The Power of Influence

 

wind in trees

Now Influence is an interesting thing.
Perhaps we should ask the Scientists to explain it more readily for they would surely understand it better, even give an equation or formula to help us recognise its force ! But to a layman’s eye, we can only but muse and observe, and venture to write about its power.

Influence is invisible, but to the observers, its effect is at times a visible thing.  Just think of the wind.  You cannot see it, but you can see its effects on trees and clouds.

There is also, Influence of a different kind.
Outside one of our local suburban grocery stores they had put up a bright stand with a canopy, to sell pancakes and doughnuts.  I love pancakes.  On this particular autumn afternoon I decided to buy pancakes to take home to my family.  I placed my order and sat down on a bench to wait.  Along came a man and his daughter and bought doughnuts.   “Mmmm,”  he said, and I could almost hear his lips smacking as he took his second bite “they’re still warm”.   Well, I am going to buy pancakes, not doughnuts !  As I went forward to collect my pancakes I heard myself say, “and I’ll take three doughnuts too”.    doughnuts.jpg

Such is the power of invisible Influence, seducing my taste buds
and will power.

Let me go more regional.
I have a friend who lives up-country in the heart of South Africa, where the winters get really cold, with frosty winds that cut across anything warm.    She is a  passionate woman and is always crocheting blankets for community projects.
This winter Ronelle and her sister Dalene have embarked on  a campaign by making up community bags filled with necessities to distribute to those in service of others.  They have  influenced other knitting friends to help in their projects, and so their efforts have been able to extend and multiply.

R's Project bags
Community Bags ready for delivery.

The need is great.  She tells me that two Bloemfontein State hospitals frequently request blankets for the premature babies that are born there.  These young mommies, often unmarried women from the poor communities have nothing as they come in to deliver their babies.    These crocheted blankets provide for the babies to be wrapped up in kindness, as they go out.

R's blankets
A show of Blankets for Premature Babies

Then there is her outreach project to ten guys who go through garbage bins to collect anything recyclable, which they resell.   All this to create a job for themselves, to alleviate their poverty, and sustain their lives with a miniscule income.  They too receive a parcel of goodies from her project.
Furthermore, one of the Churches in Bloem have an outreach project to feed needy children with soup once a week.  This projects needs faithful volunteers who gather, cut, slice dice and make up the soup.   Ronelle has made up  parcels for these eight ladies who are instrumental in feeding 1500 children every week !

Ronelle is a community observer and worker at heart.    Not only does she influence and encourage others to participate in her community projects,  she acknowledges those volunteers who serve others,  observe those who alleviate their own poverty by standing up and doing something for themselves.
I would say that Ronelle is a strong Influence in her region.
You could say that the power of influence equals the power of one !   It takes just one person to make a difference in someone else’s world.

Chasing Influence wider, allow me to go global.
Mr Trump of the United States of America and Mr Kim Jong Un of North Korea have agreed, then disagreed,  and maybe will agree again,  that the summit planned to neutralise the use of the missile power-play of the North Koreans should go ahead and be resolved.     What hangs in the balance is the possible aversion of a global nuclear war !  Mr Moon of China has been very influential in the persuasion of Mr Kim to not only negotiate with the Americans,  but perhaps be a catalyst in freeing his very own people from the terror oppression of his former generation – for seemingly it was a reign of terror that put dread and fear in the hearts of the North Korean people, that have held them down like dead men standing !
Of course there are many working behind the scenes.  A lot of influencing, a lot of negotiating for the benefit for all the countries concerned – but that is just politics, and politics is all about power and influence !
The outcome of these talks can be disastrous for a world tottering on the brink of self-destruction, but if positive influence and common sense, and good sound negotiation, can prevail the outcomes will be so much more meaningful to a world wanting to grow and to be free, in trade and harmony and peace.

But Influence is not only the prerogative of politicians and the rich, it goes way beyond our world. Look at a night sky full of sparkling stars.  Gasp at the orbits of the planets !  See the influence of our moon on the ocean’s high and low tides.   Remember Newton’s apple ? – and wonder at gravity.    Gravity, now there is a powerful Influence of note, whose mystery still needs to be told.    There is Influence everywhere !

