Psalm 23

I have been through an harrowing few months, and hope to write more about it at another time.  Forgive any errors, I am still in recovery mode.    The one thing which sustained me spiritually was Psalm 23, which I want to share with you today.

The Lord is my  shepherd, I shall not want.   He makes  me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. He sets a table before me, in the presence of my enemies.  He anoints my head with oil, my cup    runs over.  Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I shall fear no evil, for Thy art with me.  Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

I hope it will inspire and encourage you today too 💜

 

 

Samosas by the Sea

 

horizen at umhlanga

 

Good mental health, is having samosas by the sea !
I write that with tongue in cheek, but with deep respect for the subject,  and for those who suffer from mental illness.    Its a subject that I am not unfamiliar with and have witnessed its devastation in family.
But I did have a taste of good mental health personally when I went to see the sea.

There is a small space,  created in the suburbs that touch the beach-line, where cars can park and people can watch the sea without having to walk on the beach.     There is also access to the beach for walkers and their dogs, paddle skiers and wind surfers should they want to embrace the ocean more intimately.   So there is something for everyone.    I discovered this little tuck-away-place, and go there for a little ‘sea therapy’ now and again

That morning I received some startling news, that left me in a quandary of doubt and disappointment.   Fortunately I had to occupy my mind with errands and could put it all on hold, which is often a good thing when indecision cloud the day.

Two samosas

Now one of my favourite snacks is samosas.   It is an Indian fried cuisine, in the shape of a triangle with a filling of beef, chicken, lamb or something tasty.  I often treat myself to one or two, and so ease my conscience for not having chosen something sweet to eat, like pecan pie, or Portuguese custard tart  !
Today was the day for some comfort food, so I bought some samosas and headed for one of my favourite places,  –  and for a little ‘sea therapy’

kite-surfing-jeremy-hayden

I sat for a long time before I felt the therapy kick in.   The concrete bricks that were perched on my shoulders began to grow wings and lift !  They were necessary though for they seemed to stop the hole in my heart from exploding from the seams.    The hole has been there for a very long time.   It seems to expand and contract, but never really goes away.  One learns to live with it, but its like living in the shadow of unhappiness all the time.
Coming face to face with mental disorders is disconcerting to say the least !   There are many disorders.  I have looked at schizophrenia and squinted at narcissism – both of which are crushing to the soul.     Mental disorders will reveal the dysfunctions in   families.   If not confronted, it will bury the flaws, that in later years,  even generations, may cause further deterioration and havoc.     Facing the deep, takes courage !
The hole is not in my pumping heart, its in my happy heart – if you know what I mean ?   I am sure there are many of us who live with a hole in the heart.   We put on our smiley faces, but live in the shadow of sadness.

I enjoyed my samosas and aloe-vera cool drink, and sat a little longer when I heard the question : ” You are having samosas by the sea, now what do you see ?”

How often is it that we don’t see what we are looking at ?
So I looked with fresh eyes at what I was looking at,  in that moment.

Firstly I became aware of the still silence, except for the small thunderous crashes of the waves on the beach.    It was then that I began to have a sense of Peace.
I have noticed that Peace likes to come when there is stillness and silence.
Peace is  always a welcome friend.

I saw a little bird perched on a dying branch, looking for crumbs left by visitors.
I saw a lazy sea-gull, slowly flap-flapping his wings along the water’s edge.
I saw the sheer whiteness of the gurgling breaking waves, as the afternoon sun caught their brilliance.
I saw the distance of mists beginning to rise from the ocean, that meant heat and humidity was on its way.
I saw the horizon, I love horizons !    And that is when the concrete bricks began to lift off my shoulders.    Distance and promise, the call of something new !

There were many many cargo ships on the waters, waiting their time to enter the Durban harbour to offload their goods from far away places.  World Trade is alive and well after all,  despite the trade wars between America and China !

From the car next to me came a couple with an ice box, who made they way to the seaside.  She had on a flimsy beach robe over her shorts, and as she reached the dune, she lifted both her arms as if to take off with the wind – and the freedom she was obviously feeling.
Then further down two young fellows parked their car and off loaded the canoe and paddle skies that would take them into the blue, and into the deep.   Brave lads !

It had been a good visit to my favourite spot, and as I enjoyed my samosas by the sea, I came away refreshed by what I had seen.   I realised that life goes on, no matter what the news, and what the problems are that would beset us.
That there are those, who despite it all enjoy life and what it has to offer.  And that we need to take hold of the good things too that come our way.

It was not only a taste of my samosas by the sea, but a taste of life that refreshed me that day.   Life is good, look for the good – and be in the moment,  that to my mind, is good mental health.

Seagull

Philippians 4 : 7

and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and minds,
through Christ Jesus.

