Friday, 31 August 2012

A Butterfly at my Gate

This morning was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, and the gentle breeze carried the message of Spring to my heart.  Today is officially the last day of Winter and my spirit rejoices for although I value winter I am a spring and summer person.  To celebrate the arrival of Spring tomorrow I decided to make my art group a delicious fruit salad with yogurt and topped with muesli.
 So as I am busy making this and getting everything ready for the class, and as usual running short on time, there is the noise of somebody scratching on our gate and calling for attention.  Immediately I am irritated, but nevertheless I go to the door and look out.  At the gate is a middle aged woman, no teeth, with short thin grey hair.  She asks if I don't have a few pieces of change for her so she could go buy some food.  I asked her if she wanted food, to which she replied she wanted a bit of money.  Now, annoyed, I answered her that I don't keep money in the house, partly true, but more true is the fact that my husband and I have long ago decided that we'll rather give food or clothing instead of enabling somebody to buy cigarettes or alcohol.  So without any further ado I closed the door and went back to my task.  The woman soon forgotten.
A while later my friends arrived and after joyous greetings and excitement sat down to our celebratory meal.  It was then that the woman at my gate made her reappearance - in my mind.  Here we were, eating a delicious breakfast with enough left over to share with another person.  Did she have anything to eat, not just today, but yesterday?  What did it cost her self-esteem to knock on my gate?  What would it have meant to her if I had invited her in to share our meal?  I could have, I was not alone, I had protection.  What if it was me? 
I tried to see if I could see her somewhere down the road, but she had gone by that time.  What if she were an angel and I have missed a chance.  Indeed, in my heart I know that I've missed a chance, an opportunity to do good.  Even if she did not want food itself, I could have taken a moment to fill a bowl with fruit in any case, maybe if she saw it she might have changed her mind.  Just one moment to reach out, just a small smile or word of kindness - what ripples could that have send into the universe?
It brings me back to a favourite word of mine - choices.  Yes, the choices she had made in her life brought her to my gate, but it is not for me to judge.  I, however, also had a choice, and this morning, in my haste, I chose not to make a difference, I chose to avert my heart, I made a decision to do nothing.  Could I have that moment over, I would do it differently, even if the answer was the same.  I realise it was not just my haste which is to blame, but fear as well.  We live in a violent society and we are afraid that we might be attacked, we are afraid of getting involved and we are scared it might ask something of us.  It is sad that we, as the only mammals truly capable of compassion, are too frightened to show it, too afraid to be that good Samaritan.
I pray that the tattered butterfly who came to my gate today will cross the path of a kinder heart next time, and will find a soft place to put her head tonight.  I hope the season also turns for her tomorrow, and that Spring will lift her spirit up to the sun.

If you flutter by here feel free to leave a comment, just click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link.  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

On the Wings of Memories

Last week I surprised my daughter at her work.  I sneaked up behind her and put my hand over her eyes ( I really had to stretch to do this).  Her first reaction was to ask who this could be, followed by "it smells like my mom...".  She absolutely did not expect me, and were so surprised, yet she knew me. 
This took my thoughts back to my own mom.  Each memory of her is like an exquisite butterfly.  I remember how she always smelled like "Royal Secret" and powder.  Sometimes the aroma of vanilla would linger about her when she baked.  Even now, years after she has passed away I smell her when I open the little toiletry bag in which I put the last bits of her make-up.  I remember how she loved the garden. She planted snapdragons and nasturtiums in the rockery underneath my window and carnations in the flower box.  She drove her little green mini at daredevil speed - 80km/h on the straights and around the corners.  She was the most selfless person I knew, always putting her family above herself, even above her own illness.
She taught me to pray, to believe and by example, how to love my husband and how to teach my daughters to love their father.  She told me to rather keep quiet if I do not have anything nice to say, she taught me that it doesn't matter what others say as long as you yourself know what is the truth.
I remember her hands, strong and gentle, that could do anything.  I remember her smile, full of kindness and the sparkle in her blue blue eyes.  I sometimes hear her in my sister's laughter and I see her in my daughters' smiles, and I am so glad that I could call her "Mamma".
 I wonder what my children will remember about me one day?  Maybe my early morning joy, the way I loved to tease, my quirky sense of humour?  Whatever it is that they remember I just hope above all that they remember how I loved them like air itself.  How, I would have loved to keep them like butterflies in a jar, never letting go, but allowing them to spread their wings, because I love them so.

