Archive for February, 2013

A friendship that began an incredible journey….

February 26, 2013

I love the tale of the Lord of the Rings – Tolkein has such a beautiful way of reminding us how important love, friendship, loyalty and journey are – the elements that bring true substance and meaning to our lives.

This afternoon I spent an hour skyping with a dear friend of mine who lives in a small town in North-East Thailand called Payak. Hannah and I begun a friendship via email after my husband connected with her and her family in 2002 on a trip he made with his father. We met over a year later when I spent a week with her community in Thailand and it felt as though we had been friends our whole lives. I was moved by Hannah’s love for the children in her community and the way she embraced those who needed her help despite her own limited means at the time

hanandme

Our friendship saw us embark on an exciting venture together in 2006 when we partnered in founding Samuel’s House, a home for displaced children. Together with another amazing couple, we were able to see Hannah’s vision for providing a loving, family run home for abandoned kids realised. The journey has brought us, and many friends and family who have come on board, immeasurable joy and we always love a chance to spend a week with our ‘Thai family’.

sh

On our last visit in 2011, we discovered that Hannah and Nehamee had started a small mushroom business which was really doing well. I can’t recall exactly when Hannah and I first discussed the concept, but essentially we are now working together on a project called The Mushroom Project (30 second clip here) which empowers women in the region of Isaan to replicate her mushroom business. Isaan is one of the poorer areas of Thailand and is not frequented by tourists. Most people subsist on rice farming. The project incorporates a formalised micro-loan, business mentoring and gives an opportunity for women to add an additional stream of income to the family budget. Our first project started in April 2012 and is now completed with the funds rolled into Project #2. Today Hannah and I discussed a candidate for Project #3  who lives near the proprietor of Project #1 and has started learning the business from her which is super exciting as it incorporates the concept of paying it forward for the participants.

Han promo

I am so thankful to have begun this friendship with Hannah through a simple email. I have loved being a part of these life-giving projects and I wanted to share this story with you because it always makes me think “Who am I going to meet next and what exciting adventures await us….?” Building friendships is such a valuable investment in life – they can open doors you never expected, not only for you but for others whom you can also bless in the process.

A day in the life of vintage treasure hunters

February 19, 2013

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis

A friend mentioned recently that she had come across a vintage haunt in a posh suburb in Brisbane with fabulous finds. I looked up those in the area and found three. With a common love of vintage treasure hunting and being overdue for a proper catch-up, Megan and I decided to make an outing of it. Megan and I met twice, once over vintage bicycles and the next over vintage fashion. We then discovered so many other things we had in common and have become good friends.

We got off on time as planned (which was impressive for us both) but soon discovered navigation might be an issue (no GPS or UBD) but this was quickly remedied by a visit to a tech shop on the way.

maps

Despite assistance from our new TomTom we somehow got onto the Clem tunnel and ended up on the other side of the city to where we were headed. Given we were in the area we decided to look for an op shop listed at Ascot. Unfortunately we couldn’t find it but stopped to pick up some peaches for morning tea. I then cleverly I missed my footing on some steps and tumbled elegantly down the stairs on platform heels on the way back to the car.

We decided to head back toward our destination posh suburb, another trip via Clem and parked down a side street. The street had limited signage so we stopped in at a realty and were given the wrong directions. Ah the perils of vintage treasure hunting in unfamiliar territory! After tramping up and down the high street of posh suburb with one small umbrella in pouring rain, both stumbling along on heels and me with sore knee from the tumble and a cut and grazed hand, we found one of the three listed right near street where we had parked. Books only!

We went back to the car and I was feeling quite forlorn. Megan suggested we try some haunts near the city on the way home as a plan b. I had been there before without a huge amount of luck and wasn’t really feeling up to any more walking in the rain. Poor Megan probably didn’t know what to do with this party pooper. As we drove on though she  just chatted away and the gentle presence of a good friend reminded me of why we were on an outing in the first place. I snapped out of my pity party and determined to have a great day no matter what – even if we didn’t find any good haunts, the most important thing was that we enjoyed a beautiful day together! Well we arrived at the plan b location and secured a park right near the spots we wanted to visit. Whilst the first two didn’t turn anything up, the third and final spot was a goldmine and both of us found some lovely pieces.

vintage treasures

Having satisfied our sartorial appetite it was then time for lunch and we enjoyed delicious vegan fare in West End before heading home. Our trip back was filled with the beautiful tunes of ABC classic FM, the rain softly falling and shared stories of treasured friends, places that we had been and those we still dream of.

 

The journey of success

February 11, 2013

True entrepreneurs are driven to serve as much as they are called to lead

– Jonathon Fields

king

I was most inspired by this quote recently. It made me think of a few awesome people I know and ponder that the level of success that they are currently achieving is a direct result of their genuine love of serving people. I did a little google search on Fields and found an article he wrote on the topic. We so often get things topsy turvy in life – as dream chasers we want the results, but sometimes do not realise the foundational principles which underpin success.

Adding value to the communities in which we live and contribute is the common feature of all great leaders, no matter what level they operate and with or without the label. Inspiring leaders are in fact always the greatest servants and this is why we follow them – they call out the best within themselves and in doing so they call forth the best from us. Respect and compassion for others and a commitment to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunity are the hallmarks of great leaders.

The path to success brings with it a great sense of accomplishment but it also adds great responsibility. Whilst this may give one pause, it is the person that we grow into as we pursue these dreams that can give us the greatest sense of personal achievement. For in conquering the mountains, we conquer our fears and insecurities…. indeed we conquer ourselves when we reach the summit and know deep within “I can do anything I put my hand to!” Keep striving for your goals, never give up, for in the journey there is great joy!