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

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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

 

 

I learned…

These words made a soft impression on my heart…hope it does the same for you.

Ashes to rose

I Have Learned that:

Being kind is more important than being right.

We can always pray for someone when we don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

Sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

It’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

Under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

The easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

Everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

You should never say no to a gift from a child

The Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?

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The Long Road to Friendship

 

Best_Real_World_Full_HD

“I forgot to buy water to take for the long road.”   “What long road?” my husband asked.
“I am going to meet with my friend who is holidaying at Ballito.”     Just short of rolling his eyes he said with a sort of sniff   “that’s not a long road, it’s a thirty minute drive !”  Well, I hadn’t left the confines of the busy city for a while, so it seemed to me, that it was going to be a long road ahead.

It was a sunny day and a pleasant ride, not long at all, and before I knew it I was at her gate.  The joy of seeing a familiar friend is so delightful.  We fell into chatty conversation that filled a four-hour visit.

cups of tea

We had crackers and cheese with our tea, as we did the catch-up on current events,  the state of the country, the state of the Church, engaging on doctrine, remembering co-hearts from our former circles, sharing  some family news, and shed a tear or two on little heartaches we had known.   Tears in friendship are good.  They make us real, and take the edge off being the super-women we sometimes need to be to those around us.
That is what a friendship can look like.  It’s a safe space for sharing, a space that is conducive for necessary and honest conversations, that are undemanding, neutral and
comfortable.  A lot of talking, but a lot of listening too.

But to get to a real friendship will require we take the long road.
Real friendships are not instant, they take time to form, time to be distant, time to be tested and moulded into whatever shape they will eventually become.    Friendships can be fragile things, and can break at any time along the way.   Real friendships need to be cherished and nurtured and watered to grow.

Oak sapling
As woman we thrive on friendships.  Probably because of the release of the feel good hormone called oxytocin in our system.    Or, more than likely at the core we are talkers and need listeners.   Or, perhaps we meet each other more easily at the emotional level.  Women understand “heart-talk” – women understand women.    Rare is the man who can say that he understands a woman.  Probably it should be so, for each in his or her own role, compliment each other.  Like a lock and a key – different, yet fulfil the purpose they are designed for – effective combination that unlocks potential.
And beautiful,  beautiful is the soul-friendship of a husband and wife team.

two-little-boys-walking-ahnd-in-hand.jpg

There are many types of friendships.   The “bromance”,  is a compatibility of personality that can grow into lasting friendships.    Men friendships have a real strength about them, it makes the world a better and safer place.
Of course it would also take time for these friendships to grow.  Men are more cautious, because men understand men, and their protective and productive natures allow them to scan for the hidden agenda, the intruder, and for the thief.  They are the providers and protectors of their domains their families and their homes.  And will vehemently guard them, regardless of friendship.

Friendships are not just for woman and in essence are built up on good honest relationships.
Are good personal relationships the open secret of happiness ?  That may well be true.
Friendships at best are reciprocal, a give-and-take.   Often the highway of friendship will become a dead-end street when one just gives, and the other just takes.  That is what you find out on the crowded highway called Life.

Friendships require mutual understanding, with mutual deposits and withdrawals into each others lives.  Like a banking system, only with emotions, and feelings.
To build up a good balance  – make big deposits often, keep the withdrawals small, with no obligations.
If we do this, not only will our relationships grow,  but our finances too!

Good friendships are a gift,  a rare find.  It takes time to grow friendships, and that is why the road to real friendship is a long one, travelled lightly, with plenty of sunny  spaces in between.   And don’t forget to take a water bottle !

The friendship road is a road worth taking, a road to travel well, and along the way, with bumps and bends and all,  will make of us better people.  Let us celebrate our friendships.

A friend loves at all times…….  Proverbs 17:17

three butterflies