If you flutter by here please share with me your memories about your mother.  To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link.  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Butterfly Words

This morning while I was watching my youngest daughter getting ready for school I said to her that it is not quite as warm as it was last week, to which she replied, " I am still going to put on my jersey".  Of course to this I replied that I was just mentioning it, and asked her what would a mother be if she can't say anything, to which the little madam replied with a question in her voice, " A mute?" 
This answer of hers made me laugh so as she always has a quirky answer ready, and normally not what one would expect.  However, this made me think.  Every single word which exits our mouths leaves an imprint on our children's lives.  Every single word has a consequence, an effect on the people who hear them. Maybe that is why the Bible warns us to place a guard in front of our mouths.  Words have the power to guide, to inspire, to build, yet they also have the power to demean, to hurt and to destroy.  A single word can break a heart, it can change the course of history or it can avert a war.
Words are like a bag of feathers that gets ripped open, once they leave your mouth and find their way on the wind to somebody else's ears you can never take them back.  They entangle themselves in the hearer's mind and there they bloom or fester.
The other side of the coin is equally interesting.  Just as words which are uttered have a certain result, words which are left unsaid can also have a powerful effect.  How could that be, you might ask.  When we see a dangerous situation, and do not give the warning, or we do not speak up against an injustice,  or we do not give praise where it is due, all these can have their very own consequences.
It is our duty as parents to guide and teach our children, even when we fear that we might be unpopular.  Keeping quiet might avert their teenage wrath, but it can have dire consequences for our children.  Not voicing our opinions or standing up for our beliefs is like silently agreeing to the destruction of our values. Not saying "no" out loud is like saying silently "yes".
Words can lift a listener's spirit like butterflies on a spring day, or they can send a person into deep despair. Words are so easy to utter, yet it has to be governed with wisdom, It is important to learn how and when to use them, and when it is best to be silent.  Years ago my sister gave me this advice : " Choose your words as you would choose beautiful flowers for a friend - only the most fragrant, the very best."

If you flutter by here please share with me the the words 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.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Perfect Pieces

One of my favourite crafts I enjoy doing is mosaic.  I love everything about it.  I enjoy selecting a design and then choosing the colours and type of tiles I want to use, but most of all I love the assembly process.  Looking for that perfect tile that will fit into that specific place, and if I cannot find one, I shape a piece until it fits right in.  When all the pieces are in place, I stand back and survey the overall picture and am usually quite amazed at what lies there in front of me on the table.  The last highlight of the process is covering the object with grout and then cleaning it and polishing it to reveal the final product.  It usually takes my breath away, because it is always better than what I hoped for, almost as if something divine took place that I had no hand in.
Life is also like a giant mosaic and we are the pieces.  On our own we are small and often seemingly insignificant.  People might even pass us by, completely overlooking our potential, not understanding our worth.  We might feel useless and out of place, we might think we have no purpose, no destiny.  Some of us might even feel as if we have outlived our usefulness, that we are no longer needed.  I have news for you, you are completely wrong! 
Every little fragment of a tile, has its special and specific place in a mosaic piece. Sometimes the mosaic artist just needs to shape it a bit, cut off a sharp corner here or there, or square it up a bit.  Nothing is wasted.  Even the cutoffs are saved for another time.  Everyone of us have our place in life that cannot be filled by anybody else, we are a perfect fit in our niche.  Each one of us is necessary to complete the picture.  We have been specifically created by God to fulfil His perfect mosaic plan.
Even when I feel that I am too broken, too small or too dull to be of any use, God has His eye on me to fill that one gap where no other piece can fit into. He shapes us, guides us and polishes us to perfection.  From all our broken little pieces he makes a masterpiece, he form us and gives us wings to soar.  His plan is always better than what we hoped for.  In His hands we are complete and breathtakingly perfect! 

