The Garden of your Heart

One of the endeavours of CareSA is the Care Africa project, which includes the concept of Care Gardens, with the catch phrase “Plant a garden in your yard, Plant a garden in your heart.”

Today I thought to recapture the vision but with an emphasis on the garden of Your Heart.

Just to encourage you to tend to your garden with these few simple, yet profound truths on how to grow the splendour of your soul.  The clever play on words are not all my own, I found them lying anonymously in my box of collectables begging to be shared for a chuckle or two.

fruitbsk0011 (3)

Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit:

Love, Joy, Peace,
Faithfulness, Goodness, Kindness,
Gentleness, Longsuffering and Self Control.
Share generously with all you meet this year.

Plant a good few rows of Peas:

green-peas

Ppatience, Ppoliteness, Ppreparedness, Ppromptness,  Ppersistence, Ppunctuality, and Peperseverance.

Plant four rows of Squash:

gem-squash

Squash gossip
Squash grumbling
Squash indifference
Squash selfishness

Plant four rows of Lettuce:

lettuce

Let us be faithful,
Let us be kind,
Let us be obedient
Let us really love one another

No garden  without Turnips:

* Turn up for meetings
* Turn up for service
* Turn up to help one another.

turnips

We must have Thyme in our gardens:

thyme
Time for Work
Time for Play
Time for Laughter
Time for God
Time to Pray.

Weed out all toxic thoughts immediately !
Regularly sprinkle on the Fertilizer of Forgiveness.
Water well, and often, with the Word of God.
Do these simple soul deeds, and watch  the Garden of Your Heart  grow !!

With a little Faith Hope and Love, you can
 Pick the fruit of your labour.
fruitWant to join the Care Africa project ?… then

Plant a Garden in your Yard.  Plant a Garden in your Heart.

And send me a photo of the Garden in your yard…. for my upcoming Care Gallery.

Some Ideas for the Gardens of your Yard.

Wishing  you all a bouquet of fresh vegetables in 2017

vegetables-colorful

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good,  Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.   Psalm 34:8

 HAPPY GARDENING     cherries

GIVE, its good mental health.

blue-river

Let your life be a river not a swamp

Like the pages of a book in a gentle breezy wind the months just seem to flip over.
I had intended to write on good mental health for the month of October, but it slipped my mind !! – and October came and went almost unnoticed.

So I am playing catch up, and want to share a few simple thoughts on good mental health.

Let your life be a river not a swamp,
Give, its good mental health.

stars

When stars stop emitting light, gravity sucks them in, and they become a black hole !!
So keep on shining, keep on giving… its good mental health.

Give of yourself…. little deeds of kindness, makes the world a better place.
Give of your finances ….  it breeds generosity in you, and in others.
Give of your personality …. and share your sense of humour, share your opinion, your smile – and best of all share your presence.

Let your life be a river,  not a swamp that is stale and stagnant, a place where crocodiles lurk !

Give, its good mental health.

brown-swamp

Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom.

For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.   Luke 6:38

Give, and it will let your cup run over with  JOY, ….  and thats good mental health !!

cup-running-over

MAKE THIS A LEAP YEAR

download

Leap years are needed to keep our modern day calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun.
It takes the earth approximately 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45 seconds to circle once around the sun.  This is called a Tropical year.  The Common year is 365 days long. The Leap year is 366 days long.   The extra day is added at the end of February, the shortest month, giving it 29 instead of the usual 28 days.
A Leap year is a year in which an extra day is added to the calendar in order to synchronize it with the seasons.
Acknowledging : Scienceworld.wolfram.com  and  Time and date.com.   

The month of February is often associated with love, because of Valentine’s day.  But it is quite phenominal as it hosts the Leap year – a place to put the left over hours, minutes and seconds, not to be wasted, but that go to make up a whole new day – an extra 24 hours.

However what leaped  (!!) into my mind was the word  leap.
According to Google  Leap means : Jump or spring a long way to a great height, or with great force.
According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online  Leap means :  to make a large jump or sudden movement, usuall from one place to another.

What conjurred up in my mind was how the Sprinbuck gracefully leaps seemingly with gleeful joy, in wide open spaces.   Or the proverbial sheep you count when you can’t sleep, leaping over the farm fence !!  Or the slimey frog, as it purposely leaps from one stone to another on the lilly pond of life, looking for food.   And my lazy cat as she leaps with furry frenzy into the air when I playfully scare her.    Nature is full of leaping creatures, depicting all shades of intentions and emotions.

