An Easy, Fun Way to Save Your Life

Warning Signs
Warning Signs

Stress, Depression and Heart Disease are some of the leading killers of this century. Everyone is at risk and we bombarded with advice about diet, exercise, weight control etc. These are all important and I am not seeking to negate them but there is another factor that good solid scientific research has shown to also be vital to preventing theses killers striking.

A solution that is enjoyable, fun, and something to look forward to with eager anticipation and to look back on with fond and lasting memories.

In brief research shows that not taking a regular vacation will significantly increase your risk of death from a heart attack.  I will not go into all the details but will simply summarize a few studies and provide links so you can read them in full if you wish.

In a study of 13,000 middle-aged men at risk for heart disease, those who skipped vacations were found to be 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took at least one week off each year. Even missing one year’s vacation was associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Full report

A separate study, tapping information from the Framingham Heart Study, found vacation deprivation may be equally hazardous for women. Researchers looked at 20 years worth of questionnaires given to 749 women. Their finding: Women who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took at least two vacations a year.  Full Report

A study conducted among 1,500 women in rural Wisconsin found that those who take vacations twice a year or more were less likely to become tense, depressed or tired than those who took vacations once every two years. In addition, the odds of marital satisfaction decreased as the frequency of vacations decreased. Full Report Depression

Finally a sample of 887 law firm lawyers in Canada found that participating in active and social leisure activities and taking a vacation are important in reducing lawyers’ depression Full Report

Americans are at greater risk than those living in most other countries. This is because most countries in Europe have a legal requirement to give staff an annual vacation of between 20 and 30 days (varies between countries. Australia and New Zealand mandate at least 20 days off. Canada only insists on 10 days a year and America has no legal minimum.

There is the mistaken idea that it would cost business too much but that is simply not correct. As an example Jancoa, a Cincinnati janitorial service firm, for example, decreased its employee turnover from 360 percent to 60 percent while simultaneously increasing its productivity with the addition of a week of vacation. Full Report

The Chicago office of Price Waterhouse Coopers, the worldwide accounting firm, once dedicated an entire issue of its in-house newsletter to the importance of taking a vacation, pointing out that vacations enable employees to return to work with a strong focus and energy. Full Article

So start making plans NOW. Your life may depend on it.

BUT I can’t afford it!

In the USA 34% of those asked said that they can’t afford to take their full vacation. Now that is really sad! We all know how important a vacation is for your mental and physical health. Cutting it down because of cost is not necessary.

We can help you!Free

How?

Register with Christian House Sitters and you can enjoy rent-free vacations all over the world.

We can also arrange for a Christian to look after your home and pets free of charge while you are away.

For more information please have a look at our website CLICK HERE

God bless you,

Ray

 

 

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Thank You – Enjoy the video

In my last blog post I mentioned that God had blessed the children at the Home of Peace Children’s Home in Kenya over Christmas.

I promised to post some pictures so near the end of this post you will find a short video made from photographs taken at Christmas. But first allow me to give you some background for those who do not know why we are involved.

My wife, Marilyn, and I run a ministry called Christian House Sitters. Through this we are able to offer rent-free vacations to Christians all over the world. We are also able to help people who are going on vacation and would like someone reliable to look after their home and pets while they are away. Again this is done free of charge.

Through this ministry we have been able to help hundreds or to be more accurate thousands of Christians to enjoy a much-needed vacation that they would otherwise have found hard to afford.

Our home owners do not pay anything to belong but our sitters pay a small fee (£25 a year) to join. For this they get access to the list of all available rent-free vacations during the year.

The money paid by sitters all (100% no deductions) goes to support Home of Peace.

Our Church first became involved with this ministry in 2004 when it was just a room with a few children sitting and sleeping on the floor.

In 2010 the church felt that they could not continue to support this work financially due to the many demands on the church finance.

After much prayer Marilyn agreed to take on the responsibility for all the finances and for the training of the staff.