Stars in orbit

 

But of all the areas of Influence, the pinnacle, to my mind, is personal Influence.
Take Jabez for instance.  We do not know much about him.    He may have been a warrior king or a farmer.     We do not know.  What we do know is that he was an honourable man,  perhaps even a sensitive man, for he prayed the following prayer

…… Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”    So God granted him what he requested. 
He’s story is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10  in the Bible.   To this very generation many, including me, often pray the Prayer of Jabez.   How is that for Influence down the ages !

Having said all that, it must be noted that the power of Influence, although invisible is very important.   For that reason I must, more often than not, ask myself – who is influencing me ?  And even more astutely – who am I influencing  ?

We are not merely an entity of being but a sphere of influence too, whether positive or negative, good or bad.     And may we have the wisdom to know, and the courage to make, big or small,  an influential difference in our world.

melting-candle-clipart-candle-flame-1

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Way of Love

 

Love suffers long
and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil,
does not rejoice in iniquity,
but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails……

  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

     Red rose

The Long Road to Friendship

 

Best_Real_World_Full_HD

“I forgot to buy water to take for the long road.”   “What long road?” my husband asked.
“I am going to meet with my friend who is holidaying at Ballito.”     Just short of rolling his eyes he said with a sort of sniff   “that’s not a long road, it’s a thirty minute drive !”  Well, I hadn’t left the confines of the busy city for a while, so it seemed to me, that it was going to be a long road ahead.

It was a sunny day and a pleasant ride, not long at all, and before I knew it I was at her gate.  The joy of seeing a familiar friend is so delightful.  We fell into chatty conversation that filled a four-hour visit.

cups of tea

We had crackers and cheese with our tea, as we did the catch-up on current events,  the state of the country, the state of the Church, engaging on doctrine, remembering co-hearts from our former circles, sharing  some family news, and shed a tear or two on little heartaches we had known.   Tears in friendship are good.  They make us real, and take the edge off being the super-women we sometimes need to be to those around us.
That is what a friendship can look like.  It’s a safe space for sharing, a space that is conducive for necessary and honest conversations, that are undemanding, neutral and
comfortable.  A lot of talking, but a lot of listening too.

But to get to a real friendship will require we take the long road.
Real friendships are not instant, they take time to form, time to be distant, time to be tested and moulded into whatever shape they will eventually become.    Friendships can be fragile things, and can break at any time along the way.   Real friendships need to be cherished and nurtured and watered to grow.

Oak sapling
As woman we thrive on friendships.  Probably because of the release of the feel good hormone called oxytocin in our system.    Or, more than likely at the core we are talkers and need listeners.   Or, perhaps we meet each other more easily at the emotional level.  Women understand “heart-talk” – women understand women.    Rare is the man who can say that he understands a woman.  Probably it should be so, for each in his or her own role, compliment each other.  Like a lock and a key – different, yet fulfil the purpose they are designed for – effective combination that unlocks potential.
And beautiful,  beautiful is the soul-friendship of a husband and wife team.

two-little-boys-walking-ahnd-in-hand.jpg

There are many types of friendships.   The “bromance”,  is a compatibility of personality that can grow into lasting friendships.    Men friendships have a real strength about them, it makes the world a better and safer place.
Of course it would also take time for these friendships to grow.  Men are more cautious, because men understand men, and their protective and productive natures allow them to scan for the hidden agenda, the intruder, and for the thief.  They are the providers and protectors of their domains their families and their homes.  And will vehemently guard them, regardless of friendship.

Friendships are not just for woman and in essence are built up on good honest relationships.
Are good personal relationships the open secret of happiness ?  That may well be true.
Friendships at best are reciprocal, a give-and-take.   Often the highway of friendship will become a dead-end street when one just gives, and the other just takes.  That is what you find out on the crowded highway called Life.

Friendships require mutual understanding, with mutual deposits and withdrawals into each others lives.  Like a banking system, only with emotions, and feelings.
To build up a good balance  – make big deposits often, keep the withdrawals small, with no obligations.
If we do this, not only will our relationships grow,  but our finances too!