My translation of leap is  : the necessity to purposely, transfer from one place to another.
 Leap to overcome !    Now there’s a thought – leap to overcome.  There are many concepts on overcome.  It is an imperative in the walk of life to overcome.   The consequence of not overcoming is that you stay where you are, you can become stuck, stagnant, stale … and boring !!
An overcoming mind  is essential, and that is why there are many promises in God’s word that reward the Overcomer.   It is indeed something to set our sights on.  It elevates the horizen, the future, something to aspire to, it is  the flexing of  a spiritual muscle to …  rise up !

Leaping and Overcoming, from a Bible perspective, brings an insightful and significant meaning that widens and deepens the essentiality of making a paradigm shift, or simply put, changing your mind – about yourself, your circumstance, your life. Think differently !

Read :
Psalm 18:29     For by You I can run against a troop.  By my God I can   leap   over a wall.
Revelation 21:7  He who  overcomes  shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
This year take a leap of faith, make Jesus Christ the Saviour and Lord of your life, it is the first step in becoming  a true  Overcomer.

There is something about leaping and overcoming that speaks of courage and of faith.  It pertains to the emotions of life, hardships in life and sadnesses about life, but also to the normal every day nitty gritty choices.  Leaping is done by making decisions.   Make up your mind, and just do it – that is leaping !  It may open up a new course of circumstances and definitely new horizens.

The calendar tells us that 2016  is a Leap Year.   Make this your Leap Year to whatever you aspire to do,  to be,  to become, or where to go.
Remember your life is a product of your decisions – so decide, take the leap in
faith and …..

Leap from fear to faith
Leap from negative to  positive
Leap from discontent to contentment
Leap from depression to happiness
Leap from co-dependence to independence
Leap from self depreciation to self worth
Leap from unforgiveness to forgiveness
Leap from sickness to health
Leap from greed to generosity
Leap from lack to abundance
Leap from poverty to progress

…. and in all your leaping,  Leap for Joy !
That is what overcoming is all about !

 

 

 

 

The Filter of my Mind

images (4)

I have been reading the book by Dr Caroline Leaf, Switch on your Brain – on the science of thought.  Her research has revealed how thoughts grow, are established and if acted upon become deeds or behaviour – moulding our lives, and influencing the lives of those around us.   She writes, with utmost simplicity, how the inside of our brain works.  It is truly amazing and fascinating !
Her book offers information and solutions, which are the result of years of research, practical application and clinical work, and are guidelines for managing toxic thoughts.

The human specie, is fearfully and wonderfully made.   She has linked these scientific findings with the words of the Bible.   When reading her book through the Mind of the Bible it becomes apparent that God is infinitely more intelligent and wise beyond  what we can ever ask or think.     Biologically we are His master pieces, in fact all of creation is, but the human body and the human mind must be His finest work.  In the book of Genesis it says that we are made in His image and likeness…. now there’s a thought to light up your mind so to speak. Furthermore, we are His temple, the place where God resides, His address, the place where He lives.  We are His dwelling place !!

The Bible weaves these concepts, and so much more, into our thinking, that we would be wise to pay close attention to it if we are to appreciate and discover the intricacies and purposes of His creative genius – intended for our very own lives.

From her book Caroline says : “I want to shape my world around God’s truth because I know as a scientist and a believer paying attention to my thoughts and purposefully focussing my mind leads to great transformation.”

Snippets from her book:  “whatever you think about the most will grow”  – where the mind goes, the brain will follow.”
“Choices are real, you are free to make choices about how you focus your attention; and this affects how the chemicals and wiring of your brain change and function.”

In the chapter on the Science of Thought she writes :
“It is our choices that make something out of nothing.  Its our choices that collapse the probabilities into actualities that define the state of our nonconscious metacognition which in turn inform our conscious cognition and symbolic actions.” page 134  and furthermore   :
” It is our choices that either create healthy thought universes in our brain or turn the powerless lie into a toxic thought universe – which is essentially evil.   This is the incredible power God has given us :  to be able to think and choose and create reality.  This reality can be good or evil based on our choices”.

