A random opportunity for good

People who know me will know, I’m not really a toilet humour kind of person. I don’t think it’s gross and unmentionable, I just don’t think it’s  funny.

I am, however, all about things that do good for the world. And for that cause I will be all about it…

Who Gives A Crap is an organisation doing the good work and I wanted to share it with you, even with the toilet jokes.

If you ever need to buy toilet paper, paper towel or tissues (which means all of you) why not buy it from them? They make all of their products with environmentally friendly materials, the designs are pretty and they donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets for those in need. And delivery is super quick!

For $10 off your first order click here

How they talk about their work:

“We love toilet paper because for us, it’s our way of making a difference. We started Who Gives A Crap when we learnt that 2.3 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. That’s roughly 40% of the global population and means that diarrhoea related diseases fill over half of sub-Saharan African hospital beds and kill 900 children under 5 every day.

We thought that was pretty crap. So in July 2012, Simon, Jehan and Danny launched Who Gives A Crap with a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. Simon sat on a toilet in our draughty warehouse and refused to move until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. 50 hours and one cold bottom later, we’d raised over $50,000 (see the video here!)

We delivered our first product in March 2013 and have been thrilled to keep growing ever since. Not just because our toilet paper is gracing bathrooms across the country but also because we donate 50% of our profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

Though we’re still growing, and now make more than just toilet paper, we always want to stay true to our roots: toilet humor and making the world a better place.”

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Remembering

We can remember things we didn’t experience. Humanity has a collective memory, one that surpasses our individual neurons.

I remembered today. Visited the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne with my dad and aunt. It was built after the First World War but includes displays from then until the present.

I remember the millions upon millions of men and boys prevented from giving all of their goodness to the world by lives cut short or scarred by violence. I remember the millions upon millions of women and girls who have given so much in every conflict, on the battlefields, at home and those torn asunder by war happening around them.20150116_144351

I remember that the striving for power by a small number of men is where it always originates.

I remember that beyond that striving is what is named on the walls of the Shrine as fear and envy.

I remember that every story I have heard from soldiers includes the truth that whatever the reason for the war, the reason they do what they do, and why they go back, is because of their mates. The bonds formed by those small groups of soldiers that do the actual fighting. Never leaving a man behind. Going above and beyond the call of duty. Being there to do what needs to be done to get your mates home is always at the core. It is why we find them honourable. War is not honourable. 20150116_164507a

I remember that the centrepiece of the Shrine is the Sanctuary at the heart of which is a tombstone with the words ‘Greater love hath no man’. As in “Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

This is why they go.

It was starkly clear to me today that the story starts with fear and envy and ends in love and peace. Well done to those who designed the displays as those are where we must end. If only we could begin there as well.

In a time that seems to have forgotten the lessons so hard learnt, I promise to remember. With everything we see and hear stoking our fears, I promise to remember.

Love and peace win in the end. How much better the world could be if they were also where we started…

Remember. Remember for all of those who too easily forget.

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Selfie Project so far – 1

A few weeks ago I started a Selfie Project. I don’t want large chunks of my life to be missing from the record so I’m doing something about it. Sharing pictures of me and my life on Instagram.

And, I’m glad I’m doing it… There are pictures of me doing things I do as part of my ordinary life, pictures of things I love, pictures of things that represent what I’m focussed on at the time. That all fulfills the goal of the project, to have a record of my life.

It adds an awareness, a consciousness to my day. What image will capture something of my experience today? How will I express part of who I am and what my life is visually? It gives me a regular creative outlet and helps me be more mindful of my days and my focus.

This is very worth doing and I’m looking forward to seeing what else I notice as I go!

Selfies

So I just had to add the word ‘selfie’ to my phone’s dictionary. Get with the times phone! It’s the word of the year for goodness sake…

Something I’ve thought about for a while is that I don’t really have all that many photos of myself. Not none. And not because I’m one of those ‘no no don’t take my picture’ people. But over the past bunch of years, I’ve taken plenty of pictures but I’m not really in all that many. And, really, its cos someone actually just has to take them.

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Looking back on photos of our lives is a pleasurable valuable thing. Seeing photos of my parents, of their lives before kids, its fascinating, a view of something you are both intimately connected to and completely disconnected from. Looking at our photos assists in memory development and maintenance. It facilitates bonding. Its a record of your life, reminding you of choices and relationships and fashion and music and feelings and history. Who you were reaches into the future to touch you once again. Bittersweet and hilarious and those times, and hairstyles, you wish you could forget.

I don’t want to have years of my life missing from the record. Not for anyone else’s sake but mine.

I know there is lots of adult angst about selfie culture and what it means for and about current generations but you know what? I think its like everything else, a tool that can be good or bad depending how and why you use it. Except for assault rifles. There’s only one use for them and its all bad.

So I think I’m gonna start a project. A Selfie Project. A picture of myself every day for a year. Good, bad and everything in between. A record of my life. On my terms and for my purposes.

Everyone has insecurities and things they wish were different about themselves. So what? I’m a big fan of acknowledging reality and this is a great, and I’ll be honest, challenging, way to do that.

