Monday, 25 February 2013

Celebrate it!

Last week I received a call from my daughter at school, very excited!  The teacher had read her essay in class.  I understood her excitement, I was equally happy.  We have always told her that she writes beautifully, but she wanted recognition for it from school.  It made me realise how important it is for all of us to receive recognition for what we do.  Even when we deny its importance, most of us will go to great lenghts to achieve it.
I myself have been a victim of my own need for recognition for many years, but my fear of not getting it have kept me from venturing anywhere with my God given talents, until I came to another realization.  More about this a bit later.
From the minute we are born we are conditioned to receive recognition.  Parents and grandparents ooh and ahhh over every little achievement little Johnny accomplishes.  "He's given his first smile, he's said his first word, his eating solids now, he's sitting by himself, he's crawling", etc., etc."  Nothing wrong with that at all, but it sets the stage for little Johnny looking for, and needing recognition.  Later on we start thinking that we are only successful if enough people ooh and ahhh over us.  We start to measure our self-worth by how many people know about my achievements, how many talk about them, how many "likes" or "tweets" we get in these technological times.  It becomes our new believe system about ourselves.
Today I want to tell you that if this is what you believe, you are wrong.  You are not a writer because millions buy your books, a musician because you have sold-out concerts, a good doctor because you appear on Oprah.  Afterall, Vincent van Gogh, to me one of the world's most brilliant artists, sold only one painting during his lifetime! You are first of all what God says about you, and secondly what you believe about yourself.
For many years, actually most of my life, I have believed very little about myself, I have believed the words important people in my life have said about me, and have burried my (God given) "talents", with the result that I had a gaping hole in my soul.  Then somebody came along and opened that treasure chest, and everything changed.  I came to realise that those "talents ", were more than a word in quote marks.  They were talents, but I also for the first time understood I had no reason to be ashamed of them as they were not mine, but the Lord’s.  He deemed it good to entrust me with them.  Suddenly it all changed.  I had to ask the Lord to forgive me for having been ashamed of them for so many years, hiding them, neclegting them.
If we are waiting for the world to give us recognition, or to invite us to share our talents, we will have a long wait ahead of us, yet the Lord wants us to us our talents, big, small, ordinary or extraordinary to glorify Him in everything.
The end of last year I shared with somebody that I am writing, because I have come to realise that it is a talent which the Lord have given me.  When she heard this she gave me such a dirty look and sneered.  I felt so hurt and ashamed that I almost packed it all in again, in fact I did, but then I realised, that it did not matter what she said, it only matters what the Lord says.  Thus, my friends, I encourage you, whatever it is you are doing, writing, making music, art, sport, academics or whatever, do it with all your heart, because you have been wonderfully made and your talents are needed in God's bigger plan.  Celebrate it! Maybe it is that simple poem, that tiny little painting that leads the way to the Lord, even if it is just for one person.  Not all of us will be great, but we can do little things in a great way!

If you flutterby here, please feel free to leave a comment here, I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Time for Tea

When I think of tea, I automatically think of my sister.  Tea time is not merely the consumption of a beverage, it is an event.  It is the delicate removal of the finest china from the tea cupboard, laying the tea table and brewing the perfect pot of strong, yet delicate tea, and serving it just right, cups pre-heated and the milk poured first.  What accompanies the tea is only slightly less importance for the simple reason that even the most ordinary fare becomes a delicacy when accompanied by my sister's tea. 
However, the most special thing about tea time at my sister's is the feeling of camaraderie, of togetherness, of belonging.  It is like coming home.
Tea time is a time of sharing, laughter, the baring of souls, a time of giving advice, receiving the same and reminiscing.  Tea time is a time of reconnecting.  Often tea time can stretch over several hours.  Sometimes we start teatime off still in our pyjamas, but it is always served in a delicate teapot perfectly prepared.  I love these times, and although I am more of a coffee drinker (the instant type) , I miss my sister's tea for nothing.  It is a tradition.
Today people equate the word "tradition" with "old-fashioned".  Many people sneer at the word "tradition", yet traditions are like the thread that keep the different blocks of a quilt together. They are passed on from one generation to the next, from one family to the next.  When people gather for special events or occassions, they provide common ground and tie people together that might not have seen each other for years.  It gives a sense of unity to families.  It strengthens the bond between the generations.  It gives every individual a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves.

Whatever your tradition is, it is precious, and worth celebrating.  Traditions are what makes families unique.  They are the building blocks of future generations.

What traditions do you have that are special to you and your family?  I hope you would share them here with us.  Be proud of them and tell the world.  Please feel free to comment here, I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Teapot painted by Charri F.

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Bunch of 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.
I 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 I would bite into a particularly sour one that would make my toenails curl up and clench my jaw muscles in a tetanus like 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, every encounter shapes us into the people we are, giving every one of us our unique character.  It colours or lives, teaches us and leads us onto different paths.
My wish for you today is that you will savour every moment of every day, every flavour that comes your way.  May the Lord's blessings be yours this week.

Feel free to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Gift

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 energized 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.

If you flutter by here, please feel free to leave a comment, or to share your thoughts on creativity with us.  Just click on the words "no comment" or "1 Comment" and follow the prompts.  I would LOVE to hear from you.