Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Sweetest Place

Winter is definitely with us.  I feel it in my toes and the tip of my nose.  It is during these cold months that I am filled with such gratitude for the privilege of having a house, a home.  So many people are not so fortunate.  Many find themselves destitute, not knowing where next they will find shelter.
remember many years ago, my youngest asked me "Where do butterflies live, Mommy?"   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 traveler, 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 center of my being, and that center 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.  Their smiles are the wide-open front door welcoming me home.  I am never far from home, because home is where I have my memories. 

If you flutter by here, share your memories of your 'home' with me.  Just click on the words "no comments" or "1 comment " and follow the link.  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Speak to me in Music

My husband has been involved in the music industry for most of his life, in fact, in our home town his name is synonymous with music.  It is woven into the very fiber of his being, and to try to separate him from music would be like asking him to walk without ever lifting up his feet!
Music is a universal language.  It connects people across all races and language barriers.  Music is so old that its origins are impossible to determine, it has been around for far longer than the earliest recorded history of mankind.  I would go as far as to say that it is as old as sound itself.  One just has to listen to the song of the birds to know this statement of mine can't be too far off the mark.  I can only imagine the spectacular sounds that might have accompanied those first moments of creation when "the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors...." (Gen 1:2  from The Living Bible) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxEekUy0Ehk
Every culture known to man has some form of music.  Historians are of the opinion that the earliest musical instrument was the human voice.  Music has the ability to engage all our senses and reaches into our deepest recesses.  Music can both calm us and bring us in touch our emotions. Through music, hymns and praise we get a little closer to the heartbeat of God.  To imagine a world without music is impossible.  I believe that the beauty of music is a gift from God.  Praise Him!

Please tell me what YOUR favourite song is.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Right...? Right!!!

This morning, as my husband and I were getting ready for church, I asked him if he could for one minute imagine what a world would be like where everybody did everything right?  A world where we did everything correct and at the right time and with the right attitude.  It would just be amazing.  No one would hurt anybody, or endanger anybody.  Everything would happen, how and when it is supposed to.  My husband immediately pointed out that what seems right for one person is not right for another person.  A very valid point.  We would indeed all need the same "rule" book and the same value system.  For Christians that would be the Bible, but for Muslims, it would be the Koran. However, let us for a moment imagine my idyllic world.  A world where we all have the same set of rules and the same set of values.  It would indeed be close to heavenly.  We would respect and love each other.  We would be kind and considerate.  We would be punctual, hard-working and loyal.  We would become people of the highest integrity.  Life would be perfect!  But, alas, it is naive to hope for a world like that!  It is close to impossible to change the world, and the way the world thinks.  
However, does that mean we should give up on the idea?  I think not.  I can make a choice that I would strive to live like that. To DO the right thing as far as it is within my ability to do.  I wrote the word "do" in capitals, because it is easy to think about doing the right thing, but it is far more difficult to actually DO the right thing.  It means to make an actual effort to evaluate my actions, to weigh them against the rules set out in my chosen rule book - The Bible - before I go over into action.  It would also mean that I have to do the right thing EVERY day, day after day.  With the Bible as my ruler, I have to measure each decision against it, and pull my actions into line with it.  When my first reaction is to respond with impatience, I have to practise patience instead, and instead of anger I must choose tolerance and love.  I will have to start living consciously instead of acting in line with my inherent nature.  It will take continued effort from my side to make these changes in my life, but the one way to change the world is, to quote Ghandi, to "be the difference we want to see in the world".  The good news is that the more we DO this, the easier it will become, and before long it will be part of our normal behaviour.  
One step, one person, one day at a time.  The same way to eat an elephant is the same way we can change the world.  It, however, all starts with ME.  
How about you?

