NETHERLANDS: Seasons Change

NETHERLANDS: Seasons Change

DSC_8444In my part of the world there are seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Each of the seasons carries drastic weather and environmental changes. The changing of the seasons has a huge impact on our daily lives. We dress in different clothes, eat different foods, change the way we spend our days and feel different. Festivities and activities are tied to the distinct seasons, and they hold special meanings.

When I think about winter I think about skating, hot chocolate, Christmas and snow. In a less obvious way, Winter makes me think of family and cozyness. The feeling of tucking my child in at night when it’s dark and cold outside, is completely different from taking my child to bed in the summer.

We plant bulbs in Fall and wait for them to bloom in Spring, We collect colorful leaves and harvest apples in the Fall. We visit the beach and turn on the barbecue when it’s summertime. We dress in multiple layers of warm clothing when it’s Winter. Life continues within the cycle of these seasons.

I have always liked the seasons.

It’s like an ongoing song or poem that keeps changing and repeating my favorite lines, repeating verse after verse with similarities that are never exactly the same.

The seasons are my mantra for life. Reminding me to expect change, to laugh a little louder and enjoy the sunshine more fully, because hardship will come. But adversity will pass, and eventually little seedlings will stick their heads through the dirt and start to make their way to the sun. There will always be renewal, growth and hope.

Right now it is Spring here. Spring is my favorite season. It’s a season of increase, growth, warmth, hope and promise. It’s a joyous season. It will be followed by a season of abundance. With lots of light, warmth and the harvesting of the fruits of our labour. After summer there will be decrease and splendor at the same time. An outburst of color and creativity will accompany the transition to a season of absence, lack, stilness and patience. At the end of this cold withered season Spring will start again.

It’s the perfect metaphor for life.

Seasons change… and then they pass.

Seasons change… and then they pass.

What is your favourite season? What season is it right now in your part of the world?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mirjam of the Netherlands.


Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera. Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.

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WORLD VOICE: 10 Takeaways from the @WorldBank’s #SMCSO15 Meetings #WorldMoms

WORLD VOICE: 10 Takeaways from the @WorldBank’s #SMCSO15 Meetings #WorldMoms

#WorldMoms Panel #SMCSo15 500

This week, World Moms Blog was invited to take part in the World Bank/IMF Civil Society Meetings in Washington, DC. I had the opportunity to be there Tuesday and Wednesday, and World Mom, Cynthia Levin, took over for Thursday and Friday.

The World Bank has a long history of lending since Breton Woods in 1944 when it was established after World War II. But, over the years it has also lended to projects that have had a negative impact on the local people in developing nations. And after years of protesting the World Bank, anthropologist and Partners in Health cofounder, Dr. Jim Kim, has been at the helm of the bank as President for the past 3 years.

The protests have now been brought off the streets and members of the public have been invited inside around the World Bank and IMF fall and spring meetings to represent the people in the countries where the bank lends. So, all is perfect now, right?

Development isn’t easy. There are still challenges when it comes to lending and looking out for the societies receiving the loans. The topics are intricate in the bank’s mission to end poverty and are reflected in over 50 different panels that are being presented at the meetings.

Here are my top 10 takeaways about the first two days of the Civil Society Meetings…

1) Not everyone here is from DC. The Civil Society Meetings attract and bring in a host of civil society members across continents to come and join in the conversations around poverty. In fact, a large portion of the meeting panels were pitched by civil society members. They are helping carve out the bank’s future practices (safeguards), providing new points of view by representing the people from their home countries and networking with their counterparts abroad to trade best practices and solutions.

2) Dr. Kim, World Bank President, says that the world can end extreme poverty by 2030. In 1993 41% of the world’s human population was living in extreme poverty (under $1.25 per day). With the help of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (Do you remember our #Moms4MDGs campaign last year?) that percentage has been reduced to 14% in 2014 (data is still coming in to confirm this projected number). Statistics are according to the World Bank.

3) Some of the people on the planet who may be most affected by climate change know nothing about it. In the Pathway to Paris working panel on climate change, civil society members from Hoduras and Bolivia explained that when your focus is that you need to eat, climate change is not on the minds of people, but how to get food is. And they stated that when people are aware of the climate change problem, they expect that it is a problem to be dealt with by the developed world.

4) The consequences of radicalization and violent extremism in fragile societies is a popular emerging topic of interest among civil society members. There was a packed crowd (think Tokyo subway car) in the panel on the consequences of radicalization and violent extremism, and I didn’t get in! I really wanted to listen in on the conversation, but noted it was a high priority on civil society’s agenda as something that needed to be changed.

5) To reach the goal to end extreme poverty faster, the World Bank sees the importance in partnering with faith-based organizations. There were several panels on Wednesday, including a flagship event, that included members of the world’s largest religions discussing their motivations to help the poor from their faith. The key takeaway was that although the World Bank is a secular organization, there are benefits to ending poverty faster by working together with faith based organizations.

