Friday, 28 September 2012
Our days are filled with continuous sound. When we return home, we immediately switch the radio or television on to fill the house with background noise. We fear the silence. Silence is so foreign to our existence today that it makes us feel ill at ease. We have no appreciation for silence in our lives.
We equate silence with something that is lacking, absent from our lives. Silence means we are alone, deprived of company. We feel threatened by it. We immediately need to fill the silence with sound, with noise.
Wherever people get together, they immediately begin to fill the silence in with words, with mundane chatter or ear-deafening music. Conversations are carried on above the sound of the television playing in the background. Strangers fear the silence that threatens to develop between questions and comments. Even churches are continuously filled with music even during times of silent prayer, lest the silence would find a way into my thoughts.
We view our verbal abilities as a testimony of our education, we use it to convince, to rule, to impress. Boastful people make sure that everyone else is quiet so that they can have everybody's full attention. Very often our verbal communication is merely empty chatter, and a continuous repetition of what others have already said. When we are quiet, silently looking on, people tend to view us with a certain amount of suspicion. They do not understand silence, and feel insecure in its presence. Mostly people would try to entice the quiet person into having a conversation, and if that fails, would then proceed to ignore the person as if the quiet, introspective person ceases to be of any importance.
We are so busy complying with the world's addiction to noise and sound that we have forgotten the importance of silence. Only in the silence can we begin to truly hear again, to listen. Our spirit, our soul is crying out to be heard. God is trying to reach us, communicate with us. As long as we keep up the sound pollution, we cannot begin to listen, to understand. Silence is not just empty time, devoid of something. Silence has presence, it is filled with an energy of its own. Silence has substance. Only when we are silent can we hear the spirit's guiding voice.
In the quiet our senses start to become more acute. When we are not so busy thinking up new words to utter we start hearing better. The tremble of insecurity in my child's voice, the silent scream of depression, the way fear is disguised in an angry voice. We also begin to see better, to notice the hidden sadness behind a brave smile.
Maybe it is time to schedule silence into our busy lives. To consciously spend time away from all external sound, to even switch of our internal dialogue, and just be quiet. To breathe deep, being completely conscious. To listen.
If you flutter by here, share with me your thoughts on silence. Just click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
I opened the door to savour the beauty of the morning, when the next moment our two excited Spaniels stormed in, leaving a trail of muddy footprints all over my freshly washed tile floor! Their happiness clearly written in the muddy zigzag pattern. They love this beautiful day too!
Looking at the happy mesh on the floor, I asked myself a question, that I now put to you. What will my footprints say about my walk today? Will it be a reflection of my talk? Everyday, no matter how carefully we tread we leave footprints behind, we leave a calling card in the hearts of everyone we encounter throughout our day. Where will my footprints lead those who follow them? Will they lead my children to waters of rest, guide people to see the sunny side of life, show the lost the way to the Lord? Will I leave footprints with long strides that tell of joy and purpose, or will they be the shuffle steps of negativity, the heavy tread of despair?
Everyday is a beautiful gift, another day to celebrate, another opportunity to dance. Grab this day, this moment with both hands. Look at the butterflies, how they rejoice in the new season, their lives a short moment, a little comma in life's essay, but they flutter here, there, everywhere with zest.
When you look back at your life, let it be full of dancing footprints, in a mad and messy zigzag pattern that shout out to all that you lived every moment like a butterfly. Yes, indeed, today is a good day to be a butterfly!
If you flutter by here, I wish you joy and blessings. Please feel free to comment. Just click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Monday, 24 September 2012
When life feels as if it is spinning you around at a whirlwind pace, it is time to take a moment and be still. The roller coaster ride will continue whether you are on it or not, life will not disintegrate without you, but if you do not take a moment for yourself you might fall apart. So take a few deep breaths, reconnect with yourself, with God.
From the moment the butterfly emerges from its cocoon, it is a wonder, a miracle, a thing of beauty. Its very existence is a testimony of its Creator, its purpose is to pollinate. In the same way we are also, each and everyone of us, a wonder, a miracle, a thing of beauty. Our purpose: to be a testimony of our Creator, to share the Gospel on our journey through life.