If you flutter by here please share with me the one thing you value most about yourself.  To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link.  I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One of a Kind

Life with all its different facets and diversity is an endless source of wonder.  Every person we meet are uniquely different and beautiful.  Although a lot of similarities exist, nobody is exactly the same.  That means that I, too, am uniquely different, and the same goes for everyone reading this.  Yet, it is often in this difference that many people's unhappiness lies.  These are the ones that look at another person and wish they were as pretty, as tall or petite, as intelligent or as rich as the other person seems to be.  These thoughts become their focus, and they start believing that if only they could be the same, they would also be happy and fulfilled.
However the only result such a mindset has, is living an unfulfilled, disillusioned and even bitter life.  This feeling that life would somehow be better "if only...", is born from a lack of self-esteem.  If you are plagued by thoughts such as these, then it is time to take a good look at yourself.  Nobody can do YOU better than you!  You bring your very own unique contribution to the world, your children are the delightful unique creatures they are because of you.  Your smile, your kindness has touched somebody somewhere, and because of that one fleeting moment you have cheered somebody on their way.  The way you make your house a home, the way you comfort your friends or your family has a ripple effect far beyond your expectations.
Harold Coffin has been quoted saying " Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own."  Take the time to sit down and count your blessings, write them down and soon you will be grateful for being uniquely you.  By being YOU you are a blessing to the people around you.  Nothing can be gained by focusing your energy on wishing you were like somebody else, it only robs you of vitality and the joy of being you.  By turning your focus inward and rejoicing in being you, your joy will be multiplied and you will have so much more to give to others.  When you start appreciating yourself for your own "one-of-a-kind-ness ", you will also appreciate others for their uniqueness instead of being filled with bitterness or envy when you encounter them.
Being happy with who you are spreads a blanket of cheerfulness around you.  It infects everyone and inspires people to embrace their own unique selves.  Come on, I dare you, give yourself a hug, and love yourself for who you are!!
If you flutter by here please share with me the one thing you value most about yourself.  To comment click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link.  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 20 August 2012

A Fragrant Shelter

I am sure that by now you will all agree with me that butterflies are simply exquisite. It is interesting that we usually find butterflies amongst equally beautiful flowers.  In fact it is safe to say that where there are flowers we will find butterflies nearby.  Butterflies need flowers and fruit to provide nourishment and water for them.  Flowers and plants also provide shelter and a safe home for them in order to lay their eggs.
Butterflies are especially attracted to flowers with a strong scent as this tells them that they will find the sweetest nectar there.  They also prefer flowers with soft petals protected from the wind to land on rather than plants with spikes.  Butterflies are fragile and therefore they choose their environment carefully.
We as humans are very much the same.  We also search out safe havens for ourselves and surround ourselves with beauty.  We look for nourishment, not only for our bodies, but our souls as well.  We need a shelter that can protect us against the storms of life.  Most of us crave "la Dulce vita" - the sweet life.  We yearn for a place of acceptance and loving care, a place where we can simply be.
My question today is this : am I such a place for my loved ones, my friends, the people who cross my path?  Do I give them a safe place to fall, a haven from the storm?  Am I that sweet smelling flower calling them home or do I have sharp spiky words that cut through their souls, tearing them apart?  Do I provide them with nourishment or do I poison them with criticism and negativity?  Am I a gentle green meadow with a softly flowing river where weary travellers can find a moment's rest?
In this harsh, rat-racing world we need to provide a place of peace not only for the people we love, but also for the battered and bruised butterflies that flutter through our lives. People are irresistibly drawn to those who exude beauty, kindness and a sweet fragrance, because it is in such short supply, yet most people find it far easier to give a sarcastic or snappy answer instead of words of healing or encouragement.  What a truly wonderful world this would be if we could rather be each others' welcoming shelters.
{If you would like to comment on any post , you are most welcome, do so by clicking on the words "no comments" or "1 comment" and simply follow the link.}

