From Ferry to Fairy

Ok… maybe I borrowed the title from someone else… but it sums up this last weekend so nicely…. Melody and I made another trip to the land of magic and happy endings! We took the ferry over on Friday afternoon with a nice calm sea and the beautiful white cliffs of Dover behind us.

White Cliffs of Dover

We knew we would have a full day at Disney the following day, so we didn’t mind the fact that we would be arriving late in the evening at the hotel. We had also stopped off at a supermarket along the way to get some provisions for the weekend, but nothing quite beats an early morning cup of coffee!

Morning Coffee

I don’t actually like rides as my stomach is very sensitive and I easily get motion sick, but I love do love watching all the different types of people. Plus going on the fairytale rides such as ‘It’s a Small World’ and ‘Peter Pans’ Flight’. We were also insanely lucky as the weather was beautiful. We were glad we didn’t listen to the weather forecast, which had suggested rain, thunderstorms and cold temperatures.

Taking Instagram pictures at the different ‘walls of Disney’ and seeing all the different characters are all part of the fun that makes up a day at Disneyland Paris.

We love going on the water rides such as ‘Thunder Mesa’ and the fairytale boats…did I mention we were so lucky with the weather?

The traditional cookie and castle pictures have to be taken…no matter how many times we visit, these are traditions that will always be kept…

The day finished for us with the ‘Disney Stars on Parade’. We didn’t stay for the fireworks spectacle, as in the summer months they are at 11pm! This time however, we just wanted to get some food and put our feet up!! We had walked around and stood for hours! The burning sensation reminding us of every step we took.

Sunday was always going to be a quick visit before heading back to the ferry… the weather really turned, which was forecasted, but we managed to have some sunshine before the looming thunderstorm hit! So a quick walk around Walt Disney Studios to see the Marvel characters as it was the Marvel season…. give me fairytales and happy endings over Marvel anytime though!

When it was time to hit the road, the thunderstorm was overhead and so we decided to leave a little earlier than planned, just in case. We attempted to avoid the many potholes on the road and make it back to the ferry in time.

We will see you again soon Disney! I can’t get enough of all the magic! It really is the happiest place on earth!

Conference

It’s exciting to be able to attend a technology conference in the area of my work. The location is Orlando and although hot and humid, the presentations inside are cool!

The best one of the day was given by Bear Grylls. The topic: how to be your best. He came across so personable and humble, quite striking and awesome! He explained how he did not see himself as this very successful person and shared his 4 words of encouragement.

Am taking his idea and share it here, cause it’s too good to keep for myself!

A mentor friend of mine always says: fail fast, fail forward. And that was also Bear’s first word to share: Failure.

We don’t like to talk about failure.. failure is seen as negative. But for every success there are probably dozens of failures.. we should not be afraid of it, but embrace it as a path to learn.

The second word is Fear. We are probably all scared of the unknown, of taking the next step. Fear can also motivate us though.. to keep doing it, to put ourselves out there.

The third word is Fire. Fire in nature is the start of new beginnings. After a devastating forest fire, the forest renews. Fire can move us forward, gives us the passion and drive. Persistence is key. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit extra. Never giving up.

The fourth word is Faith. God is there to lean on and encourage us. We all gave our mountains we have to climb, and faith in God gives us that perspective to keep going.

Achieving dreams means embracing failures….

As a perfectionist and driver it’s hard for me to accept failure.. but keeping those 4 words in mind I am pushing forward.

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!

Easter

Am currently in the States and drive a rental car. A really nice new Hyundai something or other. It’s got this feature that takes a little getting used to… lane control! If you drive a little over the lines on the road, the car automatically corrects that. You have to indicate early or it won’t let you smoothly turn!

That got me wondering… especially since it’s the Easter weekend. How handy would it not be if our lives would get automatically corrected if we veer off course! Or would it be? Would it be just like the car I drive… a little scary?

Yesterday we remembered Jesus was condemned to death and was nailed to the cross. Tomorrow we celebrate we worship a living King who conquered death. The Easter message. This should set the course of our lives.. the message in the Bible our lane control and the fact He lives should be enough to want to know Him more.

Psalm 8 says this: Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your nameA)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”> in all the earth!

You have set your gloryB)” style=”font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: top”>
    in the heavens.

Apparently that was the inspiration for Swedish song writer Boberg who wrote the hymn ‘how great Thou art’. I inserted the second verse as that is so appropriate for Easter…

And when I think of God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

I need lane control in my life, just like I need it when driving and my distractions push me over the lines. The message given to us in the Bible is my lane control and I remember the message of Easter this weekend extra to remind myself I serve a living King whose lane control I want in my life.

How about you?

Happy Easter! The Lord is risen, He is risen indeed!