When we focus on the things around us, the dirty dishes, the bills, the meetings and dozens of other chores, we tend to take our eyes off God, but if we see in everything another opportunity to glorify God, we become like the butterfly, merrily flying along, enjoying every glorious moment of life.
When 'one of those days' happens again, take a deep breath, change your focus and fly......
If you flutter by here please comment. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Friday, 21 September 2012
The thing that stands out above all else was the way he loved his family. He cherished each one of us in a special way. He was fiercely protective of us. Even though I was a girl I wanted to be just like him, and every man in my life has been measured against him. He always made me feel safe, nothing could touch me as long as he was near. His wisdom is woven into every fibre of who I am today. The way I love and discipline my children is directly influenced by him.
My dad was never a push-over, yet I never heard him utter foul language. He was a jester, yet had respect wherever he went. To me he was perfect, and my mother never said anything that would make us doubt his perfectness. He faced friends and enemies with the same straightforward, steadfast look in his eyes. At times I was sure the devil shivered in his socks.
He was a rebel and a gentleman. Where my dad was there was always laughter. His blue eyes bright with mischief, yet sometimes I remember catching him with a far off expression in his eyes. He was strong, a man's man, yet he was a snappy dresser. He had Irish charm and was a ladies' man, but the way he looked at my mother made it plain to everyone that my mom was his only love.
Age and illness drew a mellow blanket around him, but he was still my dad, invincible and stubborn. If I have one wish, it would be to sit on his lap one last time, and say thank you for being my dad.
If you flutter by here please feel free to share a memory of your dad with us. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Everything happens at the speed of light. Our days are crammed with everything that we have to do and it has to happen now. Our lives are filled with big important things always demanding the highest priority. We blink and years have passed, our children's chubby faces have made place for the serious faces of adulthood, dreams we have had made way for more pressing issues. The sparrows have come and gone and come again and we never even noticed their arrival. Little things, seemingly too insignificant, have passed us by.
It is so sad that we have come to measure our lives only by big events, important dates and major goals, forgetting that the times in between are just as important, they are the links that join the bigger moments, they are the material in between the bold patterns.
We have to start taking note of the little things that surround us, that colour our days, that unfold around us. The silence of early morning, the warmth of the bed where my husband lay just moments before, birds calling the sun to wake up. The way my child's eyelashes curl on her cheeks, traces of her baby face still visible when she sleeps. The smiles I receive from the people next to the road as they walk to work, the sms from a friend to say she thinks of me too. The way the sun falls into the room where I have my first cup of coffee for the day.
Life is filled with wonderful little things that give meaning to our existence. Insignificant when viewed against major events, but when I look at the bigger picture, everything fades into obscurity when compared to the times when my children would cuddle against me as we watched TV, when my husband would look at me and I see his love for me so clearly in his eyes, the laughter and funny moments we share as a family, the way my sister's laughter tinkles like bells in my ears, my brother's serious voice when he imparts some advice, the way his eyes crinkles just like my father's did, my mother's comfort, my father's words of wisdom, our long talks and visits around the kitchen table. Christmas gatherings, the gifts are long forgotten, but the memories of the times spent together lingers long after.
These little things are all the major events of my life, the moments that truly matter. Without them we would be so much poorer. Life would indeed just be a senseless blurr, a useless chasing after wind. Thank God today for every little thing in your live and rejoice!
If you flutter by here please tell me what little things you treasure in your life. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Monday, 17 September 2012
What is it that is pinning you down? What is it that you are allowing to hold you down? Hmmm, I can hear you say it : "Nothing, my life is fine." For some of you I know this is true, and that is absolutely wonderful! But some of you reading this knows that even though you are happy, there is some part of you that wish you could try something if only you were not so afraid to try, so scared of failing or maybe just so comfortable with what you have now, even though you suspect this is not all there is. We become very adept at telling ourselves little white lies just to stay safe, just to keep within our comfort zone. We avoid the issue, because facing it might just rattle the cosy cage we have built for ourselves.
