Sunday, 24 March 2019

Wonders it can work.

Wonders it can work.

Easy to give it costs not a thing 
and can give so much.
It fills the life of the receiver.
The giver nothing loses. 
Just a moment takes.
Yet lingers in the thoughts for years.

The richest person.
Gets richer when it is given.
 The poorest get no poorer
By giving to the rich.

 In the home, it brings the greatest joy
At work it brings goodwill.
To the weary a little rest.
The person feeling low is filled with cheer.

It is like a touch of sunshine on a gloomy day.
 Reaching even the most sad.
It does all this and even more.
Not just once, but on and on.

It cannot be bought.
The beggar cannot claim it.
Nor the thief in the dead of night.
The owner cannot give on loan.
It has no value due or worth.

There are those who know not how to give.
The ones who need it most.
So as the day goes slowly on.
Give one of yours.

Today my plea is simple.
Just give a smile to all you see.

Some of the most valuable things are free. Have a wonderful day. 

Saturday, 23 March 2019

What is it all about?

Going with the flow.

My second book is now finished and although I have been working hard to reach the point where I could say that I found myself at a loss. I had rathered enjoyed being back in the saddle almost, I mean it was like each day as I walked and got on with other things my mind was always wondering how could I say what I thought this chapter meant.   I was back sharing my thoughts as I had in my ministry and teaching days. I was finished, what now?

I found again the draft of a book on meditations and reflections written many years ago. Could I do anything with it? We shall see!

Something I read reminded me of the following.

A professor was doing some research into what young people thought of love. He asked a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers he got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined.  I kept a note of them and here are just a few.

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love." Rebecca - age 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth." Billy - age 4

"Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on deodorant and they go out and smell each other." Karl - age 5

"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs." Chrissy - age 6

"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired." Terri - age 4

"Love is when my mum makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK." Danny - age 7

"Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mum and Dad are like that. They look gross when they kiss" Emily - age 8

"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen," Bobby - age 7

"If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate," Nikka - age 6

"Love is when you tell a boy you like his shirt, then he wears it every day." Noelle - age 7

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well." Tommy - age 6

"During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my dad waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore," Cindy - age 8

"My mum loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night." Clare - age 6

"Love is when Mum gives Daddy the best piece of chicken." Elaine-age 5

"Love is when Mum sees Dad smelly and sweaty and still says he is more handsome than Robert Redford." Chris - age 7

"I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones." Lauren - age 4

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you." Karen - age 7

"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget," Jessica - age 8

A minister once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four-year-old child whose next door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's house, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there.

When his Mother asked him what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry."

Have a great day.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Miracles take longer.

No matter how difficult the journey water always reaches the sea.

I was talking to a friend the other day that was despairing of never managing to do all that he wanted. He forgets that he is not the same age as he was last year or the year before. For that matter, none of us is as young as yesterday. I also spoke to another who shared with me that so often things that are not as they should be,  bad things get in the way of fully enjoying the good things of life.

I  was for me to reminded of the story of King Robert The Bruce. He was a very famous person in Scottish history. When I was a boy I was told a story of him in a cave with a spider. I apologise if you have heard it before, but it did make an impression on me and stuck with me for almost 68 years.

He had just suffered a defeat at the hands of the English and was hiding in the cave. He was thinking it was all over and that he should just retreat and go home. While he sat there he saw this spider trying to make a web. It tried and it tried until eventually it managed to begin, from then on it got easier. Robert thought if this spider can do it so will I do what needs to be done. 

The second thing I was reminded of was a tree I saw while away in the mountains. I know some of my friends have a real love of trees, as have I.
I remember a tree that grew in the churchyard of my last church. I took the children out of the service one Sunday morning to show them this tree, a tree they had passed many, many times and hardly taken the time to notice.  

At some distant time, a bird had dropped a seed and it had lodged in the crack in a stone. As the years had passed the tree had grown and grown until it had split the rock in two.

The moral of that story was simple. Some things in life are not easy, but they are not impossible.

As I sat in the hospital waiting room I began this painting on my Ipad. Yes, it is abstract, but can you like me see a dripping cave? lao Tzu the sage says that water always finds its way to the sea because it does not do battle with the obstacles it meets it simply always takes the easy route and arrives where it seeks to be.

There is nothing in life that we cannot tackle but do remember miracles can take a little bit longer.

Have a marvellous day.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The world we live in.

The heart of Tao

We spend a considerable amount of our time complaining about what is wrong with things and often how difficult life can be. I have had a rather hectic time, most of it my own making, trying to do far too many things at the same time. So I took time during my meditation this morning to consider all the things I complained about in the last five days. I considered, where possible, just how serious this complaining was measured alongside the problems of others.

Something interesting came to mind when we look at our lives it in global terms, it becomes almost meaningless. I thought I would scale things down just a little.

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like this.

There would be:

57 Asians.

21 Europeans.

14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south.

8 would be Africans.

52 would be female.

48 would be male.

70 would be non-white.

30 would be white.

70 would be non-Christian.

30 would be Christian.

6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.

80 would live in substandard housing.

70 would be unable to read.

50 would suffer from malnutrition.

1 would be near death;

1 would be near birth;

1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education;

1 (yes, only 1) would own a computer.

When we consider the world from this perspective, it looks like a very different place.

So instead of complaining let me consider:

I have food in the refrigerator, clothes on my back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, I am richer than 75% of this world.

