Tuesday, 31 July 2012

One of Those Days...

We all know those days.  Those days when nothing seems to go right.  Days when every day's toils and struggles become too much. When we feel we want to scream at the conductor to stop this crazy train we are on so that we can get off.  We rush along with the world on an out of control roller coaster from meeting to meeting, chore to chore, duty to duty.  It is on days like these that we want to ask the question "Is this all there is?"  We feel caught and strangled up in the barbed wire of life.  Without wings.  Weary beyond believe.  What is the purpose of it all?
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......

Monday, 30 July 2012

Where my Heart is.....

"Where do butterflies live, Mommy?" my youngest asked me one long ago day.  At that time her favourite movie was "Land Before Time", so it was an easy answer - "Right there in the valley with the Long Necks".  That answer was quite to her satisfaction, but if I really had to answer her, the answer would have been, I don't have a clue.  Birds have nests, bees have hives and rabbits have burrows, but butterflies?  I only ever see them flying joyfully from flower to flower.  Maybe their lives are too short to find the time to also go back to a home somewhere, so I think their home is right there where they are. 
We all have houses, some small, some massive, some humble, some majestic.  Whatever its size, one thing that is true is the saying "Home Sweet Home".  Ask any traveller, any holiday maker, what the best thing about travelling is and the thoughtful ones will say "going home".  Is it going home to bricks and mortar, wood and trusses?  No, it's going to that place where we belong, a place of warmth and acceptance, a place that folds around us like a favourite blanket.  Home is my family, their love, their smiles, their happy chatter.  Home is my hand in my husband's, hugs from my daughters, the smell of toast.  Home is that one-of-a-kind place where I can just be me and I am loved for that very reason, the uniqueness of 'me'.  Home is right there where my heart is, the centre of my being, and that centre is my family, they are the ones that give me my warm fuzzy feeling.   When I think about 'home', I think about them.  I think about walks at twilight, movie nights and breakfast table talks.  I am never far from home, because home is where I hang my memories.  If you flutter by here, share your memories of your 'home' with me.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


I am sure you have noticed by now that I simply adore butterflies.  I am enthralled by them. I love watching how they dance happily from one colourful flower to the next.  Butterflies are beauty-finders.  You will never see a butterfly sitting on a whithered flower, and they always pick the most fragrant of roses to visit.  Wherever they go they leave a trail of beauty behind.  They always remind me of my sister.  She too, is a beauty-finder.  She knows just how to pick the most beautiful piece of cloth or the prettiest dress in a shop, she'll even find the most delightful dishrag hiding amongst all the other ordinary ones!  Just being near her makes me feel a part of the beauty around her and inside her.
But in life we also have poison-finders.  Poison-finders are oblivious to the beauty that surrounds them, they are only interested in finding their poison.  Just look at the spider. It visits the same flower as the delightful butterfly, but instead of beauty it finds the ingredients to make a deadly poison.  Some people are like spiders, they will pay little attention to the beauty that surrounds them, in fact they don't notice it at all.  Their focus is entirely on finding everything that is wrong, imperfect or ugly.  They look for it with a trained eye and they will unerringly find the tiniest fault. They are poison-finders, but even worse, they are poison-spreaders.  They delight in sharing this poison with others. Poison-spreaders are energy-sappers, they taint everything with their negativity.  An encounter with a poison-finder can leave you feeling totally drained.
Beauty-finders will always share their beauty with others, they just can't help it.  Beauty-finders make the world around them beautiful too, even if it is just with the smile they leave behind in your heart.  Even in the bleakest of circumstances beauty-finders decorate life with fragments of beauty. 
If you flutter by here, share with me your bits of beauty that you've found around you today.