However, for as long as we avoid taking a good look at ourselves, our hopes, dreams and goals, we will not find true fulfilment. It is like a butterfly trying to fly with just one wing, the other one is being pinned down, and it withers away. It can only look at the fearless flight of the other butterflies.
Again I ask you - what is it that you allow to pin you down? Fear maybe? Fear paralyse us, it steals our freedom. Is it Failure? Just another word for fear. If we don not try we can't fail, but we definitely also CANNOT succeed! Could it be our own comfort zone that is keeping you pinned down? Many people suffer from this one, it ties us down so softly that it does not even feel as if we are tied down. Unfortunately there are no guarantees in life, taking chances expose us to the possibility of hurt, failure or disappointment. However, NOT taking chances definitely keeps our hopes and dreams from ever being realised. We are seemingly content, going about our daily routine, moderately happy, not really unhappy, yet....... We bury our feelings, our dreams, not wanting to disrupt our comfort, not daring to try , not willing to rip the pins out and fly.
Again my question. You don't have to answer me, or confide in anyone, you just have yourself to answer to. Nobody can help to unpin you, you are the only one who can do it, but I encourage you to do it, don't just wish it, do it and take to the skies!
If you flutter by here please comment. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Saturday, 15 September 2012
I looked up at the sky. It was filled with ominous black clouds. The wind was lashing through the branches, howling around the corners like a wounded animal, the air heavy with anticipation of the coming storm. Soon the heavens opened and the rain started pouring down. Inside the safety of the house I could feel my heart beating heavily, keeping time with the drumming of the rain on our roof. Lightning flashes sliced through the sky. Like usual I felt ill at ease, like a butterfly tossed in the wind, anxious and frantic. Stormy weather is my least favourite. Even today, as a adult, I feel like hiding with my skittish cat underneath the couch.
Thunderstorms sometimes take us by surprise. Beautiful, sunny days can suddenly be turned upside down by a devastating wind or the arrival of thunderous clouds and drenching rain. Plans for a picnic then goes by the wayside, the barbecue gets cancelled and the birthday party taken indoors.
So too does life also have its unexpected thunderstorms. Life as we planned it gets interrupted or changed. It leaves us feeling fragile and vulnerable. We worry, anxiety threatens to overpower us and we lose our peace. Even the little storms of life unsettle us and leave us frustrated. We focus on the problems raging about us and begin to feel hopeless.
As a child I would put on classical music whenever there was a rainstorm and then I would watch the raindrops, pretending them to be ballerinas. This helped to make me feel calmer, the storm less threatening, shifting my focus. When life's storms rage about us, we too must change our focus. All is not hopeless, God is always there. We can rejoice in the fact that He is always present, He is our calm amidst the stormy seas. When we focus on Him we can walk on the water, it is only when we turn our attention to the wind that we are overcome by the storm.
When the storm is over, silence settles on the rainy reflections, the sun breaks through the clouds and bathes everything in a golden glow, the leaves shine like precious gems, the air is as fresh as the first day after creation and we are heading for sunshine again!
If you flutter by here please share with me how you feel about thunderstorms or rainy weather. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
I have an old suitcase, one of those little brown ones, made from a sturdy cardboard, very much like the one in the picture. It was my grade two suitcase. Today it is filled with old family photographs, black and white memories and colourful moments back in time. I love looking through the photo's, smelling the age that clings to them. Some of the people are familiar faces, others just vaguely remembered and quite a few are total strangers, their names lost with the passing of my parents. Looking at them always leaves me with nostalgia.
I have another suitcase too. It is very old and battered and crammed to the point of bursting. I have had it most of my life and it is constantly getting heavier. It is quite a burden to lug around everywhere. I am quite sure you have one too. Most people do. It is tiresome to carry it around, but it is so familiar, and we are so used to it that we can hardly bear to get rid of it.