Good friendships are a gift,  a rare find.  It takes time to grow friendships, and that is why the road to real friendship is a long one, travelled lightly, with plenty of sunny  spaces in between.   And don’t forget to take a water bottle !

The friendship road is a road worth taking, a road to travel well, and along the way, with bumps and bends and all,  will make of us better people.  Let us celebrate our friendships.

A friend loves at all times…….  Proverbs 17:17

three butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road of Rejection

 

Road

Well I have finally arrived on the road of rejection.  And I am delighted !

I have always written things down. I have written tons of journals on my thoughts and aspirations.  Writing is my go-to-place for clarity and direction.  At first it was just little Scriptures and words of wisdom that I gleaned from the Bible.  Words that became instructions on life, precepts and concepts, and building blocks for thoughts, belief and values – constructs of my mind for moral,  social, economic and environmental issues.  It is amazing the influence it has had my mind, and on my life.  And for that, I am so grateful.

I have tried to write fiction, and failed dismally !   I have tried to write poetry, and did not even make the water’s edge, never mind plunge the depths that poetry may require.  Maybe a report here or there flickered on a path called journalism – I would have liked to pursue, but never did.  But words and thoughts and writings, particularly other people’s writings,  always had a special place in my life.   I must just be a Word person.

Words are immensely powerful.  Someone once said  they are carriers of  emotions, of faith, hope, of love  –  and the stirrer of lies, fear, hate and wars !   They are containers for knowledge and education. They are the record keepers of history.   They express the revelations of science.  Words communicate, that is simply what they do.  Where, indeed would we be without words?   We would be in the dark, with no candle !

WordPress,  and the world of blogging has been a delight for me.  I get to read and I get to write.   It is such an interesting place, this virtual space of words, where we get to embed our personalities  in our writing, and just maybe someone reads us, once in a while. And even better, makes a comment or two to say that they passed by this way.
Blogging has a way of growing you.   I started blogging to keep my dream alive.   I once read somewhere that,  writing will bring outside what is one the inside.   I found that this is true, and its essential for growth.  It is a getting to know yourself, a learning curve of life.
I have deviated from the original purpose of my blog.  Now I write about all things that interest me.   I write longer blogs.  I have found pictures help dull posts.
I have even made a submission to a magazine calling for a writing on a certain subject – and been rejected !!    I am delighted, because I recall the words of another up and coming author who said :  you have to be willing to be rejected at least fifty times, before you finally get published.  Forty nine to go –  I am on my way !!

I have yet to find my genre of writing.  Perhaps it is the essay, perhaps I will be an essayist one day –  who knows ?  But the pinnacle for me would be to write and publish a book.   I am a wannabe writer who wants to become a published author !   You gotta have dreams man !!
It was for this reason that I attended a  Writer’s summit, where they kindly and gently laid out the path on how to become published.  It’s quite simple : Think, Write and Publish !
Think,  Write,  Edit,  Design a layout and  cover for the book,  get an ISBN number, the Printing, and the Distribution.
Not to mention the royalties you get from each book sold, that is if you sell any at all !

Of course there is much more to this simple formula.  It is finding the avenues you have to follow,  the process is difficult.  But one thing is sure, I will have to travel on the road of rejection before I can conquer the mountain of being published.
I was secretly encouraged by a comment I made to a lady who was sitting next to me at the summit.   She told me that she had written three children’s book, her husband was an editor, but she has never published her books.  I quite cheekily said  “why would you write a book and not publish it ?”  –  words that I keep in my head, to keep me writing my book !
I know my journey with words may take forever, but each rejected submission I get, will bring me a little closer to my aspiration.   The rejection road may be long and lonely, but I am sure the scenery along the way will be splendid !

  The grass withers and the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8

light peach blooms

Words to Durban

Hello Durban,

Sometimes it takes words of affirmation to create an atmosphere for going from good to great.  You may be the Cinderella of all the cities in South Africa, but you have the power of attraction for those who need time off from the merry-go-round of life.
But you are more than that.   You are a kaleidoscope of hope, of contrasts and diversity, set in a paradise of green.

Durban you are a port on the East Coast of Africa.

Durban Port
Ships from afar, carriers of merchandise, wait their turn to enter your port, to foster the economy of the South.  And hope does not go unnoticed as the number of these ships have increased dramatically over the years – reminding us that indeed you are
‘a market place for nations’.