For the first one, I’m home sick from work, so we’re starting completely unglamorous and ordinary.

Follow me on Instagram here to see them as they happen. I will include them here in summary/theme form depending on what takes my fancy.

Here we go 2014, I guess you’ll see me soon,

clairejegan

PS. I’ve done some related research and will share some of the articles and vids I have found most interesting along the way.

PPS. I’m gonna learn a whole bunch more about filters and lighting and angles and honesty throughout this process aren’t I?? Well, I like learning things…

Worth fighting for

“We never win. Never will. That’s not why we fight. We do it because there’s things worth fighting for.”  —  From the Joss Whedon TV show ‘Angel’

Loving people is hard. Loving people who don’t fit our usual mold is very hard.  Loving people who are broken and don’t follow the ‘rules’ and don’t know how to love us back? Surely that’s downright impossible.

I’ve learned (and relearned) that loving broken people is the hardest thing. Yes, we’re all broken but some are more broken than others.

We love expecting something in return. Love. Gratitude. Accolades. I’ll be there for you, you’ll be there for me. Sounds perfectly valid. Balanced. And yes, at least in your major life relationship it’s something worth seeking.

But some people are not going to fit that criteria. Some people are going to be addicts, mentally ill, damaged. Maybe they were never loved in the good and balanced way. Maybe they were never taught respect and boundaries and honesty and empathy.

It feels as though if they keep disappointing you, you are entitled to move on from them. If you help them out of a mess they got themselves into and then they land back in a similar one? Self-inflicted? Surely you are allowed to wash your hands of them without feeling guilty. You did what you could after all, what more could be expected of you?

That’s the question isn’t it? What more is expected of you?

The thing is, if you are a Christian, more is expected of you.

Love is expected of us. Requested by God.

Love in all its long-suffering, no record of wrongs, kind, patient, hopeful glory; without jealousy, arrogance or boasting.

The quote above reminded me of this truth. That winning isn’t the point of fighting. That making progress is not the point of loving them. Love is the point.

They are worth fighting for.

As Christians we have the extraordinary benefit of knowing that in the end we will win. That no matter what happens here, our side wins in the end. Which means that all that matters is what we do here.

Fight for them. Love them. Through the disappointments and pain and how very exhausting it can be.

Love them with His love. Cos I promise you it’s the only way you will be able to.

It is worth doing!

Along the way to home

The actual travel part of travelling is something I don’t mind. Certainly it can be uncomfortable, boring and downright messed up. However…

There’s something about it that I appreciate. It gives me a chance to say goodbye to where I’ve been and prepare myself for where I’m going. There is a mental shift required, at least for me, if I’m going to really be present wherever I end up. And of course, hopefully I end up where I intended!

I have spent the last month travelling throughout Australia. To Alice Springs and a number of places in QLD, visiting people I know. It’s been a wonderful varied heartwarming trip. But now I’m headed home.

Home to the ordinary, to responsibilities and work and housework and bills and a car that will hopefully start up fine after not being driven for weeks. But it’s also a return to friends and home and church and life.

As I sit here in an airport lounge waiting for the next plane (6 of 6) I get to think back over the trip, reminisce and remember, take time to cherish the time spent with loved ones, oh the good food, the places seen and appreciated, the fun that was had…

I also get to prepare myself for homecoming, for work tomorrow and when I’m going to see people I care about here.

For me, this is valuable. For me, this is crucial.

So now I’m gonna go do more of that and continue on home…

And after my oh so contemplative post, who wants to bet they’ll lose my luggage or break something important along the way?? 🙂

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The Red Centre

Home is a feeling. When I speak about going home I mean my house, or where I’m sleeping that night. But when I think about where feels like home? I think of Kallista, in the Dandenong Ranges hills. As soon as I turn that particular corner in the road and head into Sherbrooke Forest, the tall tall trees, the green, the ferns, the smells, the quiet, give me that soul sighing moment of ‘aahhh home’.

I spent 19 years of my life living in that area, it’s not surprising that it feels like home to me. But there are places where you can feel that way all of a sudden. It sneaks up on you, taps you on the shoulder, and when you turn around it gives you a big hug.

For me, the centre of Australia feels like that. I’ve spent barely 10 days there in my life but something about that place feels true to me. It doesn’t feel familiar, like I said I’ve spent hardly any time there, but it feels…important. It feels like a spiritual home.

I suspect it is because it represents the heart of Australia to me, this country that I love. The red earth, the soaring rocks, the unexpected beauty, the hardness, the brightness, the value of water, the ever-changing skies… How hard it is to survive there. And surviving there might mean you don’t have, say, the soaring beauty of the gums of Kallista, you might be twisted and strange, but it is all the more significant that you have survived and thrived in your own way.

I am not indigenous to this land. But I belong to it.

I honour the first peoples, their relationship with and nurture of the land is something I continue to be inspired and moved by. I wish we could find a way through the complex reality of our coexistence here.

My favourite poem, one I have memorised, is ‘I Love a Sunburnt Country‘ by Dorothea Mackellar. She captures it so well… And how it ends is Truth for me.

“Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country,
My homing thoughts will fly.”

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