This suitcase is also full of memories. These memories, however, rarely make one smile. These are memories of past pains, long ago hurts, ancient anger and resentment, agonising guilt and unbearable shame. Maybe your suitcase is filled to overflowing with the hurtful things people have said, things your parents did, insult your friends hurled at you, memories of broken trust and a shattered heart.
With every year, every lesson learnt the suitcase becomes heavier. Dragging it around drains us of energy, yet we cannot bear to leave it behind, there is comfort in its familiar feel. It has become a safety net. Whenever something new beckons I quickly open it up and find a dozen reasons why it could not possibly work. My suitcase is an excellent protection plan against new love, relationships, exciting ventures or the future.
It keeps us from dreaming, hoping, flying. Holding onto this suitcase prevents me from grabbing hold of any blessings. The weight of it drags us down, it dulls our senses and robs us of our joy. There is only one thing to do. We have to open it and throw out all those past negative memories. We have to discard our resentments, our fears and our anger.
Butterflies dance so easily through life. They would have been unable to fly if they had to carry an extra load. Their wings would not have been able to support any additional weight. On the flight of life there is no room for extra baggage, for our own sake, we have to travel light. Just pack a smile, a happy heart and be ready to be surprised!
Monday, 10 September 2012
Have you noticed that sometimes a bee, a fly or even a butterfly will get fixated with a window and with all its might try to buzz into the house. It will spend all its energy in this fruitless pursuit. This puzzles me, for what can be so interesting inside that the beauty of the garden does not offer it? What scent lures it there?
It reminds me of myself, in fact of many people I know. We get caught up in the idea that life is better elsewhere. We dream of a better life " if only ". We are sure that happiness is just on the other side, all I have to do is to somehow get THERE.
Just like that insect, we will butt our heads to try to find a way, we focus all of our energy on that elusive goal. We become obsessed by it, nothing else matters anymore, everything fades in comparison with that one thing we see through the window. We turn our backs to the beauty that surrounds us, we ignore the joy of the present, we become oblivious to what we have now.
There is nothing wrong with dreaming, in fact it is a necessity of life to have dreams. There is also nothing wrong with striving for something better, but when my dream, my goal becomes an obsession to the exclusion of all else, it is then that the balance is disturbed and I find myself on dangerous ground. Then it is time to turn back to the garden, to once again notice all the beauty that surrounds me and to give thanks for the blessings I already have.
In our struggle to reach the other side we often forget the wonder of the here and now and we take our blessings for granted. Our whole being is so focused on obtaining that "better" thing, that " happier" state of being, that we loose our grip on the reality of now. It is then that once we reach that goal, we realise with a shock what we have sacrificed for it, what we have lost in the process, and the price we have paid for it leaves a bitter sadness in the pit of our stomachs. Then we are trapped in a room so much smaller than what we've hoped for and we realise that the beautiful garden we thought we saw through the window was but a reflection of the reality.
Happiness lies not in attaining some or other goal, or reaching a destination, or having a change in circumstances. True happiness is found in being content with what you have, where you are right now. Edith Wharton said: "If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time"!
If you flutter by here please share with me what makes you the happiest right now. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Saturday, 8 September 2012
When our girls were small my husband would often show them how to skip pebbles across the surface of the water. He made it look so easy. It provided them with hours of delight and sore arms the next day. Our eldest is quite competitive, so it was a challenge for her to see who could get the most skips and the greatest distance, while our youngest prefered to hold onto her pebbles.
What fascinated me the most, however, was the result the skipping stones had on the surface of the water. Some would barely touch the water and caused only a few ripples, while others would fall with a loud splash and left a wide circle of ripples. It was fascinating to see what effects the ripples also had on each other where they intersected.
In life we are the pebbles. We happily bounce through life, going about our business, living, breathing and doing, with seldom a backward glance. If we were to take a moment and look about us we would be astounded at the effect we have on everything and everyone around us. We often consider ourselves too insignificant to have any effect, yet every object which occupies a space impacts on other objects around whether we are aware of it or not. It is a law of physics that for every action there is a reaction.