Container ship

A  city of lay-back laziness that can trap the diligent and industrious person with a lethargy brought on by the gentle tropical climes of a warm ocean current.   “Tomorrow is another day” well may be the creed you live by – and yet !  The steady onward everyday flow of the inevitable, continues to urge you to perform your duties with diligence.  Your  history is rich, your position is well place for the growth of a new emerging world on the African continent.
Your Oil Refineries are strategic,  as are your marketable industries on the south side of your city.    The southbound road takes your travellers back on a memory road, to old favourite holiday resorts, that have filled up many family  photo albums with sweet memories of lazy sun-filled bucket and spade holidays.

images (3)

 

download (1)

Quite uniquely, in the heart of your city, are the Durban Botanical Gardens.   Noticed, apart from its magnificence,  is the peace that lingers there.  Now if ever the Good Lord would want a cathedral to live in, it would surely be in this majestic cathedral of green  –  a garden with its huge trees that were planted some 300 years ago.  It is one of Africa’s oldest botanical gardens, and I suspect by far the best on the continent.

Your inner city now scarcely reflects the former heyday of your holidaymakers’ favourite destination.  It has become crowded and derelict, as most inner cities are, with the influx of those desperate for employment and cheap accommodation.   Yet, two or three blocks up, on your sea-side,  are found well-kept paved promenades.  Walkways with tall hotels, all with sea-views, that tell a different story of who you were, and now want to become.

A city caught with one foot in a developed world, the other foot still entangled in poverty.   And indeed is this not the state of any modern city in the world of today ?   A world on a runaway train toward globalisation no matter the cost – for there is always a cost, there is always a price to pay for progress and development !

colonial house
Now going northward  – the touch of your colonial history is still markedly seen in your suburban landscape of the yesterday-wealth. Grand homes in beautiful tree-lined streets with lush green gardens, steeped in your recent history of refined living. Planted and painted into a part of the master portrait of South Africa’s history of diversity. Durban you are a world showcase for diversity.

But time moves on.
And a new era, for some, has arrived.   A time of unprecedented sophisticated living, as seen in the great shopping mall of Gateway Theatre of Shopping, some say the largest in the southern hemisphere, and the brand new developments of the Pearl towers for renowned accommodation.

The Pearls

Umhlanga Rocks reveals your ability to transform yourself, yet again, into an    international  tourist destination with its new modern high-rise Pearl towers and hotels, –  contrasted by the ever loved ‘little village’ where  the locals still meet and converse over a pint of brew.

Light house

Walebone Pier

A promenade of note with its iconic Whalebones Pier that enables one to walk on water!    The recognised landmark of  Umhlanga Rocks, the red and white light-house, a beacon of light,  near the world-famous Oyster Box Hotel.  No expense is spared, nothing but the best is offered to presidents and kings, and the visitors of Europe and the Elsewheres of the world.

Still northward bound on route to the new King Shaka International Airport., the outskirts of the city give a show of brilliant green that is seen in the waving sugar cane fields, and the rolling hills that call out ‘ go the distance !’
sugar cane

Beautiful are the green hills of Kwa Zulu Natal – the green Province with its emerald-green beauty and  flowing hills, a setting fit for prosperity – equally so for the penny and for the soul.

Green Emerald

Going further north through the sugar cane fields,  the main road will bring us to the mushrooming town of Ballito Bay, one of South Africa’s fastest growing modern real estate developments.

But if we are astute we will notice the road signs that take us off the main highway to settlements and townships that do not enjoy an acclaim to wealth.

Kids at Shacks

And if we travel far enough we may encounter the rural folk of another world.  A folk that have not yet made the leap from poverty to ‘progress’ –  but have so much to offer with their rich cultural heritage.

Rural Hills
The very wide gap from the arrogant and unsaturated rich in their affluent towers and malls to the simplistic living of the rural inhabitants is a screaming silent reality.                                                                                         Rural KZN Acat.jpg

Acat veggie growing

Inequality is a stamp on all our record sheets.
And it is in this ever-widening gap that a paradigm shift  needs to occur, a miracle needs to happen, so that you can go from good to great.   Pay attention also to the needs of the poorest of the poor, so that they can rise up and experience a kind of progress too.