Rest, and sleep are needed for restoration of the cells, and rest and reflection for the mind, which plays itself out in the body whether in sickness or in health, for we are more than just a pretty face (well some of us !) –  we are also a cosmic concoction of minerals,chemicals, electrons, neurons and gasses, – all well designed and orchestrated to play the beautiful song of life.   So the key to life, or death, is what we choose – and it begins in our thought-life !!
God has graced us with a free-will.  We get to choose and therefore also get the responsibility for our own life.
     I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you that I have set before you          life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your          descendants may live.   Deuteronomy 30:19 

Now that can begin a whole theological banter, but biologically speaking that’s how the mind works – through thoughts – that brings us back to the decisions we make, the good ones and the bad ones, even those we don’t make !  And the miracle of free-will is that it is designed into our DNA, we can actually switch our thoughts from the ugly to the good, and visa verse.  Our choice ! –  (We have the power people !!)
The subconscious is the storehouse of all our thoughts, they are all filed, they are our subliminal memory – it is what we draw on (positive or negative) for our life, through the decisions we make, and the consequences we face.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.   Proverbs 23:7

lt_idea02_am_20_powerpoint_templates_title_slide


For the light to go on we need to think the right thoughts ! We need to re-align our thoughts with the thoughts of God in the Bible.  He made us and He wrote the manual for us to follow.
          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

download (2)
There is so much more to glean from this book.  If you want to know more about the mechanics of the mind, I recommend you read her book.   What have I learned from her book ?  I need to observe my own thought-life, and for that to happen I need, at times, to be still, and to do introspection.    That’s when I am quiet and just listen to what I am actually thinking and filtering through my mind.

It is vitally important to feed my mind on good thoughts for a healthy thought-life ?   This will enable me to make choices in the all kinds of the everyday.
Make a decision to think on the stories and wisdom found in the Bible, the word and mind of Almighty God.
   …   whatever things are true,  whatever things are noble,  whatever things are just,  whatever things are lovely,  whatever things are of  good report,  if there is any  virtue,  and if there is anything praiseworthy,  meditate on these things.
Philippians 4:8

Rest, filter the mind and
Think on these things.

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

fruitbsk0011 (3)

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 !

The Mind

I once heard it playfully said, of all the things I’ve lost its my mind I miss the most !!

What a wonderful thing a sound mind is. Not until you have rubbed shoulders with mental illness, whether it be anxiety, depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia or other related mind issues, will you ever truly know how wonderful a sound mind is.  It is our most treasured possession.

I once was in the company of people who worked in caring organisations.   One man, who worked for the Disabled in our community, said this of broken humanity (those who have disabilities and afflictions) – “It is the cracked ones who let the light shine through”  I understood what he meant, and have tucked that saying away in my heart to remind me of the value that people with disabilities give to those of us who are “normal”.   And yes that begs the question – what is normal ?  Whatever the answer is to that I thank God for “normal” – for that is the place where we all have to return and resort to from time to time.  Normal is good.

I have also heard it said, that the mind is an extension of oneself,  and that the environment is an extension of the mind.  These are large thoughts.   And speaking of thoughts, which unfold in the brain, should we not inquire into the anatomy of the brain to learn more?  Thoughts, like words are very very powerful ! We need to know and to guard our thoughts.  To recognise negative thoughts that can be toxic and do damage to ourselves and to others (often through our words), – and change their direction into positive thoughts, which is good mental health.

In my observations on the mind, and mental health, I would so agree that  it is the cracked ones who let the light shine through, for it is this light that reflects into our own hearts to reveal what is there.  Often I see a turning away in awkwardness, and I can understand that, sometimes it is a scoffer with no heart at all, and I want to despise that, and there are those so full of pride  and have no time for the weak, the sick and the afflicted, and that is sad.  But then you get those who are timid, yet kind, and reach out in whatever small gesture to “the broken ones”, –  that fills my heart for then I know that love reigns there.   Yes in their way, the broken ones are light bringers, and we should be mindful of them for they have much to teach us.

Sitting gazing over the ocean one clear sunny day, I heard the Lord say in my heart :
Do you see the ocean before you?  Yes I said, well those are all the tears I cry for the disabled and afflicted ones.   How wide, how deep His love goes.