Monday, January 26, 2015

New Earring Monday '15: Weeks 3 & 4

Hello all...looks like I am back to designing! And I have my friend, Sarajo of Sj Designs Jewelry to thank for it!

You see, she tagged me to post something I created for five consecutive days. (She said she had seen enough cake pics or something like that ;) )

I posted some pics of my older favorites, and I desperately missed my beads and my creating time. It does give me a very different, joyful kind of high!

A friend of mine wanted one of the older designs I had posted, and she was visiting me last weekend. Perfect inspiration at the perfect time! She was here for a swim meet with another friend, so I made two pairs for both of them.

Here they are...

This first pair is made with Heather's Humblebeads, and I realized two days after gifting them to my friend that they were Marsala color!

This second pair is what my friend had requested. The ceramic beads are by Marti Conrad of Marti's Beads and Buttons.

Well, thanks Sarajo! These were infinitely more satisfying and guilt-free than cake will ever be!

I have to thank Sarajo yet again for getting me blogging too! She is hosting a year long blogfest called "New Earrings Monday", which this post is intended for. You can find the other entries below..

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Big Four-Oh And Kiva

All these years, the only time I ever felt like, "oh my, I feel old" was when I started 8th grade. At age 13, I wondered just HOW did I get so far? And that feeling stayed with me for a couple years! But since then it has been smooth sailing, the 20s were welcomed enthusiastically, 30s were mostly ignored: I still looked and felt like I was in my mid-20s. Plus I had three older sisters..who would, well, always be older, consequently making me feel younger. I always believed that I would age gracefully, knowing how to handle it.

I was absolutely...WRONG! 3 months before my birthday, I got glasses. My eyes were probably weak for a while, I just decided to do something about it only now. While I had been planning my 40th birthday for a while, the realization of what it meant only hit me when I got the glasses. 4 decades! Having had a pretty healthy life so far, the signs of aging took me by surprise. I started having these chains of thought where I would be old and frail with no one to be with me. Pretty intense reaction to getting glasses, I know! The big day is on April 18th.

I tried to calm down and took stock of life so far. The picture was quite rosy. Loving family, fun and loyal friends, good jobs throughout, sprinkled with a fair amount of travel, and more materialistic things than I would ever want need. Absolutely no complaints or regrets here! I thought about what I would like to do that would make this year more meaningful.

I have always been socially conscious, thanks to my philanthropic parents. I have helped out with donations mostly towards education and children's welfare. I have been disappointed with quite a few of the organizations I have supported (and hence stopped supporting), and right now the number has dwindled to two: Project Why and Kiva.

For those that don't know about Kiva (get out from under your rock, NOW!):
It is a non-profit organization that works with microfinance institutes to provide lending services to those most in need! You could lend as little as $25 and make a BIG difference. If you look at the profiles of the borrowers, you can be assured that your loan will make a difference not just to one individual, but to an entire family. It may even turn the course of life for their next generation! All with $25, which you actually get back!

The repayment rate is 98% - and this 2% loss is most often due to currency exchange loss, which the borrower has no control over. I have been lending since 2009. I have put in only $128 so far, which have been going around (repayment and relending) allowing me to help change the lives of 40 families! The $128 has become equivalent to $1100!

When I looked at the numbers, I was ashamed that I had only put in $128 in 5 years. To change that, I am going to make a new loan each month. And to supplement that, I have also started a campaign where, YOU can also get into this addictive, feel-good habit! Here are the details of my campaign:

Instead of getting gifts this year, I wish to raise $300 in loans by April 19th, 2015. This is a $25 loan by 12 people. You will get the loan back, and you may choose to either keep it or re-lend (I would recommend re-lending...see how $128 provided a $1100 value??)
Someone asked me whether I was hoping to find new "lenders" vs new "loans". I just meant new "loans", if you are an existing Kivan, and wish to make a loan through my campaign, I'll be glad :)

Here's a touching video that will definitely convince you in case my words did not

You can empower people around the world by making a $25 loan on Kiva. 

Hoping to raise well beyond my goal!
Thank you :)