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The Asylum got me (or did I get it).

Much has occurred in just a few weeks into 2014.  I wonder whether the whole year will be at the same pace.

I spoke about the paperback version of the letters book in my last blog.  It’s now on the verge of publication and there s a giveaway on Goodreads.

Letters from Stalag VIIIb giveaway

I am really excited about the book and am hoping later today to be able to order a proof and finally have a copy in my possession.

Just before Christmas we had a heated discussion about eCards v Card cards.  For some years Mark and I had stopped sending Cards by p0st mainly due to the drain on our limited resources when the £ plummeted against the euro.  We had hoped that over time our friends would follow suit and stop sending us cards that,  at the end of the festive season,  sit in a spent and weary pile whilst we wonder what to do with them.

This got me thinking, and reminded me that our financial situation had improved since then and yet I was reluctant to go back to sending cards.  I remember many years ago I sent  donations to Send a instead of Christmas cards,  I see they no longer exist in that name.   Anyhow, the discussion motivated me to think about what to do with the money we might have spent on cards and postage.  We already sponsor 2 children with The Butterfly Tree charity and I didn’t think we could quite stretch to 3.

I then remembered Kiva, the micro lending organisation, where we had already made loans.  The great thing about Kiva is your money can be lent over and over.  Each time it gets paid back, you can relend, or take it and run.   So, off I went to Kiva with every intention of making a couple of loans to cover our potential expenses.  Somehow, I cannot now recall< I got the bit between my teeth and began cajoling and nagging people to consider doing the same.  I created a Team and nagged practically on a daily basis for people to join.  Team Kath & Ko @ Kiva  There was a small response which was great, a few people joined and lent, each new person joining created a $25 bonus for me to lend to another entrepreneur.   I was enjoying being in some way responsible for helping (in my opinion) peoples lives.  As January ended, and February begun there was quite a flurry of interest, and each time I logged in I’d find another bonus waiting for me to lend.  Yesterday was a big day.  A very kind friend lent a large some of money which helped 13 Kiva users.   Look how well we’ve done since inception on 27/12/13


So, my nagging has paid off and I shall continue to nag fairly frequently to keep some momentum going.

I am now working 2 mornings per week at Restos du Coeur, and think I might have persuaded Mark to come with me one morning per week.

Finally, a couple of Saturdays ago I provided the premises and guests for a Neal’s Yard Remedies demonstration.  I have always loved their products, and have been unable to buy them here.  I nagged people to come, sent out loads of invites and I forgot it was just after Christmas, AND before payday (our payday isn’t at the end of the month).

So, there were 9 guests, and our consultant Julie traveled some distance to present the demonstration.   She is looking to recruit consultants all over France and possibly had her eye on me!  It not being “my thing” I decided against it.  I cannot be doing with trying to get people to have parties, and to aim for goals, I gave that up when I took early kept woman status when Mark retired.  Anyhow, Julie doesn’t give up and it appears she has recruited me to be a “Catalogue Consultant”.    This means I have a designated web page whereby my UK friends and their acquaintances can browse, sniff and order on line.

This is my online catalogue

It also means I’ll have a sample kit and some catalogues and those who couldn’t come to the demo, or those who want to reorder items or those who were waiting for payday, can order from me.  After my initial reluctance, I am a little excited and also wondering what I have let myself in for.   So with Valentine’s Day not far off, and maybe birthdays, Easter and Mother’s Day, make sure you check out the really love gifts.  I bought Mark the NYR Men’s Toiletries gift for his birthday, looks like I’ll be ordering more!  I am trying out the Eye and Lip serum, will let you know how young I look in a later post.















Here is my Facebook page, please like and share with your male and female friends.

Kathy’s NYR Page

Meanwhile, here in La Belle France the weather is throwing wind and rain at us, but not quite as badly here as in the UK.

The gate is closed, but as you can see, it’s no longer working!

Kathy the sane


And the Adventure Begins… (via With Grace in Your Heart and Flowers in Your Hair)

And the Adventure Begins… A red eye, early morning flight, and an overnight flight make for 3 days since I’ve had a normal night of sleep, but I’m somehow still feeling energized and excited!  This recent bout of travel started when I left San Francisco after last week’s KF 16 Training.  (KF = Kiva Fellows; 16 is our class number).  Below is the KF 16 graduation picture: (Photo Credit to Charlotte) We had the most incredible group of 25 fellows.  I had so much fun and was … Read More

via With Grace in Your Heart and Flowers in Your Hair

Altruism or is it?

I was going to write something about altruism, and thought I’d better check the definition.  Having checked,  I have discovered that’s not what I want to write about.  So, I have to find another way express what I want to say. Maybe I want to dig around a little in unselfish acts, or charitable behaviour or kindness.   I guess those words are less precise, but they are what I mean.

I inherited a small amount of money a couple of months ago.   Now, even that sentence is relative.  What is small to me may not be small to others.   In my family of origin, it’s actually large.  However, in my husband’s family, and in our experience as a couple, it’s small.

Anyhow, I inherited a sum of money, and had been waiting for some time to be in a position to loan a small amount to help others.  So, not giving, but lending.   I’d read about Kiva and had been interested yet not in a financial position to lend.    I felt really good being able to do this finally, and lent about $120 spread over 4 people.  In fact, it’s very little, but it’s something.

I invited friends to look, and was surprised (I am naive) that some were somewhat cynical.  I agree, it’s possible some of the money may line the pockets of the money lenders, it’s quite possible.  I also know that when I give to charity, for instance the recent Horn of Africa appeal, that possibly some of my money will not make it to where it should. But, it doesn’t stop me. Why does it stop others?

At various times during my working life, I have made monthly charitable donations, and now I am not able to do this.
So I am pleased now to be helping others in some way.

There is a news item today about funding to charities in UK being reduced or withdrawn.

One of the interviewee’s said that during economic decline, many of the charities are in greater demand. Relate, for instance, will see higher demand from couples coping with job losses and the consequent strain on married and family life.

I should acknowledge, I am observing all this from my safe place, behind the gate, outside The Asylum….and I am very happy to be doing that at this time. So, for now….please let me know what you think stops people giving, apart from not having enough themselves.

Thanks for reading and please make sure you close the gate on your way out.

Kathy the Sane