We now have 80 children who would otherwise be living on the street, starving or stealing to stay alive. Marilyn is part of the management of the Home and is in contact with them a few times a week.  She knows where every penny is spent and exactly how the home is run.

Over the past 3 years we have been able to provide the Home with 2 toilet blocks (they used to use a field), we have built a nursery room, fenced the entire compound to protect the children, [provides beds, bedding and mosquito nets for the children, provided their food, clothing, school expenses (books, fees, uniforms etc) covered all medical expenses and given our staff a small monthly wage plus accommodation and food.

It is not easy! We often have to really pray for funds for food for the children. Over the next few weeks we again need to buy 80 school uniforms, pay school fees and buy books etc and we do not have the money.

Over the next few months we have been told by the local authorities that we need to erect another dormitory and build a proper kitchen. Again we do not have the money.

Our only income is from Christian House Sitters and from people who either sponsor a child or make a donation.

BUT we know God is in control! We believe He will provide as He has done every month for the past 3 years.

Please join us in prayer.

CLICK ON VIDEO TO PLAY

Also feel free to tell your friends, family and church about both Christian House Sitters and about the Home of Peace.

More details about Christian House Sitters. CLICK HERE

More details about Home of Peace. CLICK HERE

God bless you

Ray

 

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My birthday wish

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, as you may have gathered , is my birthday. I have noticed it falls on this same date every year which makes remembering much easier.

Thank you to everyone who sent me cards, emails and greetings.

I was surprised when I went to Google this morning to see that they even had a special Google Doodle for me. That is a first.

Google Doodle

What do I want for my birthday?  To explain my wish let me first give some background.

As regular readers will know Marilyn and I run a website called Christian House Sitters. This provides rent-free vacations for Christians all over the world and also provides Christians who will look after your home and pets while you are away free of charge. You can read more just CLICK HERE

We run the site for a couple of reasons. To provide a valuable service to other Christians who could otherwise not afford a vacation and also to provide urgently needed funds for the Christian Children’s Home that we run in Kenya. All income from the site goes to these desperately needy children. To read more CLICK HERE

Now back to my birthday. What do I really want?

I want people to consider sponsoring a child at the home or to consider making an occasional donation towards this wonderful ministry.

Without additional support many of these lovely children will die! Some of the children

With your support we can accommodate, feed, educate and look after them in a safe Christian environment. We can take care of their medical needs and be a real blessing.

Please will you prayerfully consider helping us. That would be a fantastic birthday present and an answer to prayer. If you click the link above to read about the home you will find a sponsorship and a donation button at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

God bless you

Ray

 

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Funny places in England

Nothing serious today just a few things to hopefully make you smile. They made me smile

Two months ago we moved from Sussex to the delightful village of Seavington in Somerset. But when we first arrived I had great difficulty in shops, at the bank and chatting to people because nobody had ever heard of the village. I eventually discovered that even though it is spelt as Sea-ving-ton it is pronounced Seving-ton. Why? What happened to the ‘a’? I have no idea.

This morning I was driving Marilyn to a Physiotherapist appointment. Halfway between Ilminster and Chard we saw a village called Sea. The nearest coast must be at least 20 miles away so why is it called Sea? Again I have no idea.

This started me thinking about British town names. We certainly have some odd places.

How would you like to tell people that you live in Puddletown (formerly Piddletown)  a village in Dorset, 5 miles east of Dorchester in the Piddle River Valley

I can’t help wondering if it was named by someone who now lives in Crackpot, Swaledale, North Yorkshire.

Crackpot Town Sign

 

In Norfolk near to Walsingham there are a couple of villages one called Great Snoring and the other Little Snoring.

Sign to Great and Little Snoring

Here is a picture of the Great Snoring Church notice board. I was tickled by the section that says “Great Snoring Sunday Services” Not very encouraging. I feel sorry for the preacher.

Great Snoring Church

Could this in any way be related to the town situated near Grayshot in Hampshire which has the wonderful name Land of Nod.

Sign to Land of Nod

Ladies would you live in Ugley, near Bishop’s Stortford.

