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.”
-cent-south-africa-1963.jpg

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

Like A River — Ad Infinite-item

 

This shared post is a good reminder when we find ourselves in troubled times, whether its on a national, church or personal level. Take hope.

 

“Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it has a God who knows the way out of the grave.” G. K. Chesterton Like a mountain river propelled downward, flowing between canyon walls with the power of gravity guiding the power of rushing water, picking up debris and impurity in its headlong movement. […]

via Like A River — Ad Infinite-item

Bring in the Gold

gold in rocks.jpg

In the ordinariness of life, gold is found !

It was the first Saturday of Spring,  for those living on the south end of the Equator.  There was a definite whiff of something in the air.   Perhaps there was a change of frequency as the season changed from Winter to Spring, or perhaps it was a warming up of the weather, but something was stirring, a promise was coming !

The day was warm and welcoming, and there was a skip in my step as I set out to the  doctor’s waiting room.   I parked my car in the underground parking area and headed out to the Mall.
I had a lovely morning taking in the sights and sounds of the milling crowd, even did a little unplanned shopping, that always gives a lift to the mundane.   Stopped by for a  coffee, that goes so well with ‘retail therapy’  – and just soaked up the ordinariness of life.

It was when I went back down to the parking lot and paid at the underground parking station that I heard them.  Two old minstrels  strumming their guitar and banjo, and making the joy of music for those who would but listen.

I felt my heart stir, and went over to place an appreciation in their basket.   They made such a lovely picture, that on the spur of the moment, I asked if I may take a photo of them.   They kindly consented, as if it were the order of their day.

I lingered just a little longer to ask their names, and where they were from.  Just a little light conversation to seal the moment.   As I turned to walk away I heard myself say “You are such lovely people !”  Just in time, I caught the smile in Conrad’s eye as he said “You are too miss”    And right there was the gold, the exchange of community kindness.    What a lovely brief moment in time !    I walked away on a little cloud that had been the promise of that Spring day.

Buskers

Conrad and Raymond, the two minstrels  that have been playing and entertaining the ‘car-parkers’ and shoppers at that Mall for many Saturdays – and over the Christmas season too.   They are indeed a delightful feature an added bonus to the Mall, yet tucked away in the underground parking area.
Two old minstrels, with I am sure, stories to tell of their hard lives,  and yet they are  notably abandoned in the music they so diligently play for the passers-by.

Bring in the gold – threads of gold found in an ordinary day, in the lives of ordinary people.   Bring in the gold I say !

 

gold nuggets

 

 

 

 

Meet Valentine

 

Meet Valentine

 

Valentine is a Barn Owlet that lives at The Hollow somewhere in rural California, the home of photography Cindy Knoke.  She takes delight in capturing the critters and creatures on her property, and her love for them shows in the clear photographs she is renowned for.
I visit her blog often, and just loved her Baby Valentine (she names her little critters and creatures.)  I asked her permission to draw Valentine, because he looked so love-able with his heart face and turmeric colours, and she kindly consented.

I thought he would be easy to draw with my coloured pencils.  Just a round face with a heart in it, lots of colour, a few feathers and it would be done in a jiffy.
The project turned out to be quite intense, and I spent many individual hours trying to capture a replica of this beautiful bird.

One night, after a concentrated drawing session I went to bed, laid my head on my pillow,  closed my eyes to sleep – and all I saw were yellow feathers and freckles !!  As I drifted off in sleep I wondered if I was nothing but a ‘feather-brain’ after-all  …..  “they”
say you become what your observe !  🙂

He was a delight to draw, and of course the many hours it took to draw him is because I am still such a novice at this drawing stuff.   Drawing, unlike painting, does take time, but its such fun to create something from a blank page.

So enjoy my version, but do go over to Cindy’s blog,   here
and scroll down till you meet up with the real Baby Valentine.

I am quite sure you will be as delighted by him, and Cindy’s  photography,  as I am.

 

angel feather

A Wonder-filled moment

 

moon eclipse Aus

I was one of the many southern hemisphere sky-gazers on 27 July this year.   Watching one of the longest moon eclipses from a beautiful dark and cloudless African sky.

It was an amazing occurrence, and left me with mixed feelings.   As I looked up and saw one of the ‘constants’ of my life, the moon, change before my eyes,  it made me feel just a little uneasy and slightly anxious.   But as I explained to my son what was actually taking place out there, reason prevailed and anxiety was dismissed.