Friday, 26 June 2015


Have you noticed how people are so quick to complain?  Within five minutes of starting a conversation with somebody, they would start complaining.  From the weather to the government and on to the latest disaster to strike the world. The saying goes, "misery loves company", therefore, soon, everyone within earshot of the conversation is ready to give their gloomy take on life and its troubles too.  It is sad that we are so ready to see the dark side of every situation.  It is like we are living in a glass bubble of despair and we have a distorted view of the world.  We are so wrapped up in negativity that we cannot see the rainbow, the beauty in a smile and the sheer wonder of just being able to breathe.  We are trapped in our own bleak perception of life.  The result of this is that we cannot break free or move forward, because this outlook drains us of our energy and the will to move on.  It not only affects us, but it also influences other people around us.  It becomes a black hole ready to devour us all.  The good news is that we can change this behaviour.  All it takes is to change our point of view.  We have to take our eyes off the problems and the circumstances surrounding us and focus it on our blessings, our everyday little joys and the beauty around us just waiting to be discovered.  When we raise our eyes beyond the mundane, our spirits are raised up too.  We are invigorated by happiness and hope.  Our lungs fill with praise and our eyes come alive with joy.  When we fill our lives with positivity, we become infectious with happiness.  The ripple effect of it touches everyone we come into contact with.  Then it is easy to find a reason to be thankful and it does not matter whether the glass is half full or half empty.  When we look for reasons to be happy we are sure to find it.  Happiness is not something elusive or unobtainable, it is also not dependent on external factors, it comes from within us.  Raise up your eyes, spread your wings and rejoice!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Do it Anyway

It is so interesting how most people have been brought up to be considerate of other people.  Most of us will treat others politely.  We want to be kind and we want to be liked by people.  Yet there are those who do not care about being nice.  They are ready to find fault and complain, they want to say what they want to say, where they want and to whom they want to say it.  They do not care about the effect it has on other people.  Sometimes the effect they have on people could be so severe that the receiver of the words or criticism might feel despondent or feel like giving up on their plan or idea.  It is very difficult for most of us not to be bothered by such negativity, but I would like to share this prayer by Mother Theresa with you and say:  Don't pay attention to others' opinion of you, never give up on your dreams and stay true to who you are!

 This version was found written on the wall in Mother Teresa's home for children in Calcutta and is said to have been written by her.  There are other versions of this prayer, but this is the version that has been credited to Mother Teresa.

              People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
         Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
         In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

I would love to hear from you.
Be blessed.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Wag your Body!!!

What a perfect Monday it is!  I have a friend who finds my Monday happiness quite disturbing, saying that I am messing with Monday's reputation.  Yet, I can't help myself, I love new beginnings and that is what Monday's always symbolize, a brand new fresh and promising day, the portal to a promising week.
Going for an early morning run today, I noticed the people and children on their way to work and school wearing their Monday looks.  What struck me was the total absence of happiness on their faces.  If I were to judge what their weekend  was like by looking at their faces, my guess would be that they must all have had dreadful weekends, their Saturdays and Sundays must have been filled with misery.
All the way back home, as I huffed and puffed, I pondered this.  It is as if we are suffering from a shortage of Happiness.  We are so overwhelmed by the crime and corruption stories we are bombarded with on a daily basis that happiness is steadily being eroded from our lives.  We are weighed down by worry, fear and the anticipation of a bleak future.  It is so sad that we have lost our natural ability to smile, to smile for no outward reason, but just for being happy within our souls.
Maybe it is time that we take a lesson from little children and dogs.  They have this wonderful gift.  They can smile (wag their tails) at the slightest provocation.  They love being happy.  Just take some time to watch a little child at play.  They take such delight in everything around them.  They marvel at the dust motes tumbling in the sunlight and chuckle with delight at the funny faces we pull.  At the slightest movement we make, our dogs start wagging their tales and jump up excitedly, expecting a treat, a loving pat or an afternoon walk.  No matter how often they get disappointed, they still jump up every time with the same excitement and happy expectations.  Their furry bodies ooze out happiness.  They love us unconditionally and they are ready to bounce and jump with all the exuberance of the whole universe.  They wag their tails when we leave, because they believe we will return, and when we return they celebrate our arrival with wild tail-wagging excitement, whether we have been away for five minutes or a month.  
Our furry friends and little children have one thing in common apart from their inherent happiness - they live in this moment.  They do not worry about tomorrow.  This moment, perfect, new and full of wonderful possibilities, is enough for them, and they absorb every bit of joy from it.  They trust in the moment and by default they also trust in tomorrow.  They believe their parents and their masters will take care of them.  They do not live in fear, they do not hold grudges and they do not worry.  Every new moment is another opportunity to laugh, to discover, and maybe get a treat.  They expect good to be coming their way and they look for it everywhere.
Maybe you read this and sneer at my simplistic view, maybe you think that it is easy for me to say, I have no idea what is happening in your life, I do not stand in your shoes.  I have to admit you are right, but I also know that when we change our focus and look for reasons to be happy, we wil find plenty still to make us smile.  Last week I heard these words over the radio (I do not know who said it, but my husband and I immediately started implementing it in our lives) :

"Be insanely happy every time somebody whom we love walks through the door!"
Needless to say, we are laughing a lot.