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Dance with the Butterflies

It is estimated that there are 28 000 different species of butterflies, but constantly new butterflies are being discovered.  It is this diversity that adds to their allure.  Even two butterflies that seem exactly alike will have subtle differences.  Each one is uniquely made.  We as humans are no different, even identical twins are not completely alike.  Yet it is a sad fact that from the moment we are born we are moulded and formed to fit in with the "norm".  Every growth milestone is measured to see how it compares with others.  From an early age we are conditioned to measure ourselves against others and we soon learn that to be different is not tolerated well by society.
Many people as adults still bare the scars of being teased and even shunned because they dressed differently, spoke differently or came from a different part of town.  Some have learnt to point and laugh with the crowd at those who did not fit the expectations of society in order to disguise the fact that they too are different.  Teenagers, although they want to be unique, go to great lenghts to make sure that they have the current hairstyle, the same baggy trousers or listen to the same music so they blend in with the "in" crowd.
They silently scream out to be noticed, yet are angry if we as parents do not help them to look like all the others.
Yet again we can learn from nature.  It is its very diversity that assures its survival.  Nature in fact celebrates the differences and constantly adapt, change and diversify.  All of nature is a stage with the most weird and wonderfully unique actors that provide us with endless entertainment.
In the same way each one of us is also unique and endowed with our own special gifts.  Yet we are often unkind and unloving to those we perceive as different or "strange".  We are afraid to associate with them and we devalue them.  We are even more fearful that others might notice our own strangeness.Yet  history is full of stories of how these "different" people changed the world.  Howard Hughes, Van Gogh, Jesus of Nazareth, to name but a few, were some of those strange and different individuals.
It is time to look around us and embrace the differences in others, but even more so, it is time to look within and recognise and love yourself for the gorgeous, unique and special person that God created you to be.  Put your different-ness on display and celebrate it.  Walk with your pyjamas down the street, let your hair grow, eat ice-cream in the snow, dance with the butterflies or do whatever you want to, you may, YOU are you, not a copy, but the original! 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Butterfly in my World.....

"A single rose can be my garden.....
a single friend, my world." - Leo Buscaglia

I awoke to another pale wintry Monday morning, feeling chilled to the bone.  While busy with the early Monday morning chores I got a call.  My friend from Botswana was in town and wanted to meet for coffee and a piece of cake. Suddenly the day felt a little warmer! 
Rose is a special friend, even though I only met her in adulthood it feels as if I have known her all my life.  With her currently living so far away we seldom speak, but when we see each other again, it's like there has been no time apart.  When she opens her arms wide to welcome me, it feels like I am coming home.  She carries sunshine with her wherever she goes.
Rose is one of those people with the rare ability to turn absolute strangers into close friends and she makes you feel like you are the most wonderful person she knows.  She showers her praise and laughter in equal amounts over anybody who is nearby.  She looks for a reason to laugh and find anecdotes and amazing stories, slightly elaborated, in the most mundane of situations.
Butterflies and Rose are almost synonyms to me.  She happily flutters through her day, stopping here and there for a chat, a joke, a cup of tea, all the while spreading her happiness all around.  You cannot leave Rose without feeling somehow blessed.
True friendship is a rarity, few of us can say that we have found it in our lifetimes, but Rose has made me realise that it is not so much about finding true friendship as it is about being a true friend.  My wish for everyone is that they will also have a Rose in their treasure box, that one friend who think you are  "a good egg even though she knows that you are slightly cracked!" (quote by Bernard Meltzer)
If you flutter by here feel free to share a thought or two about a special friend in your life with me.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A Collection of Butterflies

I lay in bed last night and thought about how incredible God's creation is.  We are surrounded with beauty every day and we are so fortunate to be able to see it, hear it, smell it, taste and touch it.  What fun the Lord must have painting a fresh new sky every morning on His heavenly canvas.
Butterflies are like tiny little pieces of art floating about, each painted with precision and totally original.  Their delicate beauty never cease to astound me.  If only I could capture a fragment of their beauty on canvas.
This week I am privileged to take part in our art group's annual exhibition, and I am amazed to see such a collection of beautiful and skillfully executed art in one place.   Yet I stand humbled, for we are but imitators of the great Creator.  How blessed we are that He shared some of His creative being with us, endowing us with the talent to create in order to communicate His message of grace to those who come to view our exhibition.
Creating art is more than just putting pretty images on a canvas, it is also a process of learning, growing and discovering your true self, our creative selves.  If we have been made in the Lord's image then we have also been given his creativity, but few of us realise this, preferring rather to listen to that vengeful inner critic who constantly wants to rob us of inner peace, inner fulfilment and joy.
Often I hear people say that they are not creative, they cannot even draw a stick man.  It is a lie they tell themselves.  There are so many different forms of creativity, after all we have more than the sense of sight, we have ears to hear beautiful music, poetry and stories.  Noses to smell fragrances and food, therefor we need the artistry of chefs.  We have hands to touch and to feel, maybe your creativity lies in turning an ordinary piece of cloth into a fantasy of swirling colours, or changing a house into a home.  Creativity is woven into the very fibre of our beings.  It is etched in the way a mother loves her children, it is carved in the way a father plays with his children.  Look for it and you WILL find it.
What is your creative gift?  If you flutter by here, please share it with me.  We are all kindred creative spirits.  Together we are a rabble of butterflies.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Ride the Wind

