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!

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!

 

Shoes

It’s funny, how shoes just always spark discussions…. too many shoes, do you really need more shoes? You already have shoes like that…

Shoes… I have to admit, I have a fair few of them… not counting boots and flip flop… a girl just needs all kinds!

What about men? It’s no longer true they make do with one pair! Or maybe 2, for work and going out…. trainers, shoes, sandals… all kinds…

Am sure we will discuss the topic of shoes 100s more times… it never fails to spark heated exchanges….

In the mean time… am going to buy me another pair… after all, I am 5000 miles away.. what’s he going to say after he bought shoes today?????

Quiet Time

We have been quiet on here… sometimes life just absorbs us so much, there is no time to stop and smell the roses….

It’s not a good thing! To feel you are being lived, instead of living. To feel you are rushed, instead of being able to take time to reflect on the little things. To worry, instead of remembering that even if the little birds don’t know where they will get their food from, they know they have a Heavenly Father who takes care of them.

The whole family has been very busy. But I want to share how super proud I am of my daughter. She has been working hard to get our Etsy shop updated (hope you are taking a moment to check it out right here on our blog, the tab marked Etsy), and has been finding opportunities to have a stall at various events to sell our handmade shawls and blankets. To build up a business like this takes time, and is very slow going. But she is sticking with it and I am not apologising for promoting this!

She is learning valuable skills, like patience… something I struggle with on a daily basis.

I am just trying to remember to stop once in a while and lookup and around me, to see the beauty nature has to offer me, and to remember that I have a Heavenly Father who longs to spend time with me, as much as I do with Him.

Below some snaps of some precious moments in nature where His voice is the loudest. Hope you are also able to take these moments of rest, quiet time, and find time to recognise those around you that make you proud!

 

 

Unselfishness

What a title!! To be unselfish… to put other needs before yours? To think of someone else more than yourself?

For sure ‘unself’ is not self… not seeking something for yourself..

I am wrestling with that verb. To be unselfish. Do I not count? Do my wishes and needs not count?

Jesus said in the Bible in Matt 22:39 that we have to love our neighbour as ourselves. He said it’s the second most important commandment. The first one being to Love God above all else. The new English translation says it as follows: And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” It almost seems contradictory to the verb of unselfishness.. we are tasked to love others as ourselves and we are to be unselfish.

I recently read an article, where being unselfish was quite nicely summarised:

Unselfish love is not about giving up what you want; it is about accepting and encouraging your partner’s desires and dreams as much as they do yours.

That’s what I want to be known as.. someone who is not selfish but seeks the others success as much as my own. That’s the kind of boss I want to be, the kind of friend, the kind of mother etc.There is this song from Amy Grant: My fathers eyes (https://youtu.be/D9L1ODcaE-k)

The words are like this:

I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that’s all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,

She’s got her father’s eyes,
Her father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
My father’s eyes,
Just like my father’s eyes.

To me, that’s unselfishness… and I hope that’s shining through in my life.What about you?

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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!

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?