Enjoy your Monday, enjoy this moment.  Embrace it with all your might, this is the moment you have!!!
Be blessed.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Sowing in the Morning

We are all familiar with the sight of an old man standing at a traffic light, unshaven, wearing tattered clothing and holding up a sign that reads: "No Job, No Food. Please help."  We see it so often that many people do not even take notice of him anymore.  Some people are even angered by the sight of just another beggar.  Most of us feel guilty and awkward, and, trying to avoid the hopeful eyes looking at us, we pretend to look for something in the ashtray of our car or suddenly paying close attention to what our fellow passengers are saying.  Anything to keep us from making eye contact with the sad reality of today's life.  

Whether we have become immune to the plight of our fellow human beings, or whether we get angry at them or try to ignore them, the truth is that most of us are afraid.  We are afraid of getting involved with them, we are afraid of caring too much.  We are scared of what it might ask from our comfortable lives if we were to get involved.

You see, we want to be in control and we fear to be taken for a ride, to be made fools of or to be conned.  What if this beggar is just plain too lazy to work, or a drunk, and he is just going to use my hard earned cash to buy himself another drink?  We want to have a say what he does with our silver, once we drive off.
We want a guarantee that our handouts will make a real difference.  Or is that too, just an excuse so that we can sleep easier in our cozy beds tonight?

We live in a needy world.  All around us there are people in dire need of something.  Homeless and destitute families, children abandoned and unloved, animals dropped at overflowing animal shelters and the elderly left alone and confused at old age homes.  We hear about it, read about it and sometimes come face to face with it, but seldom do we reach out and help.  We are too afraid of what it will cost us, not just in money.  We don't help the stray that enters our yard, the sight of his matted hair disgusts us. We don't visit the old and frail, because we are embarrassed at having to laugh at the same old story, or bored of looking through the same album of discoloured photographs of people I don't know.  We don't want to foster a child because we read of people being murdered in their beds by their adopted children. We don't want to go out and testify the world, spreading the Gospel, afraid to be met with ridicule or contempt.  We fear rejection of our faith.  It is so much easier to sit at home and read our Bible and witness to fellow believers than what it is to take the amazing message of Jesus to people who may or may not accept it..
We are afraid to take a chance on people, the risks seem just too great.  We cannot predict success or failure, so we rather turn away and let it become somebody else's problem.

It makes me thankful for farmers.  I am of the opinion that farmers understand the concept of faith.  Despite all the modern technology and scientific advances that have been made, farmers still do not have an absolute guarantee that their crops will be a success or that the return on their livestock will be worth the time and money they have invested.  Yet, still they plough and plant.  They buy piglets, lambs and chicks all because they have faith and expectations of good.  They give meaning to the saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Surely the people around us are worth more than a packet of seeds or a herd of cattle?  After all, is the price of kindness really too great?  Can we truly not afford to invest a bit of time or to part with a few cents that can hardly buy a loaf of bread?

In Ecclesiastes 11:6 I read this:

"In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good."

Let us step out of our comfort zone and sow the seed of love and caring.  We are not responsible for its growth or its success, we just have to sow the seed...

Friday, 5 June 2015

Just Breathe...