Ugley street sign

I suppose that is better than Pity Me, north of Durham.

Pity Me Sign

Recently the town of Dull in Scotland decided to twin with the Oregon town of Boring. So you can now officially be Dull and Boring.

Signs for Dull and Boring

I could name many other odd places but some official town names are frankly not suitable for this blog.

Ahh the joys of travel. I love exploring new places

By the way have you visited our web site? CLICK HERE

God bless you

 

Ray

 

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Overcoming Prejudice.

Immigrants

I saw the picture above on a friend’s Facebook page and it really appealed to me.

I grew up in a very small rural community of farmers in South Africa and did not travel abroad until after I was married and we had children.  Unknown to me I was forming mental pictures of national stereotypes that encouraged prejudice.

Stereotypes

 

Since then I have lived in England for many years, spent a year in France, months in Italy and visited about 20 countries for prolonged periods. The result is that I now have a far better understanding of people from different cultures and I have friends all over the world.

In my opinion the best way to get to know people from other cultures is to spend some time living with them. A vacation staying in a hotel catering for tourists is great but no substitute for living with the locals.

But, I hear you object, it costs so much I can’t afford to travel all over the world.

Neither can I but that has not stopped me and hopefully my travelling days are far from over. There are still so many places I want to visit, so many people I want to meet and even places I want to re-visit.

The only way I have been able to afford it is by House Sitting. That means my only expense is getting there and my food. My accommodation is free of charge. What a blessing. It also means I stay in lovely homes rather than a hotel room, I meet real local people, I can visit the home owners local church if I wish and be assured of a good welcome and I have a wonderful time and make new friends.

Why don’t you give it a try?

Christian House Sitters can help you enjoy  rent free vacations all over the world. We can also help you find reliable people who will look after your home and pets free of charge while you are away.

Have a look at the website for more details. CLICK HERE

God bless you

Ray

 

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“To Go or Not To Go” – Blame Henry Ford

Confusing road sign

It is not often that I find an academic article on the subject of vacations and especially one that is easy to read but Sarah Fox has an excellent one. You can read the full article at  http://www.neumann.edu/academics/divisions/business/journal/review09/fox.pdf

She begins by saying:

To go or not to go?” This seemed to be the question most Americans were asking themselves regarding a summer vacation last year. With gas prices reaching extraordinary heights each day, many people opted to stay home rather than go on a summer vacation. Summer vacations used to be as American as apple pie; kids and parents would look forward all school year to having that one week in the summer to relax and just get away. American summer vacations date back to the early 1900s. Henry Ford was one of the biggest influences on summer vacations with the invention of the automobile. ….. For years now, American middle class families have been squeezed by rising prices and shrinking take home pay  American’s have little extra money to pay for a vacation.

She then looks in some detail at how the cost of living has risen faster than the take home pay of the average family. I will not bore you with the details if you are interested they can be found at the link I mentioned before but I suspect that you do not need me to tell you how expensive life has become. Most of us tend to run out of money before we run out of month.

So to return to the question Sarah Fox asked. To go or not to go? 

In these tough economic times should we simply accept that a vacation is beyond our financial means and drop the idea?

There is a lot of research showing that working without a vacation will significantly increase your stress levels. The research also clearly shows that an increase in stress can lead to major health problems such as cardiac problems, reduced immune defence, digestive difficulties, depression etc.

There is even research showing that Stress May Cause Fat Around the Midsection in Lean Women  (Denise Mann WebMD Medical News  22 Sept 2000)

JugglerSo how do you juggle the need for a vacation with the demands on your ever reducing bank balance?

One solution that many have found is to join Christian House Sitters where we enable our members to enjoy rent-free vacations all over the world. In addition we can also provide reliable Christian people to look after your home and pets free of charge while you are away.

Have a look at the website for more details. CLICK HERE

This may be the answer that you and your family have been seeking.

If you do have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help.