 

Yes, there is a person who is richer than me. — Wag ‘n Bietjie

Someone asked the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, “ Is there anyone richer than you in the world ?” Bill Gates replied, “ Yes, there is a person who is richer than me.” He then narrated a story. “It’s during the time when I wasn’t rich or famous. I was at the New […]

via Yes, there is a person who is richer than me. — Wag ‘n Bietjie

Notre Dame & the Easter Triduum

Wondering Pilgrim

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Universal horror unfolds this morning as news arrives of one of Christendom’s ancient and iconic structure’s destruction by fire. That the 800-year-old Notre Dame cathedral in Paris should fall in the days of Holy Week – the dramatic re-living of trial leading to the climax of crucifixion and resurrection – should not escape the notice of the faithful.  Indeed French President Emmanuel Macron declared, even as the fire raged, “Let’s be proud because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago. We’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it, so I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”

This is the first Easter in 45 years that I will not be conducting services, leading people through the darkness of Good Friday through to the radiance of Easter Sunday. Over those four decades, I have become aware of a deepening consciousness that Good Friday is not marked…

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SHARING

Kyle Kimberlin’s post Sharing is such a good perspective on writing and social media, and needs to be shared with all those who want to be writers in their own right ….. one day !
Visit this post, read it through, and be sure to get to the sentence that says :
“Make visible what without you, might perhaps never have been seen”.     It will encourage you, even clear the mist on creative communication.

Metaphor

I’ve been thinking about how much we like to share our thoughts with other people, and how that behavior has changed in the 30-plus years that I have been writing things down and passing them around. 

It’s easy to succumb to the temptation to re-post unoriginal stuff. On January 5, I shared a gif video I saw on Facebook, just because I thought it was cute and hilarious. But that was way off topic for this blog. I did it because it was guick and easy and I was restless with the fact that the blog needed content. Those are the posting criteria of social media, not creative work.

In creative work — creative work of all kinds — those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward. Which is something altogether different from the ordinary. Such work does not refute…

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Pretty Feelings

 

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.   And though beauty may be all around us we sometimes just don’t see it.
There are some days when life gets a little heavy to carry,  and the feeling is glum, then   on those days I want, and need,  to see something pretty.   I know it will help the mood to shift.

It is as if, beauty is a medicine for the soul, an antidote for ugliness – and isn’t ugliness all around us too ?
More often than not the beauty, the pretty for me, comes through nature.  Perhaps because nature is perfect, and speaks to everything being okay and in its place.

Art and Music may also have such an effect on a mood.    It can transport us on wings of beauty to other places in our souls, where we can find a soothing from the daily grind.

But we need eyes to see and ears to hear, and hearts to understand.

I came across a picture of a rose, and had an injection of prettiness.  It tugged at me and I just knew I wanted to draw the rose.  You know the feeling you get when a picture  just “speaks”  to you ?    Well this picture spoke to me through its gentle simplicity and soft colours.
So I sharpened my pencils, and sat down to re-create it as best I could.  I did not give it its full justice, but my rose does give back to me a hint of soft gentleness, and a warm sense of  prettiness.
I hope you get pretty feelings too, when you take a look at it.

 

rose

Threads of the Fabric

 

needle and threads

Somehow the newness of this year is still with us.   After Christmas and New Year there is this feeling of the lull lingering on before the year really starts revving up.  Perhaps it’s that the up-country visitors are still with us, or perhaps its more parking spaces at the mall, but there seems to me to be a reluctance to the start of the new year.

I have been keeping my ear open for a word of encouragement that may cement my year into a theme or a thought to follow through, or that may become a thread of what is to come.  Or perhaps just to note it, so that as the year progresses I am reminded where the year began.

What I have heard is this : joy, newness, adventures, expectations, and just recently intentions.      These are some of the threads that make up the fabric of life.
Threads I just love, as I am sure you do too ?
Sure there may be some glum days ahead, but as my previous post said … ‘Hold that thought’  and I will,  endeavour to hold these fun words, these thoughts, in suspension till I encounter them throughout the coming year.

Dr Mark Chironna, one of my favourite preachers, spoke on 1 Corinthians 13:13, which says
And now abide Faith Hope, Love,  these three;  but the greatest of these is Love.

He paralleled ‘these three’ like this :
Faith  is  anticipation
Hope is expectation
Love is intentional
Of course he expanded greatly on this.   He went wide and deep, and brought much insight to this favourite Scripture.

I gave it some reflection, and thought that it would dovetail beautifully into my new year.
These three threads – all forward-looking components, are good strands for happiness and for good mental health.

Choose Faith,   and apply a mind-set of anticipation.
Choose  Hope,  and apply  purposeful expectation.
Choose Love,  and be intentional in giving it away.

Why not weave these threads into the fabric of 2019,  and make it into something  colourful and memorable.

