LOOKING FOR … KINDNESS

 

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Philosophically speaking : I was reminded today of what progress means.
It is  Think, Expect and Do – or conception, pregnancy, birth.   In other words  the seed, the gestation and then the manifestation. This hopefully followed by growth –  which can take on its own directions and distractions. And in between each phase there is time, and plenty of it, and that only because of the grace of God.
This may well be the pathway of development and progress, which can be applied to many levels of life, not only social development or the faith life.   What is required is Patience.
But that is not what I am looking for today.  I am putting out onto the Blogosphere the challenge for Kindness through:  The Kids of Africa Campaign.

However, console yourself and keep this formula in mind when you consider your unfulfilled dreams, unfinished tasks, or purely if you are a procrastinator of note,  take heart you now may have the excuse, the pattern, or  even the reason for the delay !

I have said all that to say this….these are the thoughts I was entertaining for not forging ahead with my writing project on The Fruit Basket.  A random writing series of “LOOKING FOR  ….” the virtues of the good life found in Galatians 5:22.    So today I resume my search, but with an edge of practicality, and being an unashamed opportunist, want to include it in the challenge  of the Kids of Africa  Campaign,  with the hope that it will unleash a flood of  kindness to and from all kinds of communities.
Here is the challenge – creating caring communities through kindness and crafting.

     THE  KIDS  OF  AFRICA  CAMPAIGN
Africa is a rich continent, not only in minerals, but in humanity too.   To draw on this wealth we need to mine, not only the gold and silver, but also the huge deposits of goodness and kindness lying within our own hearts.
Join this simple campaign for Kindness by knitting a beanie or two…or three, for the Kids of Africa.

50103329.jpg Kids of Africa.jpg

The intention is to create caring communities through Crafting – whether it be knitting or crocheting.  Communities, especially the Women, the Young ones, the Amazing Gogos (Grandmothers) and all those in between, crafting for the Kids and teaching Kids to craft for the Elderly and Disabled in their communities  –   perhaps even grow veggie gardens too, to blend in with the Care Africa movement project.
Begin by knitting beanies, preferably in red,  but any colour will do, and then distributing them in  your own local community.
If you want, you may send a photo of yourself and your community to this email
clyle.sa@gmail.com   –   and it will be posted on the  Blog just to show that Africa cares.
This is an initiative against poverty, a campaign for kindness, and for communities to progress.

BEANIE  PATTERN 
With Double Knitting wool, and size 4 mm or 4.5mm knitting needles
Cast on 90  stitches for the Kids beanie.
First Row Rib :  Kl, P2,  to end of row
Second Row   :   P2, K1,  to end of row
Change to no.  4.5mm or 5 mm knitting needle and
Continue until work measures 24 centimeters.

Shape Top of Beanie
Next Row  :  P1  (K1,  P2 together)  –  repeat to end.
Next Row  :  Purl.
Next Row  :  K 2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl to end
Next Row  :  K2 together to end.
Next Row  :  Purl two together to end.
Leave a length, and break yarn.
Thread twice through remaining stitches.
Draw up tightly and fasten off.
Stitch back seam neatly together.

Adult size Beanie :   Cast on 100 stitches
Rib until work measures 30 cms.
Continue to shape top.

Enjoy creating … and teach others to be kind through crafting. 
Blessed are those who consider the poor.   Psalm 41:1

07032011036.jpg                                                                         Happy  crafting !

HOPE… catch it if you can.

peach flower

HOPE
I heard the Voice in my head say, ” why don’t you write an essay on Hope.”
What a topic !   Because hope can be so elusive, not easy to pin down, let alone examine.
What is hope ?  I scratched my head, and thought it a topic for another day.  So I put it on the back burner of procrastination.

But it wouldn’t go away. Hope came looking for attention on nearly everything I read, heard, even the people I met along the way that week seemed to shout out “I’m  Hope” look at me !   Well it seemed that Hope needed some serious attention.

I think, initially, it was while I was reading the verses in Romans that raised the whole question of hope.  Verses like:  if you can see hope its not longer hope –  but hope that is seen is not hope – Romans 8:24.
And hope, even if there is no hope –  who contrary to hope in hope believed. – Romans 4: 18
So I went on a hope hunt, and found :
We are prisoners of Hope… Zechariah 9:12
Hope is the anchor of our souls.…Hebrews 6:19
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is a tree of life.  Proverbs 13:12
All very comforting, rewarding and necessary to know.

