28 Years

Oh my, time flies… it’s already the end of the first month of 2020, and it really feels like the year just started! However, January is a special month for us and no matter what.. she still looks forward to her birthday!!

I can’t remember the weather, this day 28 years ago. I can barely remember the days following.. but I can remember turning from a woman to a mother! She was the tiniest little thing, a number of weeks early.. but from day one she wrapped up around her little finger.

Today we celebrate her 28th birthday. It’s gone so fast! But still, each day I am so thankful for becoming her mum! We celebrated in style in a funky restaurant in Marlow where we had not been before. A birthday candle on the cake is still fun and asking the singer to sing happy birthday to her is a whole level of more fun!

Maybe this is what God means when He refers to Jesus as His Son. A whole other little of delight. Even if I don’t really understand how the Godhead works, I can so imagine the love flowing through Him when He recognised His Son!

Or the joy Jesus feels when we call Him our father and we recognise ourselves as His kids. A parental relationship is so special! One of deep trust and mutual love.

Melody, am so proud of the young woman you have become! Thank you for celebrating with us!

Beach and Sorts

Some weekends are even better than others. Sometimes it’s just brilliant to just take time out and enjoy all that is around you. It revitalises, enriches, and just makes you plain grateful for the life you are able to lead.

Last weekend was just one of those weekends. We were blessed enough to be able to spend the weekend in Guanacaste, a hot tropical paradise in north west Costa Rica. Konrad, a colleague and friend of mine, was willing to drive us there and back.. not sure if the pictures below show the roads, but for this European, those roads are better described as dirt roads with craters, rivers to cross, and seatbelts tested to the max. Needless to say, we would not have gone there if I would have been the driver. One look and it would have been.. sorry Mel, time to turn back…

Our purpose was to spot turtles, who nest in flocks in Ostional. The call the phenomena Arribada, which unfortunately we mist by a month. Turtles were still spotted but those we also missed. Hatchlings did not come out while we were there. However, the times we were there it was hot, and hatchlings would not survive in that heat.. so maybe for the best after all. We did see lots of evidence of turtles there.. nests, empty eggcasings, hatchling tracks, turtle tracks…. it just made it all very real and a huge reason to come back one day!!!!!

What was weird, shops selling turtle eggs… something I may never understand… and for sure not something i would ever try!!

What we did experience: beautiful beaches, sunsets and nature, amazing food, friendship, waking up to the sounds of monkeys, hummingbirds, butterflies etc.

Mel had the opportunity to snorkel and saw an Octopus, she was happy!! She spotted a couple Whales in the ocean.. and her marine biology appetite was satisfied also.

Writing this does the weekend no justice. It’s something I want to see again!

I am truly marvelled at the beauty of this world, created for us to enjoy. With the word of the Psalmist (19:1) the Heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands.

 

It’s Friday

Some weeks fly by, others drag and never end. But always I am so happy when it is Friday. The end of the week. The beginning of the Day of rest.

Today we drove to the Starbucks estate ‘Alsacia’ for a few hours of rest and restoration. The views were beautiful, and I felt the stress slipping away from my shoulders.

Tomorrow it’s Sabbath, where rest and restoration can continue. As we are in Costa Rica, am sure it will involve pool time and admiring beautiful views.

Below a few snaps of the beautiful estate, maybe it will inspire you too.

Psalm 55:6 oh that I had the wings of a dove. I’d fly away and be at rest…

Time Flies

It’s been a while since I last posted.. in the mean time my favourite season of the year has begun and I am reminded once again of the beauty of nature and the more sobering thought of death.

It’s been almost a year since my father-in-law passed away. I remember driving through beautiful autumn scenery on the way to the funeral. A reminder of death but also certainly of new life. Even though the leaves are falling, the promise of new life is still there. It was and is a comforting thought throughout the grievance process. Life ends, but new life is coming.

Maybe that’s the reason I love autumn so much. The beautiful colours are like a last swan song, before the leaves fall to the ground. They make space for new life after being dormant for the winter season. Just like people. After all, as a Christian I do not believe this life is the only one. I believe in life after death, after a dormant period of sleeping. Waiting for the soon return of Jesus.

I am also approaching the autumn season of my life. My birthday is approaching again and another year has just flown by. Often I don’t even remember all the events that have taken place through the previous year, time just goes so fast! I have many dreams and hopes for the future, but know that the autumn colours do not stay. Still, I will hold fast on the promise of the soon return of Jesus, even if I may fall asleep before that event.

Autumn.. so many promises, so many beautiful memories, and so much to look forward to in the future!

I love the below song ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Eva Cassidy (a woman whose leaf has also fallen to the ground). If you have a chance, listen to the words. The link to the YouTube clip is added below.

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I love Autumn!

Seven Sisters

To go away for a couple days to the seaside is about as lovely as it gets. The destination is the south coast, East Sussex to be precise. We picked up a little Motorhome yesterday and set off, looking for a spot to park the van next to the sea.

We managed to find an area where we could hear the sea.. and see it if we stretched a little. Beds were made and the first night started.

Unfortunately we woke up to nice British weather… rain..

But not to worry.. we packed up, had breakfast and coffee at McDonalds and set off to an area just west of Eastbourne, in the Southdown National park. I had heard a lot about that area, it has an area called ‘Beachy Head’ with a National Trust owned piece of Land. The sun made an appearance soon and the whole area just looked so pretty!

The coastline there is known for its white chalk cliffs, called Seven Sisters. A typical British view.

We decided to have a short cliff walk to see the famous lighthouse beneath the rock, but it was just so windy!

We soon set off to find a campsite for the night, not far from Eastbourne.. next to a pebble beach… shelling is one of our favourite activities, so off we went.. finding lovely different kinds of shells. It’s now fully sunny and it feels like holiday!