Today is a grey, wind tossed day.  August has arrived in all its windy glory, sweeping through the leaves and flattening the tall winter white grass.  Playfully it picks up little pieces of paper and throws it up in the sky, grabs it again and spins them around only to discard them again.  It rips tender blooms from their branches and tosses them about like shredded butterflies and it howls around the corners of the house like a lost puppy.
Sometimes we are also a bit like a butterfly tossed in the wind, a bit lost, without direction.  Sometimes the storm winds of Life feels as if it wants to blow us away, squeezing the life out of us, like we are just a piece of discarded paper.  The winds sweep us up high, but just as suddenly drop us way down again.  Being tossed around like that confuses us, it overwhelms us, and peace seems to elude us.
How are we to survive the stormy winds of Life?  What defence do we have against its force?  Like the wind chime in the picture above we need to be anchored.  The wind chime butterflies are securely tied to the anchor that they are suspended from.  When they are tossed about by the wind they are not blown away, they are not lost, no wind can destroy them.  Not only are they secure, but they also make a beautiful sound in the wind.  It is a sound of joy and praise.  When we are anchored in God's presence, in His hand, no storm can rip us apart, and we too will make a beautiful noise unto the Lord.
There will always be storms in Life, as in nature.  Some storms we can avoid, but others will be upon us before we realise.  However, when our strings are securely tied, we will ride the wind while we sing, we might be blown this way and that, but we'll never stray far from home, and when the calm descends again, we will still be right there under God's care and protection.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Seasons of Change

Change.  It is a word we are all familiar with.  It is a condition we have all experienced in some way or another.  It is something most of us resent or resist.  Yet it is the one thing in life which is inevitable.  Every single day, every single minute we are in a process of change.  Seasons change, people change, climates change, political parties change, we are surrounded by change, it is interwoven into the very fabric of our lives.  Most of it is so subtle, the effect of it is only visible ten years down the line, some of it is radical, sudden, catching us by surprise. 
Change is the one constant in Life.  Whether we welcome change with open arms or try to resist it with all our being, every change comes with its joys and its regrets.  We gain something and we lose something, it is like the ocean tide with its high and low tides. 
Change cannot be avoided, all we can alter is how we adapt to it and how we utilise it.  As the Richard Bach quote above states "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the Master calls the butterfly" , it is all about point of view.
Every encounter we have in life, every situation we find ourselves in brings about change in us, but also in those we pass by.  Do we bring about positive change, or do I deposit seeds of destruction? Realising that we are part of the process of the constant change taking place, helps us understand the responsibility that comes with it.  We will most likely never know what change it is that we have helped create in others, we will never be able to press the "undo" button, therefor it is important that we tread carefully in the lives of others.
Contemplating "change" makes me again realise how precious "now" is.  "Now" is what we have, appreciate it, enjoy it, love it, LIVE it.  It never comes this way again.  That is why I am now going to post this and going to hug my husband who is here NOW!
I leave you with this well known quote from Reinhold Niebuhr:
"God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can'
And the Wisdom to know the difference."