Every choice I make not only impacts on my life, but on other lives too. An action that seems insignificant, impacts on another choice that gets made and that again impacts on another situation. It is what is called the butterfly effect.
A simple smile can set off a chain reaction of positive energy that can change the life of somebody who felt as if they have nothing more to live for. A hasty answer can swing a choice that was still in the balance, one wrong selection can derail a train.
When we start thinking about this we realize just what a great responsibility we have. How we raise our children, the way we interact with others, the things we do as well as the things we don’t do all have very specific results and consequences.
It is impossible to predict which of my actions and choices will have what result, and trying to do so would only rob me of the joy of living. All that is asked of me is that in every choice I make I try to glorify the Lord, that every action I take would be for good, not evil, that every ripple I send out will be charged with positive energy, that the vibes I send out will burst with enthusiasm and encouragement and that my words will be to strengthen and guide all who hear them.
Mostly we are totally unaware of the ripples following in our wake, but the one thing that has the most profound effect on my life as well as others is love. Sending love out into the universe has the greatest ripple effect of all. It ripples through everything and everyone. Love touches people's hearts like no other emotion. Love is powerful and life changing. It can bring strong men to their knees and it can unite nations, and as the song says "Love changes everything."
If you flutter by here please share with me events that have had the most influence on your life. To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.
Friday, 7 September 2012
".....I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight...."
This childhood rhyme takes me back to starlight nights when I would sit at my bedroom window and look up at the yellow moon. I would dream dreams of fairies and far off magical places. In the background I would hear James Lasts' "Classics Up To Date" playing, interrupted occasionally by my parents hushed voices coming from the veranda. Silently I would send a million wishes out into the night, carried on the wings of prayers.......
The Papago Tribe, also called the bean people, from Arizona, have their own beliefs about wishes. According to legend they believe that if one wanted a wish to come true, one has to catch a butterfly and whisper the wish to it. Since a butterfly cannot talk it also cannot reveal the whispered wish. After confiding the wish to the butterfly, one has to give the butterfly its freedom. The wish would then be carried to heaven and granted.
Today, as an adult, I know that wishes are flimsy things, with no substance. Dreams on the other hand are much more tangible. Wishes are often quick random thoughts and desires, while dreams are usually thoughts we have been pondering for a while, ideas we are hoping to turn into reality. A wish relies on an outside source to make it happen, while a dream relies on the dreamer to take action. Yet a wish is often the first sign of a dream that is busy germinating, it is a message sent by the subconscious mind. I believe that wishes are the calling cards of dreams. Whisper your wishes to the butterfly, tie it to a prayer and set it free, soon it might return with a dream......
Wednesday, 5 September 2012
I do not have to call you by name, for when you read this you will know that I am talking to you. I have know you since I can remember. When I was small I often played hide and seek with you at my mother's dressing table and you were there in the middle of the night when the branches outside my windows turned into a giant's arms, raking its long fingers across the window panes.
As I grew older I also grew to like you less and less. You were so shy, you were a real pain to be around, always pulling faces at the camera and the slowest athlete ever! Why you had to be in my life was beyond my understanding, I did not even like to think about you and often wished you were somebody else.
I always got irritated with you when you could not get something right. You always seemed to mess everything up. I would often refrain from trying something because I just knew that you would not succeed and then everyone would laugh and point a finger.
It often seemed as if nobody liked me and I blamed you for it. Then one day I came face to face with the realisation that I will have to change my attitude towards you, because then only will peoples’ attitude towards me start changing, it was as if they could sense that I did not really like you very much. I started noticing how funny you could be and how people reacted when you smiled at them and I thought to myself that there must be something good there after all. I started to enjoy being with you. I realised you were quite clever in your own right and very creative. I also saw that you were kindhearted,caring and sincere.
Suddenly it was as if I saw you for who you were for the first time and I started valuing your presence in my life. You were somebody I could always count on. I could actually look you in the eye and admit that you are one great and very special human being, not such a total loser as I have suspected you to be all these years. I was not ashamed of you any more and my children love you and my husband thinks you are the best, but more important than their opinion of you, is mine. I love you and I am so glad that we are friends today, after all, without you I'd be nothing, because you are ME.