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Gift of Creativity

Every Friday morning a few of us get together to paint, draw, chat and doodle.  All week long we rush around, taxi children, do chores, but come Friday it is our time, it is the start of our week-end.  For those few hours we create and recharge our batteries.  No critics are allowed, no negative talk and no self-sabotage!  What we all marvel at is the fact that although sometimes one of us might not feel in the mood, or might feel tired or depressed, by the end of our session, we all feel energised and on top of the world.  In fact, we find it extremely difficult to stop what we are doing, the creative sluices are wide open.
Being creative is one of the best forms of therapy, it brings healing and peace beyond our understanding.  I think the reason for that is that through the creative process we draw closer to God's heart, because He is the great Creator, our creativity is not from ourselves, but from the Lord.  He bestows the gift of creativity on each and everyone of his children, with no favouritism, but somehow we allow the world and its critics to steal that gift away from us.  We fall for the lies we are being told by the world - you are not talented enough, you are not creative, your talent is of little use, etc etc. 
It is amazing to watch little children drawing, painting or doing anything creative.  They do it with such absolute conviction and confidence.  Not for a second do they question that blob of red paint they've put on the paper, it IS a dog, a cat, a cow.  Of course the sky is green, the river purple and a giraffe has three legs.  They do not doubt their artistic ability or criticise their own efforts, and they are equally enthusiastic about their playmates' artwork.  Unfortunately, too soon the words and ideas of the world creep in and plant the ugly seeds of criticism and self-doubt, and that flamboyant young artist becomes an adult that 'cannot even draw a stick figure'!
Pablo Picasso said that all children are artists, the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.  It is definitely time for everyone to close the doors to the opinion of the world and reconnect with that artist hiding inside.  Life is a canvas - so come on, throw all the paint you have at it!!!  Do it today!
Have a look at Friday's page, it's a great way to entice that artist out of his/her hiding place.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Winter Flutter

Here in the Southern Hemisphere it is winter, and what a cold winter it has been!  They say that butterflies don't fly if their body temperature is less than 30 degrees C.  I feel like a butterfly, no flying for me.  I just flutter my wings ever so slightly.  I am the most unproductive human being during the winter months, my body crying out in protest!  I love summer, the warmth of the sun energizes me and lifts my spirit to unknown heights.  Yet, the winter has a magical beauty to it.  When the sun just pushes its face from under the nightime blanket its first fragile rays catch on the frosty icicles covering the grass and it glistens like diamonds.  Foggy tendrils float above the water pond, and one can almost imagine fairies scurrying away before human eyes can see them.  Although Winter is my least favourite season, I love the winter and I cannot imagine living in a place where there is little or no winter, it is as if my very essence needs this time of hibernation , of quiet reflection.  Without Winter Spring would be less miraculous, Summer less abundant.  In Life, too, we learn to truly appreciate the beauty of Summer, because of the winter. It is  this contrast that reveals the beauty, the wonder and the joy of the good times.  Winter to me is like the wrapping around a present.  It excites me, because I know that underneath its cold layer, tender green leaves are waiting to burst forth and rejoice!!  If you flutter by here, please share your thoughts on the Seasons with me, I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Gypsies In The Sun

This morning my husband was singing this old song of Quentin E. Klopjaeger:
Little children playing in the park
Catching butterflies before it gets too dark
Picking chestnuts in a shady wood
With the one you love
It makes you feel so good

Listen I know
The pace is kinda slow
But its the kinda lazy life I love
Its the kinda lazy life I love.....

and this song took me back to my childhood years.  Long summer holidays, playing in the park with my friends, going on long bicycles trips all over town.  My Very-Best-Friend-In-All-The-World and I would pack a backpack for the day and stop at small cafes along the way to buy ice cold Appletizer.  We did not have a care in the world.  With the wind in our long loose hair we would be gypsies travelling the world.  We sang at the top of our lungs to the melody of "Seasons in the Sun" with our own made up lyrics : "We are free, we are free, we are Gypsies in the Sun....". We loved every fabulous moment of life!!
How precious those childhood years were.  Filled with laughter and sunshine even when it was pouring with rain. Cold weather would never deter us from exploring every park, every avenue, every little dirt road.  Our only worry in the world was whether that cute guy would notice us tomorrow when we went ice skating!!
How short those years were.  Before we knew it we were grown up, the lazy days are but a faint memory, faded photographs in an old scrapbook.  Yet, at the mere humming of an old song, the smell of those carefree days linger in my nostrils, and I remember the feel of the summer breeze on my cheeks.  Today my Very-Best-Friend-In-All-The-World and I see each other almost never, we communicate via sms's, yet we are forever linked by those precious moments.  I wonder if she remembers them as vividly as I do, can she still remember the smell of the rain on a hot dusty road?  Silly question, for I know she does, nobody can ever forget the best childhood years we ever had!
If you happen to flutter by, feel free to share your favourite childhood memory or a song that reminds you of a favourite time.  I am looking forward to hear from you.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Chasing Butterflies