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Be True

 

 This above all :  to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

                                   –  William  Shakespeare

These are the words, that came to mind as I sat and considered my blog site of some three years now, with its anniversary coming up this month.   Just scrolling through some of it, I realise that the content has changed over the years.
As I re-read my About page it reflects the intention of the blog to keep a dream alive, to promote the fight against poverty by growing food, and for people to care for those less fortunate than themselves.

Well, as the dream faded away,  I noticed that the tone and content of my blog has changed.  Overtime, water flows under the bridge, as it usually does, and so life moves on through changed circumstances, goals, attitudes and dreams.  I am so sad about my big dream that never materialised, but have walked through the valley of disappointment, and its okay now.  God is sovereign.

I have entered the world of virtual reality by being a part of the WordPress Blogosphere and have come across some remarkable people ‘out there ‘!  In a sense it is a strange experience, real, yet not so.

I hope that my writings have brought a little interest, and a lot of encouragement to my fellow bloggers, whom I love to read !

In future, my blog will just be a place of expression, and to perhaps get better at this ‘writing thing’.  It is indeed a fine craft, with nuances, tones, tilts, and pictures-done-in words, – and of course grammar too !
I hope to write with faith hope and love in my observations and encounters on life.

So, to be true to myself, there will be a few small changes to my blog, dropping off the foundation,  (the dream) and just going with CareSA.   For consistency, and easy recognition, I’m keeping my olive twig as a logo.

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Thank you for your visits, your comments and your interest in my blog.
Hugs to you all, and happy blogging in the years ahead.

Red rose

A Story of a Sparrow

 

Let my sparrow drawing bring you a tender story.

Mossie

Written in the annals of our nation’s very diverse history is a story of a sparrow.

The background is the Anglo Boer war of 1901.
With the discovery of gold and diamonds, the British Empire came to occupy the land.
The British desperately tried to bring the pioneer Boers to submission.   The Boers,  fiercely resisted, fighting their enemy with guerrilla warfare,  that cost the British much.  Eventually a ‘scorched earth policy’ was implemented, where their farmsteads were burnt down, their fields salted so that they could not grow crops to survive.  Their women and children were taken to concentration camps.   But there was, overcrowding, bad hygiene, severe malnutrition, and endemic contagious diseases.  Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps of the Anglo Boer war.  The women in particular knew immeasurable grief as they  helplessly watched their children suffer, and give them over to death.
One such woman was Anette Marais, and the story goes …

“Anette Marais sat on a log and shook the dust off her tatty clothes.  Around her sit a group of women with familiar but weary faces.  Just a few feet away is the high wire fence of the concentration camp.
She opens her Bible and begins to read.   She had wrestled with God in the dark hours of the night, and begged Him for a message of hope for these women,  for who knows how much longer……!

Anette reads the words of Matthew 10:29 .
 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?   And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows
.
While she is busy reading these words, a small insignificant sparrow comes and sits upon her shoulder.
The group of women stare in surprise at the incident unfolding before their eyes.
And so the sparrow becomes a sign of hope in the impossible situation of the concentration camp at Bethulie.

It is fantastic to see how in the following months the sparrow of Bethulie became a beacon of faith and hope for these women.    On May 1902 the Anglo Boer war ended.
Anette, on returning to her home, met a women of influence, and told her the sparrow story.    She,  in turn, retold the story.
In 1923 General Jan Smuts had two sparrows minted on the smallest coin of the then South African currency.”
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So remember the story of the sparrow on days you may feel small, insignificant, forlorn or forgotten.   May faith and hope be a beacon in our lives too.

PS     In South Africa, the sparrow is known as a Mossie.   I translated the story from Afrikaans.  The author is unknown.  More Afrikaans sparrow stories can be found in my Menu bar, just click on Random Writings and scroll down to Mossie Dag.
Reference on the background of the Anglo Boer War is from Wikipedia, should you want to know more.

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Knowing Me from the Inside Out

 

October seems to be the month that highlights some global afflictions and diseases.
It is always good to be aware and to speak of our issues, devastating as they may be, but I wonder, why always highlight the negative ?   Why not, just sometimes, highlight the positive ?  Which month can we choose to highlight, the month of Good Health, that we can be aware of our blessings with thanksgiving, instead of curses, living with fear and trepidation.   Who invents these months of  Whatever anyway ?

Mental affliction is one, and lately Cancer has found its niche of awareness in October too.   As I said, it is good to hear the stories of others who have suffered these afflictions and diseases.  It is good to know that one is not alone in difficult times – as long as it leaves a residue of hope.