I woke up this morning with more health than illness, I am more blessed than the million who will not survive this week and better than those people suffering from landslides and floods.

I have money in my wallet, and spare change in a coffee jar next to my keyboard making me among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

I have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, I am therefore ahead of 500 million people in the world.

I can still put a smile on my face and are truly thankful, I am blessed because the majority will find it difficult to smile in their situation.

I can write this blog, over two billion people in the world cannot read it.

So as I look out the window and see the birds and the street in which I live and realise my only complaint is I might walk in a wind and get a bit wet. My biggest task is seeing the heart specialist, having probably walked seven miles. I am indeed in a much better place than most.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Don't we all.


I visited the part of the world I lived in before I moved to my present village it was a special family occasion. Like most towns and villages it has a number of people who have fallen on hard times. One such person, I passed and he remembered me and greeted me in a cheerful way. He seemed to be looking a great deal better than the last time I had seen him.

On that occasion, I had an abstract painting under my arm on my way to deliver it to the person who had bought it. I was feeling good if I am honest a little bit too proud. As I walked I saw him, looking down and very shabby. His hair was unkempt his beard looked as though a good wash would do it the world of good. I was being judgemental.

 As I approached that day I was ready for the begging words. “Could you spare some loose change?” or words to that effect. I have to be honest and admit that it fleetingly crossed my mind to try and avoid making eye contact with him. I did not know him and he did not know me, so no need for me to acknowledge his presence.

As I approached I waited, but it never came. I was wearing my painting top and the picture under my arm was obvious. As I drew near he spoke. At first, I wondered what his line was going to be.

I was taken aback when he spoke about the abstract I was carrying, it seemed he liked abstract art. We spoke about the painting and some others he had liked and seen hanging locally.  All the time I was waiting for his request, but it never came.

I was about to leave and found myself asking, “Do you need any help?”.

His reply caught me off guard completely, “Don't we all mate, don't we all.”

I was feeling high and mighty, successful and important, now I was made to stop and think. Those three words hit me like a sledgehammer.

Don't we all?

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I needed help. I reached into my pocket and gave him a portion of the money I was about to collect. I was not sure what he would spend it on and it mattered not. If I was in his position the last thing I would want was my dignity taken away even further by being asked how I would use the money.

Those three little words still ring true.  Don't we all. No matter how much we have, no matter how much we have accomplished, we need help too. No matter how little we have, no matter how wealthy we are.   One way or another we all need help, nobody is an island.

Even if it's just a compliment, we can all give that. You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it all.

That person might just be waiting for you to give them what they don't have. A different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe that man was just a homeless stranger wandering the streets.

Maybe, just maybe, he was a bit more than that.  it was good to see he was doing well and looking good.

Have a great day.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Just a typewriter.

 In the past few days, I have done some quiet complaining about the pain in my ankle. Walking has become more and more difficult and standing for long periods just aggravates the pain. I wish it would go away. I wish I could run again. So many complaints.

then in the midst of all of this, I remember this artist. Paul Smith.

He lived at Rose Haven Nursing Home (Roseburg, OR ) for years. Paul Smith, the man with extraordinary talent was born on September 21, 1921, with severe cerebral palsy. Not only had Paul beaten the odds of a life with spastic cerebral palsy, a disability that impeded his speech and mobility but also taught himself to become a master artist as well as a terrific chess player even after being devoid of formal education as a child.

"When typing, Paul used his left hand to steady his right one. Since he couldn't press two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key down and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. In other words, his pictures were based on these characters ..... @ # $ % ^ & * ( )_ . Across seven decades, Paul created hundreds of pictures. He often gave the originals away. Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records. As his mastery of the typewriter grew, he developed techniques to create shadings, colours, and textures that made his work resemble pencil or charcoal drawings." 

This great man passed away on June 25, 2009, but left behind a collection of his amazing artwork that will be an inspiration for many.

Here are another two of his paintings.


Now is that not something. An example to us all, and to me in particular. Stop complaining about how life is and make the very best of what we have.  How I would have loved to have known this man I am sure he would have been such an inspiration.

I have added no artwork of my own today I leave that to Paul.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Cats, Tails and Tales

I actually managed to get my second book completed only to discover that when I submitted to the publisher using their programme it insisted on cutting out all the paintings I had included and any text that was on a page with a painting disappeared also. I am therefore in their hands to when it will be ready. I have had to send them the original document for them to see how this can be overcome. Having spent so much time on this project I feel as if I am now just sitting chasing my tail waiting.

Speaking of tails, let me tell you about yesterday. I planted some new flowers in my garden. No sooner were they in when I looked out and saw a cat lying on top of them. I went out and chased it only to see it back in place ten minutes later. This went on for a good hour and more until at last, it got the message that it was not welcome in the garden if it was insisting on that particular spot.

This reminds me of the tale of the two cats. There were two cats a very young one and a very old one. One day the old cat watched as the young one chased its tail round and round in circles.

Eventually, the old cat purred the question. “Why are you chasing your tail all day?” The young cat responded, “Because it helps me to find happiness.” The old cat mused for a while and said, “ I used to think that also until I learned that no matter where I went my tail followed on anyway.”

The young cat continued to chase his tail. The old cat looked and purred and went off on his way.

Sure enough, as he left his tail followed him swishing away behind him. He looked very happy. 

Happiness is not found in chasing after it. If we get our lives in order happiness follows us.

Have a great day.