I met Liza, my friend, for a coffee at the Wimpy last week.  The first thing she asked after she had sat down wearily was "What is all this for?  All this rushing around, chasing after the one goal after the other?"  Liza is the manager of a large firm, drives a luxury car, and passes through our small town once a quarter on her way to the Cape for  important meetings.  She always makes sure that she meets me for a quick cuppa.  I've known her for most of my adult life, yet I have never seen her happy.  She always firmly believes that happiness would just be around the corner, it was just a question of meeting the right man ( she is twice divorced, a mother of two boys), getting a bigger salary ( she's moved up from sales assistant to general manager to regional manager), a better car (had a beetle now drives a funky sports model) and a larger house ( from sharing a flat with her sister to owning a 5 bedroom house with a pool on a golf estate).  Yet despite having reached all these goals, she was still unhappy.  Happiness is always just one more thing further.  Looking at her sitting opposite me in her beautiful designer suit and elegant shoes, I thought back to a time when another friend and I went on an outing with our children.  Amanda always had some or other project for the children to do.  At that time it was insect terrariums.  She had bought each child a little glass terrarium and the five of us went to the park to hunt for insects.  Kyle decided to hunt for ants and worms, while the two girls had their sights on some pretty butterflies.  Soon Kyle had dozens of ants and three worms crawling around in his insect box, but the girls were empty handed and very tired.  Melissa complained to her mom that the "silly butterflies" did not want to "stand still".  Exhausted, we all sat down on the river bank and had our picnic.  Suddenly my daughter exclaimed ,"Look Mommy, the butterflies are tired too", and lo and behold, right there on the grass at the little girls' feet sat three beautiful butterflies.  Nathaniel Hawthorne says that happiness is like a butterfly, which when chased stays just out of reach, but when you sit quietly, will come and sit on your shoulder.  Happiness cannot be found in things, objects or circumstances.  Happiness is found inside of yourself, it is in this moment.  It is being content with who you are and where you are.  It is an understanding of your life purpose and being at peace with yourself. External sources of happiness are only temporary, it is only a short-lived quick fix.  True happiness comes from embracing the now of who, what and where you are. It is allowing happiness to come and sit on your shoulder and to feel the soft whisper of it in your soul.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Broken Wings

Part of a butterfly's magic is its delicate beauty.  They entice us with their vibrant colours, they amaze us with their effortless flight, but butterflies are fragile.  They are easily bruised by eager hands, broken underneath a careless foot.  So too is life. Fragile.  Yet we take life so for granted, playing with time as a child with a little treasured toy.  Every breath we take is a miracle, Divine grace.  Last night two elderly, dear friends were attacked in their house, and it was there in their house, amidst the tales of anguish, the blood, the police and the concerned friends that I had this reality check.  Life can change in an instant.  In one moment its beauty can be destroyed, dreams and plans shattered, wings broken.  Oh, it would be so easy to give in to the fear that wants to grip us in such times of distress, after all, we have proof that we have good reason to be afraid, and everyone in that kitchen felt it, but larger than the fear in that kitchen, was the overpowering emotion of gratefulness.  Gratefulness that life, that fragile gift, was still preserved.  We still have another chance to say 'I love you', one more time to squeeze a hand, another moment to enjoy for all that moment has to give.  In those terrifying moments, when she faced the intruder wielding his knife, the question that flashed through her mind was not, 'Where is God?', no it was 'How did I live my last day? What have I done with my last hours?  Did it glorify the Lord?'.  What an excellent question to ponder. A butterfly's lifespan is short, but in those precious hours it does exactly what God ordained it to do.  It spreads its beauty all around and passes on the gift of life.  A butterfly lives every moment with joy and abandonment.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

When the time is right....

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 stength 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 devine 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......

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Fly Little Butterfly

I have two beautiful creatures in my life, my two butterfly girls. One has already spread her wings, finding her way through life, while the other one is slowly unfolding her tender wings, I hear their rustling whispers against the cocoon and know that it will not be long now, the world awaits........  It is beautiful, a thing of wonder to behold, to see your children take to the skies, knowing you have all their lives prepared them for that moment, praying their wings are strong enough.  I so would love to just hold them close, keep them save, never let them go, but I know that to become all they are meant to be, destined by God to be, they can only become once they find their own way on the breezes of life, testing the strenghts of their own wings.  Fly, my little butterflies, fly, and know that wherever you go my heart, my love goes with you......

Friday, 20 July 2012

I have always been fascinated by butterflies, their delicate beauty mesmerize me.  They are symbolic of our temporary lives here on earth.  Their very existance is due to rebirth, transformation. I love stories of transformation.  Change.  New beginnings.  Just like this blog.  Also a new beginning for me.  Of course I am rushing in where angels fear to tread, since I am mostly blog ignorant, but as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I hope that if there is anyone out there who stumbles across this post, who flutters by, that they will pause a moment and share their transformation story with me.