Is Hope and Faith the same thing ?
We hope in something we cannot see, but is that not faith ?  Is Faith then something else ?  Now faith is the substance of things  hoped  for, the evidence of things not seen !!    A little more head scratching !!    Faith says that we call things into being as if they exist,  – but if we can’t see them, how can we call them?    What comes first, Hope or Faith – the egg or the chicken so to speak ! This is  where Desire comes in, those little seeds of wishes and wants and dreams. So is it Desire, Hope then Faith ?  Is Hope a carrier of Faith?  Well, if Hope comes from Desire, that is God-given and put into our hearts (the incubator), in the first place, then Faith must be to Believe, – the belief of the promise, the patience and the determination to see it through into existance, – into Reality.

That is for vision building, but of course, Hope can go the other way too. It can be the very crutch we lean upon when things go wrong.  On considering Hope, I came across a few Blogs that week on Hope, by accident of course!   I came a little closer to looking at, and being astonished at,  Hope.

https://unshakeablehope.wordpress.com
A man named Bill who has for the best part of eighteen years suffered with classic motor neuron disease, which is a disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for contolling voluntary muscles.  His blog is called unshakable hope !!  Need I say more.  Visit the blog and let Bill tell you his story.

Another self-improvement blog on WordPress called Dopeylife wrote a thought provoking post on Desire vs Need,  which challenged me to think deeply on Desire equals Hope, and I made a long comment on that blog, trying to figure it all out.

That very same week I, co-incidently, met Tiffy at the grocery shop. She is a lady who lives in our complex.  She was preparing to go and see the cancer specialist, who had successfully treated her for her first bout with cancer. She looked and sounded very optimistic even cheerful, and said she just hoped and prayed that God would grant her
the peace, and the joy to carry her through the next bout of treatment for this new cancer.
Hope is an eternal carrier for Life.

We cannot live without it for  Hope gives us a Future  !!

While watching a movie on Stephen Hawkins, a professor in quantum physics, who has a muscular disabling disease and lives his life crumpled-up in a wheelchair, I caught this phrase he spoke to an audience :
“Where there is life, there is Hope.”  One can only stand to humble attention, when these words are spoken by a person so crippled, yet not broken,  and living with hope.

It slowly dawned on me that Hope is only truly appreciated if you have your back against a wall and there is no way of getting out of the situation.  No way, No help. The only way is looking up to God who can make a way out, (whether we acknowledge this or not !) or carry us over or through the troubling waters of trials and tibulations. And more – give us the grace to bear it all.  Further more to that, we may never see the desired results we hoped for in the first place!  – but some may come to see something even better and far more far-reaching.  We seldom, maybe even never, get to see the end from the beginning.

I had heard the Preacher say, that Hope is one of the cores of the Christian faith.  That is true !    I remembered one of my favourite Scripture verses is found in Proverb 13:12 …
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when Desire comes it is a tree of life... and a beautiful picture of a blossom tree in full bloom came to my mind.

So,  now I’ll talk  “pictures” to tell a little story of Hope .

why me tree

The Why Me tree, with outstretched arms to heaven, in a cold and barren land.

Pruned treesThe painful wounds of pruning, sealed up with a healing balm for protection and healing.

peach blossom branch
Beautiful  full budded blossoms, bursting into bloom, making a splendid show, announcing  the cold barren winter is over.

imagespeach blossom

                                                                            Proverbs  13:12
  Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire comes it is a tree of life.  

peach blossom

Ah,  there it is,  the new fruit, for a new season!  Is this the reason  for Hope ?

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The Fruit.  Delicious, delightful, delectable and plump, ready-to-eat peaches,  basking in a sunshine day, just waiting  to be picked  for our pleasure.

blossom twig

Hang in there, little Twig.  You’re part of a beautiful tree, in a very big orchard, created by a loving, caring and wise Gardener, who knows your seasons well, and what’s best for the fruit bearing trees of His orchard.   You are not alone.   Bloom where you are planted.

Peach blossom orchard
We have been intrinsictly wired for Hope.
Hope comes through spoken words,  that blow on the gentle thermaIs of the Wind, or even through written words that can give birth to pictures, to concepts and plans, to life, and the eternal life hereafter.

Hope is elusive, catch it if you can… it will carry you through whatever season of hope or despair you are in, carry you on to faith, and a desired end.

God says :
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you  a future and a  hope.       Jeremiah 29:11

light peach blooms

LOOKING FOR … PEACE

 

images.jpg PEACE

What is Peace ?
If I know what I am looking for I might be able to find it.

