LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE

 

Living in the Slow Lane has its benefits.  It means taking your time, going where you will, and some days can be filled with random encounters – some of which are co-incidences and some of which are God-incidences, and then having the time to digest which is which.   Such is life in the Slow Lane.

Life is full of transitions.  I have come to accept that I now live in a solitude cottage, in the slow lane, in the area of random encounters.  And it is an exciting place to be, if you have eyes that see and ears that hear.

Just the other day I went up the hill to the big grocery store to do a bit of shopping.  I noticed the pop-up stall of the Sunfield Home School that was having a fund-raising event.  I remembered a friend who had a son with a disability who was in the home.  Thought I’d linger, but changed my mind and went on to do some leisurely shopping.

But coming out of the store I thought I heard a voice calling to me, and when I turned there was a young man urging me to buy a sticker for Casual Day.   I could see that he was disabled, yet so polite, so charming, so earnest, that I was hooked.  He escorted me to the till table and said he would reserve a sticker for me, but I could also make a donation into the big box on the table, or “if you like take a stroll around the table and buy some of the handwork made by the students”   ….  so polite, and no pressure !   I said that I liked to shop and will take a stroll around the table.  I picked up a few trinkets and came back to the till table, where a young girl with an absolute winning smile, was ready to take my money.   But Mr Marketing Entrepreneur was waiting for me with the reserved sticker.   I said “what must I do with the sticker?”   He said on the 1st of September I could wear casual clothes and then put on the sticker.   The Principal of the school was at my elbow and he explained Casual Day to me, as I obviously did not know when, or anything else about Casual Day.

Casual Day is a day when you may donate money to a disability charity, get a sticker, wear casual clothes, and so become aware of the World of Disabilities.   Enlightened, I paid the girl with the winning smile for the sticker, my trinkets  and gave Mr Marketing Entrepreneur the change to put in the Donation Box.  He was delighted, as was the Principal, who immediately put my name on their data base.

Marketing well done, they had caught a fat fish.   But the kind Principal at my elbow, told me more about the Home School and their work.   As their School was in a country environment I asked if they had a vegetable garden.  And indeed they do, and a veggie tunnel too.   Way to go !
When I mentioned that Mr Marketing Entrepreneur, who I saw was listening,  had  such an air of charm and confidence,  I had to turn to him to say  ” You are a Super Star.”  If I thought that the words were going to make an impression I was wrong.  He immediately deflected the compliment to the girl with the winning smile at the till table, and said “And what about her ?”   I looked in her direction and said  “You too are such a Super Star”, …. and was quickly rewarded with that winning smile.

As I turned to walk off I heard the Principal say,  give her a Sunfield sticker, and Mr Marketing Entrepreneur came over and pressed a tiny white sticker on my blouse that said  ‘Sunfield Home School thanks you’.  And he gave me a quick hug.  Wow !  I walked away feeling I had been in the company of angels.

I am quite sure that there were angels standing by that pop-up stall, even if they were in the form of the Principal or Carers.  At every turn there was someone who explained either the sale goods or the aims of the School.   The students were not left on their own to man their stall.  The support team was on the spot to assist.
But I suspect that there were other angels too – those of a heavenly feathery kind, for I had felt the light feathery brush of an angel wing as I walked away.   A random encounter, and a God-incident indeed !

Slow Fast Lane

The World of Disabilities is not often seen in the Fast Lane.  It is far to busy, to fast and to insensitive there. But those who have been on the fringes of the World of Disabilities would agree with a quote from the  educators of the Sunfield Home School :

“recognise that the disabled learners have more abilities than disabilities” 

So for one brief moment of the year, the first day of September, remember the Disabled, dress casual and wear a sticker that may just say  “but there for the grace of God go I.”