God bless you,

Ray

 

 

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5 Tips to Save You Money on Your Next Vacation

Here are my tips to save you money on your next vacation.

1. Book as soon as possible

Jumping Alarm Clock
Time Flies

I was reading an article a few minutes ago that reminded us that to get the very best bargain on your next vacation you should be booking now.  It says Summer might seem a long way off but having sun, sea and sand to look forward to could just take the edge of the harsh winter months. While last-minute deals often prove to be a bargain, booking early for summer 2013 could save you a bundle.(See full article by Clicking here

2.Do not pay for a hotel room.House / Hotel

Stay rent-free in a lovely house instead. Register with Christian House Sitters so that you can benefit from having your accommodation rent-free. We have members all over the world so this may mean you can get to visit that country you have often dreamed of seeing but could not afford. Full details click here

3. Do not fork out a fortune for kennels, cattery or pet sitters.

Dog and Cat playingThis is available free of charge. Tell Christian House Sitters your dates and we will try and arrange for someone to come and look after your home and pets free of charge. This keeps your home safe.and it will save you a lot of money on pet care. Full details click here

4. Do not go where the Beckhams are going.

Footballer
I could not find a royalty free image of David Beckham

I see that David Beckham is taking his wife, Victoria, and their 4 children on an 11 day vacation. So what? I hear you ask. Well the thing that caught my attention was the price. According to the report (click here to read it in full) these 11 days are going to cost him a quarter of a million pounds. Yes that is right it is costing £250,000 or in American money $403,000.Frankly to me that feels wrong. Yes he has  the money but to spend that amount for 11 days when there are so many who can’t even afford a meal or anywhere to live shows a real lack of compassion. The amount he is spending for half a day could rebuild our entire children’s home, equip it with better dormitories, a new kitchen a dining room. new equipment and have enough left over to cover the cost of education and food for our 80 children for a long time. Details of children’s home click here)

Man on soap box

OK Get off your soap box Ray!

Sorry but I just needed to get that off my chest.

5. Save on food. Chef

Eating in a fancy restaurant is lovely and I am sure it will be a part of your vacation but there is no need to eat out every day. If you are staying in a rent-free house through Christian House Sitters you will have a fully equipped kitchen and so you can prepare quick, tasty and easy meals at a fraction of the restaurant prices and then use some of the money you saved to have a few really special meals at a local restaurant.

God bless you,

Ray

 

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The secret of saving money

Picture of moneyMoney is tight!

Not just for me personally but it seems that everyone is having to watch their spending very carefully. We are all looking to save money. This has resulted in many people making false economies. Things that looked great at first but eventually ended up being counter productive.

One area a lot of people are cutting back is on their vacation budget. That is good but sadly some are falling into the trap of either not having a vacation or settling for a shorter than normal break. As we have shown in previous posts this can have an adverse effect on your physical and emotional health, it can make you less productive at work and can cause damage to your family.

So what we want is a solution that will enable you to have your cake and to eat it at the same time. In other words to have a really great vacation and still save money.

This is where Christian House Sitters can really help!

Hotel Room
By permission Alex Mahan

Out of interest I spent some time today looking at the average cost of a reasonable (3 star) hotel in the UK for a couple with 2 children. The average was around £85 per night without food. For this you get to stay in an impersonal often small hotel room.

A 2 week break would therefore cost approximately £1190 ( $1900 ). Add to this that if you are a home owner with a dog my research today showed that it will cost you about £600 ($900) to have someone pop in once a day for the 2 weeks and feed / walk you dog. The rest of the time the dog is left alone and the house is unoccupied.

But by registering as a House Sitter you could stay in a lovely spacious house rather than a hotel room and it would cost you no rent at all. An immediate saving of about  £1,190 ($1900) and if you also register as a home owner (you do not need to register as both. You can register as either a sitter or an owner only if you prefer) you save another £600 ($900) bringing your savings to around £1790 ($2,800)

House
One of our listed rent-free houses

So may I recommend that you have a look at our website . But by registering as a home owner you can have a Christian living in your home, looking after the home and the dog and it will cost nothing

Have a look. Click here or contact me for more information

 

God bless you

Ray

20 Astonishing Holiday/ Vacation Complaints

At Christian House Sitters we are very pleased that we do not get many people complaining. In fact I can hardly remember the last time any of our members complained.

