Coffee

I admit, I love my coffee! I have certain favourites from certain coffee places, but I also really love a cup of coffee just made at home. The warm liquid is comforting…

So we drove back from France to England and on the way I just really fancied a coffee. We stopped and I asked for a skinny vanilla late…. it was a stop at a well known chain, but the coffee lady was clearly new at her job.

A few miles further down I took a sip from my coffee… yuk!!!! the weirdest taste ever, def not a latte!

Opened the lid and stared into my cup of warm milk…. no coffee!!!!

We were debating what to do, and decided to stop at the next rest stop to buy an espresso and add that to the warm milk. It made it drinkable, but only just.

This thought me 2 lessons: always check your coffee before you leave the shop and I don’t like warm vanilla flavoured milk!

It’s a bit like going to church, listening to the sermon, participating in singing, chatting with the fellow participants … but then going home to forget all about God until the following week. Like shutting God out of life, just allowing Him to interact in a very specific setting.

Going through life like drinking warm milk without the coffee. A latte needs the coffee, and God needs the daily interaction in our life. And we need our daily interaction with God too! A perfectly flavoured coffee, fitting together well!!

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!

Another Day

Time has gone so fast, and I realise we have not written anything for some time! The new year started and the family is already back into the swing of things. It’s almost like Christmas never happened!

It’s now the 3rd Sabbath of the month and I guess it’s no longer appropriate to wish folks happy New Year!

However, that’s just what this is all about. New year, new beginnings, good intentions.

I did not really make any. I know I break them as soon as I make them. But still, reflection of the year past and figuring out the future year can’t really be escaped. So caught up in the hype, I did at least tell myself that this year i would try and think of my own needs a little more. Spending time doing things I love just because I love them.

If you ask how I have fared these first 3 weeks of the year.. Uhm.. not so good. However there is one thing I really love doing that relaxes me… Crocheting. I prefer not to do that alone though, it’s fun to do that together with my daughter. But as I am often away, I do find myself often crocheting by myself. Each stitch is done in a rhythm, while my thoughts freely flow. Maybe it’s just a daily reflection, going through the day, self examining and often praying for those around me.

Come to think of it, maybe that should be my good intention for the rest of this year. Starting each day with devotion, and finishing each day with reflection.

My current devotional is ‘my utmost for His highest’ by Oswald Chambers. I subscribe and daily the thought for that day is emailed to me. (https://utmost.org)

Maybe this year we can motivate each other to keep going?

Almost Christmas

It’s a few days before Christmas… although it does not really feel like it is. The media reminds me though, with advertisements for all sorts of things: last mailing dates, last shipping dates, last day to buy the turkey, sales of all sorts to motivate me to buy presents. And yet… it does not feel like it’s Christmas soon.

I am sad that so often Christ is taken out of Christmas. It’s a commercial transaction, which needs reminding as we don’t spend enough otherwise. But there is no reminding of the reason why we even celebrate Christmas.

Does Christmas still have the same meaning? Is it still the moment where we can remember that our Saviour was born on this earth with the purpose of showing us what real love is?

Churches put on special programs. Our own church has a beautiful Christmas Eve candle service, with music, singing and the Christmas story. For me that’s a highlight of remembrance. (
https://youtu.be/Zkj3lVQMlps ) On Facebook I see many other programs advertised, so there is plenty opportunity to celebrate.

Everyone has their own way of celebrating, and as such there are no right or wrong way. But for me, it’s important to take a few moments and really focus on the reason for the season. The love Jesus has shown us by going back to very humble beginnings, to be born as a helpless baby, and the purpose for His life are what I want to focus on. After all, it’s the prelude to the most important event in history: his death and resurrection, so we can live!

It’s nearly Christmas.. out of the busyness will be beauty, when I lit the candles on Christmas Eve….

Silent Night, Holy Night.. all is calm… all is bright

Merry Christmas!

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!

Give me Jesus

No other song grips me as much as the song ‘give me Jesus’. It has no known composer or text writer, apparently it was written in the period when slavery existed. It is classified as a spiritual. The theme of the song is strength in tribulation. The song is included in the hymnal of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Its not so easy to interpret its meaning or purpose. Below is my interpretation.

In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise,
In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus,
You may have all this world,
Give me Jesus.

We can still be slaves in today’s world. Some literal, and some spiritual. It’s good to be reminded that nothing is as important unless we have Jesus.

I love travelling on a scenic route along the Mississippi River. The river is majestic and huge, although from humble beginnings. The river is so wide in some places, it looks like a lake! It has various locks in it to guide boats through the parts of the river that may not have enough water. I am always amazed at that engineering wonder, how ships that large can be transported up and down by the strength of water. It needs the lock though! The lock protects, and provides enough power to help the ship stay its course.

That’s what Jesus is to me. Like a lock in the busy times of life when I feel enslaved by all that is around me. It shelters me, and sets me on a course that is good and manageable for me. And when the waters get too shallow it guides me safely through it.

Give me Jesus…….

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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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Relax, He’s got this

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There is something about flowers that relax me. Flowers in the garden, flowers in a vase, visiting a national garden etc. Not that I am any good at keeping flowers beautiful in my own garden! But the variety of species, the intriguing designs, such a reflection of our Creator!

One of my absolute favourite past times is to visit lavender fields. The colour is beautiful, the smell is lovely, the vastness amazing! Below a small selection of photos from my most recent visit @hitchin.

When you look at their intricate design you can’t do anything but marvel at the beauty, and thank the Designer for thinking of all this. It reminds me of a verse out of the sermon on the mount (Matt 6:28-31)

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?

Flowers can not care for themselves. They are beautiful, and dress up the environment they are in. We can learn from this that we do not need to be anxious about our matters. God will take care of us as He is taking care of the flowers.

What a comforting thought when worry is often so much more natural than trust in God.

He’s got this!

Flowers remind me of that, as I am a natural worrier. Maybe that’s why I love being surrounded by flowers!

 

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?