Where I live, October is well on its way to Spring, and Spring speaks of new life, and new life always brings hope.
I hope that as I share my encounter with cancer it will leave that residue of hope.

imagespeach blossom

On reflection now, I thought I saw the ghost of cancer in the corridors of the Scan Imagining building, when I visited there a few weeks ago.
She was a little, seemingly old, lady who had an ashen face, with a turban on her head.
She was small and quiet, with knowing eyes that were observing the comings and goings of the other patients there, while she waited for her turn for treatment.  It seemed obvious that she had been there before, and suffered the chemo therapy, that may have left her looking like the ghost of cancer.
I did not pay her much attention at the time.    And I am sorry now, for I missed the random opportunity, as I passed her by,  to give her a warm smile of encouragement – which she may well not have needed, as she seemed surrendered in her wait.

I was preoccupied with getting through the procedures of the day.  Foreign procedures of bone scans, drinking lots of liquids in waiting rooms marked  ‘Nuclear Medicine’ !!  Enough to send the ‘majeebees’ down the spine and ignite the imagination into orbit.   These scans would show up images, that could reveal the tell-tale signs of cancer in the internal parts of the body.
The scene was fitting too, for the huge scanning machines were quite intimidating, impressive, but intimidating.  Like a giant submarine, ready for launching into the deep.
And into the deep I went, with many images being taken of my ‘insides’.

As I lay there, between scans, my eye caught the little screen above to the left, which I thought at the time, were reflecting the images of my internal organs.    “At the end of this,”  I thought, “these people will know me from the inside out” – chuckle !   But I turned my gaze away, for I did not need to look at something I could not make head or tail of.

So instead I took the time to ponder on just how fearfully and wonderfully I am made.  The body is just the outer part of me, then there is the internal me, that makes me function well on the outside.  A whole marvellous, (maybe not as pretty as our magnificent universe out there among the stars),   but our very own inside universe, real in its own right !  Carefully designed, expertly operational, well orchestrated for detailed absorption, nourishment and distribution for me to be functional and healthy.
The human me – a walking talking miracle !

“But wait, there is more” I thought as the time passed.    Beyond the internal organs, there is the soul me.    Not quite sure of its exact location in the body.  Probably in the brain with its own magnificent design and structures to house the intellect, the will, and the emotions embedded in memory, with the ability of consciousness or awareness that harnesses the signals coming from without, … and the thought life from within !

You would think that this is enough marvellous creation-force to complete the whole of the human me.    But no – there is more !
There is the spirit me – a very delicate work indeed.   The invisible spirit me, which is the real me.   This creature called Me, goes very deep.  You have to dig deep if you want to know the real me …. if I allow you !
It is in the arena of the invisible, the impartial subconscious – and this, I believe, is linked to the spirit realm.  A personal porthole, if you like, into a much bigger story, …. of glory !

Now, enter a new scene in the adventures of me. The spiritual realm is a mystery.   It is a place where my Creator lives.  He is the original Originator !  He fearfully and wonderfully made me,  with light and probable nuclear forces at work too.   He designed and knitted me together in my mother’s womb –  my bones, my sinews, my muscles, my precious organs and my flesh.
A place where the impossible is possible, where wisdom and knowledge are kept in waiting rooms – not marked Nuclear Medicine, but Truth and Revelation.  A place where Joy and Peace live side by side.

But, there is another story at play.   The spiritual realm is also a place where huge battles are fought, sometimes won, sometimes lost.  A place of very dark vicious and powerful influences !  Influences that want to steal, kill, and destroy the whole of  me.
So my God, in His wisdom,  made a battle plan for victories to be won.   A plan to destroy the works and influences of darkness.
The plan is the gospel of Jesus Christ.    It makes for a most amazing, wonderful story – the greatest story ever written !  You will find it in a book called The Bible – an all time best seller !  Put it on your ‘Must Read List”

In the Book, the plot is centred around Jesus Christ.   God says when I accept Jesus, His Son, as the Saviour and Lord of my soul, and thus my life, I become reborn.    I become a new creation.   A brand new me !  Yes, there is a new world coming !
And so begins new adventures for me !

For a new creation person in this world, it does not mean the discarding of the ghosts of cancer.  Cancer which can and does thrive on harbouring fear, ignorance, (which often work together) intimidation, manipulation, mangled mutations, malignant growths and even awful mutilation – all products from the horror factory.    Not to mention an intense  strangling and plummeting of the emotions, for all concerned in the cancer story.  Cause as much deformation and destruction as far and wide as possible, – is the end goal of evil.

But a new creation person can overcome these evil negative things  – (and therein lies yet another story!)      There is always faith hope and love in their armoury, stout weapons that carry weight and power, to the ultimate victory in Christ.
For it is in-Christ, that we are made more ready for, and indeed become the New Creation.   Yes, there is a new world coming !

Go ahead and read the long,  and very brilliantly written interwoven stories that make up the amazing story of God and His love.   A story of victory and beautiful, beautiful restoration !     A story He has written for all,  and let it pertain to you too.    Become an Over-comer, get to know the story,  and become part of the New Creation that is coming.
Make it your adventure too.
And take Hope home !

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

 

light peach blooms