 

angel feather

 

 

 

 

 

LOST AND FOUND

 

memory desert

Do you know how sometimes you cherish something, neatly tuck it into the folds of your memory, and then overtime it gets lost ?   Something triggers and a  gentle flutter lets you know, although vague, its still in there somewhere.
That’s what happened to me recently when someone wrote of a poem I learnt at school many years ago….something about an Arab (?) – and a tribe !!  So I went searching and found it again, that special poem I had tucked into my memory as a keepsake to cherish.
Joy !   You know the feeling you get when you find your misplaced keys, just magnify that by 10 !   It was as if someone had struck a resonant cord on a big bass guitar that vibrated through my soul, sheer delight!

The poem was written by Leigh Hunt in the 1800’s and not regarded as any great literary feat of the time yet here it is, 200 or so years later still giving insight and delight.  That surely must be a mark of the extraordinary ?

Little snippets about the poet., –  from http://www.poetryfoundation.org

   Leigh Hunt was a centre figure of the Romantic movement in England in the 19th century but he was not, as he wished to be and knew the was not, one of its great poets.
He was a master of mood and atmosphere.   Rather than having depth and passion, his poetry is imbued with the spirit of cheerfulness, which make it pleasant but not great.
He devoted his entire life to literature, writing several volumes of poetry, many essays a handful of plays and a novel, as well as making other literary contributions as a critic, editor and encourage of young writers.

Abou Ben Adhem first published in 1838 is a simple poem bearing the theme that to love man is the same as to love God.  It also includes the line used as Hunts epitaph.  “Write me as one who loves his fellow man”

 

 

Here for you to enjoy is the poem that I had lost, and now is found, and speaks so simply, yet so profoundly on the priorities of a life well lived.  Like me, I hope it will settle your soul and let you know that in spite of everything going on around us, all is well.

ABOU BEN ADHEM

Abou Ben Adem, (may his tribe increase),
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold :-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” – The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord”
“And is mine one?” said Abou  “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel.  
Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerily still, and said, “I pray thee, then, 
Write me as one that loves his fellow man”

The angel wrote, and vanished.   The next night 
It came again with a great wakening light
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo ! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

 

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER

range if diamonds

The song says, diamonds are forever.   So is eternity.  And like diamonds much polishing makes, of an ordinary rough stone, a brilliant gem, a thing of awesome beauty for all the world to see and admire.
God has put beauty in our hearts, and when we truly see the beauty before us it takes our breath away.

I remember visiting the Tower of London where the British crown jewels are on show for all the world to appreciate.    I was enraptured by the beauty of the Culllinan diamonds (found in South Africa in 1906)  embedded in the Queen’s crown and sceptre.

crown diamonds.jpg

I remember my heart taking wings and soaring at the beauty.   It is a special memory and the giddy  feeling of awe I felt I will cherish for ever.

Botswana is a land of harsh contrasts.  It is a dry and dusty land, where mined diamonds are a source of the country’s main revenue.  I did a little research on Botswana and discovered its interesting history, and a little about the Bushman who live there.

“Botswana achieved independence from Britain on September 30th 1966.   In the 50 years since, it has become one of Africa’s success stories, though success has also involved a half a century of contradictions and difficulties.
“Diamonds were discovered in 1967, which allowed Botswana to achieve the fastest rate of economic growth in the world between 1966 and 1980.”
“Botswana has the second highest per capita income in Africa at $17,595, eclipsing South Africa’s $11,750.  Despite unequal distribution of such wealth and despite the likelihood of problems to come, it is at least a legacy to bequeath to the second 50 years.”
Despite apparent democracy, liberal ‘freedoms’ are not always protected : the attempted removal of Bushmen from the Kalahari occurred in President Mogae’s time as did the beginning of the effort to remove the San people from the west.”
Ref :  www.historytoday.com/stephen-chen/50-years-botswana

Digging a little deeper I came across the following on the Bushman of Botswana :
“Tourism is Botswana’s most important market, after diamonds.  Tourists are openly encouraged to enjoy a “Bushman experience”,  taking trips with Bushmen to learn about their hunting and gathering survival techniques and watch them perform ‘trance-dances’   At the same time, the Bushmen are prevented from hunting and the majority  are forced  to live outside their ancestral land”
Ref :  www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/bushmen

So despite its potential wealth for some, the poorest of the poor scratch out a meagre life in its thorn tree geography, where, with God’s help, only the strong, the faithful and the resilient can possibly survive.

coloured diamondslittle diamonds.jpg

 

Often the emails from Gawie are cryptic, and I have had to re-read them to really get an understanding of what he is trying to convey.
Gawie and Dina Joubert have been serving God, and the Bushmen of Botswana for over 25 years now.  It is through his emails that I have come to hear of the Bushmen people of Xanagas.