Before I further explore Peace may I just mind fully state I believe Peace is found on the high mountain tops of the spiritual life.  I cannot do justice to the beauty and magnificence of Peace, and will not even try, I merely want to simplify what a sense of Peace is, what it means to me, and provoke others toward it too.  For we all want Peace in our hearts.

So what is Peace ?
Peace is a sense of knowing that everything is going to be okay – no matter what the circumstances of life dictate to me.  Peace is linked to trust, no fear or insecurities welcome. Trust is linked to faith, faith is linked to Almighty God.   I, for one, need to know that there is something much bigger and more powerful than the I, me and mine. That Power is God, who loves me and has my back!  It’s going to be okay!  So life can throw its diversities and devastations at me, but because of the Peace of God, it’s going to be okay.  He knows, He sees, He cares, and believe it or not, He is in control.  It’s going to be okay!  Peace is knowing and trusting the God who created me.

But where do I find it?  Peace starts in the soul.  At best our souls are in a state of disrepair, empty, often bruised, sorely fragmented sometimes even broken and lost. That is why soul-care is so important.  Don’t neglect the soul – and be mindful of the souls of others too.  Words, said or written, can cause havoc to the soul.  “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words cannot harm me” –  is just not true!  Words have consequences !

Peace – wholeness of being, this is good soul health, and good soul-keeping will be required.  So, slow down, less hurry, live simply and simmer in the Scriptures to come to know God ... and the Peace He offers as a gift.
Peace  I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.        Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   John 14:27
In other words, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, or fearful because …. everything is going to be okay !

But I need a little help here.  Peace is far more than that.
Judy Pohorille,  a friend from a writing group I attended some years ago, coincidently sent me this message on Peace – so timely, that I need to  include it in this post.  It captures Peace far more eloquently than my technical version of it. She is a remarkable woman, who writes beautiful crisp crackling English prose and poetry.
Judy has seen and known much suffering in her life and therefore I suspect can fathom the depth of Peace far more than many.   Here is her writing :

“There is a part of the sea known as “the cushion of the sea”.  It lies beneath the surface that is agitated by storms and churned by wind.  It is so deep that it is part of the sea that is never stirred.  The ocean floor reveals evidence of having remained completely undisturbed for hundred, if not thousands of years.   The Peace of God is an eternal calm like the cushion of the sea.    It lies so deeply within the human heart that no external difficulty or disturbance can reach it.  Anyone who enters the presence of God becomes a partaker of that undisturbed calm.”

The peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7.

StnNuVLbpURtBxJxTpC4QYmm (1).jpeg Ocean bed

 

 

Looking for … Joy

Looking for Joy.
I know I have it … but where ?  I must have put it somewhere to keep in case I needed it.  I’m like that.  I don’t like to throw things out.  I’ll store them for a long season if I have to, but to discard what I think is precious, is not likely to happen !  Now where did I put it ? If I let this thought simmer on the back burner it may come to me.

And so it did.  In the oversized tubs I store all my collectibles ? Yes, but which one? So the hunt began.  I scurried down to the garage and began to unpack the lavender tub.
No, it wasn’t there, but what I found was colour.  Colour in the form of off-cuts of material I had kept.  There were stunning reds, bright yellows, deep blues and purple, checker greens, even a little silver and mottled gold.  What a delight ! Then I looked up and looked around, and began to see colour everywhere. What a Joy colour brings to our lives.  Just imagine life without colour – and its a free.
Light from the sun is white light, if looked through a prism the light fractures and becomes a spectrum of colours, the rainbow of red, blue, green,yellow, orange, purple and indigo.  Colours have different lengths (frequencies – like music notes) shorter is higher and longer is deeper.  These notes / frequencies of colour bring colours to plants – everything is grey drab, until lit by sunlight.  Next time you’re feeling glum, look up and look around for the free gift of colour –  and be glad !

But that was not what I was looking for.  The next tub I opened was my Word tub.  It was full of words.  Letters, writings of other people, poems, special cards, scraps of paper with Bible verses and notes on courses and seminars I had attended.  It surely must be in this tub.  So I spent the next few days scrutinizing all the treasures in my Word tub.  What a joy, re-reading the hearts and minds of others and feeling their love all over again.  The Joy of friends, and relationships.  We can’t do without them. Well, maybe some of them, but no not all.

