May was, perhaps, about investment. We began it in Northern Ireland, investing in our relationships with family and old friends. We ended it on a beach on England’s South Coast, flying kites and investing in our own wellbeing as the world fell away, leaving only colourful kites dancing on the wind as the evening’s light faded.
When I launched this blog, I identified the overarching themes that would dominate it: sustainability, words, making. Over the past sixteen months, I’ve seen a pattern emerging that takes these three topic areas beyond ‘these are a few of my favourite things’, stringing them together and showing how they relate, influence and inform each other. To illustrate this more explicitly, the blog is undergoing a tweak or too. Same kind of content, but greater clarity in how it all hangs together. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to share some of the thoughts I’ve had and things I’ve learned about being neighbourly in the 21st century. Around 40 women had gathered to share breakfast and friendship, and to hear about an amazing charity called The Gate which works with women in the sex trade in Southampton. I had the privilege of putting the work of The Gate in the wider context of a call to be radically neighbourly in our day to day lives.
Ah February, you seemed to disappear in a haze of busyness and an associated earnest pursuit of outdoor escape to counteract it. A few of the things that have spurred me on through the month have been:
Contemplating this article on ‘effective altruism’, a movement advocating the people ensure that the action, money and time dedicated to making a difference makes the biggest difference possible. I’m not totally on board with all of it, and neither is this article, but it does have five tips on how to genuinely make a difference.
I suspect the life I aspire to is not attainable. That is to say, it isn’t a destination; it’s the journey of a lifetime. Constantly trying to better understand my impact on the lives of others, on this planet we call home. Taking steps to make that impact more positive, loving and kind. Exploring the creativity I didn’t know dwelt within me – with words, with fabrics, with bookshelves, with… I don’t know what else – that’s the point. I don’t live in the expectation that one day I’ll have ‘arrived’. If we achieve ‘one planet living’ (when our impact is not greater than the planet can sustain), then there will always be opportunities to actively have a positive impact, not just minimising the negative. For every word written and shared, scrap of furniture upcycled and fabric sewn, there will remain the possibility of more.
When catching up on the Downton Abbey Christmas special, the post-festive season adverts told me it was time to start getting fit, redecorating the house and booking holidays. These themes did arise in our New Year’s Eve reflections on the year past and the days ahead, but they weren’t the only features of our discussion. We are content with the framework we have established for our lives, prioritising sustainable living, fostering community, exploring creativity and honouring God. In 2016 we hope to continue on this trajectory, which means making more incremental steps to thread these throughout the fabric of our lives.
I don’t enjoy shopping. Saturday afternoon in a shopping centre is my idea of time poorly and stressfully spent. I do however love an hour spent pottering around a street lined with charity shops, taking the time to hunt for bargains and to marvel at some of the stranger donations that have arrived onto the shop shelves. I’ve written in the past about second-hand wares in the home (read ‘the why’ and ‘the how’) but I’m immensely satisfied that most of my clothes are secondhand. Without the opportunity to pick the version of your desired item in any colour or size, shopping second-hand can be more challenging, but more rewarding for it.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to help make the most of secondhand shopping: Continue reading