Saturday, August 22, 2009

Being God's Pockets

From an article in the NY Times: The paramount moral challenge... in this century, is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.

Regardless of whether you like the NY Times or not, regardless of whether you can think of other serious issues to give your attention, this is certainly an area where the Body of Christ can and should make a difference in the world. We're familiar with the idea of being God's hands and feet by being missionaries and personally going overseas to preach the Gospel. But you can also stay home and give money to support other people who work as missionaries. And you can also provide very small no-interest loans to desperate people around the world, through organizations like Kiva. You don't have to do this instead of contributing to missions, you can do it in addition. As little as $25 can make a huge difference in people's lives.

That's why I've tagged this NY Times article. Read the first page and you'll see how a mere $65 changed the life of a Pakistani woman named Saima, who was in a very nasty situation. And you'll see how the effect of that loan grew to help other families through Saima.

Typically, multiple people each put up a small portion of a loan, sharing the risk. Note making zero-interest loans is not a way to plan for your retirement. But it is a way to help improve lives and make poor societies more stable, and therefore likely to produce fewer terroristic maniacs.

The more financially stable families there are in a country like Afghanistan, for instance, the less power groups like the Taliban have. So please consider making a loan to a hard working, but poor person, just because you like helping people, or to make the world a little safer place for you, your family, or for the missionaries in those countries.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

An Old, Unknown Empidemic

Your family probably has a very serious health problem that you've never heard of. The latest flu? No, this has probably been an epidemic since people started working in factories and office buildings, but has gone unnoticed and unheralded until very recently. So I'm writing this little note to add a little heralding.

From WebMD: "Seven out of 10 U.S. children have too-low vitamin D levels, putting them at risk of heart disease, rickets, and weak bones... Vitamin D deficiency is a serious health threat..."

70%! Every family is probably affected. Your family is probably affected!

While the linked article is about children (of all ages), do a little more research and you'll find that vitamin D inadequacy and deficiency is also prevalent among adults.

Doctors have been increasingly aware of the seriousness of vitamin D inadequacy and deficiency, not only for physical health, but also for mental heath. And they've been increasingly aware that they have not been adequately monitoring the problem, which prompted the study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine behind the article linked above. "We expected the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency would be high, but the magnitude of the problem nationwide was shocking."

So, read the linked article, read other articles, then get everyone in your family tested to find out what your vitamin D levels are, and if they're low, start getting more. If you take vitamin D supplements, make sure they're vitamin D3. Get it locally to start with, and while you're taking those, you can save money by ordering online. This is where I get my vitamins, and no, that's not an affiliate link so I'll get a little commission if you buy something there. It's just a link directly to a reliable source of inexpensive vitamin D3, from a large vitamin manufacturer.

By the way, my doctor found my vitamin D inadequacy a few years ago, and I started taking supplements, and it makes a big difference to my energy levels and helps me keep a positive attitude toward life. I'm sure, because I have a compartmentalized pill box with a box for each day of the week. That let's me see when I've forgotten to take my vitamin D, B-complex, fish oil, thyroid pill, and blood pressure med. When I forget them for a day, I can see a real difference. When I forget them for 2 days in a row, I see a much bigger difference. And a few times I've run out of D when I had the other things, so I learned what it was like to take everything except D, and wow, does D make a big difference!

Remember, 70% of U.S. kids have inadequate vitamin D, and 10% have full-on vitamin D deficiency, and it causes a wide variety of mild to very serious health problems. And since it's easy to test for, and cheap to take supplements, don't ignore it!!