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?
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.
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!
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?
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!
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.
My car is very small… Smart small that is.. and while I don’t like how tiny it is at times, I love I don’t have to worry parking it… I park it on the tiniest of corners while I am traveling, trusting it will start again when I need it driving to work…
I had joked about it before I set off this morning…. wonder if my car feels deserted and is willing to start today….. yup! It did… Hei ho…. off to work I go!
Until I reached the first little hill on a tiny road… the lights came on all at once… never a good sign… I managed to steer it as close to the curb as possible…no more power… stuck on this small road….
I was surprised how many people actually stopped to ask if I was ok…. uhmm… yes… although my car won’t start…. a motor cyclist asked at least twice.. a cyclist called out to me.. total strangers… when a big truck appeared wanting to crawl past, a couple came out of their driveway to assist. So kind…
It reminds me of the story of the Samaritan… the wounded stranger on the ground needed help… and everyone was too busy to stop and help… until a kind stranger came by. Not only did he tend to the wounds, but he went out of his way to ensure the wounded person got the care he needed. Unselfishly kind. Kind without expecting anything in return…
I got rescued too… my car in fact did start up again… and I could continue my Friday as planned… remembering how I felt when strangers were kind, I tried to do the same…
So I thought I would start a series on the do’s and dont’s that are associated with wildlife. For the first one I thought I would go with turtles. Now as you may know, I am a marine biologist with a huge love and passion for conservation. This has led me to take multiple trips around the world with focus on conservation and eco tourism. One thing that I noticed a lot was animal eco tourism trips and specifically those with the focus on sea turtles.
So over the years I have been on multiple trips where turtle spotting has been part of it. Whether it was working on a turtle conservation project with Archelon in Zakynthos or turtle spotting in Tobago. I have picked up certain behaviours from tourists that inspired me to write this.
So lets start with the Dont’s:
If you are fortunate enough to see one in the ocean whilst on a boat…do NOT go near it with the boat…keep a safe distance and don’t drive over them!
If you see one whilst swimming/snorkelling/diving…again keep a safe distance. Turtles can be very quick swimmers so if they get stressed by you, they will swim away but always give them space. DO NOT touch them!
If you encounter an adult on the beach, give her space as it will most likely be an adult female who is getting ready to lay her nest. This will occur at night (or very rarely at sunrise) so do not shine your torches as that stresses them out and again give them plenty of space. Do not use any light at all, this includes phone lights, flashes from cameras and normal torches.
If you are lucky enough to see hatchlings coming out of the nest. No matter how tempting it may be. DO NOT pick them up. They use their journey from the nest to the ocean to ‘learn’ where to come back to to lay their own nests.
Don’t litter…This is an easy one. Even if you aren’t seeing any turtles, the litter you drop on a beach will inevitably affect a turtle at some stage. Whether its an adult or a hatchling, they all are effected by litter on the beaches and in the ocean.
Do not buy turtleshell products when travelling. They are normally caught by poachers and are always illegally and inhumanely sourced.
Now for the do’s:
If you are fortunate enough to see them…enjoy the moment! Do it responsibly but enjoy it none the less! They are beautiful creatures and I will never get bored of seeing them.
If you spot a hatchling going the wrong way…pick them up and turn them around. If it is during the day…try and shade them so that the sun doesn’t roast them. And if it is at night, try and block out the lights that are disorientating them.
Do a beach clean every time you go to the beach. Even if you only pick up 5 pieces of litter each time it will make a huge difference.
If you decide to go on a turtle spotting boat…make sure you go with a reputable company that is known for its eco tourism. If you aren’t sure which company to chose, there are companies in most countries that are there for the sole purpose for turtle conservation, such as Archelon in Greece and Save our Turtles in Tobago, they will be able to tell you companies that they recommend.
Use recyclable straws or reusable straws. Straws are some of the biggest culprits of turtles dying. Making a small change to reusable straws or no straws at all will make a huge difference.
Eat locally sourced sustainable seafood. Companies that are locally sourced tend to use better fishing techniques so less turtles get caught in fishing lines. The sustainable companies will use more turtle friendly fishing gear.
Last but not least. Donate to local turtle conservation projects. Most are NGO’s and need the money to keep running. If you can’t give money, maybe you can give some time and volunteer with them. I can’t recommend that enough. My time volunteering with Archelon in Zakynthos was one of the best summers I’ve had. The information I learnt then have stuck by me and have changed my daily habits.
Overall, enjoy them! They are truly beautiful creatures, so lets protect them so that we and the future generations can still enjoy them!