If you flutter by here, please feel free to share some changes you've had to face in your life and what has been the result of it.  I'll be happy to hear from you.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Winter Wonder

I sat in my studio this morning and watched with wonder as the snow gently started drifting down to earth.  It looked like a thousand tiny whimsical butterflies floating down.  Snow is quite a rarity in our district, and despite the temperature of 3 degrees Celsius, I ventured outside.  The flakes brushed my cheeks with an icy caress before melting at my feet.  I chased a few flakes and managed to catch one on my fingertips where it lingered only a second longer. I felt exhilarated and alive and very grateful.  How wonderful life is when we can still find delight in the magic of a snowflake, the tingling of the cold on our faces.
It made me realise yet again how often we forget to take notice of the little things in life, how we let it pass us by.  We hardly take note of the beaming smile on a toddlers face,  the exquisite colours of twilight or the perfection of a single snowflake.  We take it all so for granted.  Yet every moment of every day we are surrounded by such beauty and such blessings. 
We do not have to travel the world to find beauty, or go to extreme lenghts in order to gaze upon the seven wonders of the world.  It can be found right now, right where you are.  I find it in the gentle breathing of my husband when I wake up in the morning.  I find it on the sleepy warmth of my little girl's cheek.  I hear it in the happy chirps of the birds outside our bedroom window, even in the middle of winter.  I delight in it when I wiggle my toes, when I feel my cat's purring next to me on the pillow.  I see it in tiny sprinkling of freckles across my older daughter's nose.  I treasure it when I hold the first cup of coffee in my hands in the morning.  The wonder in every moment.
Winter is the perfect time for reflection.  The ideal time to write down your thoughts, to start a "Thankful Journal", to count your blessings.  We are surrounded by it all day long, and I call it God's grace.  Everyday He presents us with this gift, the perfection of the little moments, we must just take the time to notice it.  Reach out and touch that snowflake before it melts away.......
If you flutter by here please feel free to share your little moments of grace with me.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Whispered Wishes

".....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......

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Spread your wings....

Sometimes I feel fragile, like a butterfly tossed in the wind.  I feel like crawling into my cocoon and hiding.  This feeling of vulnerability is quite scary, but even more frightening is the idea that others might notice my frailness.  Being vulnerable is perceived as being weak, shameful.  Vulnerability is tagged as being emotional, even irrational.  Weakness leaves us exposed and at the mercy of others, therefor we go to great lenghts to hide it. 
We become quite adept at concealing our vulnerabilities.  Some people don the mask of cynicism or sarcasm to hide behind.  Others use criticism or hostility to hide their fragileness.  Others wrap the cloak of aloofness tightly around their delicate frame.  The consequence of this however, is that often it is the very mask we wear that end up hurting us even more. The cynic who is yearning to believe, to trust, finds that what he suspected is true, the critic, fearing judgement, ends up being judged because of her judgemental nature, and the aloof who bulletproof themselves from rejection, stays always on the sidelines, feeling excluded. 
We armour ourselves with defence mechanisms, strong armour to keep hurt at bay, but the opposite is also true, we keep healing, love and nurturing away from ourselves.  Inside our cocoons we are safe, but also alone.  The bad cannot easily reach us there, but neither can the good.  Tightly wrapped up inside our cocoons, we can never be free, never develop the strength of our wings.
Despite what the world says, being vulnerable is not being weak, it is being truthful to ourselves.  It is facing the true me and accepting myself for who I am.  By climbing out of my cocoon, I open myself up to the chance of being hurt, yes, but I open myself up to so much more.  I open myself up to love, to acceptance, to joy and beauty, to my own uniquely created self.  I expose myself to growth and transformation.  A butterfly can only become what it is destined to be by leaving the cocoon behind.  Its true beauty can only be revealed when it spreads its fragile wings.  Maybe it encounters strong winds, but maybe, it will be carried along by a gentle breeze underneath its wings.....