On the contrary most write to say how delighted they were with the service we offer.

But I was reading an article on 20 Astonishing Complaints received by tour operators. I immediatly contacted the publisher and they kindly gave me permission to reproduce it here.

The article appeared on http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine/news/20-astonishing-holiday-complaints-thomas-cook-abta

complaining20 astonishing holiday complaints

5th September 2011

Presented  to you, for your entertainment and pleasure – 20 of the most outrageous, ridiculous and stupid travel complaints made to tour operators

A recent survey from Thomas Cook and ABTA reveals 20 of the most ridiculous complaints by holiday-makers made to their travel agent.

1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time – this  should be banned.”

3. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”

4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.”

5. A tourist at a top African Game Lodge over looking a water hole, who spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained  that the sight of this rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him
feel “inadequate”.

6. A woman threatened to call police after claiming that she’d been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the “do not disturb” sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in
the room.

7. “The beach was too sandy.”

8. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure.Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.”

9. A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping the gravy at the time.

10. “Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”

11. “We bought ‘Ray-Ban’ sunglasses for five Euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”

12. “No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”

13. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England it only took the Americans three hours to get home.”

14. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends’ three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller..”

15. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the accommodation’. We’re trainee hairdressers – will we be OK staying there?”

16. “There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad.”

17. “We had to queue outside with no air conditioning.”

18. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

19. “I was bitten by a mosquito, no-one said they could bite.”

20. “My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

I am so pleased that members of Christian House Sitters do not have these problems. And they enjoy their vacation rent-free. To find out more visit our website or contact me.

God bless you,

Ray

http://www.christian-housesitters.com

A good laugh (And some answers)

dog on vacationTaking a vacation can be a real blessing but sadly as we all know there are times when it can go badly wrong.

The accommodation is not up to your expectation.

A man arrived at his holiday guest-house and met the landlady.
‘Can you sing?’ she asked.
‘No,’ he replied.
‘Well, you’d better learn quickly. There’s no lock on the bathroom door.’

Or what about this one?

A holidaymaker was complaining to his landlady about his room. ‘Look. This wall’s so thin you can almost see through it.’
‘That’s not a wall,’ she replied, ‘it’s the window.’

The food that you paid to have included in your vacation costs is somewhat disappointing as the following guest found.

‘Excuse me,’ said the guest, ‘but this steak is so tough I can’t even cut it. Take it away and bring me another.’
‘I can’t take it away,’ said the landlady. ‘You’ve bent it.’

The weather lets you down badly

A man was telling his friends about his recent vacation.  What a week it was. Only rained twice – once for three days, once for four.

We can help with some of these.

When you arrange a vacation through Christian House Sitters you will know exactly what accommodation to expect. It will not be a dingy room but a whole house. You will have seen pictures and chatted to the owner personally. Any questions will have been clarified before your arrive. So no disappointments.

With Christian House Sitters you do not pay a fee that includes your meals instead your rent-free accommodation includes the full use of a kitchen where you can prepare your food just the way you like it. Or using the money you saved by having a rent-free vacation you can choose to go to a variety of different restaurants

As for the weather. I would like to say we have that covered as well but sorry there are some things we can’t control. But because you will have had personal contact with the owners before agreeing the house sit you can ask them what the weather is normally like at that time of the year.

Remember with Christian House Sitters your vacation is rent-free, you will be looking after the home of a Christian who is away and so as well as having a great time you are also being a blessing to someone else.

We have houses available throughout the world. New properties keep getting added. It is exciting to see how God so often provides the perfect house for the specific needs of our sitters.

To find out more visit our website or feel free to contact me.

God bless you,

Ray
www.Christian-housesitters.com

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