Friend of God

For years one of the more popular worship songs we sang a lot was ‘I am a friend of God’ by Israel Houghton. A very catchy tune (https://youtu.be/4OZZyBBFCMc
) and the lyrics are beautiful. Who am I You are mindful of me, that You hear me when I call… and the chorus … I am a friend of God, He calls me friend…

The lyrics of the song seem to be taken from the book of John 15 verse 15 where it says:

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

It’s only been very recent that the concept of friend of God means anything to me. Ofcourse I knew what I was singing, but now I have a greater appreciation of what it means to be called a friend. Friendship is a 2 way street, it’s a relationship where both parties put effort into. It’s where only the best is wished for the other. Where a word or a look is enough to know what the other is thinking. Where you know the other has your back. You have a true relationship of trust and mutual respect.

That is what God wants with us. Not a servant relationship where you can loose your status if you do something wrong. Not a fear relationship, punished when not obeyed.

I listened to an old recording of pastor Maxwell, who did a week of prayer at Stanborough Park church in the early nineties. He brings out the above points so nicely. He encouraged to see the character of God in each bible book and to read on if it seems God is not relational.

Oh to be called a friend! That’s how I want my relationship to be with God. Much like my relationship with my earthly friends like Althea who is burying her mum next week. I can’t be there but in thoughts and prayers am with her every step of the way. That’s how God wants to be our friend too. To be able to spend time and care for us the same way we would care for Him.

I am a friend of God…. you?

Eagles

Another couple weeks have passed with lots of happenings in it. My friend Althea and her family are mourning as both mother and mother in law passed away in quick succession. Death is such an enemy. It’s such a definite goodbye here on this earth. So hard to find the right words to say.

There is this verse in the Bible, Isaiah 40:31 where it says: but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.

That verse gives such a comfort. God will carry us on His wings, like the eagles carry their young.

There is nothing more powerful than seeing the bald eagle soaring in the sky. The bird is massive, majestic and the wingspan is huge. That verse always comes to mind when I see the telltale sign of the typical shape and white head and tail. I want to be carried on those strong wings, not having to carry my burdens all alone.

With a church band we used to sing that Hillsong song : Hide me now, under your wings… cover me, within your mighty hand… when the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm… Father you are King over the flood… I will be still and know You are God. Find rest my soul.. in Christ alone.. know His power, in quietness and trust.

Through the hard and dark times we learn to trust in Him and allow us to be comforted by the strong wings. That’s what I also wish for my lovely friend Althea and her family. And all who are reading this and are grieving.

I read somewhere online: Grief is the cost of loving someone. We have to go through it. But His wings will carry us. If we let Him.

Twists and Turns

Life is unpredictable sometimes… unexpected twists and turns, stuff that happens even if we did not expect it…. good and bad!

My sister in love turned 50 this week… a milestone birthday, not given to anyone. For sure cause for celebration, even if at a distance! My own 50th birthday was the end of last year… my father in law died 2 days before my birthday… not really a cause of celebration… still, I made the milestone birthday and am still here. My friend Althea’s mum is a woman of each day… we do not know how long she still has…

A recent student missionary from Stanborough Park church is getting married in a few months… Melody’s friend Felicity had a baby girl a little while ago… and on and on it goes… those that have a facebook account and browse through these pages see all sorts of happenings in the lives of those we call Facebook friends… weddings, births, sickness, deaths…..all twists and turns.

Just the other day I watched the Dreamworks Animated movie ‘the Prince of Egypt’. The story of the people of Israel, who were freed from Egypt and under leadership of Moses dwelled in the desert until they could enter the promised land. Moses, the rescued Hebrew baby, adopted by the pharaoh and raised as a prince, discovered who he was and who he needed to be through a life full of twists and turns. The most prominent experience was at a burning bush, where he was commissioned to be the leader of the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. God spoke with him through that bush that burned, but the fire did not consume it. Moses life can be divided in blocks of 40… each next section of 40 brought another twist. 40 Years at the courts, 40 in the desert to purify and become the leader he needed to be and another 40 years leading the people to Canaan. He had amazing experiences, being face to face with God, but also many lows.. when he battled with temper (and who can blame him when the people he rescued did nothing but complain…. asking for food, asking for water… lamenting ever leaving Egypt and slavery). As result of his temper when he hit the rock instead of spoke to the rock as instructed by God, he was not allowed to lead the people into the promised land.

Why do I find that story so intriguing? There is the beautiful song sang by Miriam, the sister of Moses, and Moses wife ‘there can be miracles’…the song reminds us that despite all the twists and turns life gives us, we should not give up believing. That’s what gives us direction, and sustains us so we can navigate that which life throws at us. Moses life was a good example … yes, he died, but because of his believe, and the relationship he had with God, he lead a tremendous life and is spending eternity in heaven.

Something to keep in mind… navigating the weird ways life sometimes goes…. there can be miracles…..

There can be miracles

When you believe

Though hope is frail

Its hard to kill

Who knows what miracles

You can achieve

When you believe somehow you will

You will when you believe

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?