and his colleague agreed with him. On a whim, I told them why I was buying it and they showed some interest…so maybe that was God’s reason for prompting me to buy the book… Who knows?

  • When we got to mum’s she decided to visit an old friend of hers who I mentioned over at Fat Dormouse  “Aunty” Dorothy is an old friend of mum’s. Mr FD was going out to do something more exciting, and really I wanted to go with him, but something suggested to my brain that I might offer to go with mum. I tentatively suggested it, and mum said “Oh, I’m sure she’d love that – I didn’t like to ask though”. So I went. It wasn’t the most exciting afternoon I’ve ever had, but Dorothy did seem pleased to see me, so maybe that was A Good Thing.

During Advent I had also signed up to Stewardship’s “Advent Wonder” series – 4 meditations based on characters/events in the Christmas Story. It didn’t engage me as much as the Advent Challenge – I think what I like about the Advent Challenge, and equally 40 Acts in Lent, is the doing part – the challenge to find ways of being generous, of changing my outlook and acts little by little. I think I do need to become more meditative too, as my life is not terribly spiritual, but the practical side (but only in small ways. Not big impactful things) seems to be where I’m at.

2016_stats_1_updated  2016_stats_2_updated

Well, it seems that lots of people took part in Advent Challenge, which is great. Then, as I have already mentioned, there is also 40 Acts during Lent. I always find it a good thing to do, and encourage my readers to find out more and to sign up for 40 Acts 2017