Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Birthday Project!

Those of you who are connected with me on Facebook would know that on the 17th of September it was my 23rd Birthday, and I celebrated by doing at least 23 Random and Intentional Acts of Kindness.
I was inspired by The Birthday Project a few months ago, and decided it would be a great way to 'give back' on my birthday this year, especially after reading about the adventures of the people who have participated already.  I believe it is 'more blessed to give than to receive'.

(First of all, a big thanks to my brother G, who helped fund this venture, and was the only family member I got to see on my birthday this year.  Love you bro!)

I asked my Facebooked friends if they would join me in doing a Random or Intentional Act of Kindness, in lieu of wishing me Happy birthday.  Well 23 people (funny that!) said they would, and if they share their stories with me (poke!!), I might post them here too!

On the day, I was feeling a bit apprehensive about how the day was going to go, and how people would react, but it turns out my fears were unfounded!  I had a great time, walked till I dropped, and I definitely recommend it to anyone!

Here is a list of the actions I have completed so far (I plan on doing some more before the end of the week):

*  Gave yummy treats and a Thank You card to the firebrigade which is located not far from my house. The fireman I spoke to was really surprised and touched I think.  He said it is nice to be appreciated.

*  Wrote out notes saying "Have a great day, and enjoy this random act of kindness!", stickytaped them to Freddo Frogs and put them on the windscreens of random cars.

*  Bought 12 flowers from a florist and asked for them to be individually wrapped (I think the florist thought I was a bit crazy lol).  I took the flowers up to the maternity ward at one of the hospitals, and asked the nurses to hand them out to the mums.  They were really happy, especially when I told them it was my birthday.

*  Gave the florist ^ a Freddo Frog and he really liked that!

*  Put $10 towards someone's meal at a cafe where I had lunch.  They were really surprised, and I'm pretty sure they happily 'paid it forward', which is great!

*  Left a Freddo Frog + note for the waitress, as she seemed a bit unhappy.

*  Took a hot drink to a friend working in town.

*  Anonymously paid for someone's coffee.

*  Put $1 coins and chocolates on a washing machine in a laundromat

*  Left $2 coins in a parking meter

*  Left a Freddo Frog + note in a random location
  • + still to be done:
*  Write cards to old friends I've lost contact with

*  Collect rubbish from the roadside

*  Donate blood

I think saying thank you to the firemen and giving flowers to the maternity ward were the most rewarding, but it was all lots of fun, and a really nice way to spend the day, instead of sitting at home by myself!

If any of you reading this are keen to try this project yourself (and I hope you are!), then check out The Birthday Project website for ideas and more information.  There is a wide range of things you can do, and they don't all have to mean spending money.
It was a little hard to do a variety of activities here where I have just moved to, and there is a lot more I would have loved to do if I was back in my home town.  But I'm planning on making some of these things a habit, and definitely doing at least some every birthday from now on!

Hope you enjoyed reading about this!  :-)  Have a great day!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Melbourne Ethos

My heart is so full, I don't know where to begin...

Wandering around Melbourne city, I am fascinated by the range of cultures, people and lives represented in the crowds, scurrying around.  Cars and trams whiz past, tic-tacking over the tram lines, or screeching metal on metal.  The air is cool, and the sun is hiding, but it's a pleasant day.
I have nowhere in particular to go, so I just wander around, alternately gazing up at the towering skyscrapers, and then studying someone as they walk past.  
Faces... so many faces...  I see a whole range of emotions expressed in some.  Pain, anxiety, boredom, excitement, curiosity... and yet there are so many who have such a blank look that you can't tell what they're thinking or feeling at all.  
Sometimes I feel like I'm the only human among them... the rest are just rushing on, as robotic ants, barely noticing who is around them.  And yet, why does my heart long to know their story?  To sit and listen, to get to know them?  To understand their pain, their joy, their choices?  
To tell them that they are loved, not just by me, but by One greater than any other.
Some of them live on the streets. Earning a small amount by selling artwork, jewelry, nick-knacks, playing music, or as a vendor of The Big Issue.  Most of the pedestrians ignore them.  The characters look scruffy and unkempt, and often they can't communicate properly.  They live, waiting for someone to feel pity and throw them some money.  What that money goes towards, is anyone's guess.  One day I will pluck up the courage to talk to them myself.  They got there somehow.  Their lives weren't always like that.  Where did things go wrong?  Who or what contributed to their demise?  Is every homeless person addicted to drugs/alcohol or has a mental illness?
Melbourne is such a beautiful city, in many ways.  The architecture, culture, history and food are amazing.  But there is so much ugliness manifested also.
I know that skyscrapers exist because it's easier to build up than out in the city, but don't they make a fine example of the blatant financial monopoly and consumerism existent in the majority of our society??  Towering over the tiny people below, they symbolise the power of those in charge, who don't care at all for the needs around them.  Oh that they knew what is in store for them.  One day those towers will come crashing down, and the souls who have gained the whole world, with them.

I can't help but shake my head and be saddened by the lack of real life, of purpose and meaning, the lack of love and compassion, on the streets of Melbourne, or anywhere.  No one knows why they're on this earth, what they're doing, or where they're going.  Yes I may sound pathetic, but if you're not moved by the need out there, then you need to go and sit in Burke St mall for a day, and you'll see what I mean!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

How many slaves work for you?

There are more slaves today than at any other time in history... and they're working for YOU.

Go to to find out how many slaves work for you, and what you can do about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How are girls trafficked? - article from Transitions Global

I found this great article on the Transitions Global blog, and had to share it.  It explains how the versions of human trafficking we see portrayed in movies and TV shows are not necessarily realistic when it comes to the real problem.

How are girls trafficked??

Sex trafficking is an emotionally heavy issue that is often challenging to process. The idea of people being enslaved, abused, exploited, and thrown away is difficult. We often have to dispel belief in order to accept the fact that this horrible crime exists.

Yet, it does really exist. So, it often makes us feel 'better' (used loosely) to think of cruel men pulling up in a black van and kidnapping a girl than it is to consider that most traffickers never need to lay a hand on a girl (initially) in order to traffic them. Most girls, in fact, go willingly. In the counter trafficking world, we use the term push and pull factors to understand how trafficking happens.  Read More

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Despite all that is against me

Invariably, when I mention to someone that I am planning on working with disadvantaged/at risk young people, nearly everyone comments on how little I might be paid; how uncontrollable/unmotivated/useless young people are these days, and that it will put me off having my own kids; .  I am not discouraged by this, and let me tell you why.

The reality, of hurting, confused, abused and abandoned children and teenagers, is that they express their inner turmoil through foul language, violence, substance abuse, escapism and materialism.  Helping them to recover and heal from the past and present, while introducing activities and desires that are edifying and long-term for the future, is...messy.

I will most likely be exposed to words, scenes and conflicts that will make me cringe;
I will feel intimidated and helpless;
I will go home from work with memories I would rather forget;
my heart will ache for the ones I can't help;
I will take too much on personally;
I will be tempted to think that because of my own failures and problems, I am not good enough to be an example to anyone; 
I will wish that the policies and procedures and paperwork were not so complicated, so we could help more of them, quicker...

If God listed all the negatives of sending Jesus to earth to save us, and decided that it wasn't worth the effort, pain and losses, then you and I wouldn't be here, let alone have the opportunity to show others love and hope.

Yes I may be inexperienced, shy, lacking confidence and vertically challenged, but I am willing to give it a go, even though I know I will make mistakes, and might find out in the end that it's not where I'm meant to be.