Monthly Musings: July discoveries

It’s hard to believe that July has been and gone, and there’s only a month before the arrival of spring. But before we get carried away in anticipation of spring, here are a few of my discoveries in July.

  • Booknook and Bean opened in Topham Mall around the corner from work, and it’s my new favourite place for a hot chocolate, a pre-loved book, or a little yummy treat (or all of them together!). On the pre-loved book front you can donate books or buy them (there’s an honour system – just pay what you want between $2-$7 per book). All profits from the books are invested through Kiva, providing micro-loans to people around the world so they have an opportunity get out of poverty. What a great idea!
  • I came across this beautiful song “Light” from Gungor about their daughter who was born with Down Syndrome. They named her Lucette which means light, and if you need a little light right now watch this video (oh, and you might need some tissues too!). The full lyrics and a little more of their story is on the You Tube page (Light).
  • I also discovered that the service at Apple is pretty impressive. I’ve had my iPad Mini for about a year and love it. Unfortunately it stopped working about a week after I arrive home from holiday. I took it into the Genius Bar at the Apple Store and they ran some tests, determined there’d been a hardware failure and swapped it for a replacement on the spot. You’ve gotta love that.
  • For the last month I’ve been trying out the Bullet Journal system, and so far I’m finding it very helpful to have one place for recording tasks, events, phone calls and meeting notes. All you need is a notebook and a pen. I’ve tweaked it a little for my own needs, particularly at work, where I keep it open on my desk and also take it to meetings.

Book Review: Half the Sky

Recently my sister lent me Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book is a compelling combination of commentary on global human rights issues such as sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence and maternal mortality, and the personal stories of some remarkable women.

Half The Sky

This is one of the most confronting and challenging books that I’ve read in a long time (possibly ever). The statistics and the stories are gut-wrenching. In the 21st century, in my comfortable, middle-class home, it seems almost impossible to comprehend the poverty, discrimination, oppression and violence that so many women and girls are still experiencing around the world. This book opened my eyes to a reality about which I’d been blissfully and conveniently ignorant. It’s easier to believe that you don’t need to do anything, if you don’t know what the issues are.

But this isn’t just a book condemning the oppression of women, it’s also a book filled with hope. Srey Rath in Cambodia escaped from the brothel she had been sold into and now runs a retail business to support her family. With some fundraising help from two women in America, Edna Adan built a maternity hospital on an abandoned dump site in Somaliland. These are just two examples of women who refused to give up, despite incredibly difficult circumstances. There are possibilities for change and transformation, and opportunities for anyone who wants to become part of a solution. As George Clooney is quoted, “It’s impossible to stand by and do nothing after reading Half the Sky.”

Will this book make you feel uncomfortable? Probably. Is this book worth reading? Absolutely. Can you help to change the world? Yes. That’s the message and the invitation. As the authors write in their Introduction, “This is a story of transformation. It is change that is already taking place, and change that can accelerate if you’ll just open your heart and join in.”

As for me? I’ve already started investigating some of the suggested options for getting involved. If you’ve read the book, I’d be interested in hearing how it’s impacted you.