 Herein lies your miracle,  bridging the gap between two worlds,  if not three,  – the haves, the have-nots, and the have-yachts !

Sailing-Yacht

Nevertheless all worlds can offer their own version and contribution toward  ‘being rich’  –  whatever that may mean,  each in their own way.  For sometimes the rich are not rich, and the poor are not poor.  Sometimes the ‘developed world’  has much to learn about being  “civilised”,  the knowing of   ‘Ubuntu’  –  respect – simple courtesy, simple humanity !   Someone once said, ‘ courtesy is the first rung on the ladder toward civilisation ‘  – something the 4×4  riders, taxi drivers and road-ragers need to know and understand !

As a City you have kept up with your own transformation – indeed you have to do so, for your saving grace is in the lucrative revenue that lies in the holiday and tourist trade,  robust business and employment, and of course the fine revenues from the Ports and Customs.

But most noteworthy of all are your peoples – a vast array of cultures  within your social perimeters,  which is  the very fabric of your rich design,  all gems in the crown of your disposition.
Zulu culture

The Zulu people, with their ancestral and stout warrior history with colourful beads that tell their stories;

Talana-Festival-Dundee-Zululand-KZN-5

The rowdy yet gentle influence of the British, intertwined into your history.

Indian sari

 

 

Bunny chow

 

 

 

 

 

The colourful vibrancy of the Indian culture, with their special cuisine of aromatic spices, curries and  of course the famous Durban Bunny Chow.

KZN politics

The African People with their new-found vehement political clamour, coming to terms with power, and what that truly means, moulding the nation for tomorrow.

Indeed a beautiful mosaic of cultures, living side by side by the sea, in peace and harmony.    Amazing microscopic worlds within a world, called Durban.

SA's sports people.jpg

Your people and your children are easy, fun-loving, and sunshine kids – and daring too.  Totally Sports obsessed, with any reason to walk, run, ride, swim, surf or canoe an epic event –  a case in point the Comrades Marathon.  A marathon of well over 90 kilometres between  Durban and the hilly countryside of Pietermaritzburg.  Who thinks out such things !!?

SkyCar_2
Sky Car at the Moses Mabhida 
Moses Madheba Stadium
Moses Mabhida Stadium

Moses Stadium

Great are your vistas for sports, but more so are your spectacular views of land and seascapes that lend wings to those who need to be lifted higher.

Durban, you are like a brilliant green emerald gem,  emeraldan often overlooked gem, among the chief cities of South Africa.   Slowly going about your daily business of business, culture and sport, with the determined purpose of welcoming your visitors from afar with warmth and hospitality.  Hospitality that inborn trait you carry off so well.

No better place to see, no better place to be other than in  “Durbs by the Sea”  as our upcountry  folk would say, when they pack for their annual holiday to crowd out your beaches with abandoned glee.

Durban visitors

 

Big boat.jpg

Durban, as the sunshine state of South Africa, you should surely be on the ‘must see list’ of the global community.  You may take your place with pride, among the ranks of other destinations who strive for the recognition of  ‘most beautiful place in the world ‘  – nonetheless contrasted by ‘new worlds’ waiting to be born into prosperity.

When your visitors step into this green paradise, they will surely hear the wind and the waves softly whisper :  “You are welcome here”.

Go Durban !green-emeralds stones

 

 

Drawing the line.

Some say that eight is the number that signifies new beginnings ?
This might be true for me too, as there is an eight in 2018, and I have drawn the line on being wasteful with my time. Living in the slow lane can cause one to stagnate, and that is not a good or acceptable thing, when life is so full of wonderful sights and sounds and beauty all around, waiting to be captured and appreciated in one form or another.

So I wrote myself in for a few drawing classes. I think I’ve always had a slight bent toward art, and an inkling to want to paint or draw, but knew that would require more talent than I had.

When I met up with June Dovey, who is a fine-art artist, and a teacher of immense patience, she agreed to teach me to draw, and said “if you can draw you can paint. ”   And so began my classes on tones, shapes, forms  and shading with portraiture and perspective to follow later – the foundational basis of drawing, for art,  – and for getting to know oneself a little better.