Having knowledge and understanding will always counter fear.     I wondered how the people and tribes of old felt, or indeed still feel, when they see these strange phenomena happening to their ‘constants.’   I don’t wonder at the myths and interpretations that proceed from them, for the human imagination is limitless, and a sight like this could spark any imagination, or agenda.

 “Then God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night;   and let them be for signs and seasons, and for day and years;   – Genesis 1:14

In Genesis it  speaks of the lights for the signs and the seasons,  and I’m sure there must be numerals, formulas and equations that would justify some of the seasons in the history of mankind, and map out a prophetic line for us to observe, so that we can presently understand the times we are living in, and not be fearful.    I think that the Jewish faith has an intent in this regard, but I am rather ignorant on this subject.

 

Eclipse - orbits

 

However, it was a moving experience.   I came to realise again that there is more at play in our lives than just me myself and I.   Anyone looking up at this happening must surely observe and know that there is something much bigger and greater than planet earth – the evidence is there before our eyes.   The Creator of planet earth has hung planets and stars in the sky that orbit each other in an orderly fashion, without fail or falter.  A well oiled operation, if you will !   And that there is a purpose and a story behind it all – waiting for us to discover, I am quite sure.

On this particular night, I stood astounded as I looked up and saw this wonder-filled moment taking place, and my heart warmly resonating with Psalm 19

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.

 

Exuberance in Russia

 

Stadium at Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Russia

Exuberance is the only word that adequately expresses the goings-on in Russia this past month, with the nations competing against each other at the amazing 2018 World Cup Soccer event.
It will surely be remembered as the Soccer World Cup of last-minute-goals.  This is what brought out the exuberance of the players, the fans, and the TV world watchers around the world,  of which I was one ardent couch spectator.

What excitement and happiness and what disappointment and despair all wrapped up in this extreme emotion of exuberance – blatantly and un-ashamedly displayed for all to see.  How nice to see man at his best –  happy !  (and isn’t man at his happiest when he is chasing a ball !!)    Nevertheless, it was as if a veil was momentarily lifted and license had been given to be who you are and who you shout the loudest for.      All the trappings of pretence and reserve removed in a moment of patriotic loyalty;  done without threat or fear, in the manner that the sport of Soccer provided for four weeks for the whole world to see.

Amazing was the fitness and stamina of these players.  Honed through months, and for some years, hard practise, discipline and dedication.  To be coached, mentored and primed to this pinnacle event, held every four years.   Soldiers of Soccer prepared for gigantic battles to be fought with everything that is in them.    The last time I viewed such absolute verve and determination was with the movie Brave Heart, but that was just a movie – this is real-life passion, played out in Soccer.  The passion that drove these young men was astounding to observe.  Their never give up attitudes, their falling down, some spiralling  extra spins for show and penalties, some vehemently arguing their way out of yellow cards, and in some cases unfair decisions – letting the moment of frenzy play out to their advantage.    Soccer is seemingly not just a sport of great scintillating foot skills, but  clever psychological manoeuvres as well.  A combination of clever head and footwork !   But it is the combination of stamina and that vital ingredient passion that made me watch men at their best, doing what they do best.

Interestingly too, was the transition taking place.  One generation of soccer players moving on to make room for a new generation of younger players.  That was perhaps the reason for the unexpected wins of the less likely teams to go through to the quarter and semi finals.  One could almost see a wave breaking, and  new time players and teams emerging onto this world stage.

Loved “braziliant”  Brazil, as my son named them, and their samba soccer. Such exciting soccer to watch.  The  English and Belgium teams, grounded and steadfast. The Colombians were a little too hot-headed and undisciplined.  The sad, but perhaps timely exit of the “old establishment” soccer nations.   And all the noisy grandstanding crowds ridiculous yet colourful in their apparel of capes and wigs and painted faces.  A real carnival of the nations.

Russian soccer fans.jpg

Happy times make happy memories, and this Russia has surely provided.  What a memorable, and extremely well organised event, that show-cased their nation in the best way possible  – capitalizing on making Russia a definite win, in spite of their courageous team, not quite making it to the grand finale.

 

Russia's Moscow
Moscow,  Russia

 

grand-cascade-peterhof-st-petersburg-38418472
Saint Petersburg, Russia

At the end of it all, Soccer as a sport, scored the final winning goal, by bringing the nations together.
Its been exciting, exhilarating and exuberant to watch – momentary escapism at its best !

Now excuse me as I mount up my munchies bowl and puff up my cushion to take up the best seat, for the last week of this grand tournament of  super soccer nations, my couch.
And may the best team win.

Nations soccer ball