Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Pilgrim's Progress and Other Musings

i have started reading john bunyan's "A Pilgrim's Progress" and it's fantastic. i have read about 100 pgs in less than a week, granted it's a pretty easy to read but so full of goodness. if you haven't heard of it i will give you the basics: the book is the whole journey of Christian, a normal person, who is trying to get to the Celestial City (Heaven); basically it his entire Christian journey. i am so impressed with bunyan because most of his writing is word for word scripture references. it is such a great allegory that keeps you wanting to read more. i am really enjoying this fresh new outlook on faith and the journey of every Christ follower. if you haven't read it, i highly recommend reading it.

to aid in this pilgrimage of mine i have gone back and have been listening to some older christian music as well as some new. i have been very encouraged with Dogwood's second album, "Through Thick & Thin". with songs comparing our journey to a sailing voyage or a visually great lyrical about the return of Christ or an encouraging song about brotherhood through thick and thin, this entire album has nothing but inspiration, humbleness, and love written all over it and in it. this was one of my most favorite bands growing up and never had this album of my own and have finally gotten it. my most favorite song is "stairway to sin" which is such a beautiful song of redemption and recognizing one's sinfulness habits and it goes through the thought/journey of letting go and allowing God to work. can you see all the similarities to journeying? check out the song above if you dare...

another older band but mainly just one song instead of a whole album is "Louder than the Mob" by The O.C. Supertones another favorite when i was younger. it's just one of those songs that speaks about our sin but just in a unique way and how great our God is and how forgiving He is even when we shouldn't deserve it. Here are the lyrics:
"I know I'm just another Judas, kiss Your face
While I drive the nail through Your hand
I know I'm just another Thomas, won't believe
Until I feel the hole in your hands
Then I will say, my God, I see not what You see
My God, what do You see in me?
My God, crowned in glory
The Lamb of God is worthy
My sin yells, 'Crucify!'; Louder than the mob that day
My sin yells, 'Crucify!', louder than any mouth."

the last song/album i wanted to mention is Psalter's, "Ch.7 EP". the Psalters are amazing people and gifted musician/songwriters; they sing some very impactful songs and i know how sincere they are. love them so much and if i lived in philly i would get to see them and hangout with them more. they are a breath of fresh air when thinking, talking, and living God's word. i digress, "Psalm 27" is a raw and encouraging song taken from David's Psalm 27, stating "the Lord is my light and my salvation, the Lord is my strength and my life! So I will not be afraid, no I will not be afraid!" such wonderfulness. please listen to it and check out all of their music, it will only do you good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sites to check out & Organizations to Support

thought i'd share some cool websites that relate to travel or helping others out and hope that someone will gleam some helpful information from it. so here. we. go!

to start off i want to brag about my favorite travel website called Matador Travel; i visit it a couple times a month because it just talks a lot about cool trips to take like hitchhiking, hopping trains, woofing, biking, and has a lot of good articles and resources about specific countries or cities all around the world. i've submitted several photos and little write ups to them for my bike trip as well as volunteering here in peru. it's my favorite travel site and thought i'd share it.

if you are interested in gardening and traveling then you should check out woofing (world wide opportunities on organic farms).  basically you purchase a list of a country and it hooks you up with contact information with organic farmers. in theory you contact a farmer and you work out an agreement of working for room & board. it's a great opportunity to see a new place and learn about farming. i hope to take advantage of this someday soon.

i know i've talked about it already but Earthships! i think its such a great concept and so awesome to be sustainable. basically a house made out of tires filled with soil, using cans and glass bottles along with adobe to form walls. so basically this house fully sustainable because the roof gathers and stores rainwater and uses a filter system to filter it 4 times for bathing, washing, drinking, and to water your garden; it has solar panels as well as a wind generator to harvest electricity; the house plan is specifically designed with an internal heating and cooling system in it; as well as a greenhouse to grow foodz. i plan to buy some land and build one of these in the near future; where? i don't know but i think this is a great idea.

another that is really common is Couchsurfing; i know a lot of people know about this but just in case someone doesn't. so if you have an open couch or guest room in your house and you're cool with letting travelers crash on it then you sign up and people send you requests to stay with you. it's a great free way to travel around the world (i've done it across the united states) and it's super safe and a great way to meet cool people. also the people you meet most likely show you great restaurants, hidden gems, music venues, etc.

GOOD is a magazine but also a cool website that breaks down into several categories such as: health, media, politics, transportation, technology, culture, cities, design, action, etc. and has awesome articles about cool new programs going on in cities or states or countries that help people or the environment or education. i find out a lot of cool websites and organizations that way. in conjunction with GOOD, is DWELL which is all about house stuff; super cool site and magazine that is structured the same way as GOOD.

CVDW, Centre for Vision in the Developing World, is an organization that has developed these cool self-adjustable glasses. basically getting optometrists to developing countries to make glasses for people is a tough and expensive ordeal but these glasses are relatively cheap to produce but also for kids and adults to adjust the prescription themselves. their goal is by 2020 that they want to give out a billion glasses around the globe! it's super cool and such an ingenious glasses thingy (i know real technical).

a good idea of buy a pair give a pair, TOMS has lead the way in this with their very popular shoes and now newly introduced sunglasses. so you buy and pair and they give a pair to a kid around the world. a lot of friends of mine buy the shoes and i'm sure will buy the sunglasses. a good trendy idea.

One Laptop Per Child provides rugged, low-cost, low-power laptops to kids all over the world to help with their education. i don't know a ton about them but have read a couple of articles about them and have checked out their website a handful of times and is a smart way of bringing cheaper more energy efficient basic laptops to kids. they also provide software to help with the learning process. since i don't know much more than that, i would say if it interests you check their site out.

another organization that i want to promote is The Water Project; i support this organization financially because i firmly believe clean drinking water is like having gold. it's our life support along with clean air and food and so many villages around the world don't have wells or clean water facilities and with hotter summers and more draughts these wells and storage systems are a huge help. it's really amazing that $50-100 can do so much for a community like provide clean drinking water for a couple families. i ran into this organization when i was in utah seeing films at sundance film festival.

my last organization is where i am currently volunteering 6 months of my time and that is in cusco, peru with The Meeting Place Cafe; which gives 100% of its profits away to 3 local missions in cusco: Project CORAZON (an orphanage), Casas Josefina (orphanage for developmentally challenged kids) and Casa del Aguila (farm/medical clinic/orphanage). there is a guest house and language school a part of the cafe as well and all those profits go out too. it's a great place and the owners are wonderful people. i'm so thankful to be able to be here helping.

i hope something here has helped or has shown you that their are some great organizations and websites out there to help others as well as gleam new and cool information about traveling or green living.