At this moment in our lives, my husband and I have a few decisions, a few choices,  that have to be made.  There is no escaping them.  To me they feel absolutely overwhelming.  It is like a mountain ahead of me.  Whichever decision we make will have a major impact on our lives.  Even not making a decision will have a serious effect on our future.  What to do?
It makes me think of Peter, the disciple of Jesus.  There he was in the boat.  Then he saw Jesus walking on the water.  Now I ask myself - why on earth did he want to get out of the boat?  I read that there was a strong wind and they were battling to row the boat.  The disciples felt anxious, scared that the man coming towards them on the water might be a ghost.  I like to think that Peter got out of the boat, not only to have proof that it was indeed the Lord, but also to be close to him, knowing that with the Lord he would be safe from the storm.  Peter is brave, he takes the first step, he gets out of the boat.  I doubt if I would have been so brave.  Amazingly, Peter walks on the water!  However, soon Peter takes his eyes off the Lord and focuses on the wind instead, and he becomes afraid.  Peter starts to doubt.
It sounds so familiar.  Often I am just like Peter.  I trust the Lord and I know that I am safe with him, yet when I have to step out of the boat I am hesitant.  I am afraid.  That first step out of the boat is so difficult, yet it is that step that takes us from relying on ourselves and our own abilities to putting our faith in the Lord.  We have to leave the boat behind to experience new possibilities, however, we can only do this if we keep our eyes focused on the Lord.  Despite the wind blowing we must keep our eyes on Jesus one step at a time.
My husband makes it look so easy.  He prays about it, waits for the word of the Lord and then has peace with that decision.  I agonize over it, reason about it this way and that, try to find a different way, make plans, just to change my mind again and again.  In the mean time my husband just sits back, and relaxes, just knowing, believing in the word of the Lord.  He is happily at peace.
Then last week I found this quote:
Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess.  Just breathe.  And have faith that everything will work out for the best. - Unknown
So every time I felt that I was getting anxious, I would recite this to myself and breathe.  I left it with the Lord, and low and behold, yesterday the Lord revealed to us, that the decision we have made was indeed blessed by Him.  I feel humbled by his infinite wisdom.  All praise indeed goes to the Lord.

Don't be afraid.  Step out onto the water and breathe...

Monday, 1 June 2015

A Peace of Winter

Today is officially the first day of Winter, yet here in our corner of the Southern hemisphere, Winter has arrived with a gentle breath and a mild touch and the sky is an almost baby blue.  Out here in the suburb a peaceful quiet has settled on the day.

Thinking about this word "peace", it reminds me about the scripture I read this morning - Judges 6.  It is in this piece that we find one of the Lord's many names - Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of Peace.  In the world we live in today, peace is a very scarce commodity.  We just have to read a newspaper, or switch on the radio or television to find that this statement is put quite mildly.  Many people talk about peace, statesmen make elaborate plans to try to achieve it, the oppressed pray for it, beauty queens promote it with carefully groomed smiles, yet it seems unattainable.  This void of peace is not something new, it is an ancient condition.  War and strife have been around for as long as the human race has been around, and our search for peace just as long.

Yet peace, despite its aloofness, is not so far out of our reach as we might believe.  It is within our reach, in fact, it is quite close by.  The peace I am talking about is not the magical version the world is constantly hoping for, where, with the signing of a piece of paper, the parties involved destroy their arms, hug each other and are now all buddy-buddy, no, the peace I am talking about is beyond this superficial and temporary solution.

It is the peace that can only be found in God, Jehovah Shalom.  He alone is the source of peace.  When we stand in a relationship with the Lord, we enter into his peace.  In his presence we find stillness, and tranquillity.  In Malachi 2:5 we find this verse:

 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace , whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee". 

 When we put our trust in the Lord, He quiets our minds and the turmoil we so often have within.  To have such peace is a blessing that fills us with a sence of wholeness and a feeling of security.  It is a peace that the world can simply not comprehend.  When we are filled with the peace of the Lord, we strive to live at peace with others, we are quick to forgive and we are governed by the Spirit of the Lord within us. We quietly await his directions.  However, many of us still miss out on this peace, because we find it difficult to trust the Lord wholeheartedly.  To put our trust completely in God, we need to relinquish control and that is what often scares us.  Why do we have this fear?  Often we fear something or someone because we are not familiar with it, we do not know the person or we are unsure about their bonafides.  The Lord, however, wants us to know Him, he wants to have a relationship with us.  He wants to fill our lives with his peace.  To obtain this peace it is necessary for us to let go and to allow God to be in control, to submit to Him all my fears and worries.

May this new season be filled with warmth and peace.