We are off, to make food and relax for the evening. Tomorrow is another day for new adventures. I like exploring! So don’t mind me :o)

Gold

Kintsugi is a Japanese art to repair broken pots with gold. Golden joinery, part of the history of the pot.

I love the thought that is behind it.. although there may be some personal interpretation in this.. that being broken does not mean it’s useless and should be thrown away. Instead the pieces are glued back together with gold, making it more precious and valuable in the process!

It appeals to me, to know that even though I feel broken sometimes, I can be made whole again with gold.

There is a verse in the Bible that speaks to me about this too: Job 23:10

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out as gold.

None of us are spared trials, struggles and difficult situations. It is in those times however that we can rely on our God to purify us and make us whole again, if we trust Him with our heart and lives. What an incredible promise that is. Made valuable through golden joinery.

The words of a particular song (we are broken, by High Road. You can listen to it by copy/paste this YouTube link in your browser… https://youtu.be/r0XFrF6Mpj4 ) sum it up so well. Sometimes it takes a little thing to mend.. We are broken to become more beautiful, tried by fire, shine like gold. We are shattered to free the diamonds in our souls.

We are broken to be whole.

Just like the Japanese art form.. made whole by gold, more valuable than ever!

Taking Photos

‘If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment’

‘There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer’

‘Photographs open doors into the past, but they also allow a look into the future’

‘To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them’

These are some random quotes about taking pictures.. and some describe adequately my thoughts on the subject. It’s exciting to see the world through the lens of a camera, trying to capture the moments seen in front of you. Being very proud when this turns out to be ok.. and sad if the moment just can’t be captured well.

It’s true that not all moments lend itself well for photos. Sometimes it’s ok to be seeing scenes with the minds eye. Try and capture that amazing sunset, or the tears inducing romantic scene.

Still, I try and capture as much as possible with my camera and now my iPhone.. resulting in 1000’s of pictures I like to browse through once in a while.

I don’t venture much beyond the snaps I want to keep for myself, feeling inadequate in the post processing of pictures.. photoshop is pretty alien to me although I really admire those that are proficient in it. Quite a number of people come to mind whose work I admire and treasure.

I assisted Melody on a recent photo shoot recently and saw the amount of work that goes into planning out the pictures.. and tremendous amount of work still coming taking the pictures from ordinary to extra ordinary.

I am more of a point and shoot woman.. I like the different lenses and settings, but as the picture is taken.. so I’ll keep it. Guess I still have much to learn!

When enjoying all this, the bible verse in Psalm 95:4-5 comes to mind:

‘In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land’

Or Psalm 19:1 ‘the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands’

So don’t mind me when I my phone or camera is in front of my face. I am trying to capture the beauty I see around me, thanking Him for giving me eyesight and the ability to see beauty all around me!

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Success

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A wise woman once told me that only in the dictionary comes success before work. For sure that is a hard lesson to learn and ever so easy to forget. We all want overnight success, without having to put in the effort. We often look at others, see how successful they are, or are jealous of what effortlessly seems to have been achieved. Instant success. Except we do not see the long hours of preparation or study that goes into that. No one grew their business or learned their skill overnight.

Am often reminded of the verse in the Bible in James 1:12 where it says:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Perseverance means persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Falling down, getting up, pushing on, having that dream front and centre in the mind.

With that it’s important to have people cheering you on, ‘having your back’. Those who talk with you, pray with you, remind you sometimes not to give up but keep trying.

Success, the achieving of ones goals… I will keep on trying.. what about you?

Friday

Fridays are always good days… the end of hectic weeks, the beginning of Sabbath rest… I love Fridays…

Some folks are Monday lovers… not me… it’s the start of a working week and although I like my job and love my colleagues, I usually can’t wait till the week is over.

God was very smart when He initiated the 7 day week back at creation. He worked all week, but then Sabbath came and the text says :

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day. God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. because on it he rested. from all the work of creating that he had done

Am sure God did not need to rest, but He wanted to set that day apart. A day like no others, spend in communion with Him and others.

It’s amazing how refreshing a day of rest can be. A day different from other days. Away from the rhythm of the ‘normal’ life. What a gift He gave us!

It’s Friday and the day of rest is approaching….. I love Fridays!!

Have a great day of rest!

Wild and Free

The weekend was spent in the New Forest, a small national park in the South of England. The scenery is breathtaking and a huge bonus, bordering on the sea!

My peace and calm is found near the water. The waves crashing, finding shells, the wind blowing away cobwebs… I love it all!

Melody was in her element too, taking artsy pictures, identifying every part of left over crab.

A tradition is for us to drink an afternoon tea.. although this time I was quite happy with a cream tea instead! Delicious scone with just the right tangy jam and cream. All in a lovely little cafe near a farm shop.

But it was not really the ultimate destination of our trip. We wanted to explore the New Forest, and see the wild ponies!

So after a night in a nice hotel, overlooking a cricket stadium, we set off.

After a little driving around, we finally spotted some ponies, and then more! Such beautiful animals! And all roaming free in the park. Most were standing around in little groups. We were able to get quite close.

What an awesome life they lead! A whole forest to roam around, able to go where they want to go. Sleeping, eating, walking. No rules… well, almost no rules.. in order to keep the flock healthy and manageable we read that the free ones are all female. Males are only around a few months a year, as they don’t want the flock to grow beyond about 3000. Still, they are able to roam and enjoy!

Reminds me of the invitation Jesus gives to all of us. We can all be free! Free from bondage of sin. All we have to do is accept His saving grace. It will allow us to change and be like Him. Free!

I was born in a world of sin, but am now free, just like the ponies in the New Forest. What about you?