Shapes and Formss

It takes a large smidgen of courage to step into the unknown.  All sorts of hidden emotions, lying dormant, began to rise up and whisper in my head. There was Self Doubt, an old familiar voice spoke softly ” You, draw ! – you don’t have the talent !” What if its wrong ? Rejection put in its penny’s worth with, “what if its not perfect?” and “it won’t be good enough, these people are real artists.”

“What are you doing here ?” I asked myself, more than one time.

I did not know that a blank sheet of paper could be so intimidating. “It’s just a piece of paper” my teacher would say over and over.

Then I discovered the smidgen of courage I needed to take up the challenge and began to draw the lion !

My first drawings were skew and misshapen, and looked like they had been drawn by an arthritic hand, but my dear teacher would just say  “keep going.”  I did and things got better.

New beginnings,  and a new world began to emerge for me. I began to “see”  simple everyday things, which have always been there, but now I see them in shapes,  and forms with shadings.  And if I apply shading to my drawings they “pop” into reality, and become dimensional. Its amazing! Light and shade are imperative to drawing.  And without shading all is only one dimension.  Light, dark and shading bring dimension, and depth to pictures. I know everyone knows that, but it was new to me, especially as I saw it come alive  before my own eyes !

And isn’t life itself like that, for without light there is no shadow or shade, all would be darkness. And without an object, there would be no witness to light !!  Here indeed is serious food for thought. Read more here.

The class on portraiture was a difficult one for me.  It needs a lot of practise.  But what I discovered was the eyelid !!   I’ve never noticed eyelids before, and we all have them. When I now look at people I see their eyelids.   Even the presenters on the TV screen, I look for and see eyelids !

Drawing helps you see things, you have seen before, but haven’t “seen” them into existence ! – if you know what I mean ?

Its been a wonderful few weeks of drawing, and I hope to continue to learn more, when the classes resume.

Just to show off some of my new-found “talent” I’m posting a few drawings.  Now don’t be to critical, its a new beginning for me.  I do not have much talent, but what I have has been taught to me, by a good and lovely teacher, who loves art.

I  took great comfort in a quote I came across from Emilie Lee, a seasoned artist who said this to the question asked :

What is the most overrated virtue bestowed on art ?

“I think the idea of talent is so misunderstood.  I don’t even use the word.   Artistic skill comes from many years of practise, commitment and hard work.   The way we talk about talent among artists is so unproductive.   I often meet people who tell me  ” I have zero artistic talent”  and I think that is a self-defeating statement !   I think they just haven’t had the right teacher come along.

My arum lillies

My Arum Lilly.  One of the initial attempts, and starting to dabble with colour.

Lion drawing

I have named my first lion-drawing Courage.  It took courage for me to draw this one. Not half as nice as the photograph I referenced,  but you can see its a lion, yes?

Sugar Bird

 The sugar bird and Strelitzia turned out to be a nice surprise.

I love colour, and discovered water-colour pencils !!   What a find.      colored pencils cluster

I drew the line at stale, stagnate and same-old-same-old, made a    small new beginning and discovered the world of drawing, of paper and pencils, of shape, form, light and shadows – and if you add a splash of colour, the pictures reverberate with vibrancy.

Drawing has taught me what could be a life lesson too – always keep your pencil sharp !!

Pencil

Fear Fear Fear

Crossing over from fear to joy – a beautiful poem !

SoulWrite Empire's Blog

Hello Fear,
Before you sit down, theres something I need to explain.
I should tell you things have changed.
See Im tired of being broken hearted,
So I made a list and your on it.All of my hopes and my dreams that you stole from me, I want those back, before you leave.
You can have your guilt, shame and depression-
but I’ll keep my joy.

Hello Fear,
take a good look at these tears, cause soon they wont fall anymore.
Im no longer afraid, Im better this way.
Oh and one more thing before you leave.
Never again will I love you; my heart refuses to be your friend. So apart from you is where I belong.
Its not me, its you.

Hello Joy,
Its so good to see your face. Im sorry I forgot what your touch feels like. Sorry that fear took your place.
No more will…

View original post 32 more words