29 December 2014

Kiva #6

After another successful loan fully repaid, I was able to recycle my Kiva funds again today. 
This time the money is heading to Kenya when James will use the money to purchase farm inputs for his cattle business.  He has 10 years of experience so I'm hoping for another ontime repayment.
Good luck James!

26 December 2014

Backyard Bird List 2014

This was our first full calendar year in our place and it was a great year of birds at our feeders, in our trees and around our home.  
In 2013 I marked down 43 species and my goal was to top that this year. Things really slow down after the mid-point of the year.  In 2013 only two birds were added after July 1 and this year I only found three after that date. But I did make my goal, identifying 45 species. 
Some species that I spotted in 2013 I was unable to check off this year: Bluebird, Golden-crowned kinglet, rose-breasted grosbeak, pine siskin, yellow-rumped warbler, indigo bunting, great blue heron, red-eyed vireo.
So, obviously, I added some new names to the list to make up the difference.  Bald eagle, tufted titmouse, herring gull, mallard duck, tennessee warbler, nashville warbler, swainson's thrush, golden-winged warbler, hairy woodpecker.
Total on the overall house list is now 52. Can't wait to start on 2015!!

02 December 2014

The Trick to Being More Virtuous

In truth, demand is far more important than supply: We get more of what we signal we want through our dollars, clicks and votes. If our politics are too often poisonous, it is because, as a society, we are demanding too much poison. If we want to grow in virtue, and experience a healthier, more productive political environment, each of us must demand more virtue.
We should ask ourselves: What will my next click say about my desires? Will the next article about politics I read elevate me? Or will it be a pathogen that provides momentary satisfaction from an eloquent insult to my enemies, but ultimately fuels personal bitterness and increases the climate of acrimony in America? Can I pass it by instead and seek personal moral improvement?

 I love that passage from the recent NY Times opinion page article from Arthur Brooks entitled, "The Trick to Being More Virtuous."  The idea of 'moral elevation' being "an emotional state that leads us to act virtuously when exposed to the virtue of others."  I have zero doubt in that idea and love what the quoted passage above shares, that we should therefore make sure we are exposing ourselves to the most positive and virtuous things we can.  
Sounds like a perfect idea for a New Year's resolution to me.