Wednesday, 25 March 2015

His Perfect Plan

A while back somebody told me this story:

A little boy was walking along and in the veld he found a cocoon, he picked it up and noticed that on the inside there was a butterfly struggling to come out. He immediately took out his pocket knife and cut the cocoon open. Very proud of himself, he helped the butterfly out and placed it on the nearest flower. However, instead of spreading its wings to fly off, it fluttered weakly for a few moments and then fell over and died. Dismayed the little boy ran home and told his father about the incident. The father explained to the little boy that the butterfly needed to struggle its own way out of the cocoon in order to grow its wings strong enough to survive. When the time was right, it would have emerged from the cocoon, delicate yet strong. This story made me think of us as humans. So often, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we wait for somebody to come along and help us out. Some knight in shining armour to fight our battle for us, some Samaritan to help carry the burden and often we will just give up the fight, but it is in the struggle, in overcoming, that our strength lies. The butterfly is exquisitely and perfectly created by God, and the inborn struggle it has to go through is also part of God's perfect plan, it serves a divine purpose. When the time is right, God's plan will reveal itself to us, and looking back we can see how it all worked together to complete the picture. Without that time spend in the cocoon, the struggle towards freedom, the caterpillar would forever stay just that, a caterpillar. In Jer. 29: 11 the Lord promises that He has plans for us, plans that we may prosper, not plans to harm us, but when the time is right, His perfect time......

If you flutter by here I hope you will be kind enough to leave a comment, I would appreciate it.
Blessings to you all,

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Pull the Plug

Listen...can you hear it?  It is there.  It is everywhere. We are surrounded by it every day.  It is woven into the silence around us.  It is so subtle that we are not really aware of it, that is, until load shedding reveals its sudden absence.  It is the constant humming of ambient noise that envelops us daily.  Mechanical noise pollution it is called.  Without realizing it, we are actually addicted to its presence.  When power cuts leave us in silence, most people find the sudden absence of sound unsettling at first.  It suddenly feels as if we can hear our own hearts beating, and we feel the urge to whisper reverently.  Yet, soon we are filled with a sense of relief, a feeling of release as if we can now breathe freely and more deeply.

Without us being aware of it, this background noise actually hinders our concentration, and as it gets louder it has an increasing effect on our stress levels.  It can even cause us to feel irritable or aggressive.  Some individuals may suffer headaches or migraines from this low level droning.  People suffering from high blood pressure could experience a worsening of their symptoms.  In today's modern and fast paced world we seem to be unable to escape it, as our livelihood depends on the electronics all around us - computers, cell phones, television, security cameras, lights and power supplies, refrigerators, coffee machines and power tools to name a few.

So what should we do?
Sell everything and head for the mountains, maybe?  Quite a romantic idea, but not very practical.  I, for one, will soon miss the comfort of my ambient noise when the shrill chattering of those furry flying night creatures pierces the night!  However, I do suggest we all try to spend one day each month totally unplugged!  Yes - UNPLUGGED!

Switch off the computers, unplug the television sets and put your cell phone(s) on silent, hidden in your drawer for the day.  Make sure your gas cooker is ready and get out the candles.  Make it an adventure for the whole family, it can be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your children.  Teach them the art of board games and hopscotch.  Organize an Easter egg hunt by candle light. Tell stories at dinner time, watch the play of shadows thrown against the kitchen walls by the flickering oil lamps.  If we start this month, then we will have had ten unplugged days for this year.  Invite your friends or family over to share in this new tradition with you.  This might be the perfect opportunity to strengthen friendships and create memories.
Going wireless can bring us back in touch with a slower pace and with each other, maybe even with nature itself.

Share your thoughts about this idea with me, and if you have tried this, please let me know how you experienced it.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Maya Angelou

I love the poetry of Maya Angelou. 
She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928 and named Marguerite Annie Johnson.  She was an  author, poet, dancer, actress, and singer.   Over a period of five decades, she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays and several books of poetry.  She also wrote many plays, movies, and television shows during this period.  Maya was the recipient of countless  awards and a host of  honorary degrees.

In her first autobiography she recounts the story of  first seventeen years of life, published under the title  "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" (1969).   She was the second child of Bailey Johnson, a doorman  and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson who was a nurse. When she was three years old, her parents divorced and she and her brother were sent to live with their  grandmother, Annie Henderson, Stamps, Arkansas. 
When Maya was eight, she was back with her mother in St Louis.  It was here that she was raped by her mother's boyfriend, a man named Freeman. Maya told her brother, who in turn told the rest of their family. Freeman was found guilty, yet he was  in prison only for one day. However, four days later he was murdered.  It is suspected that her uncles might have been responsible for Freeman's murder. Following this incident, Maya, for a period of almost five years, never spoke again.  The reason she gave was, "I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone ..."

Here is one of Maya's well known poems.  I hope you enjoy it with me.

ALONE by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking

Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires

With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely

I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone

Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.