Gawie of Botswana  Diamond

Gawie, truly a diamond in the making, is a missionary to the Bushman people in Botswana.

No to long ago, an appeal went out to sink a borehole in Xanagas, with a plan to get  animal stock, and grow some vegetables, (yay !) so that the Bushmen could sustain themselves.  When water flowed from the borehole, they named it Blessing.   Water is a blessing, especially in a dry and thirsty land.

Often Church-outreaches from South Africa visit Gawie at Xanagas and bring necessary goods for the Bushmen.   One such item was the donkey-car,   also named Blessings !

 

Blessings Botswana.jpg
Such extremes – from crown jewels to donkey-cars.
Has our sophisticated world forgotten the needs of the poor and the needy ?  Is wealth and riches all this world is about, driven by insatiable greed.   Where has honour gone, where does contentment find itself these days ?   Can’t we share a little ?  Between the have-nots, the haves, and the have-yachts, surely there must be a bridge we can find ourselves on to equalise our different worlds –  just a little?

If you have some time on hand, visit Gawie on his blog, and be amazed at what God’s grace and love can do., and view some real endearing photos of the people of Xanagas.

http://xanagasbotswana.blogspot.co.za/p/new-xanagas.html

Or drop Gawie an email  of encouragement on :   xanagas@gmail.com

Isaiah 62:3  You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord.  And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Eternity is forever.

blue diamond

Tackling food security with urban agriculture

The Plantwise Blog

urban ag
The world population is projected to increase by an additional one billion people by 2030 with Africa and Asia accounting for the greater share of this population growth. According to UN reports, more than half of the world’s population currently live in urban areas. By 2030, it is expected that more than 70 percent of the world population will live in urban areas, especially in developing countries. The steady influx of people to urban areas has significantly increased the demand for food, water and shelter in cities and those who cannot afford these basic amenities are referred to as ’urban poor’.

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A Credo for the Year’s Shortest Day

These words ring true if we stand still for a moment, reflect, take a deep breath, then carry on.

 

Metaphor

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

– Robert Fulghum

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Showing off

CareSA Designs had a lovely experience showing off all its crochet craft at the five day Kwa Zulu Natal Christmas Craft Market this December.

In the spirit of entrepreneurship more than 150 traders gathered at the City Hill Church auditorium in Hillcrest to show off their creations and hard work done during the course of 2016.   Certainly a work ethic is being developed to combat poverty.

As I quietly observed the people and their displays for progress I could not help ‘seeing’ an informal economic pillar being built for a better future.   Yes, not all will make the businessman or woman of the year, but there is resilience and resolve, and if perseverance is thrown in with good measure, it could make a small dent in poverty, and lay a foundation for a better future.

Entrepreneuring runs on Hope, develops imagination – where anything is possible – builds a necessary work ethic, releases expression and God given creative potential.

The other side of the coin however is getting to know the nuts and bolts of running a successful business.  This is another story altogether, yet has to be embraced by the budding entrepreneur,  if good  lasting results are to be obtained.  So the next phase would be to get business savvy, and look for mentors willing to take a walk with ‘the future economic builders’.   It may be a long walk, but a start has been made, and as they say … Rome was not built in a day.

Have a look at some of the 2016  CareSA Designs crochet craft range that was on sale at the Christmas Market this year, and feel free to leave a comment or two on new additions, improvements, or add some new ideas for developing a small enterprise.

All it takes is some pretty yarns, hooks, needles maybe a button or two and a little imagination to make a happy hobby – that one day will grow into a budding enterprise.

Here’s to diligence and to hope, and may the work of our hands prosper.