Eleanor Roosevelt said : "Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else.
If you flutter by here please feel free to share the one characteristic of yourself that you value the most. To comment just click on the words "no comment" or "1 comment" and follow the link, I would love to hear from you.
Monday, 3 September 2012
In many cultures butterflies are thought of as being the souls of people who have passed on. To me butterflies are magical and entrancing, they represent so many things - thoughts, hope, rebirth, transformation, words, memories, etc.
Butterflies always seem to follow me around. Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by them, and many people have associated butterflies with me in some sense or another. In my thoughts I carry many butterflies with me, the butterfly memory of my mother, my father, a few dear friends. They flutter eternally through my recollections. Sometimes they feel so close that I am sure if I turn fast enough I will catch them where they are hiding in my shadow.
I talk about them often to my children who never knew them, I share anecdotes from their lives with my friends and try to implement what they taught me in every part of my life. It is my way to acknowledge their existence, to ensure their footprints on this earth are never lost, I am a witness of their lives. In fact I am pretty sure that their memory will even be passed on to my children's children.
I think this is what we owe the ones we've loved, to speak their names and tell their stories, not because they were kings or queens, anybody famous or infamous, but because they are part of our existence. They are interwoven in the pattern of life, as inseparable from us as our own shadows. Only in darkness is it possible to loose one's shadow.
Everyone of them have left their footprints on our lives and souls and we are blessed for having known them, my children are blessed by learning about their grandparents from me. We do not honour them by placing flowers on a grave, or flipping through a photo album, but every time we smile at a memory of them.
Saturday, 1 September 2012
I love mornings. Everything is new, fresh and delightful. I love waking up to the chatter of the birds just outside our bedroom window. I always listen to them and invent dialogue for them. My cat also loves listening to them and then she chats back to them in her voice she reserves just for the birds! I also imagine what her dialogue is and it usually bodes nothing good for the unsuspecting little birds.
Every morning to me is like receiving a gift. It is all beautifully wrapped up in blue skies,tied up with early morning sunlight and decorated with butterflies. Some days the wrapping is a bit gloomy, but still I look forward to unwrapping this mysterious, enticing and gracious gift.
This gift, however, is very different from all other gifts. Usually the gift we receive is just what it is - a pretty little soap, exquisite jewelry or maybe a beautiful book. Sometimes it is something we always wanted, but at other times it might be something we already have. This early morning gift though is a very unique gift. It is what I decide to make out of it. If I look for beauty in my day, that is what I will find in my gift, but if I look for the ugly in today, the angry and hateful, that, too, is what I will get from the gift. What I decide to do with this gift of today is determined by what happens in my heart and in my thoughts, it gives shape to my day and ultimately my life.
We all receive this gift, but what we do with it, what we make out of it, remains my choice. Yes, sometimes we wake up, and we realise that our gift will never be entirely the same again, as life and circumstances have maybe attached a label or two to my gift. Maybe it is a label of sadness, or regret. Maybe the gift tag reads "Change", yet I still have a choice about what I am going to do with this brand new day. Will I celebrate it or waste it, will I use it for good or squander it on insignificant things, because there seems to be an endless supply of it?
Something else about this gift that is different from normal gifts is that where most gifts we can keep and enjoy still for a long time to come, this gift just belongs to today, to now. I cannot save it for tomorrow, and I cannot drag it into the past without losing it. It has an expiry time.
Graciously God grants us each day another opportunity, another wonderful gift. It is so sad that in our youth we have little value for this gift, and so easily trade it for nonsense. Fortunately, as we grow "wiser ", so our appreciation also increases and we start to treasure this gift of now and we cram it with everything that is worthwhile and good.
My wish for you is that you will every morning unwrap this gift with joy and embrace your new today with wide open arms and live it!!
If you flutter by here please feel free to comment. Just click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link. I would love to hear from you.