Then I found it !  At last, I knew I had it.  Tucked in the pages of a manuscript were the words of Dr James G Friesen of The Life Model Course I had attended some 20 years ago.  I remembered the “Joy bucket” and “Joy Camp”, and getting back on top of “Joy Mountain” which he so clearly wrote about and the fundamental importance of  regulating our feelings back to Joy.  Dr James Ph.D  is a Clinical Psychologist, and an expert in trauma recovery and Dissociative Identity Disorders.  Here are some concepts from the powerful words of The Life Model : “Joy is a powerful force in life which shapes our lives from the baby stage of our development.” (brain development) He explains this very clearly in the manuscript and states  ” Joy becomes the foundation for all other emotions.”  Dr James Wilder, a co-writer and researcher  writes on  www.lifemodel.org   “Joy was the engine that drove thriving and recovery and even produced the strength needed for prevention of trauma and addiction.”  Wow, those are strong words. Please check out The Life Model’s website and find out more on this life-giving course.  And visit Dr Friesen on http://www.jamesgfriesen.com.  Also visit  www.joystartshere.com for more information.

Life from a psychological view can bring an understanding to our inner world. Life from a spiritual view can bring healing and recovery from mental and emotional breakdown.
Undeniably suffering and sorrow are strewn along Life’s path. It is then that we find that Joy has companions  :
Joy and Sorrow  –  Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.    Psalm 30:5
Joy and Mourning –  To give them beauty for ashes and the oil of Joy for mourning. Isaiah 61: 3
Joy and Strength – Do not sorrow for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10
Joy and PeaceNow may the God of hope fill you with Joy and Peace.
Romans 15:13
Joy and Gladness –  He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord, Joy and gladness will be found in it.  Isaiah 51:3
        Joy and Fruit –  But the fruit of the Spirit is  Love  Joy  Peace  Long-suffering          Kindness Goodness  Faithfulness  Gentleness  and  Self Control.  Against these there is   no law.   Galatians 5:22

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Finding Joy is well worth the pursuit, and for me, it came one evening when I heard the Preacher from the big church on the corner say  : Joy is a decision you make,  to get your power back.
Joy is the essence of good mental health, so …  CHOOSE  JOY !

LOOKING FOR … LOVE

As February is the month for Love and Valentines and all I decided to go out on a quest and look for love wherever I could find it.

A bag of coppers (small change) were cluttering my cupboard. These I had been saving to give to one of the street people I had come to know. He is George the Carguard, who treads the parking lot at the Post Office in the Village. I stopped the car and George came over to shoo me on, but I said to him “George I have a bag of coppers, would you like them?” “Yes, I like that money” he said, beaming from ear to ear. “Thank you madam,
you are like Jehovah to me”. “Mmm well yes, Amen George” …not quite sure what he had just said. “Today I am going to buy me lots of food from Pick n Pay and eat well”, he said rubbing his tummy. “Well enjoy yourself George” I replied. “Thank you, thank you madam, God bless you”. ” God bless you too George” I said as I drove off. Well the warm glow of that little conversation blew my hair back. I had intended to give a little love and instead was the one who had received a ton more than I gave. George’s response was magnanimous, as it so often is from the African people who have a heart full of love, in spite of their poverty circumstances.

I was looking for a parking spot, impossible in the Village on a Saturday morning, but found one right in front of Woolworths where I wanted to be, to buy some chocolate muffins for Greta my sister-in-law for Valentine’s day. As I came to pay at the till, the attendant beamed “happy Valentine’s day to you”. I felt that warm glow again. But there’s more. As I walked up to my car, a traffic officer was just finishing off the ticket for the car parked next to mine. I scooted in and out of there so fast, with a “thank you Lord for loving me today!”
You can find Love in the circumstances of life, in strange places even in some strange Strangers!

I then took myself off to the Mall about ten blocks away. As I circled for parking I saw a young man with a basket filled with red roses. Yes, you’ve got it right young man, keep the love alive, I thought to myself.
Then on to my shopping errand where I had to stand in a queue almost a mile long and eventually came to an attendant that looked tense and a little grey. As we finished the transaction I just blurted out to her “have a happy Valentine’s day”. Well the grey lifted and I saw sunshine fall its place. “Thank you, I forgot it was Valentine” she said, and I saw her mind make a mental note to remember her loved one today. I glowed again as I walked away. Well enough of this loving people, now its time to love me! I took myself off for a cool green lime milkshake at a restaurant that, if you sit in the right place, you can observe the crowd coming down the escalator of the mall, and take in the crowd of the eating place at the same time. Just sitting quietly watching Life and Love at play, a treat indeed!

Jesus said in Matthew 22:37… “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
And in verse 39. And the second is like it: ” You shall love your neighbour as yourself”

Are you looking for Love? …. where did you find Love today? …. where did you give Love today?