Friday, 3 August 2012

Hitch a Ride

Can you believe it is Friday already?  The week just seemed to have flown past at breakneck speed.  We live such hectic lives with everything that is expected of us during the course of the week, that the days pass by in a blurr.  Days become weeks, become months, become years, and then one day we look back and ask in bewilderment "Where has the time gone?"
We fill our lives with so many distractions, occupy our minds with so many problems and get involved with so many issues that we have little time for anything else.  It is then that we look back and discover that hollow, empty feeling inside of us that leaves us baffled and confused.  A feeling that somewhere along the line we have missed out on something, but what could that be?  After all, you have given it your all, you have achieved all you could, you've fitted everyday with 30 hours worth of work, you've gathered wealth or tried your darnedest to accumulate as much as you could, yet still there is this void.  How is that possible?
The answer is in the picture above.  We have simply been to busy to take time, and in the process we have misplaced ourselves on the way.  There is a lesson to be learnt here.  Take time to hitch a ride on a tortoise.  It is one of the slowest creatures, but slowly and steadily it gets where it is going.  Relish the beauty of the moment, the wonderfulness of NOW.  Be still and enjoy the moment of silence on the tortoise's back, breathe......
Butterflies flutter from flower to flower, but if you watch them you'll notice that they'll linger a while on each flower, savouring the fragrance, before they fly to the next bloom.  This week-end take some time out to just be, take a ride on that tortoise and smell the flowers.....

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Everyday's Grapes

I often wonder how it is that a butterfly knows exactly which flower has the sweetest nectar?  All insects seem to know that instinctively.  They always find the choicest, sweetest fruit.
All of us in our house love fruit, especially grapes, and the fruit sellers make them seem even more delicious with promises of  "sweeter than honey".  Exactly such salesman talk enticed my husband to arrive home with a whole box of delicious grapes, and although not exactly sweeter than honey, they were mostly quite nice.  However, every now and then you would bite into a particularly sour one that would make your toenails curl up and clench your jaw muscles in a tetanus grip. 
This made me think about life and what Forest Gump's mother told him, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get". To me life is like a bunch of grapes.  Most days are sweet and juicy, full of lovely fresh goodness.  Unfortunately some days are sour, testing our perseverance, trying our patience.  Some days leave us with a bitter taste in the mouth.  Some days make us want to declare that we never want to eat grapes ever again. 
Yet it is that sweet tasting grape that let us reach for the next one, and the next.  It is exactly that sour one that makes us appreciate the sweet grapes all the more.  It keeps life interesting and exciting.  It keeps us grateful.  Every single grape, sweet or sour, is needed to make that special bottle of wine.  Every experience, every success or disappointment, shapes us into the people we are, giving every one of us our unique character. 
My wish for you today is this - may your grapes never all be sour!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

On the Wings of Dreams

"...once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return...."
-Leonardo Da Vinci

I am a dreamer.  I often catch myself watching the butterflies in summer, flying effortlessly wherever they will, and as I watch they steal my thoughts and take my imagination along on their flight.  My family will often find me like that and with a jolt I will return to the here and now.  More often than not this was the very thing which got me into trouble at school.  Physically I was in the classroom, but my thoughts were miles away soaring on gossamer wings.....
Dreams are beautiful, wonderful, and despite what some people believe, very necessary.  Many extraordinary things have been discovered and invented by dreamers.  However, dreams are like Faith.  Faith is a glorious word, and by itself it is wonderful.  Faith is a gift, but Faith truly begins to mean something when we actively start doing what we confess to believe.  The same with dreams, they only begin to mean something when we start following our dreams. 
Yet, very few of us really, truly have the courage to follow our dreams.  Most of us can't even say our dreams out loud, some amongst us might get as far as writing them down, but only a small percentage will actually grab hold of them and make them real.  Why would that be?  Fear.  A little four letter word.  It should be classified as a swear word it is that ugly a word.  Fear of failure.  Fear that we will be ridiculed.  Fear that others, who are equally afraid to follow their dreams, will point and laugh.  Fear that we may actually succeed and have to face up to the responsibility.
Whatever the reason for our fears, they are dream-stealers.  They condemn us to a flightless life.  They leave behind the bitter taste of "if only".  The best antidote for fear is Faith.  Faith in God, who is the giver of dreams, but also faith in yourself.  If you can dream it, you CAN do it.  It does not matter what the world says about your dreams, what THEIR expectations are of you or your dreams.  It has nothing to do with the world, it has everything to do with you!
Yes, I am a dreamer, and for many years my own fears have kept my dreams in check, but today, right now I AM living my dream, and having the greatest fun while doing it.  It does not matter any longer what the world is saying or even whether the world is taking notice of me and my dreams.  I am soaring on gossamer wings and calling to you to follow me.  If you flutter by here, please feel free to share your dreams with me, I would love to dream them with you and encourage you along your way......