6) Human rights has not been written in as part of the World Bank’s safeguards and civil society is protesting. A man from the LBGT community, chased out of his home country of Uganda, asked the World Bank executive directors why they continue to lend to countries who do not value the rights of their people. Also, during a round table discussion with executive directors from the World Bank and the IMF, a woman from South Africa asked for a moment of silence for children who had died from the impact of a World Bank development project (I do not know the details of the project she was referring to.). Afterwards, a group of civil society members stood in unity with her wearing or holding yellow shirts demanding human rights be written into the bank’s safeguards. Civil Society members are standing up for their rights and joining the conversation to try to change bank policy.

7) The smallest member of the World Bank Group is MIGA. MIGA stands for Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and has only about 33 employees and lends in the the most fragile states. For example, they were lending in Afghanistan when bullets were flying!

8) The official twitter feed for the IMF/World Bank Civil Society Meetings is “SMCSO15”. This is according to the postings in the meeting rooms at the World Bank. Twitter also self-populates with another hashtag being used, “SMCSO2015.” The twitter feed picks up on the flagship panels that are broadcast live to the public, which makes the online conversation awesome around ending poverty. You can check out our post from earlier this week on those flagship panels that have live feeds.

9) The open meeting policy at the World Bank allows the bank to hear and anticipate the effects of their lending in ways they haven’t in the past. Could you imagine if every business had this type of open meeting policy where civil society could pitch panels on the way in which it lends to better society? Although born out of unfair lending practices and people protesting the streets of the past, this model is ground-breaking. And the world needs ground-breaking when it comes to getting people out of extreme poverty and achieving the sustainable development goals of 2030.

10) World Moms Blog’s panel on grassroots advocacy and social media in support of universal education is a go! On Friday, April 17th at 11am ET, World Moms Blog’s Cynthia Levin (USA & also of RESULTS), Aisha Yesefu (Nigeria) and myself, Jennifer Burden (USA), will team up with Allison Grossman of RESULTS and Kolleen Bouchane of A World at School to discuss ways in which civil society members can ignite change in getting more children into the classroom. Today, over 57 million children of primary school age on the planet are not being educated. The topic is vital and also very timely with the passing of the 1 year anniversary this week of the capturing of the Chibok Girls of Nigeria. We hope you will join us on Twitter under the hashtag #WorldMoms and #SMCSO15.

We agree that civil society should be a part of the conversation to effect change. You can join the World Bank Live Feed this week, too.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden in the USA. The World Bank has provided funding for Jennifer and Cindy to attend the meetings this week to help engage more members of civil society in the global discussions to end poverty, but has not directed our voice. 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post,, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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SPECIAL REPORT: #WorldMoms at #WorldBank This Week for #SMCSO15

SPECIAL REPORT: #WorldMoms at #WorldBank This Week for #SMCSO15

#WorldMoms at #WorldBank this week for #SMCSO15

NEW FINAL CollageFantastic news! Writers from World Moms Blog will be traveling to the World Bank Spring Meetings (#SM2015) in Washington D.C. this week to help spread the word about the ongoing dialog between citizens from Civil Society Organizations (CSO). World Moms Blog founder, Jennifer Burden, and contributor, Cynthia Changyit Levin, are thrilled to be headed back to the World Bank CSO meetings to represent moms around the globe concerned about the futures of ALL children no matter where they were born.

Civil Society meetings are bi-annual events hosted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  Non-government organizations like UNICEFthe ONE CampaignA World at School, and RESULTS send representatives to speak on panels to talk about development policies. Citizens from all over the world can join in and voice their opinions about the best ways to fight extreme poverty and speak out about how World Bank programs affect the lives of people in their countries for better or worse.

We’re honored to be lending our social media skills in a partnership that started at the 2014 RESULTS Conference when we met World Bank President Dr. Jim Kim and continued as we attended and blogged about the 2014 Fall CSO meetings. This spring, we’re returning to help the World Bank to engage in conversation with our audience of concerned moms on topics of importance to us as world citizens: Ebola, Education, Nutrition, and more. We’ll be live-tweeting flagship events and even hosting a panel discussion about social media and citizen activism to move the world toward education for all.

YOU can help take the meetings and the conversation about ending poverty far beyond DC! Please join the conversation by:

  • Following the Twitter hashtag #SMCSO15 and the Twitter accounts of @WorldMomsBlog@JenniferBurden, and @ccylevin so you can join in the conversation and re-tweet posts that you like using the #WorldMoms hashtag.
  • Joining live-streamed webcast events (listed below) and leaving your questions/comments on the webcast page for the moderators! Each event has a hashtag so you can engage with the panel and audience through Twitter.
  • Leaving a question for the World Bank in the comment section of this blog. We’ll try to ask it in the panel discussions and town hall meetings we attend or ask our contacts at the World Bank about it to get a response to you.

Here is the link to the full schedule of live-streamed webcast events. The list below calls out some of our favorites that we are most excited to attend. Pick one or more that interest you and join us virtually. You may even see us in the audience!

Creating Jobs and Improving Services: A New Social Contract in the Arab World

#breakthecycle and #menaeconomy

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. ET
Join us for a live discussion where panelists will address the need for a new social contract to meet the demands of the current generation of citizens in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Power of Faith to Help End Extreme Poverty


Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m ET.
Location: World Bank Group Headquarters, Preston Auditorium & Online

Can people of faith help build a movement to end extreme poverty? Can they seize this opportunity at a time of conflict in some regions — some of it driven by groups claiming religious justification?

Latin America: In Search of Lost Growth


Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET

How can Latin American governments stimulate growth while preserving social achievements? What growth levels will countries of the region achieve in 2015?

2015 Spring Meetings Press Briefing: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. ET

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will address the press during the World Bank’s 2015 Spring Meetings.

The Power of Nutrition


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ET

Join us for a panel discussion on the importance of investing in nutrition; the challenges countries are facing; and concrete steps towards scaling up high-impact programming for child nutrition.

Future of Food: A Conversation with Jim Yong Kim & David Chang


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET

Hear from a development banker, a renowned chef, an agricultural expert, a woman farmer, a culinary professional and others about the future of food, and how we can work together to feed the world.

Trust, Voice, and Incentives: Learning from Local Successes in Service Delivery in the Middle East and North Africa


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. ET

Join regional policy makers, practitioners and civil society representatives for a discussion on what it will take to instill adequate accountability and motivation among public servants and service providers toward meeting citizens’ needs.

Water Security for All in a World of Scarcity


Date: Thursday, April 16, 2015
Time: 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET

Water security is emerging as the number one global risk in terms of development impact. An expert panel will share their experiences and solutions for addressing water scarcity challenges with a view of the social, economic, and political implications.

Ebola: The Road to Recovery


Date: Friday, April 17, 2015
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. ET

WBG President Jim Yong Kim chairs this high-level roundtable at which the heads of state of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will present their Ebola recovery plans to finance and development ministers and international partners.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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ILLINOIS, USA: Nature and Wisdom

This week has been lovely in most parts of America. Here in Illinois, it’s been better-than-spring warm weather and sun.  It’s only March (generally a chilled and cloudy month) so everyone has been moving about outdoors, soaking in this blessing.

My daughter and went to one of our favorite spots, Lincoln Memorial Gardens.  We live in Springfield, Illinois which is the adult home of President Abraham Lincoln.  He and his family lived here for over 28 years before his presidency, and he returned to Springfield to be buried in a somber, grand tomb in the Oak Ridge Cemetery. Lincoln Memorial Gardens is a vast natural space cultivated to maintain the wild feel of the natural Illinois landscape as it was when Abe lived here over 150 years ago. (more…)

Jill Barth

Jill Barth lives in Illinois with her husband and three kids. She reminds you to breathe. She is a freelance writer and consultant. Also, she is the green content Team Leader and columnist at and reads fiction for Delmarva Review. Jill's writing can be found on her blog, Small Things Honored.

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SWITZERLAND: “No Matter How Long the Winter, Spring is Sure to Follow”

Spring time is taunting us here in Switzerland. When the temperatures crept above freezing last week we slowly came out of hibernation and have gradually been shedding layers of coats, gloves and scarves.

It is still awfully chilly, but our need for fresh air allows us to adjust to the chill of the breeze. We are soaking in the sunshine and looking forward to warmer weather. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a beautiful snow, and who doesn’t like hot chocolate season?!

But we are all ready for something new. We are ready to get out of this house!!!  (more…)


Kristen is a stay-at-home to two little boys, Jackson (4 yrs) and Owen (nearly 2 yrs). She was born in New York, but eventually made her way down to Texas. She and her husband, Seth, met in Dallas and were married in December 2005. Nine months into their marriage Seth received a call that he had landed his dream job, one catch, it involved world wide assignment. The adventure took them from Texas to Washington, D.C., on to Bogotá, Colombia and then back to Washington, D.C before bringing them to Bern, Switzerland! Kristen and her family have currently lived in Bern for more than 1 year, where her husband works for the US Department of State. Four moves and 2 children in nearly 6 years of marriage have made for quite the adventure in motherhood! Kristen finds motherhood to be one of the most humbling and character building things she has ever experienced. The responsibility of raising boys with integrity and respect at times feels daunting, but she couldn’t imagine doing anything else! Kristen is a Speech Language Pathologist but has taken time away from working to focus on her family. Although she enjoys the travel and adventure involved in her husband’s career, she often finds herself feeling far from home and working to make the most of time abroad! On her blog, Seasons Worth Savoring, Kristen writes about daily life with two little boys, including her experiences as she navigates a foreign culture and walks by faith. In her free time, or rather in her busy time with two boys attached to her legs, Kristen enjoys cooking, photography, antique and thrift store shopping, working on crafts, and blogging.

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